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.

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.

March 24, 2018

March for Our Lives #SOLC

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Your voice matters.
When I sat with my coffee to watch the news this morning, I found out that my town planned to host a March for Our Lives march and rally.  

I felt immediate anxiety.  It didn't matter.  I felt compelled to go.

I wanted to go to the Chicago march, but I hadn't made plans with anyone.  This local march was my opportunity to stand up for my students, for all students.  I could march for children and teachers who fear going to school because of all the gun violence we have been experiencing.

I hopped into the shower, prepared a sign, and bundled up.  

I wasn't sure I would know anyone.  It didn't matter.  I felt compelled to go.

As I began to drive to the starting place of the march, I was met with the sight of a long line of people already walking to our village hall.  I entered the turn lane to park.  I waited through two lights for people to march by.  Tears filled my eyes.

I would not be alone, even if I knew no one.  These people shared my feelings, and I joined them.

Luckily I did find a friend, a fellow educator, to stand with.  The anxiety diminished.  I took a deep breath.

The young people who led the rally inspired me with their words.  They are poised to make history.

March 22, 2018

The Party Bus #SOLC

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(beep beep!)
When I started working at my current school, I wasn't sure how many people would share my westward commute.  Once I got to know my co-workers, I discovered one drove past my house to get to school.  Then another co-worker and I realized we live just down the road from each other.

This year, the three of us decided to carpool once per week, and The Party Bus was born.

There are a few Party Bus rules:
  1. What is said in The Party Bus stays in The Party Bus.
  2. If you're driving, you choose where we stop for coffee.
  3. No one keeps track of who drove or bought coffee.  
  4. We try to leave at 6:45 a.m., but there is no penalty for lateness.
  5. No apologizing.
The Party Bus has been a safe place for us to vent, strategize and just laugh.  The ride goes so much faster when you're discussing how to improve your classroom management, inspire a co-worker, or win an argument with a pre-schooler.

I highly recommend carpooling with a co-worker, or two, to help manage your teacher stress and feel supported in this rewarding (yet exhausting) job.

Hop on The Party Bus!  (Beep beep!)
Image from Clipart Panda

March 21, 2018

Furniture transition #SOLC

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Old couch to a new friend.

Upstairs couch to downstairs.

Up the stairs.  Down the stairs.

Music to the basement.

Bookshelves to the hallway.

Up the stairs.  Down the stairs.

Family room tables to the front room.

More music to the basement.

Up the stairs. Down the stairs.

New furniture and carpeting will be beautiful.

Lots of steps on the FitBit!