Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I Made It - SOLSC 2021


I Made It! 

Today is the last day of March; the last day of the month-long marathon for the Slice of Life Story Challenge. And, I have written a Slice of Life everyday this month. 

This is my second year participating in the challenge, and my experience both years has been ver.y much the same.

  • struggling to generate an idea some of the days - I honestly think the struggle is part of the process.
  • being excited and daunted at the same by the challenge of having to write something every day - my own Slices, as well as thoughtful comments to other Slices.
  • wanting to quit part way through, but not quitting - Must. Finish. Strong. (or at least finish)
  • arriving at THIS very point in the challenge at which I am now - 

The End.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Next Year - SOLSC 2021


Right around this time each year, I start thinking about next year. I think about practices I will keep and those I will discard - reflecting.

This year, I'm finding it hard to reflect. Instead, I find myself wondering, since I'll be joining a 2nd grade team at a new school next year.

As much as I wonder about my new teaching environment, my new teammates, and my new Scholars, I'm also hoping. 

I'm hoping instruction and learning next year will include a classroom full of Scholars and face-to-face instruction.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Today’s Highlights-SOLSC 2021

1. Morning Workout: Stronger / Better

2. 8-Hour Work Day: Teachin' Em What They Need To Know

3. Pick Up Middle Schooler: Cuz Hubby's Playing Golf

4. Be Late to Baseball Game: Cuz Is Teenager is Starving

5. Celebrate the WIN!: Dang! We lost by 1.

This is really just another tired Slice.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

No More Dirty Laundry - SOLSC 2021


I may need to start doing laundry more often. 

Based on my initial statement, you probably think this Slice is about running out of some article of clothing. Well, just keep reading.

For the last 3 years, since retiring almost 6 years ago, my husband has taken care of much of the cooking and laundry for our family of 3.

One Sunday afternoon, while husband and son were at baseball practice, I decided to do the know, to pitch in and help out.

I put the load of laundry in, added detergent, and selected the "Normal" cycle. Then, I pressed "Start".

The tub begins to turn...first, a rotation right; next, a rotation left. But, there isn't any water. Not even water-flowing sounds. Water usually flows down the inside of the washing machine door. But, it's not. Something must be wrong.

So, what would any logic person do? Exactly! I stopped the machine and called my husband. 

Our conversation went something like this.

Me: Hey, did you turn the water off to the washing machine before we went on vacation last week?

Husband: No! Why?

Me: I'm washing clothes, and the machine is turning the clothes, but not filling up with water. (flashlight in hand; trying to read and understand the on/off arrows on the water shutoff knobs)

Husband: Oh, no!! I'm on my way home.

Fortunately, he wasn't far from home. 

Making a bee-line for the laundry room with a most-concerned look on his face (surely it's broken and in need of repair-$$$$), he turns on the washing machine to restart the load. 

Then, turns toward me with a look that says, "Are you serious?!!"

This time the conversation goes like this.

Husband: "You know, the machine tosses the clothes around for about 2-3 minutes before the water starts."

Me: (Looking like a goofball) "Oh!!"

I learned two things that day. 

(1). I learned how my washing machine works.

(2). I learned to let my husband do the laundry.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Pooped Pooch - SOLSC 2021

I've  heard it said, "A Tired Dog Is A Happy Dog!"

But, I think it should be said, "A Tired Dog Makes A Happy Fur-Mom!"

Friday, March 26, 2021

...Trust You? (Boy, Am I Glad I Did!) - SOLSC 2021

Do you know who Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher are? I had heard their names, but I didn't really know who they were. Did you know they recently started recording Youtube videos dedicated to reading and writing? Me neither.

Well, all that changed when my teacher-writer friend, Leigh Anne Eck, shared a link on Facebook for Penny and Kelly's "Day 5 March 23 2021" episode on Youtube.

Leigh Anne said, and I quote, "Such a great Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher video on the writing process and how it is different for everyone. You want to watch this - trust me."

Well, I trusted Leigh Anne. 

So far, I have watched the first 4 episodes. 

Oh! My! Goodness! When I tell you these two are a wealth of knowledge regarding books to read and everything writing, I mean they are a wealth of knowledge.

On the "Day 4" episode, Penny and Kelly interviewed Tom Newkirk (didn't know who he was either). And, honestly, I still don't really; except that he edited the book they just finished writing together.

 Tom advocates for the return of fiction writing in middle school and high school, and has written about the impact fiction has on writers.

Of all the ideas shared about why fiction should be taught in middle and high school, my favorites were the ideas about teachers.

"Unless teachers have the chance to try and write fiction themselves,...they are going to have trouble teaching fiction." ~ Tom Newkirk

"Teachers of writers need to be writers." ~ Tom Newkirk

These quotes brought a huge smile to my face, immediately followed by heart palpitations. I have never actually tried writing fiction. Though, I have tried teaching it. 

Bet you can guess what I will be writing soon? 

Needless to say, I am very glad I trusted my friend. 

Thank you Leigh Anne!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Too Tired - SOLSC 2021

I'm so tired, I'm having a hard time coming up with something to write for this Slice.

Normally, when I struggle to generate an idea, I would take a break...walk away... then, come back and try again.

I'm so tired, I'm not sure I would make back if I walked away.

And, since I'm committed to Slicing everyday, (even though I technically posted two on 3/20 - thanks EST/CST), I will finish strong.

So, this is my tired Slice for today, because I'm so tired.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Happy Is As Happy Does - SOLSC 2021

This image is obviously pre-Covid - a much happier time for us all.

Being in the classroom with my Scholars is where I strive to be for the remainder of my career. I thrive on the interaction and connection between us. I'm happy to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor - talking, sharing, questioning, pondering, learning.

Someone has the run the school, and someone has to coach the teachers; but put me in a classroom full of Scholars, and I'm in my happy place.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Black Coffee No Sugar No Cream - SOLSC 2021


I love my coffee black. 

But, recently, I have not been able to enjoy it. 

The kinds of coffee I had previously enjoyed seemed to be more bitter than I remember. 
In addition, I started experiencing GI issues after a cup.

    I had heard that coffee can contain differing levels of acidity. 

So, I did a bit of research, and I found a brand that I can purchase locally.


Now, I feel like a grown-up coffee drinking...more grown-up than before. 

I measure and brew ground coffee my K-cup for the Keurig. 

That makes me a grown-up coffee drinker, right?


Sunday, March 21, 2021

I Wonder What Prince Is Doing? - SOLSC 2021


Our family recently returned from a road trip to Oklahoma City. As we planned this trip, we knew we would have to board our beloved Princey-Poo-Poo. I knew I would miss him like crazy, but I was not prepared for others' reactions. 

1. My husband started getting sad the day we drove Prince to the boarder. (His reaction shocked me the most.)

2. Everyday, and multiple time a day, my son would randomly blurt out, "I wonder what Prince is doing right now?" My daughter would reply, "Wondering why y'all left him there."

3. Every time we saw another dog, or any furry animal for that matter, I would frown and remark, "I miss my Poo-Poo!"

4. Before we got back on the road Saturday to come home, we texted the boarder to inquire about what time we could pick Princey-Poo-Poo up.

Most people who know me also know that I absolutely love this dog. As far as I am concerned, Prince is MY dog. But, while on vacation, I realized just how much he is loved by all of us.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Home - SOLSC 2021


There is nothing like being back home after a few days away.
There is something comforting when familiar sites and scenery come into view.
The is a calm that fills your soul when you make the last few turns that lead you to the place where you lie your hear, the place where you enjoy family meals, and the place where you are free to be you. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Depending On When You Met Me: Joining the Party - SOLSC 2021

I decided to accept Leigh Anne Eck's invitation to her slicer party.  She posted a mentor text and invited others to join her. You can read Leigh Anne's Slice for the details.

The mentor text that she shared was "Depending On When You Met Me" by Devon Gundry, Soul Pancake

"Depending on when you met me, I might have been: a checker’s champion, the kid who squirted Super Glue in his eye, a competitive Ping-Pong player, Tweedle Dum, a high school valedictorian, a fake blond, 1/12 of an all-male a capella group, a graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering, a nomad, a street musician, or a pigeon assassin."

Depending On When You Met Me by Donnetta Norris

Depending on when you met me, I might have been wearing braces on my shoes to correct bowleggedness, cared for by my grandparents while my mother finished high school, joined the middle school choir because my best friend joined, a track runner (the mile) for 1 year, an administrative assistant in a co-op job during junior and senior year of high school, a Bowling Green State University graduate, assisting the management of a burger joint, selling athletic shoes and apparel, a marathon finisher, a temporary resident of  Honolulu, HI, a teacher, a reader, a writer.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

5-Sentence Day - SOLSC 2021

1. We ate an early lunch at Wendy's, because (1) the wait at IHOP was longer than we what we wanted to wait and (2) we couldn't find a place to get breakfast around 12:00 noon.

2. We visited three different museums and learned about black artists and musicians, experienced the history of the Oklahoma City Bombing, and viewed some amazing art.

3. We strolled the Paseo Art District - expensive shoes, a free donut, and a super-cute outfit. Oh, and art!

4. We had dinner at Brickopolis: Fried Shrimp, Beef Nachos, Veggie Pizza, Wings and Onion Rings.

5. Early to bed, and early to rise will give more time to explore and enjoy more tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Refreshed - SOLSC 2021


My 4:00 alarm goes off and lie in bed contemplating whether to get up or sleep in. I decide on an acceptable compromise and give myself 30 more minutes.

Outside, the severe weather has begun to roll in. The torrential rains have burst through the clouds making their presence heard from my vantage point.

The sound of pounding drops of rain is almost soothing, until rolls of thunder and flashes of lightning remind me of how dangerous severe weather can be.

But, I rise from the comfort and warmth of my bed anyhow determined to begin the day the way I envisioned the day before.

  • Bible Reading and Prayer
  • Wake Up and Write
  • Workout
As of this Slice, I have accomplished 2 out 3...progress not perfection, right? I still have time to workout, if I so choose, before we leave. Eh, we'll see.

But as storms have rolled through this morning, I'm reminded of the fresh start rain can bring to the earth; how rain washes away layers of stagnation so new can be brought forth.

I'm not sure if its the stormy weather, an adequate quality and quantity of sleep, or both; but today I feel longer stagnant but ready to take on whatever comes my way.
  • Oklahoma City
  • Backwards Poetry
  • Flash Fiction
I'm excited to see how they each turn out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tired - SOLSC 2021

As a 2nd grade teacher who is delivering instruction via a hybrid/remote learning model, I am fully aware of what it means to be TEACHER TIRED. 

Being on Spring Break this week, I should be resting and relaxing, but that is not the case today.

I am WIFE TIRED after having to drive my spouse (1) to and from his dentist appointment, and (2) 10 miles to the golf course where he left his cell phone holder the day before.

I am MOMMY TIRED from feeling a little bit guilty that I would not go with my daughter to a restaurant for which she made a reservation for herself and her friend after said friend changed her mind at the last minute.

I am PUPPY MOMMY SAD after having to drive my Princey-Poo-Poo to be boarded, so he can be safe and taken care of while we travel for a few days.

Y'all pray for me. I really want to enjoy our road trip and the events in which we will engage.

But, part of me wants to retreat under my comforter and not emerge for a few days, because I. AM. TIRED.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Writing Goals - SOLSC 2021

 Recently, I got this hankering; a feeling, idea that I just can't shake. 

I feel the need to take action to become a confident and effective writing teacher.

When I think back on the courses I took to receive my Teaching Certification, I don't remember taking a course that solely focused on writing instruction.

When I think upon the professional development I have received throughout my career, the only writing-specific PD I received was for a formulaic writing curriculum I was expected to teach in that district.

Writing and writing instruction have become my passion over the last year or so. Although, I am a teacher-writer, and have had the pleasure of sharing my passion with my Scholars in the past.

Unfortunately, meaningful writing instruction has taken a backseat in these hybrid/remote learning times.

Maybe that hankering; that feeling is really a missing what was!
I miss teaching writing. I miss writer's workshop. I miss shared writing. I miss Scholars sharing their writing. I miss conferencing with Scholars about their writing.

Graduate degrees and certificate programs are expensive, so I'm exploring other options to reach my writing PD goals. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

March 14 - SOLSC 2021

My Notebook Entry from March 14, 2020

This date last year was the Saturday after Spring Break. during The month of february, our school/staff suffered tremendous loses, and by the time Spring Break finally arrived, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.

I had already planned to as little as possible during the break, because I really wanted to return to my Scholars refreshed and able to give them my best as we ended the year. You know the saying, "Finish Strong". Finishing strong was my goal.

As the news of the virus started to pick up steam, our district sent notification that Spring Break would be extended until March 30; at which time they would have a plan in place for finishing the school year strong, or at the very least, finishing the school year.


This date this year, today, is the Sunday before Spring Break. For The last eight months, our teachers have been teaching in a hybrid/remote learning model, and as Spring Break finally arrives, I am tired and in need of rest and recuperation, but not to the extent of last year.

I, and my family, have already planned a road trip to Oklahoma City for a few days, because we really want to make the most of the time we have together. not to mention, we have sheltered-in-place fairly faithfully since the beginning of the pandemic.

As the news reports more information about vaccines, I don't anticipate any notifications of Spring Break being extended. But, just like last year, I plan to return to my Scholars ready to finish the year strong.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

This Saturday - SOLSC 2021


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Most Saturdays, my husband and I get up early to work out. I do a  Camp Gladiator workout. He runs his usual 5k route.

Most Saturdays, I write with my writing group. We share our projects, write in silence, then celebrate one another's accomplishments.

Most Saturdays, my husband stays home, seated in is favorite spot on the couch with his laptop on his lap. The television is on...watching him. I often have to ask him to turn it down.

Most Saturdays, my son wakes up whenever, showers, and requests to be dropped off at the local skate park.


This Saturday, hubby and I completed our respective workouts.

This Saturday, I shared, wrote, and celebrated with my writing group.

This Saturday, hubby and I made a quick trip to Wally World.

This Saturday, my son woke, showered, cleaned his room (upon being told), and requested to be dropped off at the skate park.

This Saturday, my husband had previously made plans to play golf...being out of the house most of the afternoon.


This Saturday, my Princey-Poo-Poo and I got in early-afternoon naps in complete silence, because we had the entire house to ourselves this Saturday.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Last - SOLSC 2021


Monday, March 8 was the last Monday before Spring Break.

Tuesday, March 9 was the last Tuesday before Spring Break.

Wednesday, March 10 was the last Wednesday before Spring Break.

Thursday, March 11 was the last Thursday before Spring Break.

Today is Friday, March 12, and today is the last Friday before Spring Break.

I am so ready for Spring Break.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Virtual Open House - SOLSC 2021

6:00pm - Two computers are set just in case one fails me. Three 30 minutes sessions have been scheduled and a Google Slides presentation has been prepared. So far, I'm sitting her alone as the host and as a guest (two computers) in my Zoom meeting. Our Interim Principal joined to check in and say hello.

6:30pm - I'm still sitting here alone Our current, but outgoing, Principal popped in. We had a great conversation. Our amazing AP stopped by right after my Principal left. I really enjoy his positivity.

7:00pm - So far, no other people, parents or admin, have joined my meeting during this session. I'm sure I will be sitting here recording myself on Zoom by myself for the next 30 minutes. (And, I did!)


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

We Don't Know You - SOLSC 2021


I am the kind of teacher who believes in building relationships with students, and not just with my students, but with as many students in the school as possible.

I speak to kids I don't know when they walk past my room. I stop and talk to whole classes of kids when I'm passing them in the halls. I make an effort to learn as many of their names as possible, so I can call them by name the next time I see them. 

As far as I'm concerned, every kid at my school is my kid whether they know me (yet) or not.


One of my afternoon dismissal duties is to escort a second grader down the hall to her PreK sibling's class so mom can pick them up at the same door.

Today, well before dismissal, I looked out my door and both girls were slowly walking past toward the office. (I keep my door open, and I think the older student was waving goodbye to her friend in my class.) 

I asked, though I already knew, if they were going home. They both responded yes; then, the second grader stated that it was her sister's birthday. 

Clutching my imaginary pearls, I asked why I had not been invited to leave early for sister's birthday.

The younger sibling looked me square in the eyes, and said, "Because we don't know you."

Trying to remain composed and not laugh too out loud, I replied, "You are so right. You don't know me. I hope you have fun at the birthday."


You can bet Baby Girl and I will know each other before long. I will make it my mission.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Twitter for the Win - SOLSC 2021

Twitter Logo

In August of 2015, I started working for a Principal who swore by Twitter. She highly recommended that teachers join Twitter to follow other teachers and education professionals.

At the time, I didn't know anything about Twitter, and Facebook was primarily the only social media I used consistently. In my experience, Facebook could be messy, and people could be difficult. As a result, I was a bit hesitant to join Twitter for fear of the same experience.

When I finally decided to create a Twitter account, I also made a conscious decision to be intentional with the people I followed...strictly educators and those related to the education profession. Over the last year, I started following a plethora of authors covering a variety of genres.

This selective strategy has served my well. 
  • I learn about new and effective teaching strategies. It's almost like getting free professional development
  • I can keep up with book release dates for genres I like to read personally and for my 2nd Grade Scholars. 
  • I tweet back and forth with different authors and professionals after sharing my experience and opinion after reading their work. 
  • I enter every book giveaway I can, and I have won a lot books. 
In fact, I have won so many books lately, when they arrive, my husband gives me the side eye, because he thinks I have been spending money on Amazon.

We both smile like Cheshire Cat, when I open the packet and reveal with delight that it's a book I won on Twitter. 

Yeah, I'd definitely say, "Twitter for the Win!"


Monday, March 8, 2021

Unofficial Therapy Dog - SOLSC 2021

I read a Slice yesterday by writer who wrote about not being a dog person. I happen to be a dog person. In fact, in July of 2020, my family purchased our (my) Princey-Poo-Poo.

Prince became part of our family at a time when I was struggling mentally after COVID hit. Normal wasn't normal anymore. 

Teaching, instruction, learning, relationships, connections...ALL changed and became so much more difficult.

Shelter-In-Place, quarantining, shutdowns, and masks...ALL became the new normal.

I'm not sure if I consciously thought getting a puppy would help me, but I know I felt strongly about getting one. So, we did.
Prince - July 7, 2020 
(Welcome to the Family!)

Having Prince has required a lot of work. But, I am positive that getting him was the best decision we could have made. Ultimately, he did help me. Actually, I think he saved me. He was exactly what I needed to refocus and rejuvenate my deteriorating mindset.

Left: Prince thinks he's a lapdog. But, I don't mind.
Right: "Here Mom. Throw it!"

Sunday, March 7, 2021

What is Perfection Anyway? - SOLSC 2021


My Current Notebook

I tend to have perfectionist tendencies. I have a need for things to be perfect and remain consistent. I shutter at what I perceive to be messiness.

Let me give you a few examples. When my grade level team and I work on our shared lesson planning template, I want all the formatting to remain consistent...the date, bold words, the font. Even though no one outside our team and administration will see our plans, I will change, correct, these self-perceived errors to meet my self-perceived expectations of consistency.

Until recently, I used to treat my notebook the same way. The pages of my notebook had to be perfect...each page filled, most of the lines written on, well thought out pieces. If I had a thought or idea that I couldn't process through to perfectly fill a page, I would risk losing that idea. After all, I can't have random incomplete thoughts in my perfect notebook.

This past week I gave myself permission to use my notebook to capture whatever MAGIC "my genius" chooses to inspire me with. I choose to not let ideas, thoughts, and memories escape me. After all, I never know, my ideas could be MAGIC for someone else.

The Book I'm Currently Reading
(MAGIC and "my genius" are ideas from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Drawing a Blank - SOLSC 2021

As I started writing with the Time to Write group this morning, I really didn't know what I would write about. It's early, around 9:00am, and besides having worked out this morning, nothing else significant has happened that I would deem Slice-worthy.

So rather than sitting and sulking at the fact that I had drawn a blank, that I seemed to have nothing write about, I decided to write about having drawn a blank.

I showed up to the page to get this thought/feeling out of my head. I let writing be the process by which I processed the moment.

It turns out I really did have something to write about. I did have an idea. I had not drawn a blank. My notebook and this Slice are witnesses to my writing despite thinking I had nothing to write about.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Have A Great Weekend - SOLSC 2021

I'm not sure that there is any greater feeling than the sheer peace of mind that comes with going into an unofficial 3-day weekend completely prepared for the week ahead.

Here are the three things I plan to do just for me this weekend:

1. Whatever I want

2. Whatever I wish

3. Whatever I please

I hope everyone gets to enjoy their weekend as well.
Have a Blessed Weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy - SOLSC 2021

 Today, and most Thursdays, I had the privilege of coaching 2nd grade Scholars in Creative Writing. 

We meet virtually, and I'm not their homeroom teacher, we have bonded as group from the first time we met.

The time we spend connecting, sharing, and writing makes my heart happy, and it makes theirs happy, too.


This morning one of my writers walked past me as I stood at my door waiting to greet my Scholars. He slowed his stroll a bit, looked my way, and asked, "Are we meeting today?"

"Yes, O! I will see you at 4!"

The other three writers are in same class next door to mine.  The trio delivered a treat (from their teacher) after class started, and in unison expressed, "We can't wait to see you at 4 and write!"

"I can't wait to see you at 4 either, girls."


My heart is happy, because I get to share my passion with these Scholars. But, my heart is overjoyed at their excitement and enthusiasm.
(I smiled the entire time I typed this slice.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Memories- SOLSC 2021


I remember riding in a car with no seat belts. I remember playing outside until the streetlights come on, or until your mama yelled your name from the front door. I remember cigar-shaped bubblegum and boxes of candy cigarettes.

I read a Slice about scars today, and it reminded me of a scar I have on my inner left thigh.

During my entire childhood, most of the adults in my life smoked - cigarettes, a pipe, and sometimes something stronger. So, one day, when no one was home. I grabbed a pack of cigarettes - bubblegum cigarettes - and I lit up.

So, I learned very quickly that bubblegum ci the gum melted and dripped onto my thigh in a near-perfect circle. I remember flailing around trying to get the hot gum off of my skin by any means possible.

Of all these memories, I don't remember EVER telling my mother about my shenanigans.

Thank you Erica for helping me laugh again today. I may have laughed more while writing my scar story than while reading yours.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Connections Spark Ideas - SOLSC 2021

    Yesterday, after reading and commenting on some well-written slices, I notebooked about how other people's stories can spark ideas. This is, at least, true for me.

    Later, I was reading a #MinuteMemoir posted by a writing friend in a different group, and I was reminded of a similar memory from my childhood.

    As I wrote and posted my memory, I thought about how, as an adult, I refuse to eat the three staple meals my mom used to have on rotation most weeks.

    I shouldn't find it mind-blowing how someone else's experiences can lead to our own memories and connections, but sometimes, my mind is blown when I think about it.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Ready for March - SOLSC 2021

In preparation for March, I was reminded to reflect on my OLW. Would I be sticking with the same word or switching it up for the Month. I'll get to my decision shortly.

As I reflected, I also thought about what the month of March had in store for me. There are so many things happening in March that require me to show up as a teacher, a mom, and a writer.

The Slice of Life Story Challenge

Spring Break

Read Across America Day
(Probably the entire month for me and my Scholars)

Early Release Day = Campus-Based PD

Scholars' Birthdays

Asynchronous Day = A Day of Teacher Planning

Virtual Open House
(Don't Ask)

Son's Baseball Season
(Proud Baseball Mom Here)

These are just a few of the things happening in March; a few of the things I "get to" show up and do. As for my OLW, I chose FEARLESS as my overarching word for 2021. For the month of March, I plan to approach each of my "get-tos" CONFIDENTLY!

Alright now March! I'm confident I'm ready for you. I hope you're ready for me.