Monthly Archives: November 2015

A slice of Thanks

Slice of LIfe

This is part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life. Find out more, and join in here.

A day that starts with this anonymous note on the board is sure to have some good in it. IMG_5542.JPG

I stole an idea from The Hands Free Revolution facebook page for writing today. We talk a lot about how writing is power, but today I told the kids that I think writing is a gift too. We talked about gratitude, and about how sometimes it’s easier to write something from the heart than to say it. I shared the sentence starters with the class and they started writing notes to the people they wanted to thank and appreciate over their Thanksgiving break. I wanted to read everyone’s thank you’s because man, they must be beautiful. But, they are private, so I didn’t.


Later, a student touched a nerve with yet another out of turn comment, and I breathed mindfully. We spoke in private, where I told my truth — that I was starting to feel hurt by the constant sarcastic jokes today. At the end of the day, he handed me a rolled up note, and said “This is for later.”

Before I read the note, I  wanted to cry about the kindness of it. After I read it, I wanted to share it with you. But, it’s is private, so I won’t.

I hope you have the chance to thank someone this week. It really is a wonderful way to brighten their day.

Sentence Starters we used from  The Hands Free Revolution

• I’ll never forget when you …

• I appreciate how you …

• I’m sorry that sometimes I …

• What I love most about you is …

• I have you to thank for …

• Five words to describe you are:

• Our family wouldn’t be the same without your


A Slice of “1 Page then 2.”

Slice of LIfe

This is part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life. Find out more, and join in here

George Bailey’s impassioned speech at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life keeps playing in my head, only it’s me, crying “Please! I want to write again! I want to read again! I want to run again!”

Moving has been, continues to be all consuming. . . In its first-world way.

The slices have been, continue to be everywhere…Snapshots of

leaving and crying

arriving and smiling

boxing and unboxing

Taking three days out of the classroom last week means I’m still catching up.

What I want to do is write and read and go on a run. Luckily, last month I read Donalyn Miller’s piece, Fallow Fields. I’m fairly sure she didn’t mean this… this days on end of life-is-too-busy-I-can’t-sit-and-read-or-write-plus-my-books-are-still-packed. But, her piece helps me feel less guilty.

On Monday I confessed to my class. I said, “I’ve been so busy. I’m living out of boxes. I had to pack up my books, and my digital library loan ended right in the middle of my last book. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been reading.  I haven’t been running. How many of you have ever had a break between books where it’s hard to pick up the next book?” So many kids raised their hands, some with guilty expressions.

I told them (and myself) that readers and writers and runners take breaks sometimes — and that even super strong readers can have trouble getting back to it. Then I asked them for help. “How am I going to start again? I can’t pick up a book and read it all right now. I can’t go run a 5K, it’s been too long!”

A student raised his hand and told me advice he learned from his gym teacher. He thinks it could go for anything. “Just start slowly. Read one page one day, and then two the next.”

Brilliant advice. He’s totally right. I told my class that this was one of the extra benefits of being a teacher: A whole room full of advisors and people to cheer you on as you try to reach your goals.

So tonight, I’m taking his advice: 1 slice at a time.