Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Credo

I don't believe in fairies
only hard work and determination

I don't believe in settling
go out and get what you want

I don't believe in gossip
communicate face to face

I don't believe in failing
try, try again

I don't believe in cooking dinner every night
sometimes cereal or cheese and crackers suffice

I don't believe that going to bed early makes you healthy, wealthy and wise
not wealthy anyway, I go to bed early every night

I don't believe in missing recess
we all need a break to release and relax

I don't believe in "bad" people
we are all human and good at heart

I don"t believe teachers have it easy
stand in our shoes for a day

I don't believe that writers are born
look at me practicing with #teacherswrite

I don't believe in not believing
we all need faith and hope

Monday, June 18, 2012


The long awaited field trip to the science museum was underway. My class boarded the bus, anxious to explore science away from the classroom. Groups were separated and led by eager chaperones to explore various exhibits including space, electricity, weather etc.  Me, I got stuck with the group interested in squamates. You know, the small critters that crawl up branches, hiding themselves  among the bark and leaves from predators. Justin, Mr. Scientist himself, was quick to point out that the Squamates were "camouflaging".   As we approached the first cage, not a creature in sight,  The next cage, again just remnants of a tree, no critters.  By the third cage I started thinking, "boring".  As I began to stroll to the next cage, I was startled by a quick movement. I whipped my head back towards the brown branch and noticed two eyes looking directly at me.  I leaped and screeched, too loudly in the once quiet exhibit floor. My friends ran by my side searching for the source of my scream. I pointed, "That thing, that squander, snake, reptile, thingy, whatever it is, it's watching me." These people, who I thought were my supportive classmates, covered their mouth and stifled a laugh, but they couldn't hide their shaking shoulders and giggles from me.  As the tour continued I was startled by the littlest movements by people or things. I never knew I had a fear, a fear of something so small, harmless and behind an enclosed barrier.  My classmates were eager to share the events of our (or at least my) day.  When we gathered back on the bus to head back to school, my partner called "Lizard", sit with me.  The bus exploded with laughter.  News sure does travel fast.  It was from that day that I earned my nickname and have been referred to as "Lizard" ever since.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Philosopher

Setting my eyes on him for the firt time
Sleeping in her arms
with a white sweater
a pastel blanket wrapping him in safety
Wanting to kiss those chubby cheeks
his slanted eyes, long eyelashes
To squeeze his large, round, well-fed body
a sumo wrestler
Dark, spiked hair
Long and Silky
No, he's not a girl
Soft, golden brown skin
Deep brown eyes
An intensity in his eyes
and forehead
A thinker
sleep brought no peace
An old soul
A worrier...what if?
Nail biter...to release the tension
A light touch...to comfort
Rubbing ones arms or back
A Tenderness
a loner who seeks connection
A global learner...questioning the world,
the people and places
Seeks understanding
Hard workimg
slow and Deliberate
Smells the roses
remembers and does not forget
Absorbs knowledge
notices people's feelings
observes behavior
Shares hugs, kisses, Cuddles
Cries when he reads
Makes cards and phone calls
to put a smile on someone's face
A student
To learn, relax, and imagine
Wants to Learn
To prepare for the future
Questions to understand
A brother, son, cousin, grandson
A friend
A unique gift...my son.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It was lunchtime when he sauntered out of the boisterous cafeteria, undetected. If caught without permission he would have been instantly sent to the principal's office for being a repeat offender. He knew he didn't have much time; word among the noon-aides was the committee's decision was unanimous. Action would be taken immediately. He slid through the heavy door into the library, noticing the librarian crouched over her computer behind the circulation desk. He made a bee-line for the children's book selections. He knew the writer's name began with a P.  “P, P, P, where were the P's?”  He was scurrying through the books. He had to find it. He needed the book that defined his unconventional family. His dark eyes grew wide when he spotted the colorful cover. His shaky hands reached for the hardcover book. The spine slipped through his clammy hands creating an uncontrollable gasp. Mrs. D turned her head toward the breath. Ducking for cover behind the shelves of books, Mrs. D. hastily resumed to her duties when she could not identify the distraction. Not careful enough when removing the book from the shelf, the cellophane crinkled between his sweaty fingers.  He froze in place assuring he was not detected. When the coast was clear from any bystanders, he stood from behind the bookcases, empty handed.  He nonchalantly strolled through the back door with a grin on his face. He slipped into the first door on the right, the boy's bathroom. He slowly slid Patricia Polacco's In Our Mothers' House out from under his over sized rain jacket. If this book was no longer allowed to be a selection in the school library, it would be a welcomed story to share with his family.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Haven

Cliff Walk
Newport, Rhode Island

The large crevice of the Cliff Walk divides the land from the sea. On one side a blanket of green lawn stretches before massive homes and mansions. On the opposite side, lying far below are the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.  The thunderous roar of waves and the squeaks of the seagulls fill the air.  Looking below, the vast water varies from shades of blue to almost black as the depths of the ocean reaches further beneath the surface. Rapidly, the white caps of the waves roll in, approaching the rock and shore. As the water crashes I shutter from the frigid water that sprays on my warm skin leaving behind the remnants of salt. I seek a flat rock to listen to the calming sounds of the ocean. I breathe in the salt air, listen to crashing waves and escape to a place where there are no worries.  I am relaxed.

Kitchen Tears

Not my actual kitchen, but the coloring gives you the idea.
The yellow and brown decor of our 1970's kitchen is forever etched in my mind. Everything was chosen for a little style of it's time and for practicality. With five kids and a dog my mother always wanted to make cleaning as easy as possible. The walls were wall-papered with glossy yellow, white and orange flowers, making it easy to wash. The family picnic style dinner table had five chairs and a bench upholstered with white vinyl bordered with yellow piping. The bright colors of the kitchen did not often match the mood of the room. For this reason, it was my least favorite room of the house. My mom was not a great cook. Meals were well-balanced with foods from all the four food groups, but usually bland. I was known as a picky eater. My dad was a large man with a short temper and a booming voice. Often his frustration with work, me or any of my siblings were often taken out in the kitchen while eating dinner.  In his moments of anger he would usually notice me strategically playing with my food to make it look like I had actually eaten some of it. This would spark a loud bellow directed at me to EAT! His voice would penetrate through my skin making me tremble inside, and quickly bringing me to tears. His frustration with me often led to a punishment of having to sit at the table until I ate my dinner. Everyone else was excused from the table as I sat, shoulders heaving up and down and tears falling into my food. Frequently this was how dinners were played out in our family kitchen. A memory I wish to leave behind, but is forever engrained in my mind.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Making Time...to Write

Making time to write.  It's just like making time to read, exercise and to eat healthy.  Starting something new is always the most difficult for me.  Once I get started I get on a roll, for a while, and then it's maintaining a routine that again becomes a challenge.  It's so easy to make excuses or find things I just HAVE to do.  I am hoping that joining this team of teachers for Writing Camp with Kate Messner will be the motivator I need to begin writing. Writing. Writing daily. Writing for me and writing so I can be a better writing teacher.  I have my colleague and friend who I know I can look to for support and my new Twitter friends who are passionate and encouraging about reading and writing.

I am committing to 15 minutes a day of writing. Because I have never been a writer I'm not sure if I will have better thoughts and output in the morning or night.  I have the flexiblity during the summer, so I WILL make it work.  I am excited to embark on this #teacherswrite adventure and know I will learn so much about myself and writing.  Wish me luck!