Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Cleaning Problem

"I put soap in the dishwasher," my husband commented as I made beef strogronoff for our dinner.
"And the extra soap things are in the new box of Cascade," he innocently added. I appreciate his help in the little things in the kitchen.  But wait! Last night was trash night. 
I gasped, "You didn't throw out the container" did you?"
 "Not out by the road?" 
He shook his head.  
"Where is it? I grumbled.  I didn't sound at all grateful for his help.
"Right here in the trash," he replied as he dug through the kitchen trash can to find it. 
I sighed in relief.  "Thanks, I saw something really cool on Pinterest and I really want to make it" 
It's a true testament to our marriage and his understanding of my job, he just nodded and started to wash and dry the plastic box.
I'd pinned it months ago, days after  discarding a green topped container.  I've wanted to make that crocodile all summer and I was so afraid I'd have to wait another 90 dish washing cycles to try it.
This little circle time activity is made with a container from Cascade  Action Pacs Dishwasher Soap. At circle time, say the following verse:  Crocodile, crocodile down by lake,  Im going to reach right in and see what (letter) you ate. Have the child reach into the crocodiles mouth and pull out a card. (To change this for 1st grade- I will use sight words or math problems.)If you listen closely tomorrow you'll hear us say Crocodile, crocodile down by lake, I'm going to reach right in and see what (letter) you ate.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One Black Ant

I woke up early this morning 5 am, sigh, will I ever relearn the skill of summer sleeping in?  I settled down with a book and a tall glass of Diet Coke on the floor beside me.  As I sipped toward the bottom I found a HUGE black ant floating in the glass.  I've been fighting them for weeks!  Last week I resorted to a poison.  The box says it gets taken back to the nest by the ants, and it promised the rest of the ants will die.  Following the directions I've stopped dashing across the floor to crush the big black ants in hope the poison will take care of the problem.  I guess the ants got the last laugh as this big guy attempted to POISON me!  As a writing teacher I thought about pairing this story with 2 Bad Ants by VanAllsburg!  If I live!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day Two of Vacation Planning for Next Year

I spent the second day of my summer vacation sorting and cleaning my classroom.  I’m trying to clear out clutter and make room for a loft.  Today I took a critical look at my teaching resources.  Many people have given me books as they’ve retired or moved to different positions.  I’ve sorted and read and decided to set up a table in the hall with items I no longer need.   I’ve come to realize how Pinterest and Google have made many resources unnecessary.  What other teachers don’t want I’ll recycle. 
With the encouragement of a teacher friend I’ve worked toward removing a double bookcase from my room.  I still have many books, and I think tomorrow I’ll remove student books that I don’t love.  Danny and the Dinosaur by Hoff, is up for grabs.  I keep thinking of how excited the new teacher down the hall will be to get a huge bookshelf.  Almost as excited as I’ll be to get rid of it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Memories of my Grandmother

One of my early childhood memories is of visiting a general store in rural northern Michigan.  I think I was about 4 at the time; my sisters and I were staying with Grandma possibly when my younger brother was born.  My grandmother didn’t drive so we all went to the store together.  I remember standing at the counter watching the grocery man pull things down, with a long handled pole,  as grandma listed the things she wanted.  Things like the flour and sugar were weighed and were then bagged in paper bags.
Several weeks ago I heard an interview on NPR with Michael Moss the author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.  As I’m reading the way salt and sugar affect us and cause us to crave more, I’m amazed to think of the changes that have happened in our food delivery system in my lifetime. I'm an adult who never had an Oreo until my college roommate introduced me to them.  I’m ashamed to admit I’m making up for lost time.
This same grandmother had a wood burning cook stove in her kitchen, alongside her electric stove, except for the summer she really preferred her  big wood stove.  As an adult I visited  and noted that she'd added a microwave to her kitchen appliances, but the wood stove was still there.
I haven’t finished the book, but my eyes are certainly opened to the changes in the formulation of our foods.  I’m finding the book to be an interesting read.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What Can I Learn in 31 Days?

This is my second year slicing and because I appreciated the frequent comments from several slicers last year I volunteered to be part of the welcome wagon.  This affected my slicing in a couple of ways.
First it narrowed my focus.  I began to feel like I knew “my” slicers and appreciated their writing more because of it. Last year I kept wishing I had a way to remember who was who.  The welcome wagon also made me feel that commenting was just as important as slicing.  Several days I posted quite late due to my welcome wagon responsibilities. 
 I also realize how insecure I am with my writing.  I’m learning to be a better teacher of writers, but I’m a very new writer.  As I look back on some of my first posts last year I remember how insecure I felt slicing.  My insecurity was strong as I tried to find a way to encourage these amazing writers; I’m a Young 5’s teacher for heaven’s sake! These people know writing! They teach big kids, they wrote for their school newspapers?  But I also know that everyone needs feedback so I commented on days that it took me longer to form a comment than it did to write my own post.
I also realized I still shy away from writing fresh emotions.  I think I need to start these posts as drafts, so I remember what I wanted to write about and then return to the topic when my emotions are lessened.  I guess that's how I'll write the post about my friend Mary's retirement announcement.
It’s been an amazing week.  Thanks Stacy and Ruth for the experience.  See you on Tuesday!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tow Truck

“Wish me luck” he said as he once again pulled on his heavy work coat and pants.  “Have the checkbook ready” came over his shoulder as he shut the door.
We had heavy winds last night and a limb had fallen in our yard.  He’d wrestled it into the truck as I started lunch.  The golf course, now being converted to a corn field had a huge pile of brush so it was easy to toss the limb on the pile. 
Curiosity buried the truck, up to its wheels.  For the past 30 years he’s played at least 4 times a week all summer long.  He loved those 27 holes of green, the river, trees and sand traps.  Now it’s all been torn out to become a corn field, just as it had been 50 years ago.  We’ve watched the bulldozers create huge piles of brush and trimmings after the loggers harvested the tall trees.  After he left the log on the fire he drove down by the river to see all the changes, to say goodbye to summer fun and memories.
Our winter had been very mild and the ground wasn’t frozen.  He walked back to get a shovel and wheelbarrow.  A second trek back to the mud even with much shoveling was not successful.  As I served a late lunch he called the tow truck.  The tow truck gave him a ride down the hill to his truck.
As he rode away, I let loose the laugh I’d swallowed at lunch as his frustrated sigh, “There wasn’t really anything to see down there anyway.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Waiting Room

When our son was in seventh grade he fell at football practice and had an incredibly nasty broken arm.  My husband was traveling for work, he was in Hawaii and no return flights were available until the next day.  I was on my own in the hospital with a young son in terrible pain.
I'm not good with blood.  I actually passed out once when I saw I'd bruised my leg but in my defense it was a BIG bruise.  The emergency room made me queasy.  I sat in the examnation room with Brad, I kept putting my head down hoping I wouldn't faint.  When the impatient orthopedic surgeon  told me to hold my son's injured arm so he could swab it to see if there was bacteria on the protruding bone I answered, "no, you don't want me doing that."
"Why not?" he asked in what I later learned was his usual brusk voice.
"I'll hurt him when I faint" I softly answered.  I think the pallor of my face must have alerted him to my discomfort and he summoned a nurse.
After putting the arm back in place Brad was taken to surgery to put plates in his arm. Friends were with our young daughter, but I was alone at the hospital.
When the surgery started I was so relieved to have my good friends come up to sit with me.  Then my brothers came and next my mom and dad.  The surgery was finished late in the evening, I prepared to move down to the hospital room to spend the night with our son.  As my family headed out the door my dad, a practical man came over and handed me a couple of twenties, he knew I was overwhelmed  and he wanted to make sure the concrete things would be taken care of.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Reading Rodeo

Today we had a half day of school and our wrap up event for March is Reading Month.  Our theme for the month was Reading Rodeo.  We had many volunteers, and donations from the community, the entire school was able to go to a local riding arena where our students got to milk a goat, see and touch a steer and try on all the equipment of a bronco rider.  We even got to meet some bronco riders.  We also had a snack and milk, got to see a saddle and pet some horses.  The event also included learning to throw a lasso, and practicing on several roping dummies and a barrel race on stick ponies. 

Because it was a half day of school the field trip form clearly stated no lunch was necessary.  Ally came with a lunch.  I quickly called her dad to confirm that today was a half day of school, and he should plan on 11:55 dismissal. Early dismissal days are often confusing and I didn’t want her sitting in the office with the poor school secretary all afternoon.  I told her Dad I’d put her lunch back in her backpack so she could enjoy it at home if he wanted.  Dad insisted the form said she needed a lunch.  I replied “The top sheet explained, we had a half day, I just wanted to make sure you planned to pick her up at our early dismissal time.”  “But the paper said she needed a lunch.”    I wasn’t willing to engage in an argument over it, “We’ll see you at 11:55,” I tried to finish the conversation.   “But the paper said she needed a lunch.”  I interrupted him “So you’re planning to pick her up.  Great!  We’ll see you then.”

As I unpacked Ally’s folder, I found the Title One survey we’d sent home at conferences.  As I scanned his survey   I noticed some of his comments were about wanting better communication with the school.  Hmmm, maybe if he’d read his communications?

At the end of the day I pulled out Ally’s signed permission slip, I highlighted the spots stating no lunch was needed.  Then I left it on the table.  I don’t need to win this argument, but if he brings it up again, I’ll have my proof in hand.