Slice of Life Tuesday: Why I Write

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Welcome to 2015’s National Day on Writing! Follow the writing celebration at #WhyIWrite and #DayonWriting on Twitter. Thank you to TWT Blog for supporting writers of all ages. We appreciate you!

Slice of Life Small Logo10 Reasons: Why I Write

I write to record my thinking

I write to note interesting research.

I write to show love.

I write to remember.

I write to pack away memories for later.

I write to organize myself, my belongings, my world.

I write to communicate with my peers, my students, my friends, my family.

I write to tell my stories.

I write to direct others.

I write to add enjoyment to my life.

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Lifelong Learning

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Slice of Life Small LogoLifelong Learning

Wonderful educational events happened here this week. All three girls received As for their summer school classes, two of us are reading and writing (to hopefully publish soon), and I’m leaving tomorrow for the Scholastic Reading Summit! As I continue to work on my teaching and learning goals, I signed up for the School Librarian test this week, too. I just can’t stop talking about authors and books, and to add that credential to my license will be awesome! I love being a lifelong learner, and I’m so happy that my kids are, too!

My teaching goal for the school year is set: help my students become lifelong learners. I am reading texts by other teachers about FUN in school, Genius Hour, project-based learning, and other marvelous ways to make school a better place for learners.  Teachers are spending this summer traveling to conferences and workshops to learn more, to be inspired, to plan for their students’ successes.  Wow! Amazing days are ahead of us, I can feel it!

I will use three strategies to meet my goal of building lifelong learners this year:

1) I will use time in my classes to read aloud, talk about books, and write. My students and I will read and write together, and share our processes to produce great works. We will use our favorite mentors — authors we love — to help us. Reading time will be used for reading; writing time will be used for writing. Talk is important, and sharing with each other will be fun.

2) I will allow choice in the classroom. I always have provided choice; I believe that students are more engaged and more focused when they work on what is personally meaningful to them. I will strive to offer resources from different media formats, as I am allowed. I hope to start students blogging, and I have already asked permission to upgrade our technology in the classroom. Students will choose projects that enhance everyone’s school experience.

3) I will assess my students fairly and help them to meet the school and state standards. I know that standardized testing will not vanish (I wish!), but I will also provide meaningful formative and summative assessments where students can be challenged and grow without fearing “the test” in the spring.

I want school to be fun again. I want my students to experience education that leads to a productive, successful adulthood, beyond my classroom. I want my students to be lifelong learners, like me.

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Enjoying the Exhaustion

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Enjoying the Exhaustion

1) I registered to attend the Scholastic Reading Summit (#readingsummit) in Cincinnati next week, after other commitments will keep me out of St. Louis (for the ILA Annual Conference). This is great news! Adrenaline rush — which I need to get me through July. Keeps away the exhaustion.

2) I am babysitting my almost-3-year-old granddaughter on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a few weeks this summer. She is so beautiful and funny and growing too fast! She’s really persuasive about play time: “Grumma, please play Klip-Klop Horsies with me! Come and sit on the floor with me! C’mon!” (Who can say, “No?”) She’s very well-behaved, and I do get an excuse to take naps on those days. (I have to be with her so she won’t fall off the bed, get scared, etc. LOL) Each day when she goes home, I thank my lucky stars that I’m a grandma and not a mom again. It’s rewarding, but tiring.

3) Today, we took a car ride to Fort Wayne to see GG (my mom). We had granddaughter, daughter, mom, great-grandma together for the day. Girls day in! My sister even came over, since she had the day off work. We played with bears, dolls, and musical toys, talked about family and pictures from the past, and ate the banana cupcakes my mom made. Driving back and forth wore me out, but it was worth it.

4) I missed the Twitter chats (again) tonight due to unpacking the car, cleaning up, and needing to sit down for a while. I’m sorry, but I’m exhausted! I’ll definitely read the Storify and run through the feed to catch up with the awesome answers to questions. After a short break to sit and talk to my husband (who also traveled for work all day), I remember…

5) It’s SLICE OF LIFE day! Whoo hoo! I love Tuesdays and Slicing! But now it’s almost 11:30 p.m. and I am spent! (You know I’ll post, then comment on a bunch of posts, though. It’s time well spent and I love it. I also hear there’s a bunch of new Slicers today. Welcome!)

Ok, that’s IT. I’m done. I’m finished. (Funny, because I tell my students NEVER to finish a story with “I’m done” or “I’m finished.”)

“That’s all I have to say about that.” — Forrest Gump

Slice of Life Tuesday: Time’s Running Out

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Slice of Life Small LogoTime’s Running Out

It’s hard to believe, but the school year is almost over. We have a few precious days left for inspiration, creativity, and learning. How will we use our time?

Of course, we will assess. It’s testing season, and the standardized tests will take up much of our time and energy. I don’t want my focus there. Testing is not inspirational or creative. I pledge to use my time on the following literacy activities:

1) Reading Aloud. I love sharing stories, poems, and articles with others — students and colleagues. I will read aloud each day. Research shows that reading aloud inspires students, encourages thinking, and helps overall achievement.

2) Talking about Reading. When students are allowed to share, students learn more. Plus, students are tired of the teacher talk. I know. I talk too much. They are sick of me! I will offer time for peers to discuss their favorite scenes from books, question each other’s choices, and reflect on their own readings. Talking about reading is a great way to provide students with a voice in the classroom. Each voice counts.

3) Writing and Sharing. Students in my classes love free writing time. No assignment, per se — just write. The most creative, inspirational stories I’ve read are from this laid-back, yet structured time. Once testing is over and assignments are completed, it’s time for students to show what they know. It always amazes me…they know a lot! And don’t forget sharing. Sharing time provides a purpose, a captivated audience, and much-needed fun.

The last days of school are stressful. As teachers, we try to get all the teaching in before time runs out. Reading aloud, talking about reading, and writing for the purpose of sharing are worthwhile ways to spend time with the kids. Time never runs out to grow life-long learners.

 

SOLSC Day 31: It’s Over?

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Slice of Life Small LogoTHANK YOU to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the AWESOME March Slice of Life Story Challenge! It’s over already?

It’s Over?

March has 31 days, but it sure seemed like this March has come and gone in the blink of an eye! I find myself thinking, “It’s over?” Missing 3 out of the 31 days makes me feel a little disappointed in myself, but I did my best. More importantly, I’ve met some new bloggers, kept in touch with some pals from the past, read some awesome slices, written a few decent posts, and had a great time! Thanks again to our wonderful hosts at Two Writing Teachers!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” 

Dr. Seuss

We are on our own now, and we’ve learned a lot. I hope you will keep in touch on your blogs! Maybe we can even steer in the direction to meet soon. I decided to go to ILA, Writing in Warsaw, and Boothbay, Maine! (I am dreaming. Maybe dreams DO come true.) Keep dreaming, hoping, and…writing! I’ll be there to read your stuff.

 

 

SOLSC Day 28: Not What We Wanted

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Not What We Wanted

Well, Notre Dame lost in the Elite Eight. That’s ok. They almost beat #1 Kentucky. They played tough, earning the respect of the country. They lost by only 2 points. Not what we wanted.

My granddaughter called me earlier. She was “sad.” “Mommy’s watching her show, but I wanna watch my show.” (Mommy in the background: “You watched your shows all day.”) Aw, that’s ok. I told her, “Let Mommy watch her show this time.” She cried, “Nooo!” Not what she wanted.

Sometimes we don’t get what we want. There’s always something else to make up for the loss. I wanted to go to New York today for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion. I wasn’t able to attend; the schedule just wouldn’t work this spring. Not what I wanted. That’s ok. I got to spend time at home — relaxing, visiting family members in person and via phone, and enjoying my day on Twitter (following the reunion, of course).

To all those TCRWP teachers: send me your notes! 🙂

 

SOLSC Day 21: Skipping

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Skipping

The older you get, the more deeply words affect you. Think of the word “skipping.” When you are young, you learn to crawl, walk, and skip. Skipping is happiness. Skipping is innocence. Skipping is laughter.

Then you grow into adolescence. You’re a rebel. You don’t follow rules; you try activities that prove you are independent. Skipping is hiding (in the school bathroom — “cutting class.”). Skipping is fiddling. Skipping is secrecy. The connotation of the word shifts to a more negative tone than in the “good ol’ days.”

As an adult, skipping becomes more consequential. Skipping work equals unemployment. Skipping a red light means high-cost ticket. Skipping is illegal. Skipping is corruption. Skipping is guilt.  I’m sorry I skipped out on posting yesterday. Another failed day of the challenge, too tired to stand up, too busy to write.

Skipping is bad news!

 

SOLSC Day 19: Remember when…?

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Remember when…?

I got home late (again) tonight and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t allow my friends to read one more boring story about how I’m either sick or don’t have the time to do anything. I decided to revisit this date from last year’s blog. It seems that lately people are curious about the past, with Timehop on Facebook, Throwback Thursdays, and such, so I thought I’d take a look.”

Is It Friday Yet? (Originally written on this blog March 19, 2014 — One Year Ago)

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?

Well, I am NOT happy with the results of this search! I sound like an old record: too much to do, not enough time. I am supposed to celebrate this year: living my dreams, cleaning the clutter, living “lean.” That’s it! I’m starting anew…tomorrow.

 

SOLSC Day 18: Meet the Author

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Meet the Author

Our students received a rare treat today. We walked to the auditorium and sat to watch a slide show. Wild animals and beautiful scenes of Alaska entranced the otherwise squirrelly bodies; enlarged eyes stared at the screen. Paul Greci came back to town as a visiting author, meeting students giving a personal book talk for a new library book at the school: Surviving Bear Island.

 

Surviving Bear IslandPaulGreci031815He read chapter 1 aloud, which was awesome, because our students love read alouds anyway, but to hear the words from the writer himself was the best! Then Mr. Greci took several questions from the audience. Some students wanted to know what our school was like when he attended (yes, he even went to our school as a young man!), what color he liked best, and even what sauce he preferred to eat with chicken wings. He told us that living in Alaska is adventurous, and he didn’t appreciate a moose licking the windows of his car! (Moose tend to hang out in his garden.) More focused writing/”what’s-it-like-to-be-an-author” questions led to surprising answers (it took him a total of 10 years from idea to published work for this book!). How much money does he make? Well…students were not too impressed with that answer. They’ll just stick with becoming basketball stars! LOL

What a wonderful experience, to meet a real, live author of a published book —  it made my job easy today! What do I want you to do now? READ! WRITE!

 

SOLSC Day 15: Home Again and Reading

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Home Again and Reading

I have to say, that was a great weekend off! My sister’s birthday celebration was longer than expected, but very nice. (I’m too old to be out past midnight!) Sleeping in…ahh! (I probably don’t need further explanation for that one, right?) I don’t know if I could handle any more fabulous food. (I’m stuffed!) Now it’s time to get back to business.

I finally got home. It was nice to sit on the passenger side of the car today: sun shining, breeze blowing, and me…reading! Thanks for driving, my lovely daughter! I read articles, news from the past week, and some tidbits sent by friends.

Some of the reading hit me a little hard today. This “testing issue” in our country is way out of control. People are talking, and I think that’s a good thing. But I wonder about the actions that will follow as a result. I also worry about how the talk affects our demeanor, our attitude, our job focus. I need to keep in mind that I’m at work to do a job, and do it the best I can for my students and for myself.  I’m not sure how all the politics of education are affecting everyone else (although I’ve read MANY people’s opinions), but I know it’s affecting me in a negative way, and I don’t like it.

I’ll write more about this when I have my wits about me again. For the time being, I have to say that I will keep reading and sharing. Education is the most important topic, as far as I’m concerned. The words are out there. I’m waiting for the right answers.

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