Monday, March 28, 2016

{solsc} 28/31 #sol16 Currently

Listening: The gentle snores of Chloe sleeping on the couch. She loved visiting my family and our kids this weekend, but it made for a couple of long days, with no naps for her.  Today, she seldom left the couch, even as nice as it was outside.

Loving: This new season of "Dancing With the Stars" (and now my Monday nights are complete again. Aside from a couple, this season's stars have great potential and have already danced some amazing performances.

Thinking: School starts back up tomorrow. I keep thinking of what I have to do when I get there in the morning. But the truth is, my student teacher is in charge. We talked about her plans and what she'll be doing with the kids this week. I plan to work on a new unit for after she's gone.  

Wanting: A hot fudge sundae, with peanuts. That's what I really want. But I settled for Greek yogurt.

Needing: Honestly. Nothing. My life is pretty great right now (well, aside from other people's health issues). I guess my need is for those I love to be healthy.

Pet Peeve: When my husband makes a phone call right as I call him for dinner.  I understand why he was just bugs me :)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

{solsc} 26/31 #sol16 Even This Week

Discover. Play. Build.

You've had those weeks, haven't you?
This week we've found out that my husbands twin brothers will both be having major surgery a day apart. One will have a quadruple bypass and the other will be having surgery to remove cancer on his tongue. And then we found out that one of our very best friends was told surgery wasn't possible and he has maybe a year to live.

This all sucks.  And it's hard to celebrate. 

But I will.

Because both my mom and sister (cancer survivors) received clean bills of health. We went to my hometown on Friday to visit and enjoyed the time we got to spend with everyone. We then drove north and spent time with our boys and their families. It was just the thing we needed--to laugh and love with our kids and grandkids. :)

My husband and I are both healthy. And trust me. We have been making sure of that. 

We hit fourth quarter at school, so summer is right around the corner. As much as I've enjoyed this year, summer will be welcomed.  

Even though we received 5 or 6 inches of snow, plus ice, on Thursday, it really wasn't so bad. If you have to have a late snow day, having it the day before Easter break is a good time to have it. 5 day weekend! And, it's melting pretty quickly. 

My resolution for the last five days is to write posts worth reading and not rush them before bed!  Let's hope I can do it!

Friday, March 25, 2016

{solsc} 25/31 #sol16 Cancer sucks

We moved to the area about the same time and met when our oldest sons joined the local Cub Scout pack.  I volunteered to be a leader, Tom was willing to help. Little did we know almost 30 years later, the four of us would still be friends.

We've helped raise each other's kids, celebrated holidays, birthdays, and graduations together. We've been neighbors both in town and the lake. We go to concerts together and enjoy each others company in the quiet of a campfire. 

We've supported each other through the deaths of parents, kids getting in trouble and health issues. Only now, this latest health issue will separate us, will rip apart a friendship strong enough to survive anything. Anything except this.

Cancer sucks.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

{solsc} 24/31 #sol16 Tonight

Your world seems to
out from under you

This has been one of 
those weeks

The words won't come
I don't want them to yet

Tomorrow will be better
Tonight I will wallow in

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

{solsc} 23/31 #sol16 What Did I Do Today?

I did it!
I left my room today.
It's not that I don't trust my student teacher--I do. But I like chatting with her and the kids. I just knew I had to get out of there and let her do her thing.

But was does a teacher who isn't teaching do all day?

I left this note on the board for my students--just so they don't forget me. We're in a Winter Storm Warning, so I know the questions on all of their minds is "Will we get out early?" and "Will we have
school tomorrow?" My note answers both questions!

First hour, I said hello to my independent writing students and reminded them of deadlines and then went to the art room and gushed over the painting of her walls. I reminded her that when she got done having kids paint her walls, I do have one rather large one they could use for a canvas.

Second hour is our prep period. Since I didn't really have work to do, I mostly checked the radar to see how the storm was doing. I forwarded a couple of important emails to Amanda.

Third hour was exciting! I was sitting in the lounge watching this great TedTalk about Procrastination  (there's more below the video)

Just as I finished, the art teacher came in with her student observer. She needed some graphic novels to look at to use for mentor texts in a lesson she was designing combining art and literacy!  WooHoo! Someone needed me.

That lasted for about five minutes.

And I'm back. Writing a blog post.

Fourth-sixth hours found me in the support services room so I could try and get a little work done. I slipped a bit after lunch and spent some time in my room talking to kids. But I realized I was interfering in what Amanda was doing and left to work.  And I did. A little. I started looking at resources for the digital storytelling unit I do in Creative Writing. I've moved it to the last few weeks of school and want to expand it a bit. I took a few notes and tried to concentrate, but man, it was tough!

Seventh hour found me back in the lounge, trying to accomplish something. People kept coming in and chatting, so finally I gave up on the work and just spent time talking with those I don't get to see all that often. And you know what? It was nice. And I'm not going to feel guilty!

Eighth hour I finally gave up and went into my room. The weather was getting bad. The lights were flickering on and off. Excuses, yes. But it was nice to be back. And get caught up on the happenings of the day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

{solsc} 22/31 #sol16 Why I Stayed

I fully intended to turn in my application a few weeks ago for one of the instructional coaching positions being offered in our district.  I worked on my resume, my cover letter and the application itself. I looked back on my career, thought about ways I've been a leader in our district, and ways I've been not so great.

I completed question after question. Aside from a little wordsmithing, it was ready to turn in. Well, editing work and one question

Why do you want this job?

I looked over my pros and cons list. I talked with peers about the job. I reread my answers.
But none of what I read and heard seemed like reasons to leave what I love.

My kids.

I thought about my pixie, who almost took her cutting too far
And A, who always needs to talk on Mondays after a weekend with her mother
And then there's the new boy. So angry when he first started, but now he's fitting in and wanting to raise his grades so he can go out for football in the fall.
They all need someone who cares.

I thought about my credit recovery class--the class that makes me thing about every assignment I make as an English teacher. I can do better for them and I want another shot at doing just that.

So I trashed the application and will stay in my room at the back of the school, working hard to do what's best for kids----MY kids.

Monday, March 21, 2016

{solsc} 21/31 #sol16 The Hardest Thing About a Student Teacher

Do you know what the hardest part of having a student teacher is?

Keeping my mouth shut.

It's not that she is doing anything wrong or needing my help, or forgetting anything.

She's wonderful!

We talked about what I wanted kids to do in writing units and then I turned her loose with Gallagher's Write This Way and my informative writing unit.  She came up with four great days of playing with informative writing before she asked them to start their actual pieces (I am going to steal one particular activity!). She walks around and checks in with kids and has plans to conference with them all on Thursday. The kids are responding well to her. I love it.

She's also doing the informative speech unit. And again, came up with great plans. Today we both walked around and checked in with kids about what they are thinking of researching. I should have stayed out of the way, though. She's got this handled! When I'm in the room, some kids talk to me instead of her.  And I, of course, answer back.

It's hard to sit back and let her take over, but I need to.

She and I could team teach very easily.  And that's a good thing.

But I have to keep my mouth shut.  Or stay out of the room....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

{solsc} 20/31 #sol16 Show Up and Write

I need to write
want to write
have to write

I can't think of anything to write about
(insert whiny teenager voice)

a moment
It's all I need to do
A moment

Maybe that's the problem
There have been a lot of
moments lately

Breathing becoming normal
Writing begins to flow

Show Up

Saturday, March 19, 2016

{solsc} 19/31 #sol16 Celebrate! It's All About the Basketball

Every Saturday Ruth Ayres invites us to celebrate the little moments in our lives that bring us joy.  Whether from the classroom or our own lives, it's important to focus on those things that make us smile.... Or as Ruth said in a post the other day,

"When I choose to celebrate, I no longer have space for complaining."
Discover. Play. Build.

I  love March Madness.  Watching college basketball gets me through the winter. I follow the ups and downs of lots of teams, so when March comes around, I am in 7th heaven. I read ESPN and CBS articles. Follow lots of people on Twitter who are in the know and I fill out brackets everywhere. The tournament is fun to watch, but this year, there is a lot to cheer for! All three Iowa teams made the tournament AND won their first round game---two of them on last second shots.

My birthday was Thursday, so that brought many, many little moments to celebrate.
  • Facebook wishes that went on for days
  • An early morning phone call from my granddaughter
  • Being sung Happy Birthday by a high school class
  • Dinner out
  • Basketball started :)
My hubby really wanted to do something this weekend and kept making suggestions. When I suggested something for him to do that didn't include me, he looked at me and said, "You just want to watch basketball all weekend, don't you?"  

Yes. Yes, I do. I've been working ten hour days and many weekends with speech. I need to nest this weekend. And it's how I want to celebrate my birthday. 

So I am. It's why I love my husband--he gets me. He might not always like it, but he understands my need to nest periodically.  So today I will putz around my house--repotting plants, rearranging things, cleaning upstairs, playing with Chloe 

and watching basketball.

Friday, March 18, 2016

{solsc} 18/31 #sol16 The Things We Carry

At some point last year, my friend, Christy Rush-Levine, posted a blogging challenge for her students. The prompt for day 1 of the challenge was

The Things We Carry

Things we carry

Some days, I carry more than homework and lesson plans home in my bag. Some days, I carry
     Heartache and

Those damn kids.
The ones who don't do homework,
Who cause trouble in the back of the room
The ones acting all tough
Like nothing bothers them

Those damn kids are the ones I carry
Those damn kids, whose parents don't seem to care
Or don't know how to care
Who don't seem to worry
Those damn kids
Whose parents kicked them out of the house,
Who have no one else who wants them

That's the
     Heartache and
I carry with me

Thursday, March 17, 2016

{solsc} 17/31 #sol16 Since My Last Birthday...

Some people hate them. They dread them coming around every year. They lie about their age.

I love them.

I celebrate my birthday as long as I can and proudly admit that this year I am 59.  Although, I'm wondering if I should have kept my mouth shut at school. There were a few, "OOO. Next year's a big one. We're going to have to do something."

I woke up this morning and checked Facebook. So many birthday wishes. I loved this one from my high school friend, Dan.

One of my granddaughters called me before school while she was riding the bus to school.

A friend's daughter sang me Happy Birthday in the enthusiastic way only a five-year-old can.

A class sang to me later in the morning, while also tormenting me with bananas (I hate them. The class thinks it's funny to torment me).

My husband took me out for supper and I had bacon wrapped shrimp. And green beer.

And, of course, March Madness starts today, so there are plenty of college hoops to watch the next few days:)

And Andrew Smith and Gae Polisner wished me Happy Birthday. I feel like a rock star, although I'm sure they wish everyone Happy Birthday...

I love my birthday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

{solsc} 16/31 #sol16 All It Takes Is the Right Book

"I'm going to have to buy the next book of this series."


These words came from the mouth of Mechanic Boy. A self-proclaimed nonreader in my credit recovery class. 

But he's read TWO books this quarter. Really read them. As a class we read Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. 

It didn't suck. And we had great discussions.

Then we started an independent reading unit. Student could choose their own book and they would read it in 15 days. 15. Days. 

I was crazy, wasn't I?

Mechanic Boy was home from school yesterday with food poisoning. He finished the book. Finished the book on day 6! And loved it. He has to order the next one because "The author stopped this book is a really bad spot."  In other words, Mechanic Boy needs to find out what happened.

He kept telling Amanda (student teacher) and I that he still wasn't a reader. He just liked this book. I kept telling him, "Everyone is a reader. Some just haven't found the right book. Looks like you found yours."

He smiles, but still isn't convinced. 

I ordered the next book. It'll be here Friday.

The book that hooked him? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

{solsc} 15/31 #sol16 A New View...

It's so strange, sitting in my classroom and not being the one who leads the lesson. But that's what I did today as my student teacher, Amanda, lead my Creative Writing students in activities that will lead to informative writing.

She did a great job. And most of the kids kept on task as she led them through what she wanted them to do.

What did I notice?
Most of them had phones out and sneakily texted any moment they could.  Until I moved into their area and sat down.  That's the great thing about the comfortable furniture in my room. There are lots of places to sit and observe. And phones silently got put away.  I need to deal with this.

My room is a comfortable place to be.  Nice spaces. But. I feel bad for Amanda, because the seating is not of her choosing and it's hard, I know, for her to teach a lesson, while being observed by her advisor and me.  I'm not sure I can do much about this for her. But I'll check with her tomorrow and see if she has some ideas.

End of the year syndrome seems to have kicked in--in all of my classes--we still have a quarter to go. What can we do to combat this?

This is why I love having a student teacher. I get to look at my classes from a new perspective.  And fix what's broken!

Monday, March 14, 2016

{solsc} 14/31 #sol16 Avoidance

There are lots of ways to avoid doing school work (I'm writing a blog post, for instance), but some of my students have become masters of it in my room.  I've started a list of all the ways they stay off task and, sometimes, get me off-task too!

How to Avoid Doing Your Work in Mrs. Day's Room

1. Help another student with their homework--especially Math homework! Students know I  love those who collaborate and help each other out. Teaching someone else is a great way to show our own understanding of the work. HOWEVER!  Get your work for my class done first!

2. Discuss politics.  I can't help it. I'm a political junkie. And I love students who are taking an interest in politics, even if they can't vote yet.  Quote from a student in one particular class, "Any thought is three sentences away from being about politics".

3. Tell Me About Your Car (job, accident, girl/boy friend) I'm a sucker for talking to kids and love to hear about their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes I get a little carried away. And I have an at-risk student who is passionate about his cars--driving them, wrecking them, restoring them. I receive a daily update on the cars in his life.

4. Youtube videos. I hate them. Students love them. A constant battle.

5. Write stories about someone in the class or me for the writing prompt. There was a week where I was killed very creatively every day. The next week, it was another student.  These are always a way to get everyone in the room off task.

6. Fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend via text messages. Then make-up.

7. Snapchat stories. Gotta keep that streak alive!

8. In March, start talking basketball. We all have brackets and we're all experts--until Thursday, at least.


10. When all else fails--or the assignment is due at the end of the hour. Do the assignment!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

{solsc} 13/31 #sol16 Contentment

I am so content and peaceful as I sit in my chair, while the rain taps gently at the window. It is the contentment of being happy with who I am, decisions I have made and who I am with.

This time in our life is just for us, my husband and I. There is an easy rhythm to our life now. An ebb and flow. A give and take.

Life is good.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

{solsc} 12/31 #sol16 State Speech Celebrations

Discover. Play. Build.

I'm home after 15 hours of Speech today--5 on the bus and 10 at contest. I'm tired. Really tired. So today you get my celebration in tweets. And Pictures. Selfies mostly, because they're teenagers after all. But their chosen poses. I have to apologize to those I missed today, they all did great also!

Friday, March 11, 2016

{solsc} 11/31 #sol16 YIKES!

It's been a day.

Met with my student teacher's advisor before school.
Printed ballots for contest tomorrow--and the bus list, don't forget the bus list.
Packed the crate and the cart for contest--don't forget the projector--and the "clicker"--and the adaptor...
Reprinted Anna's poem, but not John and Mitchell's radio news transitions--they forgot to send them!
Oh, yea. Need paper for radio news--and check the radio boxes and make sure they have tape.

What else?  I know I must be forgetting something.

Rehearse after school
Who's coming for one last practice?
Today, no critique. Just remember what you need to do tomorrow.
Kelly's computer still doesn't connect with projector...remember to take mine
Send me your presentation...

What else? I know I must be forgetting something.

Time to head home
I forgot my keys! Thank heavens I remembered before I left the building!

What else? I know I must be forgetting something.

Head to the store--need cheese popcorn for tomorrow. It's a long day.
Get home. Note on the fridge. Need milk. Back to the store.
Might as well pick up a few other things {wine}

What else? I know I must be forgetting something.

Home again.
Make peanut butter/chocolate chip bars for kids.
Don't forget to take one out and leave home for Greg.

Sit down with that glass of wine.
What else? I know I must be forgetting something.

I haven't written a blog post today!

This is just gonna hafta do!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

{solsc} 10/31 #sol16 5 Question Challenge: Chloe Style

A few days ago Michelle at One Grateful Teacher posted a 5 Question Challenge. Chloe read it and thought she might try it. Evidently she has a few things to share.

1. What has been your one biggest struggle this school year.
Well, I don't go to school anymore (I did for a little bit when I was a puppy, but I graduated with flying colors, so I don't have to go back anymore.) But Mom is a teacher, in case you didn't know, and my biggest problem with that is she goes to school early in the morning and comes home when it's dark out. I hate that she's gone all day and doesn't come home til supper time. Dad's home more now, but he doesn't always play with me like Mom does. But she told me yesterday that next week she will be home earlier and we can start going for walks again!

2. Share two accomplishments that you are proud of this school year?
Ummmmm. What's an a --ccom--p--lish---ment?  Hmmm. Mom says it's something I should be proud of.   Hmmmmm.  I made a new friend last month when we went to visit the Wisconsin people.  His name was Freddy and I wasn't scared of him or nothing. He was kind of annoying sometimes, but he was littler than me, so instead of laying on the floor I would just stand up and look at him and then he would leave me alone.

And, let's see, I chased a rabbit earlier this winter and almost got it.  Rabbits are really fast, in case you didn't know. I'll bet when Mom and I start walking again and I get back into running shape I'll be able to catch it.

3. What are 3 things you would like to accomplish before the end of the school year?
I would really, really, really like to go to school with Mom one day. She says there are lots of kids there and that they would like me. I love kids and getting petted and stuff.  Don't you think I should be able to go.
The other two things are easy. I want to go for walks and go back to the lake house.  I love the lake house. We went to visit people a couple times, but we haven't gone to our house and I want to.  I want to see my people and run on the beach.
And's starting to get nice out. It's been kinda warm this week--well, except for yesterday--and I like to lay in the sun in the backyard. But I would sure like to get out and move!  I've got to check and see if there are any new dogs on our walks. And those dumb squirrels start taking over if I'm not checking up on them, so it's time to go!

4. Give four reasons you remain in education despite today's rough culture.
HUH???? I don't understand most of the words in this question. But Mom tells me she keeps teaching because kids need her. I try to tell her that I do too, but she says there are kids who don't have nice Moms and Dads like I do. Mom says that some of her kids don't have many people to tell them how great they are, or smile at them, or hug them, or care if they come to school. That would be horrible. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't hug Mom and Dad every day, or if they didn't care about me. She also says even if they have nice ones at home, they need a school mom and that's what she is. 
So I guess I'll share her for a couple more years anyway.  

I know this isn't four reasons, but Mom says it's so important it counts for four.

5. Which five people do you hope will take this challenge by answering these questions?
Well, I would like my friends to answer this, but they don't have blogs and Mom's who let them write, so I guess I hope some of the other blogging kids will talk their parents into writing. Do you think they will? So, I guess, if you read this you can answer some of them if you want. It would be fun to see what you say. 

Gee. This was kind of fun. I hope Mom lets me write again soon!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

{solsc} 9/31 #sol16 Frozen

He sits and stares
He acts like he's working
The simple act of emailing
He's abandoning his book
Freezes him

He wants no help, but he's
And nothing will come
I know it's in there
How do I help him
Release it?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

{solsc} 8/31 #sol16 The Things I Want Her To Notice

Today, my student teacher Amanda starts for real. Yesterday was in-service. Today, my kids come into the picture. And today, having a student teacher makes me nervous. I'm not nervous about her abilities. She's already been hired for next year and she was their top pick. She did a great job in her other placement. But....

Those are my kids. And just like any parent, I want the best for them. And I want people to see the amazing things in them that I do.

I need her to notice

  • My quiet author and the shy smile you get when you read her work
  • The slacker kid who is reading more books this year than ever before
  • The passion of my auto mechanic and how excited he is that I found a car book for him
  • Those crazy political kids really do know what they are talking about
  • My pixie in homebase who needs a smile and support every day
  • My 8th grade Big Bang Theory boys are many, many things besides smart
  • My 8th grade girls are smart too and smart is good. They need positive role models to stay that way
  • The boy behind the hair. And there are several.
  • The ones who are finding their way in the world
  • The sweetness of the snowboarder (and learn his story)
  • The angry boy just wants approval
  • My hunter girl really struggles and needs positive support in class
  • Improv boy is more than funny. He's caring and smart and creative in other ways
  • That sometimes, an "I don't care" attitude is masking a fear of failure
  • That these kids will do anything for a teacher they like
There's more, of course. And, I'm sure she'll be amazing with my kids. Not too amazing, though. They're still mine!

Monday, March 7, 2016

{solsc} 7/31 #sol16 A Little Ramble

I fully intended to write this morning. I woke up at 5:30 am and got right out of bed, showered and grabbed a cup of coffee. Went to my chair, grabbed the computer, and opened up.  My Feedly page is the first thing I see, so I start reading blogs. Then I head to Twitter and check out the #sol16 feed. I read some more and commented on a few. I'm finding it so much easier to find blogs to read on Feedly and Twitter. Sometimes the list on Two Writing Teachers is overwhelming!

Before I knew it, it was 7:15 and time to get ready and go!  My student teacher started today, I had to be ready! I had just enough time at school to straighten up things--I left things kind of a mess on Friday after rehearsals. I've been in touch with my student teacher since last December--and she has visited twice, so there wasn't as much of an awkward "get to know you" conversation. I hated that she started on an in-service day. Not much excitement there! I gave her a heads up on some things I had planned for her to do and also let her know that she could try anything she wanted when she was teaching. How are you ever going to know if a plan works unless you try it out on real kids!

The afternoon was meant for me to work on aligning standards to units in my speech course, but I will admit to spending most of it talking with Amanda (the student teacher). I also had a student-led conference with a student and her dad via Google Hangout. Dad's in a wheelchair and was having a difficult time making it up to school for the conference. The hangout worked awesome and we'll definitely try it again.

But now, I'm home. And still hadn't written a blog post. And I was really starting to procrastinate. The weather has turned warmish, the birds are chirping, and my deck was calling (even though all the furniture is still packed in the garage). It would have been easy not to write, but instead, you get a rambling post about my day, while my writing partner and I enjoy a warmish day with a few sprinkles...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

{solsc} 6/31 #sol16 Good-bye Weekend

to those imaginary hours
that seem to stretch to 
on Friday. 
The possibilities are endless.

I can clean my house
write in my notebook
start another book
write lesson plans
grade papers

And then, when the work is
I can
visit friends
do a little shopping
play with Chloe

here it is on Sunday night
and my bag sits beside me
a bare sketch of lesson plans

Where did those hours go?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

{solsc} 5/31 #sol16 Celebrating MOMENTS

Discover. Play. Build.

My favorite day of the week. Celebration Saturday.  I was celebrating my week before Ruth started her Celebration link-up, but I love that now I can celebrate with others.  Once you start finding the JOY in your week, those little MOMENTS help BALANCE out your life.

I've been more intentional about celebrating MOMENTS this year since I joined Ali Edwards One Little Word class this year.  I'm not sure what actually prompted me to do it, but I'm happy about it. I'm more conscious of taking little MOMENTS just for me, of keeping track of those MOMENTS in my notebook and, sometimes, just enjoying them.

This week I celebrate:

  • Our family message chat:  We have a group chat on Facebook that just makes me smile. I never know when a silly picture, a news article link, or just a check-in will pop up. We visit and call when we can, but those mid-week connections just make my day.
  • Kids who trust and respect you. I wrote about a group of them the other day, but I can't help but give them all a shout-out today.  
  • Chocolate. Unexpected gifts of it. From a student. Enough said
  • Chloe hugs. Someday we will have to record a Chloe greeting when we've been gone for awhile (and five minutes is a while).  She gives the best hugs ever.
  • Time to finish a book. Last night I made Friday night mine. I finished an escape book, had a glass of wine, and watched fun TV. A perfect night.
  • I work with amazing educators. People who care about students and the state of education. We work hard to improve, to do our best for kids.  
  • Today we will head north and visit with old friends.  There's nothing better.

I'm sure there is more, but that's all I've got this morning.  Enjoy your weekend. Celebrate the MOMENTS.  


Friday, March 4, 2016

{solsc} 4/31 #sol16 First Hour View From My Desk

First Hour View From My Desk

Monday or Friday--
First day of piece or
the last--
The hum of the projector and
the clicking of keys are the only sounds
I hear.
They are quiet,
Oh, so quiet.
Not an ominous quiet
Like something terrible has happened.

It's the quiet of eight writers with a deadline to meet.

Real Writers
Concentrating on their piece
Enjoying the process.

This is a snippet about my first hour Creative Writing 2 class, an independent study, allowing students to write what they wish. They are the quietest, most serious group I have ever had. And they are fabulous writers.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

{solsc} 3/31 #sol16 "Those Kids"

I admit to being worried about "those kids", the ones in the credit recovery class I didn't intend to teach. How would they handle a new sub the first time I was gone?

I shouldn't have worried.

We have built a community, a family, a tribe.  I respect them. They respect me.

We had a conversation the first day of class in January. Why did they hate English? Why did they fail the first time?

They were honest and thoughtful. They took the blame for some things. They explained why they didn't always get things done and handed in. They acknowledged that the reason some teachers don't like them is partly their fault. The power of conversation is important.

They all have reputations...druggie, skipper, lazy, teacher hater.

One of "those kids" is the best big brother I have ever seen. He truly loves his younger siblings and will do anything for them. He was the first one who answered the question, "Why don't you behave like this in other classes?"

Another is a car engine prodigy. He missed school one day last week. When he came the next day, he explained that he decided to tear the engine out of a car before school. He fully intended to clean up and come. But he just got involved. And then, before he knew it, he was late. So he stayed home. He'd rather work on the car.

One is a reader. And she reads a lot. She just doesn't like reading "stupid stories" and answering all those questions.  But she will read big books that intimidate the others.  She really appreciates the small class size and takes me up on "you can come and talk to me anytime". With a little attention, she is thriving.

A concussion last year sidelined another of them. She got so far behind that she just gave up. So she comes to class every day and sits by herself. But she does the work and will regain her credit. This one is hard for me to get close to. She doesn't open up and talk like the others, even though I've had her in class before.

The last was my hardest to understand. He was the teacher hater. He didn't talk much at first. He listened to the others and took my measure. In the beginning, I would give him "the eye" when he gave a little attitude. I don't have to do that anymore. He may be the kindest of them all. He's always the first to volunteer to help with math homework on days I give them time to work on any class they need to.  Today, I found out he wants to be an engineer.

So twice today, once when I read my sub's notes and once when and administrator came in and asked if I was having any trouble--behavior wise or attendance wise--with any classes. I said no--my classes are amazing.  "Not even with the credit recovery class?"

Nope. Not even with "those kids".  My favorite class. My tribe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

{solsc} 2/31 #sol16 Chloe Writes

Mom's gone.

She left me. One minute she was here and playing with me. And then she was gone!

I should have known when she got the gosh darned suitcase out last night. I should have known.  But I thought maybe she was just getting ready for the weekend. Dad wants to go some place this weekend and I heard him say I get to go. But NOOOOOO. I have to stay home.

Even Dad's not here. You don't think he went with her, do you? Do you think he will be home later? I know I'm getting older, but I still hate being home alone. There's nothing to do--no one to play with. I just lay on the bed and look out the window.  Sometimes I cry.

I'm so bored this winter. I don't even care the stupid squirrel is up in the tree or the cat lives under the deck. Everyone is sooooo busy and no one has time to play. I don't even get play dates. I just have to stay home and look out the window at the neighbors.

Wait!  I hear something.  It's DAD!!!!!!  He's home. He's home. He's home.  I'll bet he'll play with me too. I can run up and down the stairs and get hime to chase me. And then I'll get supper!  And I can sit in his chair with him! I love when my people are home.

But, I'm still mad at Mom. Do you think she'll come home tonight?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

{solsc} 1/31 #sol16 And, We Begin Again

6 years.

That's how long Chloe and I have been participating in the Slice of Life March challenge.

6 years.

Last year I wasn't sure I would participate, but when that calendar page turned, here I was. Ready to write again.

This year I didn't question. I just knew I would.

I'm a writer, you see. And a writer must write.

I'm Chloe. I'm 6 years old and I'm a writer too. I complain a lot about this whole March blogging thing, but it's really kind of fun.
Well, it's fun if Mom lets me write. 

I looked back over my previous first posts and found that I said pretty much the same thing every time. I'll let you go back and see them for yourself if you want. They explain a lot about who I am and what I write about. Chloe tends to....'s my turn to write. You don't get to tell about me!
I haven't been a big fan of Mom's blog and this whole challenge thing. It takes away from fun stuff. But I'm more grown-up this year, so I decided not to whine about it.  I'm going to let Mom write when she needs to. Maybe if I don't whine, we'll be able to play more when she's done.

I've been getting ready to write during the last week. Thanks to Michelle's advice I set up all my blog posts for the month. I can see where this will help a lot on those hectic days when I'm not sure I have time to write. I also have a Pinterest board with blogging ideas for those days when "nothing happens" and a list in my writer's notebook.  I know that I write better in the morning, so I plan to write my posts with my kids in Creative Writing. I'll probably comment after school, though. It just seems to be a better time for me to do that.

I plan on having treats. I'll do anything for a treat!

Chloe's right. Treats are good. Maybe writing with a cup of really good coffee in the morning--or if I procrastinate, a glass of wine at night.

Hey! I thought you said no whining!

Not that kind of whine, Chloe...

3/17 I'm So Lucky

  I'm so lucky to have a birthday on St. Patrick's Day☘️ Everyone likes to celebrate my birthday (even if they don't like green ...