Mama’s Stories

March 1, 2009

I love the voice of the child and her mother in the book Tell Me a Story, MamaAngela Johnson penned a narrative in the structure of  a conversation between mother and daughter.   David Soman paints the bed time setting as the background of the conversation.  True in our home, my children often share information about their day or ask questions that bring insight into their curious minds.

The book warms my heart a I see a reflection of my family.  Being mischievous as a youngster, my husband (not me)  often shares memories in his life that conjures much laughter.  My kids soak it up.  The past week, our oldest, Wes, began sharing the antics of each new teacher he has this trimester.  I couldn’t help laughing, but it made me wonder what stories my students were sharing about me.

Family stories – they’re the best.  Tell Me a Story, Mama is a great way to connect to oral story telling in your class.  I also believe it’s an excellent text to share with your families to promote story telling at home.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Tell Me a Story, Mama:

  • Two Font Types – supporting the back and forth conversation
  • Repeating Structure
  • Flashback – favorite stories of the mother’s childhood
  • Questions
  • Voice – the young girl’s and the mother’s
  • Inferencing – difficult economic times; responsibility of the older sibling

Slice of Life Challenge 1: Teacher Antics

March 1, 2009


Join the Slice of Life Challenge being presented by Two Writing Teachers.  

Our evening began the usual way of asking our children how their day went.  To my surprise, the conversation my eldest shared will be one memory I will not forget.   Wesley shared his day, step by step, giving me a glimpse of his teachers’ antics.  Being a teacher, I found the account to be rather humorous, yet it left me wondering as well, “What do my students go home and tell their parents about me?”

The new third trimester had begun for my Freshman.  “Mom, my teachers are definitely different.  You know how Miss D is, all quiet, using only the words necessary to get her point across.  Well, I start out the day with her in PE.  All okay there.”  I shook my head in response, keeping eye contact to let Wes know that he had my undivided attention.  “Biology is next.  Besides having to lug a huge book around that class should be okay.  It’s some other classes.”  By the expression on his face and the turning of his body, I knew something interesting was about to happen.

“Then, I go to Health class and have Miss K, and she talks like this.”  Wes began to imitate her nasally voice, wrinkling his nose and sitting up straight.  “Now she talks like this…all nasally and kind of monotone.  She about drove me nuts.  She sat at her desk and kept going on and on about the classroom expectations.  I thought, ‘This is going to be so bad.'”  Wes just let out a sigh.

Listening to my son, watching him shake his head, I tried to hide my smirk and small chuckle.  Wes likes people to be straight up and confident.  I hope he can manage to learn something and not be distracted, I silently said.

“Oh, it gets better.  I then have English 2 with Miss S.  You know how you like to talk with your hands, Mom?”  Wesley addresses me.  I shook my head yes.  “Well you have nothing on Miss S.  She is so animated like she’s high on caffeine.  She’s moving one arm this way and the other that way.  And pace.  The woman never stopped.  She went back and forth in front, from one side of the room to the other.”  At this point, Wesley began to pace, moving his hands like an elephant trunk, reaching here and bending down there.  My eyes began to widen. 

Wesley continued, “She even told us that she use to walk all over the room until she ended up trippng a kid and knocking something else over on another kid.  I’m glad I’m on the side of the class, not up front.  If she had a pointer in her hand, I know she would decapitate someone.”  At that, I let out a loud chuckle, causing Wesley to imitate the teacher even more.  What cracked me up was the fact that his face was so serious. 

“I know it sounds funny, Mom,” Wesley interjected, “but it’s dangerous!  I’m telling you, I could be doing my assignment and get knocked in the head with one of her abrupt movements.” 

Enjoying this truthful, passionate moment with my son, I asked, “Is that all?”  He looked at me like “Are you serious?”  “Sounds like you’ll be able to stay awake in class,” I added getting ready to move on to my next child’s sharing.

“Oh, but it doesn’t end there yet, Mom.  I have lunch; then Design Processing with Mr. S.  He’s cool and I know the ropes there.  No problem.  It’s Health class at the end of the day.  Miss K talks like a mouse squeaking.  Her high pitched voice makes my ears hurt.”  Wesley pressed the palms of his hands into his ears.  “I’m telling you, I’ll be deaf by the time this year is over.  I think her voice could crack a window.  I left class today with ringing in my ears.”  Laughter escaped from our voices as Wesley sat with a “Please help me” look on his face.

From there, my other two children began to share stories of their teachers and different substitutes they have had.  We laughed more and more.  I was enjoying the feeling of family closeness and savored the memory.  All the while, a question haunted me, “What do my students go home and share with their parents about me?”