Now

SOL Tuesday

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Now.  Not yesterday. Not next week. Now.

Now.  We can get this done right away.  Take action.  See what’s going on and take care of it.  Now.

Now.  I love to be around people who seek the truth immediately.  Patience is not their virtue.  They need to know.  Now.

Now.  There will be people who scoff.  Who say it can’t be done right away.  Who say there are channels to go through.  Who actually seem to try to slow us down.  We won’t be thwarted.  We need to act.  Now.

Now.  We need not wait to find out if it’s bad news.  We can learn today that it is not.  I so appreciate those who help us to move forward.  Now.

Now.  We embrace the new day.  We move with a bit more spring in our step.  We appreciate the grace we’ve been given.  We know how lucky we are.  Now.

My poem is a result of an experience at the Dr. yesterday.  A small lump was felt in my friends neck.  She’s been 5 1/2 years cancer-free.  It took 3 hours, but we finally got the ultrasound and biopsy all in that day.  It was benign.  We can breathe again.

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A House That Still Stands

SOL Tuesday

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

It’s like a tornado when it hits.  One house is devastated.  Wiped out.  Nothing but brick and siding left.  While the house next door still stands.  Not a hair on it’s proverbial head touched.  It’s as if the tornado didn’t even come through their neighborhood.

This is how I’ve been thinking about cancer lately.  I know so many people caught in its path.  Those who have been struck and those who have remained “in tact” as the tornado of cancer blew through their neighborhood.   Pictures seen on TV of the tattered photo album and the broken crock pot laying there amidst the rubble.  The car parts that are hanging in the tree miles from where the car was originally parked.  This is the path of cancer.  It hits one and misses the other.  And, when it strikes, it leaves behind destruction, chaos and agony.  Your whole world was turned upside down.  A teddy bear, warm – fuzzy – comforting, that’s left sitting in the midst of pain and upheaval.  It doesn’t make sense there.  Things that were once comforting are no longer.    The car parts hanging in the tree liken to the parts of your psyche that are in so many different places during and after cancer.

The houses that are left standing.  The people who aren’t stricken directly by cancer, but still feel the effects because there is always someone in our lives, near or far, that have been touched with this horrible disease.   The families in that “untouched” house are helping to clean up their neighborhood, providing emotional and physical support to their neighbors, living through the devastation in another way.  Thankful that their house is still standing while feeling a twinge of guilt.  Why was their house spared?

With the countless people in my life who have faced cancer head on – I (for now) am that house still standing.  I have tried to give all the love and support I can to my close friends and acquaintances, while being thankful that I am healthy.   I have also felt the guilt.  Wished it were me who was sick so I could take away the hurt.  Unable to answer the question, “why not me?”

I’m not sure how to end this piece because this is something I constantly think about.  I can’t figure out how it ends.  I suppose the best thing to do is to continue to live our lives with good purpose and love in our hearts.  We never know when the tornado is going to hit our neighborhood.  Our home.

Five Minute Friday {Reflect}

I’m participating in Five Minute Friday.  Write off a word for 5 minutes, share, and comment on others.  Join us!

Go:

Reflect.  We throw this word around a lot in education.  We must reflect on our teaching, our lessons, our day, our students, ourselves.  Reflect all day long.  Reflect with each other.  Reflect in silence.  Reflect through discussion.  Reflect in writing.  It’s really become a major buzz word.  But, what does it really mean?

I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with two different groups of teachers and their Literacy Coach over the past two weeks where I saw reflection IN ACTION.  I saw them grappling with questions.  They were creating a lesson that each one of them would teach.  They had hard, sometimes unanswered questions that they threw out on the table.  They didn’t ask questions to which they already knew the answers.  They truly wondered…. Would this same lesson play out in a science or social studies class?  How long should we spend on this unit of study?  What other types of opinion writing is out there besides essays?  Would giving students a choice on what article they read create chaos in the classroom?  How will I know what my students understand at the end of this lesson?  What type of mentor text is best for this type of writing?  I watched and participated in the discussion as our group reflected on what we already knew and what were in the middle of learning.  It was invigorating.  It was stimulating.  It was freeing.  It was amazing.  We were reflecting.

I also sat with these groups as we reflected on what their students might do when presented with this newly created lesson.  In order to do this we knew that FIRST we had to do this same work ourselves.  Before asking students to find the main idea by looking at details in the story we looked for the main idea in both adult reading pieces, as well as in student appropriate text.  Before asking students to look for features and structure in opinion pieces we looked for these same things in letters and articles expressing the authors opinion.  The reflection that took place in those moments were off the charts.  The excitement and discovery of doing what we expect of students is crucial to teaching.  I heard……”Hey, this really is a better way to find the main idea/s of a story!” and “Wow!  I can’t believe how many features I’m noticing when I read opinion pieces.  There are so many common features across all the articles we’re reading.  What did you find?!”  Now that is reflection!

The excitement of our time studying together was palpable.   The deep and profound growth that took place, as a result of these discussions, was intense.  What I have experienced over the past two weeks with these two different groups of teachers mirrors what we read about in books and journals.  I feel extremely lucky to have been part of it  -for the sake of our students – as well as for myself personally.  I saw reflection first hand and it was remarkable.

My Safe Place

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

SOL Tuesdday

We were outside on the balcony yesterday and today.  Putting up Christmas lights.  The sun was low and quickly fading.  It wasn’t quite as cold today as it was yesterday, but as the sun set it became chillier.  I could see my breath blowing through my chattering teeth.  It was like smoke all around us.  It all brought me back to a memory that happened over 40 years ago.

I was 8 years old again.  Carefree and ice skating at the rink behind my elementary school.  It was the middle of winter.  Very cold.  But, my 8 year old young self  didn’t notice the single digit temps because I was having too much fun skating round and round with my friends.  Not a worry in the world.  I had a mom and a dad at home.  I knew dinner would be waiting on the table for me when I got there.  It was such a safe place, my childhood.  It wasn’t always going to be that way.  I didn’t know that then.  But, at that moment, I was safe.

My safe place came in the form of a giant man with giant hands that would envelope my tiny hands to keep them warm.  My hands were trembling and numb.  Frozen solid from too many hours of ice skating.   Red and white blotched hands that came from not noticing the time and having too much fun.  It wasn’t until I began walking home that I realized I couldn’t feel my finger tips.  By the time I reached my doorway I was crying hysterically.

Within minutes my hands were cupped inside my father’s hands.  From there he placed them under his arm pits.  It was like a furnace under there!   My tiny hands remained in this warm place until sensation returned to my fingertips.  It was the best feeling in the world.  I think I stayed there an extra couple of minutes just to hang on to that warmth and safety for as long as I could.  I’m glad I did.