Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making Memories

Thursday after school my seven 8th graders and I traveled to the Brookline Public Library to meet author Laurie Halse Anderson. The girls had read Chains as one of their summer reading books. Forge, the second book in the trilogy, came out last week and I had started reading it to them. We were so excited that Laurie's book tour brought her to the Boston area!

We began our adventure by acquainting ourselves with the Brookline Public Library and the local historical markers.

Then we went to a local pizza place for dinner before returning to the library to stake out our seats for the event. My students had no problem killing half an hour in a library. They were enthralled by the extensive collection of graphic novels. One of my students selected a novel from the shelf and had the entire thing read by the time we got in line to have our books signed. When Laurie came out to speak she greeted the crowed, then noticed the group of girls reading and encouraged them to keep reading- yup, those were my girls!

Laurie gave a fun and inspiring talk about her journey as a reader and as a writer, as well as her love for history. I wasn't the only one inspired by her passion and her knowledge; one of my girls took notes about the things Laurie said about Ben Franklin!

We got to talk with Laurie and even have our picture taken with her. I was so touched by the easy way Laurie had with people. As she inscribed each person's books she talked with them, truly listened to what they had to say, interacted, made eye contact. We each felt really important to her.

After everyone got to have their books signed we piled back into the cars to head home. We stopped at the highway rest area for ice cream, even if it was McDonald's, and phone calls to parents to let them know what time we'd arrive back to school. The evening's entertainment wasn't over, as in our van the girls began rewriting some of the music to Into the Woods (the musical they are doing at school right now) to fit school.

I am so thankful for a small, enthusiastic class, and helpful parents. We had such a blast!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Words that are speaking to me

The Linkin Park song, Waiting for the End has been haunting me since yesterday. One of my students shared it with me as the soundtrack for an event in his life as part of a recent writing assignment. I keep thinking about that student and the song and the heart ache that he is dealing with.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Slice of Life October 12, 2010

Because of the Monday holiday, we had chapel this morning. This year I have a small homeroom class: 7 girls. They are all very talented and all but 2 of them where playing in the worship band this morning. Because chapel is at 8:30, the kids who are playing in the band head over to the sanctuary as soon as they arrive at school, some of them I don't even see until chapel. So this morning we had out quiet little group of 2 kids. After the 8:15 bell rang I was chatting with the two girls when I remembered that it was our turn to lead morning pledge and prayer over the loudspeaker. It's always two kids, so S & R had to go. I sent them down to the office and was all alone in my room.

Standing alone in the empty room, saying the pledges was an interesting experience! I never before realized what a community thing this morning ritual is.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

We had great plans this year to be better about getting up to Maine to see my folks. We planned to spend Columbus Weekend with them, visiting and helping with some projects around the house. But when Saturday rolled around John was still feeling horrible from the cold he'd been fighting all week. He wasn't up to traveling and there was no way we could expose my parents to the cold. After lots of tears and discussion, I called my folks to tell them we weren't coming. Fortunately my dad answered. I think if my mom had answered I would have been crying again. We had a good talk and he affirmed our decision; not just out of concern for their health, but also concern for John's health.

So instead of a weekend in Maine with family, we've had a quiet weekend at home. John has rested and is starting to feel better. I finally got to just sit and read, something I've been dying to do for several weeks. I finished Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Fabulous books all. Sunday I cooked my first whole chicken and it came out really well. Today we used the chicken stock and left over meat to make an amazing chicken soup. I've been to Barnes and Noble to pick up some books for my classroom that I've been wanting to get; Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka, Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell, Havoc by Chris Wooding, and The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness. Of course I intended to use one of my gift cards but totally forgot, again! But I'm looking forward to showing the books to my kids tomorrow; one in particular has been anxiously awaiting Havoc.

I ache to be in Maine, but it was so good to have a quiet weekend and to relax. I've been very stressed between work and my parents' health. It was good to be able to take a step back from my school work. I know that things will come crashing down on my head tomorrow morning. Tuesday is my day from hell: I teach every single period, 2 LA classes (2 different grades doing 2 different things), 3 Social Studies classes, and 1 Bible class., and one of the Social Studies classes is a double period. I have a tendency to allow the demands of school to consume my life. It was nice to actually have a weekend.