A Little Less Screen Time

Starting school has been a little rough for my 4 year old granddaughter.  Lots of changes in her schedule and her first year of preschool.  She’s a bit of a mess actually.  Seeking attention by being naughty, not listening, not being safe and running around like a crazy person.

I have become part of her daily routine as she comes to grandma’s in the morning for breakfast and a show.  Err… well at least that WAS our routine.  This was not working for us.

You have all heard it before.  “Noooo, Nooo…. just one more short show, But I’m not done yet.  Please, please, please, please”  Then came the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Even though I had given her the “Five more minutes” warning and all the other tricks in my book.

Soooo I told myself,  hmmmmmm. my granddaughter and I, we need a new routine in the morning. New rule:  No shows in the morning. But what do we do instead you say?

Well…..

I go to the local library a lot.  As I was browsing the children’s section, where I’ve been a million times mind you.  I walked over to the  wall of picture books.  100 picture books that everyone should read.  I picked four.  “The Carrot Seed”, “Jamberry”,  “Ella Sarah Gets Dressed”, and “The Napping House” by Audrey and Don Wood.

And a new routine was born.  Her favorite – “The Napping House”  It’s wonderful to see her face light up as she points to the pictures and tells me what will happen next.  With each reading we find something new.  Grandma’s favorite – “The Carrot Seed” and it’s simple and beautiful message.

So many other bonus’s – no more whining (or very short lived whining).  We’re having fun, interacting, laughing and giggling.

I’m a teacher and lover of books, why didn’t I think of this sooner!!  I look forward to our morning time together now and I can’t wait to go to the library to switch books.  I think I’ll take her with me.

 

Why can’t I?

At my age there are a lot of things I love about condo living.  In the summer, my favorite thing is hanging out at the pool with family, swimming laps, chatting with neighbors and the condo manager that stop by the pool or just relaxing on the lounger with a book and a cool drink while listening and watching for birds at the same time.

Water is my thing. I’m a Pisces after all. I am horrible with most exercise except for walking and swimming.  So this works out perfectly for me.

Yesterday was one of those relaxing family swims, at least it was, until it was interrupted by the pleading and whining of my 4 year old granddaughter Bristol.  “Mom! Please, please, please can I take off my water wings?”

My daughter and I were actually having a nice visit at the side of the pool while the kids swam and wanting to keep her daughter safe says no and so then came ensuing argument and fussing.  “But, Why can’t I?”  This back and forth continued until my daughter finally hopped into the pool with Bristol and let the young adventurer stretch out her wings without the water wings.  I watched as my daughter laughed, encouraged and celebrated the efforts and accomplishments of her young daughter as she swam from the stairs to her arms and back again…. over and over again.

I realized in that moment that Bristol didn’t have to be nagged, coaxed or given expensive lessons to do something that she had a desire to do.  She was simply given encouragement.

It made me wonder about my teaching.  Do I worry too much about keeping the children I teach “safe”  instead of encouraging them to stretch their wings and take risks with their reading and their writing? This year when a child asks “Why I can’t I?”   My goal is to say, “You can!”  As I jump into the pool next to them clapping and smiling.

Finally here, my week at Highlights Foundation!

We made it here, dusty and weary from our drive.  Steve and I started July 5th from Casper, WY and are making this our grand adventure this summer.  We’ve been visiting family and recently Gettysburg, PA along our way and now we’re here. Well I am here. Steve  dropped me off and he is now off exploring the state parks in the area and will be back Thursday to pick me up.  He seems just fine.  He’s already sent me a picture of the lake behind him and an active eagles nest nearby.  After we leave here, we’ll be going on to Washington DC and other adventures on our back home to Wyoming.  However, I’m not wishing this week away.  I plan to take it all in, to write, ask questions and refresh.

So I sit here guilt free and enjoying this little piece of paradise. A time to reflect and write and meet like minded people. I can already tell that I will gain weight from the food that has me drooling right now just thinking about it.  The people here are friendly and very welcoming.  I felt a bit overwhelmed and shy at first.  There are published authors taking this workshop!  I’ve decided that I just need to be myself and focus on my own intentions for my writing and enjoy the others, but not compare myself to them.

We had a beautiful opening address by a children’s author from Cuba, Emma Otheguy.  Among other books she’s written a biography  called Marti’s Song for Freedom .  We each received a copy of her book which she graciously signed my copy.  A very sobering and inspiring book given everything going on in our country.

I’m getting ready to read it right now before I go to bed and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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Thanks again to Two Writing Teachers for this amazing opportunity!

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Something about a Note

Dakota's letter 3

I found a surprise last night.  It wasn’t money, but it was a gift.  I found this beautiful note on my nightstand last night.  It wasn’t handed to me, it was just there.. so sweet. It means a lot to me that I have this handwritten note that I can read whenever I want to.  I don’t have to go online to look in my email.  This note will go some place where I can read it……

Whenever I’m feeling that I don’t make a difference,

Whenever I wonder, what’s wrong with kids these days,

Whenever I’m feeling down,

Whenever I’m feeling happy,

I can’t wait to see what this young lady does with her life.

Perhaps I need to write a note… thanking her.

Inclusion vs. Not Inclusion

Inclusion:   Students are a part of the classroom for both the fun times and the work times.

Not Inclusion:   Students coming to the classroom for drive by “fun” activities and then go back to a self contained classroom because the work is too hard.

Inclusion:  Students have support, accommodations or modifications needed to be successful.

Not Inclusion:  Students are thrown into a classroom to sink or swim.

Inclusion:  Students sit with peers and engage with peers.

Not Inclusion:  Students sit in the back of the room with an adult doing a totally different assignment.

Inclusion:  Takes a lot of teamwork by teachers, therapists and families working together to co -ordinate what’s best for each individual child.

Not Inclusion:  General Educator does all the work or Special Educator does all the work.

Inclusion:  Students feel welcome and an important part of the classroom.

Not Inclusion:  Students feel they have to “prove” or “earn” the privilege of being with their peers.

Inclusion:  Can be so very rewarding and beneficial for students, teachers and families.

Accountability

When?  At what age? Is it gradual or sudden?  When do our students or own children become accountable and responsible?  How does that happen and how can I help it along?  These are some questions raised after listening to a conversation on a  2 hour car ride between my daughter and my 5th grade granddaughter.

My granddaughter has great difficulty with spelling and has been receiving poor grades. So, my daughter convinces the teacher to give her the 12 page spelling/vocabulary packet (don’t even get me started on that) on Friday so they could get a head start over the weekend working and studying the words for the week.

It worked perfectly that first week.  She completed 2 pages a night, studied and received a 100% on the spelling test.  So this is what happened the next week.

Daughter:  “Get out your spelling packet so we can start studying your spelling words for the week.”

Granddaughter:  “I don’t have them, I forgot them.”

Daughter:  “I specifically told you to leave your backpack in the car so that we could work on them.”

Granddaughter:  (sarcastically) “Sorry Mom, sorry I can’t do anything right, sorry I forgot already!”

Me:  (thinking) Being accountable,  respectful and responsible are the skills that need to be taught here.. not spelling.

Sewing Machine

My sewing machine calls to me…..

or is it the unfinished projects

the half done pillowcase

the t shirt quilt that has all the t shirts cut and ready to go

but then….

another more interesting project or

emergency project takes precedence

and the unfinished projects

wait

a bit longer