Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Slice of Life - Meaningful, authentic, assessment.

3:15pm today -
This is meaningful, authentic, and an assessment.  

Prelude - My kindergarten students have been studying and learning about traditions.  Our learning targets can be summarized with these two statements;  I can share my family customs, traditions, and celebrations.  I can talk about family celebrations and why they are important.  I began our work with ideas from my friend Katie and her post titled traditions.  I collaborated with my art teacher and together we helped the children create a tradition symbol using embossing on heavy gauge foil, an idea Katie shared in her post.  

This afternoon as my students and I were retracing our symbol designs on to heavy gauge foil, coloring the raised image using colored sharpies there was a spirit in the air.  A spirit filled with happiness.  Happiness for creating and making something for our families.  I've never guided students with embossing on heavy gauge foil and I don't always make projects for families.  I let time, cute vs necessary debate in my mind, and relevance lead the way to making nothing for our families.   However, when my own daughters have brought things home over the years for me, my husband, or us together I always vow to help my students make something for their families for various reasons during the year.  There is a sense of pride all children need to feel when they can make something and give to others.  Katie's post had my interest peaked because it was relevant to our lives and related to our learning.  After the students had a parent volunteer use a glue gun to mount their tradition embossing to chipboard, they came to me for labeling and packing up.  As I listened to student after student share a family tradition orally and through visual representation, I realized this is an assessment.  They are sharing and talking about family traditions.  I loved it was authentic, child created art. It wasn't a worksheet, there was no fill in the blank or multiple choice questions, and there were no i can statements at the top of the page.  

Epilogue - I am happiest when we are creating and students are sharing their own ideas.  I began to wonder how could I document it.  It's not something to assign a number or a rubric to.  It's not something to it put on a ten point scale in a grade book.  I could check it off on a checklist but that doesn't make learning visible or show my student's thinking.  I get to do this again on Thursday.  I think the answer to document our product as an assessment is to take a picture of each final project and store them in an Evernote social studies note for each student.  If you have any ideas, let me know.  I will try to share photos later in the week here.

Thanks Tara at Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life this week.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slice of Life - My stomach doesn't hurt

I'm about a third of the way through Jennifer Serravallo's book, Teaching Reading in Small Groups and pondering reading a lot.  Winter break is approaching quickly and I want to revamp some things in my room. Over the weekend I decided I need to redo all of their reading assessments. I made a plan; four days with each class, 6 reading assessments a day, equals information to celebrate and reflect on.  I started yesterday with class one and got 4 done, just a little set back.  Today I spread them out a bit more and met my goal of 6 with class two.

We have lots to celebrate!  I'm seeing the work we have done as a class during mini lessons of reading workshop in each child.  My insides are bubbling with joy as I sit next to each child and watch them be independent readers.  It is satisfying and rewarding to watch the "I do" of gradual release.  

My tenth reading assessment today was with a little boy declared over and over when school started he couldn't read.  He takes ownership for his actions, he often thinks about himself, he speaks what is on his mind often without any filters, he gets tired, he tries hard, his loves facts, he loves bugs and today he was a reader.  When I was assessing his reading engagement to start our work together I asked him who reads with him at home.  He said no one, he doesn't read but he does do sight words.  His favorite book is No, David.  A perfect book for him in so many ways.  After reading four reading levels, I named several reading strategies I observed.  He just beamed.  I asked him if I could give him a hug to celebrate and I wasn't sure which way that would go.  He was about to walk away and turned around and gave me the biggest bear hug with gentleness.  A sign, we are learning and my students are growing.

My district gives kindergarten teachers til the end of the second quarter to do our initial reading assessment. This makes sense with our attendance schedule.  As of today, my students have been to school for 38 days. For the past two years I've held off a bit to truly get accurate information about my student's as readers.  This year I did it earlier, at the end of the first month of school.  I knew the data I would get but I was feeling pressure.  I was feeling pressure to show more student growth.  I was feeling pressure because my teammates are both pregnant and on maternity leave half of the year and wanted to start guided reading earlier.  I got the data I expected at the end of the first month.  Four students could read a beginning leveled book, 43 students were below a level A.  My stomach hurt back then.  The data I got showed me the same information for all students.  They needed reading instruction and guidance.  They needed to learn what being a reader looked like and felt like.  They needed to learn good reading strategies all readers use.  

My stomach doesn't hurt anymore.  My heart is full and hopeful, as I work on completing my assessment plan.  Maybe the celebration is better because I have documentation from September to show they weren't using reading strategies and now with the same tool I can show growth.  I know it feels frustrating to take the time to do an assessment when you can predict the results.  I still feel like doing the reading assessment in September didn't really change anything for our learning.  I'm not sure what I will do next year.  It appears I will be wrestling with the timing of reading assessments for a while.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Slice of Life - Caterpillars

Journeys create stories.  Journeys can have surprises.  Parenting is a journey with twists and bends I never expected.  These twists and bends are creating stories I never expected.  I love when a story makes me laugh right out loud.  There is therapy in laughter and we all need a little bit more laughter in life.  I would imagine this is a story only a daughter would let me capture.

"Mom, can I get bangs at my Christmas haircut?"

"You know the ones that go straight across and I can then get rid of the layers and straighten my hair every day with the straightener I am getting for Christmas."

"I am getting a straightener for Christmas, right?"

"Well, you know the bangs will cover up my eyebrows."

Me - "Why do you want to cover up your eyebrows?"

"They are caterpillars! This one is fuzzy and this one is furry!"

In reflection, I am glad we aren't discussing uni-brows and I imagine there is a conversation coming about plucking eyebrows.  At least she is giving me clues this conversation is on the horizon.

Thank you  Tara at Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life this week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slice of Life - I couldn't sleep!

So exhausted, I easily fall asleep.  So exhausted, I fall asleep on the couch.  So exhausted, I crawl into bed hoping.  A few hours later, I faintly wake only to realize it's way too early to get up.  I snuggle in again and doze off for a bit, only to wake and realize it's way too early to get up.  This time I lean up and see I have one more hour to sleep.  I wonder why can't I sleep and I turn over to snuggle right in again.  My alarm goes off and I get up reluctantly, feeling a need for more sleep.  

As I get dressed to walk my dogs, I wonder why couldn't I sleep?  A few things rumble threw my  mind.  My day was pretty well planned out for my students.  There isn't really pressing decisions to make right now.  My girls aren't busy with activities right now, so our weeknights are a bit relaxing.  I have 10/46 conferences left but not til Wednesday night and this is the home stretch with NCTE in my future!  

My day went well and tonight I was still thinking about why I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't sleep because the weatherman had promised SNOW.  Snow is uncommon in November.  I love snow.  It's pretty and bright.  It's peaceful and life seems to slow down.  While I walked the dogs this morning, my steps were truly a crunch crunch crunching and I thought about poetry.  It was cold and it quickened my pace but not without noticing the stars and the stillness of life before many rise.  I have a wonderful wall of windows at school and all day I enjoyed seeing the tufts of white on my bushes and bird feeders.  Snow brings lots of anticipation for people - safe driving, delays, snow days, and what to wear.  I hope the next time you see snow you are able to stop, wonder, and enjoy.


Thank you Dana for hosting Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Slice of Life - Surprises!

There is a lot to accomplish on the home front to get out the door.  Mornings require juggling and balance, kindness and respect, guidance and letting go.  Often a little faith is needed and hopes for the day are rattling through my mind.  The girls are striving for independence.  Sometimes watching their internal struggle for that and liking things being done for them is tricky to live.  Daily, I remind myself all these things are shifting and changing.  Next year, I will have two not three girls to fill my mornings.  My drive to work will be all alone for the first time in 18 years.  I am intrigued by what this will all look and feel like and with that I have my own internal struggle with not wanting these mornings to change even when I am running a bit late.

Running a bit late, I dash into school.  I try to make quick sense of my classroom.  I needed to get to a staff breakfast this morning to greet and welcome our visitor for the day.  I was really excited because Wonderopolis was here to visit our school.  I scan the room, find a few people to chat with, grab half a bagel and as I am scanning for a seat - surprise!  I get to meet Laura from Wonderopolis and she hands me a box with my name on it.  Wonderopolis sent me an official Wonder Jar!  It's filled with such goodness.  Objects to foster questioning.  Objects to send us to the Wonderopolis website.  A model for creating our own wonder jars.  I can't wait to see where our learning goes from here.  Thank you Wonderopolis for supporting our learning and for surprises!

Dana at Two Writing Teachers, thanks for hosting.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Slice of Life - 10 Things Right Now

I saw this idea today in my feedly feed and in a moment of trying to use Pinterest more I created a board for writing ideas.  I'm sure I've mentioned before, I'm using Pinterest right now personally and for my class with both going slowly.  I love this idea from Ali Edwards and hope to find more ideas to help this board grow. 

Using Ali as a mentor, here is my list of 10 Things Right Now.

1.  I'm getting materials ready to individualize sight word rings and learning for my students.  This involves copying cards, laminating, cutting the cards out, hole punch top right corner and yes parent volunteers have been helping from home and in the the room.  Why so much work to make the cards?  So, they can be reused next year.  I need to assess my students on reading sight words and further plan the how we will do this.

2.  I love watching my K students think about letter sounds and write them down to help tell their stories.

3.  I love my new boot socks that scrunch at the top and could be pulled over my knee but I prefer the Ruth Ayers fashion style and scrunch them down a bit.  Finished off with a pair of boots, skirt, sweater, and I'm all set to go.

4.  Our public librarian Mr. George came to visit both classes to invite us to his library for a family storytime and an opportunity to sign up for library cards.  Mr. George has studied audience engagement and is a master at storytelling.  After spending time with him, I always want to read books with more inflection and feel happy because I've had so much fun.

5.  First quarter ended last week and we have started the second quarter.

6.  Articulating learning goals and targets is important but not sure how useful they are posted in my K classroom for student use.  Even in kid friendly language I'm positive just one student could read them right now.  I know this is beneficial for students who are older and attend school full time.  

7.  Working on creating pictures to go with learning targets/I can statements mentored after Smarter Charts ideas.

8.  Had a student ask for a box of books about pizza.  I've never had this request and I love how he understands our books our organized by collections with a common theme.  If you have any titles, let me know in the comment section.

9.  Wonderopolis is coming and I want to make their visit meaningful with pre-visit work.

10.  I can't wait to publish our self portraits tomorrow using Pixie during our computer lab time.  The students have learned so many features of Pixie since school started and have gained lots of confidence.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slice of Life - Half Time

Half time isn't filled with a marching band and sports fans cheering on the sidelines.  Half time doesn't just happen on a Friday night or a Saturday.  Dressing for half time doesn't mean I'm wearing my scarlet and gray with my three favorite half time letters of the alphabet, OSU.  Half time is every day in my world.  Half time is the amount of time my students get to come to kindergarten.  It would be wonderful if my half time meant my students came half days every day of the week, but they don't.  As my editor for Choice Literacy coined my attendance schedule, my students come fifty percent.

Fifty percent can be seen as a positive when trying to reach a fundraiser goal and you are half way there. Fifty percent can be seen as a positive when I have been running for 15 minutes and I have another 15 minutes until I am done.  However, fifty percent also makes me think of half done.  That maybe I am not trying my best.  Maybe I am not working hard enough.  Maybe I need to teach more and faster and harder. I get to spend two or three days a week with my students.  They come two days and alternate a Wednesday in the middle of the week, it's not even fifty percent attendance within a week. 

Driving home the other day, I was talking to myself a bit. I was feeling a little bit worn down about fifty percent.  After making my list of what I can't fit in and why integrating the curriculum is hard and how technology with laptops twice a month isn't best practice, I stopped self talking.  I told myself if given fifty percent then it might be okay to teach fifty percent.  My curriculum is one hundred percent but if the legislators and decision makers don't recognize that then maybe I need to accept teaching fifty percent. There will be days everything doesn't get done.  There will be days we need to go slower.  There will be days where quality and relationships matter the most.  With fifty percent, they need to leave kindergarten liking and even loving school to want to come back for one hundred percent first grade.  I think I can do that, if I stay focused on my students.

Thank you Stacey and Team TWT for hosting Slice of Life weekly challenge.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Slice of Life - Story

I am missing lots of stories.  I am living the story or stories daily but not holding on to them in a tangible way to go back and reflect, cry, laugh, smile, and remember.    I have tried on and off, I love when I find something written down because I don't remember.  I want to feel that little tug at my heart when I reread a story, more often.  I wish I did remember things from long ago to reflect upon now, that I am older and in a different place.  Habits, routines, tools, and methods are great to think about but the ACT is what I need.  I need to capture now and capture the recent past before it comes a distant past that is so much harder to retrieve.

While spending time with Ruth Ayers at The Literacy Connection this past Saturday, she had each of us do a five minute write.  We spent the day celebrating writing, reflecting, and looking ahead as we begin a year long study of her new book, Celebrating Writers - From Possibilities to Publication.  Thank you Ruth, for a few moments to capture my thoughts.  Thank you Stacey for hosting and giving us an opportunity to make our writing public-ation.  You can find everyone who is slicing today at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slice of Life - Guest Post on Running and Writing

My daughter is a senior in high school and is taking AP Composition.  She was sharing with me her lack of an idea for this current writing assignment and then later in the day shared her idea with excitement.  I knew she had found a way to approach her assignment which was to describe her writing process with a creative twist.  I'm not sure she has a true writing process.  I think this is her first piece of writing in a year or more that isn't in response to something she read.  I also think much of her writing in high school has been essay responses on test.  She has a voice! I'm so glad she had this opportunity to be creative and reflective.

She doesn't know I am sharing this piece a bit more publicly than my laptop.  I figured since it's saved on my laptop I co-own the piece and could have her be a guest blogger.  I know there are many of us figuring out our own writing process and many of us dabble with running.  This piece is interesting because she doesn't like to run.  She ran cross country last year but gave it up.  We have been trying to encourage her to be physical and exercise not only her mind but her muscles and body.  Maybe she has heard us lately.  I hope you find something to connect to in this piece, I did.

I Write the Way I Run
            I begin eager and excited. I radiate optimism, filled with high hopes and goals. Before I write I scribble on a piece of notebook paper, trying to keep up with the urgent thoughts and ideas seeping out of my brain. These ideas make me enthusiastic to write because they give me a general idea of what I want to say, which makes me feel confident in myself. Running requires a similar beginning process. I listen to energetic music while stretching to get pumped up and excited to run. I struggle to begin both writing and running if I’m not motivated to do it.
            Typically when I first start typing or running, the words or strides are fast, strong, and confident. But the ease doesn't last for long. I almost always meet the dreaded writers block, or “the wall” as it’s called in running. It weighs me down and I feel discouraged. While glaring at the computer screen or gasping for air, I question why I even bother and desperately want to give up. Writing and running are so similar because they both rely on your mentality. Negative thoughts are all it takes to destroy you. To avoid sinking into a vast darkness filled with insults and jeers, I ease up on myself. I leave the computer area in search of fresh air to clear my head. When running, I slow down my pace and sometimes even walk when the physical and mental cramps become too much to handle. By going easy on myself for a few minutes, I allow the positivity that was with me at the beginning of my adventure to make its way to the surface and consume my thoughts once again. With my regained control over the situation I am able to sit down at the computer or pick up my running pace and complete my goal.

            To me, writing and running are intertwined. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m running. In fact, I was inspired to write about this during a run. I often find running to be the solution to my writer’s block, or any other stress in my life. The rhythmic sound of my feet hitting the ground is as comforting as my fingers clicking across the keyboard without hesitation. Practicing writing and running keeps my mind and body in shape, and as a result I become better at overcoming self-doubt. Writing is a hard process, but a positive attitude and a longing for success always help me achieve my goals.

Thanks to Ruth and Stacey for hosting Slice of Life weekly.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slice of Life - Gradually Sewing

This is a piece I wrote last month and seemed fitting to share tonight because tomorrow is my first day of school with students.

We started a project.  Her arms were flapping.  Her body wiggled.  Her arms would flap a bit more and her body would wiggle a bit more.  Her rate of speech was quick, “I don’t know what that means.”  She would become hesitant and be slow to do or try the next step.  She is an avid reader and reading was part of the project but even this step seemed to bring frustration.  In my head, I was feeling frustrated because she had sewn for 4H the two previous years and had successful experiences.  Yes, this project was harder but we weren't even at that point yet.

I put on my researcher hat and began uncovering a few reasons why we were at this point.  Even though she had sewn before, she hadn't sewn in a year.  I know how important practice and routines are; I would need to think about this.  Reading the layout for a pattern is like reading a map.  Once, I shared this correlation she seemed to understand the visual layout a bit better.  Vocabulary was a big hurdle.  I realized sewing has its own language, its nonfiction and she doesn't read nonfiction by choice.  When I started making these connections I reflected and realized I needed to do what I would do in the classroom. 

I needed to demonstrate, I needed to give her a guided demonstration, and then release her to try on her own.  I needed to use the gradual release model and make sure I reinforced her success.  Patience is needed when sewing and I needed to make sure I modeled this throughout the project.  We had a successful sewing outcome and are headed for the Ohio State Fair.  As we all start a new school year, we need to remember to take the time to gradually release the learning.  The time and patience we invest up front will last throughout the year, fostering success.

Thank you to Stacey and Ruth for hosting this weekly platform for sharing our writing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Slice of Life - Gardening is Good

When I walked my students to the buses today it was warm, the sun was out and I began planning my evening.  If I ignored the have to do and try to achieve list I would...garden.  I felt the need to plant something and as I chatted with our first bus driver I started to create a vision of what this could look like.  I could start cleaning out my beds.  That seemed like the first step.  I wish I had pansies.  My grandmother use to plant pansies each year around her house on the lake.  I didn't have pansies so I started thinking I could maybe tackle the vegetable beds.  After going on our farm field trip I was feeling inspired to grow.  

I had to stop at the grocery store.  Before I got inside they had pansies!  I knew I had to do something about this.  I bought two packages of pansies and picked up a few things we needed and stuff for an easy dinner so I could plant my pansies because the reality is I can't ignore the to do or to achieve list.  

My youngest and I planted three pots of pansies.  I took out the old morning glory plants in two more planters and I emptied my kitchen compost bin.  When I was done, I felt better in general.  My other grandmother always said gardening was good for you.  Getting your hands in the dirt, creating, nurturing, designing all of these things can happen while you garden.  

I came inside, back to reality and "googled" why gardening is good for you.  CNN had an article titled just this, Why gardening is good for you.  This article elaborates on gardening helping by being a stress relief, helps achieve a better mental health, exercise, brain health, and nutrition.  Early in the article it mentions gardening as a sensory activity.  Think about all of our students who have sensory needs.  Students who need to touch things.  Students who like to do things with their hands.  I'm thinking it's time to open the sand table filled with rice that hasn't made it to our to do/achieve list of learning which makes me sad, tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Slice of Life - Me in Numbers

I was going to bed.  I clicked on Cathy's blog Merely Day by Day and started reading some of her monthly slices and decided I wanted to play around with an idea she got from other slicers.  I thought about continuing to slice weekly so here I am back again.  My friend Franki talks about me as a reader, why not collect numbers about yourself?  It's important to model math more for our students and show how we use math in our lives.

Me in Numbers

1 pet rabbit
2 dogs
3 girls
4  bird feeders in my backyard and in my observation window at school
5 people in my family
6 chairs at my kitchen table
7 a hard number to connect with
8 Regie Routman books on my shelf
9 cousins including myself

4000 the address of my house
2200 the address of my first house
528 the address  for my school
21 years I have lived in OH
3 plane trips this school year
44 students in my room - 2 classes
104 my room number
3 colleges I went to
487 twitter followers
3,298 tweets posted
144 my old room number
3 schools I've taught in
2 districts I have taught in
3 adult Saint Bernard dogs in our house at one time growing up
2 liters of Saint Bernard puppies we had

Sunday, March 31, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 31 of 31 Did I know? and Reflections

Today while I we were making Easter dinner I decided to make some deviled eggs.  I asked my husband who I have known for 25 years and been married to for almost 22 years if he liked deviled eggs and he said, "I love deviled eggs!" Every year we color hard boiled eggs and I might eat a couple as hard boiled eggs but I don't think I've ever made deviled eggs in my life until today.  As we were busy putting together all the different dishes for our family dinner I kept thinking to myself, how have I known him this long and didn't know he loves deviled eggs?  Are there other things I don't know, if I just stop and notice or listen more?  This writing challenge has made me notice things more personally and professionally this month.  Writing every day has been joyful and something I've looked forward to.  It was easy and I never seemed to struggle with something to write about because I truly thought of it as a slice - a small piece of writing.  My grandma who I've written like a couple of times this month use to take many slivers of pie at Thanksgiving.  She couldn't turn anything down and rationalized trying everything with a sliver.  I have one more day of vacation.  I'm going to try to balance it with a few things to do for me and spend time with my girls.  I hope to continue capturing slices of life and I'm pondering which format I might use; digital or in a paper notebook.  I also think Grandma had more writing advice, as life gets busy again maybe a sliver of writing will be okay.  Thank you for joining me on this journey to grow as a writer.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 30 of 31 writing like Grandma again

Sunny.  Chill but felt warm.  Picked up.  Cleaned.  Cotsco shopping.  Ran 2.0m.  Homemade chicken noodle soup.  Did all Easter basket shopping.  Not my smartest move.  Looking forward to a family day, just 5.

Friday, March 29, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 29 of 31 It feels good.

It feels good to be back.
Picked up our dogs.
Unpacked myself.
Went through the mail.
Cleaned out the fridge.
Got groceries.
Unpacked the groceries.
Remembered it's still spring break.
Met a dear dear friend for dinner.
We visited for 3 hours.
What a great way to return.
Looking forward to my own bed.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 28 of 31 A clean slate to go...

The sky was so blue today.
I wish I could bottle it and take it with me.
It radiated sunshine.
It felt like a clean slate.
It felt fresh.
So I snapped a photo to keep it with me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 27 of 31 Same and Different

Same raccoons and squirrels
Different armadillos, alligators, and geckos

Same blue jays
Different ibis and sand cranes

Same pine trees and pine cones
Different palm trees

Same cold and chilly days
Different sunny and blue skies

Same walking and running
Different golf carts

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 26 of 31 Writing Like Grandma

Slicing on the go has been a bit frustrating this trip.  My app on my phone is not seeing my drafts I planned ahead.  My kindle fire wouldn't let me type once I found those drafts.  My father in law's computer is working fine but I am missing my laptop.  I went back and forth to whether I should bring it but thought it would lead to me thinking about work more and writing more and being plugged in more than I wanted.  Sometimes slices of writing can be short and to the point.  I often think when we think of writing they have to be grand big ideas or pieces.  My grandmother wrote daily before bed.  She had a preferred diary she used for years and years.  She didn't write in complete sentences but in four to seven lines of text she could grasp her day and look things up when she wanted to remember.  In grandma fashion.

Chilly in FL.  High 56.  St. Pete's Pier.  Aquarium learning - FL water creatures.  Panera lunch.  Prom dress shopping.  Meet friends from OH.  Night swim indoors.  Walk 2.5m am.  Ran 2.5m treadmill pm.  Rummy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 25 of 31 Shuffleboard Lessons

Shuffleboard when they were little lasted 15 minutes.  They were too short and could barely move the disc.  Shuffleboard now is quite the family event.  With four playing we have a referee to declare what is in and out.  Last night the referee issued a yellow card and now it's turned into an adventure with yellow cards and disqualified players.  There has been a lot of opponents making noises, sliding sticks in front of others on their turn.  What this side adventure to a game of seniors has brought our family is time together filled with laughter, mischief, and everyone on the same playing field.  Lessons that we need reminders for - to laugh, be playful, and do things together where we are equals.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 24 of 31 Armadillo!

I saw an armadillo at 7:30am this morning.  I was sneaking out of the house for an early morning walk.  I wanted to go with peace in the air and no technology.  I turned and went down a short little sidewalk.  I saw a pair of squirrels.  I heard a scratching noise.  I bit strange sounding so I turned around to look and there was an armadillo!  I've seen one at the Columbus Zoo during Girl Scouting events over the years and those always fit in one hand.  This did not!  It was bigger than a cat.  It was up on tiny toes, long tail, beady eyes and a hard shell.  This strands of hair.  Yikes.  It started to follow me and I didn't know how fast one could get going.  Lucky for me, it turned around and went to the neighbors yard.  I was starting to envision it was related to a rhino and could grow at rapid speeds to catch me!  I have been so disappointed all day long that I didn't have my camera.  The girls brought sketching things and I always encourage writers in my classroom to sketch to help tell stories.  We sat and sketched together.  Vacation is good.

Friday, March 22, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 22 of 31 Taking Care of Myself

Up early
Took day off from school
Flew to FL
Us 5
Drink more water
Start reading fun book
Try to play Subway Surfer
Eating healthy
Arrive at in-laws
Go to Pool
Read for fun
Doze off
Short 1.4 run
I'm not cooking dinner
Evening not planned
Taking care of myself
Us 5 plus 2

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 21 of 31 No more...

It's spring.  The second day of spring and in the Midwest mother nature is not agreeing.  My high school daughter walked outside only to return and announce it is snowing!  It's not a blizzard and it's not really sticking to the ground for any amount but there are snowflakes in the air.  I'm dressed for work and decided after today there will be -

No more.
No more tights.
No more down vest.
No more wool skirts.
No more winter best.

I hope when I return from the sunny south in a week mother nature supports my no more declarations.  This seems like a piece of writing I could return to easily and that's what we want writers in our classrooms to do.  Something to ponder.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 20 of 31 Changed the Routine

What a great day of learning we had in my kindergarten room!  I threw out the predictable daily routine.  I spent the day on a science project that connected learning with writing and math. We were exploring.  We were adjusting.  We were highly engaged and no one missed the normal workshop formats.  It reminded me the importance of connecting our learning with content areas.  It reminded me how important it is to spend time on things and I get to do it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 19 of 31 Kindergarten is 3/6, 1/2, 50% and not a double decker!

I am trying to work a little bit on progress reports this week so I can send student writing home and start the fourth quarter with a fresh start.  I was looking at our progress report and thought there are 6 areas here; reading, writing, math, science, social studies and health.  Health is not that big of an area but it makes the rest of my thinking sound really good.

Right now, I'm doing my best as we all do each day.  Right now, I'm feeling  I'm doing the best with 3/6 of the progress report; reading, writing, and math.  Then my math mind got thinking further.  3/6 equals 1/2.  My students attend 1/2 of the school year.  My students attend 50% of the time.  Then maybe it's okay and I should accept teaching 3/6 or 1/2 or 50% of the curriculum.  However, I'm not a really good person at being 3/6 or 1/2 or 50% at anything and it gets compounded because I get to feel this way with each class, double the trouble or twice as nice are phrases that come to my mind.  I'm also pondering, thinking and tweaking.  I don't think it's fair that state of Ohio counts kindergarten students as 1/2 or 50% of a student for funding.  I'm sure the census bureau counts them as full, living individuals.  Their parents count them as 1 whole child and their teachers and anyone who loves them counts them as 1 whole child.  Our new curriculum standards did not count these children as 1/2 a child either.  Yet, kindergarten teachers throughout our country are faced with a teaching situation that needs to be presented as a double decker or double feature format to meet expectations and grow children.  Some days we have to accept 3/6, 1/2, or 50% because pacing at a double feature or double decker pace isn't what is best for children.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 18 of 31 Looking ahead - coping with reality

Wet and rainy.
Rainy and wet.
The sky is gray - 
I just want it 
to go away.
We are packing for sun
and lots of fun.
But there is plenty 
for us to get done.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 17 of 31 Prom dress shopping has begun

I am blessed.  In the midst of being very overwhelmed in life this Sunday night I found a moment today when I was driving home from going prom dress shopping and thinking I am lucky to be here.  I just went prom dress shopping with my sweet 16 year old daughter.  We went to one store.  She tried on several.  We didn't find the perfect one.  We know she likes pinks or corals.  I'm betting more coral or seafoam green or maybe a light powder blue.  We know she likes sparkly beads and not sequins, right now.  For homecoming and winter formals, sequins won big.  We know she didn't like the feel of a halter top.  We know some deep plunging necklines just weren't going to pass the we can purchase stamp of approval and she easily accepted that.  We learned about a few other stores in the area to shop at when we return from spring break thanks to some friends with older girls, thanks ladies I hope you are catching this post.  When I was growing up and had the opportunity to go prom dress shopping I was blessed then too.  My mother's best friend took my shopping, my mother wasn't able to.  We would make a day of it because there was nothing in my small town that offered a prom dress.  We would drive to the a slightly bigger town over.  Our day would include dress shopping, lunch, and maybe a little other shopping on the quaint Main Street.  

When you grow up in a small town sometimes you have the opportunity to go to prom or a senior ball all four years.  This I did and they were all in our high school gymnasium.  The hosting class would decorate it the night before.  We could gather in small groups of friends as couples and go out for dinner before hand.  I never remember anything going on afterwards.  Photos before and flowers always made the night special. 

My first dress was ivory with lace trim and small dainty floral bouquets.  It had a high collar and short sleeves but long in length.  It's more of a cotton fabric and truth be known it's in my basement.  The next year I got a satin deep purple long dress with puffy sleeves and a curved or v-neck neckline. That too is in my basement.  Purple was my date's favorite color and yes it was the same date the first two years.  The next two years I had my dresses made and both were pink in color.  The first pink dress was t length and was suppose to be strapless but my step-mom didn't really like that idea or worried I wouldn't be comfortable so we made the ruffle off the shoulder arm bands.  Being a bit rebellious, I took my arms out of them and under the arm pits they went creating a strapless look.  My last prom dress, back then known as a senior ball was a mauve satin slip with a long sleeve, high collar, drop waist big ruffle, t length lace overlay.  My best friend had worn the same pattern the year before and didn't care that I had one made for me the next year.  These two dresses are also in my basement.  However, I don't think N will want to borrow any of them.  I think N and I will have to make a day of it when we return and I know we will find the perfect one, that is just right for her.  I am blessed and am happy I wrote about this today and not the junk that overwhelms me.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 16 of 31 Cookie Booth Lessons

My oldest became a Girl Scout in 2001 and every year since we buy lots of Girl Scout cookies.  When she started selling Girl Scout cookies I stopped buying them from students in my room.  I've been a Girl Scout leader since 2002 in come capacity and sometimes I help with two troops as I do now.  I go camping, I stay after teaching to help run meetings, I plan field trips and volunteer time to go with the girls to events but I have never helped girls at a cookie booth.  Usually other parents step up or we don't do one.  However, as the girls have gotten older, (my seventh grade girls) they prefer to sell at a booth rather than go door to door and ask friends.   We are a small troop and the girls wanted to do 3 cookie booths.  My mom who organizes cookies does so much work that I don't want to do so I thought I would help her out and help work a cookie booth.  

I don't think I will ever turn down a cookie booth group again in my life!  People were so kind today.  Of course, those who were interested and bought cookies.  The ones who had already bought a bunch and shared their Girl Scout support with us.  Even those who didn't want cookies were kind to say no thank you.    The girls worked hard.  They used their manners, they talked to strangers, they waited and were happy to have sales, they made change and learned a purpose for mental math, they discovered business can be slow and fast paced.  They were working together to be part of something they enjoy and have funds for future adventures.  I think the joy each sale brought them made their efforts worthwhile.  That little feeling of success is something all Girl Scouts should feel.  So what did I do today when I left my shift, bought a box of cookies.  My mistake was sending my daughter A to the car for money and she returned with $10.50 which equaled 3 boxes of cookies.  I couldn't say no, she was using her mental math!

Friday, March 15, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 15 of 31 Dottie is her nickname.

No more wallflower, no more love my bed and let me read, no more staying home is my favorite thing to do.  My middle daughter A has her first role in the middle school drama production this spring.  She is also playing seventh grade softball.  Her schedule after school is busy.  Two nights a week she is there for four hours.  After spring break her game schedule is three or two nights a week with drama practices increasing and full force to technical week with the production April 25th.  It's so fun watching her try things and blossom.  Don't worry she walks around with a Kindle Fire or book in her hand because as she proclaimed the other morning, "there are so many books, I'm afraid I might miss some."

Her softball coaches have given her the nickname of Dottie.  It came from the movie, A League of Their Own.  We spent this evening watching the movie and I am honored they picked this nickname for her and for knowing her a short time they really pegged her personality.  A has a kind and gentle soul.  She finds the positive in others and cheers everyone on.  She thinks of others.  She wants the best for others and often puts herself last.  She has some spunk and works hard.  Dottie is the perfect nickname for my girl.

I love sport movies where there are underdogs that come out on top.  I love when girls are given role models for doing things they like, enjoy, and want to; overcoming barriers.  The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a wonderful website of information.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 14 of 31 Listen to their Song and their Heart

I spent two hours tonight in a middle school cafeteria at the Tyler Run Idol.  My youngest B sang in the talent show this year.  It was her second year to participate.  I am so proud of her for standing up and singing in front of a few hundred people, all on her own.  It's inspiring to watch elementary students do all kinds of kid talent with courage and fun.  I think the real story is the back story that got us to being a talent show participant family.

Last year B brought home a sing up sheet for the school talent show.   I didn't really think we had a "talent" to share.  She likes lots of things.  She wanted to sing.  She sings every day.  She sings every car ride, at the top of her lungs.  She sings by herself.  I didn't want to come up with an outfit and organize practices.  I didn't want her to get up there and have it not go so well.  I threw the paper away.  She got upset with me when she didn't get a confirmation sheet for participating.  I admitted I threw it away.  She went to the office and got a new form.  Our so kind secretary helped her out with a new form.  B filled out the form, I think parent signature and all and turned it back in to our so kind secretary.  Days before we were signed up and I realized she was determined, there was no possibility of not showing.

We went to the talent show and I was still worried about her getting through her song.  I felt very nervous for her.  She sang by herself with confidence, courage, and strength.  I was so proud of her and again I am tonight for singing again on a stage in front of lots of  people.  Last summer we took some voice lessons, I'm going to look into that again.  She enjoys singing and I think singing fills her heart.  We've always tried to support their interest and find things that fill their hearts.  Singing fills this daughter's heart and I found out when I stopped to listen to her song.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SLO General Tips

Image found @ google images

In the state of Ohio teachers are learning about a new initiative SLO - Student Learning Objectives that will be required for teachers without standardized testing to show growth and report value added information.  My district hired an SLO consultant who is offering a hybrid class on this new process.  In an effort to be proactive and having to do this for two kindergarten classes, I wanted to have suggestions and guidance before this all begins in August.  We had our first session yesterday and I found it very helpful.  These are some general tips and information I gathered from our first meeting.

-SLO is job embedded work we must do.

-Each teacher will work on 2 SLO targets for the year.

-SLO are written for an August - April time frame.

 -It may be possible SLO will need to be adjusted during the year.

- The first year will have hiccups and adjustments along the way.

-You will want a checklist of things you need in each section.

-Front load pre-assessment with low, medium, and high questions.

-We will want to show growth throughout the school year not just a beginning and ending assessment.

SLICE 2013 - 13 of 31 Why do dogs?

I have wondered this for quite some time as I walk my dogs each day.  I don't necessarily remember our first yellow lab doing this but I imagine she did.  My chocolate English Lab does and so does my Golden Retriever.  The English Lab is a girl and the Golden Retriever is a boy which means both genders do it, in my family.  They also do it 100% of the time, that is consistently.  

I wonder why my dogs turn their back and face away from me when they have a bowel movement?  Seriously, you might think this is a weird question but I do wonder this sometimes when we walk and I would love to know if anyone knows the answer.  They don't do turn away from me when they urinate.  

I mentioned this to my fourth grader the other morning and she said, "Mom, it's their way of having some privacy!"  Do dogs need privacy?  My Golden Retriever, he likes his space and takes breaks from the family.  He is content being on his own.  My English Lab does not take breaks, she is always near people, always one step away from you, and really enjoys being in the mix of life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 12 of 31 Love my Honda, not my Gas Guage

My gas gauge surprises me quite often.
My gas gauge plays hide and seek.
My gas gauge is silent.

The gas gauge is located in the bottom, the very bottom right corner of my "gadget" board.  So, when I drive with two hands on the wheel my right hand blocks this corner of the screen.  For months, my light would come on and panic would rise because I had no idea how long the light had been on for.  I don't drive far and usually a tank of gas can last me two weeks.  It's not a weekly or semi-weekly event.  My Honda "gadget" board has a screen with various numbers I can view.  One of those numbers is range.  The range of miles I can go on the amount of gas I have.  Thankfully, I have learned or I trust someone is looking out for me because driving on a range of 0 seems to be habit sometimes for me.  I haven't had this happen for me for quite a while but it did tonight.  My range was at 6 miles and I could easily make it home and within 30 seconds which was not 3 miles of driving it dropped to a range of 3.  I'm pretty sure I drove 4 miles on a range of 0 miles of gas.  I was almost to the point of sweaty palms.  I had a lot of self talk or small selfish prayers going on.  I directly went to my favorite gas station where I could get $1.03 off every gallon.  Then I drove back up to the middle school to get my daughter.  I came home and did some research.  I have a 21 gallon tank and tonight my photo shows I was too close to a phone call for help.  

A prologue to my slice but the slice was far more interesting to start with.  Since 1990, Honda has been a part of my life.  The first car my husband bought after college was a blue Honda Accord.  In college my husband did an internship with a local bank and that turned into his first job out of college for a year.  The first job he did a search for was to work for Honda.  Honda brought us to Ohio.  Then, we bought a new car for me to drive and that was a teal green Honda Civic hatchback.  Then when our family started to grow he drove the hatchback and I got a champagne colored Honda station wagon.  What an improvement from the green wood panel station wagon I learned to drive on!  I think he went back to an Accord and eventually with baby three on the way we bought our first mini van.  Which I did not want and now I love!  We are now fortunate enough to drive company cars and our love with Honda continues and vehicles rotate on a cycle here.  He is currently driving a Civic and I drive a 2011 mini van.  This is the first complaint I've ever had about the design of or how a Honda functions.  It will be something I think about in my next Honda and that is what we do in life, learn from our experiences.

Monday, March 11, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 11 of 31 The number 531

The number 531 jumped out at me today.  Sounds like a random number, right?  It's not the number of students in my room.  It's not the the number of classroom pets.  It's not the number of toes we all have.  It's not the number of minutes left until Spring Break.

In the life of a kindergarten teacher teaching two classes filled with early and emerging readers, it's the number of books checked out of the book room right now?  Holy cats!  This number won't look like this tomorrow.  I returned a stack today and will collect another stack to return tomorrow.  Then parent volunteers can check those books in and the number might go down about 150 books.

It's that time of the year when everything we have talked about and learned about reading needs to come into play.  I'm right in the midst of turning around the books in their book boxes.  Gathering 8-10 titles at their independent reading level if they are using their reading strategies which we call our Good Reader's Tools.  Each child has four strategies on a laminated card in their book box to help foster independence.  I was doing a conference today with a friend when the friend sitting next to her caught my attention.  She was working through a new title with independence and my heart just radiated with joy.  I was worried a bit about this little friend and I worry no more.  For that small moment, that slice of my day I felt joy.  Sometimes it's watching from a far and not being directly engaged for us to experience the joy our teaching can bring.  I hope you had a moment of joy today or find one tomorrow and share with us your story.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 10 of 31 A Right Now Slice,

Right now, at this moment my slice of life is enjoying one of my favorite ice cream combinations.  A just right banana sliced into circles with scoops of vanilla ice cream on top.  The bananas and ice cream are drizzled with cold chocolate sauce.  Peanuts top this creation off.  

I feel like I have the whole nutritional needs thing going on; fruit, dairy, protein and this is about the only time I really do like chocolate which certain members in my family and site lots of reasons that is good for you.

Ice cream is my one food/treat that I completely enjoy.  I believe you can never have too much ice cream.  When I was growing up going to the local ice cream store was a treat, a once in a while adventure.  Our local ice cream shop had a drive through window, it's the perfect idea!  I often got black raspberry.  I also would get a flavor called Mexican Sundae which is a spin off from  my ice cream tonight - vanilla base with chocolate syrup and peanuts tossed and mixed in.  When I could get a job during high school, I worked at this little ice cream shop and scooped ice cream through high school and college.  I never got tired of ice cream.  I never got sick of ice cream.  I still loved ice cream!  Everyone is happy when they come to get ice cream.  Have you ever been grumpy at an ice cream store?  When I travel I always look for ice cream stores. 

I have favorites at our local ice cream stores.  If I'm at Graeter's I like coffee ice cream even though I don't drink coffee.  It reminds me of the ice cream my dad would make that I wrote about earlier.  I'm not a fan of the chocolate chunk flavors at Graeter's.  At Handle's I like Spouse Like a House ice cream.  At Culver's I like a vanilla concrete mixer with fresh banana and Heath bar.  At Jeni's my favorite right now is Rainbow Yogurt but this one changes because she changes things up so often.  I like to share books with my friends and readers but we could also talk a lot about ice cream, if you want.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 9 of 31 I ran my first 5k!

You can set goals.  You can work on goals.  Goals aren't accomplished unless you finish them.  Today I finished a goal I started in the spring of 2008.  Yes, if you do the math that was 5 years ago.  An awful long time to work on a goal.  My work was inconsistent.  My work was on and off.  My goal was met but not in the final form.  Final form was very public and going public means taking risks.  Risk, that's a funny word and one I'm willing to take if I know I am almost super positive I can do what might be at risk.  Then there is a point in your life when you have to say show up or be quiet.

Today I ran my first official 5k run.  I ran the Pi Day 5k, sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Collaborative.  The funds from today's run support the learning of math and science education.  Running for education seemed like a great reason to "saddle" up.  It's a smaller size run with the event drawing about 350 runners/walkers in each of it's three years of existence.  The course was held at North Bank Park which is along the stretch of the river in downtown Columbus.  It was a pretty course, I love the water.  The course was an out and back course so I could visualize how much further a bit easier on the return stretch.  The course was 3.14 miles the first three numbers of Pi.

It was a lot of fun!  I went on my own.  I arranged my day around attending for months but I didn't register until I showed up this morning.  I told no one I was going, not even my family really.  I told my middle daughter last night she was going to have to watch her sister in the morning.  This may seem odd, I didn't tell my husband.  He runs every Saturday morning with his training for a half marathon group.  He ran 9 miles today.  I didn't want hype, fan fare, or pressure.  I like to run on my own and that is just what I did.

The experience was great.  I dressed warm, I don't like to be cold.  I sported a pair of leggings and a running skirt which covered my bottom and looked a bit sporty.  Starting a run is a bit tricky.  Navigating different paces, figuring out you can pass people in the grass to find your own pace and there was a lot of bodies near mine.  For someone who runs alone my personal pace was tight.  I could pass people!  That was a bit invigorating.  No one I  passed, passed me later.  I ran the whole race and finished feeling good.  I could of gone further, for a bit.  At the finish I was passing a lady on my right when I saw someone coming up on my left, I didn't let her pass me.  I think the photographer captured my smile and wave as I finished.  

My time was 3.14 miles in 30:58 seconds!

My youngest suggested four more this year since it took me so long to do.  I think my Central Ohio Bloggers should join me next year either walking or running to support math and science learning.  I know a great breakfast place afterwards!

Friday, March 8, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 8 of 31 Playing with Poetry

Playing with Poetry

Four furry feet
Times two
Eight furry feet
a steady beat
Under the moon.

Playing with Poetry, again.

The crescent moon
is all aglow
The stars
are twinkling bright
The cool crisp air
is chilly to my cheeks
As I start my day
just right.

I went to bed a bit earlier last night, not much but it's a start in the right direction which made getting up earlier easier to enjoy my morning walk with my two furry friends.  I thought what could I slice early in my day and wondered if I could write some poetry.  I decided maybe I didn't need a great polished poem on the first try and decided I was just playing around with poetry.  Isn't that what we ask our students to do?  I imagine these snippets belong in a writer's notebook so they can percolate.

Poetry Friday is hosted by  Heidi at my juicy little universe.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 7 of 31 Happy Dental Day.

What a happy day!  

Six years ago my oldest and I found out she was missing an adult tooth.  I thought no big deal, I actually still had a baby tooth and still have it today.  My baby tooth is a molar and my grandmother had the same molar missing.  Missing teeth are passed down through genetics.  My oldest however wasn't so lucky to have a molar missing.  She is missing a front tooth and her dental journey has been a long one.  Our last big adventure was bone grafting a year and three months ago which was to lead to a dental implant surgery six months later.  Only that has been postponed for almost a year because her x-rays were showing her face was still growing.  We just got the go ahead two weeks ago for an implant surgery and today we had our consultation.  She is ready and eager with this next phase.  

Eager enough to ask if we could do it next week during an adjusted school schedule for Ohio Graduation Testing which puts most of the school on a half day schedule each day.  Her classes will be 18 minutes long.  Who thinks you can get anything done in 18 minutes?  This is our third year of this and I think there must be a better plan.  I teach elementary school and there is no way we would keep those not testing at home and miss instruction.  So, it seems like a good week to miss two days of school.  Our periodontal specialist also teaches at a local university and they are on spring break next week.  If he doesn't have to be at the university, then he will take that time and do our implant surgery.  If not, it is scheduled for April 19th on a Friday so she has the weekend to recover.  I'm so glad she can get going with this next phase.  It means a day of taking care of her.  Ice on and off every 20 minutes for the first 12 - 24 hours.  It might mean cooking special foods and maintaining her medicine schedule.  It means weeks and months of reminders about how to eat and what not to eat.  I will be needed and she will appreciate my care.  I'm sorry she has to endure this whole journey but know it's teaching her a lot of life lessons.  

Side note, my middle daughter is missing an adult tooth and it's the same one as my grandmother and I.  My youngest just found out she has all her teeth and the oldest doesn't see how any of this information is fair at all.  Like I said above, life lessons are being learned.  Life isn't fair and we do what we have to do to keep going with grace and bravery.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 6 of 31 Learning at Home.

My snow day was beautiful!  I loved taking the time to just be with my girls. I thought this morning about all the learning we would do today just by nature.  I often tell parents it's the little things in short burst of time that can have the greatest impact in learning.  It makes me sad when parents seem frustrated the kids are home or eager for them to return to school.  

My youngest and I were talking about fractions as we made donuts for breakfast with strawberry smoothies.  We used geometry to play the game Blokus and our work knowledge as we played Boggle.  My oldest was reading informational text and thinking about math as she and a special friend made homemade waffles for a late breakfast.  The funniest part was watching her trying to crack eggs gently so the yolk would not get in the egg whites that needed to be stiffened.  We observed various birds at our backyard feeders.  A great collection of finches, cardinals, and even some kind of hawk.  We discovered the best packing snow fell last night and the girls were able to roll the biggest snowman base it couldn't roll anymore and he/she never got finished.  After that they went for the smallest balls for easy tossing.  We fed the birds and squirrels in hopes of fostering more observations.  We used our taste buds to savor banana bread and hot chocolate. (notice how much banana bread is left, I should of photographed the last piece)  We learned a bit about spring cleaning bathrooms and how pleasant teamwork can be.  My two youngest led the way following directions for homemade pretzels.  We ate them while we had reading time.  Then we had to watch the Wizard of Oz movie, one of my childhood favorites to gather background knowledge for a new movie coming out this weekend, Oz the Great and Powerful.  There is always things to do and work to be done but today it was about us.  At one point, I sat on the couch and had a feeling of summer when things are a slower pace. Thank goodness spring break is getting closer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SLICE 2013 - 5 of 31 Anticipation

According to dictionary.com

the act of anticipating or the state of being anticipated.
realization in advance; foretaste.
expectation or hope.
previous notion; slight previous impression.
intuition, foreknowledge, or prescience.

When I opened my garage this morning I captured the image below right away.  I thought beautiful.  A bit of spring is sprouting and looks great against the smidge of fallen snow.  I started anticipating spring this past weekend and started dreaming of warmer temperatures.  However, when I looked again at the cluster of daffodils trying to sprout amongst the fluffy smidge of snow I realized I could easily sway my anticipation back to winter for an approaching snow storm.  I could anticipate a snow day with my girls.  I do believe snow days are a gift of time.  I have some bananas ready for banana bread, a snow day tradition for us.  The time it takes to bake is the perfect amount of time to go outside and play or shovel the driveway.  Topping that off with hot chocolate and time together.  If the weather is bad enough for a snow day I always anticipate the roads are too dangerous to travel on and we are home for the day.  Even if I know growing up I drove in far worst conditions in Buffalo, NY.  

Anticipating can be a funny thing.  We anticipate what we don't know.  We anticipate what we hope for.  We anticipate what we do know or plans we have.  We anticipate the positive and unfortunately the negative.  Sometimes I think anticipating the negative helps us prepare.  However, anticipating is not a plan or an event and we have to be ready to roll with whatever comes our way.  I'm not a gambler at all but I'm anticipating a 50/50 chance I will be home tomorrow or at school teaching with my all my heart and energy, just trying to do my best for that moment in time.