NO

Meghan Trainor’s song came to my mind at a department head meeting last week. I told a friend that when it comes to this summer I’m like Meghan Trainor and my name is no.  I’m so glad my principal encouraged me to think before I over-commit this summer.

I gave 3 BIG NOS–NO to curriculum writing, NO to writing project, NO to field-test item review. This will give me much needed down time for me and my family as well as some reading/prep time for my new curriculum.

Maya’s teacher version of Meghan Trainor’s song “No”

I think I can’t refute and this year I’m so beat.
How I’ve let my time discourage me and take away from me
But you need to stop me here, oh, before I speak

Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
My name is no
A class–oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no

First I’m gonna play the teachin’ game, thinkin’ I’m needin’ extra cash
Call me professional, so incredible, telling me I need to teach this class.
I need some time my own, before I go insane, and maybe I’ll be needing therapy

Blah, blah, blah, I be like nah to the ah to the no, no, no
All my teachers, listen up
If you feel like giving up
Purse your lips and take this tip
Teacher all you gotta say is
My name is no
A class–oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
Pay me in advance, I need my summer dance (yep)
I need a break–a summer just for me
If I want a class, then I’mma get a class.
But this year’s summer’s my priority.

This summer is my own,
I need to sing my song,
don’t want you to take this personal
Blah, blah, blah, I be like nah to the ah to the no, no, no
All my teachers, listen up
If that break you giving up
Purse your lips and take this tip
Teacher all you gotta say is
My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
(nah to the ah to the, no, no, no)
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
(nah to the ah to the, no, no, no)
All my teachers, listen up
If that break you giving up
Purse your lips and take this tip
Teacher all you gotta say is

My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no
My name is no
A class-oh no
My summer says no.
I need to let it go
I need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the no, no, no

I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Unbreakable, unbreakable
I’m feeling
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no

Perspective

 

Perspective leads to bias.
Bias to interpretation.
Assumption to conflict.
Conflict to anger.
Anger fuels assumptions.
Accusations hurled at me.
Vitriolic threat.
Anger.
Defense.
Accusation.

Who is right?
Where do you stand?
A black and white world.
You see malice.
You see right and wrong.
In a corner.

Who is right?
Where do I stand?
I see grey.
I see difference.
I see misunderstanding.

Who is right?
I assume your intent.
I’m wrong.
You assume an act of malice.
You’re wrong.
You interpret my motives.
You’re wrong.
You assume my dislike.
You’re wrong.

I am wrong.
I am right.
You’re wrong.
You’re right.

I see gray. I see shades.
You see black and white.
I’ve crossed the line.
I don’t want to fight.
I try to make it right.
I’d like to smudge the lines–
reveal the grey.
Acceptance.
Tolerance.
Understanding.

 

 

My Husband

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Day 29 of 31

My Husband

My girlfriends sometimes
tell me to quit talking
when I speak of my husband
Why?
because he is just that amazing.

In fact, don’t even start
with the slacker stereotypes
about husbands
because I’d be the slacker husband
He runs circles
around me
and the rest of the kids.
Did I say the rest of the kids?
Sadly,
yes.

Taking care of us all–
lunches
driving
trips to the
store
doctor’s office
school
practice.

He takes care of my mom–
When we were dating
I knew he was the one
by the way he took care
of his grandmother
mowing
shopping
at multiple stores
for sales and coupons
fixing things
just being there.

Now he is all about being there
but where am I?
Must–find–time.

Maybe tonight…
blogging early.
there are those papers to grade,
a sick child
soccer practice.

In the busyness of life
I must capture the moments
for this man I adore
who adores me, too.

Maybe tonight I’ll grade,
so the break will be ours,
a family getaway.
Mountains.
cabin.
hot tub
and no
daily slices.

 

Writing Chores

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Some days writing is a chore.

Common Core Writing Chores:  The paired text essay based on a prompt–nobody’s idea of fun. This is a chore. This is not real-world writing. Informational essays that answer questions about texts do little to engage students. Sometimes the question asked is just not one that anyone cares to answer. Sure I can try to engage students in thinking, comparing, engaging, crafting, creating and revising. Sometimes, though, the prompt is just not engaging, and kids feel confined.

Spelling Word Writing Chores: My daughter’s homework tonight is to write a story using at least 5 spelling words. This is a chore. This is not real-world writing. After pushing her for quite awhile, she finally crafted an entertaining bit of prose, yet once again, she’s confined by the prompt/words to use in her story.

Blog Writing Chore: I’ve been pushing people to write and work all day, and now I’ve got nothing left. I’ll attempt to wax poetic (or perhaps just vent) about my frustration of going from trying to get my students to write to trying to get my daughter to write. And now, it’s my turn to write–greeeaaaat! Today there has been no passion or authenticity in writing for me, and I’m tired.

Confined

Forced to write,
My pen, a hostage tied to a chair,
Bound and constrained,
Mouth gagged with a handkerchief
I’ve lost my words,
my voice a mumble,
unheard and slumped down.

My energy depleted
Out of fuel–
in need of sustenance.

Let me go–
Unbound me.
I need to be released,
free from constraint.

My words need

a place
a space

in order for my voice
to be found,
and for me
to know who I am.

 

 

I Filled this Blog Space Baby

Apologies to Taylor Swift–Blank Space Parody

Will defeat you
Writing when?
My blog is quite full of teacher things
Teaching, madness, differentiation
No thoughts to share and I thought oh my god
Look it’s late, I can’t fill my blogging place.
Writing’s lame, thoughts at bay
No thoughts, words will die
I can’t write you words unseen
Ain’t it funny here I sigh
And I know you linked onto me
So hey, teacher friends
I’m hoping to see tonight’s blog end.
Grab my coffee–magic wand
I can’t fake the words ’til the weekend.

[Pre-Chorus]
Writer’s block forever
Or it’s gonna end up sounding lame
You can comment when it’s over
If the read was worth the pain
Got a short list of started posts
That’ll show you I’m mundane
Cause you know I ain’t a player
And my writing’s lame

[Chorus]
Cause I’m old and I’m tarnished
I can’t take ideas very far.
I’ll  leave you varnished
Won’t get a writing star
Can’t be an ex-blogger
Cause I’m losing fame.
But I filled this blog space baby
And I’m in this game.

Look out, Weird Al….

 

Stopping by the Blog on a Planning Evening

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Stopping by the Blog on a Planning Evening

Apologies to Robert Frost

Frost’s Poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”

 

Whose night this is too well I know.
My laptop in the dark  aglow;
I will not be asleep soon I fear,
Plan with data the life I know.

My little cat must think it weird
That everyone else is aslumber here,
Once again sorting data to differentiate,
Challenged to do this each day of the year.

Much to do in these lessons I make,
Scant hours before I wake,
No other sound–my house now sleeps.
Sleep deprived habit I must break.

Yet these plans are lovely, data filled and deep,
with the data I must keep,
Spreadsheets to sort before I sleep,
Spreadsheets to sort before I sleep.

An Unplanned Lesson

Join teacher writers and slice on Tuesdays.
Join teacher writers, and slice on Tuesdays.

In the classroom, sometimes I shift what I am doing when a student makes a comment or asks a question that leads to a teachable moment. When I take the time to recognize these moments, the unplanned lessons that follow are often powerful and beyond what I, as a teacher, could ever create.

In the “outdoor classroom” nature  becomes my teacher when I allow the unteachable moments to take hold in me. This week while hiking a nature trail at Carter’s Lake, I noticed an Einstein quote about nature  on an informational sign, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

On Nature
Einstein On Nature

 

Those words about nature moved me much more than     emc2    ever did.

 

After reading that sign, I decided to photograph images that would bring meaning to those words (so I could blog about something other than QR codes). Of course, what followed were more signs with words that moved me and more images to capture.  Perhaps the “sign” for me was in powerful quotes on the signs. As I sought to capture the meaning of the words in what was around me, I found myself looking deeper into nature, understanding everything better, and finding counsel in the trees. And all this happened because I embraced a teachable moment and let an unplanned lesson guide my day.

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With all the words and images, I decided to share what I found when I looked deeper into nature through words and images in an Animoto video.

Here is my unplanned lesson from nature:

Empty

Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March
March Slice of Life Challenge

Empty.

Devoid of thoughts.

No pedagogical pondering.

Maya’s not meandeirng.

No topic.

No ideas.

Blank slate.

Nothing to beat myself up about.

Not into writing about the cough,

I’ve had enough of that.

Not wanting to copy a poem.

No  6 word memoir.

Not wanting to write.

Slicing to meet the goal.

Writing daily.

Not feeling it.

Just doing it.

Writing through the block.

Nothing.

Empty.

Devoid of thoughts.

 

 

Following

Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March
March Slice of Life Challenge
In my car,
I follow you.
We all follow you,
a caravan of cars
You are leading.
I follow.

 
Pausing to look to the sky,
lost in the moment of
dusky purple-hued streaks
a beauty captured only at twilight,
Immersed in the splendor–
Breathing in peace
for merely a second.

 
Remembering where I am,
I look through the windshield,
cut through the lot,
and catch up with the group.
 

I am right there
with the others,
but then you turn away.
My choice,
my diversion,
is not the right one.
 

I am
Lost.
Separate.
Alone.
 

Sliding out of my car
to gain perspective
and get  my bearings,
looking to the intersection
for signs,
One lone sign atop a post
not enough for me to find
my way.

 
I am lost,
confused,
and unable
to find my way
back to the others.

 
Suddenly
a storm wind blows,
I am
trembling
and
stumbling
and
falling
into oncoming traffic.

 
Pulling myself
to safety
my cell rings.
I answer the phone,
distraught by the storm,
I yell,
“Wait!”

 
But she will not wait
For me.
my older sister,
Tells me
one again
what I must do.
“Come now–
Dad is dying.”

 
(Wait–Dad is already dead)

 

She insists I need to come see him,
now before he dies.
But he is dead,
I think.

“I am on my way,”
I say.

 
Still I am
alone,
lost.

 
Looking for the others,
I call,
and ask you to find me,
but where was I going
in that caravan of followers.

 
Lost.
Alone.
Vulnerable.
 

Standing in the night.
Out of my car and in the open.
The night sky is darkening.
 

The phone summons me again,
Under amass of blankets,
Fighting my way out
Under the covers,
Relieved to
wake up
To the light
Of a new day.
 

The vividness of this dream was a little much in my head for a Monday morning, so it became a slice. Rarely do I remember my dreams much less capture a dream in words.

This is Just to Say

 

 

This is Just to Say (apologies to William Carlos Williams)

 

This is Just to Say

I have  not graded

the papers

that are waiting on

the table

 

and which

parents are waiting

to see in the gradebook

 

Forgive me

a blog of shortness

overburdened

with grades due

 

The original 

This is Just to Say
William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold