Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Humor is the Best! {Slice of Life}

"Let me get some popcorn and watch this go down!"

I can't remember the details.  I wish I had written it down sooner.  I was talking with my youngest daughter trying to navigate something.  It was in the morning, after swim team practice and she didn't like my idea.  I think it was probably something with picking up her bedroom so it was reasonable.  It might have been to pick up something from the first floor but either way - it wasn't going as smoothly as I had hoped.  A simple yes would of been great but I got something better.

My middle daughter stating what she's thinking - "Let me get some popcorn and watch this go down!"  She burst into a belly laugh and we did too.  Once we stopped laughing, whatever needed to get done got done.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Being Able To {Celebrate This Week}

This week I am celebrating being able to...

send our middle daughter to Kent State University for their Fashion Academy.  A pre-college experience for high school students interested in studying fashion design.  What an incredible experience for someone who is trying to decide on a college to attend and career to pursue.

afford this adventure for her; by working hard and setting some priorities we could make it possible.

help her explore her passion.  Her passion isn't really available here in a high school curriculum so I/we work hard to help her explore, learn, create, and be active where her heart wants to take her.  

It's a fun journey to watch.  She smiles, she beams, she's happy which in turn makes me happy.

       Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to stop and think about Celebrations.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Haiku #6 {Poetry Friday}

bee - zip dart up down
gentle landings carefully
gathering nectar

This week I used a photo from last week that I took purposefully for a haiku.  As I gathered my list of words and started a draft I had trouble thinking of the last word in the second line.  This syllable work makes me focus on words with more intention.  Carefully wasn't on my original list so I skipped a line to show it was added after my initial ramblings.  Then I wasn't sure what word I wanted to end this haiku with and did a Google search, adding nectar after carefully on my list.  I like thinking about the process here and hope it benefits my students next year.

Thank you Heidi at my juicy little universe for hosting Poetry Friday this week. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Same Idea in a Different Genre {Slice of Life}

With much anticipation I wait for the first blossom to appear.  I start by soaking the seeds overnight in water to help them get jumpstarted.  I gently place them in the soil and watch for weeks as vines grow in height and wrap around the trellis.  That first morning glory blossom takes me back in time each year.  I'm about 8 or 9 years old and it is summer vacation.  We hop out of the car and find grandma.  She's usually in the house or we find her at the beach in her swim suit ready for her day.  She's excited to show us her morning glories.  We skip and hurry down near the lake.  Every year, in the same spot her old tree stump is wrapped in morning glory vines.  The old tree stump is probably three feet round in diameter and about three feet tall.  It's thick and wide; looking like a mini jungle in the yard.  There they are bursts of blue and pink blossoms!  Round and open, welcoming us for the day.  They are magical in my heart and mind because by lunchtime they will be closed; resting for another greeting the next day.

My first morning glory blossomed last week and I was immediately brought back to my grandmother's yard and having her next to me.  She was a lucky woman and lived on the lake year round.  I was a lucky girl because she was a short drive away and I could go any time I wanted to.  At first, I collected words and shared Haiku#5 this past Friday for Poetry Friday about morning glories but immediately I wanted to write a little slice; a narrative using the same topic.  I think I need to encourage my classroom writers to try the same thing; the same idea in a different genre.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing our Slice of Life writing community.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fullness by Choice {Celebrate This Week}

This week I'm celebrating fullness by choice.

I watched a bee this week busily working it's magic on a plant outside a doctor office.  I thought, it's moving quickly, buzzing about just like I do.   Then I realized, this bee is very focused on the task at hand.  This bee is choosing to stay on this one plant; it wasn't plant hopping.  This past week was a week of fullness but as I watched this bee, I realized the fullness was by my own choice and I really enjoy choice.

Fullness by choice looked like this - in the summer

three days of softball games to total six
a swim meet where we were a heat winner with two PR
hosting teenage friends
painted my bedroom on my own
read my first pd book
started another book I can't put down
three runs
knitting at softball
reading at swim meet
there was inspiration
there was organization 
ice cream

I hope you get the idea.  While the list is starting to look too full or a to do list.  It wasn't.  It was filled with joy, laughter, smiles, frustration, help, love, effort, patience, cheering, listening, and redirection. 

Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to stop and think about Celebrations.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Haiku #5 {Poetry Friday}

hello - bursts open
morning greeter daily joy
magic every June

This week as part of my writing process I found myself stopping and noticing nature without my notebook or the time to draft a list of words.  Instead I snapped a picture and then took the time later to ponder my thoughts about those moments.  

Thank you Carol at Carol's Corner for hosting Poetry Friday.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Haiku #4 {Poetry Friday}

lush rich vibrant greens
Spring transitions to Summer

I had another plan for Haiku #4 and was going to use my list of words from last week and think differently.  However, I explored a fairly new Metro Park in our area tonight and found myself collecting words as I was running.  Then I was stringing words together and counting syllables.  I was a bit surprised to find myself "writing" while running.  Maybe that list of words will be revisited when I get stuck one week.  As I was writing, I really wanted to capture the big feeling I felt while exploring this park and when it came down to one word I recounted the syllables many times to make sure it was five.  I always think of haiku as a string of words but discovered it doesn't have to be.

Thank you Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Just Stop...{Slice of Life}

My youngest returned from camp today.  She was tired and hungry.  I gave her some space and went about doing some "helpful" things around the house.  (aka my new word for chores)  I passed by to check in while she was watching TV and she said, "Mom, do you want to come and watch this next Bones with me?"  I was in the middle of a mental list and told her in a little bit.  Then I realized she's been gone and she's a little bit tired AND she asked me to do something.  That doesn't happen very often with teenagers so I stopped that mental list, grabbed some lunch and sat with her to watch an episode of Bones.  It's important to stop and just spend time with others.  

I need to remember this in the fall when school starts.  It's important to just spend time with others to build a community and relationships.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Accepting {Celebrate This Week}

This week I'm celebrating accepting the unknown.

I've been wrestling with something for a month now and over time I've realized it's out of my hands.  About a month ago, I was told there is a 50% chance I will changing grade levels next year.  I have changed grade levels several times over the years; about every five years I get an itch.  I don't have the itch right now and it's not familiar territory so I'm feeling uneasy.  I'm not sure when there will be a decision so I have my school life on hold.

Accepting my school life is on hold has required a lot of acceptance.

In accepting this in-between I'm reading adult fiction, organizing fabrics, walking, running, driving the girls around, gardening, seeing friends, celebrating birthdays, and enjoying my first week off.  Right now I'm accepting the unknown because it's opened time and doors for new things.

Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to stop and think about Celebrations.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Haiku #3 {Poetry Friday}

clear blue sky clarity
bright sunshine brings joy and hope
June invites stillness

I decided to eat breakfast outside this morning and just notice - using my sense of sight and hearing.  I've been making a list of words to start my haiku writing of my observations and then playing around with how they might go together.  Today's list is quite longer and included sounds of birds and shadows of flight.  Maybe these list will circle back and help another day.

Today's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Buffy at Buffy's Blog.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Haiku #2 {Poetry Friday}

frail newborn Spring birth
downy fluff to plump feathers
nest to branch to yard

We've had a robin's nest right outside our kitchen table window the last three weeks and it's been fun to watch.  Today our baby left her nest and spent the morning balancing on branch.  Just after lunch she returned to the nest but a short time later she wasn't there.  I hope she returns for a bit.  I have more wondering to do.

This week Poetry Friday is being hosted by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Her Heart {Slice of Life}

She wanders around the yard.  Sniffling and smelling what springs brings us.  I call her name and she doesn't turn her head.  I call it again and I think maybe my husband is right, she might be deaf.  I change the tone a smidge and she heads my way.  Then she gets a short burst of energy and sprints my way; happy and full of life.  Watching her I stop and think, "the heart is a funny thing."  Medically she has six different medications and the vet says she has heart failure.  However, her heart keeps her near us and in places where we sometimes trip over her.  Her heart keeps her walking one mile in the morning and another at night.  Her heart keeps filling ours for the time being.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for foster this writing community.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Big Messages from Little People {Celebrate this Week}

This week I'm celebrating word choice and big messages from little people.

Our Parent Teacher Organization runs a Write Shop for the students each year where they are able to publish their writing in a "hard bound" book.  If you've read Donald Graves work he wrote about the power of publishing many times.  The books are made from chipboard wrapped in patterned or solid contact paper.  The students help sew their writing with a needle and thread to the spine and rubber cement the end papers to finish off the inside.  We have a rubber stamp with our publishing company for the school and these books become treasures.  

Yesterday we started the morning with Poetry Friday but instead of reading other authors we read our Write Shop books and left Reader's Comments.  To be honest, I had read all the poems one night and early morning trying to help with editing.  It was quick and fast because I was focused on catching spelling errors and I was surprised the poems didn't stick with me.  As I read each student's book in a published format, my heart started bursting with joy.  I could see the mini lessons we had worked through come alive.  I saw details in illustrations but one poem in particular really made me stop in my tracks.

A quiet student wrote a short poem.  A short poem with carefully selected words with a big message.  Our world is filled with goodness but turmoil and sadness.  Our own lives are filled good things that can bring self doubt and uncertainty.  I'm sure we could all use or know someone who can use this kind of medicine.  


Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to stop and think about Celebrations.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Haiku #1 {Poetry Friday}

rhythmic back and forth
natural flashy Spring bursts
bouncing between clouds

Today is the last Friday of school and I'm thinking about my summer plans and things I want to rekindle, writing being one of them.  Another, is taking a few moments daily to focus and notice things around me.  I think focus, notice, my notebook, and haikus are part of my summer plans.

Poetry Friday this week is being hosted by Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reading Fluency Probe Reflections {Slice of Life}

"For this reading project, I need you to read as fast as you can.  
I want you to pretend you are at the races.
When you are done, I'm going to tell you the number of words you read per minute.  
We are going to do this three times.  
Ready, set, go."

Reflection - 
I decided to try something different this time around with three one minute reading fluency probes (and stay within the parameters).  I decided to try and empower my students.  I decided to give them immediate feedback in numerical form.  I decided to be truthfully honest about their performance each time.  I decided to give them information to drive their performance.  

I'm about two-thirds of the way done administering this assessment and my students love knowing their numbers after each read.  They are impressed with how high it is and then driven to read a few more words per minute.  I'm blown away by how many words per minute they are reading without any practice in-between assessments.  The practice they have had is real reading in real books at their own pace.  

I had to set the stage today with a student I've told to slow down all year.  We've had moments of "mini conflict" because his speedy reading was not allowing him to comprehend.  I had to encourage him to read as fast as he could today.  When he got done, he looked at me and said, "Mrs. Robek, I didn't understand anything I just read!"  

I'm not a fan of how this assessment tool is being used.  I'm not a fan of what happens if a student doesn't meet the benchmark based on national norms but by giving my students the number of words per minute they are reading I saw their progress increase which should keep them out of the terrible outcomes and for one student, it helped reinforce the main reason readers read.  May we all continue to read for understanding.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this writing community.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sweet Smells - Breath Slower {Slice of Life}

I open the back door on a mission to start the grill for dinner and I stop in my tracks.  The sky is blue with bursts of white clouds and sun radiating down on my evening; which is enough to make anyone stop for a moment to enjoy but it's the sweet smell that stops me.  I turn to my right and my lilac blossoms are bursting.  I find such sweet joy in their smell.  It lightens my step.  It makes me breath slower.  However, tonight I realized they do so much more.  They take me back in time.  

I'm standing in Grandma and Grandpa's driveway.  The same smell of sweetness is there.  It's toward the right, down a very small hill.  I can't get there on a direct path because the gardens are there with rows of berry bushes.  I turn my pace into a jog and dodge the garden by turning left, then right, and head straight to the three lilac bushes.  When I get there I take deep big breaths and am in love with their sweet sweet smell.  I believe her flowers were more blue/purple and white.  Quite often we would cut some off the bush/tree and wrap their stems in damp paper towels so I could take them home.  

I return to my current mission and light the grill.  The scent of these lilacs really gave me a mental image of a place.  As I write this post, I'm surprised my grandmother wasn't with me but in reality I would sneak to these lilacs whenever I could to smell them with or without her.  I don't know if I've ever really thought about the scent of something guiding my writing but I'm going to share this idea tomorrow with my writers.  

I wish you could smell these; allowing yourself to stop and breath a little slower.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting our Slice of Life writing community.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I forgot something? {Slice of Life}

"Mrs. Robek, you forgot something."

I kept going with our shared writing experience because I didn't think I was missing anything.  We discuss more ideas for our piece of poetry.  We negotiate the text.  We edit.  We revise.  

"Mrs. Robek, you forgot something."

I need to validate this thought and inquire.  Maybe I did forget something.

"Mrs. Robek, you forgot the punctuation."

"L, poetry doesn't have to have punctuation.

The room erupts.  The room was buzzing with questions, exclamation marks, and puzzlement.  I tried to explain the difference between a sentence and phrase or a list.  Their little faces showed shock and awe and processing.  I can't wait to see how this impacts their poetry writing tomorrow.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Life community.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Simple Formative Assessment {Slice of Life}

Me:  What did you learn today doing this investigation?

7 and 17 are both odd
6 and 16 are both even

Me:  What did you learn today doing this investigation?

19 is odd
I actually thought it was even.
I tried 8 + 8 but that was only 16.
With 19, I can't make equal groups.

Impromptu.  Verbal.  Quick.
These are two snippets I wrote down on a post it note today as I conferred with partners after they did an inquiry during math workshop.  They were figuring out if the numbers 1-20 were even or odd.  They built a stick with unifix cubes and then tried to make the longer stick into two equal groups.  They then created a t chart or two circles to place their handmade post it note number cards in the correct spot.  I could easily see if they had the numbers placed in the correct category but I wanted to hear more about their thinking.  

So, I asked a simple impromptu question; What did you learn today doing this investigation?  I'm always interested in the words and verbal responses my students give.  It's much more fun and interesting than a paper/pencil exit ticket.  I was surprised to see my first discussion discovered a pattern and I didn't take them further with this justification but if the ones place number stays the same with the tens place value changing the number will also be odd or even. To continue their sharing; 47 is odd and 86 is even.   My second conference made me aware of a misconception a student had and how he cleared up his own misconception.  

As we walked to outside recess I realized these conversations were quick formative assessments.  Open ended questions that showed me more thinking than three questions asking students to identify odd and even numbers.  This was quick and easy and insightful.  I need to do this more often and possibly consider my students putting their thinking in writing in their math journal to capture more responses and thoughts from everyone.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life writing community.

Friday, March 31, 2017

31 Days - Reflection {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

I did it!  

I wanted to jump ship twice and hang up my writing.  I had high hopes for using my notebook daily as I did last year but I didn't make that happen.  I posted much later than I had hoped.   I got caught up that a slice has to come from something on that day specifically but I don't believe it has to.  Maybe I should start collecting small moments now for next year so I can post earlier and I can overcome the day where I wrote about not having anything to write about.  

I did write for 31 days.  I did start a new notebook and captured a few thoughts.  There's potential here.  I enjoyed reading posts by others and often connecting with their small moments.  I did connect with old friends and enjoyed comments from new slicers.  I appreciated everyone who stopped by and scanned or read a post.  I appreciated the comments very much; we all need caring thoughts.  I laughed each time Clare commented about my posting time.  We live in the same time zone but she's convinced we don't.  I worried about a few friends who disappeared during the month and was glad to know things are okay; life just got busy.

I wrote more about my classroom than I usually do here and started off wanting to find the joy some days in this world of education.  I did find joy in education, it's there if we look and accept what we can control and gently shut the door to embrace what brings us joy.  

Thank you for joining me on this journey!  We did it!

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Writing Project.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Capturing Words {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

Today I wanted to remember words that were shared with me.  I didn't have to dash out at the end of my day so I pulled out my notebook and wrote down these words.  It felt good to capture words that made me laugh during a conversation that I didn't feel like laughing.  It felt good to capture words I could hold on to and use in the future when working with students.

"Teenagers are like a box of chocolate."

"Sometimes our best friends on the playground, aren't our best friends at the carpet."

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fluency Masters {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

I decided to revisit a Family Math game for the week.  Review is always good and the focus is on fluency with addition facts.  We are suppose to know our addition facts from memory by the end of the year.  I love the game Addition Top It for this but if you grew up when I did you might call this War.  

I begin modeling how to set the game up; removing the face cards, aces are ones, shuffling the deck of cards, and then dividing it in half.  The next step begins the play with both players flipping over a card and the person quickest to add the numbers together keeps the pair.  

Things are going well.  The students are attentive and interested.  My modeling continues with an actual game and a student as my peer.   Suddenly I'm overwhelmed with playing for real.  I don't think I'll be going soft.  No slowing down my pace for a younger opponent.  We model reading fluency through read aloud why not model fact fluency by playing the game for real.  The small crowd gives an ooh and then an ahh.  

I fell asleep on the couch...that's it for today.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Lfie Story Challenge.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DIY with Guidance Tech Support {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

Ugh.  Where did the internet connection go?  I was just in my work email.  I just went through the school district's portal.  My desktop has internet connection but I can't move around with that.  I start doing some self talk - I wish we had technology support right here in the building but we don't.  That went away years ago with budget cuts.  I don't want to take the time to get help but once the students come I can't really spend time on this.  Okay, I better call the help desk.  I don't know the numbers for the help desk and it's probably the only number I dial this way - HELP.  

There she is - friendly Kim.  I don't know how she remains so friendly in a position that has lots of people calling with requests and so few people in this office to do the work.  I actually imagine this department at Central Office in a little tiny space; maybe the size of a master bathroom of a modest sized house.  I think there are 6 people for 23 buildings.  

Kim was glad I did some troubleshooting first.  I shut the laptop down and restarted it.  Still no internet connection.  I give her the asset tag number but she can't swoop in and ghost own my machine to fix it for me.  Then she guides me through what I need to do.  It involved unplugging the wire from my phone and putting it in the back of the laptop.  It then required I go to a couple of screens and try to reestablish the internet connection.  It wouldn't work.  She walked me through again and it did work this time!  I unplug the wire and plug it in to give my phone service.  Before she hangs up she wants to make sure the connection is established and really working.  She asks me to go to any website.  I type in www.amazon.com - yikes, books and prime membership makes a dangerous combination!

I never expected my teaching position would involve technology repair but I'm grateful for friendly Kim who is patient, friendly, and kind - often solving my problems and when she can't she can guide me so I can fix my own problems.  That is a good feeling!

Than you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Win for the Day! {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

My room is quiet again and I sit.  I think about our first day back after a week off and I don't feel drained.  I run through my day wondering why I don't feel drained.  It felt good to see each of my students again but we were missing four students.  Missing four students made the day seem a bit odd.  I didn't want to start anything new; some things are hard to recreate.  

We began our day with a find a friend search.  Each student got to share something from their week away from us.  We reviewed ay and ai vowel teams for word study.  Our read alouds were picture books not a chapter book.  The students got to choose which math game to play today for review.  We figured out where we were in our reading and had independent reading.  We had an extra recess as a birthday treat.  We started a backup piece for our writing folders.  I introduced my students to Discovery Education and their first "assignment".    

Maybe this was the best plan for everyone - a day of review and going slow.  I did want to make sure I helped my students make connections.  I made sure I paired students up with different people throughout the day to work with.  I made sure we had opportunities for conversations.  Maybe the key to not feeling drained is to allow the social/emotional side of students be the win for the day!

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tonight's Weather Adventure {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

The sky is dark.  There's a looming stillness in the air.  There's an eery calm above us as if time is standing still.  The luminous clouds appear to be standing still.  The sky feels lower than usual.  The siren is deafening.  It's loud and sending a warning for conditions to stir the sky into a tornado.  As the siren stops, the surroundings are quiet.  Weird for a busy city street and there are people moving about all looking up and possibly noticing the same things I am.  

PS - A tornado didn't touch down or begin to stir near where we are, thank goodness.  Just a lot of rain and some thunder.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Goodbye Flannel Sheets {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

I breeze through the door and notice right away my flannel sheets still on the bed.  I instantly think, these have to go.  I came home to 75 degrees and sunshine.  Then I have a moment of sadness.  I love my flannel sheets.  They are soft and provide extra warmth on those chilly fall, winter, early spring nights.  That's right - if I can get away with it, my flannel sheets are part of three seasons for me. I don't like to be cold.  It takes less time to warm up under the covers with flannel sheets. Something about flannel sheets relaxes me at the end of the day. I wonder what will happen tonight with my spring, summer, early fall sheets? 

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Thoughts on Leaving {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

Leaving can be sad.
Leaving can be happy.

Leaving can be an ending.
Leaving can be a welcoming.

Leaving can be a journey - 
something waiting at the other end.

Prior to the leaving - 
stay within the moment,
creating a memory,
an addition to the journey.

Leaving can lift you up
Leaving can touch your soul.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Oh My Goodness! {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

Oh My Goodness!  An all you can eat SEAFOOD buffet.   Where does one start?  I took a little tour and I decided to start small.  It began with a small salad and New England Clam Chowder; a winning combination!  The I decided one item to focus on - crab legs.  Crack, crack, slide, dip in butter and a little piece of heaven.  My next two plates were one vegetables and samplings of various seafood - steamed to baked to grilled and yes a smidge of deep fried.  The meal was filled with good conversation around softball this week and just life in general.  

Then I learned there was even dessert - INCLUDED.  I love ice cream and thought I was headed just for that.  Soft serve vanilla and chocolate were in the machine and I love to show my expertise in swirling the ice cream in a cone.  But wait, there was an all you can eat DESSERT buffet, too!  Not just ice cream but puddings, cheese cakes, cookies, cakes, and a few others.  I was quickly reminded of my grandmother at Thanksgiving.  She always took a sliver of each pie for a sampler.  I could do that here.  My plate had a sampling of rice pudding, banana pudding, peanut butter cheesecake, cherry cheesecakes, and coconut pudding.  Oh My Goodness!

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunshine, Wind, Layers of Clothes {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

While watching softball games today I decided to collect words about my experiences with the sunshine, wind, and layers of clothes I had with.  I really think slices can be really small moments and thoughts that might have a place in another piece of writing.





Layers of Clothes

running jacket
tank top

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hiding My Ego {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

We are back from dinner for a few minutes.  The girls are telling riddles and jokes to each other with lots of giggles.  We get a text another part of our group is ready for us to come over for make your own sundaes.  We gather to walk over together and I notice one of my girls is wearing sunglasses.

Me:  "E, do you know it's dark outside?  Do you think you need to wear your sunglasses?"

E:  "I'm hiding my ego!"

We all burst into laughter.  High schoolers are clever, cute, and full of themselves.  The best part was everyone laughed.  This trip is about building a community.  I hope moments like these will help them through their season. 

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Doughnuts to Green Screen {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

While stopping for lunch in Winston Salem, specifically Old Salem we saw a plaque in the ground sharing this was the location of the first Krispy Kreme years ago.  The plot of land now sits bare and I found it interesting this company had a place in history from so long ago.

At the time, I thought we have a Krispy Kreme store near us in Ohio; really no big deal - just another doughnut shop.  I try to avoid doughnuts for many health reasons.  My youngest is obsessed with doughnuts and they are often her thing to get while we are on vacation.  When she was little, her  eyes would be open wide with a huge smile on her face as she returned with her dad and a dozen doughnuts.  These thoughts always flood my memory when the topic of doughnuts comes up.

After dinner with my friends they wanted to show us around and part of our journey was to drive into Raleigh to get Krispy Kreme doughnuts and see one of the first stores ever.  I didn't want to hurt their feelings for two reasons; we have a Krispy Kreme shop and I don't really eat doughnuts.  I did want to see the area and eating a doughnut wouldn't be so bad while on vacation, so off we went.

I can't believe how much this trip changed my life.  The parking lot was full.  The store was full.  We went through the drive through but then hopped out to go inside and see the conveyor belt and process in action.  Then there was the true life changing moment - eating one hot.  I've always had them cold.  

Then the doughnut story was created and published as I learned how to create a green screen movie using the app, Green Screen app.  I'm so lucky my college roommate has an Instructional Technology position right now.  This is a bit silly but I always accept and encourage my students to share their work and try new things.  We should make learning in various stages public.  


Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reunited and it Feels so Good {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

As I make a left turn, I remember this street and know I'm close to my destination.  There's the neighborhood playground and the community pool that looks so inviting.  I'm looking for a house number and the next house doesn't have it on the mailbox so I worry about which of the next two houses is my destination.  I look for clues but it's been many years.  I had just two babies not three the last time I was here.  As I scan the house again, no more clues are needed.  There she is; working on her laptop, enjoying the sunshine, and waiting for us to arrive.  

I hop out of my mini-van and give probably one of the biggest hugs of my lifetime.  There's a constant babble of exciting thoughts being exchanged.  "You look the same."  "You look so good."  "You haven't changed."  "I can't believe you are here."  "I'm so happy to be here."  Laughter and giggles and squeezes, oh my.  She moves on to hug my daughter and her friend.  We go inside as she announces, "Mandy's here."  More hugs and smiles with her husband and sons.  

It's been years.  We roomed together in college.  We stood up in each other's weddings.  We moved to two different states to teach and raise families.  Our seasons are the same and for 18 hours it was like we had been together all these years.  We told old stories of when we were together.  We told stories of from our days of being apart.  We made new stories together.

We made stories for our future.  She's going to live and travel in her motor home changing the setting every so often and I'm going to drive up in my convertible with my dog wearing a long scarf that blows in the wind.  I look forward to this season but for now I find peace in knowing it's okay to focus on the current season because we can pick up right where we need to be without skipping a beat.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Using Goodreads in a New Way {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

I'm looking at the Kindle Daily Deals and some titles look interesting to me but I wish I had more information to help confirm I want to make a purchase.  I read the blurbs online.  I talk to myself; going back and forth do I really need another book in my TBR pile to read.  Then I sit some more until I get an ah-ha moment.  What if I go to Goodreads and type in the title to see if any of my friends have read any of these titles.  I carry through on this action and its brilliant.  I find friends who have read some of the titles I'm reading.  Several friends rating a book with five stars so that was an easy yes.  Then three to four more titles were on Julie or Cathy's to read list.  These ladies are always dangerous in person to buy books with and now it's carrying over to my e-reader experience.  I was very happy to think about using Goodreads for book purchases and not just tracking what I've read.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Break Manifesto {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

I will rest.
I will drive.
I will visit.

I will be helpful.
I will chaperone.
I will watch softball.

I will sit.
I will walk.
I will run.

I will do laundry.
I will cook.
I will drive.

I will knit.
I will read.
I will write.

I will collect my thoughts.
I will collect my words.
I will collect some peace.

I will follow.
I will be available.
I will rest.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing the Slice of Life Story Challenge.