Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #31 - Celebrate Achieving Goals


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

    Wow!  It's the end of March!  I can't believe we've made it to the end of a 31 day writing challenge.  I have to be honest - I struggled sometimes!  I was determined to finished all 31 days, but my writing muscles were definitely atrophed, and at times...sore from the exersion.  It reminded me that writing is a practice that requires just as much grit as any other difficult, but rewarding endeavor.  I was happy to participate, though, and enjoyed visiting old friends from SOLSCes from the past and meeting new friends. There were so many amazing posts - poems, lists, videos, photo journals, stories, and more.  Thank you, everyone, for all your talent, thoughts, musings, perspectives, and gifts.  It was a journey, for sure!

     Today, I celebrate the Slice of Life community and achieving goals!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #30 - Celebrate Children's Book Art and Illustrators


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

Today, I'm inviting you on a tour of my reading room and collection of children's book illustrations!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #29 - Celebrate Hugs


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     We just got home from Florida.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but full of sweet moments.  The photo above was one!  We've visited Mom and Dad a couple times during this year of Covid, but we always had to keep our distance, and we didn't hug of course.  This time, we could!  We had a wonderful afternoon visiting.  It wasn't long enough, but it was special!

     I also got to see Mom's neighborhood's new Little Free Library!  Mom will be the steward of it this year.  I didn't capture it in the photo, but it's underneath a beautiful gazebo.  Benches and landscaping will be added to make it such a sweet spot for folks to gather.  I'm sure lots of books will be discussed and shared there.

     We just got home, and even though our temperatures are at least 20 degrees colder, we were greeted with a dazzling sunset and incredible moon.  It's always a little hard to "re-enter" after spending time in sunny, warm Florida and visiting family and friends, but we are grateful for our time with them!

     Today, I celebrate hugging my mom and dad!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #28 - Celebrate Lunch with Family


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE

     Our long weekend in Florida has been so nice!  The weather is PERFECT.  Upper 80s, low humidity, breezy, and balmy nights.  I love when you can sit outside at night and not be cold!  Our weather back home is rainy, windy, and in the low 50s.  We picked the perfect weekend to be here!

     Today, we met my husband's parents and sister and brother-in-law for lunch in this lovely setting. We are so blessed that we have been able to get vaccines and can be with our family.  We enjoyed delicious food, great conversation, and family time.

     I know things aren't completely back to normal, and I know we still have to stay cautious about our health and others' health.  But days like today make you feel like hope is on the horizon.  

     Today, I celebrate family time and Florida sunshine.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #27 - Celebrate Audiobooks and Novels in Verse


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE

     While enjoying the sunny Florida weather today by taking a long walk, I listened to Becoming Muhammed Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson.  Kwame narrated the audobook.  I heard about the book from a teacher I was working with who is planning for novels in verse book clubs with his 4th graders.  It will be one of their titles. Of course, when I hear about a book I don't know, I have to read it!  In this case, I downloaded it from Overdrive and listened to it.  

     What a great book!  I gained such an appreciation for who Muhammed Ali was, and now I want to read more!  I loved that Kwame read it because I enjoy listening to him talk.  It's told through prose and poetry, which is a unique format, and there are tons of opportunities for kids to write from it.  There is a "Where I'm From" poem, a recipe for how Ali wanted to be remembered, "I was twelve (and thirteen)" poems, a "Before that" poem, and so much more.  It's aso packed full of discussions about race and segregation, so it gives students historical context as well as invitations for more research.

     Today, I celebrate audiobooks and novels in verse!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #26 - Celebrate Balmy Air

It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     We arrived in Florida.  The balmy air is something that is hard to describe.  In Ohio, I am used to shivering in the night air, but here, the air seems to wrap around you.  Flowers are everywhere.  Colors envelope you.  Pink outlines the clouds. The humidity hugs you tightly.  I take a deep breath.  All seems well.  I get that there are cold weather people.  Folks that love to snow ski and watch the snow fall.  I enjoy watching that, but at this point in my life, my bones feel better when it is warm.  My mood elevates, and my mind settles.  Thank you, Florida!


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #25 - Celebrate Exercise Class


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     I read an article not too long ago about the affects of Covid isolation on social interactions that weren't even especially "deep".  The people you know at stores you frequent, colleagues and office spaces, neighbors, and all kinds of acquaintances.  I used to go to Cyclebar and Club Pilates, and the people there were important to me.  It's not like we had deep conversations (well, occasionally we did) or knew about everything in each other's lives, but I loved seeing them.  We checked in with each other.  We chatted. We cheered each other on and asked about each other's families and jobs.  We obviously shared similar interests, and I looked forward to going to classes.  The extra bonus of keeping in shape was just extra bonus.  It was the shared community that I loved best.

     When we couldn't go anymore, I thought of all the "plusses".  Well, I saved money.  It was a lot of time to drive there and back.  It's a lot of money (did I say that already?).  I got a used Peloton bike.  Club Pilates was generous enough to provide Facebook Live classes.  I walked around the lake. A lot. Those were all great alternatives.  But honestly, I missed the motivation, comradery, and small talk (sometimes honest talk) that exercise classes provided.

    Since I've had my two vaccines, I decided to go back to Club Pilates this week.  First of all, OUCH!  I realized I had fallen out of shape.  Even though I exercised, I obviously didn't push myself as hard as a live instructor does.  I also realized it's a whole new group.  There wasn't anyone I knew in the classes I attended, including instructors.  There were new screens between reformers, and mask rules of course.  New sanitizing routines.  But that's okay.  There was a sense of community, even though it was not the same. It was a little like the first day of school.  Awkward.  A little unnerving.  New.  But I sure was happy to be there. It felt good.  

     Today, I celebrate Club Pilates.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #24 - Celebrate #CincyNoogaSlowRead


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     I am a reader.  What could be better than a group of fellow readers sharing a space, reading books together, and then book-talking?!  I was introduced to #CincySlowRead several years ago by Tanny McGregor.  If you have the privilege of knowing who Tanny is, then you have been blessed with her generous spirit, her creativity, her love of storytelling, and her wonderful literacy books.  Her contributions to education have been countless.  She wanted to create a space for Cincinnati educators to share books, so #CincySlowRead was born.

     When I first started going to #CincySlowRead events, it was at the Mariemont Inn, a Tudor-style hotel and restaurant with a cozy, warm atmosphere and comfy lobby furniture in the quaint town of Mariemont, Ohio in Cincinnati.  My friend, former colleague, and Shirley to my Laverne, Megan Ginther and I would have dinner and wine and then join the book group for the evening.

    Covid, of course, changed things, but didn't stop them.  Tanny still hosted #CincySlowReads, but in a different way.  We met virtually!  We'd have beginning introductions, and then everyone could choose to turn off their cameras if they wished, or leave them on if they wanted, settle in a comfy spot to read, and then about an hour later, we would book talk!  Of course, my to-read list would grow!

     I couldn't always attend in person or virtually and have probably missed more than I attended, but each one I've gotten to attend has been a treat!

     Tonight, it was a joint event!  Cincinnati joined with Chatanooga educators/readers/writers for a #CincyNoogaSlowRead!  How delightful it was to meet another group who holds regular #SlowReads!  I was also thrilled to see Louise Borden, who, when we had regular in person literacy conferences, I always got to see!  Her stories and love of learning always inspire me.  Her book, Caps, Hats, Socks, and Mittens, was a favorite in my girls' library when they were little, and when I got to meet her and even visit her writing studio one time, it was surreal!!

     So thank you, Tanny and Jessica Holloway, for hosting a joint #SlowRead!  What a wonderful evening!  As several educators said tonight when sharing book titles, we need self care and a respite from the hard stuff this year.  This event provided us some much-needed rest and joy!

     Today, I celebrate #CincyNoogaSlowRead!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge # 23 - Celebrate the Magnolia


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     Today , it was 70 degrees in Cincinnati, Ohio!  What a joy it was to walk outside without a jacket, the warm breeze feeling balmy.  When I left the house this morning, my favorite tree was still holding its blossoms close to its heart.  All winter, the fuzzy sweater buds, looking like pussy willows, stay warm and cozy.  Then one day, they decide to burst open.  Today was the day!  It truly felt like spring had arrived.  It's amazing what spring does to my mood.  It makes me feel lighter, happier, more hopeful.  Thank you, tree!!  Thank you, spring!

     Today, I celebrate our magnolia tree!  (And frost....STAY AWAY!)

Monday, March 22, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #22 - Celebrate Community Conversations


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     Today I was able to join my Community Conversation group for an honest and open conversation about privilege.  Our Community Conversations began earlier in the year as a way to:
  • Lead the transformation of education
  • Continue to develop our community
  • Build collaborative relationships
     Our conversations are a way for us to learn more about social justice, diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity.  We've met several times at this point in the year (there are 10 of us in our group).  I've grown to value each person's contributions, vulnerability, questions, and honesty.  I've learned so much through our hour-long conversations.

     Today's topic was about privilege.  You can read more about our conversation here.  I was excited that the video, article, and challenge featured Frederick Joseph because I'm listening to The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person now.  I love when there are serendipitous moments like this.

     Our discussion was enlightening because we discussed all the aspects of what privilege and parts of our identity mean and how intersectionality affects who we are and how we face the world.  One of the members of our group expressed how recognizing her privilege helps her advocate for those who do not enjoy those privileges and the access they give her.  

     The Allyship Challenge Frederick Joseph asks us to take "is a journey of understanding and action".  The pledge is a commitment people can make to "learn one actionable thing each day to be a better ally to marginalized or disenfranchised people".  Who wants to take it with us?

     Today, I celebrate that our organization has committed to do and be better.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #21 - Celebrate Houseplants


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     I admit it.  I have not been the greatest houseplant mom.  I've always been much better at outdoor plants - I've loved planting flowers, perennials, seasonal planters, trees, etc...OUTSIDE.  I grew up helping with an outdoor garden.  But having an indoor green thumb?!  Nope.  I have NOT been great at keeping houseplants alive.  

     The Christmas cactus you see in the photo above?  My mom gave me a clipping of a generational Christmas cactus.  She inherited my grandmother's plant, and it is a giant, thriving beauty!  Of course, there is sentimental value as well. She offered me some clippings to nurture as my own.  Of course, I wanted to try!  She started a few for me and sent me home with them.  

     I was so excited when they grew roots and seemed healthy enough to plant.  They did well!  In fact, I would say they did really well!  However, as time went by, they started to suffer.  I was paranoid about overwatering them since they are a succulent, and I was warned not to overwater it.  However, I was too stingy with water, and it began to wilt.  Honestly, I was sure I had killed it.  It looked VERY sickly.  After consulting with my mom, she said to give it a good soaking, talk to it (her?) more frequently, and make sure the pot had drainage holes.  I did all three (thanks, Ed, for drilling holes in the pot).  

     I took care of it diligently, and lo and behold, it came back!  We had beautiful red blooms at Christmas, and now it's growing like crazy.  Meanwhile, I've added to my collection!  My daughter's boyfriend, Luke, gave me a snake plant for my birthday, and Katie gave me offshoots of a spider plant. Both my mom and Katie have amazing green thumbs, and I admire their beautiful plants. I've got several succulents that are doing well, and I'm thinking about adding a parlor palm by the front door.  I'm starting to think I can be a houseplant mom after all!  

     Today, I celebrate houseplants!  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #20 - Celebrate Spring and a Favorite Picture Book


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.


"and the brown,
still brown,
has a greenish hum
that you can only hear
if you put your ear to the ground
and close your eyes”
- Julie Fogliani
and then it’s spring, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Today, I celebrate SPRING and my favorite spring picture book!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #19 - Celebrate a Potential Gathering


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     It's so much fun to come home to new furniture!  I don't know about you, but at our house, no matter how much room we have, people ALWAYS gather in the kitchen.  And now that we've downsized, we don't have a ton of room.  Especially in the winter when no one can hang out on the deck.  People end up standing around our kitchen island, which only had 2 stools.  There are chairs nearby - around the dining room table and the couch and chairs in the adjoining family room.  But it doesn't matter, the kitchen island is like a magnet.

     To be fair, it's usually because that's where the food is!  Appetizers are scattered around the island, and wine and beer are flowing during parties. Everyone wants to be gathered in a group - not scattered around the house.  As a result, it gets louder, and LOUDER, AND LOUDER!  It also gets uncomfortable because most people end up standing.

     To solve the issue, we went furniture shopping.  We used to have 2 backless swivel stools, and that was it.  We ended up getting a bistro table that fits in the corner of the kitchen and replaced the 2 swivel stools with 6 stools that have backs.  We LOVE it. It's so much more comfortable, and we have more seating now in the kitchen.  The dining room table is right beside the kitchen, so we have potential for 12 if we want a group for dinner.

     Now we just need to be able to gather with family and friends again!  The good news is that our circle is soon to be fully vaccinated and so much safer.  Yay!  It won't be long until we can host parties again.  And they'll all have a place to sit...not far from the food and drinks!

Today, I celebrate a house ready for a post-Covid gathering!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #18 - Celebrate Teachers


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     Today was a literacy coaching day.  As I connected with teachers throughout the day,  I was reminded about why we need to CELEBRATE them more than ever.  These were the things on their plates today (and other days throughout the coaching year):

1. MAP testing

2. Mask breaks

3. March Madness activities

4. Indoor recess due to storms

5. Spotty access to Chromebooks

6. Quarantines

7. Concurrent classroom - teaching in-person and online simultaneously

8. Spring break on the horizon = antsy kids

9. State testing right after spring break

10. Social distancing

And last, but not least...their own personal family stories during a hard Covid year.


They still wanted to read Breathing New Life into Book Clubs by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen with me in order to get new ideas.  

They were still willing to meet with me to collaborate on plans and best practice strategies.  

They still invited me in to share their classroom and lessons.  

They still laughed with their students and cared about their wellbeing.  

They still plastered their classroom and hallway walls with student work.

They still wanted to know what good books were best for touchstone texts and book clubs.

They still prepared for observations and evaluations.

They still learned about and implemented differentiation strategies.

They still coached sports and academic teams and worked after school.

They still tried their hardest to do right by kids.

Today I celebrate teachers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #17 - Celebrate a Birthday and a Grandpuppy


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     St. Patrick's Day has been a very special day in our family for 28 years.  It is my oldest daughter, Libby's, birthday.  I can remember the anesthesiologist playing an Irish jig in the operating room (she was born caesarean), and after exclaiming, "Look at all that hair!", a nurse  placed a little green bow in her hair.  It's hard to believe those  years have passed so quickly.  First birthday to 28th birthday...

     Now St. Patrick's Day has another special meaning.  Right when quaranting began, our youngest daughter decided it was time to adopt a dog!  Ed found one at a shelter not too far from us.  He and Katie went and checked him out.  He was a young, nervous Springer Spaniel whose family dropped him off after the husband/dad was deployed.  "Toby" had sweet brown eyes, a lovable disposition, but was shy and anxious.  Both Ed and Katie saw through his nerves and saw his goodness.  Despite a rough first night, he's been a joy!  Now his name is Remington (Remi), and he joins our other 2 grandpuppies (who belong to the birthday girl and her husband) as part of the family.  

     Today I celebrate a birthday girl and a grandpuppy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #15 - Celebrate Daughter Time


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     "May I come for dinner tonight?" asked my younger daughter mid-morning.

     "Want to go out to eat?" I counter, since the chef of the house, my husband/her dad, was going to be out of town.

     "Yeah!  Where & what time is good for you?"

     And the restaurant picking begins....Cheesecake Factory, Trio Bistro, Cooper's Hawk, Dewey's?  Ed's love language is cooking, but mine is going out to eat!  One of the hardest parts of the pandemic and quarantining for me was not being able to go to restaurants.  My husband, Ed, is an AMAZING cook (and he loves to eat at home), but there's just something about a good restaurant that I LOVE.  I think it's the fancy cocktails, the conversation, joining friends and family, the lingering over the meal, laughing and talking, the yummy descriptions, the no-clean-up's just so luxurious!  I love going out to eat.

     We ultimately chose Cooper's Hawk.  We had delicious drinks and dinners and got to talk for hours.  Just the two of us.  No distractions of household chores, dogs, doing dishes, tv, phone, etc. Yes, our meals were delicious, but more was time for just us.  No distractions.

     Today, I celebrate time with my Katie.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #15 - Celebrate a Sunrise


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

      Daylight Savings started Sunday morning, and it's always a hard adjustment!  Even though it's great to get that extra hour of light in the evening, you give up an hour of sleep and the commute to work in the sunlight.  I was thinking about that this morning because one of my districts is a 45-50 minute drive.  I needed to get there at 7:45, so it meant driving in the dark again. I had gotten used to the luxury of driving in the light once the days got longer.

     But I got lucky.  As I was driving, I began to see an AMAZING sunrise.  I had to keep glancing at the sky, at my rearview mirror, and at my side-view mirror.  Because we live on the lake and get to enjoy sunrise out our back windows/door, I was HOPING my husband would take a picture.  I decided not to call him to ask.  I just hoped.  It wasn't even a minute or two later that I saw my phone light up with a photo he sent.  I had to smile.  "Thank you," I voice-texted.  "I was hoping you'd send that."

     Today, I celebrate a spectacular sunrise.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #14 - Celebrate Book Clubs and Former Students


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     I've written about my girls' book club for many years now, but just in case you don't know the background, I will catch you up!  When I began teaching gifted ELA in 2012, I started with 4th grade.  The next year, I moved to the 5/6 buidling, so I looped with that first group of kids.  Because of that unique situation, I was fortunate enough to teach them for 3 years.  Needless to say, I grew very close to those kids.  When they moved on to junior high, I had to think of something to keep us connected!  That's when our girls' book club began.

     When we first started, we consistently had around 10-12 girls meet together every month.  We read stacks of books, and we had a great time.  I loved staying a part of their lives.  As they entered high school, our numbers dwindled a bit.  Part-time jobs, more school activities, more homework, etc. competed with their time, but there was a small core who consistently got together.  Once Covid hit, we stopped meeting at the Barnes and Noble Starbucks and met via Zoom.  This photo was our first Zoom meeting on March 29th last year.  Zoom was still fairly new to us all.  We talked books part of the time, but we mostly talked about our new reality.

     Today, we were down to 3 of us, but I love that we still meet!  One of the girls is at Ohio University, so I love hearing all about her activities, classes, and dorm life.  The other girl is in her senior year and made her college decision, so we talked about that and the fact that she's returning to in-person school tomorrow.  And we did talk about books!

     I'm grateful that these former students are part of my life.  Most of them are seniors in high school this year, so I sure hope I will be able to attend their graduation! 

     Today I celebrate book clubs and former students who are still part of my life! 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #13 - Celebrate PUPPIES!


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     Oh my!  Our niece and her boyfriend just brought home a new Yellow Lab puppy, Luna.  We visited and were all smiles.  Top ten cuteness factors:

1. Puppy breath - such a distinct and wonderful smell! (I read once that puppy paws spelled like popcorn - it's true!)
2. Squishy, loose, soft fur
3. Oversized paws
4. Uncoordinated limbs
5. Boundless energy
6. Unconditional love
7. Complete trust
8. Comical playfulness
9. Puppy kisses
10.  The fact that we can go home, and they will have to get up multiple times tonight = great aunt/uncle privileges

Seriously, though, how can you not fall in love instantly?!  Luna is a keeper!  Today I celebrate PUPPIES!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #12 - Celebrate Birthday Bookends


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

                                                          March 2020                                       March 2021

     Birthday bookends.  

     Libby's birthday weekend marks the beginning of the pandemic and the one-year-after mark.  We celebrated our St. Patrick's Day girl the weekend the world began to shut down in 2020.  Our family still got together - knowing, but not knowing, what the year ahead held.  We saw each other a few times the week following, and then...we saw nobody. 

     Now, a year later, we got together and celebrated her birthday again. We are beginning to process what this last year meant.  We feel hope on the horizon.  Vaccinations are rolling out. This weekend, we reflect.  We mourn.  We remember.  We love.  We live.  We look forward.  

     We celebrate.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #11 - Celebrate Learning Together


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

     I wanted to learn about Pear Deck, and I don't have my own classroom anymore. I know Pear Deck has been around for a while, and many teachers have used it.  I could try it out on my own or with teachers, but I really wanted to see how it could engage and empower kids. When I had my own classroom, if I wanted to experiment and learn about a digital tool or try out a new strategy, my students played along with me.  I would tell them, "Look - I like to learn just like you do - can I try this out with you?"  They were always willing to learn alongside me, and I always had kids who would learn it faster than I would and could teach other kids what they learned.

     Today, I was lucky enough to have a class AND a teacher who were willing to try it out.  We made sure there was a pencil and paper backup...just in case, and we were transparent with these 5th graders that we wanted to learn about how this tool worked.  They were like...GAME ON! I'm always amazed at how gracious and enthusiastic kids are when they see that we want to learn with them.  No matter what age.  They are willing to go the distance with us.

     PBS happened to have a Pear Deck template for an Amanda Gorman lesson. I am a HUGE Amanda Gorman fan, so I was intrigued.  I decided to do some revising, though, because I wanted to use "The Miracle of Morning" instead of  "The Hill We Climb" since we are approaching the year mark of the pandemic shut downs. I revised the slides, making it fit our purpose for now, and we were ready!

     The kids got their Chromebooks, and we were ready to experiment!  During one response, there was a prompt about drawing the "vibe or feeling the poem evoked". Whenever kids have a new digital tool (this one include text, a highlighter, a marker, etc), they want to play.  I give them 2-3 minutes to play with all the tools and then focus on the text.  They love the play time - lots of digital scribbling, erasing, and scribbling again - and then they're ready to insert a text box and actually type a response. One student discovered how to overlay the text with a drawing.

I asked, "How did you figure that out?"  

Her teacher said, "That's the thing - they're not afraid to experiment with technology."  

I laughed, and the girl responded, "Well, yeah.  I just played. There's always a trash bin. If you make a mistake, you just dump it."  

I smiled and responded, "Hmmmm.  That's a metaphor for life, don't you think?"

She answered, "Yep. If something doesn't work out, you start over."

The "experiment" worked beautifully, and I'm now a fan of Pear Deck!  But obviously, I celebrate more than Pear Deck. There are always digital tools that work well.  

What I really celebrate today is taking risks, being willing to fail, and learning alongside kids.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Slice of Life Story Challenge #10 - Celebrate Green


It's time for the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!  

My theme for the Challenge is CELEBRATE.

    One of my favorite poetry books for children is Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill, illustrated by John Wallner.  The poems within the beautiful book celebrate colors.  Today, as I was walking in a glorious temperature of 68 degrees, I passed by one of my favorite spots on our lake trail.  It brags one of the early harbingers of spring - daffodils and crocuses.  Today, the daffodils are all green with a hint of yellow tips. I don't know the people who live in the house that is surrounded by all that loveliness, but I imagine they must be poets.  They must have planted all those bulbs, after all.  Anyone who digs into cold, autumn earth to plant a hope of spring must be a poet.  I don't plant bulbs, but I'm going to attempt a poem anyway, using O'Neill's "Green" as inspiration...

What is Green?

Green is the wisp of an early spring flower.
Green is the sharp smell of approaching showers.
Green is a cucumber and crunchy iceberg lettuce.
Green is a climbing vine all over the trellis.
Green is a feeling when you are brand new.
Green is a dollar or maybe a few.
Green is a deep breath when you're feeling afraid,
A calm green coolness spreads over you like the shade.
Green is a grape that squirts in your mouth.
It gets even greener as you travel North to South.
Green is an emerald, a peridot, a jade.
When digging in the garden, green is a spade.
Green is St. Patrick's Day and a 4-leaf clover.
Green is a new season when winter is over.
Green is Kermit the Frog 
and a moss-covered log.
Under a canopy of leaves it is green.
Green is a feeling of squeaky clean.
Green is a lime on the rim of a glass.
Green is a rock skipping over the pond 
with a splash.