Friday, September 28, 2007

Poetry and Painting: Drinking It All In!

I have fancied myself a poet and a painter, inspired by great works like Starry Night. There's nothing like drinking in the mood as you pick up paint brush and pen to splash out beautiful images on canvas or paper. I was inspired to write this little rhyme of advice to my fellow teachers who might be contemplating a painting/poetry assignment like the demonstration shared this summer.

Before you haul your paints inside,
don't forget that you must hide
that lovely decal on the box
advertising Rolling Rocks!

School Safety: Keeping Our Parking Lots in Order

Fellow Teachers,
Parking lot safety and protocol have recently come into focus in some of our area schools. I'd like to report that in keeping with justice and fair play, I've begun to park in student parking, even though I am an important member of the school faculty.

On occasion, I do give rides to non faculty members, like the collie riding with me in the photo featured here. I told him about the infringements in our limited faculty parking and brought him in to apply for a security position, as I could see help was needed.

Riley's summer job was taste testing in the backyard tomato patch, but as summer has drawn to an end, he is looking for gainful employment. He is sure that his herding skills will qualify him for the security job.

Barb's Action Plan...Belatedly Posted

So many powerful demos were shared this summer. What a great stash to share with teachers and kids across the state! Thank you, all of you. Action Plan? I’ll start with the big picture first. One simple goal: cultivate a climate where teaching and learning are a joy to be explored. (Remember why we’re really here…beyond NCLB, beyond the MAP, and beyond a paycheck.) What better way than writing to help teachers and students alike find themselves, find direction, and find voice.

If I could take one aspect of the summer institute experience with me for my upcoming adventure into professional development, it would be the energy and enthusiasm of discovery, students and teachers together. It would be the value of sharing our writing and the power of audience. In contemplating this plan, I realize that establishing safety in the classroom- and that really does mean an atmosphere where writers are comfortable to stretch, share, and explore without fear-has to be my first goal. It has to be revisited and encouraged and reinforced often. If kids don’t feel safe to share, forget the jazzy lesson plans. It was humbling to become a writer once again in a group of my peers and to remember how my students might feel! And just think how mean some kids can be, intentionally and not.

I am also grateful for the creative ideas shared in our minutes. What a great way to close a workshop…I took pictures of activities of my first summer workshop and created a photo story to close the two day seminar. Teachers loved it…Got that idea from you. Think about the cool ways you guys wrote minutes. I’ll use them; that’s for sure.

Thanks for everything, Writing Project teacher consultants and leaders. It’s great fun to do what we love: write. My writing, as always, is part of an ongoing action plan, and being a part of this community helps keep my fingers on the keyboard and out of the kitchen…well….

Katiedog, Dr. Cosmo, and Riley, the Constant Gardner (my border collie who ate all my tomatoes this summer but will take on a new action plan of blogging) appreciate your support…

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I did it

Hey all,

Just thought that I would pass along that I wrote and submitted the grant that I thought about while at Summer Institute. I collaborated with four second grade teachers.

The grant included the purchase of 53 nonfiction books about habitat and environment related to an animal unit, a trip to the zoo for a writing marathon, 10 digital cameras to create photostories, and a culminating evening event in the library for parents to purchase student anthologies and to see fingers are crossed!

I hope that your school year is going great!! See you this weekend!