Monthly Archives: March 2018

#Sol18 March 21 Spring Snow Day

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Spring Snow Day: A day in a few words

Delay!
Cancelled!
Yay!

Coffee?
Coffee?
Coffee?

Clean
Your
Stuff.

Chores?
No!
Chores!

Whine?
Too
Much.

Wine?
Too
Early.

Chores?
No!
Chores!

Ignored
Annoyed
Tired

Roads?
Clear
Enough.

Lunch
Shop
Home

Vet
Karate
Grandparents

Home
Snack
Write

Clean
Your
Stuff!

Hope
Bedtime’s
Soon.

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#Sol18 March 20 Kindergarteners

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

I’m ready for Kindergarten.

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Thanks to help of another coach, I have an interactive writing lesson planned for this morning. Thanks to a kind kindergarten teacher, I have a bunch of kids to practice with! Thanks to my love of sticky notes, I had just enough to cover my mystery pictures.

Last night I practiced with Mr. Thought. I needed to make sure I had the flow of the lesson down. As we peeled sticky notes away, he wasn’t as excited as I hoped the kindergarteners would be. But, he cooperated as we labeled a few important parts, and came up with some sentences to go with our eagle picture. 

“That was a little boring,” he told me. 

“Maybe that’s because you already know how to read, past a kindergarten book!” I said and I scowled a little, hoping the kindergarteners won’t think it’s boring. 

Despite my boring practice session last night, I am ready for kindergarten.

As I sit with  kindergarteners, I can’t help but think,  “How lucky am I?”

We do so much in our small group meetings. They are definitely more excited than Mr. Thought was.

I knew we would guess what pictures are, label important parts, analyze the details, sound out words, write sentences, count words, sound out more words, and read our pages. I wasn’t planning on kids saying they want to label the fish “prey” not just “fish,” and those who add, “Well, then we need to label predator too.” (That’s a hard word to sound out cold with kindergartners…)

 

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Original Image from here

I knew I’d be trying to get them to see what our whole book was about. I wasn’t planning on the boy saying after the first look, “This must be a book about the Food Chain!”

I knew we would need to go over some norms for talking. I wasn’t planning on the girl saying emphatically, “So we will take all our ideas and work together?” (“Yes, please!”)

I knew they would want to make decisions about what we put on our page. I wasn’t planning on the group who brought their pencils and are so disappointed that I am holding the pen today. Their disappointment quickly turns to excitement when I give them each a small yellow sticky. At first this causes a chorus of “How do you write….” but as soon as I remind them to use kid writing, they are on a roll. Of course, I do smile a little when the kids who wrote “nachur” and  “tlug” (tongue) insist that their friend add the ‘k’ to “roc.”

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Original Image from here. 

I knew that kindergartners were brilliant. I wasn’t planning on the group with a different perspective. Their first page includes the sentences “The fish are swimming away from the whale shark.” and “The whale shark is determined to get the fish in his mouth!” They want each page to have a sentence from both the prey and predator perspectives. “Determined?” Way to go with the vocabulary! Later, another group will insist on the word “pouncing!”

 

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This group added questions to their pages! Original Image from here.

I knew there would be kids who interrupted me with things like, “I got this new bracelet, do you like it?” I wasn’t planning on the boy asking, “Which mommy are you?”  I remind him that although I am a mommy, I’m actually also an Instructional Coach. Then, I thank the group for letting me come to practice in kindergarten today.

“Am I doing okay so far?” I whisper.

They all lean in, and nod. One child whispers back, “You’re doing great!”

I knew I loved Kindergarteners.

#Sol18 March 19 We don’t want to write tonight

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

We don't want to write tonight 
A poem in two voices
by Me and H

We don't want to write tonight. 
I know, I'm so tired. 
Let's just write it together and get it done. 
Ok.
What slice of life did we share today?
Wait, what? What slice of life did we share today?
What part of life did we share together that we could write about together?
Our brakes were stuck, we went to the park. 
I wasn't there. 
You picked us up from Starbucks. 
I did!
You came to my classroom. 
I did!
I made those hockey sticks. 
You did. 
We're writing this slice!
WE ARE! 

Co-written with my son, H and co-posted on his classroom slice of life

#Sol18 March 18 Daily in March

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Daily, in March 
I write
make coffee
do dishes
do some laundry
ask the kids to please help 
     Please, clean their rooms
I go to bed too late
I shun sugar
I sneak some sugar
I make more coffee
I try to drink a lot of water

E checks the countdown to Easter and then countdown to summer
L asks to go look at the cats and dogs at the shelter soon 
H sits and slices
The kids ask for us to "please pay just $2.00 for a new game"
We ask the kids to "please take the dog for a walk"

We work
our to do list grows
our kids grow

Thankfully we also laugh
Daily, in March

 

#Sol18 March 17 A bakery slice

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

When your 14 year old invites a friend for spa day,
they will ask to make cupcakes too.

When they pick a cupcake recipe,
you will need to go to the grocery store.

When you go to the grocery store,
your 11 year old will want to bake too.

When he chooses to make oatmeal raisin cookies
you will ask him to make them vegan.

When the vegan cookies come out of the oven,
you will eat too many.

When you eat too many cookies,
you will be happy that the cupcakes aren’t vegan.

When you look at your bakery kitchen,
you will want to cry.

When you want to cry,
that doesn’t mean anyone will clean it up for you.

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#Sol18 March 16 Writing with Kids

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

I wrote with 5th graders today.
I invited them to write a  “Right now I am…” slice, 
first we practiced together 

I have missed the feeling of a class 
shouting out a brainstorm
challenging me to try new things
wondering what I’ll do next

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There’s something about 
writing with kids
writing in front of kids
talking about writing 
joking with kids
teaching with friends
laughing with a class

In just a half an hour we explored
writing, yes but also
verbs
poetry
stamina
running starts
mentor texts
revising 
writing habits
and more

They asked great questions like, “How did you do that?” 
And, my favorite, a hopeful sounding pair of 5th graders asking,
“Will you be teaching at the middle school next year?”

 

#Sol18 March 15 I Remember

Slice of LIfe I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

She’s 14 now. I love the 14 year old L, and I will love her forever.  But, I still wish I could go back in time.

I remember sitting in our hand-me-down armchair, with my tiny newborn baby girl. It was dark everywhere else but the little lamp by the chair.

I remember the weight of her. You know when your are little and you love to play with dolls? And you love when the doll feels like a real baby? The actual weight of a real baby ends up even more perfect than you could have imagined.

I remember her head rested just below my shoulder.

I remember I was so tired, but I also knew that cozy time was fleeting.

I remember the feeling when I decided to try to put her back in her co-sleeper. Sometimes she would wake up and I’d end up nursing her back to sleep. Sometimes she’d let out that little newborn squeak and settle in.

I remember falling asleep on that chair, reading a book one-handed on that chair, listening to my husband snore.

I remember I tried to capture the feeling.

I remember her soft soft head, her little hands.

I remember.

But, I still wish I could go back in time.

A Guest Slice! #sol18

Slice of LIfe Power of One: A Guest Blogger Slice!

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

In my slice yesterday, I wrote, “I can’t wait to get the whole story from his teacher.” Well, wishes come true, this time in the form of a guest slice from H’s amazing teacher. I am beyond grateful that Mrs. Hall wrote this, sent it to me, and agreed to have me publish it as a guest post today. Also, this is my first guest post! That’s super exciting, I think. 

Power of One

When a 5th grader wants to walk out with the masses but is only one, what do they do?  Do they walk out alone or come up with a different plan?  A plan that still has the same meaning but is delivered in a 5th grade way versus a High School way.  He is excited, anxious, chatty, off task most of the morning. No other grade is going outside for recess because it’s only 17 degrees. The 5th grade teachers talk and decide to go out for 15 minutes, just long enough for this young “man” to carry out is plan.

He sits alone on a bench
He moves to a picnic table
He talks to others about what he’s doing
They decide to march around the playground
Others join
The mass gathers in the center field
Arm and arm they form a circle

It’s time to go in, we’ve been out longer then we should, it’s cold, the wind is howling, “We can’t go just yet," he asks, "we want to have a moment of silence.”

They are one loud voice while not saying anything. They may not all have understood what they were standing for or why they were silent, but they did understand what it feels like to come together, to stand together, to be one in a group of many!

Power of One

#Sol18 March 14 What Would You March For?

Slice of LIfe  

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!

 

7:00 AM

“Why isn’t our school doing a walk out?” H asked me this morning after he heard his 9th grade sister talking about her school’s plan. “It’s stupid. I’m walking out.” 

I didn’t think I’d be the kind of adult who would pause at this. But, I did. 

“Well, why would you walk out?” 

He paused this time. He knew a little bit of information, but not a ton. I wondered aloud if he might be trying to get out of class, or just do something cool. He denied this, but still didn’t have any sort of passionate or informed set  of reasons why he would walk out. 

“You can’t just leave school.” I said matter-of-factly. “The schools that are doing that have it set up. There will be extra security. You can’t just walk out of your elementary school by yourself.” 

Why? I wondered. I felt like The Children’s March documentary was playing in the back of my head. I wondered what kind of person I was to tell my own son not to stand up for something. I believe in peaceful protest, gatherings, memorials. I believe in students, children, hope. 

I tried to articulate my feelings as we went back and forth about the very idea of a walk out. Who plans it? Does it belong in elementary school? Should Kindergarten kids do it? What does it mean to protest? 

If I tell him not to do this, what kind of person does that make me? Should he do it anyway? Would Dumbledore give him house points for that?

Image result for dumbledore gives house points to neville
wwdumbledoredo?

I decided honesty was my best bet. “I’m going to be with your principal all day in a meeting. I’m going to be sitting there when he gets the phone call that you walked out of school. If you tell me that you have thought a lot about this, and feel passionate about it, I’ll back you up– 100%. If you aren’t quite sure why you want to do it, then I’m not sure what I can say. Plus, I’m worried about your safety just walking out of school by yourself in the middle of the day.” 

What do I mean? We live in this neighborhood. He would probably be fine walking outside the school building for 17 minutes. But what would he do? Sit there? Does he even have his watch? Would he get in trouble? Would that be ok? Does he care that much about this issue that I care so much about… even though I’ve barely talked to him about it at all?

He looked at me and thought a bit. “What if I sit out at recess for 17 minutes. I’ll try to get other kids to do that with me.” 

“That’s something I would be very proud of.” I said. And, I meant it. 

1:14 PM

Messages from his teacher, like poetry. 

"Got some people to join." 
"Now they are marching." 
"Moment of Silence." 

4:00 

At home I can’t wait to hear the whole story.  “I’m so proud of you. Tell me all about it.”  

H told me that he sat down, someone joined him so he explained why he was sitting. Then more kids joined, and more. They decided to walk (“It is a walk out…” they realized),  they read the names of the 17 kids. At some point there was research about who these 17 victims were.  Apparently there was even a short speech by H. Or, so the story goes.

I can’t wait to get the whole story from his teacher.  

“Did you slice about it?” I asked. 

“Not yet. Tomorrow. I’ll definitely slice about it tomorrow.” 

“Well, I have to slice about it today, you know.”

“I know.”

 

7:00

We ask the kids, “What are the highlights of your day?”

H says right away, “Well, like I said. I was really proud of how I got a lot of people to join in a memorial for the 17 kids.” 

And then we had a beautiful conversation about the issues surrounding today’s #NationalStudentWalkout. H was more informed and passionate than he had been this morning. He had learned so much. He had researched! He had spoken about it! He had taken action! 

“What do you think about the grown ups on social media who are saying that kids shouldn’t walk out, that students don’t know enough, that kids shouldn’t challenge authority?” 

It was a proud moment for me when my own children looked at me perplexed.

“Why would they say that?”

“That’s stupid.”

“Get a life.” (The teenager said this, and I was even oddly proud of her sass.)

Well, grown ups on social media.. .  I know what I think. My 11 year old who started the day with a vague idea that there was something to march for? He ended the day a proud change maker in training. He learned about issues of school safety, guns, Second Amendment rights, current events, civil rights, and civil disobedience.

He researched. He spoke. He took action.

He learned the power of being a positive leader.

"Got some people to join." 
"Now they are marching." 
"Moment of Silence." 

 

#Sol18 March 13 Quick trip to the grocery store

Slice of LIfe  

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!

Quick trip to the grocery store

Walking through the aisles I see
my cart filling with carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower,colorful peppers, one cucumber, red grapes, blackberries, strawberries, lemons. . .
I pick up hummus, Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips, coconut milk yogurt, dried mangos
(some tortilla chips too!)

On my way to get granola, I see
a student and his mom from years ago
“Hello!” I say, smiling to see how tall he has gotten since sixth grade
“Ms. Thought?” He asks. “I didn’t expect to see you here!”
His mom smiles, “Well, she has to grocery shop too.”

From my place at the grocery checkout I see
my organic vegan food being bagged
and I wonder
will I ever remember to bring my reusable bags?
and, what kind of person am I?

About to leave, I look over and I see
the college students I had noticed before
their giant jar of giant pickles is easy to remember
and I chuckle to see their giant peanut butter, multiple boxes of minute rice, trays of meat – but also some hummus.

At my car, I see
my plastic bags loaded into my Prius
and the irony is not lost on me
I will reuse and recycle these bags
but, that’s not enough to save the planet, so I’ll try harder next time.