Thursday, March 31, 2016

SOLSC #31 - City Wildlife

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

City Wildlife

While I do live in the Denver Metro Area, I always keep my senses ready to pick up on signs of wildlife. I grew up in the mountains and I have journals filled with entries that amount to lists of the animals I saw that day, consisting mostly of elk, deer. coyotes, hawks, etc, including details numbers of each and occasionally behaviors. While I don't keep a journal like that any more, below are some of the animals I've seen at my house or in the area. Each sighting is a special slice of my day and I cherish any reconnection to nature.

There are red tailed hawks nesting, again, in the tree two houses down from my backyard. They swoop through the neighborhood after small animals, birds and I worry about my cats and chickens.

Great horned owls nest and live year round in the wetlands half a mile down the street. Some years we find their nest and get to watch the owlets go form puffballs to adult-sized clumsy branchings. Some days, we can get them hooting and their cries are like morning doves but somehow completely different.

Mice skitter away from the chicken coop when I close it up at night. They have occasionally found their way inside where my older cats are too lazy to actually catch them and they must be caught other ways.

Twice, I've seen bald eagles fly by my house and it's not uncommon for me to see them flying overhead on my way to work in the winter. They hang out at Cherry Creek Reservoir where there is usually open water and fishing is possible.

Deer have crossed the campus at school several times during the winter and we've been lucky enough to see them or their tracks.

Coyotes live at the wetlands near my house and near my school. I always watch for their lanky profiles and alert posture.

There are cottontail rabbits everywhere and I am using them to teach my five year-old daughter how to stalk animals. She's gotten within five feet a couple of times before bolting away in sprint snap hops.

I have glimpsed several red foxes crossing streets while driving home, usually in the snow, at night, and coming back from a performance downtown.

Hawks seems to be everywhere as well and the Swanson's hawks are especially prolific and have migrated back north already. They sit like sentinels on lamp posts and once it warms up, I often see them carrying snakes, hanging limply in their talons.

Connecting to nature is important for me and while I live in the city now, I'm always thrilled for my moments with wildlife.






Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLSC #30 - Final Approach

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!


Final Approach

The passengers wobble in unison as the cabin is buffeted by turbulence. The baby a few seats up is crying, the red "Fasten Seat Belts" lights are red glows, getting increasingly smaller and unreadable the farther forward they are. White nothing surrounds us as we defend through the snow clouds into Denver. It's been several minutes and while I can feel the occasional turn of the plane, there is nothing to orient myself and I have a moment where I hope the instruments in the cockpit are working. I know it's silly but I always have to fight with the anxious part of my imagination, that can  create millions of scenarios, on take-offs and landings. And when the weather is bad, mountains or other planes or missed runways spark the neurons in my brain.

I lean over to look out the window and see fleeting glimpses of dry fields with lines of snow drifts left over from last week's blizzard. The sight of the ground makes me feel better and I know we will be on the ground in a couple of minutes. I hold my wife and daughter's hands, give and receive smiles and wait for the bump of the wheels on the ground.








Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SOLSC #29 - "Uh, Dad?"

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

"Uh, Dad?" 

I open the door to the car and begin to slide in as my daughter opens the rear door next to me. Just as I hear her say, "Uh, Dad?" I realize something is off. As I sit in the seat, everything seems a little unfamiliar. We do have a rental car but things seem unfamiliar compared to even that. There are several CDs in the door pocket, the steering wheel seems different, and the seat under me is not quite a stiff as the Hyundai we've been driving.

"Dad! We're in the wrong car!"

Thank goodness for children! They snap reality into place quickly when adults are lost in their own world; thinking about how to drive "home" in an unfamiliar town and other such non-present thoughts. No wonder things seemed weird.

Guiltily I extricate myself from the car, make sure "Clara's" door is closed too and circle to the car in the next space. I am sure it is ours but I push the key fob to get the reassuring "Beep" before opening the door and sliding into the, somewhat familiar, seat of the rental.

"You're silly Daddy," comes from the back seat as I fumble, trying to put the key into the push button starter while I think about how to get back "home."

Monday, March 28, 2016

SOLSC #28 - One Layer Short

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

One Layer Short

The cold is penetrating, pervasive, invasive. My fingers, usually a factory of heat used to warm my wife or daughter's hands, feel icy on my neck as they seek heat. My legs and back are cold and the tops of my toes are like popsicles. The rain outside is steady and the mercury holds at a dreary 39 degrees. The East Coast humidity makes all temperatures...more. I miss the dry cold of Colorado that while chilling, does not lay upon me like a wet blanket. I'm one layer short.

I looked at the forecast a few days ago and compared the temperatures on the same scale, forgetting to factor in the humidity. The zipper busted on my favorite blue fleece, the one I plan all other layers around. It's the article of clothing heavy enough to shovel in and light enough to put on for just a chilly breeze. But now it's getting repaired, my normal calibrations are off and my fingers are cold.

I'm one layer short.



Sunday, March 27, 2016

SOLSC #27 - Selfie with my Grandma

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

Selfie with my Grandma

Easter Brunch at the 'old folks home' is busy but everyone had headed to the buffet to get food and I was alone with my ninety-four year old grandmother. The nervous and loud energy of my aunt and uncle and the tireless energy of my daughter and wife were muted in the other room. I so rarely get real moments with my grandmother that I knew I had to jump in while I could.

Grabbing my phone, I zipped around the table and said, "Can I take a picture of the two of us?"

"Oh yes!" she exclaimed and I saw her joy as our smiles showed up on the screen in front of us. I clicked a few selfies and soon we were choosing the best one, my grandmother thrilled with how quickly we could see the results and of some of the other pictures from earlier in the day.

"I wish I could hold these in my hand." I assured her we would get them printed off for her in the next couple of days. I know I will make double copies of this one because I'm very aware that we have only so many slices of life left to share together.






Saturday, March 26, 2016

SOLSC #26 - Out The Window

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

Out The Window

"Look Dad!"

I lean over my daughter's shoulder and peer through the tiny window that is streaked with deicing fluid and precipitation from our climb through the clouds. Far below, the clouds are a puffy layer while the sun shine above from a bluebird sky.

"The clouds look like cotton candy!"

I remember saying the same thing to my brother when we used to vie for position to look out of our portals in the sky. We would wonder why some farmer's field were round, some square and others semicircles. We'd use the maps in the airline magazines and try to figure out if the body of water below was one of the Great Lakes or just a big lake.

Today I pulled out my phone and showed her the map that came up on the airline app. "Look. We are almost to Iowa where your friend Adelaide lives! Should we wave?"

Of course we do. And we have a wonderful flight looking out the window at the clouds, the shapes of the fields and looking for the Great Lakes on our way to Boston!








Thursday, March 24, 2016

SOLSC #25 - Ten Things Right Now

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!


This post is inspired by a "Be inspired" post from the SOLSC in 2014. Here is the link to the blog my post was inspired by.


Ten Things Right Now

1. My daughter was cold so she cuddled up on my chest and fell asleep after her story. It was magical on the day she was born and still is now that she's big at 5 3/4.

2. My bracket is busted but so is everyone else's so I might have a chance because my overall winner is still in it. I'm glad I didn't put in the $10 and and just filled it out to participate.

3. I can hear my cat snoring while ruled up on the blanket on the other couch. Can a cat have a deviated septum?

4. I got a haircut and wonder who will be the first to notice. It was not my wife or daughter this afternoon. Maybe I didn't wait long enough to get it cut and it doesn't look that different? But it felt kinda shaggy to me.

5. The snow outside is even more heavy and wet than when twenty-five inches fell during a twelve-hour period yesterday. The sun was out today, drying the shoveled sidewalks and plowed streets. Water ran deep, slushy and brown in the gutters.

6. We had two snow days in a row! Last time that happened for me was 1993, when I was a senior in high school in the mountains west of Denver. Forty inches fell over a couple of days and the skiing was amazing! Too unsafe to get to school but everyone made it to the ski areas! Actually, it took three days for the school bus turn-arounds to get plowed so that's why we got three days instead of just one.

7. It has been harder to inspire myself this SOLSC Challenge. I think it's that I am using my time for to her things and it takes real time to write everyday and like what I create.

8. The dishes in the sink still need to be washed and the chicken coop closed before I head to bed. Plus, my wife just emerged from the basement with a basket of clothes that need to be put away. Chores. Sigh.

9. Tomorrow is the last day before spring break and the first after two snow days. Who will have started break early by being gone physically or mentally? Will they get the work done they need so they can go into break homework and worry-free?

10. I am ready for bed, break and a snack. Probably not in that order.








SOLSC #24 - Anticipation

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!





Anticipation

I lay face up on the bench, not really seeing the ceiling. It's white and well lit but there is nothing to focus on and my thoughts are inward anyway. I hear him move behind me and tell me to relax. The head rest lifts an inch or two and over to the left on well-oiled slides.

I work to relax. Taking a deep breath I imagine my shoulders slumping, releasing my neck of tension. Strong but gentle hands grasp my head and I know the moment is near. It's impossible for me to time it although it usually happens faster than I expect. My thoughts race, buffered by mental shouts to relax and hopefully my muscles follow....

Withasuddenreleaseofenergy, my head is pushed down, the slide moves on the headrest, the soft click,  and his tai chi-like breath expulsion, covering any noise made by my cervical vertebra.

I lay for a second, trying to feel if there is any difference, or if it's all in my head.










Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SOLSC #23 - Shoveling in a Blizzard

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!





Shoveling in a Blizzard


It was 75 degrees yesterday and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt until dark. But "March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb" is backwards in Colorado most years. We tend to have sunny warm days as March begins and just as the first crocuses are wilting, the daffodils and tulips are blooming, and the leaves start to bud, a storm drops inches of heavy snow (and a few tree limbs too).

At 5:30 this morning I woke up to a phone call telling me that school was cancelled. I looked outside and saw that it was indeed snowing but the driveway and sidewalks were clear and there was maybe an inch on the grass. Then the wind picked up and the snow started falling like confetti.

Three hours later, I was shoveling eight inches of snow off the driveway and sidewalks! The bottom inch was heavy slush and it was like trying to lift water with each scoop. The wind buffeted me from all sides, making me squint against the flakes piling against me vertically.

After finally clearing the driveway, I looked at the freshly cleared sidewalk and there was already an inch of snow covering my hard work. Peering outside an hour later, several more inches are piled up and I'll have to shovel at least one more time today.

Outside again, the flakes pile up behind each pass of the shovel. I am reminded of a page from the Dr. Suess book Did I ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?




But I happily shovel the snow for free!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SOLSC #22 - Student/Parent/Teacher Conference

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!





Student/Teacher/Parent Conference

Today my daughter showed us her first portfolio from her new school; my school. We all sat together in her classroom, her two teachers on one side, two parents on the other. She sat confident and comfortable while I squirmed in the tiny yellow seat, trying not to hit my knees on the low table. The kindergarten teacher turned to Clara, opened her portfolio and said, "Are you ready to begin?"

I teach upstairs and have been through hundreds of conferences with my middles schoolers over the last nine years. But usually I have to be the one to coach and cajole, to remind and occasionally shush the parents when they don't let their kid talk. I vowed to just listen, ask appropriate questions and show my daughter I was proud during her conference.

Clara took a deep breath and spend the next twenty-five minutes reading to us about her best work, what she liked to read and write about, what things were hard for her and who were her friends. Her teachers were wonderful and clearly had a feel on her pulse as a student and a person. While I have the biased pride of all parents, I was blown away by my daughter, talking to four adults, all eagerly watching her, and doing it so well. It was special for me to be on the other side of the desk...that tiny short desk.


Monday, March 21, 2016

SOLSC #21 - Staff Lounge Donut

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!





Staff Lounge Donut

The box of white flimsy cardboard sits on the counter like it's been waiting for me. Squat, wide, and just the right height to hold it's covey of tasty treasure. As I pour my coffee, my mind can not help but to wonder, "What is in the box today?"

photo credit: A Box of FROST via photopin (license)
Glazed, with the icing pooling at the bottom of each donut, the sugar buzzing the senses as the delicate dough fairly separates in my mouth?

Cream filled, to be carefully enjoyed least it drip out, not only ruining my clothes but also wasted?

Powdered donuts with the heartier dough, white mists getting everywhere?

I want to resist as I often have lately; and these pants fit again! But I am weak. I'm tired, hungry, and whiney. I deserve one donut today.

Defeated and with frustrated guilt, I reach for the box and lift the cover.

It is empty. 

Empty.

I've won! Sort of. Because I know that I really lost the battle...and got "lucky."



Sunday, March 20, 2016

SOLSC #20 - Exploring Snowy Mountains

To read my students' posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



Exploring Snowy Mountains!

Just over a foot of fluffy snow blanketed the ground around my Dad's house in Evergreen. The top inch was made up of the big, light flakes that drift down, almost as afterthoughts, at the end of a snowstorm. Insulated in blue snow pants and purple jacket, my daughter was ready to lay claim to the untracked whiteness by stopping out footprints and creating snow angels.
video

What she found was, the rocks and hills around my Dad's house are a natural playground. I grew up here and seeing her discover the joys of bullying through drifts and sliding down rocks was special for me. Her joy mirrored my own, both from today and from decades ago.

video









Saturday, March 19, 2016

SOLSC #19

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



Black Ice

The truck's rear lights flashed angry red, but the real warning was when the back end started to slide the left. The black asphalt, just wet from the snow until now, was reflecting the bright tail lights with the reflective sheen of black ice.

My heart jumped as I realized I was going faster than I should be and slowing to a safer speed would be tricky, at best, on the downhill grade of the highway. I tapped the brakes and felt the bump-bump of the anti-lock brakes kick in too quickly, telling me that the road was indeed very slick. Feathering the brakes, my eyes darted from the truck in front of me to my mirror. I quickly calculated my chances of keeping my car on the road, not hitting the truck or getting rear ended.
         
         Staying on the road seems good
         Truck has straightened out
         Car behind me has space and seems to be slowing

My brain slowed along with my car's speed, my heart was pinched but not panicked, and Green Day again seemed to come from the speakers. Another black ice surprise but no harm done.

I continued on my way...

Friday, March 18, 2016

SOLSC #18 - Winter Encore

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



Winter Encore

Vibrant yellow petals bend
Thin stems droop
Under a muted white blanket

Roots greedily gather the moisture
Transforming blue to yellow-green leaves
Cloaked behind red buds
Promising

photo credit: Dewdrops and Daffodils via photopin (license)








Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SOLSC #17 - Back of my Hand

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



The Back of My Hand

Not my hand (I write bigger) but you get the idea.

I can tell when things are getting to be TOO MUCH in my life because I start making lists on the back of my hand. I don't really believe in writing on my body but I'm known to do it when information leaves my brain as quickly as it enters and I need to remember something. Today was such an occasion.

First, I wrote the name of the person at school who will watch my daughter for a few minutes before the 7:30am conference I have tomorrow. Actually, I have conferences from 7:30-5:00 the next two days. My dad is coming down to take my daughter to his house but won't be to my school until after 8:00. So, I NEEDED to make sure Clara has somewhere to be until then.

After taking care of that during the day, I wrote "DAD" on my hand because I had to make sure he was on the same page with me on pick up times and food my daughter would eat. Then, before I had called my dad due to the whole "kinda busy teaching" thing all day, I wrote "CLARA" on my hand. I was coaching the Ultimate team after school and usually I just head home after that. But my wife, who usually picks our daughter, Clara, up when I have practice had left this morning on a business trip. I had horrible visions of just heading home and arriving to a dark house and remembering my daughter was in the Extended Care room back at school.

Thankfully, the back of my hand successfully navigated me through the day. However,  I need to make sure to really scrub it tonight to get all the ink off before some parent looks at it quizzically tomorrow during conferences.


photo credit: List via photopin (license)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

SOLSC #16 - A Windy Challenge

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



A Windy Challenge


The last few days have been beyond blustery here in Denver. Trash bags flap above their cans while trash hurtles by to end up along fence lines or in the lee of large objects. Geese wing furiously overhead, zipping by with the wind or barely making headway against it. I moved our Ultimate Frisbee practice into the gym on Monday after we spent more time trying to tackle the discs as they skittered along the ground then throwing them. After school today was just as windy, but it was sunny and I was wanting the challenge of the wind and the local disc golf course.

Disc golf discs are smaller and don't flip as much in the wind as normal Frisbees, but a tempest still does amazing things to their flight. It takes some skill, extra pre-shot planning and a really good attitude to play in 30mph winds and have fun. If you happen to score well, that's a bonus.

I've been a decent disc golf player over the years, playing competitively but rarely in danger of placing in the top five in tournaments. But I have fun, have learned that I tend to play the wind better than many and I try to take extra opportunities to play in very windy conditions so my attitude is right if it windy in actual competition.

I get to the course and it's howling! Few people are outside at the park except for a couple of kids on the playground near huddling parents, the people with dogs (thrilled by the sensory input of the wind), and me.

Exposition Park has an easy course with wide open green grass, few obstacles and no significant elevation changes. What it dos have, is water. 11 of the 18 holes have a lake or creek near the fairway or basket. There are six holes where an errant shot has a good chance of disappearing forever into the murky, stinking depths of the lakes. Throwing a $20 disc away into the lake makes any round frustrating and the wind just adds to the anxiety.

But I am here for the challenge, and the fun, and the chance to watch my shots do crazy silly things, or exactly what I planned for them to do. Either way, it's going to be fun and I LOVE THE WIND!

Me draining a putt in a tournament several years ago.
The disc is just hitting the chains of the basket


Here is a link to my member stats on the Professional Disc Golf Association website, carefully chosen for my most competitive year, 2008.

p.s. Today I played really well with only two out of bounds strokes (leading to two bogies), and six birdies, for a respectable four-under-par.

Monday, March 14, 2016

SOLSC #15 - Bruised!

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here
 

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!



Bruised


As I pushed open the garage door into my house,
Hands heavy with grocery bags,
I clearly heard:

The swish of a bag leaning and falling in the back of my car,
                                                                            Of course the hatchback is open
The plastic crinkle as objects started to slide out,
                                                                             Oh no! I know what's next
Something round tapping the bumper
and then,

A staccato of heavy, wet, crunchy noises
1
2..
3
4
5...

6!

Followed by the sounds of them all rolling down the sloping driveway,
towards the gutter.

Returning with now empty hands,
I saw exactly what I expected.

Five Pink Lady apples
Strewn up and down the driveway.

One against a pine cone,
Three resting on the crack that stops my snow shovel
                                                                              Every Time!
Another in an iris...

The sixth is missing;
                                                                              Nope! Under the car!

I gather them up and put them into the bag,
Wiping off the dirt
And feeling the mushy bruised parts
Turning brown under the red/green skin.

I knew I should have carried all the bags in at once.


photo credit: La Pomme via photopin (license)




Sunday, March 13, 2016

SOLSC #14 - Thumbnail Armor

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!


I almost had a real "slice" of life today!

Thumbnail Armor
photo credit: Red and Ripe via photopin (license)


Chop-Chop-Chop goes the knife
Slicing vegetables with ease
Cucumbers, peppers and scallions please.

Tomato slices, no problem
Want them thick or thin?
Wash the lettuce, give its a spin.

Dice up some snap peas
Chop-Chop-Snag!!!!
I look down to see what's the drag?

My thumbnail is hacked,
But it protected my thumb
That was really close,
I almost felt dumb






Saturday, March 12, 2016

SOLSC #13 - Where is my Hour?

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!


Where is my Hour?

Springing forward has always been harder for me than falling back. It used to be about losing that hour of sleep because I would stay of to watch SNL anyway and then be extra groggy the next day. Plus, the fact that an hour just disappeared makes me incredulous and I have issues with which hour they choose to cut. Shouldn't we make that hour disappear on Friday afternoon after lunch but before dismissal instead of making our weekends shorter?

But now, my biggest issue is how dark it is in the morning when I wake up. The past two weeks, I've been getting used to the daylight greeting me as I stumble downstairs to start my day. Not full sunlight by any means, but it's been light enough to clearly see across the yard and identify colors. Since the light is there to greet me, it feels like I'm not getting up in the middle of the light.

photo credit: So Many Cuckoos via photopin (license)
The flip side is that the afternoons will be longer and I'll have more daylight when I'm actually awake and mostly functional. I'm looking forward to playing some disc golf or going to the park with my family after school. But how long will it take my daughter to ask why her bedtime is in the daylight now?







Friday, March 11, 2016

SOLSC #12 - Scared of the Dark

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!


Scared of the Dark

The single light, attached to the house, diffused quickly into the darkness. One of my early fears was being asked to take the garbage out, get something from the truck, or collect firewood. So long as it was daylight, no problem...but after dark fell, my mind created real and imagined dangers.

I grew up at the end of a dirt road in Evergreen, Colorado. While we could see the lights of Denver from our perch at 8,400 feet, the nearest neighbor was a couple hundred feet away and on three sides were dark pine forest. Lodgepole pines dotted the walkway from the house that led to the trucks and they make a continuous swish and creak if there was any breeze at all.

My biggest fear was actually my own fault. One evening, when my little brother had been chosen as the dark's sacrifice, I told him, "Look out for raccoons dropping on your head from the trees." I had no idea that very image would haunt me for the next several years. Even today, while I generally relish the darkness of the woods, that thought briefly passes through my mind and I must choose to push it along before it takes over.

So I would prepare myself to head out into the darkness and get the job done as quickly as possible. Sometimes I sprinted out and back, arriving at the door, chest heaving and slipping inside like I was being chased. Other times, I would walk purposefully and strong, sometimes singing loudly or even roaring at the hidden terrors of the dark. On those occasions, I would return through the door with a facade of confidence to show my little brother I wasn't afraid. But nothing real materialized from my imagination or reality and after a while, my confidence became real and less imagined.

Today, my daughter is sometimes afraid of the dark. We flick on the lights in the basement, or in the hallway to her room and we walk confidently, sing songs and roar to scare away the monsters.

And I won't ever tell her anything scary about raccoons.