Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SOLSC #22 How do you relax?

During the month of March, I am participating in
the Slice of Life Story Challenge.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for thirty-one days. My slices will be primarily about teaching preschoolers.
Check out the Two Writing Teachers website for many more reflections on teaching.

I arrived at school this morning so tightly wound. My mile walk from the metro didn't soothe me as it typically does, because my mind raced with all that I must get done between now and Friday. It was a little bit like this - 
Friday is coming - and it is going to be great, this I know! My husband and I are flying to Scotland, spending spring break in Edinburgh with our son Bryce, who is there for a semester abroad. I am so so so excited! But, wow, there is so much "doing" between now and then. 

The good news is - today was the beginning of our special intersession at my school. Each day, instead of centers, the preschool and Pre-K classes are mixed up and divided up into small groups to pursue fun new activities. My intersession group this spring is called "Great Books in Great Places" - I and my colleague Ms. McNeil are walking the neighborhood with eight children and a bag of picture books, stopping to read in lots of fun new locations. Yes, it is a sweet way to teach!

To introduce the intersession, we sat in our early childhood book nook and read Dr. Seuss' Ten Apples on Top. I explained that we would search for great places to read as we walked. Today, I brought a backpack filled with books about outdoors. We stepped out into the brisk air and walked up the street, up the hill, around the corner. We stopped to read whenever a child asked to stop.We had no sooner left the school when the children asked to sit on a concrete pad. We read The Listening Walk by Paul Showers, which led to us listening to and repeating all the sounds of the world around us - different birds, cars, the horn of a big truck, wind, laughter and voices, a bulldozer, hammering, and even a foam plate that the wind blew down the road. As we made our way down the road, we found a tree with a huge root system and the children thought that was a perfect place for another book (Birds, by Kevin Henkes). As we made it up the hill, there was an open field where some children sat while others collected sticks, all in earshot of the reading. Here, we read two books - one, a song, Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett and, two, a book about friendship, Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English. We were just bending the corner of the road when we realized we had to get back to school in a very few minutes...we raced back! Yikes! That was the fastest hour of teaching ever...and we have so many unread books in the backpack still. Tomorrow we will walk and read again!

I realized I was no longer tightly wound. I felt happy, carefree, lighter. Note to self - seek fresh air, walking, children, and books; a good mood will follow.


  1. What a delightful idea! We finished a leprechaun puppet, only a few days late!
    Enjoy your trip. Loved your no spaces...that's how I always feel getting ready to leave!

  2. You know what? I'm going to use that idea with my middle school reading classes! There is always that day in spring when they beg to go outside, and I always want to say yes, but I've been teaching long enough to know it's a terrible idea--UNLESS you have something engaging to do. I think a picture book walk would definitely qualify! It makes me feel happy just THINKING about it, so I can see why it helped lift your mood to actually do it!

  3. What an amazing idea! I love the idea of taking kids out for a walk and stopping to read picture books! I can see how you were able to unwind with that amazing activity! Have a wonderful trip!

  4. What an amazing idea! I love the idea of taking kids out for a walk and stopping to read picture books! I can see how you were able to unwind with that amazing activity! Have a wonderful trip!

  5. It's a wonderful idea, for the kids, and obviously for you, too, Maureen. I hope the week's to-do list gets checked off & you are off to a fabulous visit with your son.

  6. Perfect anecdote to stress: nature and reading!

    Scotland will offer more escape and fun w/ your son. Perfection!