Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We are currently in the shuffle of our memoir unit in Room 209.  Writing Workshop has looked considerably different this year under the slew of new materials, and it's been hard to find time to just write.  Memoir is one of my favorite genres, because it allows me to reconnect with each child as I hear their stories.  Each child was a buzz this afternoon as they waited to share their story with the class.  And, they always let out a few giggles as I share some of my personal memoirs.  (Yes, even Miss K has some embarrassing moments to share!)  As I was cleaning out some of the clutter in my bookshelf tonight, I found this memoir I wrote my fellows year.  Thought I would share it with you, before the ten year olds.  :)


My nose brushed the top of the water.  The smell of moldy mud seeped into my nostrils and began to tickle.  A warm pulse began to move up and down my spine, my body's way of telling me that I couldn't hold this position forever.  I waited.

By this time, my dad and I had perfected this skill.  A balance of being patient and knowing when to take a risk.  Letting your hand dip quickly into the water, wrapping your fingers around the goal, a tadpole.

My dad and I had made many trips to that smelly pond.  The water warm from sitting in the August sun, we would tiptoe into the water, careful not to startle the baby frogs.  Using our hands as nets, letting the tadpole rest on our palms before cuddling the tadpole with our fingers.  My dad could always catch twice as many, after all his hand was twice as big.  But he'd always let them slide through my hands, where I named them, before dropping them into the water with a gentle splash.  

Looking back I can see that it wasn't just tadpoles I was learning to catch.  I was learning how to catch my dreams:  a balance of being patient, and knowing when to take a risk.  

-Micaela Kazanowski

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baked, not fried.

I gave up fried foods for lent.  Biggest mistake ever.  Especially because most of my diet consists of french fries, fried pickles and chips and salsa.  And it becomes especially hard when certain loved ones in my life order entire plates of fried foods while I am eating pita bread.... No. Fair. I decided today that instead of a frozen meal dinner for the bazillionth time, I was going to step up and make something worthwhile for dinner.  I found a recipe for buffalo chicken enchiladas on Pinterest this week and decided this would at least somewhat make me feel better... (somewhat).... and, it seemed pretty easy:

cheese (I did not add Gorgonzola.. woof)
wheat tortillas
green onions
enchilada sauce
Franks buffalo sauce.. yum

You can find the entire recipe here!

Not too shabby:

I also decided to buy baked chips today to curve my chips and salsa craving.... not as good, but at least it's something!  And, I'll be less of a grump!  

Happy Tuesday!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'll Take Two

Valentine for Ernest Mann
by Naomi Shihab Nye

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really 
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

Happy Belated Day-of-Love!  

Love, Micaela

Monday, February 13, 2012

That's Baloney!

There are many books in our classroom that are well loved.  The covers are ripped, pages bent and the poor things are constantly getting shuffled from one desk bag to the next.  One of our classroom favorites is Jon Scieszka and Lane's Smith's Baloney.  

Now if you haven't read this book, it's about a young alien, Henry P. Baloney. Henry finds himself late to school one too many times.  His teacher, Miss Bugscuffle asks for his reasoning, and threatens life long detention unless he has a reeeealllly good excuse.  Henry goes into detail about what has happened, using words from other languages to help him out.  For example, he misplaced his trusty Zimulus on his Deski.  

This books had all of us laughing as I tried to read aloud the weird words.  Some of them were even Polish, and I couldn't do it!  Ha!  Using an idea found in this book, students worked together to find the meaning of each word after we read it together.  They had to find proof from the text that helped them find what the words meant.  (Inferring!)  And at the end, we got to check our ideas with the glossary in the back of the book.  We had a ball, all while tackling a bigger chunk of reading comprehension.  

Now what's on the agenda for my snow day?  A full day of PJs, snacking, watching Bachelor, and maybe even a little book shopping.  Wooohooo!  Enjoy the day!  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Something to ponder..

"My request is:  Help your students to become human.  Your efforts should never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths and educated Eichmanns.  Reading, writing and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more humane."  Haim G. Ginott