March 8, 2016
“Hi Mrs. Gensch,” a young voice calls, hand waving furiously down the hall. I smile and return the wave. Students are coming into the school, some moving so quickly down the hallway I wonder if their feet touch the floor. Why the hurry? Others mingle around talking to friends. I continue on to my way, thinking through the last minute items to be completed, my attention not focused on any one place as my legs automatically walk me to my room.
Thwaup! Something has attached itself to my leg. Looking down out of my gaze, my surprise turns to a smile. Two little arms are wrapped tight around me. “Good morning,” the head says looking up at me. I smile. Forget the to do list. This moment is for savoring. “Are you taking me today?” the little one says. I smile and nod in reply. “I will see you this afternoon.” With a wave, she skips off to her kindergarten room.
Best start to the morning!
March 2, 2016
Her name was Miss Smith. She had long, auburn hair flowing down her back. After recess, the girls took turns brushing her hair while she read aloud beautiful, magical words. She was the prettiest teacher in school and she made my heart soar.
Reading was hard. I didn’t like it. Those symbols called letters didn’t make sense to me and the sounds didn’t always go together like others could. Each letter made words hard, and sentences scrambled. After reading a few sentences, I would have to reread them all over; I had no clue what I just read. Just sounds, not words. I labored day after day after day and now I was in third grade.
Reading would have remained a mystery to me if Miss Smith hadn’t labored beside me. Her patience and tenderness made me try, persisting through the awful hardness. Looking back, her dedication and strength was a legacy passed to me. Reading became stories, not a chore.
Today, I learned one of my students moved away. No good-bye, just an absence. I’ve been working with this little girl since kindergarten, summer school included, and her smile warmed my heart. She was sunshine with hugs and special notes. Daily I was battling alongside her to make the letter-symbols make sense of story. She was conquering and her understanding broadened. Story was real and her love of reading broadened. The legacy Miss Smith bestowed to me, I gifted to her. My hope is her heart is warmed with the courage, strength, and vivaciousness when she thinks of me. Hopefully, the legacy of reading will be gifted on.
July 7, 2015
The day was beautiful. The kittens were getting use to their new environment. Mama Sasha, proud of her little brood, watched from her perch. I was finishing some dishes, looking on to their fun. A surprise caused me to take action, along with Mama. Who knew I would happen upon such a surprise?
“Little ones, stay clear of the shed today. Something smells suspicious there. Stay on this side of the walkway. I do NOT want to see you near the shed!”
This is fun. Can you find me?
Mama Sasha was watching over her three little ones. “Children, listen to Grandpa Kip.
“OK, Mama. We are just having fun with Uncle Moo.”
Hey, where did you go, Cubbie?
“I hear something. Is that you, Pip?”
“What was that??? It’s not me.”
A raccoon! Looking out my window, its head popped out of from under the shed. No wonder Kip gave the warning.
Good bye, raccoon! The kittens were surprised and so was I.
June 23, 2015
Story. The past seven days has been filled with delicious stories, stories that warm and encourage. Posts and pictures from friends make me smile. Texts bring laughter and support. Story has held me together.
Stories shared at the hospital of days long past, of young hearts and hard work. Grandpa shared many with us.
Stories shared at lunch at AllWrite!!! From blogging to in person – delightful.
My friend shared a story of her granddaughter, the surprise who has brought joy.
Kim created reminders to write our stories. Each story is our own.
Summer school ended Thursday. Stories were shared daily to encourage reading for the remainder of the year.
April 7, 2015
“License and registration,” she said.
My heart started to pound. Once again, I was going through this agonizing process. There are specific rules we must follow. The Department does not budge, change her mind, or give in to an “I’m sorry” apology for not having the correct documentation. You better have your insurance card readily available as well.
She looked at the papers, signaled as she headed to the car. I just sat, heart pounding. This was my third time. It didn’t matter. I was anxious! Would it be okay? How long was this going to take? I said a silent prayer that this ordeal would pass painlessly.
The clocked ticked away. She returned. Tim signaled me with a thumbs up and a smile. A sigh of relief expelled as my motherly heart began to slow down.
“He passed his driving test,” she said.
Our last child is now a licensed driver. “Mom, I think you were more nervous than I was,” Tim stated on the way home. He must have heard my heart pounding.
March 30, 2015
My parents 51st wedding anniversary.
Wesley calling, sharing about baseball and college.
Elizabeth texting updates from Florida fun.
Tim helping with chores (and talking too), sharing Chinese for lunch.
March madness cheering.
Girl talk with Melody.
Returning to a collaborative staff.
Being greeted with delightful, “Yeah. You’re back!” from children.
The cooks giving me hugs (they are so delightful!)
Reading posts and smiling.
Receiving comments from Slicing friends, old and new.
March 28, 2015
The distance between the Title I room and the first grade hallway is looong, especially for little legs. When my room was changed this year, I began pondering the amount of time it would take to walk, the children’s behavior, and the instructional time. Normally, my assistants and I service small groups, ranging from 1 – 4 students each. Interactive Writing with first graders is different. We have sixteen students for the initial teaching, modeling sentences and word parts. Midway during the thirty minute segment, we separate into groups for practice of the sentence(s) just modeled. The effects of this writing time has been immensely effective.
But the walk.
Time is precious. A sense of urgency fuels me.
I began to walk backwards, using the time to practice sight words. I have command of their attention and have their brains thinking. We use hands in the air techniques and little chants at times to remember the tricky “heart words”, those words you must know by heart to spell. Thankfully, the first part of the long hallway houses the cafeteria, principal’s office, and front office. I introduce the words and we practice chorally. As we pass individual classrooms, whisper voices are initiated and individual students are called on to answer.
So if you come to Pierceton Elementary, you might see me coming down the hall walking backwards with a group of students learning.