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Showing posts from March, 2018

{solsc} 31/31 #sol18 . So Long. Farewell.

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So here we are. 31 Days of Slicing is over. For some, they won't post again until next March. And that's OK. Keep writing. Others will continue to slice and post on Tuesdays. And that's good. Keep writing. Some won't post anywhere, but they will write. I love that. Keep writing. Writing is important no matter when and where you do it.  Keep writing. I've been writing most every day since January and now it's a habit. A good habit. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some new writing prompts to add to my writer's notebook pages (I HATE a blank notebook page when I sit down to write.)  In my daily writing habit, I've discovered a few things: I write better and more consistently when I write in the morning. I have a morning brain and I know that. I need to schedule the time and just write. I write better when I have a plan or a prompt. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some

{solsc} 30/31 #sol18 . Hello There (A list)

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Hello There... I am   not feeling very well, so I'm going to try this list style of post I keep   writing ideas on my Pinterest board, in my notebook and on my computer but they all took too much thought today. I wish I could   write blog posts ahead of time every day. But I can't. I love   these kind of posts when I'm having trouble being prolific I dance   my fingers around on the keyboard, hoping they will work some magic...they didn't. I sing   the Writer's Block Blues the end of every March.  I think    what I want to write tomorrow to say goodbye to this slicing challenge I really   want to write something fun and playful OR reflective about the month I need   to get my notebook ready for the month of April. I might be done slicing every day, but I am NOT done writing every day. I should   find some new prompts to help me write next week and put them on the pages of the my notebook. I can   take my notebook with me

{solsc} 29/31 #sol18 Laughable

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 My Stupid sign is flashing today and here is what I'm finding laughable... Pouty Students: There are always those students who think if they pout and give you the silent treatment it will hurt your feelings.  It doesn't it. Some days, it makes my time in the classroom better. Then, for good measure, they throw in not doing the work that has been assigned. By now I should be crying in my pillow. Then. Let's talk about the kids who haven't done any work for three days. Today. Day 4. Your assignment is due. These guys want to know why four notecards aren't enough. How about the kids sharing a computer and pretending to work. Or the kid who spent nine minutes in the bathroom. Why do I find this laughable? Because they've been given every chance, every reminder. Because it will come back to haunt them. Because I love saying, "I told you so."

{solsc} 28/31 #sol18 Nothing is Truly Lost

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I couldn't find it. Three times I went into the basement where I knew I had put it after Christmas. I went upstairs and looked in the Christmas decorations "just in case". I took a flashlight and did the CSI thing. I double checked the cupboard. I just couldn't find it. Throughout the search, my husband kept asking helpful questions like Are you sure it's not upstairs? Yes! I know it is somewhere in the basement. Would you have gotten rid of it? Never! It's Dad's pan. And I use it for lots of things! Why didn't you leave it in the cupboard?  It's. Too. Big. And takes up way too much room. Have you checked the basement again? Yes. All of this was because he was cooking. Roast, potatoes, carrots in the oven. And he wanted the BIG pan.   I used it at Christmas when the kids were home. When everyone left, I took it to downstairs. WHERE DID I PUT IT? He walked down the stairs, into the main room, walked over to the she

{solsc} 26/31 #sol18 Fran

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"Hey Neighbor. Fran here. Fran L....... Just wanted to know if you wanted some T N T?" I had to stop and think. T N T? Dynamite?  No... I laughed the first time I got that call and had to ask what he meant. Trout and Tomatoes. Duh! Of course! Fran was a fixture in our neighborhood. He gave away so many tomatoes I wondered if he and his wife Pat ever had enough for themselves. At his funeral last week the stories were all the same. Fran took them trout fishing, guaranteeing they would catch fish. Fran bringing tomatoes and other vegetables from his garden to share. We often shared back with Fran and Pat. Polish sausage we brought back from Wisconsin. BBQ ribs from our smoker. But every time my husband took something over to them, be brought something back. Because as Fran explained, "We're Norwegian. If you give us something, we have to give you something back." Greg and I and our neighbors said goodbye to Fran this week. Our summer will be a

{solsc} 25/31 #sol18 Thought on Teenagers

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In my 61 years on earth, I've learned one thing well in the last couple of years. Don't argue politics on Facebook. My son posted something last night that I agree with and I wanted to respond. But I didn't. Because of not arguing politics on Facebook. This, however, is my blog. Great social change often starts with the young. Civil Rights. Segregation. The Viet Nam War. Rock and Roll, for heaven's sake. They have a passion for the things they believe in. They don't understand why you can't just change things that don't work. They aren't cynical yet and don't fall for the "we've always done it that way" line of BS. I taught teenagers for 28 years. Some of the most passionate, educated, insightful people I've ever met walked through my classroom doors. And they often educated me. I talked with them about important things in their lives and listened to their answers (how many keyboard warriors have talked to a teenager since

{solsc} 24/31 #sol18 . Celebrating The Storm That Wasn't and other silly things

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WINTER STORM WATCH All week they've been preparing us. Lots of wet heavy snow was heading our way. Rumors of 10 inches of the stuff are being whispered. WINTER STORM WARNING Yesterday we were upgraded to a warning from 7:00pm until about 10:00am on Saturday. 4-8 inches of snow. Then 6-10 inches. Forecasters did say this was a narrow swath of heavy snow. Around this area would be significantly less.  WINTER STORM WARNING By the 6:00pm news and weather, the timing had changed and so had our forecast. The storm was moving west and south of us and now our warning started at 10:00pm and would last until noon on Saturday.  The good news? Totals were expected to be in the 3-6 inch range. I go to bed. My weather app says snow will start at 10:47pm WINTER STORM WARNING I woke up a little before 7:00am, fully expecting a "winter wonderland" when I put Chloe out.  Nothing. And I mean nothing. Everything looks exactly as it did

{solsc} 23/31 #sol18 . Silly Subbing Snippet

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There's always a little silliness at the beginning of class when I sub in my own high school. This is one of those silly little moments, but it made me laugh out loud. D is one of my former speech kids. He's loud, silly and likes to procrastinate working in class.  M is the sister of a favorite student., but I don't know her well yet. They've been chatting and giggling in their table group for about ten minutes. Over Clemintines :) D: Can I go to my locker? Me: No. Because you haven't done squat yet. M: D. Do a squat! D: Huh? M: She said you hadn't done squat. Do a squat. Do 2! D does a squat. Looks at me while I am laughing. D: Well? Me: Go!  (How could I say no?)

{solsc} 22/31 #sol18 What Goes Around

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I was not just a teacher of writers in my previous life, I was also a teacher of readers. And long before it was a buzzword, I believed in student choice, especially when it came to the independent books they were reading. I was lucky as a kid because no one told me what I could and couldn't read. No one told me what genre to read, or that something was too easy or too hard for me.  I just read. And when I taught, whether it was 7th grade or 12th grade, I trusted students to read what they wanted, what they needed at the time. I book talked all the time, so students had some ideas and they could always ask for ideas. They usually got a stack of four or five books to choose from, based on what I knew about them. Anyway. Flash forward to this morning. A friend on Facebook was looking for additional copies of a book she wanted her middle school kids to read. She's looked everywhere and was not having any luck. A former neighbor and friend of hers and a former studen

{solsc} 21/31 #sol18 8th Grade Boys

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While I began my career teaching seventh and eighth graders, I ended teaching high schoolers. Mostly juniors and seniors. Trust me. They grow up in the years between middle school and graduation. But there are lots of things I forgot about middle school-- eighth-grade boys in particular. I notice them yesterday when I subbed for a teacher who taught both middle school and high school students. The difference in sizes! In one class I had a student who was at least six foot. Standing next to him most of the class period was a boy the same age who would be stretching to hit five foot. They are loud.  Enough said. But so are high school boys. The seventh-grade boys who followed them, however, were not so loud. They touch everything. Even each other. They are always punching and poking each other. They get into each other's things. They touch everything!!!! They don't think they have to listen to you. But like a naughty puppy, if you speak sternly (don't yell), they s

{solsc} 20/31 #sol18 Rain-Washed Clouds

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It must be the day for writing Paint Chip Poetry. I often used this activity when I taught Creative Writing. Today Margaret Simon shared her poetry and how she uses this activity in her classroom. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try. I found my paint chip on Pinterest! Waking early Rain washed gray clouds  Create a windy blue light to the day Drinking coffee Drizzle falls teasing the tulips up from the ground Writing Poetry As storm clouds gather and  Rain brings spring to the world

{solsc} 19/31 #sol18 . Bad Slicing Day

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This was a bad slicing day. And I blame a weekend away, with no internet. That meant I didn't keep in touch with the slicing community. I didn't read any. I didn't comment until we came home last night. So today, there was really no inspiration or no connection to slicing. I wrote in my notebook this morning, but it was not something I wanted to slice. Just thoughts about being in my hometown this weekend, family, etc. But what do I write? Something will come to me. I just know it. I'll walk Chloe. Or I'll see a tweet that will inspire a post. I found a cool paint chip on Pinterest. It would make a great poem. I'll write something later. And here it is. Later. And I've got nothing written.

{solsc} 18/31 #sol18 Going to a Party!

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Today seemed like a great day to attend Leigh Anne's favorites party (Y ou can read about it here ). We just arrived home from the Land of the Internetless (my mom's) and I just don't have much ambition to write today.  I also went to Leigh Anne's party last year so the trick will be to bring five new things this year. Here's what I'm bringing: 1. My new writer's notebook . I love everything about it, the quote on the cover, the feel of the paper, the size of it and even the spacing of the lines. And we all know if we are going to the party, there will be lots to write about! 2. Spring bulbs for planting.   I am so done with winter and cold weather. Today there is a touch of spring in the air. My tulips are up about two inches and I can't wait for them to bloom.  I'm pretty sure from reading everyone's posts over the last couple of weeks that we are all ready for spring, so what could be better than something to plant. 3. Fudgsicles.

{solsc} 17/31 #sol18 . Lucky

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I haven't always loved my St. Patrick's Day birthday, mostly because I always got the ugliest cakes when I was a kid. No pretty flowers puffing up on the top. Just sloppily drawn shamrocks. I've learned to embrace it (and just ask for the frosting flowers instead of shamrocks).  I'm 61 years old today and consider myself pretty lucky in life. Here are some reasons I'm lucky this year... 1. My birthday is on St. Patrick's Day and everyone likes to celebrate it. 2. Early retirement was offered the exact year that I hit Iowa's rule of 88. 3. My husband and I are in good health and that lets us travel and enjoy this time of our life. 4. My mom is 83 and still in good health. Although she would tell you it's hell to get old, and then complain that she can't do things like she used to. Even her doctor had to tell her, "Pat, you're 83. You're going to take longer to heal and feel better when things go wrong." 5. I like t

{solsc} 16/31 #sol18 . Chloe Writes: Floppy Ears Suck

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I hate floppy ears. I wish my ears stuck straight up. Then they would dry out and not get all sore and red and itchy. Mom wouldn't have to clean them all the time but I do get a pretty good treat when she's done :) And I hate having them brushed every day. Sometimes it hurts! but I do get a pretty good treat then too :)  I've been shaking my head a lot. Mom was cleaning them every day (and giving me treats), but they weren't getting better. Mom and Dad say it's ear infection. So now she's putting drops in my ears that really do help (and I get treats). I'm not shaking my head so much 'cuz my ears don't hurt and itch.  The best part about all of this (besides the treats) is that after the drops and after the treat, Mom lets me sit with her and she rubs my ears for a long time. That feels really good and pretty soon they don't bug me anymore. I do get kinda sleepy when she does that. But Mom says that's OK because naps help you

{solsc} 15/31 #sol18 . Good-Bye Old Friend

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Good-bye old friend. You filled up much faster than I thought you would. And that's a good thing But sad also. I loved looking at your cover every day and The gentle nudge you provided. I tried to start writing in you last fall. Beginnings, I called it. But then I put you away again And forgot. January found me itching to write again. I dug you out and made a Plan. I dated you. I prompted you. I wrote. Every day. I filled you with Quotes To remind me To Write For me Because I needed to. There are post-it notes scattered throughout With inspiration for new ideas. There are letters and rants about Frustrations and Life That will never be read by Anyone But Me And that's OK. Today I wrote in you for the Last Time. But you are not gone. You will be Treasured and Referred to Many more times As I continue to Write My Life.

{solsc} #sol18 14/31 Walkout Thoughts

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I first began writing a letter to students supporting their decision to walk out of schools today. But they didn't need my words to validate them. Plenty of other adults are walking with them and supporting them. The news channels are covering the walkouts and talking to the students. So this is really for adults. Today was the #NationalSchoolWalkout where thousands of our nation's youth walked out of their schools in protest of our nation's gun laws. They aren't asking for all guns to be taken. They are asking for common sense gun laws. There is another movement out there. Pictures have been posted that share something about Walk Up instead of Walk Out. Adults telling kids what they should do instead of walking out. Walk up to 17 people you wouldn't normally talk to Sit at lunch with the kid who sits alone Be a partner to someone who never has one thank your teachers There are different variations, but all of them are telling students what they s

{solsc} 13/31 #sol18 To Bell or Not to Bell?

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I'm having one of those days today. I just don't think I have anything to write about. I've been procrastinating, freewriting, daydreaming. Nothing. I'm taking Jennifer Laffin's Word of the Day again and writing. Today's word is BELL. I suppose people outside of education imagine something different when they hear the word BELL. But as a teacher, when I see the word, I hear the sound . To me, it's always been a harsh, strident sound. Not the way I wanted to start a class or end it. A few years ago, our bell system went kerplooey, and, rather than replace it for more money than it was worth, our building went without bells. I loved it. We started class in a more soothing way. Come in, find your seat, and read or write (depended on the class) for ten minutes. I often joined in with the kids. Yes. I had a few who tried to come in really late, using the no bell excuse. It didn't fly. I generally didn't have to get after kids more than once.

{solsc} 12/31 #sol18 . Chloe Writes: They Left Me!

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They left me again, you know. Just walked out of the house without me. Gave me a treat. Tucked me up on their bed. And left. At first I didn't think it was a big deal 'cuz they didn't take suitcases and stuff. I really thought they'd be home by dinner time to feed me. BUT THEY WEREN'T!!!!! AND THERE WAS NO FOOD IN MY DISH!!!! I couldn't believe it. They never forget to feed me. Not that I would have eaten it without them here, but still. Didn't they even think about me before they left? Later, I went in and layed on the couch and snuggled into Mom's blanket. Do you know what I found?  A treat!  It was sooooo good and it did make me feel a little better, so I took a little nap. But even I can only sleep so long, so I moved over to the other couch to look out the window and check on the neighbors. But they didn't even leave the curtain open so I could see out. This day just gets worse and worse. And then it got dark. I hate

{solsc} 11/31 #sol18 A Lovely Way to Spend a Sunday

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I remember Sundays before retirement. I'd be up at 6:30, make the coffee and grab the Sunday paper. I'd read it while I drank a couple cups of coffee. After the paper, I'd check Facebook and Twitter. But also lurking on my computer would be 40+ websites to check blog posts and portfolios writing drafts shared through google docs that needed feedback published writing that needed to be graded assignments from other classes that needed grading emails from kids with questions All day and into the night I worked on this list, slowly whittling it down. I don't think I ever finished it, but I some point I had to move on to lesson plans for the six different English classes that I taught. Ugh. I definitely had a case of the SMONDAYS. Since I retired, Sundays are more relaxed. I don't have to hurry through the paper. There is nothing to grade. My planning looks like this now two outfits for the week (jeans are always an option) check my c

{solsc} 10/31 #sol18 Of Hope and Celebration

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Combining Jennifer Laffin's Word of the Day Hope, which also showed up in Ruth Ayers' Celebrate   post today. Two words that definitely go together. One of the things I hope d when I started subbing this fall, was that teachers I wasn't particularly close to would want me in their classroom. I knew my friends did, but what about the others?  And the kids. Although I knew MY kids would be glad to see me once in awhile, but I hope d that those I didn't have relationships with would give me a chance. Irrational fears, but fears just the same. Tuesday helped put these irrational fears to rest. I came in to sub for the Ag teacher (Agriculture, Horticulture, FFA Leadership, Ag mechanics, etc). I really know nothing about these classes and was a little nervous. As I was walking down to his classroom, the Ag teacher was walking my way. "Are you coming down to my room?" he asked. "Yep." "Oh good. When I saw you coming I hope d i

{solsc} 9/31 #sol18 Of Early Birds and Night Owls

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"Maybe you can sleep in tomorrow.  Like maybe til 8." I chuckle. My husband and I are TOTALLY different sleepers. I'm an early bird. He's a night owl. I turn off the TV and go to sleep for seven hours. He starts on the couch with the TV and sleeps for a couple of hours. He moves to the bed. Tosses and turns. Sleeps a couple of hours. He wakes. Goes to the bathroom. Comes back to bed. Tosses and turns. Sleeps for a couple of hours. Wakes. Drinks a little milk. Comes back to bed. Tosses and turns. Sleeps for a couple of hours. This weekend's time change will throw him off. Me. Not so much. I like to get moving and get most of my "chores" done by noon, so I have the afternoon to do what I want. Not easy to do when he sleeps later than me. By 5:00PM, my brain shuts down and I don't want have to do anything that really requires thought. He prefers doing his chores after work...or after supper...there O

{solsc} 8/31 #sol18 More Than I Expected

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https://www.arloguthrie.com/shows Sometimes, a concert is an more than the songs being played. Sometimes it's glimpse into music history, into a music family, and sometimes it's a reminder that the more things change, the more things stay the same. And that's what Arlo Guthrie gave us last night. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have picked out this concert, but Arlo is  was on my husband's music bucket list. He's been a fan of Guthrie's for over fifty years. The concert was about two and half hours away, so of course we went. This tour was a dream of Woody Guthrie's, a family band, so to speak, so joining Arlo were his kids. They were not a disappointment. But it was the stories told between songs that made the story songs so meaningful. Who knew that Woody Guthrie sang a song called Deportee back in the '20's. It certainly resonated with the crowd last night. He sang/talked  Alice's Restaurant with lots of new material and

{solsc} 7/31 #sol18 . I Got The Music In Me

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I can't sing (well) I don't play an instrument (although I played clarinet in 5-8 grades) But it doesn't stop me from loving music. I often wake in the morning with a song going through my head. Sometimes it happens during the day because of something I've heard. Right now, of course, I have the song I Got The Music in Me going through my head because my daughter-in-law shared the video on Facebook last night and I watched it this morning (it's also the inspiration for this post). My husband, our sons, our daughter-in-law are all the same way. We love the music.  My husband's favorite Christmas gifts to buy each year are the CDs he finds for the boys and our daughter-in-law. While I do the rest of the shopping, he spends days and days looking for just the right music gifts. He's usually spot on in his choices as evidenced in the sharing of the music between "the kids". Last summer my husband and some friends went to several concerts of

{solsc} 6/31 #sol18 . 3 Things

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One of the things I've been doing this year to keep myself writing every day is to write prompts on the pages of my notebook., then, if I can't think of anything to write about, I'm not facing a blank page. The prompts have sparked more than a few ideas. This prompt was "Three Things I Can't Go Without" 1. Morning Coffee. I always have at least two cups. K-cups are my go to on the mornings that I sub. Green Mountain Breakfast Blend and McDonald's are my go-tos on these mornings. Just black. No flavors. And since the high school where I sun has a Keurig in the lounge, I always have a k-cup with me just in case I want one more cup when I get to school. On those mornings when I don't have to go to work, I make a full pot. Often, I make a flavored coffee (usually from Door County Coffee ). I love to sit back and read or write while enjoying these brews. My current favorites are Highlander Grog, Jamaican Me Crazy, and Cranberry Orange Muffin, alt