Tuesday, October 29, 2013

sols: time

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I stare at this blank page.

Not feeling anything to write.

Even though I'm finally feeling about 94% healthy.

Celebrating those that celebrate the BIG and little.

Reflecting on those that take time to reflect (and reflect publicly).

Wondering how I can do even more --

But I feel this sense of guilt.

Guilt not writing.  Guilt not slicing.

I can never give myself a break, a pass, an it's okay

To not be-all, do-all, super-mom-and-teacher.

I stare at this page now with words that hold more than one story.

But only time will allow for more stories to be shared.

When will that time come?

Patience.  The time will come.

And the writing, and the stories, and the captured moments will be there.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

sols: be the BEST me

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Sore throat.  Aches and pains.
Raspy voice.  Coughing fits.
Sinus pressure. Sniffles and ... sneeze!
Eleven days.  I am done.
Moms can't be sick for this long.

Unless I'm being reminded ...

that I can't do it all on my own
that I need to not stress about school
that I need to take care of myself first
that I need to exercise and eat healthy
that I need me-time above all

To be the best ME I can be.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

sols: right now

Slice of Life hosted at the 

What could I write about?  Hmmm. . . let me count the ways:

  1. Time.  There is just never enough. 
  2. Social media.  Sucks up my time.
  3. Timers.  To control my time?
  4. Celebrations.  Need to notice more.
  5. Sickness.  Being sick is icky.
  6. Tired.  Need an uninterrupted night of sleep.
  7. Surfing.  Still swimming the waters.
  8. Reading.  Snuggled with my girls.
  9. Three.  Not an easy age.
  10. But three.  Such a fun age.
  11. And three.  Really opinionated age.
  12. Good days.  Playing in the leaves.
  13. Bad days.  Lack of patience.
  14. Mom.  A waiting email with snippets of stories.
  15. Prayer.  It's powerful.  
  16. Story.  Each idea holds a memory, a moment, a story of right now.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

sols: learning to surf

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Last week, I mentioned a little nugget of advice gleaned from the audiobook The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  In almost the same breath, as I was scribbling down the author's suggestion of the greatest gift, he quoted Jon Kabat Zinn:

Photo from http://monicahaughey.com

I. LOVE. This quote.  It has the power to fulfill so many metaphors and obstacles in life.

The waves.  We are currently making a huge transition in our teaching and student learning in my district.  It's an awesome shift focusing on 21st century learning skills and incorporating the Common Core State Standards.  There is so much promise and excitement.  

Yet, it can feel like all this new thinking and change is pounding like the waves.  Who is doing the talking? Who is doing the thinking?  Who owns the learning?  Less teacher talk, more student talk.  More teacher facilitating learning, less student busywork.  More engagement.  More thinking.  More doing and learning.  

As much as I'm all for change -- and for change that is great for kids, it still can be a bit scary.  Many questions tumble around like the pounding waves:  How will it look and sound different in my resource classroom?  What about meeting the needs of our most developing readers?  What supports can I provide my students to be successful in their classrooms?  How can I support classroom teachers to make these shifts?  What about balanced literacy in a 21st century classroom?  How can I incorporate technology to enhance learning?

I'm not going to STOP these waves.  I might as well learn to surf.

The surfing.  I'm taking copious notes during professional development opportunities.  I'm reading suggested books.  I'm online connecting with authors and researchers.  I'm learning and reading and reflecting and sharing and trying and doing more more more.

I'm exhausted.  It's only October and I'm feeling like I am drowning, barely keeping my head above the water as another wave pounds down upon me.  But I will get back up and try again.  Reflecting on my practices, improving my teaching, continually asking questions and searching for those that can provide insight and understanding.

We all have our own "waves" waiting to toss us around, perhaps making us seasick or the feeling of being drenched.  Yet, we know there is always more to learn.  So, let's learn to surf and ride these waves!

Surf's up, dude!  (That's what we say, right?)  

Or, perhaps our team mantra will work too:  We can do it . . . and we WILL!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

sols: the greatest gift

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I enjoy the drive between daycare drop off and my school.  The quietness in the car.  The muffled sounds of the outside.  My brain thinking in high gear, creating that mental to-do list of all the things I need to do as soon as I step foot inside of school.

However, to occasionally curb my thinking, I listen to an audio book.  I never thought I could stay focused to listen to a book being read to me.  (Yes, I have moments of lapse where I need to rewind.)  My audio book listening goes in phases, all depending on the book and the narrator. Truly the narrator sells the book.  If it's a good one, I'll pick up another from the library.  If it's a not-so-good-one, I turn it all off and return to the hum of the car.

Last week I started an audio book, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I believe this book was recommended by a fellow slicer.  It's quite an amazing story about a mother and son who start a book club to connect as his mother is slowly dying from pancreatic cancer.  It isn't a story of her death, but rather a story of the power of story and passion for reading.  Quite honestly, I'm amazed at the number of titles mentioned throughout the book.  (And, yes, I looked in the printed version and there is an appendix including all the titles and authors mentioned and discussed.)  The book is moving in many ways, but what I love about it is the honesty of the joy of reading and the wonders created when reading together.

As I was driving home today continuing to listen, my head titled and I quickly grabbed a pen and paper.  I pressed the rewind button to hear the audio transform into an unintelligible language before releasing the button to hear this again:
The greatest gift you can give anyone is your 
undivided attention.
It's amazing how words can speak to you.  I thought about this idea in all the facets of my life:  as a mom, as a wife, as a teacher, as a friend, as a colleague.  We are always so busy and thinking about the next thing to do or the next thought to say.  I wondered, "Am I ever truly present in the moment giving my undivided attention?"

I already know the benefits of being in the moment with my girls.  They crave my attention and I try to not get caught up in the laundry, dishes, or my phone.  I know their behavior changes and I am challenged when I am not giving my undivided attention.   Today, I will give the greatest gift to them.

Quite honestly, I can cut and paste and say the same thing whether I'm being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a friend, or a colleague.  We all want to feel valued and accepted.  We all crave attention (good or bad!).  We all act differently depending on the attention we receive.

Undivided attention, being there, being present, being in the moment.  I will give the greatest gift in all the coming tomorrows.  Will you try it too?  (And don't forget to share a good book title too!)