My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

June 20, 2017

Morning daughter, evening daughter #SOL17

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Two Writing Teachers
This summer both of my college-aged daughters are home.  It's been fun (and slightly frustrating) to cook and share meals and annoy them with my constant questions and conversations.
 (Can you tell I miss working with my students?  It's too quiet at home!)

My oldest is an early bird.  She's taking two classes, working on student government projects, and bouncing between two internships.  We share a pot of coffee in the morning as she fine-tunes her Spanish homework and I read two newspapers.  Today she wished she had decided to sit on the beach this summer.  I told her to start practicing, "Sorry, I can't help" but we both like to be involved and helpful.

My youngest would sleep ALLLLL DAAAAYYYY if she could.  She's babysitting and works camp next month for little ones with special needs.  Yesterday she went back to dance classes for the first time in three years.  Today she was on the couch, with legs that "can.not.move."  We spend time together in the evenings watching movies or singing along to music.

It's fun (but still, there's a lot of dishes) to have these two around this summer.  I know in a few years my house will empty (maybe?) and Jeff will have to entertain me.  But for now, I'm grateful for the summer and connecting with my girls.

June 13, 2017

Helping with smooth transitions #SOL17

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I spent yesterday visiting three schools.  When I pulled up to the first school, I was early.  I drove around the neighborhood, just to calm my nerves.

Two of my friends are transferring schools after many years at one building.  Their plans were to check in with the office staffs, scope out classrooms and walk their new buildings.  I was just along as a support person, but I couldn't help feeling jittery for my friends.

Once we got to the office, my first friend introduced herself to the secretaries and sounded confident. The two of us stood behind her smiling.  "Brought an entourage, huh!?" laughed the secretary.

"We're her team, her tribe!" I chuckled.

We toured, we checked out rooms, we compared schools.  We relaxed.  We eventually were brave enough to knock on the conference room door and introduce ourselves to the new administration. 

After smiles, introductions and handshakes, we left school number one.  We decided the visit was a little awkward but worth the time.  We then drove over to school number two.

At school two, we reconnected with staff members from other schools and checked in with the office staff.  The second school was fun to tour because we had more confidence.  We shared some laughs and jokes with the custodial staff.  My friend who will be moving to this school began planning furniture placement.  

The final school I visited was the one I left two years ago.  It was really sweet to catch up with the secretaries and AP.  As I closed the door firmly behind me, I confirmed that my decision to leave was right for me.  

Now I'm ready to help my friends transition to new schools, new staff, new students.  They are both bringing their vast collection of books, which they will find to be a bridge to making new connections and friends.  I will be there for them when they have celebrations and struggles, just like they have for me.  

As one chapter ends, another begins!

April 11, 2017

Humbled #SOL17

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Two Writing Teachers
My friend Wendy from high school publisher her first book last week.  HOORAY!  YIPPEE!  I attended her book signing at the Barnes & Noble near my school.

Our group was a party of six:  Sue (HS friend), Michelle, Nick and Sarah (work friends).  We enjoyed dinner and drinks before going to the bookstore.  It was fun to mix a group of young (<25) and seasoned (*ahem*) and teachers and non teacher for laughs, conversation and book love.

When we arrived at the bookstore before the event.  We hugged and visited with Wendy, hoping to calm her nerves.  Mona, another friend from elementary school, was right at the entrance.  A few more HS friends came through and I snapped a few selfies (I'm really no good at them!).

It was really fun to catch up with some book-loving friends, and see Wendy at a table signing HER book.  I couldn't wait to get to school the next day.  I had told my 4th and 5th graders that I would be attending a book signing of a "real author!"  Although the book YA romance and geared to high schoolers, I promised my students I would show them the book.

The next morning I hosted a group of my fourth graders.  Usually there are four girls and one boy, but my lone gentleman was not at school.  I showed the girls the cover and Wendy's signature and note in the front.  One of the girls wanted to start reading it (yikes!) but I gently recovered the book and flipped to the back, and summarized the"About the author" information.  E asked if they could hear some more so I flipped to the acknowledgements.  I scanned and pointed out how authors like to thank their families and publishers and others that helped them with the book.  All four girls were crowded around me, and all at once.  I saw it. My name.  In the acknowledgements.


I have to admit, my eyes started to tear.  I was overcome with emotions. At first the girls watched me in shock, and then I explained what I had found.   They squealed.  E jumped up, "YOU'RE FAMOUS!"  We decided to show Mrs. Hernandez, our library para.  The girls had to nearly carry me.

I explained to the girls that this amazing thing had happened to me for two reasons (I think).  One, I've tried to be a good friend, and 2) I read one of Wendy's books and provided some feedback.

I'm so humbled to be mentioned.  I'm such a little speck in the writing process, and I was truly happy to help my friend by reading!!  My heart is so full for Wendy.  She faced a bunch of waiting and rejection and realized her dream.  I'm so glad to have her as a role model for the readers and the writers in my classroom, even if I don't hand them her book...yet.  (I'll make sure their high school has a copy!)

March 31, 2017

That's a wrap #SOLC17

Today ends the Slice of Life Challenge
It's been fun to write (nearly) every day in March.
See you on Tuesdays, Slicers!
Two Writing Teachers
Today wraps up the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.  I approached this challenge with my improved attitude:  do the best you can and everything will work out fine.

Today also ends the weekday portion of my spring break.  Today I'll open the teacher bag for a bit and look through the assessments I gave before break, decode the new-ish intervention program I'm using with first graders, and make some plans for next week.  Since it's a rainy, cold day, it's an easy day to curl up on the couch with my schoolwork.

This weekend I'll spend some time tending the soil in the vegetable garden plot (and get muddy!), attend two concerts, and do some grocery shopping.

I've enjoyed reading slices and writing them.  I'm hoping to keep up slicing on Tuesdays and write about more books I read!

Thanks to my readers and fellow slicers for your comments!  It's been fun!

I'm excited for April and better weather (more sunshine!!) and the warmth of spring.

So long, March!

March 30, 2017

Music-minded #SOLC17

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Write every day in March.
Crank up the music and write!
Two Writing Teachers
Michelle Haseltine's post, "What is your theme song?" took me down a wonderful path of music this week, and I'm so thankful for it!

I'm a huge music fan.  I will listen to nearly any type of music, but mostly pop, rock, hip hop, Disney soundtracks and Broadway musicals.  My daughters will sometimes tease me about my crushes on boy band music (there, I said it) but I don't care.  Even though I don't have a decent singing voice (my husband does!), I will sing along loudly to songs when the spirit moves me.

This week I've enjoyed entering some new genres into Pandora (like country) and blasting music through the house.  It's been fun to dance around and sing as I wash dishes, cook, and work on paperwork.

All this music fun makes me realize... I need to figure out a way to mesh music into my reading instruction.  I think some of my developing readers are driven by music as well:

  • A good number of my younger students will randomly break into song (especially if they attend their music special before my class), and many of them like to dance.
  • My fourth grade group figured out they could imbed YouTube music videos into a Google document.  They like told me they like to listen to music during centers.
  • Sometimes my classroom is too quiet and needs some background music to fill the silence.
Perhaps song lyrics will be our poetry for April?  I'm excited to try something new in my classroom.

And by the way, Michelle, my theme song is "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield.
Drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open 
Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten
(Lyrics from Google play music)

March 29, 2017

Create your own adventure #SOLC17

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Write every day in March.
Writing becomes a good habit!
Two Writing Teachers
I'm not totally hating my staycation.  I've turned it into more of a "create your own adventure" week.

Sure, there's been boring stuff like phone calls, appointments, cleaning, laundry and cooking.

But there's also been some fun!

Reading books, sleeping late, visiting friends, watching movies, no schedule.

Today I went to the library and pulled a couple random, grown-up fiction books in addition to some about gardening and eating well.

I went to Home Depot and bought my garden seeds and a seed starter pack.  (Let's grow!)

I'm heading to my friend's house for "puppy therapy"  (hang out and pet her dogs) and game night.

Am I jealous of my friends on the beach, in the canyons and at the House of Mouse?  
Yes, but I'm also having some fun of my own.  

March 28, 2017

Sunshine intervention #SOLC17

Join the Slice of Life challenge.
Write every day in March.
Write to make your own sunshine.
Two Writing Teachers
We had sunshine on Friday.  Clouds on Saturday, Sunday, Monday.  This week calls for nothing but 



I left my "happy light" at school.

Double hmpf.

Since I can't force the sun to come out, I am trying to create my own "sunshine" and setting myself up for a "sunny" day.  My steps:
  • Streaming music (loudly!) from Pandora - trying some new genres
  • Dancing around to the music (it's not pretty)
  • Typing my slice to set my intentions for the day
  • Planning a trip to the library, lunch out with Allison and errands
  • Turning on every light in the kitchen
  • Drinking another cup of coffee
  • Adding books recommended by my Twitter peeps to GoodReads
  • Celebrating that today is a gift, no matter what the weather.
Wishing you a SUNNY day!