Taking stock

Tomorrow is our last day of school. And while many things about this school year were new and different, one thing remains. I always make time to reflect, on my own and with my students.  We talk  and write about our highs and lows, our favorite books, moments and experiences, the things that challenged us, the things we don’t want to do again, what we might have done differently, and what we wished we’d done more.

My highlights:
joining: the March SOL writing challenge for teachers and with my Fourth grade class, was more than a highlight- it was a game changer. Not only did I begin to walk the walk this year, but as I look back I can see that I started to to do the things I’ve read about in professional books. One of those things is reading like a writer, and that is what brings me to this post. I was reading a friend’s post on Facebook the other night. It was kind of long, and I’m not a big fan of long Facebook posts, but this one caught my eye. I loved what she wrote, and when I finished reading it, I reread it and thought.”Wow, this gives me an idea for my Tuesday SOL piece.” So, thank you Kara. And here goes.

watching: birds at the feeder that hangs from the tree just beyond my patio. Goldfinches, a Cardinal on the ground, wrens, and even a small red headed woodpecker. I am grateful for the peaceful hill with the beautiful view, atop which I now live.

ordering: books from Amazon. Eight weeks of wide open days are just around the corner for me and I am looking forward to having time for all sorts of things, including reading. The Boy on the Porch, A Snicker of Magic, Small as an Elephant and The Secret Hum of a Daisy are in my cart. What should I add?  How lucky I am to have a job that includes a reading vacation every summer.

baking: Rhubarb Crumble Cake. I found rhubarb in the neglected vegetable garden at my new house. And I found an easy recipe for an “everyday” sheet cake on Smitten Kitchen. If you don’t already read Smitten Kitchen, you must. Not only does Deb Perelman post great recipes, but she’s an entertaining writer with honest voice.

looking forward to: the June Writing Institute at Teacher’s College. I think I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.

proud of: my daughters, for making it through the challenges of another year of high school that included so much change and challenge at home.

loving: the Sunday morning yoga class my friend Karen encouraged me to check out. From the reassuring, warm manner of the instructor  to the beautiful robin’s egg blue paneled ceiling in the studio, I am enjoying every one of those 90 minutes, even when the poses are hard.

wishing: that the vegetable garden at my new house would weed itself.

missing: my dad. He was a reader and a writer. I wish I could talk with him about books and what I’m doing now.

planning: to paint furniture when the end of year meetings at school are over. I’m excited to transform a bookshelf that was mine when I was a child and now belongs to one of my daughters. I am looking forward to helping  my girls finish decorating their new rooms.

grateful for: the kindness of friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances, parents of students and virtual strangers. I will never be able to thank all of you adequately, but please know I save and reread your notes, I water your plants and cuttings, I listen to your voice mails and smile when reading your emails and texts, and I eat your yummy treats. I am grateful, truly.

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