Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making a List and Checking It Twice

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Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Elisabeth for all the work you're doing!

I leave for NCTE in less than 48 hours. I got to school early this morning to get plans written out for the substitute and files uploaded for students. A few students join me early and we visit over breakfast.

"Are you nervous about your trip?" Nidhi asks me this morning.
"No, not nervous, but it feels like I have  2, 317 things to do before I get on that airplane Thursday morning," I replied as I set up teaching station early this morning.
"Make a list. That always helps," she advised.
"I do. I have several lists going right now," I admit.
"Make one list. One long list will tell you all that you to do without worrying."

Wise teenager that Nidhi is.

My one list is in the works.   With so much to do it's easy for my Rider to let the Elephant take the lead. In class, we're hip deep in This I Believe projects this week. Students should finish their recording and share finished drafts by the end of the day tomorrow. Then I need to publish the pieces to the wiki site, so that students and their families can listen to their youth's voice during our Thanksgiving  break. I love this project, but this week I'm questioning my timing. The room is a hive of activity.

After school, I promised youth poets virtual open mic time. We connected with Cindy Minnich and Sara Holbrook today. Cindy is working on a piece in response to Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan, as her poem notes, sees deficits. She sees potential. So do I. Students have a vacation week next week, so attendance at Poetry Club was lighter than usual. Still, there is promise in poetry, theirs and ours.

Brianna shares her poem and gets encouragement from
Sara and Cindy. 

That promise was a good reminder to me as I looked back on today. Our wireless went up and down and our desktops crashed and rebooted. Sometimes learning is messy and we have work around the glitches. There is so much potential in students. So much that recording, publishing, sharing and connecting around student work offers me as a teacher and learner. Remembering that helps me problem solve when the technology seas get rough.

At home, we're getting ready to pack. We're searching for warm clothes. My son told me this morning that he has a hoodie to wear as a jacket. I nearly shot coffee out of my nose. What?  I thought I had him covered with new pants that covered his ankles. No winter coat that fits? My heart sped up at the thought. It may be eighty-five here but it's in the thirties in Boston! He doesn't take off until Sunday, so he and his Dad can organize a winter coat. By the time he arrives for his visit to winter, and writers, and ALAN, and family, he'll be set.

There is time enough for everything.

I am over the moon at the thought of seeing friends and learning from colleagues. I can't wait for the conversations, the ideas--the buzz and hum of books shared.  It is going to be a fantastic conference.

Hope to see you in Boston!


  1. You bet, Lee Ann.
    Breakfast on Saturday for sure.

  2. So wish I was going to Boston. I would love to meet my virtual friends there. Your classroom seems like an active, learning place. Try not to stress. You know if they can't record until after the break, the project doesn't become any less meaningful.

  3. Boston sounds so fun. And what a temperature difference. Your students must love to be in your class, getting a chance to be creative. Have fun on your trip!

  4. Glad you found out about the coat early enough. One trip I made with students had a parent racing to Target to get her daughter a new pair of hiking shoes. They didn't discover she had outgrown them till she put them on that morning! Looking forward to meeting you, Lee Ann, & talking about your poetry, especially!

  5. AND it's supposed to rain this weekend. (Like I really want to pack rain boots!)

    Looking forward to meeting you in person this Saturday.

  6. I cannot wait to meet you! Boston, here we come!!

  7. Enjoy Boston! I'll be thinking of all of you. Tell your son that it's cold here! It really is!!!

  8. Enjoy Boston! I'll be thinking of all of you. Tell your son that it's cold here! It really is!!!

  9. The hectic nature of getting ready for a trip was so clear in your words. Have a safe trip and enjoy the conference.

  10. Looking forward to meeting you at breakfast on Saturday!