Musings from a middle school reading specialist. I encourage my students to read, talk, write, and have fun!
I parent two amazing young-adult daughters with my husband of 30+ years.

March 31, 2021

Challenge accepted #SOLC21


Whoop whoop!
The Slice of Life Challenge wraps up today!

I'm really proud of myself for a few reasons this week:

  1. I wrote 31 slices this month (after taking a break since 2019) and commented on as many blogs as I could each day.

  2. Today I dug out all the clothes and stuff in my closet.  I let some things go, dusted everything and vacuumed.  

  3. I'm working on clearing out old leaves and grass from the yard.  So far I have filled four yard waste bags.

  4. Although it's spring break, I'm trying to eat mindfully, focusing on more veggies and fruit and less junk food when I need a snack.

  5. I'm only working on projects that I can start and finish on my own.  I usually bite off more than I can chew and need help or participation from the family.  Not this week (they are working).

  6. I'm resting, reading, writing and trying to stay off social media.  Many friends are on trips, but I am working hard to not feel jealous about their travels.  
Congratulations to everyone who jumped in to this writing challenge.  Even if you didn't manage to write every day, you still participated, and I'm proud of you!

Happy April!

March 30, 2021

Clematis replant #SOLC21


Read more Slice of Life stories at
Two Writing Teachers

Our clematis has been an amazing plant, climbing up and over the privacy fence on our deck each year.  It blooms the tiniest white flowers each fall, and bees love to buzz around it.  Thankfully, it has served as a peace offering to our neighbor.

Our neighbor to the south is a persnickety guy.  He has definite opinions about everything, just ask him.  (Haha).  He's not all bad - he's a pet person and will talk with anyone who walks by.  

When we installed our deck in 2004, it was quite higher than his family's patio.  We realized that good fences make good neighbors.  Unfortunately, he was not thinking the same thing.

"That fence seems intimidating," he stated.  We then installed some bushes and switch grass below it.  "Hmph," was his next comment.

I can't remember if I was gifted or just randomly picked the clematis plant at the store.  I wondered if it would grow with the limited sun on the north side of the house.

Thankfully, the next fall that clematis bloomed like crazy.  It climbed up and over the fence (probably looking for sunshine) and the neighbor noticed.

"That plant is magnificent," he stated year after year.

Today I moved the clematis to the south side of our house.  We need (desperately) to replace the rotted privacy fence.  I followed directions on the internet to soak the root, and I even brought scoops of dirt from it's previous spot.

The neighbor doesn't know yet.  I'm hoping I'll be forgiven when we replace the privacy fence with something new.  

Thank you, clematis, for blooming and making the bees (and neighbor!) happy each fall.

March 29, 2021

Good day, sunshine! #SOLC21

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers
for inspiring us to write each day in March

As I look in the mirror tonight, I see a bright red nose and forehead.  The sunscreen I applied earlier in the day did a minimal job when it came to fending off the sun's bright rays, the wind's piercing gale and the glare off the lake.

I had the pleasure of visiting Lake Geneva, WI with a coworker/friend.  The weather forecast said to expect 64 degrees today, but the actual temperature when we got to the lake was 46 degrees with strong winds.

We tied up our hair and I followed Elisa on the Lake Geneva Shore Path.  I didn't know about this public path through the backyards of the homes on the lake.  Some spots were more off-road than others, but it was neat to scramble along the shore, gazing up at the lovely homes.

I was glad to have a thick sweater and socks as the wind whipped the waves across the lake.  Did the cold bother me?  Nope.  I'll take a sunny blue-skied adventure in (nearly) any temperature.   

Thankful for a great day of catching up with my friend!

March 28, 2021

Cuteness #SOLC21

Read more Slice of Life stories at
Two Writing Teachers

I'm easily amused by cuteness.  For example, my family knows to pause the TiVo when the first holiday season Hershey kiss commercial of the holiday season appears.  You know - the one where the kisses are ringing like bells.  I smile when the final kiss rings out a long note and then wipes its brow with its paper flag.

Soft, plushy creatures are also a trap for me.  I was an avid collector of stuffed animals as a child.  By age 8, I had a bed full of animals.  I remember lining them up by age - newest ones near me and oldest by the wall - in my twin bed every night before I went to sleep.  New additions to my collection include the Pigeon,  Elephant and Piggie (from Mo Willems' books) and a stuffed sloth my husband picked up at the airport on a trip a few years back.

Some new cuteness in my life is the show "Waffles and Mochi" on Netflix.  During last year's quarantine, I watched all kinds of cooking shows, from the "Great British Bake Off" to "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat." Imagine my excitement when Michelle Obama teamed up with two muppets to educate families about food.  Have you seen the adorable, little plush Mochi?  SO CUTE!

From Eater article; photo cred: Adam Rose/Netflix

I'm excited for a new, light-hearted show to watch as I relax in the evenings.  I'll be on the lookout for more cuteness!

March 27, 2021

Sore feet #SOLC21


Read more Slice of Life stories at
Two Writing Teachers

Over the years, I have figured out that my feet are high maintenance.  I have a very tall arch, so those cute ballet flats and slip on loafers at the shoe store won't fit the bill.

I learned that when I spend a little more on a shoe with more features, I get more miles from them.  Yet, it's a little boring to wear brown or black sensible shoes - I yearn for a bright pair of blue kicks like Pete the Cat - but I always end up with sore feet.

Screenshot from YouTube video

This year I'm in search of some fun spring/summer shoes 

(slip on!  laced sneakers!  clogs!) 

that will keep my feet happy.

Any suggestions?

March 26, 2021

Beach theme day #SOLC21

Read more Slices at
Two Writing Teachers
We had some fun at school today!

It was a shortened schedule so teachers could have some planning time before we left for spring break.  We decided to dress in tropical shirts, sunglasses and flower necklaces to set the mood for vacation.  The kids thought it was funny and most rolled their eyes at us (#middleschool).

My team went over the top when it came to props.  Two teachers were blowing up the team group chat from the craft store last night.  We ended up with a flamingo ring toss game (fun!) and pineapple or coconut plastic cups to replace our water bottles (too funny!)

Our admin team hosted a fast-paced staff BINGO game with nice prizes.  It was great to hear "WHOO HOO BINGO!" on the faculty Zoom call from people as they won.

All in all, I'm exhausted from the many trips up and down the stairs to meet different teams at the photo booth backdrop.  The mood was overall festive, and I'm really grateful for a week of rest.

Now if I could just get the Illinois weather to turn tropical for next week - that would be a miracle!

March 25, 2021

Expectation vs. Reality #SOLC21


Thanks to TWT for a place to 
work out my writing muscles!

It was very clear to me today that I have not focused on response to reading in my intervention groups.  To wrap up our mini unit on making inferences, I asked students to read a short text (or listen to a recording of me reading it).  Next they had to make an inference and provide text evidence to support their inference.

Yes, it's also very clear to me that I should not be attempting this sort of individual work in the final days before a vacation (whoop whoop Spring Break starts tomorrow afternoon!)

I did receive some very clear and thoughtful responses with solid text evidence.  I also received some emojis for some answers because I asked students to submit the Google form with what they finished, and I required all the answers to be filled in.

This text face in one reply made me laugh: (∵◕◡◕∵)

I told my students, "This formative shows me what you're thinking.  It also shows me what works or doesn't as a formative.

Is your head spinning from all the new thinking and problem-solving you've done this year?