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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TODAY


Slice of Life Tuesdays are hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Today I was pulled out of my classroom, away from my students. 
Today I was trained by a representative from a computer-based learning company.
Today I was asked to make meaningful to my students a tool that goes against every grain of my teacher soul.
Today I had a ten-minute break, which I used to check my e-mail.
Today I found this quote tucked at the end of the electronic signature of a friend and colleague of mine:

“If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up people to collect wood
and don't assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long
for the endless immensity of the sea”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Today I was reminded why I am a teacher.
Today I was reminded that I am not alone. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

STARTING THE WEEK WITH WONDER

SLICE OF LIFE Tuesdays are hosted by Two Writing Teachers



The highlight of my week: Skype with R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder.  

This is the first time we have attempted such a large-scale skype.  Usually, we operate on a small group or single classroom level.  There is something so powerful in watching students gather in front of the big screen to connect with an author. 

Picture an auditorium packed full of 6th graders who have all read Wonder and fallen in love with Auggie.  Add in a single class of 8th graders who believe in the power of story and appreciate the opportunity to “crash the party.”

When R.J. Palacio appeared on the screen, the excitement in the room was palpable.  

Student: What is your next book going to be about?

Palacio*: I can tell you what it will not be…it will not be a sequel to Wonder. 

A groan of disappointment unites the audience.  200 voices suddenly become one giant sigh of despair.  Although we can all understand Palacio’s explanation that some books are meant to have sequels and some books are meant to stand alone—and we agree that Auggie’s story is the kind of story that is meant to stand proudly alone—we can’t help but feel a sense of loss when the door is closed to another opportunity to connect with Auggie and friends. 

Student: Were you ever bullied?

Palacio*: Not that I can remember in particular.  I remember much more clearly the people who chose to be kind to me.  I remember those people who went out of their way to show kindness.

The entire room sits up a little straighter in their seats.  I can do that.  I can choose kind.  I can go out of my way to show kindness towards others.  I can be remembered too.

[What a far cry this message is from the message of Jodee Blanco, author of Please Stop Laughing at Me, who visited our school a couple months ago.  Blanco’s message, in essence was: bullying damages people; if you have been bullied, you are damaged; this damage lasts forever and may even prevent you from having successful future relationships.] 

Choose kind.  It’s a simple message, though not always so simple when it comes to putting those words into practice.  Choose kind.  That’s the message 200 students walked out of the auditorium carrying in their hearts on Monday.  That’s message that I carry in mine. 


*Please note that these statements are a paraphrased version of Palacio’s exact words.  I did not take an audio recording of the skype, so I am capturing the essence of her message from memory here.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

WELCOMING A NEW WORD



I’ve been busy.  The good kind of busy.  Busy getting acquainted with my One Little Word:


This year, I decided to sign up for Ali Edwards’s One Little Word scrapbook class.  
the assignments I have given myself for each month and my first project

The best part is that my husband is joining me for Ali’s class.  His OLW is: curate.  Do you note the similarity in our missions?

Already, I have begun gathering tools to help me live my OLW this year.  It is a great excuse to indulge a little, the way I do at the start of a school year when I collect brand new supplies.  Don’t you just love a fresh notebook?   A tablet of notepaper quotes to give away to friends?  A new set of thank you notes? An inspirational wall calendar?  A new iPad app?
from Make My Notebook
notepad with quotes from Paper Source
page from notepad with tear-off quote to give away


thank you notes also from Paper Source
LANG Kelly Rae Roberts Wall Calendar (doesn't June's picture remind you of someone special's OLW?)
My OLW notebook on Penultimate

I think I might be carrying my OLW from 2012 into the new year by surrounding myself with all of these nudges to pay attention.

Can you tell one of my goals this year is to get better at capturing {and sharing} images?

Happy new year!