BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Poetry Under the Stars

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We had an event at our elementary school Wednesday evening called Poetry Under the Stars. It was the first year for this event, but I think it will be back in the future. At least I hope so.

Our phenomenal powerhouse of a PTA president approached me with the idea of hosting this event, and she asked for my thoughts. I’m not shy about putting in my two cents, and I do love kids and poetry, so I shared my thoughts and agreed to help out.

A flyer went home asking kids to a submit a poem if they would like to read at the event. The response was overwhelming. Old favorites showed up (there was plenty of Shel Silverstein shared) and original poetry by our own students was submitted. We took them all.

The kids arrived at school in the evening with their families and blankets and fortified themselves with hot cocoa and cookies. Then they entered the “Poetry Pit” for the event. One of the very few benefits of having a school that was built in 1975 is that there are giant concrete “pits” with stair-step levels that allow access to the lower level classroom of our split-level school.

Okay, so maybe they aren’t a benefit most of the time, but for our event the pit was transformed. A microphone was hooked up, and beautiful starlight illuminated the back wall, which displayed some cool fifth grade artwork.

One by one our little poetry buffs made their way to me and the mic and read their poems for the appreciative audience. Even a few of our kindergarteners shared poems, and they were adorable.

I have to tell you, in my role as MC I got to stand near every kid as they read, and during the entire event I think there were only three mispronunciations. Incredible. Those kids were prepared and confident!

In all we had kids sharing poetry for nearly an hour. Last I heard there were fifty-one kids who read a poem. Fifty-one kids showing up for literacy, and all of them brought along people who cared about them. What an amazing thing. What a wonderful thing. What a community commitment to our kids.

Say what you will about testing and common core and “kids today,” but events like this one remind me that I still have the best job in the world.


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And Just Like That, Summer’s Over

images.jpgI know it’s just the end of July, and for many of you that means the middle of summer, but not for me and my colleagues. Tomorrow we head back to school to get ready for our students, who start the following week. Every year I feel like it’s just too early, but maybe that’s because I grew up where school starts after Labor Day, you know, in September!

Oh sure, we get out in May so we have the whole month of June and most of July off, but c’mon, it’s still summer. Roast-y, toast-y, blistering hot Summer. My pool is 92 degrees, and that’s without a heater. The pavement is too hot to walk on, so the dog is cooped up inside, but she doesn’t mind. It’s too hot for her taste too.

But I digress. Yes, I chose to live here, and I do love it, even though I just replaced my car battery yesterday. Again. They don’t last long here.

But school? In this heat?

It means heat advisory days with indoor recess, which makes everyone a little cranky. Not a great way to start the year.

Oh well, it’s coming whether I’m ready or not, and really, I’m just about ready. I’ve seen my class list, I’ve moved around all my furniture, I’ve even spent a few hours leveling my classroom library (don’t worry, that’s just teacher talk).

I’m looking forward to meeting my new students and their families, working with my colleagues, and, yes, getting a paycheck again. I’m not looking forward to waking up early, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and hoarding my precious free time. You take the bad with the good, though, right?

So for all you teachers heading back to school, make those last days count, they slip away too quickly.


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My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

A while back I wrote a back-to-school blogpost that was later modified and run by Scary Mommy. Scary Mommy is a huge website full of content for moms who may sometimes feel like they’re hanging on by the skin of their teeth. I can relate.

Well, that article generated quite a buzz, and it ended up being shared several times, on several different websites internationally. It was particularly popular in Greece, for some reason. I’m not really sure why, and I wouldn’t even know whom to ask.

The reason I bring it up is that someone visited the blog recently through the Scary Mommy link. Hooray! I was able to see what they saw, and came across my author page along with the article. I was so glad, because I thought I lost that link forever.

In case you’re interested, here it is: 10 Back to School Supplies Money Can’t Buy . I know it’s the wrong time of year, but what do you think? The article generated a huge positive response, but there were a few angry comments saying I had no business telling people what to do. My intent was never to scold or come across as all knowing. I know parenting is difficult. I also know, from years of experience working with hundreds (thousands?) of kids that so often what they need most from their parents are things money can’t buy.

It was nice to see that old article again. It reminded me of my fifteen minutes in the spotlight, and it gave me hope that maybe somewhere somebody was taking my words to heart and spending a little extra time loving on their kids.