What’s My Purpose? OLW

It’s the last week of August and time to shift gears again and get back to work. Time to move from sitting in a chaise lounge reading the next good book, to sitting in a meeting discussing student work. Shifting gears so quickly can be hard for me. It takes me at least two weeks to get into the slower pace that summer brings, and then two weeks to adjust to the fast pace the beginning of the school year demands. My head spins with that quick shift and I try with all my might to live in both worlds at once, clinging tight to those lazy days of summer. But that is not realistic. It’s times like this that I must recall my purpose.

My one little word this year is purpose. I chose it back in January, the calendar version of the new year. Let’s face it, January really isn’t a new year, for educators it is August. And as I look towards the closing out of another wonderful summer and shift gears into a new school year my one little word centers me yet again. What’s my purpose?

This year I vow to make my purpose to work towards joyful encounters with each person I meet. My purpose will be to bring passion to my literacy work, and finally my purpose will be to better balance work and life.

What’s your purpose?

I’m joining the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers today and every Tuesday. Consider joining us!

I Lost My Poor Meatball

On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed. It rolled off the table, and onto the floor…

That was the song I began to sing last week after visiting a New York City restaurant. It all started as I getting ready to head out with a few colleagues from the reading institute at Teachers College. I changed into my cool and breezy white blouse which I thought would be perfect top to wear on a hot and humid New York City evening. We ventured out early and explored a few new places and some great laughs over a glass of wine. No laugh would compare to the one that would follow at the little Italian restaurant.

I ordered a meatball sandwich and waited with a growling stomach for my dinner to arrive. Since we were all new friends we shared little bits and pieces of our lives while our orders were prepared. Finally our meals arrived. I picked up my sandwich and bit into a heavenly tasting meatball. I placed my sandwich back down on my plate and savored that first taste. As I was about to pick up my sandwich for another delicious nibble I looked down at my plate and noticed that my sandwich looked rather flat. I thought…

Why is my sandwich missing a meatball? I swore there were two meatballs when my meal had arrived and now there was only one. Where could it be?

I quietly search the table but didn’t see any rogue meatballs around. I checked my lap, still no meatball. Then I noticed that my pocketbook was open and hanging off to the side of my hip. I peeked in thinking it couldn’t possibly be in there. Much to my surprise, there sat my meatball! Sitting right on top of my wallet, looking like it belonged there! It must have bounced off the table and into my open purse. I let out a very loud laugh. My colleagues looked at me in curiosity. What’s so funny? They asked. Oh nothing, I giggled, a meatball just rolled into my purse.

After much laughter, I looked down to the front of my shirt to see the tell-tale signs of the trail of sauce down the front of my new white blouse and then into my purse.

Now I have a new verse to sing…

On top of my sandwich all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody laughed. It rolled off the table, and down the white shirt, it didn’t stop there though, ’til it found a purse!

It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers for a little Slice of Life writing. Won’t you join in?

The Thursday Night Sound

Clink, clink, clink

The stainless steel bowl with the rings for handles was sitting on the backseat and clanking at each little bump in the road. Today it was holding a quinoa salad for a family gathering. But that clanking noise awakened something in me.

“That’s a Thursday night sound.” I said to my daughter who was driving.

“What are you talking about mom?” she replied. At which point I proceeded to tell her about our Thursday night ritual.

Every Thursday night my dad would go out to sing with a local barbershop chorale group. And every Thursday night just as we sat down to watch the Walton’s on television my mom would disappear into the kitchen. The seven of us would look at each other in hopes we’d hear that familiar clanking coming from the cupboard – the steel rings hitting the side of the bowl. For if we heard that sound we knew the sound to follow would be the pinging of kernels hitting the bottom of the pan of oil. Then we’d listen intently for the pop, pop, pop of the corn. And if we really focused we would then hear the butter sizzling in the pan, melting down to that yellow goodness to be poured on top of hot popcorn.

Ten minutes later my mom would appear with that stainless steel bowl clanking all the way into the living room. She’d enter the room smiling and looking as if she surprised us with that yummy hot treat! We didn’t care if it was a surprise or not, we enjoyed viewing the adventures of John-boy and family much more while crunching on that yummy snack each and every week.

We arrived at the gathering with our quinoa salad in that Thursday night bowl. As I placed the clanking bowl on the table I thought back to my mom and all those Thursday night popcorn surprises this bowl had held. And as I ate that first bite of quinoa salad, I swore it tasted a little like buttered popcorn.

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday and I’m joining in the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers. Won’t you join in?

Picture Book Fun #pb10for10

Thank you Cathy Mere (http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.com/) and Mandy Robek ( http://enjoy-embracelearning.blogspot.com/ ) for hosting the tenth annual #pb10for10. My shopping cart fills instantly after reading all the wonderful posts filled with recommendations of picture books that every classroom needs. This year I am finally giving back with my list of ten books that celebrate lovely language.

Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki. Heart-felt story about the special garden created by a girl and her grandfather, Ojiichan. Loved the use of two languages throughout the book, as well as the special moments shared between the two characters.

Rah! Rah! Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre. Bouncy text filled with alliteration and vivid photographs. Great choice for shared reading.

under GROUND by Denise Fleming. Rhyming text filled with illustrations of life under the ground all the while showing the life of a boy and his dog playing above. Another text that would be wonderful for shared reading.

Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul. Being angry isn’t always pretty as shown in this book. Wonderful book to study how an author uses colored text and other craft moves to show feelings.

Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox. Having two monkeys named Cheeky and Chee as the main characters in this story already have little ones wanting to chime in. Great fun with language in this book for sure!

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina. Sweet story about overcoming language barriers.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff. Soothing text describing the natural colors that surround baby bear. Great book to explore describing words.

Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle. If you are looking for a book to teach onomatopoeia, this is the one. Lovely story about community found in a subway station during a thunderstorm.

Yaks Yak by Linda Sue Park. Creative book exploring word pairs. Loved the definitions included on each page.

Help! A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller. Cute story about friendship embedded with great language and craft moves too!