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The Difference a Book Can Make

  Seven years ago, I was working at Harbor House, a subsidized after-school program, in Oakland, and we had the chance to have a children's author, Mac Barnett, come visit the kids. I emailed his assistant and asked her if he could visit both groups of kids: the K-2nd grade and the 3rd-5th graders. She wrote back and said he was only prepared to visit the younger kids (I think that was his policy at the time).  Well, a kid who I'll call "Adam" in 5th grade, had found out that Mac Barnett was coming and in preparation, had read a chapter book Mac had written ( The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity ; check it out but preferably from your local bookstore). This was big news because it was the first chapter book Adam had read. In his entire life. So I told him to write a letter to Mac and I would scan it and email it, asking for an exception because he was such a big fan. I told him to ask if he could sit in the back very quietly as a helper, and told him to put a few
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Going Back to School During COVID

     Going back to school in the fall can be a difficult process in the best of years, but as we all know, we are definitely not living in the best of years. In the middle of a pandemic, kids, teachers, and parents are all struggling. We have to take care of ourselves and each other. I deeply miss not being a classroom teacher, but it does mean I'm  no longer just living in survival mode, and have a little more bandwidth. So I thought I'd offer some thoughts and suggestions for surviving and maybe, possible, thriving a little during another difficult year. I'd love to hear of anything else you might think of in how to support each other.  Anxiety is normal: It might help to remember that this year, anxiety is normal for everyone! Students, parents, teachers, support staff… everyone is worried. No one knows what this year will bring and I’d say everyone is on edge. That might not seem encouraging, but at least you can know you’re not alone. It might help kids (of all ag