My Alphabetized Existence by Shanie Armbruster

(based on The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Armbruster

It means crossbow in German. I like having a weapon for a last name. So many people pronounce it as Arm-buster which sounds like I’m an enforcer for the mafia. It makes me laugh.

Baking

Chocolate chip cookies were my favorite thing to make as a kid. I loved the taste of the cookie dough scraped off the beaters with my pointer finger. We had a cookie jar that my mom made when she was a potter, and I can still remember coming home from school, reaching in the jar and the heavenly first bite.

Cats

My mother is a cat person. We had a lot of cats growing up. Merlin, named after the magician, was my favorite, the long-hair,16 pound Maine Coon who disappeared for days at a time only to arrive at the door right at dinner time, meowing loudly to get in and be fed. Thus his name. I played too roughly with him, once, and he swatted me over both eyes, hard, with his claws retracted so I would get the message. I heard it loud and clear.

David

My brother’s best friend and my first French kiss on a winter night under a street lamp. I felt like a heroine from a foreign film – mature, beautiful, mysterious, weak in the knees. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my tongue, but he didn’t mind. Continue reading

Different Students, Different Needs: How Teachers Differentiate by Abby Mallett

A fourth grade teacher sits at her desk, the first rays of morning sunshine cutting through the blinds and striping the stained carpet. Her eyes move swiftly across the screen of her computer, open to a student’s writing from yesterday.  The only sounds are the click of keys and scribble of a pen as she types comments into the document and makes notes on a chart next to her.

The bell rings, jolting her out of concentration.  She quickly switches the document to a morning message to display on the screen for her students.  The teacher proceeds to the door, opening it with a smile.  She greets her students with a “Good morning” in a cheery voice.  The quiet room becomes a hubbub of children’s voices and movements as they unpack backpacks, sharpen pencils, and recount stories of yesterday’s adventures to their friends.

The teacher joins the hubbub, moving quickly, but unhurried around the room.  She stops at a student’s desk and discreetly gives him a graphic organizer to help with his morning spelling assignment.  “I hope your sentences make me laugh again today,” she tells another student with a wink.  A student struggling to hang up a backpack gets a hand from the teacher and a gentle point to remind him to read the morning message.  An energetic girl runs up to her, eyes lit with excitement.

“Guess what!” she exclaims. Continue reading

Higher Level Mentor Texts, 5th Grade from Molly Kirk

Molly Kirk teaches 5th grade at Foothill Elementary in Boulder. For her CWP 2 research project, she created a database of mentor texts to use with her students. In her research paper, Molly explained the resource she wanted:

I have been using mentor texts for writing for the past two years and love how quickly my students connect to them and how they return to them over and over again.  My teaching partner and I thought it might be most useful to use those mentor texts for two reasons – for guiding writing and for guiding souls.  What if every text we used was not just laced with amazing writing craft but also with great life advice?  What if we focused on CCSS AND helping our students find connection, compassion and character while they are learning?  I set out to create a resource that was tailored to meet both of those criteria.

You can find the database she built here.

 

Molly completed CWP 1 in June of 2013 and CWP 2 in June of 2015.

Aliens by Holly Hughes

I live with Aliens.
They’ve been with us for millennium,
but they are not like you and me.
With me they walk around on their
five,
six,
seven toed feet.
You know,
Hemingway loved them.
These aliens come from that Hemingway line.
Perhaps there’s something of Ernest in them.
They are dramatic after all.
Crying out at odd times.
Not too clear about what they’re trying to communicate.
Saying it regardless.
Staggering there and then here
on those
five,
six,
seven toed feet.
Willing to do anything to remain, the
Center of Attention.
Hacking sounds.
Piles left in hidden places
to be found
when others are present,
visiting,
or stepped on in the middle of the night.
Perhaps Hemingway was an Alien.
I can see him flicking his tail,
Certainty in his Being.
I provide for my aliens and they ignore me.
I put treats in their food to help their
skin,
digestion,
teeth
and they stare me down.
Really?
I’m not necessarily afraid of them, mind you,
even though I wake to see them sitting above me,
but it’s not like they’re my friends either.
They’re nothing like you and me.
They’re aliens.
That’s really all there is to say about it.

 

Holly Hughes teaches at Community Montessori in Boulder and completed CWP 1 in June of 2015.