July 14, 2020

“I can’t breathe.” Like so many people across the world, the words of George Floyd echo in my head and heart. This echo has become a worldwide catalyst for action, and has inspired protests, legislative action, and pushed us towards justice reform on a scale not seen in decades. Frankly, action that is long overdue.

This call tugs at me too, and the conversations dominating my household have been c...

June 12, 2020

When June hits it tends to spread its arms wide open inviting closure, reflection, and renewal in a unique way. Despite this year feeling quite different, we can make the choice to still end on a high note! Building a reflective stance takes time, experiences, and chances to engage in it. When those chances do come along, we also then need to make a choice as to how we might learn from them. 

From...

June 11, 2020

“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something.” - Pema Chodron

My favorite genre in which to read and write is memoir, but I wasn’t always a reader. In fact, one of my earliest school memories in regards to reading was fairly scarring. It was the tradition in my childhood first grade classroom (my teacher, she-who-shall-not-be-named) for stude...

June 9, 2020

I recently read Can we stop telling the ‘corona kids’ how little they are learning? (published in the Washington Post). After many weeks of immersing myself in texts sharing methods for virtual learning and models for reopening, I appreciated the message of the author’s words. Valerie Strauss asks readers to rethink the language we use and labels we are putting on young people. She reminds us of t...

May 21, 2020

On March 19th, Making MY Plan: Self-Care During School Closings was posted. I knew that my educating and caregiving instincts were kicking into high gear and I needed to think beyond “one day at a time” and actively strategize ways to sustain efforts and energy long-term. I created “my plan” as a way to nourish myself- even amidst all that was happening. 

In school, we often talk about setting real...

May 19, 2020

As many of our children are quietly (some not so quietly) facing anxiety and experiencing a wave of emotions that are disrupting their ability to learn and focus, we now more than ever need to make sure that our students see themselves in their learning. Our students (like us) need to feel a sense of purpose and belonging as they wake up every morning to tackle what sometimes feels like a “groundh...

May 14, 2020

 

Over the last several weeks, teachers have continued to step up. We’ve compiled, curated, collaborated, and created. We have Zoomed, Met, laughed, and perhaps even cried. We have tried to create some sense of normalcy while also accepting the fact that none of this is normal. It is exhausting! And although I remain an optimist, as the news and calendar keep reminding us, we are not yet at the fin...

May 12, 2020

You are 5 years old and you are handed a small square envelope with your name written on the outside. You squeal on the inside as you feel the smooth paper of the envelope and begin to rip it open. You were chosen. You were picked. You were invited. You matter.  

I teach kindergarten and in order to be the best that I can be for my students, I often have to channel my inner 5 year ol...

May 7, 2020

It's almost 6 am. The sun is beginning to rise, the birds are beginning to chirp, and the sound of the coffee maker is beginning to brew. Most mornings I try to get up before the whole house, trying to process what the next 13 hours will look like. There are no more boundaries or compartments. The lines are blurred and almost enmeshed. The days of Mrs. Velez during the day and Mom when I walk thro...

May 5, 2020

There’s comfort in the familiar: familiar faces, familiar places, familiar experiences. The challenge to find familiar during this period of unexpected unfamiliar led us to, of all places, our camera rolls. Yes, that’s right. Our gallery of pictures featuring the faces of our students, our classroom walls, our hallways, our colleagues, our students’ work- it brought instantaneous comfort. We wante...

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