Slice of Life Tuesday: What a Week!


Slice of Life Small LogoWhat a Week!

I am unable to post a decent piece of writing tonight because…

I was grading all weekend for progress reports, hosting parent teacher conferences tonight, and eating a late dinner.

Those are my excuses. I’m sticking to each one. Oh, yes! AND it’s supposed to snow 7-10 inches in the next 48 hours. Is it an excuse if it hasn’t happened yet?BirdMarch

See you next week! March 1st! The Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Day 31: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss

Day 30: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge


GRATEFUL for my new friends at SOLSC

G is for the GRAVITATIONAL pull of the SOLSC network. You kept me going. When I fell, I got back up. I kept writing, because my SOLSC pals pulled me towards them.

R is for REVEALING myself to new people, and for REFLECTING on my life as a mom, daughter, teacher, and human being.

A is for APPLE. Just because, “an apple a day keeps the teachers at play.” Right?

T is for TECHNOLOGY that I am learning to use because of this project, and for TIME to do what I’ve always wanted.

E is for EXCITING new stories to tell. I’m also giving a virtual “high-five” to my EXCELLENT SOLSC team of leaders who organize this event every year. Thanks!

F is for FUNDAMENTALS — I will use this writing experience to become a better writer and teacher.

U is for ULTIMATE goals! My goal is to become a published writer, so writing every day gave me the chance to experience my dream!

L is for LEARNING. Oh, that’s the ultimate goal — yes! For me, for my students. My time with this SOLSC project helped me to renew my faith in the learning process.

Thank you everyone at SOLSC! It was nice meeting you all, and sharing stories with you. Keep in touch!


Day 29: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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What’s Your Color?

“Color” keeps revealing itself as a topic I should study today. I’m not sure why, but I thought since the “colors” were showing up again and again (shout out to Kylene Beers and Bob Probst! LOL), it would be interesting to research some “color” ideas. Here are a few of my findings:

My friend’s band, Gandhi, is releasing a great song this coming week called “Color Yourself.” I first heard it live when I was visiting Brooklyn a couple of years back now, during one of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project summer institutes. “Color yourself in green again…” the words of the song remind me to show off my personality, convictions, and lifestyle using color.

"Color Yourself" by Gandhi

“Color Yourself” by Gandhi

Listen to the song here.

I was on Facebook earlier, and engaged myself in (yet another) silly quiz, “What’s Your True Color?” The first time I took the quiz, my color was pink. I would never choose pink as my favorite color, but the quiz is about personality, and not visual favorites. What PINK says about me: I cannot remember all the descriptive words, but I know it showed something about being relaxed and taking naps. I love naps! I wish I would have taken a nap today. My instinct as a researcher told me to take the quiz again. With the same answers to the same nine questions, I got the color PURPLE, which said, “you’re always up for the next adventure…you are the first one to purchase a new gizmo (NOT!) or try a new restaurant (YES!).” I took the quiz one more time (you know, to use the “power of three”) and I was nabbed as “purple” again.

All of this assessment wore me out. Ha! Maybe I do need a nap!

My favorite color is blue. According to a personality test I did many years ago, the color blue alludes to peace, serenity, and casual presence. I read about this when studying design, too, so it must be accurate. I guess I was looking for relaxation in my life back then, and I do still love blue jeans, my navy blue sweatshirt, and blue and gold were the colors of my high school teams.

It was interesting studying colors today. Maybe I’m tired of the white and grey of the snow and winter. Maybe as the snow melts, I am hoping to see green again. Maybe I’m a rainbow!

What is your color?


Day 28: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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I met with my group of ol’ friends today after school. Oh, what a great time! I love how we greet each other with hugs and waves and gather ’round the table to share. We haven’t seen each other in “forever”, but we pick up right where we left off, catching up to present-day activities, laughing and chatting and showing each other pictures on our phones. What a fabulous time!

It’s Friday! Go out and laugh it up! It’s good for the soul. I wish all of my fellow Slicers the joy of a relaxing weekend!


Day 27: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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End of the 3rd Quarter!

Today marked the end of the third quarter of the school year AND the beginning of the fourth. Wow! What a year it has been. I am not looking forward to the lo..on…ng 4th quarter because I don’t want to make up all those snow days. But, we move on and look to the future anyway.

Tonight, my grades are done (whoopie!) and tomorrow’s teacher work day will be great. I am going to CLEAN and ORGANIZE and put new books out to read and plan my April Poetry Unit and continue researching my immigration unit. Then I will see my former teammates from coaching — a bonus! We try to get together once or twice a year to gab, laugh, and eat. I cannot wait to see them!

As for tonight, beware of disturbing me! Ha!


Have a great night!

Day 26: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge


Inspiration Poem: Trying It Again

Thanks to my fellow Slicers and Ralph Fletcher for reminding me to use a mentor text and recreate it with my own words. Here’s my attempt:

The Good Old Days

Sometimes I remember

the good old days.

We traveled to Florida

to catch spring break’s rays.

The most fun I ever had

was sitting on the beach with Mom,

walking to the pier with Dad.

Sea shells collected, sand castles erected.

Needing that sunscreen and hat

so sun poisoning wouldn’t make you lay flat

on the bed; can’t go out, Oh drat!

Playing with sis in the pool after dark,

Going to Disney, can’t find anywhere to park!

Returned to the balcony, tired, just sat.

I still can’t imagine

anything better than that!

Day 25: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Happy Birthday! Sorry…

My husband’s birthday is today. Happy Birthday!

Now I have to get my work done for tomorrow. Good night!





Day 24: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Indiana says “No More to the Common Core”

Today has been a struggle. Indiana has “officially withdrawn from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country” (WSBT 22 News, 03/24/14).  I don’t know if I liked the Common Core. I don’t know if my students would have passed the PARCC. We never got the chance to try.

What’s frustrating is that Indiana was a leader in pushing the PARCC, Common Core, and spent “Bookoo” dollars and time encouraging us teachers to stretch our students into higher level thinking and learning. We were “trained” in the history of Common Core, and told, “this is the wave of the future.” Students would be driven to “read closely” and spend time on tackling argumentative and informational texts, and teachers (in my grade) were told to use fiction sparingly, to meet the new standards.  We were to get ready for the PARCC (the standardized assessment that would replace ISTEP) and beware of the consequences if we weren’t ready. We don’t want our schools to fail — we took the bait. Many teachers took all the hype to heart, even worrying that they would lose their jobs if they were not evaluated as “effective teachers” under Common Core. No one wants to be ineffective.

Well, now the Common Core is mute in Indiana. I am left to wonder, “What next?” What standards will we use to identify students who are below, at, and above grade level? How will the curriculum change? How will teaching life change (again)? Will our students succeed under whatever new plan our state government creates?

For now, all I can do is my best: read aloud to my class, teach skills and strategies I know I’ve used to become a better reader and writer, and re-create the best lessons from the twenty years of practice I have under my belt. I will continue to teach my students to read, write, and think. It’s time to move forward. Let’s go!

Note: One of my students wrote that she had “bookoo” friends, and explained that “bookoo” means “a great amount.” I’ll use her word tonight. I love that she tried to use more descriptive words in her writing (instead of “a lot”) and I REALLY found it cute that she defined the word for us in the text. She’s learning! 





Day 23: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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A Winning Weekend

We studied multiple-meaning words all year, and one word defined my weekend: winning.  I was thinking about posting this slice after 1:00 a.m., to be early for once, but now I’m glad I waited. My weekend revealed many definitions of “winning” and I plan to share my revelations in class this week. Winning, by definition, can be used as an adjective, a noun, or a verb, all generally meaning “gain or acquire.”

“Winning” as an adjective means (according to “gaining, resulting in, or relating to victory in a contest or competition.”  Another version of winning states that it means “attractive.” I use both variations at once here — I couldn’t believe I was winning the game of Clue against the best board game players I know; I showed my winning smile proudly after beating Courtney!

I thought about my winnings and I decided that I share them with my family and friends. My many spoils Saturday and Sunday included time to watch movies,  play games, and relax after chores were done. I even reserved a brunch for the family at Tippecanoe Place, a famous historical mansion restored as a fancy meeting place. I felt like a winner, sharing good food and conversation in a unique atmosphere. Although my winnings did not include money, (I am still a poor teacher! LOL) I felt tonight that my loot came to me in the form of my little granddaughter who visited us before going home to bed.

I won! The verb. It means “to be successful or victorious.” I won this weekend because I was productive and happy AND now I have another authentic word study lesson to share with my students. “Winning” certainly does feel fantastic!

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