Thursday, December 24, 2009


....catnip, I mean, Merry Christmas!

Our friends made catnip socks.

Both our inside cats went bonkers over it.

May your holidays be as happy as a cat's with fresh catnip!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Year

...resolutions. What are yours?

Do you have one? Do you need one?

Or, are you too busy with today, like Mr. Macou is?

Looking for fun?

Wanting to read more?

Get healthy?

Whatever you choose, and I like all of these (well, I'm thinking Mr. Macou just wanted me to go away!!), have a great new year!

December 23

... and our last day of school.

What are some of our Christmas wishes?


My wish?

Time with friends and family; time to drink coffee and think and laugh; time to learn and read and wonder; time to walk the dog, play with kids and be thankful for all I have.

Merry Christmas.

(Continue to scroll down, though. Lots more wishes in other posts!)

and more

...Christmas wishes

and more

...Christmas wishes.

May you all get just what you want, or, more importantly, just what you need!

Merry Christmas and have a terrrific holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

9th and more

...good poems! From Reid's "Anything Can Be a Poem" to

"Love Jack, Love Sky",

we have some good efforts

at wonderful poetry in less than a half hour.

We even have our very own Jack, named Kyle,

who 'couldn't', but could!

We do have the power to change ourselves, our community or our world;

we just have to find it and use it!

8th and

....some of the terrific efforts of book report writing in all of 25 minutes from start to finish--yes!

Monday, December 21, 2009

4th, poems

...and progress!
What an image for me, "everyone has a story / planting seeds" Wow!!

And, look how 'bad can be turned to good' and

a poem is born in "The Boy Poet".

I like how the setting came right in the 1st stanza and built to a community in "Little Thing".

Poetry, progress and possibilities make for a wonderful day in the classroom.

2nd and

...poems. Book reports in poetry form

on Sounder, The Birds' Christmas Carol, Love That Dog or Seedfolks.

We've also started on what we will concentrate on the rest of the year: finding the most important idea and developing it.

All this and all that done in 25 minutes, two days before vacation.

Pretty impressive? I'd say so!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


...week two.

What can I say? Should I say I had students, like McKayla who didn't have to write, who still wrote? Or, do I say, look at the use of different line set-ups? Or, how about, the term usage, wow!

Then, there's Erin's, which I think could go to the BOCES contest in the spring. Or, Kody's -- he is the boy in Love That Dog! (and what a student he is becoming) But, then if I say that, I've got to say that about so many: Trent and Josh and Allee and Maygin and Danielle and Kara and all of them!

Let's put this in perspective: yes, your writing this month is all in class, but this, the poetry writing, is new and you're doing wonderfully. And, except for having it up on the Week in Review, I don't harp on the assignment being due--good! (I shouldn't have to.)

As for inclass, you've been writing essays one a week, synthesis essays, the hardest essays to do; and on other days, it's been reading comps, two a week. Yes, all in class but for the poems, but quite a working month. Good. Holidays are fun, but learning needs to still be happening.

Next month we'll go back to essays out of class and reading comps on Thursdays and spvocab, but you know what? We'll still have poems. Will you be able to handle all that? Yes! You will, because you are students who can! I love it!

A blatant

...plea for people to sign up for The Wonder Years on Wednesday. Only a few people have watched some of the episodes from this 80's tv show. I loved it (and my husband looks just like the main character!).

It's a show about the late 60's and early 70's and life as a middle schooler. You get a glimpse of life then, how home life was and even some history since one of the supporting characters had a brother die in VietNam.

As Casey said, it's a great show. Sign up to see it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Students of the Week 3

...and what a bunch they are!


working on handwriting to trying

to talking to smiling:

they're wonderful! Check them out.

I'm already starting my list for next week.

You never know who will be caught

trying and working and doing

in English 3o3!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yes, it


First thing this morning I tried uploading on a wired computer instead of a wireless,

and it did it!

So, I guess I've learned something: upload on a wired computer.


Of course,

it's now been a couple days, and I've forgotten,

but it looks like there are poems,

a book review

and even Benny on here.

Do use your time on the video to work on your public speaking: speak clearly, slowly, confidently, and involving your audience by looking at the camera. Smiling would be good too.

(Wow! All that in about 25 seconds!)

If you can do that, you're set for the 21st century, though.

Today you're working again on improving your reading comprehension. Tomorrow? Your third synthesis essay.

Next up for the camera?

Students of the week. I'll do those tomorrow. (I left my camera at home!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I haven't

...forgotten. I've tried numerous times to put the poems on, but it's just not working. On Monday I will try to upload them on the wired computer in the back of the room. Maybe that will work. Let's hope so!

Then, I have students of the week....and more poems to put up this week.

I sure hope I can figure out how to do this effortlessly and expediently!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poetry, but

... in written form. I think you 'll enjoy them, though. I know I sure did!! It was the best first week of poetry writing I've ever had. Thank you!

I stayed for more than an hour this afternoon, trying to get the videos on. I couldn't get it to work, so I put them on my flash drive and took them home.
So, here it is Friday night, and I'm enjoying my time home and I'm trying again, but first let me give you these. I appreciate students who are willing to go the extra step to share their work with others.

I will try hard next week not to write on them so all you have to do is give me permission to cut them up to make posters. I really want to have hall work and blog work.

(And, I really want students to take the time to read others' work!)

Here's hoping the videos work!

See you Monday. It's reading comp. 5, essay #3, reading comp. 6, reading day and then inference again. It looks to be a good week, with you being able to go into your own world, focus and try your best--far better than trying to listen to me, not something anyone seemed to want to do today!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


and reading comp. today.

While you guys went into your own little worlds and worked on teaching yourself to concentrate, focus, enjoy the process of reading whatever is in front of you,

I graded the first set of poems off of the first format, a sentence.


As in, I loved the effort, the ability, the listening and learning.

They were super, super wonderful for a first time try. Someone must have done some good, good teaching with you.

Thank you to them...and to you.

Look to see some being read tomorrow. (I just have to remember the camera!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lesson for Wednesday

Okay. So, I'm not here today, but Mrs. Jay, a real reading teacher is. Be sure to ask her any questions you want about reading comprehension. Otherwise, watch the video....

enjoy the process.

That's what true learning is all about.

And, who will it be this week?

Okay, I fibbed. I've decided to do students of the week on the regular posts so we have them for all eternity (sidebars are only as long as they are there).

This week's students of the week are on for various reasons. You never know what will tickle my fancy. Inference, working on improving, short answers with good thoughts, good reading, excellent work ethic and dependability, and good all around effort gets credit and noterioty.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Poetry, videos, and inference

...and the successes and failures of each.

I have graded the poetry book reports, all but 9th period. For a first time effort and two weeks between directions and due, they're not bad. Oh, I do think more of you could have used your direction page and more of you could have worked on it before this morning, but still-- I saw lots of positives. We will do this one more time with the WWII books, so there will be time to get better.

And, that brings me to the videos of Students of the Week. I took them, brought them home to upload, ...and over 6 times later and an hour gone, I keep getting error from blogger. So, I will take standard pictures tomorrow and try again with new videos.

I look at new work and new efforts as a time to try, do our best and then go on, vowing to get better, do better and learn. You can do that with the poems....and I'll do it with my Flip video!

Good inference work today, especially on the classes that went right to the bell and had so many telling me such good thinking or knowledge on your part. Truly, learn to use what's right in front of you; you'd be surprised how much of life is given to us, if we only stop, think, connect and then make connections and conclusions.

As for me, this is a new unit this year. I'm still figuring out how to best teach it. 10 minutes of thought on your part, and then me asking questions on one chart as we go along would be best. I'll do that the next time. Don't give up on me....

and don't let anyone else give up on this generation: your knowledge is amazing as is your ability to try and grow. We just have to remember to ask you once in a while to tell us what you know--it really is amazing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reading comp,, synthesis writing,

new books to read, and a new poetry writing unit to start. What a week!

Look at all the names up on the board for just two reading comps. There's best of the day, consistently good (where you really want to be) and improving.

I really like this unit. You guys find that going into your own world and thinking does work for being better readers.

I have finished the essays and I'm not going home until I get some examples up in the hall. Please do read them, especially if you were absent or a bit confused.

Benny is patiently waiting to go home.

He's had his weekly time with you and now he needs a nap. Wait, so do I!

The halls are quiet and empty.

It's a bit unbelievable that just a few minutes ago they were crowded and noisy.

They're waiting, as I am, for the book report on Monday and the new poem on Wednesday.

And with those reminders, I leave you with ... next week. Which, I'm now at home and have realized I didn't put on poem due and new one out, on Wednesday. I need to fix that--be sure to remind me!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


...essays off of the first outline unit we did in the fall. We started them today after two days of reading comps.

Have you noticed how many names are up on the board already? I love this unit because students see that they really can improve through practice. Just like becoming proficient at foul shots by practice, practice, practice, students can also become proficient at reading and pulling out the important facts, ideas and concepts by practicing.

So, I've graded two sets already. And, except for the two who did nothing but put their name of their papers, most have gotten above an 85. I will probably get tougher in my grading as we do the other 3, but for now, I was sooooooooooo impressed. I saw Mr. Lott out in the hall and invited him to come up and read them. Your prior teachers have sure done a good job of turning you into students who listen, try and do your best. Great!

Tomorrow you pick out your book for December. You have a choice of four: one would probably take you an hour to read; one two hours, another two at most and the longest maybe 4 or 5. Not at all impossible tasks for a two week period. Please do pick one that appeals to you. Interesting is usually more important than short.

Thanks for being the students you are. A shout out to Cody today--working on his poem, picking out the next book and doing his best in class. Thank you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The cat's

...away, but the mice won't play, right? Have a good one! I'm sure I'm learning something; I just can't remember what...

Students of the

...week. In another stab at making my blog interesting, I will be putting on students of the week each week. After this week, they'll be in the sidebar for all to see. Look for them.

For now, though, here are this week's.

Peyton is first.

Can you believe I wondered if she needed to smile more? Dippy me. Peyton listens, takes notes, thinks and then tries. What a student. I am lucky to have her in my classroom.

Darian is an artist, but she reads, and adult level books, and she listens, learns from others and then tries herself to do better and more.

Wow! I love it!

Calli is my thesaurus girl, going on and trying to up her vocab.

She is also reading and commenting on the blog. Thanks!

Ah, Brandon. It pays to start so low in the hole that good effort looks great.

And, it does. Brandon is improving every week in his writing; he is reading for me, finishing one over the holiday and starting another; and he has humor (that can get him in trouble...but he's working on that, right?).

And, finally, Ozzy.

I know he's fighting me on any given day, but I know there's a good student in that bad boy image, and I'm dong my best to help Ozzy decide to be a bad-boy good boy.

These students and any students on any given day are what keep me lovin' teaching.

See you tomorrow.

Are you an

...artist? If you are, check out this post on Brooklyn Street Art. The people who run this, are friends of ours. Every once in a while they send me what's happening and I feel like I'm a part, just a little bit, of the city.

Miss Zraik was inspired last year by their book they put out and worked with it and the Time cover of Obama (the artist was in the book) to do a unit in her classroom.

I've forwarded this to Miss Zraik again this year because I could so see some of you doing something like this. It's such a treat to have your artwork in the newspaper each edition, so I know just how good some of you are.

As an English teacher and mother, I love the whole piece. The writing is interesting and the use of his child is wonderful.

We might live in upstate New York, but that doesn't mean our thinking and experiences have to stop here.

There's a quote I like. Can you guess which one it is?

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday's goal

...for me is to learn how to take my five posts for the vacation and figure out how to do them so they're on the blog in the right order....

It's always good to have a goal and to keep learning. I think it's especially good for a teacher to do so. Otherwise, we forget what it's like to have to do and push and try. It can get frustrating and teachers need to remember that, don't we?

Let's see if I can do it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A blast from the past

...and finishing up a series of posts from the summer. My one goal this Thanksgiving, besides visiting with family, relaxing, eating lots, and reading (which I never got to--sudukos and crosswords won), was to finish my llama camp series.

It never happened at my in-laws' because of computer problems, but now, home on Saturday night, I am fulfilling my promise to myself.

To recap, my youngest went for a week of fun and farm life at llama camp across the lake. As soon as I dropped her off the first day, I knew I wanted to bring my camera back and take pictures. (To see the other posts, click here: post 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.)

Have you ever had that feeling? That feeling of being somewhere and it giving you a sense of peace and contentment?

So, sit back, be warm in November and travel back with me to August there a better image of summer than a youngster enjoying the outdoors? I can feel the sun and warmth already; enjoy!

On my last post of the camp, I was coming back from behind Cheryl and Bruce's house.

I had met up with Cheryl, below with one of her camp girls,

and so I had taken a bunch more pictures while getting the lowdown from her.

Cheryl and Bruce are the epitome of people who love where they are and what they are doing in life.

I'd like to think there are moments in my classroom where I project that same feeling- do I dare say the serenity too? Nope, not yet, not for me...but I'm working on it! But, the love of what I am doing? That I can say yes to, definitely!

By this time, my daughter and our neighbors were waiting, pretty patiently, for me to finish. They were enjoying the tree and all it had to offer.

And, another family was enjoying an adult willing to take pictures.

Look at the smiles: I hope you've been that happy and carefree lately.

These pictures are the beginning of the end. They were one last take on a beautiful place.

The buildings,

the flowers,

the barn of llamas and their friends,

a place where time deserves to be noted and then carried on,
and all are welcome:

this was llama camp for me, 2009.

It was time to go. Rori had a face painting that wouldn't last the day,

but she had a notebook to take and a beautiful bowl to share with me.

And, the memories? They would last far longer than one week in the summer.

On our way to our car (I swear we were going to the car),

Cheryl and Bruce took us over to the ram.

He was in front of the house

and to the side of the first building

and garden

we had visited.

The end of the tour, the day, and the camp was here.

I took one last picture of the terra cotta of summer,

one last picture of the buildings that Bruce and Cheryl created,

and one last glance down the way. It was enough.

Llama camp was over, except for.... oh, a final look at the creatures who started all this!