xmlns:og>='http://ogp.me/ns#'> Pedals & Pencils: March 2012

March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday #65

image courtesy of abovethelaw.com
This week I'm thankful for...
  • going to the movies on a school night
  • the smell of steam from the dryer mixed with the scent of rain
  • rainy Saturdays perfect for curling up to read
  • my former students (now pre-teens) who come to my classroom after school to talk about The Hunger Games trilogy.  I try to convince them to join Team Peeta.  They roll their eyes and say things like "Of course, you'd like Peeta.  You just don't get Gale."  Then I kick them out of my classroom for blasphemy.
  • falling asleep in the middle of a good book and dreaming about it
  • my new umbrella that doesn't go tulip in the wind and rain
  • This morning while getting ready for work, I hit the shuffle jackpot.  You know it's going to be a good day when your iPhone spits out this delicious combination of songs:
  1. Future of Forestry: Colors in Array

  2. Stevie Wonder: Uptight

  3. U2: Beautiful Day

  4. Bob Dylan: Buckets of Rain

  5. Joe Anderson: Hey, Jude

  6. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Love Is All Around

  7. Richard Shindell: Are You Happy Now?

March 24, 2012


My dear friend, Hippie, recently bequeathed a lovely blog award to me.  Okay, it really wasn't that recently and I'm shamefully overdue in passing it along.  Truly my tardiness is inversely proportional to how touched I am to receive the Liebster Award.  The Liebster Award is an award for blogs tipping the scales at under 200 followers.  That's Pedals and Pencils for sure, an intimate space where I write about my little ones and some of my biggish adventures.

Liebster is German for 'dear' or beloved.  Liebster makes me think of  liebchen, a term of endearment my mom occasionally let slip from her lips when I was a kid.  Liebchen means "little love".  My mom lavished pet names upon her children, but most often the term she used for me was Pumpkin Doodle, a name I fondly bestow upon my little ones.  So on the occasion that I was called Liebchen, I'd let the beauty of the word sink down deep.  It sounded so elegant and when she said it to me, I filled with the warmth of my mother's love.

Daily life teaching my little ones is filled with little things.  I sit in little chairs.  I hold little hands.  I hug little bodies.  I wipe little tears.  Our classroom meetings consist of milestones that feel very big at the ripe old age of six.  We celebrate lost teeth and first home runs and mastering the complexities of shoe tying.  We talk about riding sans training wheels, sleeping in the top bunk without falling off and we ponder the potential inside a brand new box of crayons.

I love my time with my little ones, my little loves.  This year I've had to go to bat for them in ways I never thought I'd have to.  I'm happy to kick the dirt off my cleats and step up to the plate, but because I speak out for my little ones, my job has become increasingly difficult.

Fortunately, I walk in the footsteps of great educators who taught with passion and inspired me with their legacy.  Doing what is right is so often incongruent with doing what is expected.

I have the good fortune of being friends with a teacher who continues to be reflective in her practice in the face of the push for one size fits all education, a woman who seeks out creativity in a time of standardized testing.  It's my pleasure to introduce you to that friend today.  Her name is Lynn and her blog inspires me in a time when I'm sorely in need of encouragement to learn more, do better and be fearless in my pursuit of meaningful instruction.  This particular post, Watering the Grass, resonated with me at the beginning of the year.  It continues to remind me to approach each day expecting great things of myself and of my liebchens.

March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday #64

image courtesy of running-on-healthy.com
This week I'm thankful for...
  • "just because" flowers from the hubby
  • rain on the roof
  • reading in bed
  • road trips with friends
  • celebrating two of my dearest friends by eating their birthday cake for breakfast
  • the school kids who sang the national anthem at the Kings game and their choir teacher who was so proud of them that she was literally bouncing
  • poetry.  It's been an exhausting week fighting for what I feel is in the best interest of my students.  And when I'm discouraged, I turn to poetry.  Here's my favorite from the week:
A Prayer

Let me do my work each day;

and if the darkened hours

of despair overcome me, may I

not forget the strength

that comforted me in the

desolation of other times. 

May I still remember the bright

hours that found me walking

over the silent hills of my

childhood, or dreaming on the

margin of a quiet river,

when a light glowed within me,

and I promised my early God

to have courage amid the

tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness

and from the sharp passions of

unguarded moments. May

I not forget that poverty and

riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not,

may my thoughts and actions

be such as shall keep me friendly

with myself. 

Lift up my eyes

from the earth, and let me not

forget the uses of the stars.

Forbid that I should judge others

lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of

the world, but walk calmly

in my path. 

Give me a few friends

who will love me for what

 I am; and keep ever burning

before my vagrant steps

the kindly light of hope. 

And though age and infirmity

overtake me, and I come not within

sight of the castle of my dreams,

teach me still to be thankful

for life, and for time's olden

memories that are good and

sweet; and may the evening's

twilight find me gentle still.

~ Max Ehrmann ~

March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday #63

image courtesy of righttruth.typepad.com
This week I'm thankful for...
  • the sound of rain on the roof
  • conferencing with the parents of my students
  • a beautiful, sunny day for our field trip
  • time to read
  • afternoon naps
  • staying in my pajamas well past noon
  • a longish drive with a new playlist
  • shopping at my favorite store
  • going to the movies on a school night
  • crossing things off my To Do List
  • pink and white animal cookies with sprinkles
  • my husband who makes me laugh like no other
  • talking to my nephews about how to build a leprechaun trap
Beware, leprechauns!

March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday #62

This week I'm thankful for...
  • watching the mother of one of my little ones totally dominate in a roller derby bout
  • blood orange flavored sorbet
  • the sound of popcorn popping on the stove
  • driving with the top down
  • writing haikus with my little ones
  • finishing report cards
  • my little ones who wrote me a giant thank you note for taking them on a field trip
  • my little one who was singing 'Hey, Jude' while he was painting today
  • my hubby who knows how to cheer me up like no other