Celebrating Mothers

The day started, like any other Sunday. A light breakfast of bagel cream cheese and a few olives, washed down with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The powdered chocolate from cocoa grown in the rain forests of Ghana. Pure, refined and slightly bitter. It was creamy and had a sweet aroma. I glanced at my phone and noticed I had many messages from all my cherished children and dear friends wishing me a, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. I felt special. I had to share the feeling with my mothers, so I sent my mother-in-law and a few mentors messages of love and encouragement for this journey of parenting.

I then got ready for church, and remembered there was an event after lunch. I took my two choices of clothing with matching shoes and accessories, just in case one was not right.

After church, I stopped at my sister’s, joined the family for lunch and prepared for the Mother’s Day Garden-Tea Party. Many events in my life create images that stick and this was one of them. A colorful group of ladies, some familiar others not so familiar. We chatted and got acquainted with each other before settling down to a menu of delights. The youthful band surprised us with familiar music that sounded so perfect and mellow. It is only when you actually turned to see the band that you realized the music was live.

Meanwhile the setting was just extraordinary. Tables of two, four six and more had been set. With waiters at our beck and call. Mother’s being pampered. The garden was plush, I have grown to appreciate plants and ‘greenery’ so much. The garden had been cleverly nurtured, with a hut-like thatched roof of green palm branches. There was a mix of realistic looking artificial flowers for the décor, however there were beautifully colored roses as the center pieces on the plushly laid tables.

When we found our table, ‘Peach Tea’, none of the guests were seated. Soon after that, a few ladies joined us. The conversation started. The waiters served the most exotic tasting cold tea and kept refilling our glasses. They delivered the three courses on tiered servers. It seems scanty but definitely a delight to see and taste. It was filling, many choices, sweet and savory.

A remarkable experience. The sheer exuberance of the exquisitely dressed mothers or mothers to be. An escapade I am sure I will look forward to next year. Thanks to the organizers, like my children, this will live with me for a very long time.

d4845ebe-4a19-4393-92b2-e71c7e19137d (1).jpg

screen-shot-2017-12-02-at-6-09-23-am-1.png

 

 

Three or Four Chapters

I’m a member of a very vibrant and energetic bookclub.

What members bring with them is so thought provoking. The conversations are teeming with connections, life experiences, stories and humour, so much of it. We meet on Zoom from different continents, with our different nationalities and accents. We discuss in a common language.

Having been a participant in different bookclubs I realised how different this format was. I went through the first meeting nodding and thinking, I’m learning so much. Not only was this particular book provocative, but the energy the members brought to the three or four chapters we read was intriguing. So many issues, topics and questions surfaced.

What made the author include this or that?

What was the author thinking?

Why did we have to infer so much?

What exactly was being addressed here?

Sometimes we are led to carry out some more research in order to understand parts of the book.

At the end of our first meeting, I could not wait for the next three or four chapters and the leads that would come from the discussion.

Putting my teacher’s hat on, I plan to set this up for my fifth graders, to get them engaged and ‘fired-up’ to read and enjoy discussions around books.

Reflection of this school year

5 things that made me smile

Students , their resilience, mask wearing, dotted illnesses, some class closures, managed play areas due to social distancing and many more ‘news’!

Conquering my new school year of looping with most of my students. They were different as they matured a lot through the school year.

Students’ passion and interests shared eloquently during our PYPX. 

Getting to know my students their strengths and needs.

Collaboration (with teachers) not so easy but achieved results in the end.

4 words to describe my school year

Different

Changeable

Manageable

Successful

3 plans for my holiday

Rest

Read and write daily

Recuperate ( seems like the word for teachers to regain the energy) before the next school year.

2 things I learned this school year

To listen more and reflect before judging.

Be patient and work through challenges, they soon pass.

I goal for my next school year

Start with a positive mindset

A little piece of me

Browsing through Instagram, I came across a post from one person that led to another. I usually read interesting posts but rarely comment.

This time, the post led me to another. To my amazement it was a challenge, one that I found very inviting, especially at this time of my school year (when my to-do list never diminishes).

A May challenge that asks for one bit of information a day. I found the right title for it, A little piece of me. I thought so, as by the end of the month I would have thought deeply about myself and experienced daily mindfulness at the same time.

I’m glad the post allows us to take a screen shot and answer the questions on our own or with friends. So here’s today’s ‘ask’ below.

I’ll wait till the end of the month to contemplate on all my answers.

Good Times

They left home

Leaving us here

Their rooms

Left

as it was.

Later on,

we realised

they’ll be gone.

Maybe, gone for good?

For when they return

it will be temporary,

here,

it may be to friends,

a hotel, somewhere,

where they live like

visitors, tourists,

foreigners.

Yes

We had good times

long chats, laughs, stories,

cooking together, movie nights,

games’ dates, celebrations,

long road trips to different parts.

Those memories,

Some captured in photographs

were moments

we never wanted to end

But indeed,

“All good things must

come to an end.”

We continue to cherish

the memories

they have left behind,

and took with them!

I selected this proverb from The Poem Farm ; “All good things must come to an end,” and wrote the poem.

Silence

Like a plain sheet

It is nestled here

In its perfection

I wake up to it

In the middle of the night

It commands a surge of

gratitude

Supplies time to think

It’s intent is just to be

present.

SILENCE!

An opportunity to be

Just be

Enveloped in this hushed space.

During the March slice of life challenge, I collected many words from slicers, words I have never used in my writing. I vowed to use them frequently and today I have been able to dot some of them around, here in my poem about silence.

Growing like Plants

My weekly visits to R’s garden reveal many new surprises. It really is fascinating the way plants change as they grow. New additions are brought in weekly, so no part of the garden ever stays the same.

Hibiscus

My annual March Slice of life, daily writing is no different. I am amazed by what I learn, the different structures of writing, new vocabulary, the variety of feedback I receive and learn from. Like the rich soil the plants in garden receive, I have been exposed to many creative ways of writing. I have been enlightened and this is helping me develop my writing in many ways.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Stacey and the co-authors at the Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to slice daily in March, with other educators. I’m growing as a writer and my goal every year is to carry on writing with my various writing groups. My goal is also to ‘just write’ and to try and pop in to slice on Tuesdays. I appreciate this community, for nurturing and providing me with the sunshine required for my writing growth.

Crossandra

Letter to my Writers

Dear Writers,

I appreciate how well you’ve been working on your essays. I know it has not been straightforward but I can see you are all working very hard to achieve a persuasive claim.

Tomorrow, you will be working on your body paragraphs, and as you have already decided on the reasons to support your thesis statement, all you have to do is to select the evidence and examples that help expand and explain your reasons.

Our next lesson will help you select the appropriate evidence, we will also share transitional phrases that will help you truly convince your reader.

Do let me know if you need help at anytime during the next lesson. There will also be student samples and our selected mentor text available to guide you.

See you during the lesson tomorrow, come prepared to do your best writing.

Yours sincerely,

Ms. Juliette

Yesterday’s slice was my thoughts about my lesson. Today I felt the need to write to my fifth grade writers.

Revision

I’ve been sitting here contemplating on what to write for my slice today.

I started a slice about my revision lesson during writing workshop and gave it up as I did not think there was much to report. When I started typing I realised I could share about the uneasiness of my students, as they had to read and revise the first draft of the claim for their persuasive essays. They wanted to carry on writing the next paragraphs of their their draft.

I asked them to spend the first few minutes reading their claim aloud to themselves to determine whether their hook, background information and thesis statement were convincing enough. Had they added reasons to expand their statement?

As I read through their first paragraph, I had questions for them. Had they thought about their audience? Who were they trying to persuade? Conferring with individuals and small groups, I drew their attention to some changes and addition to make and they had the checklist to refer to.

At the end of the lesson, I was really moved by the claims most of the students had coined. I made them aware that they had worked really hard and the work they had done was to help them understand the importance of revision.

At some point during the lesson, I questioned myself as a teacher. Was my initial mini-lesson last week, explicit enough? This is a reflection that is still churning in my head.