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.

March 31, 2015

Finished SOLC #31

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Finished is a word I rarely use.

I hear, "I'm done!" from my first graders way too much.  I want to say to them, 
"You're not done (because you're not a casserole), and you will never truly be finished, 
unless you give up."

To me finished means...

you stop changing
you stop growing (emotionally, socially)
you stop learning.

Finished means you have moved on and never want to return 
to this project, this person, this anything.

I prefer to use the words in progress.

I'm in progress of becoming more organized
(all right, who am I kidding)
I'm in progress of becoming a better 
(I walked a mile today!)

I don't know if I'll ever be finished with anything
or anyone.

The Slice of Life Challenge is over today,
but the writing continues,
on Tuesdays,
or any day you care to write.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.  

March 30, 2015

Under the Wire SOLC #30

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I made it.  I'm writing.
Just under the wire.

Long day at school,
Excited but exhausted kids.
Had to keep going.
Couldn't let them put their
heads on their 
but one did.

So excited to see friends, 
yet exhausted from 
ten days at home.

Hooked them with read alouds.
Encouraged on-task behaviors
with coupons
and encouragement.

Money at math time!
Read to someone!
Silly read aloud before specials!

Now I'm exhausted
and they are home
in bed
recharging their batteries.
While I
just home from orchestra
find a minute
or two
to slice.

Now off to bed.
Good night!

March 29, 2015

Sunday Night Stress SOLC #29

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It's Sunday night.

Time for a million things
 to run thorough my mind.
What do I do first?  
What do I do instead?

Just a few more minutes 
of basketball,
then I'll finish dinner
and get upstairs to organize the school bag.

Click on Pinterest.
So many ideas for math centers.
No time to make them tonight.

Write everything down, 
all the plans for the kiddos
who I haven't seen in 10 days.

Planning to have them share
Will there be enough hours tomorrow
for them to become reacquainted
and still have quiet time to learn?

It's overwhelming 
coming back from a break.
The break is relaxing,
but reentry is stressful.

I'm armed with read alouds
and sticky notes
and goody bags full of 
new crayons, pencils, glue sticks and erasers.

We will do what we can 
in the hours of Monday.
Then pick up where we left off
on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Friday will be a day off again.
Only to come back Monday
to more stories, smiling faces
minds ready for learning

Sunday night stress.
Is more like excitement
and anticipation.
I missed them.

March 28, 2015

Gratitude List SOLC #28

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It's Saturday evening and I am home.  Hubby and I went out for dinner.  Allison is with her friends and Lindsey is at school with her friends.  Tweety, the parakeet, is sitting on my shoulder. (I think he missed me the most!)

As I look back on my spring break, I'm grateful for so much:

1) Parents who are healthy and enjoy traveling 2000 miles in their RV.  My dad has been sending me funny pictures and text messages during their 6-week trip.

2)  A brother who embraces his role as parent-in-charge of his boys and seeks to keep their minds and bodies active.

3)  Two daughters who are brave, confident and forging their own paths in life (with some advice from their favorite mom).

4)  A husband who knows when to remind me to stay focused and when to leave me alone when I'm working on important tasks.

5) Friends who I can call and text and visit at any time, about any subject, in any mood.

6) A group of writers (The Slicers!) who stop by my blog to read and share comments.  (Thank you!)

7) A warm, inviting house (usually full of teenagers!) in a friendly neighborhood.

8) Students and colleagues that offer me smiles every day I walk into school.

9) Bookstores and libraries that have all the books I'm looking for, and authors who keep writing awesome books.

10)  Sunny skies when the temperatures are low to keep us excited for spring to really arrive.

March 27, 2015

My Girls SOLC #27

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Allison got home from NYC yesterday, exhausted and happy to be home. I was proud that she made the trip on her own!  (Whew!). Lindsey has been back at Iowa this week, getting back into the habit of studying after spending a week at home on her spring break.

Today Allison and I jumped in the car for a road trip to Iowa City.  We have been traveling to college campuses during spring break for a few years now, so this trip felt right.  Tomorrow we will watch Lindsey play club lacrosse against Iowa State.  (Go Hawkeyes!).

We did the usual car ride routine, taking turns at the wheel and singing at the top of our lungs.  It was nice to hear all about NYC.    Our playlist was 100% Taylor Swift songs this trip.  She is quite the storyteller, and we love her music.  The conversation turned to what TSwift songs describe current and past relationships and situations. We had some good laughs and I pretended to be ill when Alli gushed about her special guy.

Tonight we enjoyed dinner at a local place and were joined by two of Lindsey's friends.  We grabbed cupcakes from Molly's (yum!!) and are now watching all the March Madness games.

I realized today how old these girls are (halfway to 19 and 17!) and how fast the years fly by.  I do treasure the time I spend with them...even when they argue.  Gotta love 'em!

March 26, 2015

Spring? SOLC #26

 I went for a walk this morning.

It sounded like spring.
Birds were chirping
and flying between trees.
Dogs were barking
at all the people out walking.
Squirrels chattered and
shook tree branches
as they climbed.

It looked like spring.
Leaf buds were popping
out of tree branches.
Green blades of grass
the dried, brown clumps.
Clear running water
flowed through the creek bed.

It felt like winter.
The "real feel" temperature
was 26 degrees.
The wind was
out of the north.
The snow piles remained
from Monday's surprise storm.

The weather forecaster
warmer weather
next week.

Here's hoping for
true spring
to arrive
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Two Writing Teachers

March 25, 2015

Dear Friend SOLC #25

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Today I traveled an hour away to see a dear friend.  We met in 1993 at a marketing firm when I worked on the help desk and she was part of the computer purchasing team.

Carol and I are friends who won't see each other for months, yet pick up where we left off.  She's got a great attitude and no agenda.  Whatever we decide to do, minute-to-minute, it's great.  If she has a better idea, she will offer it.  No biggie if you want to do something else.

Our conversations run the gamut from husbands (every wife needs a little venting time to truly appreciate her hubby), to kids, to home repair and HGTV, to cooking (or baking - it's more fun), to family drama. 

I like spending time with Carol because as much as she's a great talker, she is a great listener.  She lets me think out loud and dream and problem solve.  When I say I shouldn't complain about small problems when other people have big problems, she tells me,

"That problem is big to you.  You are allowed to feel however you need to feel."

Carol has seen all sides of me:  techy nerd, out-of-state resident, new mom, career changer, software widow, mom-to-teens.  She continues to be a friend, and nothing I do or say will change that.

I'm glad to have her in my life, especially when she sends a fun text message.  She reminds me to live in the moment and appreciate what is going well.

March 24, 2015

Visit to the Chiropractor SOLC #24

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Today I visited the chiropractor for the first time.  Dr. Dana was recommended to me by Lynn as someone who is caring and careful.  We spent the first 30 minutes of my appointment going over anything that might be troubling me.  We talked about how stress affects our bodies and then our muscles learn how to compensate.  It felt strange listing every single little thing that I feel is "wrong" with my neck, wrists, knees and shoulders, but this gave her more information on what to help me resolve.

Next Dr. Dana used applied kinesiology to move my legs and arms to see what was working and what wasn't.  It was fascinating to talk about how everything is interconnected in our bodies.  She could press a spot on my back and make my hip work differently.  Very interesting!

I have some soreness from some of the stretching and muscle activation, but nothing awful.  I promised Dr. Dana that I would walk this afternoon and not sit too long.  I also have to drink lots of water to flush the toxins.

I'm glad I took Lynn's recommendation to try something new!  Here's to moving forward with better health.

March 23, 2015

Back to Reading SOLC #23

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This year I haven't spent enough time with books.  Yes, I'm reading picture books to my class every day (it's the BEST part of our day), but I haven't done much reading for myself.

Before I tackled shoveling the 5 inches of snow that fell today (UGGGHHH), I spent a good amount of time on Goodreads, trying to find my next read.  My favorite genre is young adult/teen fiction.  Give me a juicy boy-meets-girl story any day and I'm one happy camper.  (I'm a hopeless romantic.)

Thanks to spring break, I already devoured Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I'm pretty sure I've read this book before, but that didn't matter -- it was great.  I was excited to learn that there are three more books in this series (hooray!).

If you have any teen or young adult reads that I need to binge read this week, please leave them in the comments!  I have read most of John Green's and Sarah Dessen's books, the Hunger Games and Divergent triologies. 

On to my next book!  

March 22, 2015

Homebody SOLC #22

Yesterday I sent one to NYC.

Today I sent one west, and another one east.

I am staying home.

To sleep and sleep some more.

To read and write.

To dream and contemplate.

To make messes and clean.

This week I'm the homebody.

March 21, 2015

Sending Her Off SOLC #21

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Tonight Allison will hop on a bus with her school choir and travel to New York City.  \
This is her big first trip without parents or grandparents.  She has to be in charge of herself.
She's 16, so this should not be a big deal.  

But it's a big deal.

Allison is my younger, right-brained, clock-ignoring, carefree, Mixed Cereal daughter.  I (unfortunately) have been her alarm clock and task adviser for 16 years.

The girl has an alarm clock that lights up like the sun and creates bird noises that could wake the dead.  Do I let her learn how to get out of bed?  Nope.
I walk past her door every morning and tell myself, "I WILL NOT WAKE HER UP TODAY!"
And then I go in and give the Morning Speech.

Ugh.  If she misses something on this trip, it will be all. my. fault.

I've been encouraged told straight out by experts and friends to let her fail.  Let her be late.  Let her face the consequences.

But I can't.  I haven't.  I should have.

So now I will send her off to NYC.  I hope and wish that she will use some of her own time management skills (and her new watch) to stay on time and not be left behind.

oh boy.

March 20, 2015

Not Enough Hours SOLC #20

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Well, I can't believe I'm saying this on the day our spring break starts.
Sometimes there are not enough hours in the school day.

Yes, I am crazy.  

My classroom of six and seven year olds was bursting with excitement and nervous energy this morning.  You could feel it.

It was a short day, yet a long day, but not long enough.

The morning started strangely as I wasn't by my room right at the entrance bell.  C was a bit nervous.  "I was sure we would have a guest teacher because you weren't here but you told us you would see us today and you are here."  Yes, C, I'm here!
Then there was an announcement about raffle tickets and earning the chance to throw a pie in a teacher's face.  That set off a flurry of conversation.  Then we moved to the carpet for a read aloud and five kids were itchy, scratchy, CAN I PLEASE GO TO THE NURSE?
The nurse came to us.  One child was sent home.  Others were soothed with lotion and ice packs.

After hosting three of my sweethearts for lunch (fun!) and helping another child get lunch because he forgot to get in line for pizza (I'm so glad you told me!) it was already the afternoon.

There was book shopping for book baggies and reading and writing and rock-paper-scissors over who got to take the pigeon book.  Then they were whisked away to specials.  They came back and went home for spring break.

I ended the day picking up, straightening, thinking of where I'll start when they return.

Some days are too long.  Some are too short.  Today wasn't long enough

March 19, 2015

Currently SOLC #19

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I'm in the family room with a gaggle of teens.

We have the first round basketball games on the big screen.

The random comments,silly stories and one-liners are flying around the room.

I'm balancing on an exercise ball, trying hard not to fall over, typing away at the blog.

Everyone keeps checking their brackets, yelling at the screens.

It's an interesting kind of bonding.  It's fun.  

I'm sure they are all ready for me to head back upstairs.

But I'm gracing them with my presence.

Lucky kids!

Watching basketball with the kids is a good detox

On the night before the last day of school before spring break.


I'm in the family room with a gaggle of teens.

March 18, 2015

March Madness SOLC #18

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I can be a full out sports fan or I can be casual about it.  I love to watch football, even though I don't know all the rules (and annoy my oldest daughter with my questions).  Basketball is fun to watch because of it's fast pace.

For the past few years, my family picks their favorite team from each March Madness division.  Lindsey (oldest) is our athlete and sports fanatic.  She has no problem picking teams - she actually knows their stats.  Allison (youngest) picks teams based on their location or mascot.  Jeff has absolutely no interest in sports, but he has enough information from coworkers and rankings to pick some decent teams.  I remember names and reputations, so I pick Kentucky, one underdog, and two middle performers every year.

We keep track of who's team survives the farthest through the tournament.  We have fun trash-talking and bugging each other about their picks.  The winner gets to pick a dinner out (and dessert!), so the stakes are small.  

It's fun to have a little competition in the house.  We are also usually home together at some point during the tournament because of spring break.  March Madness is an enjoyable distraction for the family.

March 17, 2015

One Lucky Kid SOLC #17

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We started the day in first grade reading a little story about St. Patrick's Day.  It was a quick little easy reader about shamrocks and good luck.  I had paper shamrocks for the students to wear for some good luck, and I asked them to finish writing this sentence:

"I am one lucky kid because..."

Now, I chose to model that I was lucky because I had a bowl of cheerios with bananas for breakfast.  They helped me spell breakfast and wondered why that made me lucky.  I told them it was because we had beautiful, yellow bananas at my house (woo hoo!).

Then the kiddos jumped into writing.  I had many lucky video game, toy and American Girl owners.  One girl has a new puppy.  A few wrote about birthday parties.  My favorite paper, by far, was G's:

"I am one lucky kid because I have whipt crem and butr."

Then she drew a fridge.  

I like your thinking, G.

March 16, 2015

Hahahaha That's Funny SOLC #16

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It's nearly 11 p.m. central time.

I'm exhausted.  I'm uninspired.

But I'm here, writing anyways.

We are over the halfway slicing hump.

(Too bad it's not a Wednesday.  "Mike... Mike... Mike.. guess what day it is!??"

Came across something funny on Facebook today.  If you put your name in this program, it told you what your name meant.

Here's mine:

you are balanced, orderly and organized
you like all your ducks in a row
you are powerful and competent,
especially in the workplace.
people can see you 
as stubborn and headstrong
you definitely have a dominant personality.

I agree with the last sentence.  The rest is just plain funny.

time for bed.

March 15, 2015

Balance SOLC #15

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It's SO sunny and WARMish outside today, but I've got papers to organize and plans to write.

Time for some balance!

My plan: 
1) Set the timer for 45 minutes.  Type, think, write, sort, brainstorm, plan.
2) Spend 15 minutes on activity.  Switch laundry, read book outside, walk, scrub dishes.
3) Repeat.

Before I start this cycle, a morning bike ride or walk is being considered to get my heart pumping and my brain nourished.

I wonder if my plan will work.

March 14, 2015

Sunshine Walk SOLC #14

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At 10:00 a.m. I decided everyone should be up and awake :)

I promised a coffee to my oldest daughter (home for spring break!) if she would walk with me this morning.  I tried to get younger out of bed, but that wasn't happening.

The walk, the coffee and the talking were great.  We got all caught up on all the college news, drama and happenings.   We stopped at the pond to sit a spell.  We walked to the park and tried out the swings.

I started the day with a clear head and a light heart.

Lindsey hamming it for the camera

March 13, 2015

Luck? Fate? SOLC #13

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Are you trixadexaphobic
or does the thought of Friday the 13th
not even make you flinch?

Do you believe in fate
or do you think your future 
can be changed by each decision?

Do you throw salt over your shoulder
and knock wood
or cross your fingers?

It's the 13th
and it's not the date
that makes the day
completely crappy.

It's the decisions,
the mistakes and
the successes.

It's what you do after 
the bad decisions
that help you see 
that it will 

The way it's supposed to.

March 12, 2015

Writer's Helper SOLC #12

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In our integrated science unit, our goal and summative task is to have students explain cause and effect of fast and slow earth changes.  The first grader l.o.v.e. talking about fast changes (tornado, hurricane, VOL-CA-NOOOOOO!).  They get a little excited about slow changes, but only when I write the word erosion very slowly on the anchor chart.

Today I had them pick a fast change and a slow change.  Then we put our notebooks away.  This afternoon, we looked at pictures, talked with our buddies and then tried to write how the fast or slow change affected the earth.

Yup.  Tricky.  But not impossible.
As I was circulating and helping, jotting and talking, encouraging writing and discouraging a few arguments, I saw a little bit of magic happening at the table.

M has blossomed into a full-fledged author.  I am not kidding when I tell her that I want the first copy of the first (and second and tenth) book she publishes.  She spends nearly every day writing.  It's really exciting to talk with her about her writing.

S has a great attitude and helpful personality, but S isn't a writer yet.  She has great listening comprehension and understands what we're talking about, but the words (and sometimes letters) don't yet flow from her pencil.

I encouraged the kids to work together, talk together and write together.  S ended up next to M.  I watched M do what I do for S during writing time:

S:  I want to write about volcanos.  They melt the trees with the lava.
M:  (writing on a sticky note).  Okay.  They melt the trees.  Here you go.
S:  Do I write that?
M: Yes.  I wrote it, now you copy it.
S: Thanks!
M:  Ok!

I think my eyes were a little shiny as I made a little gasp.  Both girls looked up.
"Thank you for working together.  My heart is full of excitement about your writing!" I exclaimed.

Ok.  I'm a drama queen.  But words couldn't express how proud I was of the girls working together to find success for all of them.

Little N next to them spoke up, "Can I get some help over here?  This is hard work!"
M and S:  Okay!

March 11, 2015

Sometimes SOLC #11

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Sometimes I wish I was an introvert.
Someone who would think first, talk later.
Someone who would have filters.
Someone who could wait her turn to talk 
And not be so quick to respond
And then ask for forgiveness.

Sometimes it's hard to be who you are
And not worried about
What everyone else is thinking 
And how they might want you to be different
Quieter, more thoughtful
More in tune with the world around you
And just less loud.

Sometimes it's hard to be
Who you are
Because you are wired that way
And no amount of training
Or coaching
Or advice
Will change you.

Sometimes you have to decide
That you are okay
Just the way you are.

March 10, 2015

Creativity SOLC #10

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When I play a Go Noodle brain break for the kiddos, I stay near my computer.  I have a clear view of all the dancing kiddos, and it's the few minutes of the day I'm anywhere near my desk.  My student R likes to sidle right next to me.  If she could, I think she wouldn't mind crawling in one of my pockets!

One day she noticed that I had a poster hanging above my desk with "a lot of Cs."  I read them to her:  collaboration, creativity, communication, courage (from our building) and critical thinking.  We are trying to keep these ideas in mind when planning instruction.  I explained that I could show her what these are throughout our day.

During partner work I reminded the students to collaborate.
During math she needed courage to keep trying (math is not her favorite subject).
I asked the students to use their critical thinking skills 
When students turned and talked I labeled it communication.

I realized we have been missing creativity in our first grade classroom.
Then Day 120 of school came about.  BINGO!

Today we created necklaces of 120 Froot Loops (the classroom smelled so sweet!), kids were able to build creations with our 3D shapes (triangles, hexagons, etc) and a few fantastic 120 hats were glued and stapled.

They were awesome.  They were creators.  There was minimal off-task behavior.

Yes, I will remind myself to provide more opportunities for kids to use their critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.  I will definitely remember that this class craves time to show their creativity.

March 9, 2015

Reignited SOLC #9

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In our district it's been a year of BIG changes for everyone.  Everything in the district was adjusted, from the curriculum approach to the schedule.  The biggest change for me was my switch into first grade.  I was a reading intervention teacher for thirteen years until program changes brought me to the door of Room 107.

It's been a year of learning, roller coaster emotions and me wanting to use all the best practices I've learned over the years all the time in my classroom.  Let me tell you from experience, it's not best practice to try everything.

Today I attended a grade-level symposium at my school district.  I realized what I've been missing this year.  Today I had the opportunity to learn and teach and share resources with my teammates, my grade level colleagues and the instructional coaches.

YES!  I love to talk and collaborate and share!

I've tried to be helpful to my teammates, but I've really had to lean on them (they are the best team!) and I feel like I've emotionally drained my resource pals, Michelle and Karen.  I'm not used to getting help.  I prefer to help others find resources and solutions.  I have been very, very needy this year.  It's not a feeling I like.

Today reminded me what I am really passionate about.  Today I was helpful to others.

  • I love to match kids and teachers with books.
  • I love to teach teachers about Twitter and how to find resources and who to follow.
  • I love to share resources (websites, mentor texts, who's who in reading & writing).
  • I love to think big and out of the box and far-reaching and short-term (and in a circular fashion!) (my blog does have "chaos in the title!").
Tomorrow I return to my classroom with a lighter heart.  I have so much to share with my students about my learning with other teachers.  I want to know what they discovered about the books I left with the guest teacher.  

I guess I just needed a day to really share and smile and feel confident.
I needed my learning fire

March 8, 2015

The Couch SOLC #8

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The Couch is the favorite place in our house for my daughters and their friends to hang out.  Of course, the two groups are never in the basement at the same time.  One group (usually youngest and friends) will get relegated to the great room (with no TV) to watch a movie on a laptop.

I would like to replace The Couch.  To me it's worn out, the cushions are all squished and it has it's share of spots that won't come out.  When I posed the idea of media chairs to the girls, they responded with a resounding, "Oh, no, mom! Don't get rid of The Couch!"

I sent a text to my older daughter, Lindsey, and friends why they love The Couch.

Lindsey:  Mom, I'm not sure you could capture the essence of The Couch in just words.
Katie:  It's so much more than a couch.
Lindsey:  It doubles as a bed, a couch and a living area.
Me:  It's a comfortable, safe place to share your hopes, dreams and fears with your friends?
Lindsey:  That's deep.
Katie:  You can build forts with it!
Emily:  Because it symbolizes friendship, rainbows and hugs.
Lindsey: BOOM.  Nailed it.

I guess we will be keeping The Couch for a long while.  It's very important to these kids, and it's pretty comfy, too!

March 7, 2015

Reset SOLC #7

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you just need to press 
the reset button

so you 

take a walk
soak up the sunshine
drink some coffee
fold socks
take a long shower
eat quesadillas for lunch

then you 

find a comfy space
put on your slippers
find your computer 
and write

Now you can tackle 
the report cards
that have been nagging on your brain.
Make the plans
that must be made

So later
you can watch a movie
take another walk
drink a glass of wine

March 6, 2015

Some Days SOLC #6

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I watched the movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" tonight.  The book is near and dear to my heart as a reader, a parent and a teacher.  

I read the book as a kid and really loved how grumpy Alexander was about everything.  I was a very dramatic yet happy child (can you say, "mood swing?") so I could totally relate.

I remember reading about Alexander to my daughters.  Then they both had Mrs. A for 5th grade, two different years.  In her room, you could escape to "Australia" (a corner full of pillows) when the day was just too much for you.

This school year I'm finding it hard not to be Alexander.  I'm constantly running the highlight film of my teaching day in my head and I can only find the faults.  It's something I really need to work on. 

Loved this quote from the movie.  
"I think you just gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days even more."
Way to frame it, Alexander!

March 5, 2015

Reason number 1,578,903 SOLC #5

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School ended at 3:50 p.m.
4:00 meeting with principal
4:20 chat with math resource teacher (she grounds me so well)
5:00 run back to the room to create 1/2 day sub plans
5:15 text from hubby that he's landed at the airport


I'm not finished.  
I ask via text if we can grab food then come back to school.
I have to finish.

He agrees.
Surprising, but typical.

My reply text, 
"Reason 1,578,903 
I love you"

March 4, 2015

Priorities (Feelings) SOLC #4

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Science kit repacking (frustrated)
Headed for home at nearly 7 (exhausted)
Talked with college daughter (uplifted)
Hot dinner in the crock pot (impressed)
Younger daughter helping friend (proud)
Laundry, garbage, kitchen duty (bored)
Planning (inspired)
Planning (stuck)
Ask friend for help (hopeful)
Planning (refocused)
Nag younger daughter to get in the shower (annoyed)
Remember to slice (anxious)
Read a comment (calmed)
Eat a mini cheesecake (satiated)
Put computer away until tomorrow (sleepy)

March 3, 2015

Exercise SOLC #3

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I went to my friend's house tonight for a small group exercise session.  The friend is one I've had for 18 years and she became a personal trainer about 5 years ago.  This school year I decided to grace her basement workout gym with my presence. (LOL.  I HATE to exercise.  Really.)

My trainer likes to work us in circuits, so today's workout included treadmill and rowing time, jumping pull ups, lunges and squats with different weights, and planks.  

During the workout, I was talking about three kids who burst into tears today in my first grade class.  One over writing, one about friends being mean, and the last one during math.  As I tried the really awful part of tonight's workout, my arms started to shake and I really wanted to give up.  So I decided to have another buddy take my picture as I tried doing push ups hanging on to rings.  It was hard, but I tried it and I didn't give up.  

Maybe the kids need to see me doing something hard that makes me want to complain and cry.  Maybe they will take it easy on me tomorrow when it comes to lifting my arms!

March 2, 2015

Applause SOLC #2

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I attended our high school's musical production of 42nd Street on Saturday night.  The students did a great job singing, dancing and acting.  The leads got standing ovations (they deserved it) but it got me thinking that not everyone got the applause they deserved.

As much as I was in awe of the pure talent shown by all the students on stage, I thought about all the kids behind the scenes.  The ones who painted sets, managed the lights, played the music, moved all the props, helped with costume changes and applied the makeup.  They put in as many hours as the performers, but they had to enjoy the applause from backstage.

When I think of my classroom, most of the attention (positive and negative) goes to those students who participate and call out and demand the most attention.  My quieter, thoughtful students usually stay "in the wings" and let others "take the stage."  I try my best to give those quieter students one-on-one attention and let their voice be heard.  

Not everyone is a performer or an extrovert.  The world needs actors and backstage people.  We need to cultivate all personality types and make sure everyone gets the applause and recognition they deserve.

March 1, 2015

Why I Slice SOLC #1

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It's year 4 for me participating in the Slice of Life March Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.  I cannot believe I've been part of this community for so long.  Sure, it can be stressful to write and publish to a public forum, but it's reallllly worth it!

I slice because Michelle talked me into it.  She is someone you cannot say no to.  She knows what is good for you and she wants you to try.  Just try.  Then you get hooked and you tell her she was right and she just smiles.  I'm honored that I've been mentored by this smart cookie for 12 years.

I slice because writing calms me down.  I'm an anxious, disorganized, talkative, out-of-the box thinker.  When I need to work out a problem or make a decision, my mind starts to spin.  I have to talk to anyone who will listen.  The decision can be tiny (should I get these shoes?) or humongous (should I change my job?) and I feel better after talking it out with friends and family.  The Slice of Life challenge gives me a community to share my thinking as well as read what others are working through, professionally and personally.  This community promotes gratitude, compassion and empathy.  We are all here for each other even though many of us have not met in person.

Thank you to Stacey and all the hosts and slicers for all you do.  March is a time of crazy weather, testing and cabin fever.  Why not write?