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Sunday, October 9, 2011

For My Dad

My dad lost his battle with cancer last year on October 11.  This is for him.

For you, Dad

What I miss the most is not the pomp and circumstance, not the special moments.  I loved the special moments, of course.  But I miss the routine.  The ease of the daily routine.  Breakfast with the newspaper.  Coffee.  Talking about the world, the government, taxes.  Sitting at that table, with him in his chair, and just being.   Not in a hurry.
Or, walking the dogs.  Or, going to the store.  Or the way he would always take a bag of trash with him on his way out.  Or the way he’d come in the front door on his way back from the Y, clean and scrubbed, in his sweat pants and carrying groceries.  Something he’d found for us.  Poptarts for the kids.

I miss sitting in front of the TV with him.  I don’t watch TV, but with him, it was a shared activity.  So much nonsense.  We’d laugh together.

I miss his humor, his kindness, his counsel, his pride, his strength, his devotion, his history, his intelligence, his perception, his courage, his generosity, his very presence.  I miss his laugh.  I miss his handwriting—firm, strong, confident – it was a script that spoke volumes about the man.   I miss his kiss on the cheek and the way he’d watch my car until I was out of sight.

I miss that he always did what he said he would do.  Always.

My Dad is gone one year.  He was an inspiration by virtue of his courage.  He fought for life to the end.  He fought for me to the end.  Because he was first and foremost, my dad.  He was my hero.  And so, I miss him.  Terribly.

But I know when I look into the mirror, that he is there, reflected in the light in my eyes.  He is in my kids, a surprise glimpse I get now and then that causes me to catch my breath. 

I think of those talks over morning coffee or while walking dogs and I smile.

But I still miss him.  I always will.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Love to Sew!

Here I am in my mother of the groom dress in rosy pink satin.   I made it myself from two patterns.  Comfortable, easy and fit to me.   It was a truly wonderful day!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Good Lesson / A Good Life

Here are ten important things for any good lesson.   I suppose, "lesson," could be used metaphorically.  Maybe these thoughts could work for any day in our lives, and all of those days taken together-- our lives--- show what we have learned.  Just a little philosophy for a sunny day in fall.

A Good Lesson
1. Is relevant. It links to what was done the day before, connects to what will be done in the future. It is part of a continuum of learning that makes sense to students.
2. Is presented in a systematic way. Anything is easy when broken into parts. It is up to the teacher to break it down and then put it back together for (and with) the students.
3. Gives time for kids to use the concept themselves. First, the concept is modeled and drilled, then it is available for the kids to “run” with.
4. Has ongoing assessment---question / answer, exit pass, partner work, quick write and check, speak and check, etc.
5. Has some surprises. Leaves kids excited about what awaits them the next lesson BUT has some predictability so that kids can understand what is expected of them.
6. Always instructs. Always teaches something new. 
7. Spirals. Should mix in the new and old. Each concept or vocabulary word is like a lego: not much on its own, but once understood, able to be used to build again
and again. 
8. Piques curiosity. Encourages students to further investigate on their own. 
9. Is primarily in the target language with the teacher taking care to mostly use
vocabulary the students understand and mix in new words here and there. 
10. Garners respect from the students. They know when they are learning and when the teacher is putting it all together in a professional way. When the teacher cares, the kids care.