Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wise Words

Here's a quote from last year that I think sums up what I want for MIRM every year:

"(MIRM is about) creating a home where reading and writing matter. It's not about getting kids to read above grade-level, it's not about checking daily reading off a list, and it's not about school.  

It's about life. It's about living well. And it's about feeling connected to others and yourself."

Get ready for daily posts in March!

Fran laughing at some Garfield comics.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March Is Reading Month, 2012

It's almost here again:  March Is Reading Month (MIRM).

Last year, I posted daily tips.  This year, I plan post daily, linking to the tips and providing additional commentary as needed.  My first concern with the daily tips was that the list was not intended as a to-do list, but a pick-and-choose menu for March and beyond. That hint will remain true for 2012.

For me, MIRM is an excuse to jumpstart both my own reading life and my children's reading lives, usually involving some goal setting.  As much as I tend to think that there must be more I can do for my students, my children, or myself as a reader, it's been reassuring to look back over the year and see successes.  So in 2012, we will again celebrate MIRM, keeping busy trying to slow down. And of course, Colby's reader-dog-ness will be in high demand.

There is more to life than just books (parks, sports, food, plays, ice cream, concerts, ice skating, dinner guests...)  But life is so much more with books.  Here's to MIRM 2012!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Years ago, when I was a child, I carried a quarter at all times in case I needed to call home. (My parents were frugal people who I feared would not accept my collect calls.) I remember being shocked when phone calls began to cost 35 cents;  it was so much more challenging to carry two coins. I have always loved phone booths.

When Mr. TRWH and I moved to NYC with the Maggie dog in the 90s, phone booths were plentiful and well-used. Cell phones were still a luxury. We didn't have one for years and years of our city living, and then we shared one between us. So we used pay phones. I remember fondly the glorious recording of the woman with the thick Bronx accent, thanking me for using a NYNEX pay phone.

I worry about phone booths going away, but one NYer found a way to give them renewed value: he is crafting them into Guerilla Libraries, as detailed in this article on the Columbia University Architecture graduate student John Locke, sponsored by the Department of Urban Betterment, (a group of his own creation), has been making these:

Guerilla Library, NYC
(I hope we get one in A2 soon!)

I find these guerilla libraries to be inspirational, whimsical, and generous. Walking past one would be a daily reminder of how books connect us to both ourselves and others. I love Locke's suggestion that in this way they "give value back to a neighborhood." They most certainly do.

Now, can anyone tell me where I can get a Department of Urban Betterment T-shirt?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rink's Down

Sadly, the backyard rink is down.

After above freezing temperatures on a regular basis, the rink was taken apart.  The liner is drying in the driveway, the boards are stacked in the backyard, and clamps and tools are strewn about.

We did have two days of glorious skating, but last year we skated for weeks.  We may be the only people hoping and dreaming for a colder winter next year.

And seriously, there better be at least one snow day this year.  After eight years of consulting (where snow days are unpaid and must be rescheduled), I was hoping for a snow day (or two) with my kids. Come on, winter!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ring My Bell!

Well, it's that time of year again: Preschool Open Houses!

Fran's 1st Day at Stone School (2007)
Francis is a proud alumnus of Stone School Cooperative Nursery.  SSCN is housed in a beautiful, historic one-room schoolhouse that just celebrated its 100th birthday. As a cooperative, parents have assist (helper) days; this enables tuition to be beyond reasonable and also creates an amazing sense of community and camaraderie.

Fran, Blaine, and I made so many friends at Stone School.  We had great experiences with both Mrs. Barbara (3's) and Annie (4's) and are excited that Claudia will be joining a Stone School afternoon class in the fall.

In addition to the established teachers that we adore, SSCN boasts a wonderful, welcoming first floor, an indoor motor play area in the basement, and a lovely outdoor playground.  It is a play-based program that supports social-emotional growth.  As a reading teacher, this is exactly the kind of curriculum I recommend for 3s and 4s; play is the academic rigor that is behind strong readers, writers, and mathematicians. Fran's favorite part (and I think mine, too) was the daily ringing of the 100 year-old school bell before recess. Stone School  is currently accepting new students for the 2012-2013 school year and the membership chairs are always happy to arrange a tour and answer questions.

The entire experience at Stone School was completely magical.  I think Francis says it best in this poem:

Fran's 1st poem for Annie on his last day of Stone School

Hopefully, we'll see you in the fall at Stone School!