Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Sock Tossed Back into the Hamper

As you have probably noticed, the last entry isn't my usual. Rather it's a creative writing prompt that I typed up some time ago. I can remember what I must have been thinking, because I relived a fight with my ex from several years ago while reading it. The only thing is that it didn't end as wonderfully as the story implies. Analyze it any way you want, but I like to think that I just like happy endings.

This next entry is another creative writing prompt that I've started some time ago and was able to generate ideas from when I looked at it earlier this evening. I hope you like it. I'll be doing more in the future.

The Sock Tossed Back into the Hamper

Wha…what? What’s happening? Silence. Aw man! Why am I back in here again? I already went through this! I don’t get why am I in here again? I thought for sure I was just in the laundry basket, fresh from the dryer smelling spring fresh again. Wait a minute. I’m still warm! Geez! Maybe I can wiggle over to the side to see what’s going on. Umph! Umph! Umph! Nothing but wall. Augh! This is just not my day.

I don’t understand what happened. Let me think back here for a minute. Hmm. I was here earlier today. I was put in here last night after being in those work boots all day. Whew! It was such a relief to be freed from that foot when the time came. I didn’t smell too good either. Ewe! Neither did my partner. We both got to hang out for a while, chit chatting until we were picked up this morning. I remember having an awesome hot bubble bath and hanging out with the other socks and underwear. The little woman’s ankle crew sock was flirting with me again. I think she likes me. Hmmm. Ahem. Yes. Well, back to what’s happening here.

Our soaking lasted for a while, and then the scrubbing began. I’m sure I’ve got bruises where I never had bruises before. Ouch! Then the dryer. I wish I could just lay out in the sun, like my cousin a few streets down, just flapping in the breeze. But noooo, I have to tumble in the hot dryer getting dumped on top of and buried alive by the rest of the undergarments. It’s not as exciting as you might think. Believe me. The best part of the whole dryer thing, though, is when the lady forgets us down here. It doesn’t happen every time, but it’s nice once in a while. After all of the soaking, swashing of the water, the scrubbing, and the tumbling, it’s nice and relaxing to just lay low for a while and get to know the newcomers, if there are any, or catch up on some old friends and what kind of adventures they’ve had. It’s really quite refreshing.

The last thing I remember from my weekly ritual, after the dryer of course, was lying back in the basket wondering who my new partner would be. The guy I had last time was pretty easy to deal with, but the one before that was a real snob and major perfectionist. I couldn’t stand the guy. I was never straight enough for him, and I swear, the foot was doing on purpose too. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried to stay in line, the heal kept twisting and the toes kept bunching up. It was quite a chore trying to be perfect. Sniff.

I was just laying there waiting in the basket, chit chatting with whomever ended up nearby while we waited to be matched with another sock. I couldn’t help but daydream during this pairing-up time. I was imagining getting matched up with the cute girl from two weeks ago. I really felt we hit it off, yet she never called me like she said she would. Eventually, time moved on and no other sock like me was left. I was alone in the basket with a woman’s ankle sock and a boy’s tube sock. No man’s tube sock was left for me to pair up with, at least not in the basket.

I could see the guy from the other week sitting on the edge of the table. He didn’t look too good, for I could see a hole in his toe. Poor sucker. So much for being perfect. I wouldn’t want to be in his place right now. His only options are in the ragbag, which I heard is pure torture, or the trash, which is worse. I actually felt bad about how I had said about him expecting such perfection from me. However, I never found out what happened to him, because I ended up here, back in the hamper along with the woman’s ankle sock and boy’s tube sock. Perhaps next week I’ll get to be paired up. Until then…

Friday, May 29, 2009

Love Story

They had nothing to say to each other. Everything had already been said. She got up from the chair and walked out of the room. He sat there with his head in his hands trying to figure out what had just happened. How had they gotten to this point? Why had he said what he said and how long had she been feeling that way? Were things really that bad?

She was shaking as she walked out of the room. She didn’t look back, couldn’t look back. Doing so would be a sign of weakness, remorse, and regret. She couldn’t let him think that she was sorry for any of what she had said. She wasn’t. She had meant every word. Enough was enough and now there was no turning back.

He got up from the sofa and walked towards the window with his hands in his pockets and looked out into the street. The street lamps were on now. It had grown dark since it all began. How could the world go on when his was apparently coming to an abrupt halt? The lovebirds in the cage continued to chirp softly to each other and the cat was still curled on the chair in the corner napping soundlessly. Did they understand what was happening?

She walked into the kitchen and poured herself a drink. She sat on the barstool and looked at the uneaten supper on the stove. It’s been sitting there too long, for hours. She’d have to throw it out now. She turned to look out the kitchen window and saw a light go out at one of her neighbors. Could they hear them? Did they have any idea of what had been going on? What was their next step now?

He continued staring out the window and watched as the neighbor’s cat walked across the street. Probably looking for a mouse. He turned away from the window and walked across the room to look at the photos on the shelves. He picked up the one of them at the beach two years ago. Things were so different then. He eyes began to well up. How could things have changed so?
She finished her drink and placed the glass on the counter. Running her hand through her long hair, she gave a long sigh, got up and walked toward the hall. She passed by the living room where he was standing and saw him looking at the photo. She stopped and watched. He didn’t even notice. She continued to watch as he put the photo back on the shelf, his hand slightly shaking and wiped his eyes. Watching him made her heart well up and she gasped.

He heard a noise behind him and quickly turned around. She was standing there watching him. How long had she been there? He stood there frozen then felt compelled to go towards her. She made a move to walk away, but stopped. He walked towards her. Instead of taking off, she began to move towards him too. They met in the middle of the room, near the sofa and chair where it all took place, near the sleeping cat in the corner chair, near the softly chirping lovebirds and held each other.
“I’m sorry.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cancer Walk

Good afternoon folks.

I'm not usually one who likes to solicit things, however this one is very important to me. I'm doing a Relay for Life walk for the American Cancer Society. Our walk is on June 5, beginning in the evening and runs throughout the night into early Saturday morning. I'm doing this because cancer touches everyone, whether it's a family member or a friend.

If you'd like to learn more about the Relay for life, you can click on my link below to find out how you can donate to this important cause. You can even purchase a Luminaria for just $10 to light our path that night in honor of someone who is a survivor, or in memory of someone who fought bravely and lost their battle. Every little bit is appreciated.

I thank everyone for taking time to read this message and consider it. Please don't hesitate to share this message with friends and family.

Also, I apologize for not staying current on my blog entries. Now that the nice weather is here, outside activities keep me out rather than in.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forgotten Tooth

Remember when we were children and we'd loose our baby teeth? We'd put it in a tissue or something that would keep our precious tooth safe so the Tooth Fairy could come retrieve it and hopefully leave some money behind. I used to get anywhere from a quarter to $1.00, but never more than $1.00. How much did you use to get for your baby teeth? When Kenny was younger and began loosing his teeth, he got $5.00!! I couldn't believe it.

Yesterday, Kenny and Keri were rough housing, like we always tell them not to, and lo and behold, Kenny helped Keri loose yet another tooth. This is the third tooth in a row that comes out with Kenny's help. Granted, it was loose for quite a while and did need to come out. Well, Keri and I did the usual thing, we wrapped the tooth in a tissue and placed it under the pillow for the tooth fairy. By the time the boys went to bed, I was too exhausted to stay up until he was asleep, so I left a note for the Tooth Fairy (Hubby of course) to take care of it in the morning. Now, the problem that has arisen from all of this is not that Keri didn't get his money, but that the Tooth Fairy left the tooth behind!

Well, this morning, once the boys and I were all up and Hubby was off to work, Keri announces that the Tooth Fairy came and left him $5.00 and left the tooth behind. Keri plans on reusing his tooth tonight in hopes of getting more money. We'll have to handle this one right or Keri will loose his belief in the Tooth Fairy. We actually still have him believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny. Kenny, who just turned 12 and who occasionally questions the validity of these wondrous folks, can still be swayed by the possibility that they still do exist. I'll leave this for another posting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Techno Geek

I love being known by our tech department in my district as someone who loves new techno gadgets! I occasionally get offered to try new programs or products throughout the year. In fact, just a little while ago, I was handed, while walking in the hallway, the tiniest little notebook that I have ever seen to try out. It's so small that it could fit in my purse! Granted, I have a pretty good size purse, but it's slightly larger than a book, but smaller than your standard-sized, loose-leaf notebook. It's amazing and so adorable!! I didn't hesitate to begin trying it out.

I'm amazed at how our technology has changed in the past 25 years! Back when I was in middle school, I remember my science teacher having a Tandy computer where programs were on cassettes that you would have to put in a player (or reader) in order to use it. They were the simpliest of games too. All Basic programing. When I was in high school, I remember taking a class on Basic. We made our own little programs and it was pretty cool, at least for the time. The only other computers that I remember us having in school were two Apple computers set up in the library with a barrier around the perimeter so people who weren't using it wouldn't crowd around, and one in the typing lab (yes, with real electric typewriters) with Microsoft Word on it. Back then, our computers were basically wordprocessors, not the advanced multimedia systems we have today. Twenty years ago, it was rare for a family to have one, now it's rare for a family to have only one.

When I started working at my old job as a legal secretary, they had one computer; a Leading Edge computer that only did word processing. I'll never forget when we finally were set up with real computers, I didn't know what to do with it. I had to take a class to learn how to use Windows and how to do the simplest duties, such as cut and paste. Now, there's little that I can't do, when I get a chance to sit down and work on a program or gadget. I guess I'm just a small example of our society. Not only has our technology evolved, but we have as well. We have adapted to our sorroundings well and learned the skills necessary to be successful. If becoming computer literate is a necessary skill, then we learn it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Student Reflections on Writing

I'm so pleased with the responses I received from my students! Like I explained in my last blog, I'm having my kiddos write short stories, but I'm allowing them to choose stories they've already started or begin new ones. I've also asked them to talk about their experiences. As a teacher I want the feedback, and as a student, I know it's important to reflect on what I'm doing. I've learned so much from my kids on their thought processes and what they're struggling with. What I think is positive about them doing this reflective activity is that they are given the opportunity to analyze their own writing and their peers get the opportunity to read what everyone else goes through. I've noticed my students reading the comments and have been hearing lots of "I didn't know that" and "I'm the same way".

Part of the activity was for them to discuss the writing process (brainstorming, drafting, peer conferencing, revision, editing, & publishing), what they liked or disliked about it. I was not surprised to learn that most of my students dislike peer conferencing. Considering that they've been practicing this skill since the first grade, I was mistakenly assuming that they had this skill down pact. However, some of their feedback tends to consist of "nothing's wrong", "everything's good", "nothing needs to be added or changed". These responses are not constructive at all! With less than a month left of school, I'll definately be focusing on helping them enhance this skill.

Not only has this reflection activity given my kids an opportunity to reflect on how they work, but it gives me a chance to reflect on my teaching, what I need to focus on, and where the weaknesses are. I guess this is where the "life-long-learner" part of being a teacher comes in. We're not just taking additional classes and workshops to update our skills and techniques, but we're constantly learning when it comes to our students as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Looking for Inspiration

Not only am I working to inspire myself to write, but I’m also trying to encourage my students as well. I've been having them work on short stories and have given them the choice to choose from pieces they've already started or to start something new. I provide them time in class to do this, which allows them the opportunity to peer conference with each other and teacher conference, too. What I also find is important is to create opportunities for them to reflect on their process as a writer, whether or not writing is something they enjoy.

I’ve recently provided them with a blog, in which I have asked two specific questions to help them reflect on their writing. The first was to ask them to explain their experiences while working on their short stories, then for them to talk about the pros and cons that they have regarding the writing process. What interested me most was that, although there are some students who struggle with story ideas, there was an overwhelming amount of students who found it easy to come up with a story. It didn’t matter whether they were writing fiction or nonfiction; the results were basically the same. What they liked least, which I expected, was the editing portion of the writing process. There were several who enjoyed the peer conferences, but I’m sure it was because they received positive and constructive feedback from their peers. There is one student who simply feels that his peers are unable to provide feedback that he can use, but I expected this from him, mainly because he’s announced it freely to me before several times in class.

This student, who so dislikes peer conferences, is the one who feels that no one in class can write better than he can. Perhaps he’s right. The fact that I’m trying to get him to understand is that even the best writers out there need some kind of feedback from their peers. It’s what a writer does with it that determines the kind of writer he or she is. Unfortunately, this young one can’t seem to see farther than his own words and completely shuts everyone out. I’m hoping that the little time I have left with him, he can understand that it’s okay to get feedback from others, and perhaps try some of the suggestions they may give. Not only that, but allowing his peers to constructively criticize his work, helps them to strengthen their skills as critiques as well; a symbiotic relationship, so to speak.

While reflecting on his concern of his peers not providing him with constructive criticism, I’ve come to realize what changes I need to make at the start of next year. Although these students have been taught how to do peer conferences since the first grade, many need the refresher course on how to do it effectively. How to provide feedback that peers can actually consider using is vital. Without proper structure, students will become frustrated and the writing process becomes a negative tool rather than a useable one. It’s obvious that this activity of students reflecting on their process of writing has become as useful for me as it has for them. I guess that's what being a teacher is all about. I'm continuously learning and evolving myself while I'm helping my students do the same.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This week...

This week has been a short one at school. Monday, however, was aside from the usual. We had a memorial service for my grandmother. Because of our climate we had to put our loved ones in storage until the ground is soft enough to dig so we can bury them. My cousin Tonya (who passed away two days before my grandmother), her dad and her husband and nephew came up along with my aunt from Alaska. I took the day off because I wanted to spend time with them knowing that now that my grandparents are both passed, that I probably wouldn't see them again, at least not for a long time. I can't say I blame them. It's difficult and expensive to make such long trips. My cousin's husband and nephew drove 11 hours just for a 15 minute memorial service, then headed back. We have our own lives and our time is valuable. I know for me, I haven't been past Portland, Maine for over 20 years, when my ex and I drove to Connecticut to visit family on our honeymoon. In fact, the only times that I've been down to the southern part of Maine are for workshops and on my honeymoon with my husband to Bar Harbor, and that's it. I guess you could say my world consists of the Saint John Valley, and I love it! I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. The city life isn't for me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Over!!!

Well, tonight my middle school students did their play. It was our only showing, which was probably for the best. The kids did a great job, in spite of the sound issues, some forgotten lines, and a few tears. They took it seriously and wanted so much to do well. In spite of the fact that there were some wrinkles, I'm so proud of them! I just wish that I could see them tomorrow. I won't be seeing them until Tuesday.

Our sound issues, we were suppose to have a couple of doorbell sounds and a gunshot sound. Well, for some reason, the sound system didn't play it over the speakers, although it worked perfectly this morning. So, here's my "Belinda" standing in the wings on the opposite side of the stage and trying to tell us to do her cue, and I'm trying to tell her that it's not working. One girl behind me yells, "ding dong!" and out comes Belinda in all her wonderful, glorious attitude. For a girl who was about to "freak out", as she so eloquently put it, she did a fantastic job. She remembered her lines and even helped others remember theirs, too. Anyhow, when it was time for the other sound effects, my kids were wonderful and jumped right in and made sure there were some. Got to love them!

All week I've been saying to my colleagues how there are 7 1/2 weeks left (yes there are for us), and now that I've had this opportunity to get close to these kids, I'm not so excited about it. I had a couple of eighth graders ask if I could let them still be in our middle school drama next year. I'm going to miss those kids. I'll still have this year's 6th and 7th graders next year, and a new crew coming in, but these 8th graders are special in their own way. When I first started teaching, they were in the 3rd grade and I would go in their classes to help Limited English Proficiency students. When they were in the 5th grade, I was going in their classes to work with a couple of students for English as a Second Language (ESL). Now, they've been in my class for almost the past 2 years for language arts and I've seen many of them grow and mature. Of course there are a few who need to mature further, but there are some gems in there just the same.

I guess my role as a teacher is very much the same as a parent. Our roles are to prepare them to eventually leave us. Something to think about.