Thursday, December 31, 2015

Love one another

My heart is aching for our world, aching about all the hate, violence, pain, suffering, all around.

Each day, new atrocities.

I'm on a two week winter break, filled with family. We traveled to see my parents in Maine, we traveled to Georgia to celebrate the 85th birthday of my husband's brother, and I have had lots of great time with my sons, my daughter-in-law, and my husband. I love my family.

This poem has tumbled out of me, on this the last day of 2015. It seems a little off topic for an "early childhood reflections" blog, though it involves some of my earliest understandings.

My new year's wish: love one another.

This is the image that hurts:

Not listening.
"Knowing" exactly how wrong the other was.
Silent treatment.
Need for control.
Painful interactions.
Tension in our home.
No guests allowed.
Isolated and alone.

And now this.

She with dementia,
not knowing us, 
unable to follow our conversations.
He with Parkinson's, 
thoughts and movements getting slower.

This is the image I treasure:

they sit side by side, 
close together, 
hands intertwined. 
He holds her leg gently, 
as if to ground both him and her, and 
she softly strokes his hand with both of hers.

Love one another.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Counting on being exhausted?

This is a Tuesday Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers
Check out their website for many more reflections on teaching.


Dizzying day at school, 
one in just a long line of dizzying days. 
I'm really wondering how to simplify these teaching days. 
Why must they be so long and full? 

We're five years into a new school, and 
I keep thinking that predictability and ease are 
just around the corner, 

A lot of it good,
a lot of it exciting, but
all of it 
very, very full,
each day,
long and full.

I haven't been writing enough,
I haven't been blogging enough,
I haven't prepared a slice for this week.
So, here's a gift of numbers,
written by adorable preschoolers,
somewhat jumbled and quite mixed up,
like the lists in my head.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to do everything at once?

This is a Tuesday Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers
Check out their website for many more reflections on teaching.


This is my fifth year of working alongside a beginning teacher, a "Teaching Resident." I see how hard it is for a beginning teacher to do two essential things at once -
engage children and
extend their learning. 

With both practice and planning, each of these essentials can be accomplished separately  -

Engage! Yes, I will create this interesting, vibrant lesson and encourage children to attend
Extend! Yes, I will have the children think about . . . and  I will ask them . . .

teachers accomplish both engagement and extension of learning
at the same time,
as one.

I am more and more convinced that only
time and experience as a lead teacher
will allow this to happen.

Only time in the "hot seat,"
responsible for each individual child in your classroom,
provides the perspective,
the understanding,
the realization
of how to make everything happen at once.

Gathering children for an exciting project,
enticing new faces to join in the fun,
stroking their curiosity,
heightening their awareness,
daring to go deep with those who need,
all the while,
helping the wiggly one to focus,
drawing in those on the sidelines,
stretching their understanding,
questioning children in just the right way,
considering new tangents,
noticing their learning,
knowing whether to hold back or provide more,
all the while,
being aware of the class as a whole . . .

Until you are responsible for your own classroom,
I suspect this is an elusive art.