Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Party Pooper

My friend and I (Jen over at A Teacher's Life) have been attending a conference this week. This is a conference that we have been anticipating for a while. Our energy and enthusiasm has been building. Three whole days to just sit, listen, and sponge up great ideas from people who have researched and modeled these ideas. We were thrilled to be going! (Can you sense our enthusiasm?) We made a deal regarding people who like to rain on other's parade. My personal policy on negative people is, "flee, flee, flee, flee!" I don't do negativity just normally, let alone on something that I am considering my happy place! We wrote this poem today for all those people out there that just can't help themselves, they just have to poo-poo on everything.

Poo-Poo Platter
by Sarah Amick and Jen Barney
Every party needs a party pooper,
Faces drawn, lips pursed, body rigid;
Rains on my parade,
That's why we invited you,
The sigh of discontent when challenges are never met,
Party pooper.
Every party needs a party pooper,
complain, complain, complain,
Eyes going back and forth,
That's why we invited you,
Listens inactively, expressionless gaze,
a generic, "mmmhmm."
Party pooper.
Disclaimer: I was actually encouraged by others, I won't name names, to add a photo of poop here! Can you believe that? Well, I just couldn't do it. The thought of looking at others' poo grosses me out. Aren't you glad I spared you?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Miss Grace

After visiting Kathy and reading her post about a tea party she went to recently I remembered Miss Grace. Miss Grace lived across the street from my grandmother with her sister. She was a special lady. She hosted neighborhood tea parties for the little girls. Here is that piece:

One warm, summer, afternoon my grandmother opened her closet removing her best summer dress. She fitted herself with a pair of low heels and a sun hat. After adorning herself she pulled my frilly sundress from the hanger. This was my Easter dress for that year, chiffon, bonnet, and white gloves. I placed my feet inside my white Mary Jane's, my grandmother tightening the buckle. Taking my hand she led me across the street where Miss Grace was waiting in her quiet sort of way. Miss Grace, quiet Grace, kind Grace, I loved Miss Grace. We entered her home welcomed by the antique furniture that filled the parlor and were led around to her garden. Day lilies, peonies, lilacs, forsythia, and Iris filled the garden with a rainbow of colors and smells. Miss Grace's most prized flower, her daisies, "because they are so friendly."
These friendly flowers adorned the table, freshly cut just for this occasion. Other girls my age had gathered here and were sitting quietly with their adults waiting and wondering what the event would behold. Miss Grace brought forth her pot of steaming tea and poured each person a cup. My grandmother handed me a beautiful container with pretty pink flowers on the side and allowed me to take one small cube with the adorable, silver, grabbing tool that I had never held before. She showed me the proper way to stir the liquid without so much as tinking the sides. As we settled into our new, adult, drinks Miss Grace produced a book that when opened smelled of the many years that it had been in print. She read poems of old as we listened intently to the soft lilt of her frail voice. Miss Grace was so beautiful in the afternoon sunlight with her pretty white dress with the small roses upon it. She had comfortable practical shoes on and she carried a white hankie in the palm of her hand. I admired her in the light, watching the sun reflect upon her. She was everything feminine to me.
As we left for the day Miss Grace paused with each of us. Taking my white gloved hand she squeezed it in hers and thanked me for coming. She said, "we should do this again sometime." I breathed her in: rose scented talc, her sweet endearing voice, and her white rolled hair. Her most endearing quality was her ability to make you feel like this, no, "I," was the center of her world.
Thank you Miss Grace for that very special day. I will never forget the afternoon and all that it has meant to me. When Miss Grace passed on she gave us a tea cup and saucer from her collection. I admire it to this day. When I had my second daughter, her middle name: Grace.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Five things Meme

The Literacy Teacher tagged me for this meme. I thought it would be fun on a Saturday that I didn't have anything to write about. I changed a couple of the titles to fit my needs, hope you don't mind.

Five things done 10 years ago
1. Got Married, August, 16, 1997
2. Started student teaching, August 18, 1997 (pretty crazy huh?!!!)
3. Lived on the lake (our own dock, boat, it was pretty picturesque)
4. Lived far away from home (4 hours)
5. Graduated from college

Five favorite snacks (all ice cream flavors)
1. Rocky Road
2. Chocolate covered cherry
3. Chocolate
4. Pineapple sherbert
5. Homemade- any flavor

Five Songs I know by Heart
1. Papa Don't Preach (Madonna)
2. Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)
3. Lady in Red (Chris DeBurgh)
4. The Greatest Love Of All (Whitney Houston)
5. Tomorrow (from Annie)

Five things I'd do as a Millionaire: for myself
1. Have a horse
2. Travel, travel, travel
3. Not feel bad about buying books
4. Have a house with a lake
5. Start a book shop like Meg Ryan in the movie "You've Got Mail"

Five things I'd do for others if I were a Millionaire
1. I'd adopt dogs that need rescuing
2. I'd start a fund for professional development for teachers wanting to go to various conferences.
3. I'd work with my district to start a model school
4. At my own school I'd start any afterschool enrichment program for my at risk kids- field trips, crafts, experiences they'd never had before, with transportation provided.
5. Free books for all!!!!!

Five Bad Habits
1. I vaccuum often- drives my family nuts!
2. Goodwill- do I need to say more girls?
3. I pick my nails
4. My bed must be made at night
5. If I take a bath I must clean it no matter how long it's been.

Five thing I'll never wear again
1. a bikini
2. maternity clothes
3. jelly shoes
4. turtlenecks
5. high waisted pants

Five favorite toys
1. Speak N-Spell
2. my books
3. my dolls including Marie and Donny Osmond Barbie (so cool!)
4. All things paper (being a waitress, schoolteacher, artist, writing, sending notes)
5. The woods beyond my house

Very fun! Thanks for tagging me!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Poetry Friday

Summertime Mommy
by Sarah Amick
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
Irritated as I pick up the clutter of a crazy summer day;
flip flops, wet suits, children at play.
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
As kids stay awak, at all hours of the night;
breakfast, lunch, let's just eat light.
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
"I'm bored," two weeks in my children complain;
Play doh, Chutes N' Ladders, and a day filled with rain.
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
Putting on my swimsuit, to go to the pool;
splashing, diving, and water that's cool.
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
My kids filled with sugary treats, carried in a pack;
granola bars, fruit chews, an afternoon snack.
"Relax, it's summertime," I hear myself say,
Saddened in August buying new school supplies;
book bags, glue sticks, and my how time flies!
Check out Poetry Friday Round-up this week hosted by Cloudscome and read some great poetry!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Favorite Post

If you haven't checked out the Hipwritermama I would highly recommend heading over there and checking her out. She has created a link for us to post our favorite posts from the past. She has a very endearing piece about her sister. So, I thought what post would I use? (I haven't been at this for very long) Here is my choice, it is one that meant a lot to me.


Please read this website that I read on a blogspot: Sarah says.... She is a special education teacher from Indiana. Very cool blog Sarah, and very cool name. Anyway, here is the website:

After reading this I thought of my classroom this year and one of my students. This year I have had the pleasure of being the teacher to a remarkable young man who is brilliant, a great friend, has a wonderful working memory, and who is constantly under the scrutiny of others. Did I mention that this young man is completely blind?

I know, you are saying, "Oh, Sarah, what a tough job teaching 20 "normal" kids and then adding a child that is blind." Or, how about this one, "Oh, Sarah, why is he here in a regular room when he could be at the School for the Blind?" His parents I am sure have faced this their entire life, the pity and the sadness in people's voices when they find out their son is blind. I've only had to witness it for 9 incredible months. I guess as an educator I was excited about having a student with blindness. I mean, why wouldn't we want 20 other kids to learn how to accept a person's disability and erase the discrimination that we live with everyday in our world?

Never have I had the honor of knowing such a remarkable child. He really is brilliant. His ability to conclude what is going on and respond to is it unbelievable. He works so hard. When his visual specialist teaches him something new from the mysterious world of Braille he begs for more. He listens better than anyone I know. What impresses me most is his astounding resiliancy to the rest of the world. They expect, since he is blind, that he will not be able to do something, or that we should be easy on him because he is blind. He takes this expectation and throws it back in their faces. He works so hard overcoming the world's discrimination for him. It's almost an, "not only can I do it, but I can do it better!" attitude. After spending any amount of time with him you don't pity him. You just wish you had the same superpowers that he has!

My only sorrow is that during his life there will be a multitude of people who will never get to know his superpowers. They will never be able to see past the pity, and the blindness. They will always keep a wall up. It's a shame because not only is he blind, but he is a remarkable, brilliant, super human.

Recently, we got to talking about the special education preschool we have at my school and one of my students asked, "why don't we have anyone with a disability in our classroom?" that question says it all......

Thankful Thursday

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I have been touring around the blog world and finding posts that deal with giving thanks. I thought I would give it a try because it could stretch me. I have a lot to be thankful for let me tell you. Here are just a few:
1. My children are healthy. They are happy, and they are learners. They both have very distinct personalities that most people like even. I am blessed to be given to them.
2. My house is a home. It is a great place to entertain, to be a family, and to just be a home. I am very blessed to live in such a dwelling.
3. I am thankful for whoever invented air conditioning. Indiana is hot in the summer and this summer has been even worse early on. I am thankful that I have central air.
4. I am thankful for the opportunity to go to the All Write conference, to read professional books to better myself, and to just take the summer to indulge in educating myself. To be a lifelong learner.
5. Friends. My world has been increasing in this area. I am blessed to work with some really great friends. They encourage me, pick my brain, and inspire me to work even harder at bettering my students. We have a conversation among us that usually ends with someone saying, "I just don't want to get to the end of this career and think 'have I done enough?' for my students." Keep inspiring friends!

Well, there you have it. 5 things I am thankful for. It's very reflective on a day that has been very good.
Remember that poetry friday is being sponsored by cloudscome. Follow the link from this site. It's a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Question #3 How will knowing your prior reading experiences help you in your classroom?

Note all the good times were time when I was read to, or I read independently. My independent reading, I chose the book. My favorite read alouds were appropriate and high interest.
I also noticed places where we talked about the reading. I got to make connections, ask questions, and sythesize. Also, it gave my teachers and my mother a chance to recommend books that I would make a connection.
So here are my conclusions:
1. Read alouds are important- they must be high interest and developmentally appropriate. They must also be purposeful, why am I reading this book to my first grade class? What would I like them to glean from this book?
2. Children must be allowed to choose their own books for independent reading.
3. Children must have independent reading time to practice what they are learning.
4. Children must have a time to talk, discuss, ask questions, ponder out loud, talk, discuss, be social, etc. It is important for comprehension and growth.
5. Children must have a future reading plan. I used to think, "WHAT?" their first graders, their 6/7? Looking back over my experiences I noted that my mother helped me make future plans. She noted that I enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder books, she went out and bought me Jeanette Okes' Unending Legacy series. Very similiar texts. My 10th grade teacher noted that I enjoyed John Steinbeck and introduced me to Lewis Sinclair. How did they know this? Read number 4!

Have you taken the challenge yet? Be reflective.

Why Write?

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop." ~Vita Sackville-West

I viewed this quote again from Penny Kittle's site. It is a profound quote one that should not be forgotten. I just liked it because I have had a wonderful time writing lately. It has been fun actually. I even see my oldest child writing for enjoyment. I bought her a writer's notebook when I purchased mine. She is still just a beginning first grader but she has so much to write about. It is inspiring as a teacher. I am looking forward to mentoring a couple of former first graders, now second graders during this coming school year. I think we will be changed after the year. I am also inspired by the many bloggers that are aspiring to be authors.
What will you write today so that the day does not slip emptily by?
I've got my notebook in hand, I'm ready to capture the moment, are you?

Question #2: Write about your reading moments, the good,the bad, and the ugly.

THE GOOD: In the fourth grade my teacher placed us in Reading groups and I went next door for reading. Next door was Mrs. Grimes 5th grade. She was the best! She read each day a chapter from "The Boxcar Children." Each day I anticipated, "what will happen to the orphans?" I loved being there. It was like reading at home. My 9th grade year I was in honors English, it was full of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and To Kill a Mockingbird. We read, took a test. Read, took a test. Notice no TALKING! I got placed in Regular English in the 10th grade. After 6 weeks of proving myself my teacher said it was too late to place me in honors English but wanted to enrich me. She said, "Do you enjoy reading?" (Do I like breathing, chocolate, and coffee?) She allowed me to read, really great books and then do reports for my grade- A+. I read really great classics: The Grapes of Wrath, A Farewell to Arms, Of Mice and Men, and she even introduced me to Sinclair! We even read To Kill A Mockingbird again and then we talked about its great high points. We discussed the texts. I would write a report in various writing forms. I was placed in honors English from there forward.
THE BAD- Not being in a high reading group at school really hurt. How does an elementary school kid find out they are not in a high group? I can remember reading when work was finished. I remember sitting at my desk, in rows, working in my workbook. I'm bored just writing about it.
THE UGLY- I was placed in a 3/4 split in the 3rd grade and a 4/5 split in the 5th grade. I had the same teacher both times. Mrs. Hall was 74 when I had her the first time and 76 when I had her the second time. She was OLD SCHOOL. We sat in rows. We answered standing up by our chairs. We worked constantly and were allowed 1 library book for the week. Here is the kicker, we weren't allowed to read during class. (even if we were finished with our work!) We finished our work and were allowed to sit quietly. One day I pulled out my Social Studies book, the one we never read out of. Here is that conversation:
T= Put your library book away.
S= It's not a library book.
T= It must be because I didn't ask you to read out of it. You are to be sitting quietly.
S= You gave me this book. (At this point I had gone beyond disrespect)
T= Don't mouth off to me, out inthe hall!
Reading in this room definetly unpleasant, and I had two years of it!!!!!

Tomorrow: Question #3 How does this change my teaching of reading?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Educational computer site

Most of you know that I have a vibrant, curious, and fun-loving 6 year old at my house and a lively, inquisitive, and mostly hilarious 4 too! We went out on the world wide web today and came across a really cool website: http://www.starfall.com This is a non-profit website that has really great reading skills that it teaches to mainly first grade and below. It would be perfect for a computer center at school, a home schooled kiddo, and really great for when I am tired of Cartoon Doll Emporium (A completely non-educational website). We played on that site for a long while. Both of my girls played and it was very age appropriate. Check it out!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Question #1: How did you learn to read?

Naturally. In a print rich home environment. I remember lots of books, I remember adults reading in front of me. I was taken to the library weekly. I checked out a stack of 8-10 books. Reading at bedtime was nightly. I asked for books as gifts. My mother chose books for me based on interest. She bought me a book called, "In Grandma's Attic." It was a series of short stories we read at bedtime. I loved it. I was so proud when I read this book on my own for the first time. My mother at this time would have me read the mail to her. Now I know it was to keep me from bugging her while she cooked dinner. I felt so important sitting in the kitchen knowing about the mail. And then, I got a copy of, "Charlotte's Web" oh, I loved this book. I loved reading it from cover to cover. It was just the most important book of all.

At school I remember workbooks, and reading groups. I was not in the highest group. I was disappointed. I did not learn phonics!?! at all. I do not remember much about reading instruction. I just remember those crazy workbooks. I don't even remember good picture books! That is so sad to me.

Tomorrow: Part 1 of three, What are some of your good reading moments?

Fall in love with reading

In Kathy Collins' book Growing Readers she mentions that when she has teachers, principals, and staff developers come together she asks them a key starting question:
"Would you take a few minutes to think back on your reading events you remember- the good ones, the bad ones, and don't forget the ugly." As teachers begin to share their stories they realize an important key: many of the awful "ugly" experiences they share happen at school! She says, "it seems that most of the happy reading events happened outside of school." If I think back through my years of learning how to read I can relate, as I am sure you can.

In college my reading professor asked us a very similiar question on the first day. She asked, "How did you learn to read?" My answer was hard in coming out because I honestly couldn't remember being taught the skills. I said that it just happened naturally. My parents always read to me, took me to the library, had me read the mail while my mother was cooking dinner, etc. It was natural, it just occured. And then I read Charlotte's Web and the rest was history. I couldn't put books down. I read things that were not appropriate for a fifth grader, I just couldn't get enough. Ms. Collins goes on to say, "The point I was to make is that many of us grown to love reading in spite of what happened in school, not because of it."

I have a challenge for my readers, whomever you may be, mother, teacher, facilitator, etc.
1. How did you learn to read?
2. What are some of your reading memories, good, bad, and ugly?
3. How will knowing these things change how you teach reading to your children?

Kathy Collins finally says, "I believe that we primary-grade teachers have an important dual challenge. We need to teach children how to read, but we also need to teach them how to fall in love with reading."

Take the challenge, write your answers and begin to share.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Snapping Beans

I remember sitting on my grandparents' back porch. We would go out early in the day and pick a large bowl of string beans, still fuzzy on the outside. My grandmother, who was my grandfather's second wife, would always ask for me to help her snap the beans after we picked them. This method was very precise, one bowl and one colander. Each bean was methodically snapped on each end and then put in the colander for washing. My grandmother allowed me the pleasure of snapping each bean while she sat in her metal, red, rocking chair. My grandmother was a wonderful cook and baker. She made meals straight from her garden each evening that were mouthwatering. We had a formal meal every evening. I got a bath and I dressed appropriately. In the morning, I would arise to the smell of hot, homemade, cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. My grandmother always wore an apron or smock over her dress when she was at home or in the garden. In the pocket of that apron she kept her cigarettes.

While I snapped each crunchy bean my grandmother rocked and smoked. We always were alone, she made sure of that. While she rocked my grandmother would note interesting things, "Look, there's a hummingbird!" "The rabbits are eating on the cabbages," "My goodness it's a warm day!" All the while I snapped the beans. I heard her words but I also took it all in, the sounds of the birds, the raking sound the rocking chair made on the cool concrete, and the snap of each bean. During her last drag of her cigarette she would say, "Let this be our little secret." She would lean forward snuff out her cigarette on the concrete and stick all of it back in her pocket. I would only nod, wondering why snapping beans was such a secret.

When my grandmother died I remember adults dressed in black standing around in the dining room. I remember being bored by their talking, and impressed by their shiny black shoes. They talked in hushed tones, "I didn't know she smoked?" I shot a glance over to her apron hanging on the back of a kitchen chair. She had left it there hurriedly I'm sure because it was out of place.
"Sure she did, she always smoked while we snapped the beans. She keeps them in her apron pocket!" my young voice rang out.

To this day I eat snap green beans uncooked, almost like potato chips. I get stares, and questions, "you just eat them raw?" The nostalgia of a warm day sweeps over me. "Let this be our little secret."

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Poetry Friday

Family Dog
by Sarah Amick

Picked to be- the family dog.
to be adored by all who dwell;
watching and waiting while they're away
Wiggles, "you're home!" with his body.

Stands guard in the yard, while they
are sliding, swinging, and imagining;
whispers, "I'm here," with his eyes.

Travels from bed to bed,
offering a snuggle of safety;
Sighs, "goodnight, sleep tight," curling into a ball.

Uses his nose to decide,
are you worthy of my humans;
Sniffs, "do I protect my pack?"
with his muzzle.

The family dog lives in the moment,
this moment...

Here is our "family" dog, he is the ever loved, extra large, shih tzu, age 2. He has the face that only a mother could love. Squiggly eyes, underbite, we love him fully. Louie is his name.

Personal Policies MEME

Hipwritermama meme(d) me about personal policies. Not sure if this post follows the rules but thought like writer mama that it sounded pretty flexible. If not, it was fun to be reflective.

1. I have to shower daily, before leaving the house, I cannot make it a whole day without showering it makes me feel dirty, not ready for what comes my way, and grouchy.

2. I need coffee. It is not a want, it's a need. Like breathing it is a part of my life. When I travel I worry about where it will come from. It makes me happy. Coffee reminds me of desserts, conversations with people I love to connect with, and loving memories. I love coffee, it is a part of who I am.

3. I am a dog person, I will never live without a dog. I love that they are moment kinds of creatures. I enjoy petting, talking to them, thinking about what they are thinking. I think that children should have dogs growing up. I also think that dogs can judge humanness, they know when people are weasels or not. If a person doesn't like dogs, or pets, or animals in general I think that that is a statement about their ability to humanely treat the rest of the world. (That is a very strong statement. Don't hate me for that.)

4. I need to be a teacher. I feel that it is my calling, not my job. I love to facilitate the learning environment. I relish with my children when they get to the point that they realize the joy of reading a great book. It is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever accomplished. I need to be a teacher.

5. I am nuts about my husband. After 10 years of marriage he is still my knight. He is so good in esteeming my girls, he makes me feel equal to him, and he is so supportive. I couldn't have dreamed that I get to spend my life with a partner like him.

6. I only surround myself with people that are positive people. I really don't enjoy being around negative people. They make me angry and I try to avoid them at all cost. I will not be rude but you will have to earn my time by proving that you can be positive. I just don't do the negative poo-poo personality. I have a flight mentality.

Well, there you have it. My pesonal policies. I don't know if this is write but it feels good to get it off my chest.

I am meme(ing) :




Words with friends

Today I had the privilege to meet with fellow bloggers from my area to produce words in a conversational setting. It was so much fun. This is a group of teachers just like me who have the same passion for teaching that I do. They were already not leaving children behind when President Bush created that policy. They are tremendously driven in their work with children. I thrive in their words and presence. Here is just a taste of the conversation that we had today. I cannot capture what was said, only the words and the connections we made:

by Sarah Amick
art of living, becoming..., chocolate, conversing, connections,
change, disussing, exhilarating, emotions,
friendship, gaining respect, heartfelt "thanks,"
Inspire, joking, "keep blogging," laughter,
memories, notebooks, optimism,
"pick your brain," questioning, rivoting,
stories, sharing, treasures, understanding,
venting, wishing, yearning, "no z names, please!"
I think that I would like to host the next party if you all will come to the Fort. We could do it before the school year and gather our courage together. See you soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ode to a workout junkie!

My facilitator and friend Kathy, over at http://writeonkathy.blogspot.com admitted in her blog that she is a junkie when it comes to getting fit. She enjoys marathons, weightlifting, and most of all skinny arms. I threatened and here it is, a poem for Kathy:

Flabby Arms
by Sarah Amick
Flabby arms all goosey loosey
flap around like a Canadian Goosey;
I wave once, they wave twice
To go sleeveless would be so nice.
Take a look their so alarming
muscular arms would be so charming;
I try to tone them with dumbbell weights;
all that's left are arms with aches.
So here I am with arms so chubby
"Their not so bad!" says my dear hubby.
This poem really makes me smile Kathy, thank you for inspiring it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

hold me tight...

You ever been in a hard place? You ever just had a moment that you didn't want to be in? You ever think, I need to get away for a while?

hold me tight...
by Sarah Amick
hold me tight all through the night
out of the shadows
you are my first sight;
be here through it all
when the angry thoughts come rushing through
All I want is to be here with you;
The vow we took through thick and thin,
these arms embrace and hold me in.
When tumultuous, stormy, waters rise
and high waters threaten on all sides,
Your reassuring and gentle words will be my guides.
When darkness looms out in the hall,
you'll always be my soft place to fall.
"We'll get through this," you say to me;
I hold my head high,
my heart longs for glee.
Around and around thoughts are a twirl,
with arms so strong you calm the whirl.
Where would I be without your arms holding me tight?
I'd be lost, cold and afraid,
with my flame not so bright.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mom Shorts

I was at Starbucks with a friend recently and was inspired to write this poem. Again, remember that poetry flows from me and you could be or say the things that will inspire my next poem. Be Aware!

Mom Shorts
by Sarah Amick

"How do these look?"
High waisted, 2 inch elastic band
and just above the knee;
They conservatively hide the insecurities we
feel about our bodies.
Our fears and anxieties that consume our heads
are hidden in their pockets.
These shorts hold tiny handprints of grape jelly, peanut butter,
and strawberry seeds;
hiked up they mask skin that has been stretched to its maximum,
"please don't notice my newly formed body!"
"Will anyone notice this new person I have become?"
Does this look good on me?
I can't believe I get to wear mom shorts!

Wear them with pride ladies!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Learning New Things and Taking Risks...

My friend and I are spending the summer reading as much as we can and discussing Independent Reader's Workshop. We have a lot of quesitons and we are discussing our fears and hopes with one another. I was reminded of a quote that I heard somewhere, I think I read it somewhere?
There is no strength,
If there is no struggle.
I guess this is the phrase for me about this topic. Recently I have had a lot of self-doubt. Reading things like Mosaic of Thought, Reading for Meaning, and Growing Readers, I wonder, am I made of this quality as a teacher? Am I knowledgeable enough to make this work? Can I do it? Will I have any support and will I be successful?
My facilitator, who is incredibly supportive, says, "Anything that you do towards this is going to positively help children."
There is no strength,
If there is no struggle.
I cannot become the teacher that I want to be if I don't have this struggle. I cannot expect children to be both decoders and comprehenders if I don't engage myself in best practices. I will strive for this because it will effect children positively.
There is no strength,
If there is no struggle.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

My Husband

First, let me preface that I have two young little girls. My husband lives in girlworld. We had no man child and so he is forced to live among us, in all our pink glory. He does pretty well actually, he is gentle with his words for the most part and he is very good about giving compliments at just the right time. For instance, this morning when my oldest was getting dressed she said, "Mommy, do you think this outfit makes me look like a big girl?" (She is six.) I said, "Yes, you are growing up!" Hearing this my husband says as he is walking up the stairs and sees my daughter, "My goodness Sophie, you are growing up!" A little girl hid that in her heart today. Here is a poem in his honor:

When He Walks Through The Door...
by Sarah Amick

They all shout "Hooray!"
They deliver an account of the day;

He has the happiest smile,
And a kiss that is sweet;
My day is complete,
when together we meet;

The dog jumps up to wiggle hello,
His body wags like a bowl full of jello.

We all fill with excitement;
Our life increases in value so much more,
When our daddy, my husband,
walks through the door.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Poetry Friday


Thoughts rest your wings;
Here is a hollowof silence,
a nest of stillness, in
which to hatch your dreams.
-Joan Walsh Anglund

(This poem is nestled betwee two large black and white photos of my girls as babies as they were sleeping. My husband took them and we thought they were precious. I found the poem and put it up in a frame with them. I LOVE this poem, it speaks of peace and rest, all that sleeping should be.)

Here is the much anticipated poem about three that I promised in my last post. Look around, do you see things of three?

Magical Three
by Sarah Amick

The wheels on my red, antique, metal tricycle
My mother's jars of brown sugar, sugar, and flour;
Formally the number of grandparents I had,
My childhood friendships were always a trio;
The age of my itchy, itchy, chicken pox,
My grandfather's number of granddaughters,
Mother, Father, Daughter- my family growing up
3 x 10 = the year my parents divorced;
the number of times I've been pregnant,
year three, the year we had a baby...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Little Details

I'm reading "Reading With Meaning" by Debbie Miller currently and she says, "I begin by paying attention to the little things." Later on she says, "Showing children we care about them and love being their teacher is an important first message. And at the same time, I'm modeling how you go about creating lasting friendships." I think that I do a pretty good job of this but I have decided that on my nightly walks that I will begin to pay attention to the little things in my neighborhood, just some added summer practice! Here is what I saw this evening:
1. Neighbors like to plant things in groups of three. (I have a poem brewing about this one)
2. One neighbor put a bird house up near the roofline of their house. Is this to detract or attract?
3. Red-winged black birds have two different sounds they make. One is very nice and song like and the other is very high pitched and not very nice.
4. People all over my neighborhood have planted a lot of Hastas.
5. Children love when their fathers go outside and play with them. It's a different kind of look kids get when they have a father that "hangs" with them.

I hope to grow in my community building skills so that they grow, like weeds!

Monday, June 4, 2007


Greed: To have a strong desire for...

We have read two really great texts, Tough Boris (author?) and How I Became A Pirate by David Shannon. I thought it was only appropriate because I always tell my students my favorite phoneme sound is -ar. Like the pirate, they never forget. Anyway, we read these books and we made a text to text connection. We discussed words like stowaway, rowing, we also discussed the illiteracy with pirates. Then we happened upon the phrase, "pirates are greedy." We figured it out using the context clues and the illustrations. We made text-self connections regarding greed. And then, in a moment one of my students said, "Mrs. Amick you want us to be greedy." I was caught off guard. I asked my students, because now several of them were shaking their heads, what are you talking about?
One of my girls said, "you want us to be greedy about learning!" They know this about me. This is my deepest darkest secret for them. I can never say enough words that could get through to them that knowledge is power. Mostly when I try to express this with words it just feels like lecturing so I have given that up. My example has led them to this conclusion. They have used their schema to infer this information from my text. Gosh, I am so proud of them. We have really worked hard on building a community of trust. Today was one of those "Yahoooooo" moments when your heart swells with pride.
I am so fascinated by kids. There is nothing so enthralling as children can be.
Be greedy with your learning.

8 Things to Do this summer MEME

I was challenged to set some goals for myself for the summer. I don't really want to set goals I want to play. So I am making my goals playful!
1. I want to be the one in my group that reads the most. I will read anything that I get my hands on at the library. Just realize that I am very competitive!
2. I want to write more poetry this summer. I think that I will have lots that flows out of me. (Note: Ingrid, I am changing lots to abundance!)
3. I want to go swimming with my girls this summer. Floating, splashing, smelling the sunscreen, that is me.
4. I will spend one entire week combing the beach looking for treasures that the ocean beholds. I know, it is a tough goal but someone needs to be in charge of that. Scott, my husband, is getting to take his first summer vacation since Sydni was born. Won't that be so special. We are pumped!!!!!!!
5. I want to stay up late and blog, blog, blog.
6. I will take the dog for a walk daily. We will trek our three miles with our smiles on our faces. We will come home and tell sweet stories about the bullfrogs: Joe and Earl. (The girls love those stories.)
7. I will attend the All Write conference and learn so much from my other professional friends. It will be spiritual I think.
8. I will remember to spend the days enjoying the small giggles, and bright eyes that awaken in my home every morning. I will cherish sweet words like mama, mommy, and is it still summer break?
Breathe it all in and enjoy the summer. We have all worked very hard.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I Remember...

Ruth Ayers from http://inspiringreaderswriters.blogspot.com had her first guest blogger, Penny Kittle. Ruth and Penny gave a challenge to write something starting with the two words, "I remember." This is a Graves challenge as well. Here it goes:

I remember a cold, January, pre-evening storm that left the streets of Fort Wayne slick, icy, and treacherous. I remember standing up in the front seat of my mother's green, 1970's Oldsmobile. This car was not built for comfort. It had leather seats that in the summer made your legs stick like sticky glue. It had hard parts that gave it an industrial feel. It was never soft, or inviting. In my memory I remember hearing her words, "Sarah, you need to stay in your seatbelt. The roads are dangerous, you could get hurt." As we drive down the street we follow a semi truck that is lost and driving at a snail's pace through a residential neighborhood. I know now that he is not supposed to be driving on this piece of road.

Up ahead I can see boys, around 8 and 10. One is wearing a blue snowsuit and a bright, red, knit hat. They have spent their snowday off of school sledding, building snowforts, and having snowball fights. They are tired of the day and have exhausted all that they are allowed to do. Now they have turned to the things they are not supposed to do. This action of throwing snowballs at drivers passing by is very dangerous. They know they are not supposed to do this because after each throw they resume a hiding place so as not to be caught. Even though they know this could bring them trouble they still embark upon the activity because they are bored and they are curious about what could happen. As the semi truck in front of us stomps on his brakes my mother is still beckoning for me to sit down, and buckle up. She does not see the truck stop.

All that I remember is the steel, unbending, T on the back bumper of the truck as we slam into its back end. When my eyes open to the conscious world I am no longer in my former standing position. Now I am crammed under the front seat but in the back of the car. I can hear my mother, is she crying? What is she saying? Is that my name? "Mommy?!" Was that my voice? Did I scream it out like that? I slowly untwist my legs that are mangled under the seat and lift myself over and slide up close to my mother. Why is she just laying there, and why is she bleeding?

Fear slides up my throat as I hear, and see, the sirens flash. There are strangers poking and prodding me. Where are they taking my mother? They are asking me all sorts of questions. What is your name? Where do you live? How old are you? Does anything hurt? I cannot answer. I am not allowed to talk them. Besides, the fear has gripped me into silence. Look at all the lights on the top of the ambulance. Am I riding in an ambulance? These are the incoherent thoughts that race through my little, 5 year old, mind.

Somebody please call my father, my mother is hurt.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Poem for my first born

I wrote a poem about "The One Who Calls Me Mama" My oldest daughter has been waiting for her poem. She is a very complex kid who keeps things hidden and must trust others before exposing herself to them. Here is her poem:

My Firstborn
by Sarah Amick
Has taught me the meaning of trust
Is a loyal friend who only wants to be loved
Hates having asthma, being allergic to cats,
and wearing socks;
Is sensitive to other's feelings, being hurt,
and her little sister;
Loves all things bicycles, scooters,
and rollerskates
We struggled with life as she drew her first breath;
capture the world through her
large, bright, blue eyes
Holds onto her treasures, things that have hurt her,
and my heart filled with love...

Friday, June 1, 2007

friday poetry...

I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Want less" How profound these two words. Here is the poem:
want less...
by Sarah Amick
I want less
to be satisfied with the dawning of each new day
want less
to live content with small means
capture the joy of a single moment
less I want
feel the release
want less...