#SOL18 Lessons from Flowers

"this is the recipe of life said my mother as she held me in her arms as i wept think of those flowers you plant in the garden each year they will teach you that people too must wilt fail root rise in order to bloom"
-rupi kaur
On Mother's Day morning, my daughter Megan earnestly said to me, "My heart pumps with love for you." At five years old, I find that sentence to be incredibly poetic as well as amazingly sweet. She followed up with, "I don't only love you on Mother's Day- I love you every day!" My son, Alex, made me a bookmark which he colored with effort and care. His handsome face is on the bookmark, too- a school picture from earlier in the year before life took a turn. 
On the day before Mother's Day, we went to the garden store and picked out beautiful, colorful flowers to plant in a new patch of soil we had the landscapers create near our recently redone walk. I now have lots of hours of planting before me! I've never been much of a …

#SOL18 Welcome Sunshine

Welcome sunshine.
Welcome fresh air.
Welcome windows opened.
Welcome short-sleeves.
Welcome flip-flops.
Welcome the smell of barbecue.
Welcome late sunsets. 
Welcome green grass.
Welcome flowers.
Welcome ice-cream truck.
Welcome Little League.
Welcome playground.
Welcome a new season. 

Welcome hope.

#SOL18 What Does Morning Work Look Like?

Teachers, talk to me about your morning work. I have varied what I've done and am still trying to figure out the best way to start our day. Sometimes I have a math exit ticket as a morning assignment. It includes only 2 problems to do and it is based on our lesson from the day before. When students finish it, they are free to read, draw, write, or use a chrome book to create a Buncee presentation, blog, add to their digital reading wall, etc. Some mornings I ask students to write on their blog. Some mornings I ask students to update their digital reading wall. Some mornings we make a birthday card for a classmate. The work is no longer than 30 minutes at the max and students come in on a staggered schedule so 30 minutes would really just be for the student who first walks in the door. 

There is a little boy I know and love who goes to school a few towns over from where I teach and he is a third grader, too. His morning work lasts 40 minutes to an hour. It includes at least four ass…

#SOL18 A Poem for Teaching

Just when I was missing the routine of blogging, Tuesday rolls by again. The March SOLSC has ended, but Poetry Month has begun. I can't take on another challenge, but I am eagerly following what Amy Ludwig Vanderwater writes each day at The Poem Farm. This month, Amy is writing 30 poems about the constellation Orion, inspired by her book Poems Are Teachers

Her first technique was a list poem. If I were to take on Amy's challenge, I would choose "teaching" as my one subject to write in different ways. Today I'm trying a list poem.



#SOL18 Day 31 Goodbye to You

Goodbye to you, March Challenge. Goodbye early morning wake-ups, adjusting workout routines (or skipping them) to make more time for blogging. Goodbye trying to find the words and delicately balancing what my heart needs to write and what my brain thinks I should publish.
Goodbye to you, fellow bloggers. Your stories touched my heart. Your words made me think. Your passion for teaching inspired me to be better.
I'm sorry I didn't get to read more, comment more, but what I read was glorious. Our country will be saved by teachers like you, I'm sure of it. 
We will meet again, 
on Tuesdays.
And we will meet again,
when next March comes. 
Till then...

"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? Because I knew you, because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
-from "Wicked"

#SOL18 Day 30 Good Friday and Easter Sunday

How is it almost April?

Time seems to have stopped somewhere in mid-January when our lives changed with a phone call. While I was just starting to come up for air, a second surgery dominated the Winter Break. A month has gone by, and now we are closing out March. 


Today is Good Friday. As a Catholic, although a somewhat lapsed one, today is the day where evil seems to win. A dark day, a sad day. A day where a friend betrays you and hope dies. The beauty of Easter Sunday is that hope never dies, that evil never wins, that good triumphs and redemption is possible. 

I need Easter more than ever this year.

I am tired of the greedy and selfish dominating the headlines. I am tried of school shooters. I am tired of Russia and collusion and doctor's appointments and guilt and sadness and fear and worry and wishing with everything in my heart that I could redo a certain day in January. 

I have been trying to be strong and most days I am. I know many have more challenges than me, more pai…

#SOL18 Day 29 My Mom

I always advise my student writers, "Show- don't tell." So I could tell you about my mother, but maybe this example will show you what you need to know.

On a particular day last year, I drove to my parent's house to pick up my children after work. My mom comes to my house every morning by 7:15 to help get the kids ready for school. Later, she picks up Megan at preschool and an hour later picks up Alex from his school. She watches them until I get home from work, which some days is later than I should.

 I walked in to find Megan wearing a tissue paper hula skirt, twirling around. But what's more, all of the many dolls she brought, including her stuffed animal dog Star, were sporting the same mini-versions of the pink tissue paper hula skirts. My mom was wearing her reading glasses, deep in the work of creating another hula skirt for another doll. It was a scene I will never forget.

What can you infer about my mom from this example? Would you conclude she is patient, …

#SOL18 Day 28 Shiny Time Cleaning Club

Last night's Facebook wishes reminded me of a Slice I could write! It was my friend Linda's birthday and on her wall I posted:"Happy Birthday to the Co-President of the Shiny Time Cleaning Club". 

In elementary school, Linda and I were best friends. We would often have play dates at each other's houses, where we would play Uno and "bet" with Skittles, play school, plan holiday concerts (another post for sure!) and work on our business- The Shiny Time Cleaning Club. 

We had a real receipt pad for this business and we served as Co-Presidents. The Shiny Time Cleaning Club would do chores for money. Laundry folding was fifty cents. Unloading the dishwasher was 25 cents. Everything was quite reasonable and we felt very grown-up and business-like doing these chores. 

What I wouldn't given now to pay someone to do my laundry, dishes and more each day! Maybe it's time to tell my children about the Shiny Time Cleaning Club and see if they want to be the new…

#SOL18 Day 27

I've made it to March 27th before needing to write the "I am stuck" post. The "I am blank this morning but I showed up and got it done" post. I've sat here, writing and deleting, looking around the room for inspiration, looking into my heart for what to say. Some words are not meant for publishing right now. What else feels worthy to write about? 

The clock ticks and takes me closer to the time I need to shower and begin the day. A work bag filled was barely opened. Fluency cards I thought I'd hole punch and put on rings remain exactly where they were when I dropped them on the floor yesterday afternoon. So. Much. To. Do. Never. Enough. Time. 


I'll be looking for inspiration today so tomorrow I'll have a story to tell. Have you easily found topics for posts or found yourself stuck too?

#SOL18 Day 26 #Blessed?

Growing up, I didn't even know what the Internet was until the end of high school. My childhood and teenage years were all pre-Facebook and social media. In my mid-twenties, I joined Facebook and now use social media regularly. It just seems natural to post photos of my celebrations and funny things my kids say and do. 

However, I do know that Facebook posts often just showcase the shiny, clean part of one's reality. A person's life is nuanced and, as the saying goes, into every life a little rain must fall. We all have our pain and challenges, though you might not know it by scrolling through Facebook.

One hashtag really annoys me. #Blessed. It just feels so arrogant to me. As if God has selected you out of everyone to make your life pain-free and joyful. As if those who have sick children, crummy spouses, addiction, debt, diseases, and more are not in the #Blessed club. (Sucks for them!)

I'm all for gratitude. I'm all for appreciating the happy things in your life a…