I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summers past

Today was the last day of school for students. After we put the kids on the buses and waited for the car riders to be picked up, the teachers remembered summers when we were kids. Summers seemed inviting and full of possibilities on the first day of vacation.

The early weeks of summer were filled with Vacation Bible School. When I was in elementary school VBS lasted two weeks. Then we would drive to visit our cousins in Georgia and at least once we attended VBS there.

We went to the library once a week. My favorite library was the Livingston Branch in front of the zoo. The librarian remembered us and what kinds of stories we liked to hear. My younger brother always wanted stories about cats. Some of my favorite stories were Katy No Pockets, Millions of Cats, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. When I started reading chapter books I liked magic stories like Half Magic and classics like The Secret Garden.

We went swimming at Hoover Lake when mom's friend, Aunt Jean, invited us. Swimming in a lake was fun. The mud squished between my toes and fish gave me kisses on my legs if I was still in the water. I wasn't much of a swimmer more of a dog paddler. When I was older we went to Aunt Billie's house outside of Florence to swim in her pool. Our cousins were ten years younger than I was. I remember Bob, at maybe age two, was like a little dolphin. He mostly held his breath and swam under water, popping up to get another breath of air.

Another frequent summer activity was shelling butterbeans and purple hull peas. My thumbs turned green from the butterbeans and purple from the peas. We liked to sit in our treehouse shelling beans and peas and letting the hulls drop down onto the vacant lot next door. The best thing about having a garden was the watermelons. We had red and yellow watermelons. I never had too much watermelon.

Making homemade ice cream is another summer memory. The earliest memories are from when we lived on Morrison Road. We had a cow so there was plenty of cream and milk. Mom made custard and then it was hand cranked in a wooden ice cream freezer. The men took turns cranking the handle. Sometimes one of the kids had to sit on top of ice freezer as the ice cream became harder. We usually had vanilla but sometimes peach or strawberry.

The summers seemed longer then. We didn't start school until after Labor Day. Fewer school days were required than are required now. We played outside most of the day. When we were hot we would cool off with homemade popsicles or we would play inside making towns and roads with blocks, boxes, and peopling them with plastic animals and small dolls.

I hope my students have fun making memories this summer!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicago: Remembering

The summer before my tenth birthday we visited Chicago. My cousin Nancy went with us. Her mom, Aunt Becky, was expecting a baby(Virginia). I remember the strangest bits and pieces of that trip. Here are some of the things I remember- When we finally arrived in Chicago in our big, blue, Buick stationwagon, dad couldn't figure out how to get up to the street level of our hotel. We were on the lower level where the train tracks ran. We could see our hotel but couldn't get to it. Mom said dad just drove across the railroad tracks and somehow got to the right level. I asked mom why we took a trip to Chicago. She said we went to there because there were lots of museums and things to see. We stopped by my uncle's house in Urbana, Illinois, on the way. We didn't get to see Uncle Ray, Aunt Ruth, and David very often. Mom said some people in Mississippi advised dad to change car tags with Uncle Ray before we went to Chicago. A Mississippi tag in the north in 1961 was thought to cause trouble. In reality, people were nice to us. I have always found if you are nice, most people are nice, too. Mom said our hotel was right next to the Wrigley Building and the Chicago Tribune Building. She said we went on a tour of the newspaper and saw the presses run. It was a chance meeting with a Tribune employee who noticed we were not from around there, that ended up in a tour of building. I didn't remember the newspaper tour but I did remember visiting the Field Museum. I bought a metal bracelet imprinted with the name of the museum and wore it for years. After talking with mom I remembered going through a walk through model of the human heart at the museum. We took Nancy home to Georgia and if my memory is correct, she had a new baby sister when we got there. I was happy for her but I did not want a baby sister. Two younger brothers were enough for me.