Archive | April, 2020

Support your local…

28 Apr

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I don’t need
the books I have ordered
from local independent bookstores,
or the yarn I have ordered
from local yarn shops
and indie dyers.

I definitely didn’t need
the craft supplies I ordered
from a local art supply store
in hopes that I would rediscover
a craft I enjoyed a decade ago.

I definitely needed
the dog food I ordered
from my local pet supply store.

But I ordered from them
because I think they need me
and maybe you, too.

 

Questions and answers

21 Apr

Officially, I have office hours. All the teachers in my district do. And yet, I get interesting questions by email at all times of the day (and night). I thought I’d share a few of these with you today, with my answers.

Q1:Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 6.07.28 AM

A1:
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Q2:
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A2:
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Parents are in the mix, too. Especially since we started getting in touch about students who have not turned n work or participated in online activities. And then, there are the random ones, like this, from the parent of a former student whose son is in a friends class:

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I haven’t replied yet, but at 55, I felt like she was making me a job offer.

Learning to navigate

14 Apr

Just before we knew we had to begin online teaching, I saw this tweet from Pernille Ripp:

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I took it to heart.

I mentioned it to my principal the day I went in to school to collect the materials I’d need for online teaching.

I mentioned it to my teaching partner and any other teacher I’ve spoken with.

I did two Webinars last week to learn more about online teaching and the presenter said the same thing.

As the expectations for teachers have shifted from two ungraded lessons a week to four lessons a week and 5 hours of “office time” with grading still TBD, I have held this idea in my heart and mind.

We have kids who have to share devices with siblings – maybe even parents.

We have kids with little quiet space in which to work.

We have to shift our perspective of what and how we teach.

So, thank you Pernille Ripp, for writing that Tweet. It has been my compass as we navigate these uncharted waters.

 

I’ve become that person

7 Apr

Staying at home, the days have begun to blur together. Case in point: I almost missed that today was Slice of Life Tuesday.

As a result, any variation in my day is celebrated. Like a UPS delivery. Way back, I had an issue with a UPS delivery and signed up for some sort of alert. This means that, the day before a delivery, I get an email alerting me to the fact that a package will be delivered the next day. But on delivery day, the real excitement happens. I get an email with a “Follow My Delivery” option. You know I click on that and spend the next few hours following the truck as it meanders through my part of town.

It surprises me that sometimes, it comes very close to my house – only a block or two away – without delivering my package. I know UPS has a massive logistics division that has logically determined exactly when my package should be delivered on the most efficient route. I don’t mind the wait. Following my package is a fun diversion.

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Home is where the heart is

6 Apr

One of the upsides of being stuck at home is that I am reading more than usual. I hope this is true for you too. Maybe I this will be getting me back to writing more about some pf the books I am reading.

Over the weekend, I read A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor, and loved it.

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Publisher’s Summary: This novel sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. An uplifting middle grade novel about recovery featuring strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.

Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming—and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.

Wasn’t one rescue enough?

Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling…

Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…

And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…

And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost?

People grieve in different ways. At first, I wondered why Lydia didn’t grieve more. And then the paper box full of the goddesses she and her mom made emerged. Lydia dealt with her grief in a unique way

I read an article last week that talked about the feelings people are feeling these days. It suggested that what many of us are feeling is actually grief. Reading A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, isolated at home, made me want to make a paper goddess for these crazy times.

 

Happy National Poetry Month

1 Apr

Many years ago, after my dog Clara passed, I was walking a Louie, alone, in Laurelhurst Park for the first time. I was a one among many frequent walkers. Many passed us by, but several always – or at least often – stopped to talk.

One was a young woman with long, wavy hair. She had a peculiar stride, you know the one, where the walker seems to be leaning back. I have seen it in a few people in the course of my life and, whenever I see it, I am reminded of the other people with the same style.

This woman, whose name I no longer know, if I ever knew it, saw me with a single dog.  You never really know how you (or your dogs) can become part of a stranger’s life. She seemed especially moved. I don’t recall that she had tears in her eyes, but I remember that she reached deep into the pockets of her coat and pulled out a small bundle.

“I hope this brings you peace,” was all she said.

I didn’t look at the bundle until I got home, but I was so moved by her gift, that I still have it.

Here is what each of the 2″x2″ cards says

  • we’re all soulmates
  • loving is just recognizing your spirit in another being
  • there is another way to live
  • keeping company with hummingbirds
  • lose your shoes
  • it’s all play
  • I visit a tree in the park that was my mate a thousand years ago

It is not traditional poetry, in the traditional sense, but the gesture was poetic and still touches my heart, as good poetry does.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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