After Her Death

Following my mother’s death
We fought about the things.
We argued over furniture and
Heirloom diamond rings.

The Waterford from Ireland,
And oil-on-canvas art,
Madam Alexander Dolls,
Keepsakes of the heart.

Two lifetimes worth of Kodak prints,
The sweaters knit by hand,
Great grandma’s China gravy boat,
Old stories of the land.
____________

“My shelves are full!”
“My car’s too small!”
“Antique things’ll break!”
“I’ve got no room
On floor or wall
So nothing will I take!”

That’s the way we argued,
Voices almost at a wail.
So then and there we opted
For a discount two-day sale.

The Tooth Fairy: A True Story

Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy.  His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).

Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:

Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No?  (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No.  It’s not real.
Me:  What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy.  It’s a ratoncito. This is true!  In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.

The Cupboard

The ratty kitchen cupboard door
stood open every morning.
And everyday I told my kid,
“This is your final warning!

“You have to, must and always will
keep spices from the light
within the safety of the doors,
the cupboard closed up tight!”

“Sorry pop, it wasn’t me,”
the youngest one would say.
“I’d never harm the cinnamon.”
One day he moved away.

That open kitchen cupboard door
kept pestering my life.
Mistake! for it was not my child:
Was my forgetful wife.

“Oh honey, dear, please help me out
and do me a big favor:
Please close the cupboard door at night
so spices we can savor.”

“Don’t ‘honey me’ with open doors;
forgetful I am not.
I, too, protect the tarragon
and rind of apricot.”

After many years of open doors
she passed while sound asleep.
I cried for days, din’t eat a bite,
spent nights a‘counting sheep.

Then hunger knocked one afternoon,
I craved a spicy stew.
Aghast! the cupboard doors thrown wide!
I din’t know what to do!

***********

The cupboard doors I had removed,
And now I clearly see:
T’was not my son nor lovely wife,
The guilty one was me

Differentiated Instruction

Yes!  Differentiated instruction is important.  Students need the opportunity to learn and show their learning in ways that are appropriate and motivating for them.

For a humorous take on differentiated instruction, watch this video:

New Header- ¡Biblioburro!

The new picture above is of the Biblioburro.  Have you heard of it?  Do a Google search and you will see/ hear/ read about this amazing project in Colombia.  I believe in the power of books and literacy to change the world.  Take a look at this YouTube video to get started on your learning about Biblioburro.

How will you change the world? Y tu, ¿cómo vas a cambiar el mundo?

I know him, I don’t know him

Mr. B walked a kindergarden student to his room where I was working as the guest teacher for the day.  The 6 year old was surprised to see me and not his usual teacher.  Mr. B asked the student, “Do you know Mr. Fleming?”

“Yes, I know him.”

“Are you ready to have a good day with him, learn a lot and follow the instructions he gives?”

“Well, I’m not sure.  He’s old.  And I don’t know him.”

Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

22  Best Christmas Pageant Ever

http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=d4KSXrz28uE

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

20        A Charlie Brown Christmas

When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees amongst everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is.

Charles Schultz, the creator of Charlie Brown, is from St. Paul, MN.Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 9.41.49 PM

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

16        How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmq9i7_how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-1966_shortfilms

http://xmasfun.com/stories/Grinch/Text.asp

Every WhoScreen Shot 2012-12-15 at 1.22.20 PM
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot…

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But,
Whatever the reason,
His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, hanging a mistleoe wreath.

“And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer.
“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!”

A Christmas Story- Movie

13        A Christmas Story- Movie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppOXpyhM2wAScreen Shot 2012-12-10 at 5.48.02 PM

Nine-year-old Ralph “Ralphie” Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and “this thing which tells time” (a sundial). While using various schemes to convince his parents to get him this gift he continually bumps into objections from others saying, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

In each of the film’s three acts Ralphie makes his case to another adult and each time receives the same reply. When Ralphie asks his

mother for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, she refuses. Next, when Ralphie writes an essay about wanting the BB gun for Miss Shields (Tedde Moore), his teacher at Warren G. Harding Elementary School, Ralphie gets a C+, and Miss Shields warns him of shooting his eye out. Later, Ralphie asks a local department store’s Santa Claus (Jeff Gillen) for a Red Ryder BB gun, and Santa tells him the same thing before pushing Ralphie down a long exit slide with his boot.

(By the way, all of the posts from numbered 1- 25 are part of an Advent calendar for a friend from school; most of the words are borrowed from other websites.)