Tuesday, June 28, 2016

UnknownReporting in from the field here at ISTE 2016!  Because the conference is close by in Denver this year, our district sent over 200 employees to learn about tech.  With over 18,000 participants in attendance, I seldom saw someone I knew!  It has been mind blowing to say the least.

Ruja Benjamin was the keynote speaker this morning.  I love a speaker who can captivate with both their words and the passion of their voice.  Listening to her speak was like reading a classic book aloud – so exacting with her words and so eloquent in her delivery.  She spoke of cultural codes and how we learn certain behaviors as children and how difficult it is to change those.  For example, the code talking of girls who learn to apologize and to acquiesce in the presence of boys.  Or the code in our computers that when googling ‘three black boys’ will bring up the image of mug shots while ‘three white boys’ will bring up a Gap advertisement.  Inequality has been engineered into our world but what if we could engineer it out?  How different would our world be if we could teach compassion the way we teach reading and writing?  “Teachers, if universally recognized and empowered can change history.”  We are in the unique position to be able to change the code – change the trajectory, by ensuring that our students embrace and embody compassion.

With all of the focus on technology, there is so much about dreaming up the unimaginable possibilities of the future – human hearts cloned from a stem cell, interactive wallpaper and driverless cars.  What if we dream up the unimaginable possibility of peace, and acceptance and tolerance?

Obsolete profession

I have recently realized that my job has become obsolete.

My arms are no longer necessary for a morning hug

or my kitchen with waiting hot cookies made from scratch

or my hand to hold on the walk home from school.

No one needs a ride to practice

or a uniform washed

or some late night editing of a paper overdue.

I have been made obsolete

by late night movies and  Netflix series,

by coffee houses, kitchens of better company.

I have been replaced by BMWs and Audis

and critical, vital, interrupting texts,

a better ping pong table,

more lenient adults.

Made obsolete by a hopefully passing belief,

my runneth-over cup of days past feels almost empty.

Tuesday, June 14ish, 2016


IMG_4728First Day of Summer

It wasn’t when the calendar rolls over to June

Or after the sign out sheet is complete, keys turned in to the office for safekeeping

It wasn’t the first night we turned on the ceiling fan and it still isn’t cool enough to sleep


Or when my daughter arrived home at 2am from her year long study abroad program

It didn’t start with the first dip in the pool, or the first float down the creek

Or even with the first grilled dinner eaten outside under the stars.

It didn’t start with the first ears of early corn from the farmer’s market

Or the Hometown Festival art festival, carnival, and duck race


I saw summer was approaching last week with two belated birthday cards sent after four tennis matches in one week.

It was just around the corner when I finished the book even though it was well past midnight.

It snuck in when I dropped everything to hike with a friend and didn’t pick it up again until the next day.

And summer officially began yesterday

When I had to ask the cashier the date AND the day of the week.

I do love the first day of summer.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The last science unit we do with our students is Human Growth and Development.  They think they will hate it and they always end up loving it.  And it keeps the super engaged for those last weeks when they are half way out the door already.

While we do teach body systems, we also spend a lot of time on body image.  In looking for good resources this year, I came across a Ted Talk that, while not appropriate for use at school, is a great conversation piece for parents at home.   It is titled ‘Why thinking you are ugly is bad for you‘.  One thing that struck me was when she talked about young girls putting their photos on Facebook and then asking, “Do you think I am ugly?”   Our young people are so desperate for approval that they put themselves out to the entire world.  Each one of those little ‘likes’ they receive dictates how much they like themselves. That’s really scary.

But then I thought about blogging.  I have just started blogging when I did the March Challenge.  I decided to do it because it would push me to write.  I do some writing, but clearly not enough.  And I have stage fright.  I really do not like to share my writing.  I thought this would make me reach out of my comfort zone in a good way.  Once I started, it felt good.  It felt good to sit down and write for an audience, even though I didn’t know who they would be.  It felt good to finish a ‘piece’.  It felt good to put it out there.  And then I learned something new.  It felt good to be LIKED!

I am not big on social media.  I don’t Facebook, or Instagram, or anything else that requires daily upkeep.  I really don’t like Facebook as it feels to me as a place to showboat all that is perfect in your world.  It’s unrealistic and candy coated.  And it is pretty easy to see what everyone else is doing and then feel pretty small about yourself.  I have plenty of that already – I don’t need more.

But then my blogs were getting LIKED!  I found myself watching my email closely for the first few hours after I posted.  Each new message warmed me in a way I totally didn’t expect.  I wanted more!  I became a watcher and a waiter – ready for the next hit of being liked.  While I liked being liked, I also worried when no one even looked at a post.  Was I really liked?  And then I caught myself.  That isn’t what this writing is about.  (But I do love the connection I feel with my cohorts.)

I worry about the kids growing up today.  I worry that they will misinterpret so much through social media.  It’s not that you guys don’t like me.  It’s just that I tend to post last and you have all gone to bed and moved on – like you should!  But do those beautiful young souls out there understand that being liked or noticed isn’t a measure of the worth of you?  I am so grateful I am not a teen today.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The last week of school is always so overflowing.  It was particularly so this year as my youngest graduated from high school the weekend before.  Not only was I closing out my own class of 5th graders, I was also closing out my role as parent in our district.

I was happy that I found time to add just one more thing though.  One of my partners mentioned that our local bookstore was hosting an author she loved and she didn’t want to go alone.  I really didn’t have time for it until she said it was the author of ‘Griffin and Sabine’.  I was instantly transported back to the first years of marriage and that magical book of letters and art.  The first book had just been published and I shared a fascination for the series with my new mother in law.  How could I not find time?

So, my teammate, my husband and I spent a delightful evening reintroducing ourselves to Griffin and Sabine, and meeting the author who brought them to life, Nick Bantock.  He was superbly engaging – perhaps due to his British accent – and we loved his methods of writing.  In order for him to fully immerse himself in each character, he had two entirely different locations to write and draw from.  What a way to truly surrender to a character.  If you haven’t had a chance to read his books, treat yourself.

And to top off the evening, we grabbed some gelato and slowly wandered home in the almost summer warmth, making a short detour to hear our neighborhood owl serenade.  It’s not so bad to squeeze in one more thing in a busy week.