Not Just Yet

image courtesy of

I can feel it in the air,

I see it in the way the sun stays tucked under the covers just a little longer every morning.

I smell it the stores, in the waxy scent of crayons, their tips perfectly pointed inside pristine yellow boxes all lined up in wait.

It’s in the scuffling of new shoes down the threadbare aisle of the shoe store.

The shoes, the air, the crayons, the sun are all in on the secret that a new school year is sneaking up on Summer.

As for me,

I’m staying up late to watch the moon rise, its ivory face peering down from an inky sky.

I’m picking breakfast blackberries, standing barefoot in my backyard and eating them straight from the brambles,

I’m languishing in long baths and drowning myself in good books read in bed.

I’m slipping through Wednesday morning traffic with my kayak piggyback on my car, both of us giddy to glide on the water.

The school year is sneaking up on me, inching up my spine and edging into my dreams.

But I’m in on a secret that the shoes, the air, the crayons, and the sun do not know.

Summer is ending,

But not just yet.

Book Lovers

After school is one of my favorite times of the day.  I reflect on the happenings of the day and prepare for tomorrow.  At the end of the day I’m usually accompanied by a handful of my students from after school care.  They help sharpen pencils, organize books, clean the boards, and do any other job that garners special teacher time.

As my mom prepares to retire this year, she is passing on many of her materials to me.  This past week, I carted an overflowing box of her old books to my room and called on my little after school helpers to put them in the correct book tubs.

One of my little boys stood next to a tower of books.  He fingered each one with care and would often exclaim “Oh, Mrs. McCauley, I remember when you read us this one.  I love this book!”  As beloved stories passed through his hands, he recounted the precise time of year I’d read it to the class and something he remembered from the story.  If a book was new to him, he would stop what he was doing, plop down on the carpet, and a read a few pages.  About half an hour into this process, he asked “Mrs. McCauley, have you read all of the books in our class library?”  I smiled.  “No, not all, but I’ve read most of them.  I read many of them when I was little like you.”  He sighed “I love reading.”  I smiled “I know you do.  I do, too.”

Part of creating closure to the year is helping my students understand that when they move to second grade the current kindergarteners will be first graders.  So during the last week of school we write letters to the new first graders and prepare the classroom for them.  Today each student cleaned out their book box and placed easy readers in the boxes for next year.  As they put the books in their boxes, I heard things like “Oh, I loved this book!”  and “Mrs. McCauley, I remember when this book seemed really big and hard, but it’s so easy now!”  I smiled pleased that we had a moment together to reflect on how they’d grown as learners.

I’ve got a stack of books waiting for me this summer.  I can’t wait to sit back and dive in.  And as I do, I will smile knowing that my little book lovers are probably doing the same.

Summer Top Ten

It’s late at night and Letterman is on, so, here we go Top Ten style.

The Top Ten Reasons I’m Giddy For Summer

10.  I’m hoping to re-vamp my backyard a little bit so it feels more like an oasis and less like a slab of cement surrounded by dead plants.

9.  I’m heading to the NCWP Summer Institute again.  That means new ideas, new people, and time to reflect on my practice as a teacher.  Not to mention regular doses of Jon & Bon’s frozen yogurt.  Mmmmmm…

8.  After two weeks at the Institute, Terry and I head to Alaska with four of our friends.  We will mountain bike to justify eating unholy quantities of delicious food.  Then we’ll take a zipline ride and throw it all up.

7.  Fourth of July will announce that it’s birthday week for Terry and I.  I heart fireworks.

6.  On my birthday I head to Southern California to hang out with a few hundred of my favorite high schoolers, not to mention some of my dearest friends at Western States.

5.  I fly from Southern California to San Jose where I will meet up with Terry and The Rocket to ride 100 miles and show cancer exactly what I think of it.

4.  A few days later I fly to Arizona to participate in The Writing Project’s National Retreat where I will soak up as much knowledge as I can in hopes that this bear of little brain can retain some of it.

3.  Five of my nieces and nephews will be spending a month in Redding.  I can’t wait to squeeze, kiss and snuggle them all, especially the boys who pretend to hate all that mushy love stuff.  Deep down they love it.  Deep, deep down.

2.  In August I’ll sit down for a second in my new and improved oasis, surrounded by dead plants, and laugh at the fact that I’ve once again failed to cure my brown thumb.

1.  Terry and I will celebrate another year together.  The best compliment I’ve ever received came in the form of two little words: I do.  The fact that he still does makes my heart full.