Reflections on #sol16

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day 31

Reflections on a Month of Writing!

     I have come to enjoy the Slice of Life Challenge, because it has made me a {kind of} narrative writer.  Last year, I struggled with being a writer of slices of my life.  Reflections on school activities, or posts about reading topics have always been relatively easy for me to write.  Narrative, on the other hand, proved difficult.  I tended to write poetry as a quick solution.  I needed to practice the narrative genre as a writer.

     This year, my second attempt at Slice of Life, was much easier for me.  As soon as the month started, I started to "see" my world through more of a narrative lens.  On March 1st, I found myself looking at my windshield wipers and noticing the syncopated rhythm as they hit the windshield.  I noticed the small conversations I had with my children more, and saw the lessons they were learning. You see the world differently when you write stories.  It's a way I wish I saw the world all the time.  Close reading what matters is a gift.  

    This year, I also had the opportunity to work with students slicers in the month of March!  +Christine Flowers took on the challenge of blogging with her class every day, and I was able to work with them a few days a week as we worked on our writing.  Our slices were not always narrative slices, but they certainly increased their writing volume and voice and choice.  I worked with them on Small Moment Mondays, Finding a Story in a Picture Wednesdays, and Have an Opinion Thursdays. Mrs. Flowers blogged with them every day, and became a slicer herself in the process!  Here is her class's Kidblog!

     What did the kids say about blogging?  We made a web of reasons we should keep blogging after April 1st, and this is what they had to say!  

     Thanks again, Two Writing Teachers, for hosting the challenge.  It was a great month for us all!

Our {Chalk} Message to the World

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

     We ended a month and a half long building focus as Teachers as Writers with staff chalk writing on our blacktop.   I will be posting more about our staff writing soon. But until then, let's just enjoy their message to themselves, our students, and to the world.

     On this particular day, I was late to school because of traffic, and it happened to be the day of the bombings in Brussels. I spent a long time in my car that morning, hearing the coverage of the terrible things that seem to happen in our world with more and more regularity.  On this particular morning, it was personally upsetting because my cousin and her family live there.  This time, I was worried about Michele, Adenilson, Coralee and Kian, as their city was on lock down due to terrorism.  And yet I had a building wide writing celebration to hold.

     Our staff chose their favorite pieces of writing from their personal writing this last month and a half, and shared it on the blacktop for the "world" to see.  Their message was powerful and optimistic, and filled with beauty and imperfection and hope.  The way they choose to see the world, as flawed as it sometimes it, was inspiring.  And just what I needed to read that morning.  

     As I snuck upstairs to open a window and take a collective picture from above, my phone buzzed with a Facebook notification that my family in Brussels was safe.  Yet, somehow I knew that already.

    Writing is powerful.  

    Words matter.

     On this day, they helped me see the light, even through the darkness.  Thank you, Hiawatha.

      What message do you want to share with the world?  Pick up a piece of chalk, or a pencil, or a computer, and share it.  Your words matter.


6 Pups, 2 Kids and a Couple of Big Wheels

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 29

     We decided to go to the park, since the sun was shining and the temps were pretty nice.  Finally! A day to get out and enjoy the outdoors again!  I told the kids to get their shoes and coats.  I guess that translated into "Find all the Paw Patrol pups you can and bring them to the park."  Suddenly we were fighting about who was going to bring which pup.  I gently reminded them that last summer, we lost a pup at the park.

     "Oh yeah!  Chase!  I remembered that I buried him now.  Let's go rescue him, pups!"

     Oh boy.  Tears would be up ahead.  

     They loaded onto their big wheels, which seem to have shrunk over the winter.  My son's legs couldn't have gotten longer, because that would mean he's getting older.  That's impossible.  The big wheels took off, headed into the sun towards the park.

    Middle schoolers were also there, making bad choices.  We headed to the next park, making those big wheels travel even farther into the sun.  This is foreshadowing...

     We arrived at the park, the beautiful park.  And my kids spent the whole time yelling at each other.  So, I played with their pups.  Our first grade team just studied shadows, so they were my inspiration.  I even got the picture below before my son rolled over the pups with his big wheel.  Lucky me.

     We started back towards home, and stopped at the previous park (which was now middle schooler free).  My daughter started digging in the wood chips and was surprised that she couldn't make too much progress.  Her fingers were cold, and she claimed she needed supplies.

    "Let's go home and get a shovel, Mom.  We need to rescue Chase."

    "Um, no.  Let's go.  I'm cold."


     We arrived at home still missing a Chase, but all the rest of the pups were accounted for.  So much sunshine and tears were had by all.  I did give high fives all around, though, because it was the first time we went to the park that didn't end with me carrying a big wheel home.  Perhaps they are growing up after all.  Sigh.

Prayer, Sugar, and Bunny Ears

Monday, March 28, 2016

Day 28

Easter was here, and brought joy in the form of prayer, sugar, and bunny ears.  What remains?

Random pieces of Easter grass litter the ground.

Opened plastic eggs lay, discarded, on the floor.  

Chocolate bunnies in a box, all hollow inside, waiting for someone to open them.

Beautiful bonnets tossed aside.

Easter is over, but hopefully the message remains.  

For now, the clean up begins...

The Easter Bunny

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 27

     The eggs were boiling, and my daughter kept impatiently asking me if they were ready yet.  She really wanted to turn her eggs into pirates, thanks to our decorating kit.  Like, right now.  In an attempt to distract her, I asked her to put something away from the kitchen table.  As I glanced to the table, I saw it through the window!  The Easter Bunny!

     "Look!  It's the Easter Bunny!  Right in our backyard!"  

     We both ran to the sliding glass door and looked into the yard.  We decided to feed him, but there were no more carrots in the fridge.  So, we decided to see if he likes strawberries.  We picked a few out of the container and slowly opened the door.  I gently tossed them into the grass near him.  Sadly, that seemed to scare him away.

    Hop.  Hop.  Hop.  Away ran the Easter Bunny.

     Later, as we were decorating our eggs, the kids started talking about the things they hope to find in their basket on Easter.  I reminded them that a little bunny can't carry anything major.  Their baskets would most likely be small.  That's when my daughter assuredly said, "No, Mom.  The REAL Easter Bunny is a man in a bunny suit, like at the mall.  He can carry big stuff."


LEGO Lessons

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day 26

     "Mom, I need more LEGO heads that only have one face.   Can you play with me?"

     She invited me into her play, only so that I can run her errands.  First, it was "Find Emmett."  Then, it was "I need hats, but only hard hats.  This is a construction site."  Then it was, "I'm going to be these minifigures.  You can be these."

     It was at this point that I realized that she was the boss of the construction site.  I think they call him/her the foreman.  Not only was she telling me what she needed, she started telling me how to play the minifigures that she had assigned me.  Every time I tried to make my own decisions, she overruled me. 

    "You are not very fun to play with."

     It slipped out of my mouth, and as soon as I saw the expression on her face, I regretted it.  It was a true statement, yet based completely on my own perception.  And, I sounded like a six year old myself.  At least I didn't tell her that I wouldn't be her friend anymore.  Then I would have really been a child.  She didn't cry, or say anything, and we just kept building.

     We played for a little more, and she let me build some of my own projects, and move my guy my own way for the most part.  She did name my building the Empire State Building for me, though. Then she turned to me and asked in her little voice, "Why did you say that I wasn't fun?"

     I looked right at her, and said, "You are, Keira.  You just can't make all the choices for others when you play together."  I felt better saying it that way.  

     The truth is, isn't that true about teaching, too?  No one likes all the choices being made for them, the teachers nor the students.   In fact, it is true about life in general.  Perhaps it wasn't such a bad lesson to share with my daughter after all.  I just want a do over on the start...


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day 23

     6 years ago I was given this beautiful gift, and every day since she has given gifts to me. 







Happy Birthday, my baby girl.

Tomorrow's Blessings

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 22


But SO Inspired.

Energy drained, but my cup is full.
Time to recharge with sleep before tomorrow's blessings begin!