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!

Hmm…

 

 

 

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 Indiana has “officially withdrawn from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country” (WSBT 22 News, 03/24/14).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 dictionary.com/thesaurus.com) “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!

Day 22: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Wish You Were Here!

I wish I could have attended the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Saturday Reunion today. I loved reading about the highlights on all the blog posts — another amazing Saturday in New York City! Diane Ravitch was a keynote speaker! This amazing event drew the usual crowd of teachers from around the country! The weather wasn’t too shabby! Smiles to all of you. Thank you for sharing.

I read that some fellow Slicers got to meet each other for the first time in person! How wonderful! Finally getting the chance to truly become personal friends AND share in the learning — the opportunity of a lifetime. I look forward to the next time I will walk with a thousand other people along Broadway, crossing over at 120th ST to Riverside Church, arriving at least 45 minutes early to get a good seat (now there’s a challenge!), and enjoying a fun-filled day of thinking and sharing time with the experts in the field of education.

As for today’s events at home, I have to admit it was a productive, busy, yet relaxing day. The dryer got fixed — yay! I can do laundry! (Note the sarcastic tone.) We did our taxes — yay! (No, really! We needed that done.) My daughter and I went to the mall and brought home dinner — yay! (No, really! It was nice to get out.)  And for tonight’s main event, I watched “Pretty Woman” on TV — yay! (I enjoy viewing my favorite classic movies again and again.)

Bonus! It’s only Saturday and most of my chores are done now; I can enjoy the entire day tomorrow, too!  “Wish You Were Here” — not just a line from a postcard.

 

 

 

 

Day 21: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Appreciate the Little Things…

James Caan (actor: Elf, Las Vegas, Hawaii Five-O, etc.) said, “It is that, but really, it’s about how we don’t recognize the little things in life, or appreciate the little things in life like belonging. A sense of belonging is a big thing today.”

I am so appreciative tonight that I belong to the SOLSC group of writers, teachers, and bloggers who have supported and encouraged me this month! What a fabulous group of people! I just read on my dashboard that I have over 30 followers of my blog, http://www.readingteacherwrites.com. That’s just amazing to me because these followers are people I don’t know personally. I feel honored that they have read my posts and felt inclined to “follow” my future . A sense of belonging is truly needed in our current world situation. If you cannot belong to someone or something, you cannot “be.”

Students look to school for belonging: kids want to belong to a sport, or a club, or even a classroom community, to help them on life’s journey through childhood and adolescence. Teachers and coaches work really hard to show the students, “We want you here!” I always make sure I tell my students, “Welcome back!” when they return from an absence. We need them there, and they need us.

I appreciate belonging to a family (immediate and extended), a school, and a group of friends I’ve known forever. I appreciate my colleagues from different venues: Homestead High School, Ball State University, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, the SBCSC “curriculum gals,” NEA, IRA, ASCD, and NCTE…Wow! If I list all the groups I belong to, I won’t meet my deadline tonight! I am grateful to belong to so much! I appreciate every one of you, every day. Even if I don’t say it.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault

Day 20: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Brownie, Age 6…Or is that “sick?”

The photographer asked how old I was. I said, “Six.” No smile. The silly man tried to confirm: “Aw, you’re sick?” I giggled, “No, I’m SIX!” Smile. Shoot. Print!

Day 19: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Is It Friday Yet?

I feel like I am in 1700s Massachusetts — the Battle of Bunker Hill/Breed’s Hill. I’ve climbed, ready to attack; I’m a “Minuteman” — ready to work in a moment’s notice. Monday and Tuesday flew by. I kept up, crossing each task off of my to-do list, and I got done with everything! Then Wednesday arrived.

Wednesdays are true “hump” days around here. Hump. Slump! Oh, my goodness! Today is trudging along like a camel in the desert! Slowly stomping along, I am moving forward. I’m writing this piece during my lunchtime, because I think once I get home I’m going to pass out on the couch. Grinding, winding, minding my business, just to get over the hump.

The rest of the week should go fast. I am hopeful that Friday will bring about smooth sailing, lasting through the rest of the spring. I am ready to get over the humps (Wednesday AND winter’s weather hump). I’m ready to blossom in spring, and into 2014 Indiana! The Revolution is over, right?

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