Friday, March 31, 2023

Year Ten Complete! #SOL23

Ten years. It is hard to believe that I have completed this challenge for ten consecutive years. Each year I say it's my last, but yet I keep coming back. I often ask myself why, so with today's slice, I try to answer this question.

  1. Connection--I have met so many wonderful people throughout these ten years, some only in online spaces and others in person. People are wired for connection, and when we connect through the simple act of sharing of words...well, that's just something special.
  2. Reflection--So much of my writing is reflecting. I learn more about myself when I dig deeper for the meaning of those ordinary moments.
  3. Practice--Writing, like any skill, takes practice to see growth and improvement. Writing for 31 straight days establishes a habit that helps me become a better writer.
  4. Slowing Down--The older I get, the slower I move and the longer it takes me to accomplish tasks. But writing every day, makes me intentionally slow down to notice the world around me and to capture the small moments. It slows me down to think about the right word or different ways to stack my words, as Ruth Ayres always says. It slows me down to savor the things that mean the most.
  5. Being a role model--I believe with all my heart when writing teachers write themselves, they become better teachers of writing. When my students see me struggling with a topic or trying to find the right word or pushing publish when I think it's crappy writing, they know I am walking the walk. And that's important to me.
  6. Preserving my story--Dementia runs in my family, and getting this horrible disease is a huge fear for me. I don't want to forget memories. I want to keep my stories alive, and keeping this blog makes them permanent.
Thank you, Stacey and crew, for creating this safe place for us to meet, to share, and to grow as writers. Thank you to my Teach Write community for supporting me, celebrating with me, and holding me accountable every week during check-in. Thank you to the slicing community for reading my words and letting me know that they somehow touched you or inspired you in some small way. 

So, until next year, may we all continue to find and share the words from our lives and in our hearts.

Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Pivot #SOL23


Does this word take you back to 2020? Bring back memories? Make you shudder? 

This was the buzz word during the pandemic because it seems like every time we began to figure something out, we had to change what we were doing. Every time we became adept at juggling multiple balls in the air, we dropped one.

That was pivoting.

On Wednesday, that word came rushing to the forefront. 

We began our argumentative writing unit, and students were to begin researching. I was gone today and Friday, so I introduced the writing assignment on Wednesday, and my plans were made.

And then the Internet went out after two periods of the day. Teachers who were working online were scrambling trying to find ways to pivot.

My sub plans looked like a plate of scrambled eggs with two periods doing Wednesday's plans, four periods doing Friday's plans today, and then flipping that for tomorrow. 

All because of a slight disruption that made me pivot once again!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Popcorn Night #SOL23

A bowl. 

A snack. 

A memory.

Popcorn was a favorite family snack when we were growing up. It may have been because money was tight, and this snack was inexpensive and stretched a long way. It may have been because it was my mother's favorite.

Mom always popped the corn on the stove top and placed it in glass bowls, served with hot, melted butter and a dash of salt, tapping the bowl with her hand to distribute it. I still remember sitting beside her on the couch and the sound of her wedding ring hitting the side of the bowl.

My little sister was born when I was nine years old. As she became a toddler and when it would be popcorn night, mom would nibble off the end pieces, leaving the soft, round pieces for Crissy. Mom would hold them cupped in her hand on her lap and give her a few pieces at a time. 

I still eat my popcorn this same way.

A bowl.

A snack.

A memory--I wonder if this is one Mom remembers.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Four Corners of My Classroom #SOL23

I'm sitting in my classroom with 15 minutes left in my prep period. I typically have my slice ready the night before. Not today.

I look around my classroom, a place that brings me great joy, and I realize I have a slice sitting right in front of me. I know several slicers have written about 4 corners or 4 items in front of them. Here are my four corners in four minutes.

Books take up my entire back wall of my classroom. Here is one corner where the book shelves sit between my "corner windows." 

This is the other side of that back wall where I have storage space. And guess what is in there? Yes, more books. But these are my student book club books and are not on the shelves.

I like to call this corner, the business center with the posted objectives, the pencil sharpener with pencils for students, my mailboxes for each period to turn in papers, the safety manual and procedures, and all monitored by our mascot, Little A (which stands for Alices--yes, a one-of-a-kind mascot!).

The last corner is my "teacher space" where I keep my pen and pencil obsession.

Just in time! Time for lunch and time to post my now-written slice!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Monday, March 27, 2023

Remembrance For My Grandmother #SOL23

In my classroom, I use Linda Rief's book, The Quickwrite Handbook, to spark writing for my students. And sometimes I use them for myself. For today's slice, I use this quickwrite and share my grandmother with you.

Remembrance For My Grandmother

I remember...I was with you the first time I ate a fresh peach,
Sitting in a swing at the cabin on the river
Juice running down my chin.

And I was with you when Janis and I
spent the night at your house
so mom could surprise us
with our new bedroom furniture.

And I was with you when you taught me 
how to make homemade noodles
and apple pie and cocoa fudge
but they were never as good as yours.

And I was with you when you held 
Megan in your arms
the start of the 4th generation.

And I was with you when I made you a quilt
for Christmas
with pictures of all 18 of your grandchildren
hand-stitched with love.

And I was with you when you smiled at me
when I came to the nursing home
not knowing my name
but knowing I belonged to you.

I wish I was still with you today.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Spring Break Recap #SOL23

It's Saturday night as I write this, and I am staring at a blank screen with no ideas and no slices written ahead of time, which I tend to do.

I am a little sad because it is my last night of spring break. The weather this week was pretty crappy, and I realized about mid-week that I had the wrong date for our state testing on our planning calendar and had to cut five days of instruction. Not exactly how I wanted my week to go.

To try and turn disappointment into something positive, I decided to name the 10 best things from this week.

  1. staying up late--I'm a night owl and can't do this during the school week.
  2. not setting my alarm.
  3. making bookmarks and sending some out to friends far away.
  4. trying a new technique splattering ink on my collages and liking it.
  5. having a clean house.
  6. shopping with my daughter Megan--and actually finding something!
  7. watching basketball games.
  8. the sun warming things up enough to grill today.
  9. playing online Euchre with my sister and nephew who live in Tennessee.
  10. starting a new writing community called Solace & Connection that is centered around nature! (You are welcome to check it out and join us!)
Looking at this list, I realize that although the weather was anything but spring-like this week, I do feel rested and rejuvenated and ready to greet my students on Monday!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Solace and Connection


The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside...I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. ~ Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

I recently read the book, The Curious Nature Guide:  Explore the Natual Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie, which was recommended by a couple of my writing friends. 

After closing the last page, I realized that nature plays a big part in my life and my well-being and also creates opportunities to connect me with other writers. 

Nature brings us peace and calms us whether we are reading or writing about it, looking at images, or just being out in it. Sharing writing with others builds connections, and I hope this space will do both of those. 

Here's How It Works:

You write a blog post centered around nature. It can be a poem, an image, or any piece of writing about nature you want to capture and share. I will provide a prompt from the book or other sources if you need inspiration.  Feel free to grab the image to use on your post and social media to help others find our community.

Link your blog post with the link up at the bottom of my round up post that will (hopefully) go live on Sunday mornings--a great day to find solace. The first post will be next Saturday, April 1st. And that is no April's Fool's joke!

Read and respond to other posts to help build a writing community. Knowing someone has read our words and they have felt a connection inspires us and helps us to continue writing. I believe the more we write, the better writer we become. So let us take some time to deepen our connection with nature and with each other. 

Welcome to Solace and Connection! I am so glad you are here.

Soft Landing - A Book Spine Poem #SOL23

Anyone who participates in the Slice of Life Challenge learns very quickly just how important writing communities are to their growth and confidence as a writer. Knowing that someone has read our words motivates us to continue. With that, I try very hard to comment on different blogs each day as well as supporting those bloggers I already know. Keeping up with this can be very difficult as it takes a lot of time.

I belong to another writing community called Teach Write, and each month we have a challenge where we write together on Zoom and then share that writing. Last night was our writing party where the theme was "Spring into Micro Writing." 

Because many of us are already participating in the slice of the life challenge, we decided to keep it simple. We could choose any type of small writing from 6-word memoirs to two-sentence stories or to poetry. Check out Cathy Hutter's 6-word movie plots! They are amazing!

I decided to open up two boxes of books that I have at home and write a book spine poem. This isn't as easy as it may appear because I always need a word or two to make it say what I want. But I kept to the rules and "wrote" this poem.



under the broken sky

divided we fall

ten thousand tries


a soft place to land.

This is also a fun writing activity to do with students of all ages. If you don't want them to "rearrange" your classroom library, here are two alternatives to try.

  1. Type out a list of titles and let them write from the list. You can even make several different lists so students to have some variety in which to choose titles. 
  2. Type out a list but cut the titles apart so they can rearrange them in different orders to create their poems.
However you decide to organize it, students will enjoy this fun creative way of "writing" poems.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

From Movies to Memories #SOL23

Do you have certain foods or smells or songs that take you back in time and hold a special place in your heart? What about movies? When I think about movies, I have three that take me back to a distinct moment in time and are deeply connected to a memory.

Hoosiers:  Being from Indiana, it is no wonder that this movie holds a special place in my heart. When I was a junior in high school, our boys basketball team won a state championship title. This was before class basketball in Indiana, and we were the underdogs, much like the Hickory Cornhuskers. 

Part of this movie, the state finals scene, was filmed at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse. They filmed this when I was attending school there. One of my biggest regrets was not taking advantage of the opportunity to be an extra in the crowd in this movie. It was a huge time commitment with many specific requirements. I had a night class, so it just didn't work out for me.

It was also the movie my husband and I went to see on our second date. And our last movie with just the two of us. We don't like the same kind of movies, and kids came along, so we began going as a family.

Top Gun:  I have seen this movie more than any other movie I have ever watched. It came out when I graduated from college, young and ready to conquer the world, and when I had a major crush on Tom Cruise. That beach volleyball scene! 

After this movie, I watched every movie he played in. I still have Top Gun on a VHS tape, which was done illegally by rigging up two VCR players to watch and record! 

Although my obsession over Tom Cruise is gone, he is still eye candy! And I thoroughly enjoyed Top Gun:  Maverick and being able to pick out details included in or alluded to from the first movie. And did you see that beach football scene?!?

Grease:  This movie came out in June of 1978, the summer after my 8th-grade year. It was that time when we were still kids but yearned to be young adults. The perfect love story for our age.

I went with a group of friends who eventually became my EJDs. We have been friends for over 45 years! I bought the soundtrack on a cassette tape and knew every word to each song by heart. I wanted so badly to sing like Olivia Newton John.

Thank you, Glenda Funk at Swirl and Swing for the inspiration for this post.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Thursday, March 23, 2023

What's that smell? #SOL23

Plants have always been a part of my classroom. They add a homey feeling, and I think it is important for kids to see growth in more ways than learning. One plant I have that sits on the corner of my desk has been with me since my first year of teaching in 2007.

I have two peace lilies that I received when my dad and my father-in-law passed within a month of each other in 2008. One of the plants began to look a little sickly, so I decided to bring it home and put it in a bucket of water to try and reestablish its root system. I filled the bucket and placed it in my son's bedroom, which is now my office. It had been up there since Christmas break, and I had to add more water once when it was low.

A few weeks ago, I pulled up what was left of the leaves to look at the roots, and up came an odor that about knocked me over. It was like a cloud of toxic fumes or an atomic bomb had gone off in this room. After gagging and pulling my shirt up over my nose and mouth, I grabbed the bucket and ran it downstairs and straight out the backdoor. My husband and daughter were sitting on the couch and my daughter yelled out, "What is that smell? Did you fart?"

"No," I said. "This is worse than a fart."

Have you ever had fresh flowers in a vase for a week or so? Have you ever smelled the foul odor of the water? Well, take this amount of smelly water times a five-gallon bucket that has been sitting stagnant for three months, and you MIGHT get an idea of what this smelled like.

I was really in a dilemma:  I wanted to keep the plant because of its sentimental value plus the fact that it was 15 years old, but I could not keep it while it smelled like that. 

I ended up dumping the water, spraying the roots, and putting it back into clean water because I still needed dirt and a new pot. 

But again, it sat there for weeks. Until today.

I decided to try and salvage it by cutting off all of what was left of the leaves and keeping three small chunks of the roots. I completely buried them in a new pot and brought it back upstairs to my office. Hopefully, in few weeks I will begin to see leaves unfurling up through the dirt.

Until then, I will just have to look at this pot of dirt...but at least I don't have to smell it!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Collaging: A New Hobby #SOL23

Several years ago, I became a member of the #100DaysofNotebooking Facebook group, which was created by a friend of mine, Michelle Haseltine. It was a challenge to notebook for 100 days. They didn't have to be consecutive; they just had to be written.

I suffered from notebook envy. I loved the colorful artwork, doodles, and creativity writers added to their pages. I knew I could never do that. 

Or so I thought.

At some point, I came across journal pages that used collage--literally ripping up and gluing together torn pieces of paper. I could do that.

It wasn't as easy at it looked. And when I look at my early notebook pages, I realize just how bad I was. But I was determined to get better at this. I began to follow more people on Instagram and watched their videos on YouTube. It got a little easier.

I began buying supplies from craft stores (buying paper became an addiction!) and looking for ephemera like old books, music, magazines, and letters from thrift shops and antique stores. It has been almost two years since I started, and it has become my favorite hobby and personal therapy session.

Now, I am making collage bookmarks. People have told me that I should find places to sell them. But for now, I will just enjoy making them and giving them away to my reading friends.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Eclipse 2024 #SOL23

What are you doing on Monday, April 8, 2024 at 3:04 PM? On a normal day, I would be getting ready for dismissal. Just like I do on every school day.

But on this particular day, I won't be in school. Instead, I will be watching the solar eclipse. Me and about 200,000 other people in my small town of 16,000!

We are right smack dab in the middle of the path with 4 minutes and 6 seconds of totality--the longest in the state of Indiana. Because of our location, we are expecting quite the crowd. Schools are canceled due to the expected increase of traffic throughout the county. Our county has formed a committee to manage the logistics. I mean think about how are all these people going to eat and sleep and go to the bathroom?!? 

I know a lot of preparation is happening now, and it's a year away. The next solar eclipse in the United States will be in 20 years, but it takes 375 years for an eclipse to happen in the same location. I am excited, yet a little bit nervous, to be part of this once in a lifetime event.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

My Get-to-Do List #SOL23

I knew this day would come. It always does, but I lasted longer than I thought I would. Today is the first day I didn't have a slice ready to go the night before. I struggled last night with putting words down or even finding a moment to write about. So, I didn't write.

This morning is the first "official" day of my spring break. My son went back to where he lives (I refuse to call it home) and my husband is at work. I have the house to myself because my daughter is working out (which is what I should be doing). 

Usually breaks are a time for me to catch up on my home to-do list. You know things like cleaning--that chore that gets neglected during the school year.

Instead of focusing on my to-do list, I decided to avoid looking at the dust in the living room and the pile of school stuff on the dining room table, and the breakfast dishes in the sink and the ring around the bathtub, and I decided to create a spring break get-to-do list.

In no particular order, I get to...

  • be the last one to go to bed
  • stay in my pajamas as long as I want
  • read any book in any of my stacks
  • write in my notebook in a place that is not home
  • create collage bookmarks and mail them to friends
  • buy a new yearbook camera
  • shop for new spring clothes with my daughter 
  • go out for breakfast with my husband
  • take my son out for dinner
  • try a new recipe
  • walk in the afternoon
  • take naps
  • enjoy the small things

Yes, I am looking forward to completing my "get-to-do" list this week!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Not your typical Saturday #SOL23

It was a typical Saturday:  no alarm, Wordle, and breakfast. Because of the challenge this month, I grab my computer, link my slice, and dive into the world of commenting before getting ready for the day.

But this Saturday was different. 

As I snuggled under the blanket on the couch, my husband asked me if I would follow him to Walmart to get the oil changed in our son's car since he was home. We usually don't use Walmart's automotive services, but Ethan is only home on the weekends, so we did what we had to do. 

That turned into a big mistake.

We dropped the car off, and I returned home to shower before I ran my Saturday errands. Since I was going to Walmart to do some shopping, my husband asked, "Could you check on the car while you are there and let me know if it's ready. I'll bring Ethan and pick it up."

Sounded like a good plan. I approached the service area and asked if it was ready. The technician seemed a little confused, but I didn't think anything about it. When he said it had already been paid for, I should have known something was up.

I called my husband to ask him if he had paid for it when he dropped it off. Nope.

The tech kept looking in the service pouches, going out into the service area, and looking at the printed service tickets on the counter.

I knew then that something really was up; I just didn't know what.

He finally said, "It's ready. Just tell him to come and pick it up, and I'll have it figured out by the time he gets here."

I left and was finishing some more errands when my husband texted me:  "They lost the's a mess."

Long story short. They "lost" the fob (we actually think someone took it). Our oil change was never done. Another Chevrolet that was there at the same time got our oil change and never received the service they needed. Ethan's extra fob was at his apartment, one hour away. The car was locked, and we had no way of getting in.

They called in two managers, and they watched the security cameras to see if they could determine what happened to the fob. This is the same car that was stolen about a year ago, so my husband wasn't leaving until he had that fob in his hands. 

Almost four hours later our car was towed to our dealer where it will be kept in a secured service bay until Monday. They will have to order new fobs and reprogram them. My son received a loaner car that he will drive home, and we will have to trade cars with him once his is done.

What should have been a thirty-minute oil change turned into an all-day nightmare...that isn't even over yet.

So much for a typical Saturday, huh?

Edited to update:  Walmart management was very nice about the whole thing, and yes, they are paying for it. However, after all this happened, we have heard other similar stories. Some even worse than ours. We are grateful that even though our situation was frustrating, ours could be fixed.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
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Saturday, March 18, 2023

No More Libraries #SOL23

Sometimes I hear about decisions in different school systems that are made that leave me scratching my head. I know that teachers don't always know why the decisions are made or what factors beyond teacher control are a part of the decision. And I get that. 

Someone told me today about a decision that leaves me feeling very sad. Some schools are eliminating their librarians and school libraries. I heard that one principal allegedly said, "Libraries are becoming a thing of the past."

As a middle school reading teacher who has about 60% of her students not at proficiency and who has students who do not enjoy reading and who works who butt off to change that, I shudder at the thought of not having school libraries and librarians.

Are teachers wrong to question this decision? Should they be concerned? But most importantly, can they do anything about it?


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

I'm lucky because... #SOL23

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, I am listing 17 reasons (in no particular order) why I am lucky. I have done this post before, and this time I wrote this post before I looked at the previous years.

I am lucky because...

  1. I'm married to my best friend of almost 33 years.
  2. I am the mother of grown children.
  3. I have a daughter who is a teacher and coach and loves what she does.
  4. I have a son who works with at-risk kids and is a great role model for a lot of boys who need him.
  5. my mother still remembers me.
  6. I have siblings who work together to make the best decisions for our mother.
  7. I get to be with middle school kids and share books with them every single day.
  8. I have the best colleagues who make me laugh.
  9. I understand the power of written words.
  10. I am surrounded by books to read.
  11. I belong to the best supportive writing group ever.
  12. I have administrators who support me as a teacher and a learner and who want me to be my best self.
  13. I am in good health.
  14. I am free to live out my faith.
  15. I am on spring break next week.
  16. bath and a book (with Dr. Teals) is next on my to-do list!
  17. I have another slice written.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

It's Party Time #SOL23

For the past several years, I have held a "Slicer Party." I have always questioned doing it because I didn't think it followed the challenge guidelines. But I was asked about it last night, so I thought I would oblige.

We are at the half-way point of the challenge, and this is usually where writers begin to struggle with finding ideas. As the month wraps up and when you need a slice, (and yes, you know it WILL happen!) accept this invitation to the slicer party.  The best part is that you can join the party anytime during the month when you are struggling or need a quick idea.

In the past, we have brought our five favorite things twice. Then I started getting a little more creative where we brought our IDs in the form of a when you met me slice, our favorite ways to take care of ourselves, and our favorite quotes and writing retreats. These slicer parties are a lot fun and would be a blast in real life.

This year, I am inviting you to think about your best colors. Back in the challenge of 2021, I came across this slice by a fellow slicer and decided to use it as your party RSVP.

"The best colors are everywhere because they are in the things I love." ~ Deborah Dillon

Here is what I would bring in the form of the best colors:

The best pink is the mum in my landscape that I have had for over 26 years, which was given to my daughter from my mother-in-law the year my son was born.

The best blue is the cerulean sky that welcomes me to the pool on hot summer days.

The best white is the blank page of a notebook waiting to be filled with words.

The best brown is the sandy beaches where I will sit this summer and let the ocean waves crash over my feet.

The best yellow are my brown eyed Susans, my favorite flower that I have around the perimeter of my front porch.

The best orange is the basketballs bouncing in the gym when I watch my daughter coach.

The best red is the jelly in jelly donuts because they remind me of my high school friends.

The best black is the nighttime sky when it can make the moon seem brighter.

The best green is the peeks of spring that always seem to brighten my mood.

I hope you consider coming to the party sometime this month by writing a slice about your favorite colors. Just let me know you have joined, and I will include you on the guest list down below. I can't wait to see who else is coming! 

Guest List

Erica J. from The Biblio Bard Blogger

Heather at Writing My Way

Cathy at Doodads and Doodles

Denise at Dare to Care

Terje from Just for a Month

Carol at Beyond Literacy Link

Debbie at Moon Snails, Daisies, and Marmots

Rita at Daily Scribbles


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Can you feel it? #SOL23

Last week I was looking for a book I thought I had and spent too much time searching before I realized I had borrowed it from the library. While I was looking for it though, I came across a box of writing prompt ideas called The Storymatic Rememory Cards that I forgot I had. The box has three colors of cards: one is a person, one is the season, and the third is the memory.

I decided it would be fun to try this for a slice. My cards were a brother, sister or friend; summer; and speaking in front of people. So here goes!

Several summers ago, my sister, a teacher from another county district and I planned a summer EdCamp for our county that included three school districts. We held it toward the end of our summer break, which here in Indiana is late July. 

That same summer, I had been walking to music on a YouTube video. (The absolute best way to walk!) It was 70s music, and I loved walking to its beat. One of the songs was "Can You Feel It" from the Jacksons, and it quickly became my favorite. I would find myself bebopping down the road keeping the beat with each step I took.

One night I was listening to it and thought, "What a fun theme for the conference!" It was the end of the summer when teachers were beginning to think about getting into their classrooms and may or may not be "feeling it" yet, and playing this upbeat music while we walked between sessions might add a little fun.

And it did! When I welcomed everyone that morning, we played that song, and everyone was walking around with a little extra pep in their step. We would walk by a group of teachers and ask, "Can you feel it yet?" I really do think it helped teachers get their minds focused on learning and getting back into the swing of things. 

Yes, we were feeling it, and if you listen to it, I bet you will feel it too!


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

How is your writing life going? #SOL23

This past weekend I attended and presented at a conference at Notre Dame (which is giving me more slices than I ever anticipated!).  Friday night, Donalyn Miller gave a keynote about reading lives and how people, adults and children, are struggling with finding that reading joy again.

It was a phenomenal keynote, and at one point, she had us turn and talk about how our reading life was going. The room buzzed with conversations from every table. 

My presentation was on journaling as a way to well-being. I decided to add that question to start off my presentation:  "How is your writing life going?" 

After asking this, some just looked at me with a blank stare, some looked down, and some let out a chuckle. It was obvious to everyone there; writing was not something they did regularly.

I asked them what the last thing was they wrote outside of school. When the only things mentioned were a grocery list and a to-do list, I knew this audience needed to hear what I had to say.

Since we are a part of this writing community, we understand the importance of having a writing life. But it's also important why we must continue to share its value with others who are willing to listen.


Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we 
share a slice of life during the month of March. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Thinking About Read-Aloud #SOL23

I have been thinking about read-aloud lately. 

Maybe it's because on Wednesday, I read the last chapter in our class novel, and every student was either following along in their books or were listening intently as I read every word. The room was silent; it was wonderful.

Maybe it's because I listened to Donalyn Miller Friday night and her words stuck with me: "We don't age out of read-alouds. If we did, audiobooks would not be on the rise for adults."

Maybe it's because I listened to Neal Shusterman Sunday morning, and he told a story about how he was a summer camp counselor, and the way he got kids to settle down for bed was by telling them stories. As he was telling teachers from across the country his story about his thoughts and ideas behind writing Challenger Deep and Scythe, the entire audience was hanging on his every word, as if we were the kids at camp.

Or maybe, it's because of all three.


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