Showing posts from October, 2015

Recovering from a Gold Star Addiction #SOL15

"But it's alright now.  I learned my lesson well.   See you can't please everyone,  so you got to please yourself." -Ricky Nelson, "Garden Party" My class has been reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  On Friday, we watched the video Lynda created where she read aloud Chapter 17 and then answered questions about the book and her process.  At one point, Lynda spoke about praise and how we all want it, but we have to be careful not to rely too much on it.  To stop looking for validation outside ourselves and find it within.  Gretchen Rubin described her need for "gold stars" in The Happiness Project.  I'm a gold-star-loving-gal myself.  Nothing makes me happier than the warm, fuzzy, kind, encouraging words about something I've done right.  I've saved notes and letters from former teachers and now former administrators, parents, and students.  On the hard days, these words help fill up my deflated sails a

#WhyIWrite #SOL15

The night my beloved grandfather, Grandy, passed away, I slept on his couch in the den, alongside my mother.  My Grandma snored loudly next to his hospital bed in their bedroom, a bit of comic relief at such a tragic moment.  The hospice workers had told us he was "on his journey" and we knew he would not be with us much longer.  In the middle of the night, or early in the morning, Grandy breathed his last, my mother next to him, having had a sense he was going. When he was carried out by the undertakers, they advised us not to watch, and so my Grandy left what he proudly called his "little nest" for the very last time. I was 20 years old, a college student.  As I drove back home that morning, my head and heart filled with the words I knew I needed to say about my grandfather.  I walked in the door, sat at the computer, and typed.  I wrote his eulogy, hours after he passed away, and somehow later found the courage to stand up in the church and speak, through the

The Thing About Corn Mazes #SOL15

I found myself in a corn maze on Sunday.  We went pumpkin picking to a farm out east on Long Island and after the pumpkins were picked, my kids and their cousins wanted to do the corn maze. Never a big fan, but not wanting to be the party pooper, I agreed and we ventured inside. As the autumn sun warmed the morning chill in the air, my 2 1/2 year old daughter decided I needed to hold her as I navigated the ropey vines and stones in my path.  The path twisted and turned and corn was all I could see as I trudged with Megan through the maze. My son, nieces, and sister-in-law were up ahead, and my niece would wait until I got closer before moving on so we didn't get separated. Holding Megan, it was hard to keep up with the group. When my niece joyfully announced she could see the light at the end of the maze, I was filled with relief.  Life, of late, has been a lot like a corn maze.  I've found myself in the middle of a confusing and upsetting situation with no clear path ou

A Fish in a Tree Moment #sol15

Today, my third graders and I began the Global Read Aloud.  This year, we are reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  We talked about the saying from Einstein that inspired the title and then I asked the students to think about a time where they felt like a fish in a tree- a fish in a tree moment.   To me, a fish in a tree moment would be when you felt incapable of doing something that others around you easily could do.  I've had many of these moments throughout my life.  My mind flashed back to being about 8 years old myself and taking gymnastics.  It was torture.  In my memory, the balance beam was very high and very narrow.  Not only did I have difficulty mastering how to walk on that, but I was expected to do a tumble on it.  I was petrified.  To make matters worse, I remember that the kids in my class were mean to me, teasing me about being so inept. I remember quitting gymnastics and the wave of relief I felt.   Kids who feel like a fish in a tree academically d