Monthly Archives: March 2019

#sol19 March 31 A Slice of our Dollar Store Challenge

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

H wants to do something fun, before the weekend is over.

“Ice cream. . . Or, we could do the dollar store challenge!”

I look up from my work. “The dollar store challenge?” I ask him with my eyebrows up, and a sigh in my voice.

“You give us each $3.00. We buy our things and bring them home to see who can create the best art project.”

“Okay.” I agreed. “That’s what we’ll do. 3 things though. No more than 3.”

At the dollar store, I remember that I don’t really love the dollar store. Also, I’m not quite as creative as my 12 year old.

But, I find 3 things, and I have the start of an idea. A sticker flip book!

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I remind Mr. Thought that he has to pick 3 things too, and soon we are checking out. I briefly wonder if the dollar store clerk thinks our purchases are odd. Sure, we have my stickers, notebook and plastic container. But there is also a plastic pot, some sort of tulle, fake flowers, a bag of soldiers, a lego flat, a pack of Pokémon cards, a mini kitchen set, a small football and some cartoon clips. Is this what people usually spend $12.00 on at the dollar store?

At home we get right to work. We need to finish in 5 minutes. I am struck by creative genius: My flip book will represent my weekend. I get right to work.

 

It really ends up quite the dramatic flip book. It shows how I start my weekends with such hope. I hope for chores to get done, children to listen, my work to move forward, maybe a book read and a movie watched… And then as Saturday morning turns into Saturday afternoon, I lose hope. My kids don’t want to do chores, I am running everyone every where instead of reading or working. By Sunday, I have gotten over my frustrations, given into the mess, and chilled out a bit.

I title my story: A Mommy’s Weekend, and slip it into the plastic container. I am finished with the first ever production from #InsideTheBox Films. I just know I’ll be the winner of this first ever Dollar Store Challenge. It’s genius! Everyone laughs as they flip the pages.

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The boys and Mr. Thought are finished with their creations too, and it is time to vote.

We aren’t allowed to vote for our own, so I vote for Mr. Thought’s Gooseball.

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Unfortunately for me, everyone besides Mr. Thought votes for Gooseball too.

I should have known the artist of the family would win. I believe in “failing up” though, so I’m going to take what I’ve learned from this competition and bring it to the next Dollar Store Challenge!

 

 

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#sol19 March 30 A Slice of a Moment of Quiet

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

There’s a moment of quiet right now. The boys are playing upstairs. It hasn’t turned to fighting. Yet. Mr. Thought is picking up L, and the dog is taking a late afternoon nap. I’ve already cleaned my office, vacuumed most of the house, and mostly kept up with the dishes.

There’s a moment of quiet right now. I am not so good at moments of quiet. If I don’t know how long the moment will last, how can I choose what to do in that time? Should I read? Write? Nap? Start dinner? Start cleaning the porch? If I get up and open the door to go to the porch, the dog will certainly get up from his nap. Same if I start dinner, or go upstairs to nap. That leaves reading and writing… but my book is upstairs.

There’s a moment of quiet right now. I should write. I have a slice, and a scholarship application, and work things to write. I can totally write because it’s quiet, and my desk is cleaned off, and my shelf is organized, and did I mention that the dog is napping and the boys are playing quietly?

There’s a moment of quiet right now. I should write. This is my time, my chance before the craziness of the evening, the night, bedtime. This is my opportunity before the boys start fighting and my daughter comes home, and everyone is hungry for dinner.

There’s a moment of quiet right now. I should totally write.

I’m not so good at moments of quiet.

 

 

#sol19 March 29 A Slice of Writing Habits.

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Writing Habits

I'm a wiggler.
I'm a doodler. 
I'm a jotter. 
I'm a writer. 

My fingers are wiggly
they want to type
while walking to my car
or hovering over the keyboard
as if wiggling will give them a running start

I doodle what I've always doodled
my name, borders, random shapes and figures
in margins and on post-its
wasting paper just to feel the pen 
on the page

I jot moments
quickly before the words leave
sometimes it isn't quick enough
sometimes I try text to speech
sometimes I can't tell what I was trying to remember

I write
every day in March
and lots of other days too
slices and joys and stories
wiggle, doodle, jot right out

I'm a wiggler.
I'm a doodler. 
I'm a jotter. 
I'm a writer

 

#sol19 March 28 A Slice of Feedback

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Every time I post a slice, the WordPress app dings on my phone to tell me the good news. 

Ding! "You're on a 28-day streak on On A Thought!" It will say today. 

If only it were more honest:
 Ding!
"Nice try, but I think you were tired for this one." 
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" 
"Are you letting your kids have more screen time so you can accomplish this streak?"
"Well, bad writing is still writing!" 
"In the past, your slices meant something!"
"You're holding back! Write from the heart! Forget about confidentiality!" 
"Oh, you went with the 6-word memoir again?"
"Didn't you say you wanted to be a writer?" 

I believe in honesty. 
So, I'd say, "Thanks for the feedback."
And then the next day, I'd try again. 
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Told you so.

#sol19 March 27 A Slice of writing with kids (From My Chair)

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

From this teacher's chair. I see
a paper clip
flair pens
teacher's guides
a read aloud
a
read
aloud. 

Bells, chimes
a small salt lamp all set
on this teacher desk.

From this teacher's chair. I see
students
pencils move 
eyes wander 
heads down- write
boys whisper - share
girls laugh - then write
5th graders slice.

From this teacher's chair. I hear
pencils on pages
keyboards tap
chromebooks open
students giggle
5th graders slice
in (relative) silence.

From this teacher's chair. I miss
my teacher desk
my read aloud
my students. 



#sol19 March 26 A slice of gratitude

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Around 4:00, I got a text from H. He was at drama, and was asking if I could stop and grab him a “veggie burger and a smoothie in about one or two hours?”

I happened to be at a meeting just around the corner from the restaurant he was talking about, so I agreed. Sometimes I’m nice. 

As I pulled into his school parking lot, I realized that I should have made sure he wasn’t going to get in trouble getting a dinner delivered. Sometimes I’m not so quick.

He met me at the sidewalk, and I asked him if he was sure this was okay.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Everybody is getting food delivered, Chick-fil-A mostly.” Sometimes I’m extra proud of my vegetarian kiddos.

I gave him a hug and told him to have a great rest of practice.

“Wait!” he said. “I want to give you a real hug. Thank you so much for doing this. This is the best dinner delivery ever.” He put his food down on the sidewalk and gave me a big 6th grader hug. Sometimes gratitude can melt your heart a little. 

At home, I gave the other veggie burger to my 10th grade daughter.

“Thanks!” she said and sat down to dig in. Sometimes gratitude comes in different levels. 

Then a text came from H:

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Sometimes it’s nice that your kids have a device they can use to text you. 

#sol19 March 25 A slice of your slices

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

March 25 

It's that day in March
stories overload my mind 
The only problem is
These slices 
aren't really mine

Writing doesn't always fit
the roles I take in life
a coach, 
a teacher
a mom and a wife

If I write my stories
and actually hit publish
I've broken the 
trust 
we thought we established

So I'll keep my mind closed
and my stories at bay
So your hopes 
and your dreams
aren't on display


 

 

#sol19 March 24 A slice of singing (Really)

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Everyone in my house can sing, loves singing.
Last night we went to the cabaret
“I’ve always wanted to be able to sing” I said. I thought. I always think.
Really.

I try to have a growth mindset, I really do.
But, I can’t really sing.
You can ask my family if you want confirmation.
Really.

In high school, I joined the choir with a request to the director
“I want to act, so I need to learn some singing skills.”
She made me sing the Star Spangled Banner, I think.
Really.

I realized quickly that I could kind of sing
if I was next to other people singing the same exact notes
not in a mixed parts group, like they do in, you know, choirs.
Really.

In a play once, I had to sing a lullaby to another character.
Maybe twinkle twinkle little star.
It took a lot of practice– I can remember my director trying to be patient.
Really.

When I’m teaching, though, I sing.
Rainbow Connection, This Land is Your Land. . .
all sorts of tunes with different lyrics to fit the situation. It’s fun.
Really.

#sol19 March 23 A Slice of Quiet

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

We are on the way home from an early dinner, and the kids are all smooshed in the back seat of the Prius.

It is so loud.

I can’t quite explain the sound. Is everyone talking at once? And singing?

In the past minute, above the racket, I think I’ve heard several requests.

“Can we go get my new bike?

“Can we go to the park to bike?”

“Can I get new shoes today?”

We pull into the garage and Mr. Thought and I just sit in the front seats as the kids tumble from the car and walk into the house.

We both take a deep breath, and he says, “Times have really changed since the Pontiac Proposal.”

21 years ago, we got engaged while driving home one evening. 

“Remember before, when it was quiet?” He asks me. “When we wanted quiet –”

“We just stopped talking!” I finished his thought for him.

We stay there for another minute, and then walk into the house.

#sol19 March 22 A slice of memories (AKA I taught 2nd grade once!)

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

I’ve been thinking this week about the teachers and classes who have come and gone in our district and wondering where all those memories go. What impact do we have as teachers, as classroom communities?  Where do we hold the personal and institutional memory of all of those beautiful times, all of those beautiful teachers we’ve had and worked with?

My first year teaching was in a beautiful old school. I had a group of second graders and the most amazing para.

I remember working in my new-to-me classroom: Room 16 that summer when the principal walked in and asked me if I’d rather have the experienced para, or the new one they needed to hire.  It was a hard decision, but she needed a decision right then and there.

“Experienced.” I finally said — and what a miracle to have gotten the opportunity to work with Mrs. Cross that year. She brought so much knowledge, joy and laughter to our days. She taught me, Ms. I-student-taught-in-6th-grade how to teach second graders.

Once, I slapped a template on a piece of tagboard and told the kids to use it to cut out the shape.

“I think what Ms. Thought means is,” she said kindly, “Place the template down, hold it with your hand nice and strong. Then take your pencil hand and with a good 2nd-grade grip, slowly trace the pattern….” Ahhhh. Yes. I learned a lot that year.

Mrs. Cross made corn cob compound words, and set up marble painting stations on special days. There was something called a green pickle party, and her word study station was meticulously organized. At lunch she read aloud to the kids and changed all the names in the book to the names of the kids in our class.

When I proudly made tagboard binoculars for a goal-setting activity, she helped me hang them up in the hall. When the art teacher walked by and asked me why I had a display of bras hanging up, Mrs. Cross snapped a picture and laughed with me, “BRAnoculars!” we howled. We often laughed as a joke or pun sailed over the kids’ heads and straight to each other.

It’s lucky for me because one of the second grade teachers I work with now has Mrs. Cross has her para, and it’s like reconnecting with the magic.

In Room 16, we had a castle made of cardboard boxes, a fairytale ball, and we spent the last month or so of school rehearsing an adaptation of Swimmy by Leo Lionni.

In Room 16 we had a morning letter, and song that went something like this, “Chatty, chatty, chatty, chatty, room 16!”

In Room 16, we had guided reading even though I really didn’t know what I was doing yet. We had math stations, and sometimes we watched Magic School Bus.

In Room 16, we laughed a lot, and I read aloud more than once a day. We had 2 computers, and kids took turns using them for something… Kid Pix maybe?

In Room 16, I sobbed on the last day of school, and hugged each kid goodbye.

I’ll always remember Room 16, even after next year when the building isn’t a school anymore, even if they tear it down.