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Saturday, August 25, 2012


lovely secrets

I am so so so very glad to hear that you do have some darling and less challenged kiddos in your class. perhaps things will shake out with the red hot squirmmers and they can be shifted around a bit , for everyone's sake!!! thank god for weekends and Unions that brought us weekends!!!!

What a delightful treat it is to be entrusted with a child's secret!

Each and every page of your Norway journal is a treasure. I've visited several times looking at all the details and admiring them! Each time you publish photos of your travel journals I swear that one is my favorite. I've been holding the Istanbul one as my absolute favorite, but wow, this one is really shaking that pedestal!

Was thinking (and I believe it was stated here before) ... as part of your (maybe) sabbatical next year I think you should take us (really, really take us!) to MX for an art journaling adventure Mary Ann Moss-style. There must be a lovely hacienda we could take over! Pretty please!

I SO understand your classroom dynamics. We had an unbelievable group of 26 kindergarteners last year. I call it "the perfect storm." There was a group of "red-hot squirmers" who were downright ornery. They just would not listen at all and ruined it for all the others who were like the group of sweet and delightful ones you have this year. If they had not been in our class it would have been a much easier and productive year. School starts Monday. This past Friday morning we had 30-31 enrolled per Kindergarten class! Thankfully, the administration received permission from our school board to add another kindergarten. Even with an extra teacher we will still have 26-27 kids per class. I sure hope we have a better mix of children this year but it seems like every year there are always some "stinkers" that are very challenging. I love the art you share. I am a mixed media book artist that creates a variety of artist books. . .crushed aluminum can books, altered books, folded pages books, X-shape books and more. A couple years ago I started art journaling. Your art has encouraged me to try new things. I enjoy your words and sense of humor too! Oh, and by the way, I am part Greek (my mother's side) and have been visiting my aunt in Greece every year since 2001. (Took trips there before that but not as often.) I love to travel, so I really resonate with you blog entries about your trips. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us. You and I have quite a bit in common and I appreciate knowing that I'm not alone! I hope that you've enjoyed your weekend. My husband and I drove to Philly yesterday to view "books" from the Sketchbook Project. They finally had a tour destination that we could get to and I enjoyed it. Take care and I'll keep reading about your adventures both in and out of the classroom!

I love you!!!

I just love you, Mary Ann!

PS... I think what Susie mentions above is the difference in being a tourist and a traveler.... I think that may even be the motto of the Travel Channel?????

Just a note to let you know that reading your words is such JOY and a bright spot in my day!!!!!

"2 of my red hot squimers were absent today". I'm going to go up to a complete stranger on the street today and say that to them. Yes I am. And then I'm going to walk off. Head held high. I just have to say it to someone 'cause it makes me laugh. soDonna

@ violet Cadbury: exactly, I was raised by nuns (school days) and had the exact phenomena you had. Being punished in school and come home and be punished again, a never ending cycle of abuse is what they would call it now... I too was publicly humiliated in front of the whole school and called a devils child. I wonder why I feel so inferior at times. Grin...
I would have died for a teacher like Mary Ann... Need I say more? Thank you Mary Ann for delivering a batch of kids who will at least have had one teacher that cared and that I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives!

I'm so glad to hear you had a better time in the classroom, Mary Ann. The mention of the secret boots is a sweet story!!

I must say, I sorta love it a lot when then toughies are absent for a day or two. The whole classroom dynamic changes and it is DEElightful. So glad you had a break & were able to enjoy your other kiddies. Whew. And NOW it is the weekend!!!!!

Hopefully those red hot zingers will miss a lot of school, we can only hope. Enjoy the peace and think about time off for good behavior (yours).

I love your journal pages and spent the last half hour gazing at them, seeking the simple details and reveling in the stories they have to tell, enjoying each and every one. The journey lives on in them and thus creates a path back to those moments of yours. What really amazes me is that those of us who didn't go, can find so much delight in your pages, that is pure magic. You see I can go visit family or a friend and have them plunk down a stack of photos in my lap, either from a trip or some event and do the polite thing and ooohhh and ahhhhh over them, ask a few well rehearsed questions and once I've given them just the right amount of time, hand them back; I want to tell them that their photos would be so much more enjoyable to look at is if they did something with them as well as explain that looking at the same people in each and every photo just does not hold my interest, so and so by the beach, so and so in a park, so and so in front of some national monument, okay already, they just don't capture my interest, that I want to see the doors and windows of distant places, that photos of cobbled streets and store fronts make my heart sing, shoes on pavement are fun and sweet to look at and then, the really best part, seeing them placed on a journal page, bit and pieces pulled from piles of paper pleasures and then shared with the simple trust of a child, for all the world to see. That is what makes your journal pages special. It's also what makes you an awesome teacher, knowing and understanding all the secret gifts in those wee people. It's rough when some of them have sharp edges and need more from you than you can give without sacrificing the others and that you know that, you have a very special gift because you know what really matters. I'm glad you had a quieter Friday, a day that allowed for a deep breath, a day that you could find the joy in a little girls secret...that is priceless.

As someone who used be a Primary School teacher (same as Elementary I think!)I have so been able to understand your recent comments about the new term and the sheer exhaustion having to control an unruly class.
This post has reminded me that there were also lots of sweet, lovely moments that you can only get with children. Thank you for that. Hope you get to reach the balance you need very soon:)

So good to start the weekend with a day that goes well. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip to Norway and the subsequent book -- inspirational as well!

I'm so glad to hear things have mellowed out in the classroom! Hope you have a great weekend.

In Catholic school, if we misbehaved we were whacked with a ruler on the knuckles and told to say 5,000 Hail Mary's and write "I will not make fart noises in class" on the board 400 times, and sit in a corner wearing a DUNCE cap, and go to confession in a smelly box with a man dressed in black hiding behind a screen and tell him the whole shameful SIN, and have to carry the teacher's note home where my parents would read it in HORROR, and then whack me again for good measure and be sent to my room. I applaud your attempts to help the poor little souls -- be assured your response of firm but gentle corrective measures will make a difference, maybe not in their behavior but at least they will have experienced someone modeling restraint and kindness, who knows how these children are disciplined outside the classroom. If anybody can make it work, you can.

ps -- I also know just what you mean about smelling delicious things other people are making. I believe there's an implicit invitation to partake, and that they shouldn't be surprised when we show up with our plates in hand!

I love the way you collect things on your journeys that you incorporate into your daily life.... One of my favorite souvenirs from my France adventure is a cheap nylon shopping bag. It folds up small, and weighs very little.... I almost always have it with me, just in case I need to carry something.....

I know EXACTLY what you mean about the effects on the whole class when a few kids just cannot blend into a normal classroom, but are there, regardless.

I have video of polite first-grade girls, with their hands in the air, being ignored so the teacher can make incessant attempts to engage the kids who needed to be in another environment. I know it was necessary -- otherwise they'd have been bouncing off the walls, setting fires, making humping motions at the teacher, you name it. But as the mother of one of those polite girls, I wanted those "can't sit still for more than 15 seconds" (as timed by the kindergarten teacher!) boys OUT OF THERE. PRONTO.

Those boys did not improve, over the course of two years (k and 1), and the cost to everyone else in the room was huge. The stress levels for all.... The opportunity cost -- what could have been learned and enjoyed, if they were gone.......

Our totally PC elementary plan for the district involved keeping everyone all together at all times. It was a much more important goal than seeing to it that there was actually an appropriate learning environment for the largest possible number of kids..........

Very frustrating for teachers, scary/stressful/nasty for kids, and absolutely infuriating for parents...................


Hoping your most difficult ones find themselves in a more appropriate environment, soonest.

So you can spend more time listening to secrets. :-)

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