Of course I said yes

18 Mar

When the email came asking me to present at the Spring mini conference for local school librarians, of course I said yes. I’d once been the person coordinating that conference and knew how hard it could be to find someone to present on a Saturday.

When I saw the schedule I balked.

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Who would want to see my presentation when they can see a Newbery honor author? I wondered. I was half hoping and half fearing everyone would want to see her.

Regardless, I spent the week getting my presentation together. I put a link to our Sibert phone calls into my Powerpoint and then wondered about embedding the video right in the presentation. I was surprised to see there was no “download this video” button on YouTube. A quick Google search informed me I didn’t need to download an app, there was an easy way to do so. I was glad because I wanted the clip, just in case I ran out of things to say. By Friday night, I felt ready for whatever Saturday was going to throw at me.

I could have just arrived in time for my presentation, but, presenters attend the mini conference for free. As a morning person, it just made sense to show up early. I drank coffee and reconnected with some former colleagues. I attend a Makey Makey workshop for the first session to keep my nerves at bay. In the break between sessions, I set up my computer and books in the lab.

And then Saturday threw all it had at me.

“Adrienne, our author is running late. Is it OK if we start the second session later than planned?” one of the conference organizers asked me.

Of course I said yes.

And when she came to me again to explain that a communications snafu  had sent Ingrid Law to the wrong school, I was asked to present to the whole group. Of course I said yes.

Like most teachers, I am totally comfortable in front of a room full of kids. Not so for adults. I moved everything into the library and presented to the large group. I was a little nervous starting out, but was okay by the end, I think. I was maybe a little sweaty. I managed to fill the hour, and it was a good thing because although the video ran fine, the speakers didn’t work. In case you’d like to see the video, here it is.



Prep work

17 Mar

I had Friday off as compensation for the two 12-hour days of conferences. I was exhausted and didn’t have much energy for anything dramatic. A rainy day, it was the perfect day for knitting.


I finished the socks I started earlier this month and could finally begin the sweater project I’ve been dying to do.

With any project, it is important to start the right way. I gathered my materials: one pattern, two sets of needles, and five skeins of yarn in four colors.


The first step is to turn each skein into a yarn cake. That requires setting up the swift and yarn winder. My rocking chair has the perfect arms for the job.

Within a short time, I had six cakes of yarn. I was turning the handle so fast as I wound the grey (colorway: Great Gray Owl)  that popped off the winder. That’s why it looks a little wonky.


And then the moment I’d been waiting for arrived – the moment when I got to cast on.



Things parents said at conferences

16 Mar

“She spends too much time doing homework”

“This has been his best year yet.”

“We have that problem at home, too.”

“No teacher has ever said that about his bad handwriting. Thank you.”

“She’s up until 11:30 doing homework.”

“In the Fall, you said she didn’t speak up. This is a big improvement.”

“Do you teach grammar?”

“Just wait ’til you get the next one!”

“She loves the independence of middle school.”

“How can I help?”

“Do the children have chores? We are trying to have them help more at home.”

“He talks all the time at home!”

“Think of a few ways you can participate in more. But be specific and make it concrete.”

“Humanities is his favorite.”

“I’m afraid to touch the pile of papers beside his desk.”

“Thank you.”














15 Mar


I worried no one would walk out.

I figure a lot of 8th graders, and many 7th graders, would. But 6th graders are on that funny cusp. It is one of the things I love about teaching 6th graders.

The Walkout was schedule for 10:00 a.m. My first class began at 9:50. To my relief, kids came in talking about it. I acted all stern, insisting they sit quietly and read, which is our custom, but inside I was doing a happy dance.

At 9:58, I caught the eye of a girl looking at the clock and gave her a “two-minute” signal.

I got weepy at 10:00 when the majority of my class got up and left.

And then I laughed when, at 10:01, the announcement buzz sounded, not in a call to arms, but in a call for band and choir students to go to their field trip. Two more left.

I was left with 5 kids in class and a heart full of hope for the future.

Good intentions

14 Mar

You know the old saying: The road to H- E – double-hockey sticks is paved with good intentions.

Well, I took that road yesterday.

Last week at our union meeting, we were given the opportunity to purchase orange shirts to wear today and at a rally on the 24th. I ordered and paid for one that evening. I took an order form so the next day at work, I could ask a few colleagues if they wanted one too. I got their particulars (and their money) and sent in the form.

Today we got this perky message:

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I sent an email saying I’d pick mine up that afternoon and was told my school had a bag.

Cool,  I thought, some of the other reps must have ordered shirts, too. So, at lunch, I sent out an email to the two other people who were at the meeting and found out a third person had also emailed them. Trying to be helpful, I sent another email offering to get the bag. Lunch ended and classes were underway and things were busy. The third teacher sent two students to my room with a cheque in an envelope. I didn’t really have a chance to check my email before leaving, and that was when I ended up on that road.

Of course, the third person hadn’t pre-ordered and we had to guess on the size. The only shirts in the bags were the ones I had ordered. I stopped at the library on my way home and checked the time on my phone on the way out to see if I had time to swing by the grocery store. There was a message from one of the other two people asking me go get a shirt for her. Oops.

Definitely double hockey sticks.



Congrats — You are a Giveaways Winner!

13 Mar

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This message appeared in my inbox yesterday morning. Yes, I was a Goodreads Giveaway winner of a copy of this book:


I am not much of a gambler. I don’t buy lottery tickets. When I drive past the highway sign advertising the Powerball  and MegaMillions,  I like to imagine what I’d do with the money if I ever won. Just for the record, last Friday, when I turned in my glitter-covered shamrock, I got a scratch-it lottery ticket. I scratched, but won nothing.

The only real gambling I do is on Goodreads. Sometimes, I like to go into my Goodreads account and click on the Giveaways. I only ever enter giveaways for books I can put in my classroom library. And I never win, until now.

Maybe that shamrock was lucky after all.




I finally opened the windows

12 Mar

I finally opened the windows
The Spring really seemed to be here.
I finally opened the windows –
The air was so fresh and so clear.
I aired out the kitchen and bathroom,
And I aired out my stuffy bedroom.
My whole house was freed from its wintery gloom
Since I finally opened the windows

I finally opened the windows
It was such a beautiful day.
I finally opened the windows
And banished the winter away.
I opened the curtains and raised up the blinds,
Shook out the cobwebs stuck fast in my mind
And saw all the wonders that Nature designed
Since I finally opened the windows.


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