#SOL18 Day 17 The Flower

Friday is often "Family Movie Night" in our house. We have a "smart TV" which includes Amazon right on it. Most of the time, we select a new movie to buy to add to our Amazon library of movies. We are building quite a collection. I always encourage my children to watch one of our purchases again, but they always seem to want a new movie. It's way cheaper and more convenient that actually leaving the house to go to the movie theater, and by Friday, I'm usually fine with spending the money to have some snuggly couch time with my 7 year old and 5 year old. 

Last night, Alex chose Ferdinand, a movie based on the story of the flower-loving, peaceful bull. Near the beginning of the movie, there is a part where the young Ferdinand is trying to protect a little red flower that he found. The other bulls don't understand his peaceful ways and pick on him. One bull angrily stomps on the red flower, crushing it. Right at that moment, my son's eyes filled with te…

#SOL18 Day 16 My Neighbor

My neighbor is moving. I will be so sad to see her go. When we moved into our house in 2009, her husband Al was alive and well. They welcomed us, showed us tricks about our house that they've learned from their house. When I locked myself out before we even moved in, they let me come into their kitchen and wait for the second set of keys to be brought to me. 

Norma bakes cookies for us, especially when my husband shovels her driveway in the snow. She remembers everyone's birthday with cards and little gifts for the kids. She used to sit on the front lawn with Al around sunset, watching the cars drive by and the kids play, her sipping wine while he drank a beer. 

Al passed away in 2015 and Norma is looking for a smaller place, a one floor home. She will probably be leaving by April. She's been cleaning out her house and offering us different items she finds. 

I will miss her smile and quiet kindness. I know the move will be good for her, but it's another chapter closing. …

#SOL18 Day 15 Dear Megan

As I type this, in just a few hours, my little girl turns 5. After laying with her until she fell asleep, I crept downstairs to wrap her presents. One present was the book Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her daughter, Paris. (Such a beautiful book- a must buy for a special girl in your life.) Here is my birthday letter to my own dear girl, Megan:

Dear Megan,

When you were younger, and trying to understand the words "son" and "daughter", I told you that you were my daughter and your brother, Alex, was my son. You replied  that you were my "son-shine". And really, that is the truth- as much as you are my daughter, you are also my sunshine. Light in dark times. A warm, snuggly hug. Radiant. The center of my world. 

From the start, you've surprised me. You've been a miracle to me in every way possible. You are funny and bubbly and so quick. You use words like "duplicate" in everyday conversation. You know all the Pokemon characters becaus…

#SOL18 Day 14 Piku

It's Pi Day! 3.14. While I am not a huge lover of things mathematical, I've enjoyed celebrating Pi Day in the past with my students by writing Piku. Piku is a type of poetry that is like haiku. Instead of the lines being 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, they are 3 syllables, 1 syllable, 4 syllables. 

Here is my Piku for today:

Dark morning
I am blogging

Report cards
across table

So much time
complete each one

Due Monday
Weekend consumed

Have you tried Piku? Happy Pi Day!

#SOL18 Day 13 Happiness


In the movie Trolls, Poppy tells the Bergens that happiness isn't something that you get externally- it comes from within. You find it inside yourself. 

Growing up, I wanted everyone to be happy. I hated when there was any discord. If my parents were arguing, I would speak to each separately to get them to see the other person's perspective or to make some concessions. 

Isn't it the ultimate irony, then, that I find myself in a situation where no matter what I do, there is a person in my life who is never happy with me. No explaining, cajoling, reasoning bends this person. 

It's a painful place to be, to have a person deeply rooted in your life, finding you to be so displeasing in every way you wish to be pleasing. 

When I was younger, I read a book called If Life is a Game, These are the Rules by Cherie Carter Scott.  The idea is that life will keep presenting you with the same lessons over and over until you learn what you are supposed to learn. So perhaps my l…

#SOL18 Day 12 The Decision

The room is pitch black. The covers are snuggly and warm. My eyes feel so heavy. Snooze has been hit twice and now it's decision time: Do I get up to workout or stay asleep?

There are so many decisions to make, all the time. When it comes to health and fitness, for me, this is the area that takes the hit- I'm tired of making decisions, so I'll grab what looks good, my comfort foods, the nearby chocolate. The regret always comes after. 

A Facebook friend has recently been shedding weight at a very fast pace. Her posts about fitting into her jeans again after only 3 weeks had me intrigued. A private message revealed she's doing a program that involves 2 meals a day as a bar or a shake. The weight is pouring off her and she's not exercising yet. The program is very expensive- $400 for the first month, then something like $250 each month you are buying shakes and bars. 

It was tempting. To not make decisions- to just have a shake or bar ready for me. To have weight just f…

#SOL18 Day 11 A Short, Sweet Haiku Slice

Birthday girl turns 5 Nails, toes, baking cupcakes too Another party!

#SOL18 Day 10- Visions of Math Centers Danced in My Head

5 am

I don't need to get up this early today. But here I am, awake, with an idea on how to better organize my classroom and put together math centers. For the last 4 years, each student in the class has been assigned a math toolkit by number. If your class number was 6, you would take the clear plastic shoebox labeled 6 and all your math tools would be in there: base ten blocks, tiles, plastic clock, etc. So I have 24 or more of these in the front of the classroom.

But here's the thing- we really don't use them. If we need a tool, it's mostly in small group and I just grab them from any bin and then try to remember where to put them back. I'm thinking it would make more sense to have the baggies of all the base ten blocks in one large bin, the baggies of all the tiles in another large bin, etc. Students can still find the tool they need when they need it (they never seem to take tools to solve problems) but it wouldn't be all individualized. This would free up al…

#SOL18 Day 9 Fri-Yay, Conference Day!

Blogging packets? Check.
Projector? Check.
Speakers? Check.
Chromebook? Check.
Various plugs? Check.
Excitement? Check, check, check!

Today I am attending the Spring LILAC Literacy Conference, sponsored by the Nassau Reading Council and the Long Island Language Arts Council. Kylene Beers is the Keynote Speaker in the morning! I will be presenting a workshop on Fostering Voice Through Blogging with my friend and Long Island Writing Project colleague, Evelyn. 

I've become more comfortable presenting mostly because I push myself to do it often. Also, because I believe so much in the notion that blogging gives students a voice, an audience, a purpose- and it's fun! I would love to help teacher see the possibilities of blogging and how it can enhance what they do. Presenting on a topic I believe in and put into practice in my classroom seems a little less scary. 

I'm looking forward to attending workshops, listening to the keynotes, talking with other educators, and being in a room wit…

#SOL18 Day 8 Letter From Hasbro

My daughter Megan turns 5 a week from today. Her birthday party theme is "My Little Pony" and the ponies have become her favorite toys lately. A couple of weeks ago, she was talking with my mom about the pony Trixie. She wanted Trixie to have a spell book. My mom suggested they write to the toy company Hasbro who makes My Little Pony. Megan dictated the letter and my mom wrote it. They mailed it, along with a picture Megan drew.

Yesterday in the mail, this arrived:
No toys or coupons with it, but still fun to get mail addressed to "Miss Megan Sokolowski" and she loved that the "management team" would consider her idea to make a spell book for Trixie. 

Before Megan has turned 5, she understand that writing is a powerful tool for expressing your opinion and trying to make changes. To be able to express your ideas well in writing is a critical tool in life.