Wookiee Flashback

Thursday, March 28, 2019

#SOL19: March 28th

     They stare at each other, him crouched down, her on her feet.  Eyes locked, wordless.  Just staring.  He looks her up and down, this cute little girl wearing a Stormtrooper outfit in the presence of the Rebellion.  He shrugs, and his hairy head showed his confusion.  Chewbacca does not like Stormtroopers, but he wants to like this little girl.

      We were at Disney World, and my daughter had insisted on wearing her costume, despite the 100+ heat.  She wore it during the march of the First Order, she wore it to meet all the Star Wars characters in the Launch Bay, and she wore it again to the Star Wars themed fireworks show.  My girl is an Empire girl.  The Stormtroopers saw her and gave her special treatment.  The Wookiee, however, wasn't having it.  

     And now, sitting here at my kitchen table in March, thinking about what to slice about, my coffee mug transported me back to that hot summer day almost a year ago.  I always buy a coffee mug when we go on a vacation, and this is why.  Memories last forever, as long as we remember to remember them. 

Mini Corn Dogs

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#SOL19: March 27th

      Two cousins, bumper bowling together on Spring Break.  There they were, knocking down pins and building up an appetite.  So, we ordered some mini corn dogs from the kitchen.

      My niece tore through her corn dogs and requested more.  But, there weren't many left. I was puzzled for a minute, because they tend to eat pretty slowly.  Were they really so hungry that we ran out?  

      I glanced down at their plates.  My daughter, owner of the white plate, only eats the breading.  She carefully ate the breading and left the mini hot dogs, discarded on the side of the plate.  My niece, who was just eating out the basket, had a pile of mangled breadings, with no hot dogs to be seen.  The simple solution?  I grabbed the hot dogs that had been abandoned by my daughter and gave them to my niece.  Everyone was happy once again.

      These two are an odd couple.  They could grow old together, sharing one meal if they wanted to.  Together they would finish one corn dog.  What a team!  

Double Headed Serravallo

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

#SOL19: March 26th

     It was literacy night at the school where I taught/coached for 18 years, and I love to go back there on nights when families return.  I secretly hope that students I taught years ago come back with their younger siblings so that I can catch up.  I also look for parents and ask for updates on how they are doing.  It used to be just my second grade students, but now it's kids that I worked with as a literacy coach.  This evening was a mystery themed literacy night, so I scanned the room looking for students like a detective on the case.  I spotted one, and made my way across the gym to chat.

     He is a current 8th grader at one of our middle schools, so I had seen him recently in the hall, but I had a better chance to chat this time as he was making a mystery note from old magazines.  He was a student I knew as a coach, so I've been checking in with him since he was a third grader.  His little sisters were sitting across from him, also cutting and searching in magazines to create a masterpiece all her own.

     From across the table, his littlest sister started talking to me about her creation.  I glanced down, and then I spotted it: a double headed Serravallo!  In her creativity, she had taken my favorite literacy guru, and turned her into a double headed Jennifer Serravallo.  It dawned on me that perhaps even our students see that Jen Serravallo has the literacy wisdom of at least two people in one person!  I chuckled a bit, and wondered what type of magazines the teachers had put down as sources of print. Apparently Heinemann catalogs were on the table somewhere...  

     As they got up to leave, I took a picture of the three siblings.   They all looked right at the camera, and the littlest one even held up her creation to be forever cemented into my memory of the night.  It's no mystery why I love moments like these at family literacy nights.  


***Thanks Katie and Kim for letting me slice with your students again today!  


Monday, March 25, 2019

#SOL19: March 25th

     Read the book, then watch the movie.  In that order.  Always.

     Those are words I live by.  If there is a movie out that was based on a book, and I have ever had any intention of reading the book, I read the book.  Then, I watch the movie.  That's my rule. My sweet daughter disagreed with me a few years ago when her 2nd grade teacher read The Tale of Despereaux, and then they watched the movie in class.  She followed up by reading Mr. Popper's Penguins, and then watched the movie, and my daughter claimed that the books ruined the movies because she knew what happened already. At the time, I felt like a literacy coach failure.  How could my daughter feel this way?

      Fast forward a few years, and we were sitting at our dinner table, talking about Willy Wonka Jr. before we headed to a nearby school to watch it.  My colleague's daughter taught the middle schoolers there, and I love that novel, so why not!  As we were talking about the play, anticipating how they were going to set the stage up, I realized that both my son and daughter had no idea about what I was talking about.  They didn't know anything about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Somehow they hadn't read it in class, nor at home, and apparently we hadn't watched the movie (which is LOVED by my husband).  How had this happened?

     We got to the play and met Lucy and Becky, and Keira was immediately drawn in by the chocolate concession stand.  Evan was a bit disappointed that we didn't have front row, but as soon as the lights went down he sat on his chair in the back row, on his knees the whole time, comforted by the scarf Lucy put on his chair to kneel on.  Keira, on the other hand, spent most of the play sitting in my lap, whispering in the darkness...

     "So who's the bad guy in this play?"

     "What do you mean the kids are the bad guys?"

     "He didn't find the golden ticket?  Now how is he going to find it?  He only gets one bar a year!"

     "Oh, that's what you mean.  They are all spoiled."

     "Mom, he's going to find it now."

      "Does his grandpa get to go with him?"

      "Mr. Wonka isn't very nice to the kids, either."

      "No!  Don't do it Charlie!  Don't drink that!  I wish this part wasn't happening."

      "I think Veruca Salt is going to be next."  

      "Well, she really was a bad egg.  I liked those squirrels."

      "You mean the whole factory is his?  Will his family move in?"

      It was clear to me that perhaps there is value to watching a play before a book after all.  Those quiet (and not so quiet) whispers in the theater were little golden treasures of my own, peeking out of Wonka bar and waiting to be discovered.  To hear that curious voice in my ear, thinking about the play and making predictions and hearing her reaction, was priceless.  My son, on the other hand, hardly said a word during the play, but afterwards commented on how the cast from Act 1 was almost completely different than the cast in Act 2.  He guessed it was because the settings were different.  And he liked all the costumes and songs.  Those observations are also different from the take aways he would have had from he book, so perhaps he will still read the novel at some point.  Perhaps you can watch the play, and read the book.  

     I think I'll stick to my own rule, all the same. 


Saturday, March 23, 2019

#SOL19: March 23rd

      My kids were both at ballet class, but in their two different classes.  I saw my son's class leave their studio and head into the other studio, perhaps to watch their dance.  The classes become audiences for each other frequently.  But that was not the case today.     

      Dum duh da duh dee doo.  Dum duh da duh dee doo...  A familiar song started up in the big studio, and I rushed to the glass just as words filled the air.

      "Happy Birthday to you,
       Happy Birthday to you,
       Happy Birthday, dear Keira,
       Happy Birthday to you!"

     I watched as both ballet classes formed a huge circle around my daughter and sang to her as she stood in the center in surprise.  They held hands in a ring and spun around her, and then at the end they did some sort of ballet pose thing and she ran around the circle, giddy and proud.  And my eyes filled with tears as I saw my nearly nine year old daughter filled with joy, and wondered where the 9 years have gone.  

     Happy {almost} birthday, K.  

It's A Hard Knock Life

#SOL19: March 22nd

     "So, how did you put them on?"

      "Let me show you."

       I reached into our just arrived dance duffel and reached for a make-up bag filled with things that I myself have never used.  Lip liner, lip stain, eyelash glue, and fake eyelashes.  I pulled the eyelashes out of the bag, opened the case, and peeled one out of the container.

      "Put the eyelash on the clear cover you took off the case.  I use the glue that has a brush applicator.  Put the applicator in the glue, and put a thin line of it on the eyelash.  It will shimmer a bit so you see it.  Let it sit there for a minute or two so it dries a bit.  I highly recommend putting the eyeshadow and eyeliner on first.  If you put some eyeliner on the upper lid, then you don't see your mistake as much if you put the eyelash on a bit too high.  The eyeliner helps cover it.  When you put the eyelash on, just press it down in the center first, and then do the sides.  You got this."

      Our kids were getting dressed in their full costumes for the It's a Hard Knock Life portion of their competition dance, and here I was telling another dance mom how to put on eyelashes.  Two weeks ago, I almost had a full blown anxiety attack over the mere thought of gluing my daughter's eye shut and making her go blind because of a dance competition.  But, here I am, talking eyelashes without losing my mind.  There was even a calmness in my voice that surprised me.  I'm still not thrilled that this is the conversation I'm having, but at least I'm calmer about the process for my daughter.  I'll call that a win.

      The team went on to practice their number, eyelashes and all.  They are going to be ready for their competition in two weeks.  Let's just hope their {dance} moms are, too.

Bilingüe/ Bilingual

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#SOL19: March 20th

Porque hablo español, 
puedo leer los cuentitos de mis estudiantes 
y decir estudiantes, escuela, comunidad.

Because I speak English, 
I can communicate with others 
and say We are #BetterTogether.

Porque soy bilingüe, 
puedo tomar café y coffee
tener orgullo y pride
leer libros y books
tomar fotografías y photographs
y entiendo doble.

And one day, 
because our students can speak 2 languages, 
they will do twice as many things, 
read, write, listen and speak twice as much, 
and they will be twice as proud of themselves.

This slice was inspired by a poem written by Alma Flor Ada. It was shared by Maribel Gálvez after she did an Así se dice lesson with her class. I decided to use it as a mentor poem instead, and used the structure but changed it to reflect my own bilingual experiences. Thanks for sharing, Maribel (and Alma Flor Ada).

In our dual language classrooms, we use green font for Spanish, and blue font for English.