Farm Life Fridays

Farm Life Fridays – Sunshine

There was a time in my life when I was pretty sure I wanted Sunshine On My Shoulders (John Denver) sung at my funeral.   But I think I am over that…except when I get to feed the animals in the early morning sunshine:   
Or it brightens up the sight of my boys in an  impromptu mud fight 

And casts its rays through to promise brighter days 

Or sits perfectly on my son’s shoulder

Then it seems like the perfect song to say I wish everyone days just like these beautiful days on the farm!   

Math Mondays

Math Mondays – Collaboration & Patience

Dustin and I created another YouTube video this evening and oh my gosh…collaboration takes a tremendous amount of patience…period.    

I wonder, do we teachers consider this when we plan for and design collaborative tasks?  Granted Dustin and I are at very different ages and ability levels, but working with him on these questions highlighted several areas where patience might need to be developed.   

1.  What do you do with the student who acts silly in new or unfamiliar situations?   You will notice Dustin started out our video acting very silly and then started to talk like a baby.   He turned it around after we got started, but it definitely was a distraction.  

2.  How do we address the varying reading rates and abilities as well as math knowledge and fluency within a group?  Dustin, as you will notice is a struggling reader.  I believe the silly behavior is his coping mechanism…and this makes me question what other behaviors are manifested within mixed ability groupings.

3.   What do you do with the student who gives up?  Dustin saw the final question and  upon just looking at it gave up. Even though we pushed through, he continued to give up whenever he was confused.

I know there are many variables and as many answers to these and other questions related to collaborative work, but for now I want to focus on helping students, and teachers develop patience.

My gut tells me the answer lies in building relationships and establishing group norms, but I want to do some research and share more details in later Teaching Tuesdays posts.    

via Daily Prompt: Collaboration

Sacred Sundays

Sacred Sundays – My Mom

I cannot recall a single childhood memory of snuggling with or hugging my mom…not a single memory!   The images did not develop.  Still I know the moments were there and my mom was, and still is, a constant presence in my life…guiding, coaching, and cheering me on!

So these memories are a tribute to her!

I remember her noting that she was largest with me when I mentioned how fat she looked in this photo taken 3 weeks before I was born:

And that I was her biggest baby.

She taught me to be humble, to forgive and not take things too personally.
Perhaps my earliest memory is of her taking my cousin, my younger brother and me to the church to take our picture with our Raggedy Ann’s.  I can vividly recall her lining us up against the church wall and my 3 year old self squinting into the sun!

She taught me to appreciate gifts from others, to take care of my belongings, and to capture specials moments.
I remember her taking us visiting or having visitors squeeze into our tiny kitchen. We kids would play while our moms would visit.   Occasionally, the children would try to listen in, but we would be given a pat and told to go play.   

She taught me to be a loyal friend, to relax and enjoy time with friends and family, and to keep confidences.

I remember becoming a hormonal teenager and her taking me dragging main, on long car rides and to the Wagon Wheel to have a Coke…anything to improve my mood.

She taught me things are never as bad as they seem, nothing tastes better than a fountain Coke with crushed ice, and to show up and be there for others.

I remember her having a phone conversation with her sister, Dixie, every morning. One time while she was on the phone my little brother and I were taking punches at each other and using her as our shield…we finally stopped when we noticed she was crying.   

She taught me to value and build family relationships, that it is ok to show vulnerability,  and to love unconditionally.

She made sure all my needs were met and went out of her way to help me realize my wants.   I miss her, but know she is and always will be present…guiding, coaching, and cheering me on!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Math Mondays, Teaching Tuesdays

Math Mondays and Teaching Tuesdays Rolled Into a Wednesday – Writing Frames

Several posts ago, I shared my recent professional development experiences which included three conference sessions with Anita Archer.   And in an earlier post, I shared our school focus on the use of summaries.  We believe summaries have the ability to help students process and retain information and have had several conversations around how best to support students in the process of developing this habit.  So I was very happy when Dr. Archer in her Short Writing Often NOT Just Long Writing Seldom session echoed our thinking about the use of summaries and  shared several writing frames to be used as scaffolds.

In this post, as promised, I will pursue the use of the one of the writing frames shared by by Dr. Archer.

As a reminder, here is the information provided in the 3rd Grade Math Performance Task.

Performance Task 1


And here is the question I want to answer using a writing frame.

Performance Task

This morning in our late start meeting, we discussed the fine line between an explanation and a summary.  Our conclusion…an explanation of a problem-solving process can qualify as a summary…especially in mathematics.   So for this question I decided to use the Explanation writing frame provided by Dr. Archer.

There are a number of reasons why ….

The most important reason is…

Another reason is …

A further reason is …

So you can see why…

As you can see, this frame is not a perfect fit to the writing prompt.  However, it is my conjecture, that students who are experienced with the use of these prompts will have developed a schema around the type of questions being asked and begin with the best frame they have and them make adaptations from there.

I changed the word reasons to ways, and I proceeded from there.  I captured my thinking in this video.   Here is the result.

Performance Task 2.PNG

There is still room for improvement, but I like that the frame provided a good first draft.  What avenues the writer can pursue next seem endless, but no longer overwhelming.  I cannot wait to see what the students do.

Farm Life Fridays

Farm Life Fridays – A Love Story

This quote:

Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food

 And some pictures: