Showing posts from 2017

Batter Up: A Swing and a Miss: Classroom Fouls, Strikes and Home Runs: 2017 in Review

Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is. -Bob Feller

2017 was definitely a year to remember. I spent a lot of time reflecting and writing. Both, with my blog and on Twitter. I even started my book- "The Shape of Things." I read many, many fabulous books, each in turn, inspiring my own writing, evoking emotions and ideas, previously unknown to me, and motivating me, to keep pushing the boundaries. Every day was a new adventure. Each class period, a new opportunity, to listen and learn, apply and adjust, and grow, in every way possible.

I tried many new things, inside my classroom and out. Yoga, which honestly, is not for me. I tried numerous times, just to be sure, but the stretching and posing is just painful. After a session, I would feel sore and exhausted, not relaxed and rejuvenated. So, I chose one pose…

A Small Fish in a Very Large Pond

From deep within
a spark
either extinguished with doubt
or expanded
with determination
and curiosity
it speaks with
a gentle tongue

We all hear it
a big fish
or a small one

if embraced
it will open the
doors we close from fear
pave the way for
personal enlightenment
a confident tenacity
a spiritual strength
a perseverance
only we can

Size is irrelevant
whether minuscule
in the scheme of things
or at the height of popularity
stealth and camouflage
allow us to traverse
the landscape

A very large pond
seems infinite, dark in
its recesses
yet the edges are well-defined
it is a choice to swim near the surface
lights illuminating
or to dwell in the shadows
safe in the

To delve into new terrain
follow the pack
leave our habitat
is worrysome
it feels dangerous
but if we remain in solitude
we fade
if we make our presence known
we flourish
we experience
we grow

A small fish can weave in and out
safety in…

Three Spirits of A Learning Environment: A Visit from Classroom Past, Present and Future

“The happiness he gives is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”- Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”
Time, family, friends, simple gestures of kindness and joy: these are all free and effortless, but often they feel, like they cost a fortune. Not because of any other reason, then that they make us see ourselves in the bigger scheme of things. That by just partaking and participating, in the life we have built, without desire of return, we truly become balanced: and that balance becomes happiness and happiness becomes reality.
There are many holiday movies, that resonate with us, this time of year. "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Carol," and 'Miracle on 34th Street," just to name a few. These are the films that make us remember our lives and remind us, to continue, to see the silver lining. They trigger both reflection and optimism: showing us we can always improve our lives and those of others. That we impact so many, who revolve around us, …

G.U.M.: Getting Ultimate Momentum: Gearing Up For the Holidays

Momentum Needs To Overcome Inertia

Inertia, a tendency to do nothing. This time of the year, as we are nearing our holiday break, this is in full swing. Although, we have more to do than normal, we often just lag. We slow down and become stagnate, before the sheer volume of tasks, that lie between us and vacation. We gaze, mesmerized, at the mass and velocity, needed to complete our end of semester check list. Ticking off our responsibilities, one by one, relieved, yet, burdened with the knowledge there will always be more on the horizon. 

As teachers, we are overwhelmed, but what about students? They have the work load of many teachers bearing down on them. They have the pressure of their parents, to excel. They have the weight of their own anxiety and determination, reducing their focus and curtailing their enthusiasm. You can see it in their eyes, complete shut down is approaching. I asked myself, "What simple things can I do to help alleviate my students fretfulness and jitters…

What A Gifted/Advanced Curriculum Classroom Should Look Like: From A Parent's Perspective

An Opportunity Presents Itself 

This week I have had the opportunity through: Quiz Bowl, our GT field trip and a GT event at the STEM center, to talk with parents about the education of their student, in the GT program, here in Katy. While most conversations were led by the parents, asking me many questions. Others, were more of an interview, by me, of them. I am curious as to what parents feel is the ideal learning environment, for their child. Do they trust the advanced curriculum (GT), of our district, or do they desire a more challenging and demanding program?

What I discovered by having open, honest conversations: is both interesting and compelling. What I ascertained, both from parents of my own students, as much as from parents, of those who I do not teach, is that there are two types of GT or advanced classrooms, in the junior high/middle school realm of education: those that add more work and call it challenging and those that empower students to design the framework of their…

The Precipice of Profundity: Precision Not Included

Tis' The Season

A common theme this time of year: frustration and exhaustion. The celebratory nature of the holidays, in our personal lives, is familial and festive. Yet, in our professional arena, as educators, it often takes its toll: final exams, distracted students and grading. We are in a hustle to finish the semester's curriculum and hold on to our students' attention spans. Everyone it seems, has one foot out the door. We stand at a precipice, between celebration and constriction. How do we keep our footing, as we glance across the landscape, past the bluff, on which we precariously reside?

We have to find the clarity in the routine and often menial tasks we are racing through, before the winter respite begins. This can be a challenge, as our minds our inundated with what seems like impossible expectations. Holding it all together is exhausting, in and of itself. But, keeping our mindful composure, joyful presence and cheerful facade, can be down right overwhelming.…

Just Another Day: Only if We Want it to Be

There are always two paths, from whence we choose. Left or right. Forward or backwards. Up or down. With each opportunity we are given options, even if we no not see the alternatives. The alarm beeps....we hit snooze. It beeps again... we hit the snooze button again. Do we wake up, put our feet firmly on the ground, eager and ready for the day, or do we grumble, kick the covers off and with a heavy heart, stumble into the shower? A choice. Albeit, one of attitude.
In the moment we enter the day, join the hustle and bustle of life, are we willing participants or reluctant spectators?
Every day is exactly the same. No voice, just routine. No expression, just indifference. A lethargy, entombing spirit and felicity. Voices distant and muffled, direct and suppress. Leaving a feeling of melancholy, that can't seem to be shaken off. It follows us around like a heavy fog. Nothing seems interesting or intriguing, but, we are compliant. Discussing, implementing, fulfilling the requirements…

A School's Culture: Through the Eyes of Them

This story is a little non-fiction and a lot fiction. It integrates what I have discovered from talking to my students, what happened to me growing up with moving so frequently, and what I imagine someone would be going through after Harvey. I never had to rebuild after a hurricane, but fires and earthquakes shaped my landscape. Either way, changing schools is hard any way you look at it. School culture impacts these fragile students as soon as they enter the building. As a teacher, I constantly am reminded, with every new face that enters my classroom, that they may put on a brave face, but inside they are vulnerable and scared. I am determined to make connections with every student as soon as I meet them. I want them to feel that what they hear about our school is true, we are a safe, positive place to learn.

Observation and Imagination 
The alarm clock chimes....6:00 am. Just enough time for them to grab a quick shower and bite to eat, before they head out to the bus stop. It feels s…

Vantage Point, Unique

The moment seems to slow time itself, I am watching from a vantage point, unique. My beloved object, gravity against it, falls to the floor. Impact.

The sound like no other, shatters the silence, shutting my eyes, jarring my body with a deep, intense shiver. In this moment, I feel cold, distant, frozen. The sharpness of reality, erasing a part of me, long entangled with the heirloom's presence.

A keepsake once embodying a memory: now shards, splinters, shavings of the past, strewn across the tile floor. The dust of its demise still swirling above.

The instant, pause, respite between what just happened and realization seems to be at a stand still. I remain motionless, staring at the fragments. Not sure if I will cry or just stare. I cry.

I am an adult and I am crying at a loss. A forfeiture of attachment. The floor is cold on my legs as I sit beside the pile. The aggregation becomes something new. Each segment taking on a life of its own. Whispering comfort.

The tears slow and stop…

Nostalgia: How 1980's Music Rejuvenated My Spirit: Part Two

What makes 80's music timeless, to me at least: optimism, honesty, diversity and of course that synthesizer, bringing it all together. Of course they embody heartbreak, overcoming adversity, and the opulence of the decade, but rather than being a message of 'me, me, me and selfies', they were more focused on our individual drive to find our place in the world, in a world where we were equal, not better than. With every note we felt united, a part of something bigger, even when we didn't know, that that is what we wanted.

The music, a cacophony of imagination, inspiration and idealism gave every adolescent of the time, a voice. We were focused on how we were alike, not on how we were different. Even the movies made us feel like an ensemble of explorers, each a road map to understanding ourselves. There were big haired, make-up coated singers screaming "We Are the Champions," and the first ever all girl band shouting, "We Got the Beat." Even Don Henle…