#sol17 ~ Summer PD

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-42-06-amTeachers don’t work during the summer, right?!?  Well, anyone who is a teacher knows that isn’t a true statement.  The only truth to that statement is that we technically aren’t in our classrooms with our students because our school year is over.  BUT, many of us are still working in some aspect.  We are either teaching summer school, taking classes, participating in twitter chats, reading articles and/or books to help us continue to learn and become better at our craft – and the list goes on.

I’m lucky enough to work in a district that provides wonderful professional opportunities throughout the summer.  So far I have participated in two classes this summer.  The first was a 2 day literacy institute where we focused on writing (yay!).  And then, these past two days, I have been part of a class/study group where we were learning about Seesaw, the digital portfolio.  All of this learning is getting me really excited for the upcoming school year.

It’s no secret – I’m a lifelong, year round learner.  But there’s something different about the learning that happens during the summer.  It’s like a more relaxed kind of learning – relaxalearning (yup, now I’m making up my own words)!  I mean, I sit in my PJs with coffee and read books in the morning. Currently, The Innovator’s Mindset and Disrupting Thinking are my two “teacher” books (both recommended).  I also take my writer’s notebook to the park with my daughter and while she plays, I observe, write, wonder, write, think, write.  At night, I sit on my couch, with my lap top, and join in on some Twitter chats.  I will admit – the Twitter chats scared me, but I just jumped right in (kinda like I did back in March with the Slice of Life challenge).  During the school year, there aren’t as many times for the relaxing type of learning!

Of course, I don’t just spend my whole summer learning and talking about school, even though it’s kind of hard not to.  Learning and teaching are my passions.  However, I do cherish all the extra time I have to enjoy my other passion – my family!  While I’m excited about a new school year to apply some of my learning, I’m way more excited for our family vacation in a few weeks.  A teacher’s summer should be for relaxing, recharging, enjoying “free” time, and sneaking in some learning opportunities as well.  How are you relaxing and learning this summer?

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Thank you to the team of writers at Two Writing Teachers for this wonderful writing community.  A place for us to grow together as writers.  Join us for SOL Tuesdays!

#sol 17 – The Joy of Reading

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-42-06-amI’ve rediscovered the joy of reading this past week.  Wait, does that mean I had forgotten how joyful reading can be???  No, no, it’s not that.  I know exactly how joyful reading is.  I just haven’t had the time – or better yet, made the time – to enjoy reading for myself.  

I do love reading.  I didn’t always love it.  It always felt like something I had to do for school.  It wasn’t until my mom’s friend, who was a high school English teacher, brought me a book (that I can’t remember at the moment) and said  “give this book a try, you might like it.”  I’m sure I rolled my eyes at her, but I ended up giving it a try, and that was it.  I had felt the joy and fell in love.  Now, I love everything about reading.  I love the feel of books in my hands.  I love their smell.  I love reading to my daughter and 1st graders.  I love picture books, and professional books, and fiction books – my most favorite genre. I’m not as adventurous with other genres as I’d like to be.  There’s always room for growth!

So if I love it so much, why don’t I make the time to read books I want to read?  Why don’t I make the time to get lost in books like I tell my daughter and my 1st graders to do?  I have no problem sitting with them, radiating my passion for reading, while saying “now go, go get lost in your books.”  The answer is simple – other things take precedence and are the priorities (even if they shouldn’t be).  Well, until now…

This past week has been a tough one for our family.  Our sweet, sweet dog, Lucy, gave up her fight and passed away and my husband’s uncle had a massive heart attack and the prognosis isn’t good.  I don’t deal well with any type of loss (or bad news for that matter)- especially since losing my dad 11 years ago.  My anxiety quickly makes its appearance known.  I don’t sleep well and my mind gets filled with thoughts that make my anxiety worse and worse.  I try to be mindful and stay present – let’s just say that’s still a work in progress for me.  

So what did I do?  I turned to reading.  It’s the one thing that has helped me “escape” my thoughts.  Reading for pleasure and fun – just sitting with a book and getting lost in it. Letting the story take me away to another place – even if only for a short while.  Smiling and being happy.  Just me and my book.  I let go of the idea that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my daughter.  She was perfectly content playing, creating, and sometimes even reading alongside of me – lost in her own world.  I didn’t think about the sad things that had happened.  I “escaped” with book in my lap and coffee in my hand.  Reading brought me the joy I needed, and now I’m hooked again.   I don’t think I realized how much I missed it and how much joy it brings me – hence the rediscovery!  I guess I’ll have to find the balance between doing what needs to be done and getting lost in my books.  It will just have to become one of my priorities!

I’ll gladly accept any fiction book recommendations – I’ve got the reading bug now!  

Thank you to the team of writers at Two Writing Teachers for this wonderful writing community.  A place for us to grow together as writers.  Join us for SOL Tuesdays!

Celebrate ~ Rainbows

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 8.54.55 PMEvery week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share a celebration. What a great way to focus on something to celebrate!

 

This week I’m celebrating rainbows.  I simply love them.  When I was little, I always loved drawing a big rainbow arching from one little white cloud to another little white cloud.  My first graders are always drawing or painting rainbows of all kinds.  Entire papers covered with rainbows, rainbow hearts, diagonal rainbows, rainbow bracelets, and the list goes on.  Rainbows just make me smile.

In our family, we believe that rainbows are signs from our loved ones in heaven.  It’s their way of letting us know they’re ok.  In some ways, rainbows are comforting to us.  We also believe that the first rainbow we see after losing a family member is the sign that they are ok.  Whenever I see a rainbow in the sky, I immediately feel my smile.

Well, this past Thursday, we felt nothing like smiling at all.  We had to say goodbye to our loving dog, Lucy.  She had been sick for over a year, and fought the good fight, but on Thursday she decided she was too tired to fight anymore.  She was really my mom’s best friend, even though my brother brought her home about a year after my dad passed away.  Emma and Lucy have been best pals since Emma was born.  Losing her, our fur baby,  has been a tough pill to swallow.  There’s been lots of tears, lots of hugs, and lots of looking at pictures.  We’ve all been pretty gloomy and it’s been hard to notice celebrations.  But, just now, when I was outside on my mom’s porch, I looked up and there it was –  a bright rainbow coming from a white cloud.  The kind I used to draw when I was little.  That rainbow was our sign and it’s my celebration.  Even in sadness, there are still things to celebrate.

Today, I celebrate 10 joyful years with the most loving dog and rainbows!

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