(how to stay) forever young

I came home on Friday wanting to crawl into a dark cave somewhere, hibernate, and stay there for a long time.  I wanted to stay in the dark for as long as it takes for the blackberries to ripen and be ready for picking, or until the snow has melted completely at the end of the road up to Mt. Baker, or Lake Whatcom is warm enough for a summer dip. In other words, I wanted to stay asleep until sometime in August.

To say it’s been a rough week is an understatement. Friday night I wallowed in weariness, cried away my tension, pulled out a project to work on for the entire weekend and stayed home – mostly.  There was Easter stuff to do and some grocery shopping but really, for the most part I’ve been in my favorite chair in the living room putting together a new Journey doll for a friend and catching up on Parenthood on Netflix.

Just listening to the singing of Forever Young when they open each episode is enough to cheer me up.  I love that song.  And I love the Bravermans!

I’m not quite ready for Monday, but almost.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

celebrate link up – day late but not a dollar short: ruthayerswrites.com


CELEBRATE: extraordinary measures

celebrate link up

This week I would like to highlight just one extraordinary measure taken by staff at my school.  I know I witness at least one a week but this one is blog-worthy.

Our school is attended by many students from the Nooksack Tribe and we have been working side-by-side with the tribe to problem solve issues of attendance, conflicts with school schedules and tribal celebrations, and to raise cultural awareness of this unique population in our county.  One idea suggested this year by the Native task was to schedule a special evening for parent-teacher conferences on the tribal grounds.

Teachers were concerned about scheduling another long day just a week after their regular conference schedule but agreed to do it after the Thanksgiving Break.  Extra pay was set aside and the tribe offered to provide dinner.  The setting is a gym and there was concern about the noise level and possible interference of younger siblings who needed supervision.  Tribal leadership created a table for art projects, teachers without students to conference with volunteered to interact with  young ones as needed.

I was one of the latter.  I went a little bit early to help with set up and took pictures of the event.  We’re running a survey to see how people – teachers and families  – felt about the event.  My point of view is that it was an evening to celebrate – and I hope we do it again.
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I have 3 sets of siblings in my classroom this year. One set of twins and two sets of older brothers with younger sisters.  It is a unique factor in preschool:  siblings can be in a classroom together.   As you can guess, having a close family member in a classroom can be a blessing and a curse – for the student and the teacher.  Sometimes I can use these familial ties to the benefit of the child and the classroom, and sometimes I am sorry there aren’t alternative settings for each child.

This year I have had more than one occasion to share my own sibling experiences with my students. Occasionally I stretch the truth of the story a wee bit, exaggerating the benefits or troubles of my sibling relationships.  I’ve told stories about beating up on siblings and being sent to dinner without supper or getting my mouth washed out with soap.   Some of it happened.  Or drawing a story about  sharing a bedroom with one of my sisters and counting  airplanes through the window at night to put ourselves to sleep. I’m sure it has become an “enhanced” memory with time.

But the fact that I can genuinely speak to the experience of siblings is a something my students love to hear about.  I had one day when an older brother was particularly frustrated with his younger sister following him everywhere.  He hit her – as siblings do – and I said, “You know I had a little sister and I know they can sometimes be annoying.”  He looked at me with wide eyes – and a huge smile, “You did???”   We formed a bond for life on that day.  He will continue to have trouble with his sister but he knows I know exactly what it feels like.

celebrate link upToday is the birthday of the middle sister in my family.  Yes, we fought more often than I will ever admit to my students, and yet in growing up we truly learned to celebrate each other. Most of all I cherish the relationship unique to siblings – something I will tell my students about over and over again.

Happy Birthday Sis.

sometimes it’s a challenge…

to find a celebration in my day…celebrate link up

This was the case on Friday.  I had decided to stick with one of my student’s like a flea on a dog because he is sometimes impulsively destructive.  It had already been a hard week and I just wanted to get through this last day.

I had a wonderful time working with him – and a whole table of students inspired by his desire – to cut out hearts and make cards.  This child’s Nana was celebrating a birthday and he wanted to make a heart card.  He remembered there was a trick where you fold paper and draw something like a “C” on it and when you cut on the line and open it up, it turns into a heart.  He wanted me to help him with that magic and his energy around this project attracted some other curious magicians eager to learn this trick.

I celebrate the pile of paper scraps we created learning this trick together and showing others how to do it.  I celebrate the number of hearts he stuffed into his backpack for his Nana.

And then the walls came tumbling down; crayons were being tossed all over the floor and another child was being chased around the room.  The rabbit was back in the hat, the magic gone.

As I cleaned the room after they were all gone, therapeutically wiping each table thoroughly and sweeping the floor of  scraps that missed the recycle bin, I reflected through my tears that more of the day was good than bad.  Five minutes of destruction couldn’t erase 3 hours of good conversations, figuring out how to make 5, and remembering our comparative investigation of pumpkins and watermelons.