Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Telephoto Tuesday

a little lizard happened by
and got right in my way
i had to snap his photograph
before he rushed away
oh, what fun to look around
and see what nature brings
from bright green lizards on my deck
to birds that like to sing

Friday, May 22, 2009

My "little birds" have left their nest ...

Photo: School System Web Site

Okay, so they're not really little (some are taller than I am), but my "birds" left the nest at about 3:15 this afternoon. It's official...

School's Out For The Summer!!

It never fails; I always get a little teary-eyed on the last day of school. Yes, I'm ready for summer. Yes, I'm exhausted. Yes, I'm ready to spend quality time with my daughter. But, it's still sad to see this year's crop of students leave the nest I call school. Over a year's time, they just grow on you. Even those who give you a little more trouble and try your patience the most.

Okay. I'm human. There are a few that I might wave good-bye to with a little more gusto. But overall, the joy of impending summer is dampened when I think about these students not being at school each day. For some, it may mean potato chips for breakfast, instead of the healthier version offered at school. It may mean one less hot meal each day. For them, I worry.

So many students come from situations that make them feel lost, afraid, and confused. Broken homes, unsafe environments, and sparse supervision leave them in need of a safety net. I feel that schools serve that purpose. And although I'm sure I didn't brighten the day for all of my students, I still think (and hope) that I was a welcoming presence in at least some of their lives this year.

But it's time to let go of this school year knowing that I've done all I can for them.

Next week: post-planning and packing up my room. (Just as hectic as the last few weeks have been.)

The week after: School's officially out for the summer!

Take care...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Derby Day

Today was the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. The horse favored to win, I Want Revenge, was pulled from the race due to an injury, which left the field a little more open. Dunkirk and Pioneer of the Nile were both 4:1 favorites, clearly the next best thing, but it was Mine That Bird (a 50-1 long-shot) that rocketed past the finish line first. A 50-1 long-shot, a horse that cost $9,500 instead of a million, won the Kentucky Derby!

He didn't just win it, either; he won it in style. He loped along in last place until the moment was right. As he entered the pack of horses that he had been trailing, his jockey, Calvin Borel, knew what they needed. "If you got a hole," he said, "you got a shot." And they found it. At the end of the race, the horse and his rider were nearly seven lengths out front... the largest lead in 60 years and the second biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history.

I love horses; I love the race, but Mine That Bird's victory reminded me of something else. It reminded me of some of the students I've taught. They also lope along in last place at times. But all they need is an opening. Just a sliver of light that helps them see through the din and confusion that sometimes surround them.

If they can see an opening, they have a shot.

And anyone can come from last place and still win.

Isn't that a remarkable thing?

P.S. Bet you're wondering who that lovely lady is in the kewl hat? The one with the handful of money? She was one of our guests today for our Kentucky Derby Party and just happened to pull Mine That Bird's name out of a hat.

It's only fitting that the only guest to actually wear a hat to our party won the prize money...! We'll just have to call her Lucky Betty!