March 20 Juicy Markers

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

We were preparing for our poetry garden in Writers’ Club today, by painting some rocks with pictures. Soon we will write our poetry words on rocks, but today was about decorating a few to leave our mark.

There were just a couple paint markers that still needed to be shaken and pressed, so I did that as I monitored the painting and talked with the kids. Then I started to realize I should be writing down what they were saying. There always seems to be a story or poem hiding in the things kids say.

Rock Painting with Elementary Kids:

I need to go over all of this-the colors are very dull
My marker is too juicy
OOPS! I didn’t mean to do that.
I think I’m done
Do you have anything to add? Because this is an amazing blue.

This is one day only!
I should have done a sugar cookie
There’s interference in the universe causing problems
My dad would say “Where’s the coral?” He’s a coral scientist

What are you doing?
I’m writing things everyone says – a found poem story!
…Ugh! Teachers!

It’s a portal to another universe
A new dimension

I’m serious
This is so juicy

I want the markers so bad
I’m not saying I’m asking for one. . . but I am.

March 19 What Do You Do Instead?

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

Yesterday I admitted that I’m not really so good at puzzles.

“You mean you don’t DO puzzles,” they said.

And that’s true. (And sounded just like what my mom says…)

“What do you do instead?” They asked me.

“Instead of puzzles?” I confirmed. Because “What do you do instead?” Is an amazing question.

What do I do instead?

I write.
I try to embroider.
Sometimes I play the piano.
I watch movies.
I read.

What do you do instead?

March 17 Not To Complain, But. . .

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

Not to complain, but this morning I reached my hand into a pocket of my backpack , right as I was about to leave the house, and I really shouldn’t have done that. The top to my bright pink lip gloss had gotten off somehow. Magenta gloss dripped off of pens and post-its, and an old mask and mini-notebook. As I tried to wipe things off my cat jumped up and started investigating. Finally, I just decided to put everything into a grocery bag, stuff a paper towel into that pocket and go.

Not to complain, but it was raining on my dog walk this afternoon, and also I wondered why my dog’s poop was green. Then I noticed the lego. So I guess it’s nice that he didn’t complain. But, he really shouldn’t be eating legos.

Not to complain, but there were 4 jelly beans left, until one dropped to the floor and that same dog chased after it and grabbed it before I could even see where it landed.

And that’s just the kind of day – well week this has been.

I mean, not to complain.

March 15 It’s Not That Easy

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

When I walked into a classroom today to meet with a teacher, her kids were finishing cleaning up, heading to lunch and the lyrics to “It’s not easy being Green” were projected. Years ago I shared a bunch of different Slice of Life prompts and lessons with teachers. The prompts float around now, and I always get a kick out of seeing kids writing from them.

This one transported me back to my sixth-grade classroom. Somehow that song had come up in conversation, not so unusual in sixth-grade, actually. I decided we needed to use it as a mentor text to slice. We closely read the lyrics, and then decided what we would need to keep if we wanted to have our slices sound like Kermit.

My sixth graders wrote and wrote. They wrote beautifully. There are a lot of things that aren’t easy about being in middle school.

One of the third graders was still in the room and I asked her, “Are you doing It’s not that easy being slice of life?”

She nodded her head and said “Yea. It’s…It’s…” and I wasn’t sure if she was upset about the writing or not.

She tried to say, “Nevermind,” but I said,

“Do you like it?”

“Yea,” she told me, “It really helps to get a lot of stuff out.

I guess third graders have a lot of things that aren’t easy too.

The teacher said I had to read some of her kids’ slices of life, and showed me a few.

I had to tell her that I remember making that prompt, and she smiled.

“One of the kids said to me today when we did this, ‘I know where you got this idea from! You must have gotten this from Ms. Gabriel!’”

March 14 Disappointments, I can’t even.

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

Disappointments on March 14

I don’t blame my kitten, Clyde
for trying to sneak his paw into my cup of oat milk
He can’t even
I have a cookie I won’t share with him

At noon I had a great idea
I’d clean my floors tonight
My evening self
can’t even believe
I thought that

can’t even
how often
I have to clean my stovetop

My book is laughing at me from the counter
It can’t
I thought I’d read today

March 13 A Few Reasons I love Teaching

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

A third grader was walking into school this morning, and she noticed a poster had fallen on the floor.

She picked it up, tried to hang it back up and then I heard her say, like a miniature thirty-year-old, “And…that’s done.” She walked the poster to her classroom, presumably to find it’s next resting place.

I heard her call out to a classmate, “You were in this group, weren’t you?” But when he didn’t respond she just said “No? That’s right, you weren’t.”

I asked fourth graders to think about what was exciting and unique about the natural wonders they were reading about this morning. When I walked over to one of the desk-sets, a boy shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t find any of this unique and exciting.”

I told him I understood, and was about to ask him what he thinks the author found exciting and unique. But, he interrupted me.

“But, I guess since they are called natural ‘wonders,’ they are unique because there’s only so many of them.” He decided.

After I was done modeling that lesson, I had to run across town to a meeting. I happened to go to the parking lot right as the fourth-graders were headed to recess.

One of them walked over to me and said “Hug?” As he leaned in for one of those side hugs fourth graders give.

He asked me, “Are we going to do that same lesson in Writing Society after school?”

I told him we were actually going to be doing something other than informational reading in our after school writing club and he looked kinda sad about it honestly.

“Why?” I asked. “Did you like that lesson?”

“Oh yes!” He said and he went off to play with his friends.

In Writing Society, I sat down next to a young third grader.

“Want to write a poem with me?” He asked and of course I agreed.

“Actually, I already wrote one.” He said as I opened up the google presentation he had sent me.

He asked me how I spell my name, and then how to spell Ms. I explained “M-S-period,” but noticed that he wrote “Ms Gabriel.” next to his name.

He said his poem, I typed it and we added a line or two.

Outside the sky is grey
But in (school) we see it as blue
Everybody is kind and nice and follows PAWS (expectations)
Well, everybody should…
At least try to.

March 12: Sunday

I’m writing every day of March for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers

I woke up to cats meowing
At 7:30!
The old 6:30
Fortunately, coffee.
Sick kid
Needs ginger ale and saltines
Needs a jump start
“This isn’t like the cars you learned this on when you were in Drivers’ Ed” my dad tells me as we squint at the minuscule diagram
Where do we ground the cables?
“Battery could explode if you do this incorrectly” the instructions warn
That’s what I read right before I turn the key
Fortunately the van started on the first try!

At Dunkin’ I wait for my latte
An older gentleman walks in behind me
Am I allowed to say older
As I catch up in age?
“Is there free coffee here today?” He asks me. “Since we changed the clocks?”
I don’t know, but I smile and tell him I hope so!
I watch him walk to the counter to ask
“No free coffee,” he shrugs
“Must not be at this store…”
I watch him walk out of the store

Later in my car
Sipping my latte
I wonder if I missed a chance.
I could have payed it forward!
Why didn’t I buy
That older gentleman a coffee?