Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slice of Life - Take Care of Yourself

I've been trying to plan this slice all day and wanted to write about something else but this is what my mind is preoccupied with.  My dear friend entered my life three years ago and has made me a better person.  She transferred to our building and was the new teacher at the end of the hallway, teaching first grade.  

I don't know what brought us together but eventually passing in the hallway we started up small talk and it quickly grew to lots of talk - personally and professionally.  She was planning her wedding and so kindly asked if she could invite me but didn't want to make me feel awkward because we were new friends.  During our short time together, our friendship grew and we talked daily.  We would try to squeeze in lunch together during our busy days, where we would try to solve all things education or plot another professional book to read, or our list of technology we would learn and work through together.  I've never really worked with anyone who reads as much as I do and anytime I would ask, have you read - she probably had.  

This year we each moved classrooms and she was my neighbor, I thought I had struck gold!  Each day we would chat about teaching and life.  She would also offer such sound advice and guidance.  I could text her at 11pm and know she would answer and have a thought about my newest ramblings and ideas for second grade.  We shared a common philosophy about many things.

She had been working a lot lately, it seemed a bit more than usual.  She came to work last week two days because we have a sub shortage and no one picked up her jobs.  Luckily, one staff member could cover at the end of the day and it got her to the doctor to find out she had flu B.  On Friday, she came in to set up her class with other first grade teachers to go home and rest.  Today I learned, her cold got worst, she went to the ER yesterday and passed away shortly after with an infection that developed with the cold/fluB.

Friends, please take care of yourself.  School can wait.  Papers can wait.  Students can wait.  My friend was resting and taking care of herself but I wonder if she had started earlier would she have been strong enough to fight this horrible infection and prevented such sadness we are all feeling who knew and loved her.



Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.  I've enjoyed writing and sharing stories with you all.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Slice of Life - Highlight or Crazy Idea


A full day of fun
Highlight
Or 
Crazy idea
After 29 years

I
Rode
A
Junior
Roller coaster!


Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Slice of Life - Embrace Again?

I didn't expect embrace, my one little word from last year to surface this year at all.  It was a great fit last year as I embraced all three girls making school building changes, my oldest graduating and going to college and myself changing grade levels.  I guess I thought once we worked out the kinks of having her go to college everything would be smooth sailing.  Nothing in life is smooth sailing, who was I kidding.  

Embrace is very present with me the first few days of spring break.  Our oldest couldn't join us her classes are in session this week.  My middle daughter is nearby but on a trip with her softball team - playing games and team bonding for the upcoming season.  I bet you've caught on, my youngest is our only child with us right now and we are embracing that and learning how to be just 3.  It feels very odd and strange to just be 3 and I want to share with the others what we are doing but not too much to make them feel bad they aren't with us.  However,  I have to admit for the first time in 12 years is kind of fun to focus on her for a long stretch of time.  Since she was born her life and many travels have been to support her older sisters.  It was fun to watch her explore and experience a few things today for the first time.  

Embrace - for 3.5 days and then it will probably switch to adjust when we are just 4 again and then joy because for Easter it will be back to 5.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Slice of Life - Wordless Almost

                                        

Sometimes a change in pace and a new view is just what you need. 






Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.
                   

Friday, March 27, 2015

Slice of Life - Spring Break Prep

Morning Meeting
Honor and Recognize
Last day 
Before
Spring Break

Each student
Shares
Spring Break Plans
Teach Vocabulary
Stay-cation

Reading Workshop
Generate Excitement
Create 
TBR Piles

Spring.  Clean.  Room.
Organize tubs
Wash tables
De-clutter

Generate Excitement
Do Science
Make it Rain Inside
Sketch Watercycle

They will 
Return
In a Week



Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge. 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slice of Life - Tech difficulties




Tonight I just sat down to slice and the lights went out.  No power, slice by flashlight and using my phone.  It's ironic in a way because early as I was packing I decided I might not fit it in and maybe that was ok.  However, I've sliced every day so I need to keep going was the self talk in my mind.  Today had some personal bumps and maybe the power going out is a sign to shut down for the day.  I will take this sign and ponder it while I finish up a few more things that go along with my packing list.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Slice of Life - Dog Sitter Tips

                     
 



I had technical difficulties with my internet tonight so I typed this in word, took a photo, and uploaded it from my phone to keep going with my slicing!  Thank goodness for other ways to get my writing in public.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge. 







Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slice of Life - going through books like...



"Last summer, I was going through books like chocolate!"  

This is from Sinead a former student of mine and the highlight of the softball carpool drive home tonight.  Sinead is now a freshman in high school and isn't reading anything for fun and not required from school.  So sad, but my daughter listened to what she likes to read and has a book for her to take on the softball trip.   Of course, I told her she had to have a one book reading goal for break and I will be checking in on her.  Small goals are good.  It's my hope if she reads one book, she will remember reading is fun when you can choose what you want and/or get recommendations from friends.  I'm going to check in on Sinead this summer and hope she has a box of chocolates with her book.  Maybe that could be a present from me to her, an even better idea.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Slice of Life - Back up the Bus for Word Study

My students have been cruising along with our word study learning this year until tonight.  I've decided to hit the brakes even though I already put the wheels in motion for Unit 12.  See I got a little confident and didn't take the time to look at our post assessments for Unit 11 before I hit the gas pedal and began Unit 12.  

Lucky for me, I'm paying attention to the traffic lights and seeing too many yellow and red stop lights.  While I see green in certain areas, we are able to identify multiple ways to record different sounds and learned how to spell trick words, words that are tricky to spell and may not follow a typical word pattern or rule.  We need to practice more to identify different types of syllables and choosing to use ee or ea when spelling new words.  Sometimes when the first user manual doesn't answer your questions you have to turn to another resource.  Lucky for me, Word Journeys by Gansky and Words Their Way by Bears are waiting for me upstairs.  

I do need to explain to parents tomorrow that I'm not proceeding with Unit 12 this week and reviewing/relearning concepts from Unit 11 this week.  They will need to hang on to their helpful tip sheet until after Spring Break.  I'm also glad I'm taking a step back because that is what is good for students.  It's not good to keep going forward and ignoring the traffic lights even if the company says I must drive a certain make and model.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Slice of Life - Big Project on Hold

I've been thinking about really launching some digital literacy work in my classroom.  I thought about doing it last week with standardized testing but didn't think I could juggle trying to finish up work in progress and getting into the computer lab several days in a row.  Then I thought about it launching it this week but realized this might not be the best idea I've had with spring break approaching.  We are going to be excited about this very important work and I'd love for them to using it over spring break.  This important and exciting work will require me to do more work behind the scenes.  

However, I'm going to be selfish and not launch our work this week because I've decided that spring break this year will be school free.  I'm not going to read a professional book.  I'm not going to read anything in children's literature.  I'm not going to work with apps or technology in any way related to school.  Ok, learning how to use some apps on personal topics might lead to something later in my classroom but my initial learning of these apps will be personal.  

I've made these decisions far in advance and I keep talking to myself about them because they are the opposite of what I do most breaks from school.  I'm really good about shutting down from school during the summer and being with the girls for a bit of time.  However, all other times of the year I am usually in full school mode and this year in general while working really hard at a new/returning to grade level I am trying to find balance and myself within a lot of school work.  I want to model to my girls that you can and should be able to walk away from school/work and still be true to yourself.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Slice of Life - Incomplete Flickers

Today I returned to The Ohio State University and Ramseyer Hall for a meeting.  I found myself wanting to wander and explore.  I did for a few minutes after the meeting I was attending but had to dash out to get to a softball game.  

I found myself wanting to remember.  Remember the rooms I took classes in.  Remember the people my path crossed with.  Remember the familiarity of collegiate life.  I was married and beginning my teaching career when I got my masters so I would dash to campus for class and go home but I loved doing just that.  I loved learning more on how to be a teacher.  I loved learning more about reading, language and literacy learning.  I loved tutoring in the reading clinic.  

While I was there, I never had the opportunity to take a class from Gay Su Pinnell but I did meet Andrea McCarrier when interactive writing was still in the developing, action research, going public phases.  To this day, I love interactive writing.  

I hope to during my two weeks this summer on campus I can explore Ramseyer and Arps Hall a bit more and maybe recall a story or two from my time on campus 18 years ago.  Moments like this remind me I need to create a writing habit about daily life because stories get lost over time and then we are left with little incomplete flickers.


Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Slice of Life - Back on Track

There was laughter and smiles and conversation.  The room was a buzz with engagement.  The conversation was all about numbers.  They were playing a game called, Anything but Ten!  Using a hundreds board and a pair of dice, my students were trying to get to a counter to 100 but if you roll the sum of 10 then your counter is sent back to 0.  Cheers or groans or giggles were the typical response every time someone rolled a 0.  I felt the voice volume was getting a bit loud and then I realized this is what a classroom should sound like, not the quiet stillness of standardized testing.  I can't wait to hear more cheers or groans or giggles all next week.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slice of Life - Tired

Today's reality is I'm tired.
I've written this post and dozed off.
I reread what I wrote and didn't like it.
I revised it.
I deleted it and now I'm moving on so I can get to bed.
Lesson learned, try to write earlier in the day.
Lesson learned, it's okay.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Slice of Life - Lucky

Today,

I set pencils 
next to my shamrock plant
I got yesterday. 

I just smiled.
  
It reminded me 
how lucky I am. 

I am lucky 
to be working 
with a great group of students. 

I am lucky 
to be able to guide them 
with their first standardized testing experience. 

I am lucky 
to spend each day 
with them 
because they just make me smile. 

They were lucky
because 
I saw a need to get outside and move
making it a 
3 recess day!



Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slice of Life - I can, I can't, WAIT!

How can I make this better?  I can read the directions slowly.  I can provide brand new #2 pencils - sharpened and ready to go.  I can arrange their seats so they can won't be distracted by their near and dear friends or their distractible buddy.  I can arrange their book boxes as barriers to prevent wandering eyes.  Every time I read the words close your books, I can offer two exercises to the count of twenty-five each to get them moving and their brains stimulated.  I can follow the directions and provide the full allotted time in hopes my students will recheck their work.

The reality is I can't make it better.  I can't take away the stares they are giving me while they wait for the time to pass while others finish and the clock moves slowly.  I can't tell them what words mean when they say they don't know them.  I can't tell them directly the answers to their questions, I can only reread the directions.  I have to discourage turning the page when there is a stop sign.  I have to be direct and tell them they can't get up out of their seat.  I have to discourage doodling on the page.  

Wait!  Part way through my morning I decided I can embrace and celebrate their new learning and experience with standardized testing.  I can share with them one way I like to celebrate and it almost always involves, ICE CREAM!  Yes, I think on Friday morning right before lunch we will make your own sundaes.  Each day will get easier.  Each day the testing time is shorter than the one the day before.  Today was the LOOOONNNNNGGGGG one!  I can't wait, they will be so surprised!

PS - you might be asking why right before lunch and in the morning?  Any time of day is good for ice cream but the reality is I will be out in the afternoon on another personal day adventure with my college girl on spring break and I don't want to miss a reason to eat ice cream.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.




Monday, March 16, 2015

Slice of Life - What was Best?

I'm very grateful to be able to take three personal days a year.  I typically take them to go on a field trip with the one of the girls but now they are getting older and field trips don't really happen anymore.  Today I took a personal day to spend a day with my college daughter home on spring break and since it was a personal day I'm going to keep the particulars personal.  What I can share is the sun was shining all day.  It was the warmest day of the year so far.  We were enjoying things we or she likes to do all day  and when I asked her what her favorite thing about today was, "scrambled eggs for breakfast."  

This completely caught me off guard and made me stop and think, simple things are the best and while I will treasure this whole day, I hope I have many more days to make her scrambled eggs.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Slice of Life - An Important Message

Movies can have important messages and the new Cinderella version surprised me tonight with one.  Cinderella's mother asks her to alway have courage and show kindness to others.  The message was repeated throughout the movie at just the right moment and not repeated too much.  I'm still pondering over this idea.  Is this all we need to live day to day?  Each day takes courage no matter what our schedules looks like.  It takes courage to try.  It takes courage to go.  It takes courage to stay.  It takes courage to repeat.  I'm thinking showing kindness to others can be helpful and simple and I want to remember showing kindness can be small acts. 

I think I'm going to remember courage and showing kindness this week in my classroom.  I know my students will be showing courage as they take their first standardized test and might require a little bit more kindness from me.  May you have courage and show kindness this week too.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slice of Life - Taking Care of Me

Teaching is demanding and requires work beyond our days but today I decided to take care of me.  I walked the dogs in the pouring rain because it felt like spring.  I made my oldest scrambled eggs because she's afraid to eat them on campus and seeing her smile makes me smile.  I cleaned the floors with my new vacuum and was happy to have a cleaning job done early.  I took my first yoga class at the Y.  Celebrated my youngest earning an Exceptional Eagle award by honoring her Planet Smoothie free card.  I took a sewing class with my middle daughter and planned more sewing projects.  The sun was shining so I took my running outside.  Walked to grab dinner with my husband while the girls got their bikes out.  Then I decided we could do some power shopping at the mall for an hour to find shorts for Florida.  Here's to health, creativity, and relationships that will guide my planning and teaching this week.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Slice of Life - A Quiet Haiku



It's quiet here right now.  
There's something about the quiet.  
Calming and soothing.




I sat down to write something different and the silence of my house jumped out at me and soon I had a little Haiku.  It's rare for a house of 5 to be quiet.  It's rare for a classroom of 21 to be quiet and I don't think either should be quiet for very long.  However, there is something to savor about quiet.  Quiet helps me think.  Quiet helps me rest.  Quiet encourages renewal.  I often wonder if I savor quiet and stillness because I am with lots of people most of my day.  Teaching is a demanding profession and yet what quiet does for me is essential to keep me going.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Slice of Life - She Believes

Energy.
Excitement.
Uncertainty.
Unsure.
Conversations.
Guiding.
Probing.
Suggesting.
Trust.
Faith.




My friend has invited me to participate in a writing project this summer and I am honored.  While we met tonight over some unsweetened ice tea she kept smiling, and I babbled and my hands started moving while talking which is a sign there is a lot going on in my brain.  She kept calmly pointing out a pattern will emerge and you will have an idea or two from there.  The writing ahead of me will require lots of writing about a journey and capturing observations and thinking in my head.  I'm excited to live more of a writerly life and for now, just knowing my friend believes in me gives me the courage to try a bigger project than usual.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Slice of Life - Uncovering the Real Issue

I wrote a post yesterday titled Sprinting to the Bus and you might want to catch it to understand today's writing.  

Last night Lindsey Taylor left me this comment, "I didn't get many new students mid year.  But I did once.  And boy was it a struggle.  For both of us. My other students had known me for years.  They KNEW me knew me.  He did not.  I knew my students.  I did not know him."  

I read this three times and thought this is it.  This is something I hadn't thought about.  My worries are really about not knowing him.  I was trying to get to know him through some assessments.  I've gotten to know his academics a bit.  There is some worry and there is some goodness.  However, these assessments don't tell me about him as a person and they certainly DON'T tell him about  me.  I did ask a few general questions - he likes sports and has two older brothers.  Again, I don't know what he knows about me.  So you can bet tomorrow we are going to work together and I'm going to find out about him and share my answers to let him learn about me.

1.  What is your favorite food?
2.  What is your favorite ice cream?
3.  When you aren't at school what do you like to do?
4.  Do you have a favorite spot to read?
5.  What is your favorite color?
6.  Do you have any pets?
7.  Do you collect anything?
8.  What do you want to learn about?

I might even take the time to read one of my favorite books, The First Henry and Mudge.  Maybe this will help me slow down and instead of sprinting to the bus we will visit about life and build a relationship.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Slice of Life - Sprinting to the Bus

I have a new student that started last week.  

He's been with me for a week and two days and I'm realizing how hard it is to join a classroom community three quarters of the way through the school year.  It's not this hard for kindergarten students, they roll with life better.  I'm learning it's harder for second graders.  I'm realizing even though he moved from around the corner life is different.  I think if we asked him he would be honest and say very different.  The social climate is different because he's starting over making friends.  The academic climate is different and he has shared it is harder.  The daily schedule is different.  The guidelines/rules are different.

We've had assessments as a class and he has tried his best.  Bless him.  I've given him some assessments one on one to know him as a learner all while trying to let him adjust.  That can be hard to do sometimes.  I'm realizing while we are in full swing of second grade, he isn't.  He needs time to observe people and his environment.  He needs time to learn new routines.  He needs time to learn things we do that his old class didn't do.  He needs time to make friends.   He needs time to try without judgement.

If I can slow down, then maybe he won't be sprinting to the bus each night to go home.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Slice of Life - Cherishing 3 Minutes of My Day


As I walked around our meeting space glancing at individual white boards today, I saw comparison bar models galore.  I just smiled and felt my heart warm.  It wasn't always this way.  We had a lot of learning to do together to understand how these were a tool we could use to make sense of a math problem.  Today for a few minutes, I saw that journey pay off and be successful for each student in my room.  Not only did they have success individually, we've had success together.  Adjusting and taking the time to work through some difficult stretches has paid off.  This is truly a 3 minute slice of my day and that needs to cherished for many hours. 

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing       this writing challenge.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Slice of Life - This is Reality

It is Sunday night and my slice is reflecting on reality - 

I left work on Friday with great plans to get ahead this weekend.  I had two sick daughters at the end of the week with one home a day and a half with  my husband and the other one didn't make it softball practice which means really not feeling well.  We needed some family rest time Friday night and watched a new movie to all together.  

Saturday we had a good day, but a full day of little out and about adventures together and apart in smaller groups.

Sunday my youngest woke up like an eager beaver and wanted to spring clean her room.  Who can say no to motivation for a date with Murphy's Oil Soap, purging, rearranging, and a fresh start to welcome spring.  She studied a bit.  We took a trip to Target and got her a writer's notebook to join this Slice of Life writing challenge and wrote together in notebooks before bed.  Snack tonight was homemade ice cream with thin mint cookies.  Life is good.

Reality about school - I have tomorrow sketched out, not a week but enough to start my week.  I'm feeling really content with the time we spent together this weekend at home and the things we did focusing on being together.  Sometimes a balance tips to one side more than the other and tonight I'm thinking an uneven balance is more reality than an even balance.  Today I accept this is okay.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Slice of Life - Backpack Ramblings!

Heave - ho.
Never slung over one shoulder.
Always slung over two shoulders.
Sometimes she wibble wobbles navigating out the door.

Why does her backpack weigh 17.6 pounds?
That is equivalent to a gallon of milk.

Her locker is out of the way 
in an add-on section 
they made 
when the building got full.

She likes to be prepared.

She's afraid to stop at her locker 
at the end of the day 
and miss the bus.

She has a few heavy textbooks.
Online information 
for textbooks 
wasn't provided.

We need to invest 
in a sturdier,
designed for weight 
backpack.  

We need to advocate 
for healthier backpacks.

What would a heathlier 
backpack look like?
Less homework.
No physical textbooks.
An apple or two.
Notebooks instead of binders.
Empty space.
Possibly technology of sorts.

Anything to lighten my girl's load!

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.




Friday, March 6, 2015

Slice of Life - Dull is Good

I don't know when but somewhere along my teaching journey I've learned to dislike, avoid, and find the pencil sharpener annoying.  It's loud.  It disrupts my thinking.  It turns the quiet into swarm of buzzing bees.  At the end of the day today, I decided to take some moments to myself and work off a long week, parent teacher conferences, and indoor recess teacher exhaustion.  I cleaned my table tops and noticed the pencils needed sharpening.  They always need sharpening because I dislike, avoid, and find the pencil sharpener annoying.  However, I realized to have the tables ready for Monday the pencils needed sharpening.  As I stood sharpening the yellow sticks, I kept thinking about finding the good and then it came to me.  Dull pencils are a sign of lots of writing.  Sharp pencils make writing neater and thinking sharper in appearance.  Sharp pencils might be worth carefully orchestrating that swarm of buzzing bees.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Slice of Life - Go. Meander. Stop.



Beginning.  Middle.  End.
Go.  Meander.  Stop.
Start.  Do.  Finish.
First.  Together.  Last.




Today was all of these phrases at once.  It was the first day in at least two weeks where life felt normal.  There wasn't a late start or cold day or even a snow day.  There were no flipped flopped schedules with fourth grade to accommodate their PARCC testing.  There wasn't a guest teacher while I proctored a PARCC test for a small group.  There were no class pictures or book fairs to attend.  

Normal feels like arrival, morning meeting, math workshop, reading workshop, writing workshop, word study, recess, lunch, flex time, special, recess, project work, pack up and go home.  I turned around at one point today and noticed F our organizer arranging our schedule cards and I just had to smile.  Normal looks good and feels good.  Normal is calming, relaxing, and soothing.  Normal brings more opportunities for learning and growing together.  Normal makes us happy.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slice of Life - After 18 years...

Today, being a parent and teacher were all in alignment.  Today, for the first time in 18 years it was comfortable to be a parent/teacher at my own child's parent teacher conference.  Today, I spoke with unguarded honesty and puzzles were solved.  

We walk in to the conference and greet Mr. S with warm hellos and I hope you don't mind I brought A along, she has practice in a bit.  Mr. S starts with celebrations and good news. He honestly says, "I don't know what to say about this test.  I was just looking at her grades online and she has a 98 in algebra, it can't be the math." However, the data on this test says it is the math, all three of us know it.  The science portion of the test is an A and the minus 9 points on the math portion presents an F.  

He then begins to point out she is setting up the equations correctly and I started probing without realizing I was; trying to find out where the breakdown was.  I toss out it's about the application of the math in a new situation, a few times.  He starts working through a problem and says it's an algebraic equation and she sets it up right but we discover it's not just a straight forward solution.  They are being asked to solve for a different variable within the equation which requires balancing out sides and solving for velocity instead of mass, etc.  She has practiced it in class but it's still fuzzy obviously.  

I ask A if she is doing algebra like this in math class and she says no, it's all straight forward equation work.  I ask should the math teacher help her with this and her science teacher says he can.  He's available two nights after school and she could stop by before practice to solve a couple of problems with him.  

I work really hard to be respectful and nonjudgemental at parent teacher conferences when I am the parent.  Probably to the point where I'm walking on egg shells because I don't want to sound like a teacher, I want to sound like a mom.  Maybe it's okay to sound like a teacher once in a while.  I think today was easy because the lens was to find out where the breakdown is for a very smart girl so she can be more successful.  I have to thank A for being brave today because she didn't want to go to the conference at all, she actually started us down the wrong hallway to be funny but I caught on.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Slice of Life - It's Okay to Throw Papers Out

Sitting at my kitchen island, looking at formative assessments and classwork for measurement during math workshop I get to the bottom of my "finished" box of papers and discovered two pre-assessments I did a couple of weeks ago on measurement.  I sit here and stare at them once again.  I'm not happy with the pre-assessment.  I took it from our district math resource.  I went a different path with another resource and began the unit on understanding why we use measurement tools and how to pick the right one to use.  I also started with centimeters and not the standard form of measurement.

All these thoughts ramble through  my mind and then I remember one of my wise mentors from my first year of teaching and Frank said something like this, "we all get behind.  If you haven't looked at the papers in a reasonable amount of time, then throw them away.  No one will ever know or remember, if it's been that long."  

Until you announce it while writing a Slice of Life post - I recycled those papers because plans change, needs change, and each day I try my best for that day.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Slice of Life - What is childhood about?

I had returned to my room from being out in the morning and was trying to get things back on track and welcome our new student while getting math workshop going.  My mind was racing a bit when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  My empty pocket chart wasn't empty.  I have intentions to use it for a math word wall but haven't quite gotten that going BUT there were two white sheets of paper on it?!  I think this is interesting, I didn't put anything up for the students.  I navigate myself closer to take a look and discover - their indoor recess play.  They are a creative group of students always engaged in stores, reading conferences, playing school, and now this.  I needed that moment to stop and smile and remember what childhood is about.
                                                



 

         Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Slice of Life - 10 Things Right Now

Sundays begin a new week.  The first begins a new month and often both events encourage a little reflection.  I first heard of this idea for writing from Ali Edwards and love how this makes me focus on the moment right now.

1.  I'm so excited to captured snippets of my classroom/professional life this month here and I woke up this morning considering a notebook, paper and pencil for maybe a personal month of slicing.

2.  I'm making a list of things I need to get ready for a new student who is starting tomorrow.  I want him to feel welcomed and not overwhelmed or left out.  It's amazing all the little things that get done earlier in the year to make a classroom function.

3.  I need to take some pet supplies I ordered to school tomorrow.  The turtle needed a new heat lamp and bulb.  The fish needed new filters and I got things to set up a fire belly toad habitat.  I've never had fire belly toads and I'm feeling a bit nervous but they are so cute!

4.  I need to be more consistent with my documentation of our work together and I have some thinking to make that happen.

5.  I spent last week having special reading meetings with my students.  It's been a while since I've taught second grade and I wanted to do two things.  I wanted to make sure my students were on target for district benchmarks.  I wanted to confirm with evidence my students were growing and my teaching was working.  Ok, I had three reasons; I wanted to use current data to help me plan.

6.  I need to collect my piles of books I ordered and purchased in the last couple of weeks for the room.  It was a bit dangerous having delays or snow/cold days off.  

7.  It's been excited to plan and carryout science experiments with my students and I can't wait to plan more tonight.  Their excitement generates more for me.  It's easy to forget how discovering and uncovering learning for the first time can be.

8.  I am very grateful for friends in another building who were so kind to electronically share with me their air and weather activities.  It really got my brain going and jumpstarted our learning.

9.  It's overwhelming making a grade level change but I love it!  So with this love and feeling that my whole self is grounded personally and professionally I remind myself take each day at a time, take notes for next year and breathe.

10.  Making time for short transitional book read alouds has been very important!  Our reading workshop is in a flurry.  Students are reading easier text and excited about finishing more books.  Students are reading books they might have missed because sometimes reading thicker is perceived as better.  Students are getting to know characters better because they are reading more about them.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.