Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Manifesto Against Venom and Vitriol or Vote YES on May 3rd in Washtenaw County's Special Education Millage Renewal

I have strong political convictions, but I won't usually make you listen to them, especially in my work with Service Dogs, volunteering at the hospital, on Facebook, working in schools, or on this blog. This blog is intended to celebrate the joy of raising readers and writers. But it started because of politics and AnnArbor.com.

You see, I started blogging and attempting to spread positive energy about literacy and learning because I was shocked and embarrassed about the toxic venom and vitriol spewed against teachers, children, and our schools on AnnArbor.com. (Full disclosure: I am a Community Contributor and have submitted articles to AnnArbor.com.) Why are these people so hateful? And why don't these people post under their real names?

But Mrs. Nice Lady stops now. If your kid ever used up more than 1/26th of the teacher's time: vote YES on May 3rd.  If your child uses services like a bus: vote YES on May 3rd. If you think  children who have special needs and their families deserve help from public school systems; vote YES on May 3rd.

The crazies will be out. And they will be voting. I (very) personally understand how this economy takes cheap shots. But please don't let our community hit our schools after Snyder, our state legislature, and the Michigan economy has knocked them down.

Even if the millage passes, there is still a 15 million dollar deficit in AAPS. Special Ed services are required by law. The loss of this tax continuation will create a 21 million dollar deficit in our district alone. And the cuts are already starting to fray at the edges.

These services are required by law to be provided; the monies will have to come from somewhere. If you don't like large class sizes and split classes - vote YES on May 3rd. If you don't want to lose more than has been proposed, such as 70 teachers and several principal positions (principals running two buildings!), vote YES on May 3rd. If you think that all children in Washtenaw County deserve good school, vote YES on May 3rd.

We moved to Ann Arbor for the schools. I am shocked by the venom and vitriol on-line. (Who posts hate like this anonymously?  What stinkin' cowards. I'll bet they'd be embarrassed for others to know what lies in their hearts.) Although I am hopeful this is a small and squeaky group, their toxicity makes me very sad about the state of the world. These kids deserve better.

Please- vote YES- on May 3rd.

And I, for one, am hopeful to have my faith in the world renewed by the fine citizens of Ann Arbor when I check the paper on May 4th.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Welcome, Spring" Book List

Ahhh...Spring has sprung.  And TRWH has gathered a little list of sweet Spring picture books:

Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow (This book frames the year with seasons and holidays- a great way o show the cyclical structure of a year to small children.  An oldie, but a goodie.)

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills   (Bird starts to teach Rocket the dog to read, but goes away in winter.  Don't worry, Bird returns in the Spring.)

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers (An old classic.  I love this one for Spring, for listening, for writerly life.  Also, it's a good excuse to take kids on walk and ask them not to talk for five minutes in a row.)

My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell (Put Rockwell on it...I'll buy it.  I love Rockwell's simple nonfiction books for little ones!  It's a small moment, it's a just right book, it's a Rockwell!)

Forever Friends by Carin Berger (Last year I saw this at Nicola's and I just loved it.  (Going through the seasons, --SPOILER ALERT-- bunny and bird are reunited in Spring.  Great companion to the Rocket book- both use seasons for structure, but the tone is so different with the art and text.  Great book for studying mood.)

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, Illustrated by John Muth.  (Mo did not illustrate this book.  This is a powerful book about seasons, life,loving, good-byes, and going on.  Have a tissue.  It is just beautiful.)

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na (This book talks about what animals do to get ready for winter, and then shows them in the spring.)

Red Rubber Boot Day and Mud by Mary Lyn Ray (Joyful, poetic prose.  Great for small moment writing, teaching how writers live in the world, and poetry.  And now you'll want red rubber boots.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

READ MY LIPS: No New Taxes...Keep 'em the same by voting YES to Maintain Funding (as is) for Special Education in Washtenaw County

Vote YES on May 3rd Special Education Millage Renewal.

This will not increase your taxes.

It will keep them where they are and ensure that the 1 in 7 students in Washtenaw County who need special education services will get them. That's 7,000 kids in your own backyard.

Tell your neighbors this is not an increase and please...vote YES.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't Wake Up Mama!

Don't wake up Mama is a common theme here. First of all, our never-waking-up-before-8 children have shifted to a always-waking-up-at-or-before-7 schedule. Even on weekends. Even when we don't have to go anywhere. Even when we were out late. And I'm a 3-cups-of- coffee-before-we-leave-the-house kind of Mama.

Today this seemed to be a theme.  Fran has decided to write a book called "How to Wake Up Your Mom" over break, with such good ideas as "play cymbals," which, unfortunately, we own. If you heard the title of his *other How-To he tried penning at school, you would understand how pleased we are with this new topic.

Claudia is enamored with those naughty Five Little Monkeys from the Eileen Christelow. We had a copy of Don't Wake Up Mama, which has been retitled Five Little Monkeys Bake a Cake. In this gripping tale, the monkeys make a cake for Mama's birthday- and try to do it quietly. The sentence "Don't wake up Mama." is woven through the text. I was using the two texts in a minilesson on titles- but Claude found them. Now we read them both. Daily. She understands that the story is the same- even though the covers are different. She amazed me. Then today, after reading them both for about a week, she crinkled her nose and said, "I wonder if they will wake up Mama this time." Silly little monkey.

*We are pleased his teacher handled it nicely- and in the classroom. Let's just say it was a "home project."

Friday, April 1, 2011

March is OVER


March is Reading Month is over.  Posting daily was a challenge- and a joy.

But still, phew.