Clean Towel Wednesday and Alphabetizing the Spices


My husband just came in and excitedly said, “I’ve changed the towels tonight.”

No response while I hovered over my computer.

“You know tomorrow is Clean Towel Wednesday, right?”

Oh, that’s right. We celebrate different holidays these days.

I had my own moment today, as well.

“I’m going to alphabetize the spice cabinet,” I announced after dinner.

And that’s what I did.

We have too much time on our hands.

This is only about half of the spice jars
Yes, I did start the alphabet at the bottom because all our favorites start with C. (My husband insists the peanut butter stays here too!)

One Word for 2019 Poem

I was inspired yet again by my friend Sheri Edwards. She recently created a great post, “Blog Images,” about making and finding images to enliven your blog posts. As photo resources have continually changed over the past decade, I learned some tips that were new to me. I made the above layered images on Google Slides from this video I found on Richard Byrne’s post that Sheri had shared.

This month, my students are doing a collaborative project with art, computer, and English about their #OneLittleWords. They are writing a paragraph, poem, and slide show video, along with a piece of art they did in art class. We are learning together and growing as we get to know and help each other with the challenges before us in 2019.

A New Blogger

The #blogging28 challenge for 14 January was to “offer to help someone start a blog.” It was funny that day I happened to be with a friend and she mentioned that she reads a lot of blogs. It was the perfect reminder for me to offer to help her make her own.

We went out for lunch the next day and brainstormed topics for her blog–education, learning, being a principal, being a wife and mother, faith, intentional living, and more. She had lots of ideas! It’s a work in progress, but it was fun to offer to help. (I’ll be sure to add a link to her new blog when she starts it.)

Here are a few pictures from our lunch at a new Gujarati restaurant. (We walked to the restaurant from our school.)

The restaurant was all new and sparkling clean. We were the only ones there at 2:45 p.m.
Look at all those stainless steel dishes. They would come to fill them up as much as we wanted.
So many delicious flavors, and they just kept bringing hot and buttery chapatis and fresh puris that were hard to resist.

Wendy’s Creative Constraint: A #Modigiwri Game

I just came to my computer after a busy day to comment on a blog post for #blogging28, but I saw this tweet and conversation by Sheri and Wendy regarding Wendy’s playful post for the #MoDigiWri challenge and Sheri’s response.


(Click Sheri’s tweet to read their poetic conversation.)

I hadn’t met Wendy, but I do know Sheri, and so it was a sweet moment to see Sheri conversing with a wordsmith soulmate, off on a lexical lark.

I was curious and had to try.

Opening my favorite online dictionary for English learners–Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English–(for I too have no paper dictionary), I pointed to a random letter on Sheri’s post and then chose a random page from the N’s. (I used the second column on my PC, starting with neonatal. I didn’t want to use the first six words, all forms of neighbor.)

So many proper nouns! Oh, well. I took the challenge, so I’ll write a story.

The neophyte neonatal nurse from Nepal was on WhatsApp conversing in Nepali with his nephew, when the supervisor barged in shouting,“Nepotism!” Since the nurse’s mother was director of Neptune Hospital, perhaps it was true. Suddenly embarrassed, the nerdy supervisor sheepishly went back to his break researching Nero and Neruda.

OK. That’s not as easy as they make it look!

That’s all for now, but there is something strangely satisfying about creative constraints.

Teacher Rewards

I have rarely regretted going into education; it is the hardest and best profession there is. It is a job full of creative opportunities, rich relationships and camaraderie, and surprises.

Today I was reading student dialogue journals.* This gem came along:

Dear Mrs. Denise,

How are you? I’m fine. You remembered me when I was in KG2. I always say “I don’t know.” And now in Grade 5, you’re saying to me I’m a good problem solver.

Your student,

Ali

 

Of course, how could I forget Ali? When I met him, it really did seem the only thing he could say in English was, “I don’t know.”

It was five years ago, and I was new to Bahrain, new to ELL students, and new to kindergartners. I learned a lot that year. So did Ali.

Fast forward five years, and I have the pleasure and privilege of teaching Ali’s class again. Now, he doesn’t say ‘I don’t know.’ He has learned to figure out what he doesn’t know through observation, good questions, and a desire to learn. I am so proud of him.

My response to Ali’s letter was easy to write. His letter was a delightful reminder and a sweet teacher reward for today.

What teacher reward did you receive today? Did you notice?


*Dialogue journals are a great activity in the English language learner classroom. I learned about the process through a TESOL book called Dialogue Journal Writing for Non-Native English Speakers: A Teacher’s Handbook. Teachers and students share dialogues in a notebook. The student writes about anything, asking questions about academics or life. The teacher writes back, modeling good writing and answering questions students have posed. The teacher writes a reply of comparable length to what the student wrote. This is a time for authentic conversation, not convention corrections, though you did notice I asked Ali to use I, instead of i for the personal pronoun. Occasionally I will give them one thing to work on, especially something like “I” that we’ve worked on and I expect mastery.

More resources about Dialogue Journals