Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What Brings Me Joy?

This question was posed to me by a friend a Facebook group. I decided to sit and think about it and make a list. Here's what I came up with...

After I wrote, I decided to flip back to the past week or two in my notebook to see if I'd done this recently. Look what I found...

It's a collection of posts that focus on the joy in life and the funny moments during the day.

If I were forced to pick just one thing that brings me joy, satisfaction, and engagement...it all leads back to the notebook!

Two Writing Teachers provides a space each Tuesday for slice of life posts. Please join us there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

From Chaos to Gratitude

It's May. Chaos. Busy. Hard to catch your breath...

We are going to start state testing next week. We are working on our poetry portfolios this week. 

We are in the middle of our blog takeover at Sharing Our Notebooks this month. 

It's Teacher Appreciation Week.I've declared it Notebook Month. 

AND the year is drawing to a close.  

It's hard to stay in the moment with so much to accomplish, yet that's what I want to do. 

Savor these moments. Notice how seamlessly students are working together. Admire how they pull together in a team when one of their team members is struggling. Appreciate their time and attention and remember that they are probably feeling so many of the same things I am. 

Today, I will savor, admire, appreciate, and remember these things. Today, I am grateful to be a teacher and witness the growth of these students. I'm grateful to do this work alongside kind and funny colleagues. I'm grateful to do this work with compassionate and innovative administrators. 
In the crazy of May, I will remember to be grateful.  

Sharing this slice at the Two Writing Teachers blog today. Join us over there!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I Am Declaring this Notebook Month!

March is Slice of Life Challenge. April is Poetry Month. I am declaring May to be Notebook Month. 

The month when we reconnect with the pages of our notebooks. That's a primary goal for me this month. Get back to the notebook!

My students are reflecting and writing about themselves as notebook-ers this month because of an amazing opportunity! We...they...the sixth-graders are TAKING OVER Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's blog Sharing Our Notebooks

They have signed up voluntarily to write a blog post for every single day in May. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Today I conferenced with every single writer (again) and checked their progress.

The excitement is contagious! They can't wait! I love reading their thoughts on creating their notebook pages and their advice. My favorite part may be their author bios. These students are writers. They see themselves that way...they call themselves writers. We are all writers.  My notebook is going to be busy this month...

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for cultivating this strong and supportive community of slicers. Join us here. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Reflecting on The Hundred Day Project

I've challenged myself to participate in the hundred day challenge. One hundred days! I started on April 1st (the actual challenge began on April 3rd). Today is day twenty-four for me and I'm plugging along. 

I've decided to write a poem every day on my pink typewriter. These poems are short and simple. Sometimes they aren't very good and other days I'm really proud of them, but I'm showing up every day. I think that's the lesson...showing up every day... even when, especially when I don't have anything to say. 

That's what writing is. That's what writers do. They show up to the page every single day and write and I'll continue to do so for seventy-six more days. (That's July 1st, for those who are counting.)

Twenty-four days into the challenge, I wonder...do I regret starting this? Sometimes I wish I hadn't. Sometimes it feels like it's just one more thing until I sit down at my typewriter and I write.

Big goals are achieved by writing one little word, one little line, one little poem at a time...

I wonder how this challenge will change me. I wonder how my writing will change. I wonder what it will feel like to have one hundred poems that I wrote...I'm glad I'm doing this!

To my partner...my pink typewriter! 

Thank you to the team at Two Writing Teachers for providing this space for our slices. It's a powerful community and I'm grateful to be part of it. 
Join us, every Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Five AM Field Trip

Monday was rainy and cold and, well, it was Monday. Why was I awake and out of my house by 4:40 AM? We had a field trip to visit 94.7 Fresh FM. We were invited to be guests of "The Tommy Show".

We spent a few hours watching Tommy, Kelly, and Jen create incredible entertainment.They shared their tips and advice with the middle-schoolers. They listened. They answered questions. They treated the students with such kindness, generosity, and respect.  

Students got the opportunity to record a promo for their segment, "Can't Beat Kelly". It was amazing getting to stand back and watch these kids speak on the radio. A few students interviewed Tommy and Kelly too. 

As the morning came to an end, they decided to film some of our segments in the studio. Just watching these students grab Tommy and ask him to be in the joke of the day or asking for advice made my heart grow with pride. They had fun. They took our time here seriously and I watched them learn from the best. 

This teacher's heart is full. This day is one of those teaching days I will hold close. I loved getting to watch these students take advantage of this amazing opportunity. I am so proud of them! Here are some of my favorite moments from our time together. Enjoy!

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for the call for the slice of life posts every Tuesday. Join us here, every Tuesday. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Typewriter Poetry

Today begins a new challenge. For 100 days I will create something new each day. It's called #the100dayproject I wasn't sure about starting a new project as soon as I completed the slice of life challenge, but I'm jumping in. What do I have to lose?

The slice of life challenge this year was challenging. It felt different. I can't figure out why. I read tons of end of challenge reflections and I'm not the only one who felt different. Dare I say, it felt easier this year? I felt like my heart wasn't in it on lots of days...like I was doing it to do it. As I look back and reflect, I'm not sure why, but I've decided it doesn't really matter. I wrote every day for 31 days. I have eight sixth-graders that completed the challenge and six more that came close. The writing always nudges me to grow and doing it with students is an inspiration.

Which leads me to this new challenge...I am going to write a poem using my typewriter for the next 100 days. (Follow me on Instagram to see the challenge.)
Can I do it? Yes.
Will I do it? I hope so.

My pink typewriter brings me a child-like joy
Clacking on the keys
Feels like I'm really making something

The finished products
look beautiful
and messy...
truly poetry.

Here's to another challenge...will you join me?!?!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Never Underestimate the Power of Kindness

I just returned home from a walk to the grocery store. I had a couple of things to pick up and the sun is shining, so it's a good excuse for a walk. 

Going to the grocery store engenders strong emotions in me. Some days I feel invisible and I feel sad and alone. Those are the days when people run into my cart or cut in front of me or stop in the middle of the aisle and never offer an apology or even recognize that they've inconvenienced me. Let me stop right here and own the fact, that I'm sure there have been days that I've been that person for others. 

Today's trip started off rocky. A woman walked in front of my cart three times and stopped. I had nowhere to go. She didn't acknowledge me. Frustrated, I moved around her and tried to remember one of my mantras, "Everyone has a story." I imagined she might be having a troublesome day and I wished her well...silently, in my head. 

When I arrived at the check-out, my usually swamped grocery store, had a cashier waiting for me...with no line. She was nice and said hello. We chatted for a moment. I thanked her for double bagging my first bag because I was walking. She stopped and said, "You're walking? If you'll bear with me a moment, I have something special for you." She got out the brown paper bags with handles. She double-bagged those for me and carefully packed my purchases. We reminisced about doing this when we were younger, her in New York and me in Boston. I left feeling good. 

As I walked home, I remembered back to my college days of walking with grocery bags. I felt young and light and happy...just because a cashier double-bagged my groceries in paper bags. She took a few extra minutes to care for me. That meant something to me! Never underestimate the power of kindness. 

This marks the end of a month of writing slices. Thank you for reading! It's been a month of growth and learning for me. I'm grateful for the experience. 

I'm announcing my participation in the #100dayproject on Instagram. I have a plan. It begins tomorrow. I am going to try and post my "projects" here too...so keep an eye out. We will see how this goes! Check out the hashtag on Instagram, if you'd like to join me!

March is the Slice of Life Challenge.
I'll be sharing a post each day in the month of March.
Please join me at Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Friday, March 30, 2018

I Don't Wanna Do It

This year, I find myself kicking and screaming towards the end. In my best recollection, I've never felt like this before about slicing. I wonder what's changed?  Honestly, the only thing that's bringing me back day after day in this final week, is my students. I have students who have committed to this challenge. Sixth-graders are slicing over spring break. What can I possibly tell them? I didn't feel like it?!?! I forgot?!?! NO.

That's why I'm here. Writing. Blogging. Slicing. Tomorrow is the final day. I confess...I'm excited to be finished. The feeling for me is different this year. I'll need to reflect on why that is, but right now, I just notice and accept it.

Today is Friday. I spent the afternoon with friends. We laughed and talked and listened. It was the best part of my week. Sitting with people who know me and hear me and like me. I hope your Friday was filled with joy. 

March is the Slice of Life Challenge.
I'll be sharing a post each day in the month of March.
Please join me at Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Break Reflection

My favorite things about this break...
a more relaxing morning routine
more time to read & write & create
lunches out with friends
going to see a matinee
the freedom to make my own schedule

The things I don't like about this break...
lots of alone time
feeling invisible sometimes
rain and chilly weather
no traveling
so much to get done

Yet as this break comes to an end
I'm grateful for time to reflect
I'm grateful for time to write
I'm grateful for time to finish things
I'm grateful...

March is the Slice of Life Challenge.
I'll be sharing a post each day in the month of March.
Please join me at Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I Have Too Much to Say!

I have too much to say...
Thoughts swirling 
in my head
about life
and the path of life
and the twists and turns
but I don't want to 
write about it here.

Where does that 
leave me?
My confusion
stifles my
ability to write.

Nothing else

these thoughts
refuse to leave-
they strangle,
and swirl-

Where can I go?
Where can I share 
these wonderings?
Where I can untangle 
this mess?

The pages,
the private 
 of my 

Sometimes a blog is not the right place for me to write. Sometimes I need privacy to figure things out. That's how I've been feeling the past day or two. Today I started and stopped this blog post more times than I can count...until I realized what the problem really is. My writing is private today. It's for me. That's what the poem was trying to say. 

March is the Slice of Life Challenge.
I'll be sharing a post each day in the month of March.
Please join me at Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!