Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Quarterly Review

With the end of the Slice Of Life challenge for March, I thought I would reflect on what I have done the first quarter of 2015.  Listed below in no particular order is my list. 

1. Purchased a new washer and dryer. 
2. Completed two 5ks.
3.  Attended two Edcamps
4. Read 28 picture books, 2 middle grade novels, 2 adult books.
5.  Presented 3 sessions at recent ADW professional development days. 
6.  Went to yoga 12 times.
7.  Made sandwiches for homeless twice.
8.  Made dessert for Warm Nights. 
9.  Went to Adoration 7 times.
10.  Worked information booth at church 6 times.
11. Traveled to Connecticut
12.  Painted a scene on a window.
13.  Created a clay bowl.
14.  Saw 8 of the Oscar nominated movies. 
15. Completed the Slice of Life March challenge- 30 blog posts. 

I am grateful for the Slice of Life challenge for it has challenged me to carve out time to write.  As I look forward to the next three months, I want to record more moments, for in looking back you see how well you have lived your life. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kindergarten masterpiece

"Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry," said a kindergartener as he was creating a sculpture using play dough and craft sticks. 

Upon hearing him say this nonchalantly to the kindergartener sitting next to him, I decided to hover nearby to hear the rest of the conversation.

He then proceeded to discuss the differences between store bought play dough and homemade playdough. When he noticed I was standing nearby, he asked  "Are you going to call this a masterpiece?" 

"Would you like to call it a masterpiece?" I asked. 

"Yes.  It's my masterpiece," he stated and proceeded to continue the conversation with his classmate.

Being a fly on the wall, made my day. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015


The iPad had my attention.
My husband had just come home
And he could not compete. 
I nodded and mumbled
And continued to stare at the screen. 
Five minutes later when I am done,
I notice him texting my son to find out his plans.
"You don't need to text him.
He is at work.
He'll be home at 5:30," I tell him. 
"Why didn't you tell me that when I asked you earlier?" he asks.
"You didn't ask me," I reply. 
"Yes, I did. You were on your iPad." 
My iPad is now sitting face down, 
so he can have my attention. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Today's travels

Today started with a run 
on a trail 
in the woods.
Then a subway ride 
into the city 
exploring an unfamiliar part. 
Followed by a car ride 
to the suburbs
To a favorite place. 
Today's journey
Has been completed, and
Now nestled in the nest. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

End of the quarter

Yabba dabba doo! 

Grades are completed for the third quarter,
Along with report card comments. 

Half day Friday, 
With 2 1/2 school days left until spring break. 

Yabba dabba doo! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Thursday nights, 
My favorite night of the week. 
It should be known as the new Friday night.
Everyone is singing, talkative, yet chill at the same time, 
In the home stretch
and happy that tomorrow is Friday. 
Tomorrow night we will collapse,
exhausted from the weight of the week, 
And do absolutely nothing.
Tonight we celebrate 
Our successes this week. 
Thursdays, the new Friday night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My slice for today is short, 
for I am moderating a twitter chat. 
I have noticed that my thoughts
And my characters are valuable.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I recently read The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau.  Since reading the book, I have been thinking about what my quest is or should be.   Quests can vary in scope, so I have been thinking both small and large scale. 

After reading the book, I realized that on a small scale, each Oscar season I participate in a quest to see all the Best Picture nominees.  Since the nominees are announced a few weeks before the show, it is a challenge to find the time to go and to find local movie theaters showing the nominees.  This year I saw seven of the eight nominees before Oscar night.  I finally saw the elusive eighth nominee this past weekend.  This year I shared the quest with my daughter, who until this year had been away at college during my yearly Oscar quest.  Towards the end of our quest, she mentioned how much she had enjoyed going to see movies she typically wouldn't have seen.  This is a quest will continue to repeat. 

Today I read the Washingtonian Magazine article "The Great Washington Bucket List:  50 Things Every Local Needs to Do" and am now looking through the list to see what I have already done, things that I can do over the spring and summer breaks, and the things I need to do more research on.  

There are 8 things that I have already done, that I would like to do again.  Some of these are things I did in my childhood.  It is time for a redo.  

Things I want to do again:
1. Kennedy Center
2. Ford's Theater
3. Library of Congress Main Reading Room
4. White House
5. Lincoln Memorial
6. Cherry Blossom at the Tidal Basin
7.  US Holocaust Memorial Museum 
8. Annapolis day trip

Things to do over the spring and summer break 
9. Blossom Kite Festival
10. Mount Vernon Trail
11. Washington Monument
12.  Fourth of July Fireworks on the Mall
13.  Arlington National Cemetery
14.  Air Force Memorial Concert
15.  Museums Around the Mall (check to see which ones I still need to go to) 
16.  National Arboreteum by Moonlight
17. National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
18. Only-in-Washington food experiences
19. Rock Creek Park on Horseback 
20. George Washington's Mount Vernon by boat

Things to research and plan accordingly 
Items 21 through 50 requires more research before I can plan out my calendar. 

I am grateful that I discovered the article since it is providing a focus for my quest.  I can't wait to share my plans with my family to see who else wants to be a part of it. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Perfect Square

Art class began with reading 
A Perfect Square by Michael Hall.
PreK pointed, oohed, and aahed, 
Each time the square was torn, ripped, shredded, 
And turned into something else
Other than a perfect square.

I noticed that it continued...
PreK pointed, oohed, and aahed,
As they each drew a perfect square,  
Added more perfect squares, 
And turned it into something else
Other than a perfect square.

Art class ended with 
PreK proudly holding their drawings of a perfect square, 
Which had been transformed into something else
Other than a perfect square. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Edcamp addiction

Edcamps intrigue me.  I had heard about them on twitter, and finally saw one that fit with my schedule and location.  My first edcamp experience was a little over a month ago- EdcampMD.  The energy level    was electrifying.  So many passionate educators in one place wanting to share and learn from each other.  The day flew by as I entered into conversations about a myriad of topics.  I left that day with ideas I wanted to try, and ideas to wrestle with, plus I won an interactive whiteboard. 

 Yesterday I attended my second EDcamp.  And again I was energized by a different group of educators.  I learned and explored Epic, and have already passed it on to my principal, who wants every teacher in the primary classrooms to use it to augment their physical classroom libraries.  My biggest takeaway was blogging in the classroom- an educator shared her journey with it, and how the students' writing has improved greatly.  Now that I am in the habit of personally blogging (thanks to the slice of life), I want to explore blogging with my students.  I am now researching which platform will fit my needs- Edublogs or Kidblog.  And again, I won a raffle prize.  

Today, I signed up for another Edcamp.  One of my goals is to bring a colleague with me to share the experience with.  Another incidental goal is to see if I can continue my streak of winning a door prize. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Been a writer.
Journals tucked away, 
Piled on bookshelves,
Slips of paper sticking out from books. 

Now a writer
Using both familiar and unfamiliar tools. 
Journal in backpack, along with iPad. 
At times, the pen is the go to, 
Sometimes, the keyboard wins. 
It just depends. 

At edcamp today,
my view of blogs is expanded. 
Who is my audience? 
What is my niche? 
What is my brand? 

Thoughts bang around, 
Pushing, stretching, and pulling. 
This much I know...
I have always been a writer...for me.
And at this moment...
it is the right thing 
for me. 

Friday, March 20, 2015


of a lake,
surrounded by trees. 

trying to capture 
the tilt of all the trees and branches, 
the colorful display of leaves. 

with the watercolors, 
varying the intensity of the colors. 

the glorious reds, 
and yellows of autumn. 

the painting around to show others, 
the leaves are now shades of 
and purples.  

Others marvel at my painting, 
as I begin another.  

"Wake up.  Your alarm didn't go off"

and realizing that my 
Favorite color is October. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Dog tired, 
Waiting for my second wind.
Looking back at my day.

The highlight- a kindergartener asked me to read 
The Pigeon Wants a Hot Dog.
At first he thought the pigeon wanted a hamburger.
He smiled and laughed,
And pointed to the pictures.
And when we were done, 
I asked if he wanted to check it out so 
He could read it with his mom. 
A smile crept across his face, 
And he hurried to the desk.
A moment later,
and he was sprawled out on the storytime carpet, 
Sharing the story with a classmate. 

Pigeon shares a hot dog with duckling, 
A teacher shares a story with a kindergartener,
The kindergartener shares it with a classmate, 
And when he gets home shares it with his mom. 
I am not so tired anymore. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Opening car doors this morning at arrival, 
"I have a present for you" a student informs me, 
And promptly hands me a bag from Barnes and Noble.

Unexpected and out of the blue, 
I pull out Big Nate Lives It Up,
Not only am I the recipient of the the latest Big Nate book, 
It is made out to me and signed by the author. 
The family trekked to see the author in person last night, a school night. 

Mom explains that my classroom last year provided the starting point.
He found and read Big Nate in third grade.
I kept him supplied in books he wanted to read, 
Talked about the books he was reading, 
And gave him recommendations. 
And now, a year later, he had turned his younger brother on to reading. 
She told me of how they talk about books and 
authors like Gutman, Pierce, Griffiths, and Patterson, 
Devouring books and following authors.

I thanked them for thinking of me and of course, I thanked them for the book. 
Yet the best present was the feedback she gave me and 
The knowledge that I had had an impact. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


The students were excited to have another day of outdoor recess.  For weeks now, they have had to play indoors.  The third and fourth graders arranged a game of basketball.  Of all the recess games, this is the one game that requires proactive supervision.  Let the game begin!  The energy level was high, and the students were playing a good game.  After 5 minutes, I noticed that they were getting out of breath and starting to play a little sloppy.  At the next jump ball, I had them circle up and organized a foul shooting drill so they could catch their breath.  I promoted it as a drill to increase their accuracy.  Once they had settled, the game began again.  Again, the energy level was high and the ball moved quickly around the court.  After some time, when the play began to get sloppy and they were huffing and puffing, I circled them up for a dribbling drill.  I told them the dribbling drill would improve their ball handling.  Each student was given time to show their ball handling skills.  When they had caught their breath, they asked if they could go back to the game, which they did.  Now, I am reflecting on the success of breaking the game into parts.  The parts gave them opportunities to practiced as a team, and parts were they practiced individually.  My purpose was to make sure the game continued to be safe.  Their purpose was to play- which they did.  Recess was a success. 

Monday, March 16, 2015


A very early morning drive to the airport to drop Grace off at the airport.  As we approach the terminal, she looks at the clock and says "I'll be alone for an hour."

"You have a book, right?  When you have a book, you are never alone."

First lesson of the day imparted and I haven't even reached school yet. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Running your Race

What a day!  Ran a windy St. Patrick's Day 5k with family, friends, and 5,000 other participants with a start that consisted of running downhill.  Minutes into the race, I lost sight of my family.  Bobbing and weaving to avoid those who had become obstacles, I focused on my goals for the race and kept putting one foot in front of the other until I crossed the finish line.  I ran my race. 

Hours later, after rehashing each of our races and setting new goals, I start to think of my students and the importance of feedback and goal-setting.  The place I came in today was irrelevant, what mattered was reaching my personal goal- running my race. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Attending a big Hall of Fame dinner for school, and was asked to make the introduction for one of the honorees.  I sat and got busy writing.  As I read my writing aloud to my husband to get his opinion, I realized that the words flowed.  Normally I would agonize over each word I wrote.  This time, the words came, and they came easily.  It might have to do with the fact that I adore the person that I am introducing, or it might be because of the slice of life challenge.  Either way, I will take it, and enjoy the moment. 

Friday, March 13, 2015


Trying to capture a slice from today.

I got nothing. 

Or so I think.

Ending the day with my family.
Having pizza,
Getting Rita's for the first time this season, 
And now chilling on the couch, getting ready for the Amazing Race. 

I have everything. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


For kindergarteners today the big dilemma was how to wish someone a happy birthday a day early.

As we walked in the hallway, they asked if they could say happy birthday to Mrs. G. 

Of course.

Her birthday is tomorrow, they told me. 

And you get to see her the day before her birthday, I replied

Walking into the library, they exchanged good mornings with Mrs. G.  

One by one they went over,

A few started "Happy...."

And then they paused.

Today wasn't her birthday, so what do you say? 

One kindergartener thought....

"Happy Tomorrow Birthday!" 

With a gift of a giggle. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Falling into Spring

Falling into the adirondack chair on the brick patio.
It seems like forever...
since last fall.

The fence is falling down,
The yard is littered with fallen branches, 
And fallen leaves.
And I could fall into despair about all that needs to be done.
But I can't.  I won't. 

Falling ever deeper into the chair.
I want to capture this moment.
Outside the air is fresh, 
and the sounds are telling me
To sit still, 
and be. 

Falling into the spell of spring. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Digging a hole

Sitting on the floor with a group of first graders, 
As they theorize why Sam and Dave decided to dig a hole, 
Each sharing their thoughts, 
Then eagerly waiting for me to turn the page. 

A part of me hovered above the scene, 
Taking it all in.

Slow reading.
With this book, especially, 
And sharing.
Letting the story roll around.

We took a journey with Sam and Dave today. 
Still filled with questions. 
"Can we read it again?" 

Monday, March 9, 2015


In an unfamiliar town, 
Where should I wait for 
Two hours? 

Found the Panera, 
Perfect spot to wait, 
And watch, 
Do a bit of work, 
And have something to eat and drink.

The watching is keeping me from my work.  
Meetings being held, 
Gatherings of friends, 
The traffic can be distracting, 
But also familiar.

And the familiarity reminds me
I have work to do. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daylight Savings Time

When the time changes, it disrupts the rhythm of everyone's schedules.  The extra hours of daylight in the evening is welcomed, but getting up in the dark is not.  Feeling so out of sorts today.  Here is a thought...if we changed the time on Saturday mornings, we would have the whole weekend to adjust.   

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Front porch railing

His favorite spot 
to stand on the front porch, 
arms resting on the railing, 
leaning into the pose.

From there he 
noticed, observed, watched.


His presence
can be felt.
Stand, rest, lean.
Notice, observe, watch. 

On a snowy day, 
step into the pose,
raise your face to the sky, 
and imagine the view through his eyes.

A smile appears
all is well. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Slipping, sliding, running

My daughter had an idea.  "Let's run in the snow!"

It was currently snowing.
There was already 6 inches on the ground. 
We had just spent time shoveling our driveway.
No plow had been by yet.
We live on top of a horseshoe hill. 
We are in training for a St. Patrick's Day 5k. 
Most of our training has been done at the gym on a treadmill.

I needed no convincing.  My husband, on the other hand, needed reasons explained and expectations outlined. 

Eventually the three of us set out, in our boots and bundled up to run against the fall of snow.  As we tried to determine whether it was better to run in the fresh snow or try to find tire tracks to run in, we fell into a rhythm.  

Slipping, sliding, running. 
Slipping, sliding, running. 
Slipping, sliding, running. 

The slope of the road to reach our house is steep.  With the unplowed snow, cars have trouble going up it.  So heads down, feet moving, we inched our way up the hill towards home. 

Slipping, sliding, running. 
Slipping, sliding, running.
Slipping, sliding, running. 

"Whose......idea...... was......this?" my husband panted out when we reached our destination. 

As the snow continued to fall, walking to cool down, his breath caught, he marveled "It's so nice to be outside when it snows."  

Yes, let's go run in the snow. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Helping hands

"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 

When a student dropped his pencil box and the contents scattered across the floor, the rest of the students continued to stand in line, not moving.  This was an opportunity to model what the above verse looks like in a kindergarten classroom.  I leaned over, started to help pick up the items, and said "We are here to help each other out."  As soon as the words came out of my mouth, two students joined in helping.  A smile appeared a moment later when another pencil box spilled open, and silently, without prompting, classmates joined in to help. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Family dinner

"So this is what family dinner looks like" my son teasingly says as he sits down at the table.

Family dinner is my favorite part of the day.  However, over the last 5 years it has changed.  For four of those years my daughter was away at college.  So there was an empty space at the table.  Now that she is home, it is my son who has been absent, as he now spends most of his time with his girlfriend.  We might catch a glimpse of him every so often.  But last night, all the places at the table were full, as was my heart. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Note to self- on yoga nights, write my slice before class, because my mind is in a different zone after practice.  Hard to come back down to Earth.  But tonight's practice reminded me of the importance of sticking with and continuing to try difficult poses.  

The book My Daddy is a Pretzel is a favorite of my students.  A student will check out the book, and while waiting for the rest of the class to finish check out, the student will lead others in going through the poses in the book.  One day, as I was joining in, I mentioned how the crow pose has been a challenge for me.  Well of course, I had a few students show me how it was no problem for them.  Ever since, each week they ask about my yoga class and if I am able to do the crow.  Week after week I report that I keep trying, but have been unsuccessful.  

Tonight was the night.  When it was time to try, I sunk down, listened to the yogi's prompt, and started to lean forward.  I watched my feet, as I was able, to begin lifting up my toes, so that just my big toes was connected to the mat.  Then continued to lift my big toes up, and I was airborne. I lasted 3 seconds before I came tumbling down.  Feeling like I wanted to shout my success, I quieted myself down, and tried again.  I was able to hold it the next time for 5 seconds. I couldn't wait to tell my daughter after class about my accomplishment.  And I can't wait to tell my students that I did it.  I can't hold it as long as they can, but I was finally successful. 

Monday, March 2, 2015


Looking out the window, 
I see flashes of light 
Falling from the trees.

Glittery sparks.

Not rain, nor snow. 

As the sun rises, 
More rapid they fall. 

The moment when ice turns to droplets.

The coated branches 
Provide the start 
For the sparks. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rainbow Chips

Food memories.

Grace just spent the last 30 minutes looking through scrapbooks for the picture that shows when she first fell in love with rainbow chip icing.  

It's her birthday and she made a special request for her cake- a funfetti cake with rainbow chip icing.  After spending time looking in various grocery stores for the elusive can of icing, we turned to the internet and discovered that Betty Crocker no longer makes the icing.  This fact has led her down memory lane, as she looks back on all of her previous birthday parties.  

We laugh at the power of food memories, and trying to recapture the magic of past experiences.  Like trying to find a pot of rainbow chips at the end of the rainbow.