Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little This, A Little That - Tuesday Slice of Life

I don't have a true "slice of life" to share today, but rather a mishmash of a variety of things.

I've been very introspective the last three weeks or so, and thus absent from all of my social networks.  It was only this past weekend that I started checking in with my online friends, via email, Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.  I feel like I've finally turned a corner. 

The reason for my absence was that about four weeks ago, we had a tragic death on my husband's side of the family.  His cousin's wife died in an awful car accident, leaving behind two children (2 years old and 5 years old).  I've been having a very difficult time making sense of the death of this young, loving mother.

However, in this same time frame there were also several celebrations.  Our youngest daughter made the Dean's List at her college, and was also hired for two separate internships (paid!!) this summer.  Our oldest daughter found, and is moving into, a great house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington DC.   For the first time since my knee replacement surgery last May, I got out into my yard for an extended period of time -- it feels so good to be mobile again!

On the school front, we have 12 days left in this school year with students, and I have started to think about the ways I want to wrap up literacy thinking with my classes.  One of the things we are doing borrows heavily on Tony's idea of March Madness with books.  I've titled it May Madness, and by doing it now, we are able to reflect back on all the books we either shared together, or books that were highly popular in our classroom.  Last Friday, we brainstormed all the books we thought needed to be talked about (each of my classes did their own list), and then this weekend, I "seeded" them (big learning curve as my husband tried to explain to me which numbered seeds go in which brackets). 

Yesterday and today, both classes have been working through the first round of 64 books.  The discussions that have taken place already are just amazing -- students arguing the pros and cons of each book before we vote.  Some students in my morning class were incensed that the Lunch Lady series lost to In a Heartbeat in the first round.  A group of boys that love Lunch Lady immediately picked out all the Lunch Lady books in our classroom, and started to read them.  When I asked them why, they told me they were reading in protest. :)  They also told me they might start a "loser's bracket" so that Lunch Lady could win there.  These are children who feel passionate about books!!  In the morning group, I also have a group of four girls with similar reading tastes, who want to make a bracket of books that were special to them -- books they recommended to one another, and also books we shared as entire class.  In the afternoon class, students have already looked ahead to some of the matchups in the 2nd round, and realize they don't know how they'll vote - each book is so amazing.  Obviously, our discussions of the books, as we move farther into May Madness, will have to become more detailed and in depth.  What fun this will be to observe!!

So that's a little of this, a little of that.  Thanks for stopping by today to read my meandering thoughts.

Thanks to Ruth and Stacey for hosting us on Tuesdays -- I'm delighted to be continuing my membership in this writing community that meets every week for Slice of Life Tuesday.


  1. Hi Karen, I'm so sorry for the loss of this young mother. I guess there is no explanation, but perhaps your love and your husband's for her family will help in some way? Congratulations on your daughters' accomplishments. They both should be so pleased. And your book Madness sounds just wonderful. By the way you described it, it's clear that reading is in the air, everywhere, in your classes! Sounds like a nice ending to your year!

  2. Wow, so many ups and downs. I understand why you'd need a break. we lost a five year old in town last Friday, the same day my great aunt passes away. And while I understand the loss of my great aunt - she was 89 - and it is hard, I cannot wrap my mind around the loss of a five year old. So sad for that family and your husband's cousin's family. Life doesn't always make sense.

  3. "A mishmash of a variety of things."

    I don't think you could have captured life better than you did with this line.

    Thank you for being candid. For sharing the mishmash of life. I'm sorry for the loss of your cousin's wife. How tragic.

    And yet, you go on, and treasure the moments that are happening now. It's too easy to forget how important the little moments are to celebrate.

    I'm glad you wrote today, Karen.


  4. So sorry for your loss. It is so hard to understand why.
    Great news on the daughter front and your health.
    Love your discussions in class! Thats the way to leave them with book talk resonating in their minds.

  5. Much to mourn and celebrate in your life - isn't that the way it goes? And so sorry to hear about your loss - such young children left behind. 12 days'll have such wonderful memories of those last book talks!

  6. Wow - that is a lot to try to wrap your brain around - never fully comprehending it. I'm so sorry for your loss. Timing in life is unusual at best with the highs and lows. I'm glad that you felt compelled to write today and reconnect.

  7. You are going through a very sad time so I admire the way you are finding events worth celebrating even through the sorrow. I love the image of boys reading in protest:)