Musings from a K-5th Reading Specialist. I encourage my students to think, speak, read, and write, with my support.
I parent two amazing young adult daughters with my husband of 28 years.

January 1, 2019

One Little Word 2019 #SOL19

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Today I did a little inventory on my One Little Words that I have chosen over the years:
finish - listen - thrive - hope - spark - peace.
When I first started picking an OLW in 2011, I picked words that would encourage me to improve. (I have a hard time finishing projects; I tend to talk more than listen). Then I went through a job change and watched my daughters graduate high school and make life decisions (thrive was really survive; hope was for a new job). Spark represented all the new ideas I brought to my new school, and peace was my big goal for myself and the world.

Today I see myself as someone who juggles flaws and fabulous ideas. Someone who can spark a smile in someone who isn't feeling great. Someone who is trying to figure out how to parent young adults (so different!) while getting back to hobbies and habits I had before my husband and I became parents.

After many visits to an online thesaurus, I have decided my word of 2019 is ....
(v) to plant, to educate, to encourage

My goals for 2019 include:
  • read lots of books to cultivate my knowledge of current kid lit
  • help my students find books they can & will read and cultivate their love of reading
  • encourage my colleagues to refine their craft by cultivating positive relationships and learning alongside them
  • cultivate new hobbies (lettering, bullet journaling) and revisit former hobbies (playing violin, knitting)
  • Figure out how to cultivate an interest in exercising and continue to eat well
Sounds easy enough, right?  Happy New Year!

December 18, 2018

"We get to PICK a book?" #SOL18

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I made a point to order books from Scholastic this fall, collecting as many bonus points as I could.
I was on a mission.  A mission to get books in the hands of our 4th and 5th grade intervention students.  Books they got to choose!

My colleague, Elisa, and I handed the students book order forms back in November.  We set some rules:  less than $10, must contain a book.  The conversations with our students went something like this:
"Can I pick the origami book if it comes with paper?"
"This book has a necklace.  Is that ok?"
"Do we get to keep the book?"
"Should we bring you money?"

We let the students know that we would get an email from the company when the books got shipped.  For every school day in December, I fielded questions about "the books."
I thought the kiddos would explode from excitement.

TODAY our 4th and 5th grade intervention students (40 kids!) received their books.  There were lots of smiles and "thank you's."  Kids shared their books with each other.  They understood that they shouldn't brag to their classmates. 

It was a good day!  Now I have to make a plan to get books to 2nd and 3rd graders!

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December 11, 2018

Dear Chris #SOL18

Dear Chris,

It's been awhile since you've typed on the blog.  I like the new layout.  Sure, the original orange background was snappy, but the new blue is soothing.
It's December, and you know what that means.  Undue stress for you as you manage your expectations compared to reality.  Luckily over the years you have learned to accept and appreciate help with decor, baking and events.  You are making lists and getting started on your shopping and card writing (Thank YOU, early Thanksgiving!).  The holidays will be magical if you let them.

As far as work, your students are gems this year, even though you have thirty-five and you are using a cart to visit them in class.  You will figure out ways to share Flashlight Friday and Hot Chocolate Snowy Day Reading with the classrooms you visit.  In fact, the teachers may love the extra fun that you bring.  Be patient with them and yourself.

Dearest Chris, center yourself, collect your markers and cards as you participate in 12 Days of Love Letter Writing.  Some of the stories are heartbreaking, but you have the power to send positive messages to people who need them.  You'll also write to two acquaintances who have lost loved ones, and a family member or two.  May lots of comfort pour from your cards into their hearts, even if it's just a small gesture.
Now go and do your best.  Make sure you take time to relax and laugh and enjoy this month.

From your friend, yourself,

Join the Slice of Life community.
Write. Read.  Respond.

April 3, 2018

Desert Botanic Garden #SOL

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We entered the Desert Botanic Garden.  Cactus everywhere
prickly pear.

The hummingbirds hovered over the blooms.  More birds

The monarch butterflies sunned on plants.  Other butterflies flitted by
black swallowtails
zebra longwings
painted ladies.

We enjoyed walking amid the desert flora and fauna.  The sun

March 31, 2018

Finale #SOLC

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What?  Today is March 31st?

This year I sliced many days, but not all.  I gave myself grace and realized that this challenge 
(for me) is more about...
  • a yearly "dusting off" of my blog
  • reigniting my love of writing
  • reconnecting with Slice of Life e-friends
  • making new e-friends
  • reading LOTS of inspiring slices
...than writing every day.

I'm returning home from an amazing trip to Arizona to see my best friend, Beth, and her family.
There's so many ideas swirling in my head, and so many photos to share.

But today I will just write a little post about writing.

Writing can be as easy or as hard as you make it.  I've learned to not worry (too much) about what others think of my writing, and if my slices will be "good enough" to post.

I hope you feel the same way about your writing.  If you don't feel as confident yet, know that this feeling will eventually come as you keep writing and sharing your ideas.

Thanks to Stacey and her team at Two Writing Teachers for making March all about writing, connecting and stretching.  You are appreciated!

Thanks to all the slicers who wrote and commented and grew as writers.  

Wasn't March fun??

March 28, 2018

A Playlist for Flying #SOLC

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I am not a mellow flyer.  When I was younger, I helped co-workers find courage to fly on their first business trip.  Then when my girls were young, we took a flight home from Orlando with terrible turbulence, and my fear of flying kicked in.

I have worked hard to be a better flyer, and some cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety has helped, too.  Last year my best friend encouraged me to get noise canceling earbuds.  "Maybe the noise of the plane is making you more anxious?" she pondered.

The earbuds and a grand variety of music on my phone have become essential parts of my flight plan.

Yesterday I flew to Phoenix, AZ with my husband.  I weathered the turbulence pretty well, but I'm still working on managing my anxiety during the gradual descent before landing.  My music app was on shuffle, and some interesting titles kept popping up.  I decided to create a playlist focused on flying (and my mix of feelings) to distract me from feeling anxious.

Part of my playlist
My favorite on this first list was "Hold On!" I have to give a big shout out to Shawn Mendes for keeping my nerves calm with his sweet voice and acoustic guitar.  

I'm hoping to download some new music for our two flights home.  I'm glad I've found some coping strategies to deal with the ups and downs of flying.  Any other suggestions are welcome!

March 26, 2018

Up and At 'Em #SOLC

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Last week a small miracle occurred on Thursday morning.

I got out of the shower and my younger daughter (19 years old) was dressed and packing a bag.

I had to take a double-take.

She is taking the first course in the early childhood track at our community college.  It's an online course, but it still requires 15 hours of observation.  Our preK teacher (a wonderful person) generously invited Allison to hang out in her classroom.  She went on Valentine's Day and had a blast, but she hasn't been back since for a number of reasons.

Back to Thursday, and I was excited to see Allison getting ready in enough time to join our Party Bus carpool.

The PreK class is known for some kiddos with spunk.  Allison's day went well, and she was proud of how much she could help out the teacher compared to a teacher assistant that was assigned as a sub.

I'm hoping this dose of fun and productivity will help Allison stay on track with school.  I would hate for her to try this class, not finish, and then be back at square one.  She has to figure out what she is good at and what she is passionate about (maybe it's the same thing, if she's lucky) and then decide how she will follow a path to employment.

For now, I'm happy she was up with the birds for TWO days last week, and she had some fun and PreK love.