Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Sunday Seven

Celebrating the goodness of the week!

7. Clean clothes for the week ahead, all folded and hung up. Really- we had a "cold snap" last week and my clothes were a mess. I had to get out my winter clothes aka long sleeves from the boxes that I had packed away during spring break. It's all been organized and sorted again, which is a good start to the week. I won't be wading in the shoes and socks.

6. Living in a great city with all kinds of delicious local food options.  This weekend I enjoyed lunch at Pom Pom's Teahouse.  It's been a local favorite for a long time, but I hadn't stopped. I enjoyed the blueberry team. 

5. No more gray and a sassy short haircut.  I have been with my hair dresser since 2000ish. I trust him to do what makes sense. I always have said, "Don't tell me how to teach and I won't tell you how to do my hair."  He's a master. I trust him. I feel great.

4. The luxury of time to celebrate with friends. I don't think I do that often enough. It was a colleagues birthday. It was fun.

3. My team for being open to learning and stretching their practice.  I was reminded of this several times this week including during our DPLC training, our summer reading discussions during our PLC time and reading lesson in which we consider the difference between paper, digital and web-based reading (inspired by my reading of Jago's new book, The Book in Question.)

2. My mom and aunt making time in their week to drive to central Florida to watch Hope play water polo.  She loved that!

1.The Slice of Life Story Challenge.  This is the time in 7 years that I didn't post every day in March. I missed Friday and Saturday this week and that's ok. The team at Two Writing Teachers makes this possible. Next month aka tomorrow, they start the classroom challenge. I love reading other teachers blogs.  It's a been another great month practice writing and learning from the participants.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Water Polo from A to Z

The most exciting part of my life in the past two months is watching my daughter's water polo games.  She doesn't always play in the big games, but her coach does an incredible job of working players into the rotation for the games where we are sure to win.  There is only one team.

I love watching the games regardless of whether my kid plays. I've played soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, track, flag football, and ultimate frisbee. I've coached volleyball, cheerleading, track, ultimate frisbee and girls' flag football I've watched many many sports live and on TV. I used to think that men's volleyball was my favorite sport, but my new most favorite spectator sport is water polo.   It's a whole new vocabulary. Here's what I've learned so far.Obviously, I'm still filling in the blanks.

Attire for referees- all white shirt, shoes & pants
Brutality is a violent foul where the intent is to harm and the player is thrown out of the game.
Counter attack- like a fast break in basketball.
Dribble the ball not like basketball at all.
Eggbeater kicks
Fouls- Ordinary, Exclusion & Penalty
Goal Throw
High neck zip up suits are what female players wear.
Lob shot
Man to man defense
Neutral Throw
Overtime- a tie game will lead to this.
Possession clock like the shot clock on basketball.
Quarters per match-4
Releases- three finger, two finger, top-spin, side arm & index.
USA Water Polo is the governing body.
Wet pass
Yellow balls with grippy textured materials that are smaller for the women's game.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What's the Cognitive Task?

I love writing on my "prescriptive days."  On my open days, I struggle often with what to write. I love learning and I love the challenges of learning.  I have been more often than not reminded of the challenges for learners as I watch my daughter play water polo this spring.  For example, tonight when my daughter threw the ball, someone in the stands questioned why she didn't throw it harder.  I realize she is fifteen, but technically she's never been learned how to catch and throw balls on land much less water until November.  Aka context matters.  Feedback as you are learning matters.

As I watch her, I am reminded that as teachers we need to ALWAYS remember to ask ourselves, "What is the cognitive task for the learners? "  and that each learner brings different experiences to the table. Honestly, I still haven't figure out how to sweep the floor or load the dishwasher properly, but I think that's my fault.  I have been, however, faced with several cognitive tasks in 2019 that keep me focused on scaffolding learning.

How to run my new pump  has been my biggest on-going cognitive task in March.  I went to a 2 hour training last Friday morning in order to be able to begin to use my pump. I received a series of directions from the instructor that needed to be completed. She was shocked when I showed up having completed all of them. She says most people don't do that and even show up with the box unopened.

Ten years ago when I had my first pump I might have been one of those people, totally lost. Since I have been using a pump for ten years, many of the components were similar so I was able to figure out what to do by reading and following the instructions.  She only had to make a few adjustments and was able to give me more advanced instruction.  I was even able to ask questions that a novice pump user wouldn't know to ask.

As a learner, I also made deliberate strategic moves to master the pump before my training. First I made sure I changed pumps over during spring break so I had ample time and no distractions in my learning environment. I have been lurking in my T1 Facebook group reading over every question asked by Tandem users.  I mastered one component of the system the week before and made a choice to not change the type of infusion set so it would be one less new action for me to learn.  Therefore I was able to limit the number of true cognitive tasks to be able to learn what I needed to learn. Mastery matters because extreme errors can lead to death.  My most challenging task, changing the cartridge which I had to do at 1 am on the first night of returning to school, I accomplished. #SUCCESS  (As soon as I finish this post, I will attempt to do it for my second time because its time and the alarm will keep ringing until I do it.)

It also reminded me about the luxury I have to just focus on learning how to use my pump. I've allocated more time in my day to this learning.  Students may not have this luxury. In fact, they aren't just learning in your class aka one thing in isolation.  While I've been navigating learning about my insulin pump. I have also been learning water polo as a new to me sport as an observer. As my daughter plays this, I've been able to apply principles from other sports to help me understand the game, but I am still learning.  As I've developed my understanding, I've chosen more challenging tasks such as keeping the book to learn more about the game. Again, I've had the luxury of choosing my pace and choosing the rigor of the task. I've not kept the book at an extremely competitive match, in time, I will.

I just need to continue to stay open to the learning and to keep opening space for the learners in my community to develop mastery as well.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Celebrating Literacy

I have two favorite days of the year at school where we all come together around celebrating reading.  The first is Family Literacy Night and the second is the Million Minute Reading Marathon.  These are the days where the readers come out of the woodwork and we celebrate our literate lives and invite others to join us.

I can't remember how many years it has been since our first Family Literacy Night, but what helped me envision it was my daughter's elementary school long, long ago.  What I loved besides the different stations and workshops is that each student left with a book. That become one of my missions.  I've been able to fulfill this mission for several years now thanks to donations and my work on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden committee.  Teens are so excited and surprised that they get to choose a book and take one home.  Our first family literacy night long, long ago was small, probably more staff than students, but it has evolved into an event.  We start with Pizza on the Patio, a track for younger siblings and different sessions run by teachers and students. We've had the support of the Orange County Public Library.  I have to thank my principals who have generously provided the food each year. Yes, that's one of the draws, but once you get students and families, there, the fun ensues.

It's a time when students share their talents and its been a time where teachers who aren't feeling it, especially in November that sometimes long slog before the holidays are reinvigorated by the energy from the night.  Yes, so we are a little exhausted the next morning, I do try to leave the building clean with my helpers by no later than 8pm.

Monday, March 25, 2019

What R U Reading?

Do you ever find yourself in a reading slump? I like to ask kids
what they are reading.  I also liek to check in with colleagues to pick up titles. I don't always bother people to see what they are reading, I like to to stay abreast of new titles reads by doing the following things...

3. Downloading two free books weekly during the summer from the Audiobooks YA Sync summer program. Beginning Thursday, April 25th, two audiobooks that have been paired thematically will be released and available for download for exactly one week. The next Thursday, two more books are released.  Titles are yours to keep once you have downloaded them by using the Overdrive app, but they are only available to download for a seven day period.  This is one way to build a library of audiobooks to listen to during the summer and beyond.  I am really looking forward to this year's titles.

2. Membership and yearly attendance at the ALAN conference in November.  Officially know as the is Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE, ALAN is my teacher splurge each year. The membership fee is part of the workshop fee so renewal feels easy. It's not cheaper than free like YA Sync, but its the best bargain in town.  Each quarter, the ALAN journal comes full of titles to check out and use.  Weekly on the Facebook page, book titles are shared.  My favorite part is the conference where you leave with a box of books and many many new titles that have been shared by the panels that have been put together with new and known authors.  Then there is also the company that you keep, you will become part of a sharing community which is accessible on Twitter and Facebook to help feed you titles.

1.  The New York Time Book Review. I subscribe to the New York Times and one of the benefits is Sunday's weekly NYT Book Review.  Sometimes you will find a young adult author reviewing other titles and that is always fun to share with students, but I like the lists and the review found their each week.  I also like the titles that are features from all genres and all readers as you will encounter the range of readers in your classroom.

What do you do to stay current with hot reads?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Seven

Celebrating the goodness of the week!

7.  Afternoon naps.

6. Purging aka spring cleaning.

5. Return of cool weather. There was a time when we could get away with no AC until the end of May. We already turned it on, but a cold front allowed us to open the windows and enjoy the air. I had to dig my cool weather clothes back out.

4.  My husband, ala my driver.  He takes me places and I magically wake up there. Never underestimate the power of car naps.

3. Gorgeous spring weather.  Got to enjoy the sun at Ft. DeSoto and lunches outside.

2. Out with the old and in with the new. I've had an Animas insulim pump for approxiamately ten
years.  I've shifted to a new pump with auto shuttoff and jumped from the G4 to the G6. No more fingerpricks. Ultimately this leads to better numbers and better outcomes. Looking for good data in the months to come.

1. Time with family. Got to hang out with my mom, my aunt, my sis and nephews. Makes a good ending to my spring break week.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spring into Saturday: The City Edition

I am sandwiched between family in central Florida. They are at opposite ends of I-4. I reside in the middle, Orlando.  In the northeast corner where I grew up, my mom has a place in Cresecent Beach.  My sister and aunt reside near the southwest end of I-4 in St. Petersburg ala The Burg. If I am not spring hopping, you can find me at the beach at one of the ends of I-4. This last weekend of spring break finds me in St. Pete where the day will end with a convergence of the wicked sisters, my mom and my aunt, and my sister and I, for a family dinner celebrating my mom’s birthday. Rather than battle the spring break traffic on I-4, we headed southwest late at night. Therefore I was up early for some city adventures before heading to Ft. DeSoto this afternoon.

A great place to start your morning is at Mazzaro’s Italian Market, especially if you like Italian anything, but especially coffee and pastries. You can pretty much stock up for your entire day if needed and avoid making a thing. Get there early, even arriving at 9 when it opened, we found the coffee bar full and the bakery patrons up to number 42. I shared a pistachio cannoli with my husband knowing we had other morning plans.

After that stop, we headed to the the Saturday morning market to pick up some of my favorite products as well as eat breakfast. St. Pete Ferments is the first place I look for in the aisle. My friend wants some of their kimchi and I want some sauerkraut. It gets sold out so I head there first and am not disappointed today.  We make a pit stop at the Urban Canning booth to pick up a jar of the smoked tomato jam that my other friend has been craving. Breakfast consists of empanadas, knishes, and crepes.  Though any food you crave can be found here. Enjoy a little music.

We ended our day at one of my favorite beaches, Ft. DeSoto.