Tuesday, June 12, 2018

{playing school} #sol18

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 

The very afternoon my girls were out of school, they were already making plans. They disappeared into the playroom ... and an hour later they emerged.

"Momma! Come and see what we did!" They called out.

The girls transformed their playroom into a new space: a classroom for summer.  Using items "gifted" from their teachers and other handmade essentials, the girls created a learning space, including a daily schedule made of popsicle sticks and a magnetic pointer on a pipe cleaner, classroom jobs, name plates with number lines, a decorative border on the bookshelf, and a "Chart of CRRCT" (Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Citizenship, and Trustworthiness) -- which is a more positive approach to the color/behavior clip chart!

My girls were sad about school ending ... but to work around this problem, they created a space to be creative, learn, cooperate, and have fun.  I have yet to experience time in their school, but when Grandma and Grandpa were visiting last week, they spent hours "playing" school! (I heard Grandpa caused some trouble too!)

Also, that evening when I returned from walking the dog around the block, I was surprised to find chalk messages outside of our house on the sidewalk ... Spreading positivity!

Be kind!              Be happy!          Happy Summer Break!

These girls amaze me with their creativity! I can't wait to play school now that school is out for me!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Announcing ... the 2018 #cyberPD Book!

Get ready for the 8th Annual 
#cyberPD Summer Event!

Check out our #cyberPD Google+ Community to learn more!
We can't wait for YOU to join in the conversations!


Every year in May, we ask to see your stack of PD books you can't wait to dive into over the summer, looking for just the right book to read together. This year, once again, we were blown away by your response and stacks of books! We agreed, we all need more time to read ...

The book selection is important, but what makes this PD event truly successful are the amazing teachers and educators across the globe that support each other through the learning process.

YOU make #cyberPD a success! Thank YOU for joining us ... whether this is your very first year, or your 8th year, or somewhere in between, we are thrilled YOU are joining in!! 

The beauty of this summertime PD is you make it what you want and you do what you can when you can do it! Personalized online PD that meets your needs!

There were many great books shared again. Yet, this year one book stood out from the beginning. Our list of criteria is extensive and our standards are high. This book must reach a wide audience that will allow for deep thinking and learning. Our hope is that the book selected will push our thinking to make positive changes in our classrooms ... and with this book, positive changes in our world. It's timely, relevant, and so necessary in our classrooms today.

Announcing ... the 2018 #cyberPD Book! 

Let's dig in and read Sara Ahmed's new title  ...

Sara states in the introduction: 
"I recommend experiencing the lessons in this book first not with your students, but with your peers. This examination is just as valuable for adults as it is for kids: I have used the core elements of these lessons with adults in professional development sessions for years.  
More importantly, if we want to teach students to be compassionate, complex thinkers, we must first muddle through this work ourselves. Otherwise we may not be prepared for the outcomes: the fight or flight, the tears, the crawling of skin, the desire to shake the tables." (Ahmed, xxvi)

Let's get to work! It all begins this July. Order the book (if needed ... it was in many book stacks, so a lot of you are ready to ...), start reading, and join in!  Share your thoughts each week around specific chapters with a reflection in the Google Community -- a blog post, a Google+ comment, and on Twitter (#cyberPD).  We encourage you to respond and comment on at least 3 other participants reflections.  Happy reading!

Questions about #cyberPD? Contact Cathy Mere or Michelle Nero. We are here to help!

Additional Resources

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Join in #cyberPD 2018!

It's the 8th Annual #cyberPD Summer Event!

Check out our #cyberPD Google+ Community to learn more!
We can't wait for YOU to join in the conversations!

I am always excited about new PD books that arrive into the world.  I usually pre-order like crazy because I want have to hold them in my hands. But time is limited during the school year between home and school. I immediately get excited when a book arrives and start reading any moment I can squeeze in some reading, but then sadly the book lies in a stack waiting. And those beautiful new books stack up with a bookmark holding the few pages that I was able to devour.

And then summer arrives, where I have a little more time to read and catch up with those old friends. (I still never read as much as I want ...) But every summer I love spending time with the #cyberPD community where we read, reflect, and share our thoughts around a shared book. This group of educators always pushes my thinking and I learn so much more through the social aspect of learning alongside many amazing and talented educators spanning the globe!

During the month of July, the selected PD book is discussed across three weeks. A schedule for reading and posting your thoughts will be shared in June. Participants read and discuss a different section of the book by sharing your thoughts each week around specific chapters with a reflection in the Google Community -- through a blog post, a Google+ comment, and/or on Twitter (#cyberPD). Then the last week of July, we will host a final Twitter chat. We encourage you to respond and comment on at least 3 other participants reflections. 

Stay connected and find out more specific details via Twitter (#cyberPD) and our #cyberPD Google+ Community.

Are you ready to join in? 
Jump in and let's learn together! 
1.  Join the #cyberPD Google+ community. 
2. Share a photo, image, or list of your PD book stack that you hope to tackle this summer in the "Share Your Book Stack" section in the #cyberPD Google+ Community. We will be checking out book stacks from MAY 16 - 30, 2018. 
3. One PD book will be selected for our #cyberPD conversation and announced on JUNE 2! Fingers crossed it is in your book stack ... if not, order it ASAP!

Here's a starting list of some of the books I hope to read and tackle this summer. Yes, I have already accepted that I will not be able to read them all ... and this list always grows as I see more and more #cyberPD book stacks!

If you have any questions, please contact:
Cathy Mere on her blog or on Twitter (@CathyMere )
Michelle Nero by leaving a comment below or on Twitter (@litlearningzone)

Past #cyberPD titles include:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

{dandelions} #sol18

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
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Who can resist picking
 the round ball of perfection?

Waiting and willing
anyone or anything to --

* b *
          * l *
                         * o *
    * w *

Amazing how it is so beautiful and delicate,
yet carries the power of unwantedness

Once the beauty is carefully plucked
and a quick, forceful 

* b *
          * l *
                         * o *
    * w *

Sends little seeds flying
floating in the air to continue

The round ball of perfection
waiting and willing to be plucked again

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

{eight} #sol18

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
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I knew I always wanted to be a mom.  Jon and I were married almost seven years before we were blessed with our twin daughters.

I remember the day vividly when I found out I was officially pregnant with twins.

It was a shock at first. I remember asking, "How does that happen?" The nurse just laughed.

And, in what seems like a blink, the girls are eight. Eight. Eight! I can't even believe it.

They are growing up
to be amazing little people.
They are sweet and
caring and kind and funny.
They love school
and learning and reading.
They love being with friends
and riding bikes, drawing with chalk
and playing outside.
They love their tablets
and games and creating online.
They love building forts
and making up dances.
They love their American Girl dolls
and all the accessories.
They love crafts
and painting and glitter.
They love creating and building
and experiments.
They love soccer and gymnastics
and doing cartwheels anywhere they can.

They love so many of the same things. Yet, they are as unique as they can be. Similar, but different.

And I adore them. All eight years of them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

{bedtime reading} #sol18

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Every night for years, my almost (in ONE week) eight year old daughters and I snuggle up in our big bed before bedtime and read. Some days, it's picture books from our library. Or new books from a Scholastic book order. Or even books the girls checked out from their school library. Or an old favorite we have read and read and read again.  The book selections and options are endless and always growing.

Bedtime reading is one of my favorite moments of my day.

Over the last year, we have transitioned into chapter books and series. Reading a couple chapters a night. Anticipating what will happen next. Begging for just one more. Slipping the bookmark into place and closing the book. Disappointments ensue. "C'mon, Mommy. Just one more?"

Bedtime reading is time together to experience the beauty books hold.

Over spring break, I was wanting to share Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie and then The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Stories I read long ago, ready to share with my girls. Words I treasured that brought tears to my eyes with every heartbreak and every celebration.

Bedtime reading allows us the opportunity to talk and share our thoughts around books and life.

In the last week, this time has quickly transitioned and changed yet again. For the most part, I always read aloud. Then, all of a sudden, the requests to read independently were heard. And, so, for the last several nights, Peyton has her book. Madison has her book. And I grabbed my new copy of Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff. Everybody needs a few laughs with Bob Goff before bedtime.

Bedtime reading is thriving and changing and all still so, so good.

At first, I wasn't sure how to feel about this new arrangement. But, usually, I'm too tired to read after the girls are in bed, so I am enjoying this quiet time together reading. But my heart misses the sharing and talking and experiencing living through a book together. I know there will be a time I will read aloud again. Perhaps we will all quietly read the same book and then talk about it ...

For now, I will continue to enjoy the company of readers doing what readers do during bedtime reading.

Image from Pinterest

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

{why is she hiding?} #sol18

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
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Why is she hiding? 

Last week she showed her glorious face 
on a day of sunshine and 70s. 
Then as quickly as she came, 
she was gone. 

And the tears of rain came 
pouring down, leaving hints of 
tiny, fresh buds on trees, 
sprouts emerging from the wet, brown dirt 
and a glimpse of renewal 
of new life, of hope. 

But then she turned her back
those tears turned cold
ice, freezing rain, sleet and 
now today snow. 
Blowing, blustery snow 
in the middle of April. 

The gray, snowy day fills 
my view out my window. 
And I ask again, 
"Why are you not ready 
to reveal yourself
What are you afraid of?"

I will continue to be patient 
because I know she will come 
again in all her glory. 
And, yes, I will close my eyes 
look heavenward and thank God above 
for this season of change. 

I will embrace and accept her 
when she decides to show her face
and arrive with a newness and
splendor of revival. It's time.

But, why, oh, why is she still hiding?


I was surprised over the month of March during the challenge, I never wrote about the weather. Perhaps, because spring decided not to fully arrive to bring in the new growth and beauty. Yet, here I write about the weather in the middle of April, still wondering where spring is ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

{pie night} #sol18

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
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When I get a text that says: "I'm free for pie night! Check your calendar!" I know that it's been too long since we have gotten together. We used to all work together at the same building and saw each other every day, but over the last couple years, changes have occurred and we are in three different buildings. Yet, these are my people. My tribe.

And pie brings us together.

Two of my closest friends (and colleagues) and I meet up for pie night. Pie night sometimes includes dinner and sometimes it's just pie. All depends on our mood and the time we have away from our families.

Last night was pie night. We gathered for dinner and pie. It was two hours of talking, sharing life updates, gossiping about school, laughing, sharing photos, reminiscing, dreaming about the future ... and more laughing.

It's a fun evening out that I treasure. And I can't wait for the next pie night.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

{shoe shopping} #sol18

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The girls love shoes. It's the shopping part of it that makes it difficult. When they were little, it was so easy to buy online. I found cute, reasonable, practical shoes. And I bought two pairs in a click.

Now, shoe shopping with almost eight year old twin girls has it's challenges. And they have strong opinions that usually differ as well. We bring our patience and try to have fun ...

They look for style. 
"What about this one? It's cute."
Wrinkled nose. Shake of the head. Nah.

They look for colors they like. 
"Oh, this has a little purple ... and blue."
Roll of the eyes. Nope. I don't like that one.

They look for comfortability.
"How does that one feel?"
Too big. I. Can't. Get. My. Foot. In. It's too humpy.

They look for the right size.
"We need this in a size 1 1/2 or 2."
"Sorry, we have a 13 or a 3."

After several stores and  trying on many different shoes and styles, Madison walked away proudly with a new pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars, but still needs a pair of "real" gym shoes. Peyton was lucky enough to find a cool, colorful, and comfortable pair of Adidas gym shoes, but still wants a fun, stylish pair of shoes. Just not Converse, those were too humpy. 

Their personalities are coming out in their shoes.