Monday, March 31, 2014

SOLSC #31 - Reflections Part II

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We did it!  My first Slice of Life March Challenge is in the books...or should I say on the blog!  I am so grateful for this experience and the people with whom I have shared it.

I have learned many things about writing and about myself during this month.  That is what I wish to reflect on today in Part II.

  • being a writer doesn't mean you have published a book
  • I am a better teacher of writing because I write
  • I understand when a student says they can't think of anything to write about
  • when I have an idea - write it down (You wouldn't believe all the great ideas I forgot!)
  • plan ahead
  • carry a notebook
  • I can write about hot topics
  • I can write poetry
  • I can laugh at myself
  • borrowing someone's idea is called inspiration
  • my words matter
  • being a writer simply means one who writes

As they say, all good things must come to an end.  I will miss exercising my writing muscles daily, but trying to be reflective, I have questions.  Where does this experience lead me?  Where do I go from here?

I want to continue slicing on Tuesdays and celebrating on Saturdays.  But I want my writing to grow in other ways.  My blog title is A Day in the Life of a teacher, a reader, and a writer.  I feel I write about my life as a reader and a writer, but I want to write more about my life as a teacher.  

Participating in this challenge has given me more confidence and quieted that inner critic that raises its ugly head.  I don't know if I will have much to add to the many conversations out there, but I won't know if I don't REACH

So, thank you Two Writing Teachers!  Thank you friends!  It has been a wonderful journey!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SOLSC #30 - Reflections Part I

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It is hard to believe that the month of March is almost over.  This slice today is just a few of my reflections on not only this challenge, but the entire slicing experience.

I think most of us are teachers or have been involved in education in some way. Remember when a new student would arrive in your classroom?  More than likely you paired them up with a "buddy student" who would "show them the ropes" and try to make them feel welcomed.

When I first started slicing last summer, I felt like that new kid in school.  I was going someplace new.  I was nervous and I knew no one.  Katherine at Read, Write, Reflect inspired me to start blogging.  But is was Elsie and Linda who were my "buddy students."  They were regular commenters and welcomed me with open arms...even if they were virtual arms.  

After a few months went by, I began building friendships and connections through weekly slices.  Those new friends were Jaana, Julie, Michelle H., Michelle N. Amy, Julieanne and Terje and so many others. Who would have thought that something as simple as sharing a story could lead to this?

During Christmas I was nominated for a sunshine award.  Most of the bloggers who inspired me were already chosen, so I decided to reach out to new bloggers or new-to-me bloggers.  Making those connections to new slicers was important to me because of the way I felt when I was new.

This March Challenge has been incredible.  The one disappointment I have (which is actually a good thing!) is that there are so many new slicers, and I have not had the time to regularly read and comment on their slices.  I have not had the time to really get to know them.  That is the part of me that wishes it wasn't the end - still so much more to read.

To those of you who started slicing during the March Challenge for the first time, I hope you continue to slice on Tuesdays when the pace is much slower.  I hope you received the encouragement you need to continue writing.  I hope you continue to share your stories and build relationships within this community.  Starting my blog and finding TWT is simply the best.

Thank you Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Beth and Anna for all you do to make Two Writing Teachers possible.  Thank you to the support team who has helped make the March Challenge possible.

It has been a wonderful journey!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SOLSC #29 - Continuing the Dream

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Celebrate with Ruth Ayres


Today I celebrate a vision, a dream, and an opportunity.

This week I had the opportunity to become part of a wonderful program, the Next Chapter Book Club.  The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) was established in 2002 by the Ohio State University Nisonger Center.  NCBC is a community literacy program for adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The program provides them with opportunities to be part of a group activity and to build social connections within bookstores, coffee shops, and cafés.  The book clubs consist of five to eight members with disabilities and two volunteer facilitators.  There are over 100 book clubs in North America and Europe.

This week I traveled to Columbus, Ohio to be trained as a NCBC coordinator.  I am now able to begin a book club and train volunteer facilitators here in my hometown.

I have had several people question why I wanted to do this.  After much thought and seeing a book club in action, I have developed an answer, a mantra, a mission statement, a core belief, or whatever else you would like to call it.

I believe literacy experiences should have no boundaries or limits, whether it be age, poverty or a disability.  It should be literacy for life - every life.

I love to read.  I love to share my reading with anyone who will listen.  Many of us have participated in some type of book club.  It is a social experience.  As a teacher,  I am fortunate to share books with my students.  As an adult, I share books with family and friends and through social media.  I am able to use Twitter and my blog as a way to share my passion with others.  Why shouldn't everyone have this opportunity?

I shared a little about my dream in this post and here.  Today I am giving you another glimpse into my dream.  I want to create an organization which promotes and provides literacy experiences within my community.  When I read about NCBC on Jaana's Writing Blog, I knew this fit within my dream, so I went after it.

After seeing this book club in action, I felt it.  That tug at my heart.  That tug which told me I was doing the right thing.  That this was meant to be part of my dream.

Watching these members read, laugh, make connections, and grow socially was an amazing experience.  They meet at a local Barnes and Noble and read literature which ranges from adapted classics to contemporary fiction to newspapers.  The day I observed, they were reading a short story about having a bad hair day - something in which we can all relate.

I left that day with many questions.  Why shouldn't people with disabilities have this opportunity to share a reading experience?  Why shouldn't they be able to make connections with a character?  Why shouldn't they be able to laugh with friends?

This was truly an amazing experience, an experience worth celebrating.



I will continue to share the beginning of our new NCBC here on my blog.  If you are interested in information about starting a NCBC in your community, click here to go to their website.




Friday, March 28, 2014

SOLSC #28 - Currently I'm...

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I was out of town this week for almost two full days.  I made preparations for my family - meals were made and schedules were coordinated.  I made preparations for school - sub plans were made and trust was placed into the hands of my students.  Sounds easy doesn't it?

Why does it seem that leaving is more work than it is worth - both at home and school?

Returning home is exhausting, especially when I have had obligation after obligation after school today.  It is 8:30 and I am just now sitting down to write my slice.

Because I am so late, I am borrowing an idea.  Unfortunately I cannot give credit to where credit is due because I did not write down where I saw it.  So, thank you whoever you are.

Currently I'm...

thanking - Frank Sinatra for the music which was a part of my son's jazz band concert tonight 
needing - to sleep a full eight hours
anticipating - the time to get back to reading and commenting on slices
reading - The Riverman by Aaron Starmer
wishing - someone would go grocery shopping for me
striving - to get my weekend to-do list started 
joining - The Next Chapter Book Club 
loving - watching the NCAA tournament with my family
hoping - to go to bed!
Good night!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SOLSC #27 - 15 Words or Less



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Today I am trying a poem inspired from a picture in 15 words or less.  This idea comes from Laura Purdie Salas.  To read more about 15 words or less, visit her here.

Here is my attempt.  I am in Columbus Ohio for a training to start a Next Chapter Book Club.  Being gone away from my family and my classroom makes me think about all of my many paths that lead to other adventures but they always come from my life at home as a mother, a wife and a teacher.




The highway of life
many paths
reaching out
to new adventures
anchored from home

Thank you Laura for helping me with slice today!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOLSC # 26 Little Golden Books


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Two years ago this spring, I organized a community book drive.  We collected new and used books as well as monetary donations to purchase books.  The books were then distributed to children in need throughout our school corporation.  The drive was so successful that every child received two books and children in need received additional books.

Toward the end of the drive, someone dropped several boxes of older books which we knew were too old to distribute.  I packed those up and brought them to my house until I could decide what we were going to do with them.  

Last summer I started going through the boxes and I couldn't believe how old some of the books were.  Some were almost 70 years old.  

As I was perusing through the boxes, I noticed there were several Little Golden Books.  I knew these were collectors' items, but I also knew there were several publications of the books.  So, I went to our library and picked up a Little Golden Book Collector's Guide to learn more about them.

Saturday night I was thinking about a post for later in the week and thought I would write something about these books.  I couldn't remember what I had found out last summer, so I went online and looked at some the websites about the value of Little Golden Books.

I learned there was a system used in identifying the number of publications.  The first editions are the most valuable.  The publication dates of my books range from 1954-1959, but I didn't know if they were first editions.  The articles kept referring to letters meaning the edition number.  An "A" meant that it was first edition and each letter after that meant additional editions.  

After I read how to identify the editions, I set out to determine just how old they were.  The information said the letter would be on the back page next to spine.  I looked and looked and was about to give up, until I saw a little mark sticking out, almost completely hidden by the spine.  It was an A!  So I started looking deeper into the spines of the other books, and sure enough I have eight first edition books.

I feel like they are not technically mine because they were donated to the school.  But I don't know if I could give them up - what a find!  If anyone knows someone who deals with old children's books, please send them my way.  

Near the spine is the A.






Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SOLSC #25 - My 100th Post

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My 100th Post - how appropriate that it falls on Slice of Life Tuesday - the place where it all began.

A Slice of Her Heart

Eleven months ago 
She decided it was time
A time to be brave
A time to be challenged
In a place to feel safe
She found a community
That welcomed her
With open arms
Open hearts
Open words
She is grateful
She is a writer



stick my toes in the water
starts with the first step
writing
fear of rejection
exposing myself
place of freedom
place of reflection
who I am
who I want to become
my place
a day in my life


Monday, March 24, 2014

SOLSC #24 - She Forgot

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How could she do this to me?

I have been with her since the beginning.  I remember that first day.  She was so nervous facing those twenty sweet little faces for the first time.  I was up front, sitting tall in my bright yellow outfit.  We made it through that first year...together.

That summer she took me home with her and took care of me.  Gave me love, food, and sunshine.  Just what I needed.

We moved the next year and I was in a bigger and better place.  I was still in front, still in my bright yellow outfit.  We have been together now almost seven years.

Each summer she would move me to the window where I could sit and watch the birds chirp, the squirrels jump from tree to tree, the goldfish swim lazily in the pond, and the full moon in the night sky.  She would faithfully come and visit me once a week, turning me just a little to make me more comfortable, filling me with nourishment.

She NEVER forgot me...until last week.

I don't know what happened.  I know she left in hurry.  Probably off to buy or read a new book.  She gets excited about that sometimes.  I just don't get it.  But she just left and I felt deserted, neglected, abused.

I no longer stand proud because I don't have the strength to stand tall anymore.

All because she left on something called spring break and

forgot 

to 

water

me!

She tried to make it up to me when she came back, giving me lots of extra water and begging me to stand up.  Oh, she was sad alright...because she knows.

Oh she knows.

She knows it has just been the two of us.  Yes, she has others that are bigger, greener, and have nicer outfits.  But I am the only one who has been with her since she became a teacher...the only one.

But I think it might be a little too late!


Bloggers note:  I left for spring break and forgot to water my many plants.  This one, which I bought for my first classroom, seemed to to take the brunt of my forgetfulness.  I don't know if it is going to make it. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SOLSC #23 - Colby Sharp Stole My Slice

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Two Writing Teachers.
This story is very embarrassing but if you can't laugh at yourself, who can?

Last night on Twitter Colby Sharp tweeted about needing a retro book review.  I just happened to be working on something about Little Golden Books and I was excited about my find, so I tweeted back.  Now keep in mind, I have NEVER, EVER, NOT ONE TIME tweeted Colby.  I stand from afar and just lurk in his world which is way out of my league!   So I have no idea what made me tweet back.

Here is our "conversation" both in tweets and email and my thoughts are in green.

"I have some first edition Little Golden Books, would that work for a retro review?" Instantly regretting that I tweeted it.  

"That would be awesome!"  Thinking he meant that it might work. 

I had some questions about it, so I asked him if I could email him and he said sure.

I sent him the email explaining how I was writing a post about how some first editions fell into my lap.  They were from 1954-1959 and wasn't sure if this would work for a retro review.  After I sent the email, I went back and reread the tweet "closely."  I don't think this is what he wanted.  He was just being polite.  Now I feel stupid.  It is too late, I already pushed "send."

I didn't hear back from him, so I went to bed thinking nothing would come of it.  His email went to my SPAM, so I didn't read his reply until this morning.

Here is the email exchange just hours ago.

"I'm not 100% sure this works for a retro review, but it is very very interesting."  Does this mean yes, no?  What do I do now?  

"So what do you want me to do?"  I am eating breakfast as I write this and I feel like throwing up right about now!

"I think this would be a fun post to read, I just don't think it fits retro review on Nerdy.  Are there any older books you would like to review?  OK, I was right.  He didn't want this.  I just want to crawl in a hole and die right about now!  How do I gracefully get myself out of this situation? I have only written once for Nerdy!  Why would I think they would want this?

"Those were my concerns as well.  All of my reading as of late has been new stuff, so I had better pass on the retro review."  There, I did it.  I got myself out of this mess.  I can't believe I just had THIS conversation with Colby Sharp!

But oh no!  It doesn't end just yet!  Just when my face starts to turn back to its normal color and my stomach starts to settle...he replies BACK!

"Would you like to write a new book review?  Ok now he is starting to feel sorry for me!  How embarrassing is this!

"You are either persistent or desperate!"  or he feels sorry for me.  Does he think I am pushing for a Nerdy post?  Doesn't he see that I was trying to gracefully bow out?"

He denies being desperate and says he just wants to read my review.  Can this get any worse?

So I told him about a review of a new book that I was going to post today as my slice. We worked out the details and he replied;

"Thanks!  You're the bomb." Yeah, right! 

So my originally planned post for today was stolen by Colby and will be on The Nerdy Book Club in April!

Colby, if you do read this, now you know my real thoughts behind those emails.  Thank you for the opportunity and helping me to laugh at myself.  It all turned out OK, even though you did steal my slice for today!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SOLSC #22 - A Random Act of Kindness

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Celebrate with Ruth Ayres

My post today was going to be a wrap-up of my spring break week.  But sometimes a celebration sneaks up on you and deserves a post all by itself.  This is one of those.

Today I celebrate receiving a random act of kindness.

Last year during my daughter's spring break, she went to lunch with my husband.  He took the day off and it was just the two of them celebrating her last day.  This year Megan had to work on that Friday, so they moved it to yesterday.  This just happened to be spring break for me and our son.  Megan decided it would be OK to include mom and Ethan on their father/daughter date, so the four of us went to Denny's for lunch.

While we were waiting on our meal to arrive, my husband recognized the couple sitting across the way.  It was a neighbor of ours who had moved away about 15 years ago and a neighbor who he had lived next to when he was a young boy.

We spoke to them, shared a few stories, and caught each other up on our children.  It was a short but nice visit.

As we were finishing our meal, our server walks up to the table, hands me a tiny slip of paper and says, "Looks like this is the only check you get today."

I looked at her quite confused, and she just smiled and walked away.


I think it is important to choose kind, but when kindness chooses you, it becomes an unexpected celebration.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

SOLSC #21 - The Visitor

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My husband lost a friend, G-man, to cancer yesterday.  Cancer is such an ugly word. It slips into your life unexpectedly, turns it upside down, and takes away what is most precious to you.

Last fall, the visitor came.

          Yesterday, the visitor left.

                    The visitor stayed just five short months.

The Visitor

a knock
greets him
at the door of life

the visitor 
enters and dwells 
in an unwelcome place

the visitor
steals day by day
bit by bit
a part of his body
his life
his future

the visitor
walks away silently
moving on to the next door
leaving behind
many tears
saddened hearts

but no more pain

the visitor
closed this door of life
but the memories live on
forever

These shoes were given to my son from
G-man.  Read the story behind the shoes here.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

SOLSC #20 - Hello There

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Two Writing Teachers
Community.  We hear and believe in the word community as writers.  I am starting to learn it takes a community to get through this challenge.  So today, I am borrowing this idea from Tammy, who borrowed it from Deb who borrowed it from here:


 Originally came from this blog  http://the-girl-who-chased-the-moon.tumblr.com/


I am a wife, a mother, a 4th grade teacher
I keep skinny clothes in hopes that I can get back into them
I wish I could always make a difference
I love to read
I dance - never (have never even danced with my husband!)
I sing but shouldn't
I think about ways to be better at who I am and what I do
I really wish it wasn't Thursday because that means spring break is almost over
I need to exercise
I should be thinking about next week's lesson plans
I can quilt, but don't have the time anymore
I like summer days by the pool with my daughter, my sister and a good book
I make a darn good cherry pie
I always procrastinate but get the job done

Thank you community for helping me out today!  As we head down the stretch, don't be afraid to borrow or as some would say - be inspired by "HelloThere!"


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SOLSC #19 - My Reading Gap

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I have always been a reader.  But what kind of a reader am I?  How would I describe myself as a reader?  That is a question I have been pondering as of late.

Last week a fifth grade teacher was reading Where the Red Fern Grows to her students.  As you might expect if you have ever read that book, many of them were in tears by the end of the story.

One of my former students asked her, "Do you read books like Mrs. Eck where someone always dies?"

I will admit I do prefer realistic and historical fiction.  I have never read a graphic novel, and I tend to shy away from science fiction.  I read fantasy, but I am not a big fan of it.  (I only made it through two of the Harry potter books.)

If I could create a genre, it would the "heart fiction" genre.

I am a straight-to-the-heart kind of reader.

I am a rip-it-out-but-put-it-back kind of reader.

I am a make-me-cry kind of reader.

It just so happens that many of the books I read someone or something dies.  I don't plan it that way.  I am just pulled towards those kinds of books.  I love books that elicit an emotional response.  But it doesn't take much to do that - I actually cry over Hallmark and Folger's coffee commercials!  That is why I love Bridge to Terabithia, Wonder, A Dog Called Homeless, and Tuck Everlasting...and many, many others!  They tug at my heart...they make me cry!

I was reading a comment on Alyson's blog at Kit Lit Frenzy.  The post was about her work with first graders and how she connected with one little girl.  Alyson wrote down some book titles on a sticky note and shared them with the girl.  In the comments section Maria Selke wrote "THIS is why we need to read widely."

This made me realize I have some huge reading gaps.  Reading gaps that I need to fill in order to reach more of my students.  Reading gaps that explain why these (and many more) are still on my TBR shelf.




So much is being discussed about this book, Grasshopper Jungle, and I keep telling myself...you have gaps and this is one of them!  Just read it!  


So, I will continue to stretch myself as a reader, but I will always favor my heart fiction! So, pull up book, grab a box of tissues, and cry read with me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SOLSC #18 - Relationships - Or Lack Thereof

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Write it.

Don't write it.

If I write it, I might fix it.

If I write it, I have admitted failure.

I don't like failing.

What will others think of me?

These are the words that have weighed heavy on my heart for quite some time.

There are so many posts, tweets, and articles written about the importance of relationships between teachers and their students.  Just go to Katherine Sokolowski's blog, Read, Write, Reflect, and you will find many posts to read on this subject.

I believe in relationships.  I know relationships are the center of the classroom, and everything else revolves around them and evolves from them.

Seven years ago I was a college graduate for the second time.  Late that summer I had an interview at the school where I worked as an aide and a substitute teacher and where my own children attended.  There was a problem - a new principal.  He did not know me and was not aware of the time I had spent with the children at this school as a parent and as an employee.  He had not seen my relationship with those students.

At the end of the interview I was asked why he should hire me, and my answer was this:

"I love kids.  It's all about the kids.  If you don't love kids, then you shouldn't be a teacher"

Knowing my principal now, I am convinced those words were the reason I was hired. He is an it-is-all-about-the-kids kind of principal, and I admire him for that.  That is our philosophy. 

This year I have struggled with relationships.  I teach reading and writing to my homeroom and three sections of 4th grade math.  I have a terrific relationship with my homeroom and one of the other classrooms.  We have connected on many levels. That is evident when someone walks into my classroom.

The problem is with the third class.  I have not been able to build that relationship with them.  It is not one certain student - it is the mixture of the class.  There are many behavior issues, and I am just exhausted mentally and emotionally after they leave. To be completely honest, I don't enjoy teaching that class like I do the other two.

Because of this, I feel like I have failed them and have failed as a teacher.  I know I am very hard on myself, especially when I go back and read Katherine's posts on relationships.  I do not have those connections with this class.

I know relationships and connections matter.  I get that!

But what do I do when those relationships are just not there?  How do I reach them? How do I not feel like a failure?

I wrote it...now I just need to fix it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

SOLSC #17 - It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  Be sure and stop by to participate or see what others are reading and recommending this week.

I am on spring break this week, and I am hoping to mark off several of my books on my Must Read in 2014 list.  I have two stacks of books:  one at home and another one of new books I left at school.  I hope to make a dent while I am enjoying my time off!



Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder

I read this book after I read Seven Stories Up by the same author.  Although they are referred to as companion books, they do not need to be read in any order.  

Rebecca is a twelve year who is trying to deal with her parents separation.  After an unexpected move to her grandmothers house, she finds a bread box in the attic. Much to her surprise and delight, she finds that the bread box will grant her certain wishes.  For a child who is in a place where she doesn't want to be, granted wishes seem to make it a little bit easier.  But is it?  Rebecca must find out who she really is and where she wants to be.



Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald

I love stories about WWII, especially when they are based on real people!  There are several things that make this book stand out for me.  One is that the story is told in verse.  Because it is told in verse, it is told from a gentler perspective.  It is a story about a girl living in Paris who has to deny her Jewish heritage and learn to be a Christian in order to survive.  She lives a life of secrets.  Secrets which would be very difficult for a child, but makes a beautiful story.

"Yes, telling my story is what I must do.
I'll write it down here
In the most beautiful words I can find."



Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco

This book is classic Polacco!  Who knew she was related to Clara Barton!  This new book tells the story of Clara's early life and how she overcame speech difficulties.  Her bother became her protector, her hero while she became a healer.  Wonderful story!


Next Up...



Come back this week and read my review on this new
 middle-grade novel by Holly Schindler.  
I think you're gonna like it!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

SOLSC #16 - Sunday Stack

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Two Writing Teachers
It is finally here.

I knew it was coming.

To be honest, I thought it would have been here much sooner.

I have spent the weekend in the gym watching a basketball tournament.

I did not plan ahead.

It is 6:00.

I do not have a post for today.

I borrowed this idea from Gigi McAllister at The Late Bloomer's Blog.  Thank you Gigi!

Here is my post.

I wrote here about my list of things I wanted to accomplish this week on my spring break.  Reading was at the top and the bottom of my list.  Here is a stack of books that I have here at home.  I also have a stack of new books at school that I have not even unpacked yet.  

Will I read all of them?  Probably not, but I have a great list to choose from.

Tomorrow I will be writing more on... It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?

Post accomplished!



Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SOLSC #15 - Celebrate Good Times, Come On!





Each Saturday  Ruth Ayres invites us to share and celebrate events from our week. Today I am combining my celebration with my daily slice for the March Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

I am actually celebrating things to come this week.  My spring break has officially started,  so I decided to list "10 Things This Week" that I want to get accomplished.

  1. Reading - I have a huge stack of books that I would like to plow through. 
  2. Sleeping - I do not plan to set my alarm one...single... day.
  3. Cleaning - My house has been neglected due to my schedule.  Spring cleaning is a must!
  4. Commenting - The SOLSC started on a weekend followed by a snow day, a two-hour delay and then a one-hour delay.  Since then, I have not had the time to read and comment on as many slices as I would like.
  5. Pampering - I have also neglected myself this school year, so I am taking some time for me, especially resting my foot.
  6. Cooking - I hope to try some new recipes and cook something different every night - no left-overs!
  7. Shopping - I am tired of winter clothes and need a little spring inspiration.
  8. Visiting - My grandmother is 89 years old and I need to spend some time with her.
  9. Writing - I have neglected our school blog where I feature student and teacher readers and post book reviews and information for parents.
  10. Reading - Did I mention that I have a stack of books to plow through?

Now, I am off to the gym to watch my daughter coach a basketball game.

Let the break begin!



Friday, March 14, 2014

SOLSC #14 - Dinner is Ready...A Little Later Than Usual


I was reading a post from Julie on Raising Readers and Writers about cooking dinner which made me reflect on dinner at our house.

It is 5:15 and my kids walk into the kitchen and complain, "What?  You haven't even started dinner yet?"

My family is spoiled.  I did it!  I have no one to blame but myself.  Let me explain.

Twenty-one years ago, my husband and I decided that I would give up my first career and stay at home with our children.  This is a decision I have never regretted, but there are times now when I question my routine in our family mealtime.

My husband grew up with home cooked meals, desserts made from scratch, and meals on the table at 5:15.  I would not say he expected that of me.  It is just what I did because I loved him.  My family called me Betty Crocker because I baked all the time, and I wouldn't dare bake something from a box.  I cooked every night except Friday.  (That was pizza night from our first date and continues even today)  My husband came home at 5:15, and I had dinner on the table ready to go.  Even after I had my children, that was still our routine.

I have been working full time for seven years, and I still do most of those things.  Although my husband has taken over the baking, I still cook most nights except Fridays, and the meals are usually ready by 5:15.  I plan ahead and cook enough to last two nights.  I still consider heating up leftovers and adding a vegetable cooking, because it is not eating out!

Would I call them expectations now?  Absolutely...because they are spoiled.  I catered to them all these years and now that is what they expect.

The past three weeks we have extended our school day by one hour to make up for some of the snow days we have had this winter.  By the time all the students have been picked up, it is usually after 4:00.  That gives me a little over an hour to get my room picked up and things ready for the next day. Needless to say, dinner hasn't been on the table by 5:15, and there have been a few nights when I have been too tired to cook.

Lucky for me, my family has been flexible and has adjusted to our new dinner time.  I think they all have realized just how good they have had it all these years.

Now, I just give them "the look" and they turn around and wait until they hear me say, "Dinner is ready"...just a little later than usual.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SOLSC #13 - Plantar What?

Read more slices at
Two Writing Teachers

Teachers and feet problems are not a good combination.

Several years ago I experienced my first bout with plantar fasciitis.  Now some of you may being thinking, what in the world is plantar fasciitis.  I know I did when I was first diagnosed.  Heck, I couldn't even pronounce the darn thing!  Since then, I have had several flare-ups, and I have met and talked with many people who have also had the foot problem.

There is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel to your toes.  Inflammation of this tissue causes extreme heel pain, especially when you first get up in the morning.  The pain may return if there is prolonged standing.  This condition is also common in runners, overweight people, and those who wear shoes with poor support...well I have two out of three of those...and no, I am not a runner!

Here lies the problem.  I, like most teachers, am on my feet all. day. long.

I have basically been in pain since the beginning of the school year.  I love to wear capris and sandals up until the first frost.  This only aggravates the problem.  I have not taken care of my feet, and now I am paying for it.  (Those cute shoes aren't so cute right now.)

I know that in order to completely heal, I need to follow the doctor's orders.  I have a pair of orthotics which actually support that tissue so your foot doesn't have to.  I have been wearing those in my tennis shoes for support, and have been trying to stay off of my feet during the evenings...which is not easy for me to do.

Tonight, I am sitting here reading slices with my brace as my companion.  This brace flexes my foot and stretches that tissue.  After we finish this little rendezvous, I will be dunking my foot in a pan of ice water to try and decrease the inflammation.  Then it is another does of ibuprofen and off to bed!

So, there is your medical lesson for the day!  If you have ever had plantar fasciitis and have some advice, please let me know - cute shoe season is just right around the corner!  I never learn!