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{today} #sol16

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted at the Two Writing Teachers Join us for a month of writing!
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today:  i anticipate the long weekend ahead
today:i could feel the excitement before a much-needed break want to be:  snuggled up in bed reading a book without interruption blessings:my God, my family, my home, and my profession thinking: i'm too tired to write with that feeling of no words to share planning:  each of the next five days with family and friends and too much food writing:  a little slice of life today loving: the peace and quiet right now grateful:for a loving family, a toasty-warm home ...
and today {again}: i anticipate the long weekend ahead _____________________________________________
This go-to easy-format quick-thinking in-the-moment writing idea is compliments to: Rachel Martin at finding joy
"It's a single print out of the busy cycle of life, a pause, a way to plan,  and to remember to breathe in the midst of …

{#PictureBookMonth} #sol16

Slice of Life is hosted at the Two Writing Teachers Join in and share a slice of your life.  _____________________________________________________
November arrived quickly, but we were ready.

My colleague, Karen, and I have celebrated Picture Book Monthin our classrooms over the last few years.  However, this year we decided to share this special month with not just our small groups of students, but with everyone at our school.

We started thinking about the importance of reading aloud picture books:

Builds commUNITY (Thanks to JoEllen McCarthy for this!) Develops empathy Builds vocabulary

{stealing time} #sol16

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

The month of October is busy as it is.  School is in full swing. After school activities. Homework and projects. Multiple birthday parties.  A week of Halloween activities and fun. Every day planned.

Then throw in the Chicago Cubs and playoff baseball.

Stealing time.

I learned the game with my Dad.  I sat with him watching the Cubs win some and lose most. I grew up playing softball. I know the game and some of the obscure rules. But this game takes patience.

Stealing time.

We are more of a fast-paced-Chicago-Blackhawks-hockey-loving family.  Baseball is, well, just not the same. Unless we are watching playoffs.  More exciting than the long 100-plus game season.

Stealing time.

And we haven't missed a game.  I dug out my Cubbie Blue shirts from the back of my closet. We are the October fans of baseball. The excitement. The hits. The home runs …

{kids can teach us} #sol16

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

I'm thrilled to say that I am finally in a routine of meeting with my small groups of students (a.k.a intervention groups).  It feels so good to be spending time with students face-to-face who are just as excited to see me!

These kids amaze me every day when they get the opportunity to move to a smaller learning space where we are surrounded by books and not distracted by anything else.  It's just us and books and time to connect and read.

We are creating our small group learning community, where we value each other as readers, writers, and thinkers.  We talked about our purpose for working together.  We talked about our goals and dreams. We talked about our challenges. Yet, we know we can do it. No excuses.

We discussed that readers, writers, and thinkers need tools and resources to continue to grow.

Readers need books. Lots and lo…

{back writing} #sol16

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

I have all the excuses in the world ...

Back to school. New schedules. After school sports. Homework.
Out of practice. Not in a rhythm. Brain is full. Just too tired.
No time. No time. No time.

But I know you won't accept those excuses.  And I shouldn't either ...

I need to rethink my time.  It's about balancing.  Creating time.
Making time. Taking time. Getting back into the rhythm.
Feeling the need to practice. Allowing my brain freedom.

So that's it.

I need to give myself the space to write.
I need to remind myself that my words have power.
I have a story to tell. My story. To share with you.

All the excuses in the world
can't keep me from writing this little slice of mine
to stay connected with you.

I'm back writing. And it's starting to feel like home again.

{back to school life} #sol16

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

Back to school is exciting. The newness of it all.
The wonder and curiosity. The hope.

It's doesn't take long for all that goodness to disappear ...
because back to school life includes so much more for this mom teacher.

There's wake up times, schedules to follow, lunches to make,
busses to catch, busy days, time to play, go to practices and homework to do.

There's books to read aloud, time to plan, analyze assessments, study data,
determine interventions, be a champion for kids and teachers, and smile. A lot.

Then there is everything else I need to do.
You know, laundry and cleaning and picking up and dinner and and and ...

And a little time squeezed to take care of me
like tonight and my hair therapy, as my friend Chris calls it.

Back to school is all new and ...
all about trying to get back into school life.

{gratitude} #sol16

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


Today I am so thankful for my daughters' teachers.

Every day my girls come home with stories and stories to share.

Stories about school and friends and special teachers.

"You know, Mom.  My teacher said when you think you've finished, you've only just begun. Turn the page and write more."

"Mom, I got to read with my teacher today! I read a story in the morning and then another in the afternoon."

"My teacher is reading a really good book to us."

I smile and share in their excitement!

So today, I decided I needed to share that joy with their teachers.

I took the time tonight to write a personal note to each teacher letting them know how thankful we are for their time and efforts to create a classroom where our girls feel comfortable to grow and learn.

A little note of gratitude is encouraging ... and tou…

{choice always matters} #sol16

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

For six years of her life, I have provided my daughter choice when it comes to selecting books to read.

At the public library we visit often, she will grab a book that interests her, sit down on the ground, and slowly, carefully study the book page-by-page to decide if it will make it into the check out pile.

There are no levels or discussions about letters. There are no rules or boundaries. (I'll be honest. There have been an occasional eye roll at a book selection ... but I can only take so much Barbie or My Little Pony.  Yes, I know that I shouldn't book shame...)

Choice, interest, motivation, and recommendations drive our 100+ books checked out from our library.

And this is why a conversation that happened during our first grade meet the teacher meeting at our new neighborhood school surprised me ...

After briefly meeting the teache…

{realization} #sol16

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

Yesterday was my first day of school with my colleagues.  Starting the year off with meetings. There were many new faces, including new staff members, teachers, and student teachers. As they were introduced, one name sounded familiar.

I leaned forward to get a better look at this student teacher. There was a familiarity in the face. But I just wasn't sure.

The meeting moved forward and I continued to think about this name and face.  I did the numbers in my head.

That's it! That has to be it. I thought and leaned over to a colleague and whispered my realization.  Or at least what I thought.

Later, I returned to my room.  I have a photograph in my classroom of my very first class that I taught at another school in our district.  I pulled it close to get a better look.

I confidently walked down the hall holding this framed picture.

As …

{In My Heart: Heartprint Books} #pb10for10

Check out other favorite Picture Book Lists: Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Learn more about #pb10for10 from Cathy at  Reflect and Refine and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning ______________________________________________________________
Picture books tend to touch our hearts and leave us with so many different feelings.  All of the picture books I selected for my list are #heartprint worthy.  They have left an impression on my heart and I want to share these books and feelings  with my students, my own children, and you.  
Our hearts overflow with feelings with each picture book.
My #pb10for10 list of books is full of feelings -- inspired by the picture book In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek.  (Yes, I snuck in an extra book!)


In my heart ...

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1.  
This is when my heart is ... HAPPY:  

Mother Bruce 
by Ryan T. Higgins

My girls and I have read this one over and over, and every time it just makes us laugh and smi…