BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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What a Week, or Welcome to Fourth Grade

We did it! We got through the first week of fourth grade without any major glitches. Nobody cried, nobody got lost, nobody threw up, nobody lost their lunch-box. Okay, so they did manage to lose the three new laundry baskets that hold the lunch-boxes, but I’m sure those will turn up. Good thing I labeled them!

My kids are terrific, and I’m learning so many new things in terms of using technology with them. They know so much! My brain is swimming, and I bet theirs are too, but for different reasons.

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So far we’ve gotten five chapters into a novel, created and shared personal timelines, learned a bit about historical Meso-American cultures, played two truths and a lie, written the rough draft of a poem, worked on our penmanship, calculated place-value to the millions, gotten to know our new Chromebooks a bit, learned each others’ names, played four corners, and squeezed all the toothpaste out of a tube and tried to put it back in. And that’s just part of what we’ve accomplished.

I love my summer breaks, but the start of the school year is a really exciting time, and I’m glad we’re back in session. Happy school year, everyone.

 


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Summer Job One is Done

Today was the last day of our writing camp. Each summer for the past several years I’ve been an instructor at a writing camp affiliated with our local university and the National Writing Project. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also work.

This time around we had ten kids in our section (there are three sites and several sections). Our group ranged from kids entering third grade to kids entering eighth grade. People always wonder how that works, but writing is a marvelous thing… we each approach it from where we are. A third grader and an eighth grader and an adult can all respond to writing challenges, albeit on different levels. Actually, we had an eighth grader whose writing is extremely mature and complex, so you can’t necessarily decide that age limits people.

Today we invited parents in to our end of the session showcase, and each young writer took the microphone and shared a piece they had written, revised, edited, and practiced. The kids were poised, confident, and proud of their writing. I was proud of them, too. Several parents commented that their kids loved the program and that it was helpful to them as writers. I couldn’t ask for higher praise than that.

Now I’m preparing for my next summer job tomorrow, proctoring a high-stakes professional exam. This one is only for a day, but what a LONG day it will be. Then next week I’m off to the east coast for a week-long professional conference on teaching – wait for it – writing. What a busy month June is. And that doesn’t include last week’s visit to Texas or the trip to my niece’s high school graduation at the end of the month. I need a vacation from my vacation!

People who say teachers have the summer off probably don’t know any real teachers. Just saying. Enjoy any time off you may have, I know I will.

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It all sounds so simple.


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First Day of School Nerves

This happens every year. In fact I think I write about it every year, and I may even choose the same words. I’m not looking back, because I really don’t care if I repeat myself. It bears repeating. School is starting tomorrow and I’m a bundle of nerves.

I know it’s going to go well.keep-calm-and-act-like-you-know-what-youre-doing.jpg

I know the children are going to be terrific.

I know I’m planned and have my materials ready.

But what if…

What if everything that’s planned falls flat? What if the children won’t listen to me? What if they’re mean to each other? What if I forget how to teach? What if there’s a big storm tomorrow morning and it’s chaos? What if I mess up the schedule? What if I can’t remember any of their names? What if, what if, what if…

O.K. Big breath. Now that I’ve spewed out all of those highly unlikely scenarios (well, except for maybe mixing up the schedule a little and forgetting a name here or there) I actually feel better.

I won’t forget how to teach.

The children will be excited to be back in school and in the fourth grade for the first time.

They will be pleasant and work hard.

We’ll have a fun and productive day getting to know each other and learning how to be fourth graders.

It’s going to be a great year, I just know it. Still, I won’t sleep tonight, but that’s to be expected too.