Monday, December 1, 2014

The Scribe

for the Tuesday Slice of Life
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Beth, Betsy and Dana 
for hosting the Slice of Life each week!

The holidays are an exciting time around our home!  We spruced things up with our traditional decorations-stockings, lights and the tree!  If you already know about our house, you won't be surprised to hear that our elves have returned.  If you're new to our house, then you need to know the background on our elves.  Our elves are just like the elves on the shelf-except they have their own mischievous ways...they take to writing notes, leaving messages, reading and playing all sorts of games beginning the day after Thanksgiving.


Our elves returned in a surprising fashion by entering the house via the chimney and playing with the ABC blocks.  They left us messages each night since they have arrived.  We are trying to figure out their pattern and what they will be up to next.  Jingle and Christina have suggested books and reading so far...but tonight when we got home from school and work, the kids noticed the elves were hanging out under the tree with the Operation game.  Kameron was in the process of writing a note to Jingle and Nat decided that she wanted to join in the fun too.  Kevin was reviewing Kameron's school work and I was busy getting supper.

Natalie asked me to write the note to her elf and then, "The Scribe" stepped up and offered!  Kameron diligently recorded Nat's little note for her elf.  From the "Dear Christina" to the "I love you" and the gentle suggestion from Kam to add a line about something done at school today-really making me smile!

Feeling blessed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Food-ation" Celebration

That time of year...

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for the Celebration Link up
at her blog, Discover Play Build
Head over there and link up your Celebration too!

This week, I am celebrating "That time of year"...Even though there is preparation, planning and work involved I don't mind digging in and getting my hands "dirty".

The big event to reflect on this past week was hosting Thanksgiving.  Since I had school work up until Wednesday, I decided to keep the menu simple.  Simple worked for everyone else too.  Turkey, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, bread, yams, and pie for dessert was all there was to eat.  My celebration is about my three favorite pieces of the meal...

Turkey-turkey-little turkey...I am by no means a chef so I researched the best ways to cook the bird.  I didn't buy a whole bird-mainly the breast-because no one in the family likes the dark meat.  I had it thawing in the refrigerator since Sunday.  Wednesday called for the time to brine.  The mixture was a little white wine, salt, pepper, and apple juice.  I played around with what to put in the mix but these ingredients worked out well as the turkey was so sweet and juicy...YUM!

Stuff in the stuffing...I love, love, love the way my mom always made the stuffing on Turkey day and so I followed how she put it together.  First, I sauteed lots of onion and celery together in butter.  Then I poured in one can of chicken stock.  After that boiled, I added just one box of stove top stuffing mix-then added bread that was cut up and dried.  I mixed it all together and baked it for 45 minutes at 350.  It turned out so tasty...there was only a tiny sliver left (I'll be eating that leftover).

Marshmallow Yams...Yams have grown on me over the years-I despised them when I was younger.  I really like how they taste now.  I'm not sure what changed but I'll go with it.  I put them in the baking pan and added a few pats of butter, sprinkled on some brown sugar and baked them.  At the last 5 minutes, I added two handfuls of mini-marshmallows to the top!  They came out toasty brown (just like when you cook them over the campfire) on top of the yams.  I really could have eaten the whole pan.  They tasted that good.

Now the problem is how to work around the 3 pound weight gain!  Hope your Thanksgiving was bloated with yummy food and fun times with family and/or friends!

Any tasty morsels to celebrate this week?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferris Fun-IMWAYR

Head over to their blogs and add your link too!

Of course, today is Monday~what I'm reading is Mr. Ferris and His Wheel.  I've had this book on my TBR pile for awhile!  I just had to get to it.  Since I stayed home from work with Nattie (she has some flu bug) I had nothing better to do than read books and blog about them of course.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel is an exciting title about George Ferris and the amazing invention of the Ferris Wheel for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.  It almost wasn't called a Ferris Wheel.  There was competition from another inventor...but maybe that's another story.  

When I think of his invention, I think of carnivals, amusement parks, and giggles and laughter!  I'm thrilled that Ferris stuck with the idea of creating such a wonderful ride that millions of people have enjoyed since then. The author organized the text with the main story about the invention of the Ferris Wheel and also included little factoids about the development.  My favorite one is:
"The Chicago Fair, or the 'White City' inspired two more magical places-The Emerald City in the classic children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Disneyland.  Walt Disney's father was a construction worker on the fair.  He told his son stories about the dreamlike city he had helped build, and young Walt grew up to build famous amusement parks that stay open all year round."
The artwork of the book has a cartoonish sort of look to it which adds to the dreaminess of how the ferris wheel must have appeared to those that were able to see it.  The views from the gondolas must have been spectacular.  I was surprised to read that one round-trip on the wheel could be purchased for the low, low cost of 50 cents a ride no matter who you were.  AMAZING!  What an incredible story of tenacity, perseverance and almost wasn't.

Thank you to author Kathryn Davis and illustrator Gilbert Ford for this unique glimpse of the back story on the Ferris Wheel.  I feel so excited to share the book with other teachers and students.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#NCTE14 and Storify "From the Sidelines"

Last year, I attended the NCTE Conference for the first time.  The trip was great fun and I still look back at those memories fondly!  This year, I viewed #NCTE14 from the sidelines.  Via Twitter, I watched the plays and players interacting.  I made my first ever "Storify" of the tweets I favorited throughout the weekend.

Enjoy this story from the sidelines!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Opportunities to Celebrate Writing

Special thanks this week, to Ruth Ayers
for hosting the #celebratelu
be sure to head over to her blog and 
link up your celebrations

“If through your workshop, they (students) come to believe in themselves as writers, you have given them a gift that will sustain them for years to come.” 
~Fletcher and Portalupi, 2001

     This week, I celebrate the opportunities to profess the importance of writing...writing with students, every. single. day.  writing to walk in writer's shoes...I felt giddy with excitement over the opportunities to share with teachers what I know to be true as a writer!

1.  Writing is hard work.  Commit to growing as a writer by being a writer.  You can't get better by watching from the sidelines.  You've got to get in the game too!  Write, Write! write...

2.  Writing can surprise you.  I look back through some of my blog posts and feel so much joy inside when I re-read my thinking on paper.  Sometimes as you go back through what you have written, you may wonder...and ponder and feel compelled to write even more.

3.  Writing is for an audience.  Publishing pieces for an audience and thinking about how they might react to your work drives you to be better at it.  Writing can improve with grows and glows!  Feedback sustains more writing.  It's another key to success.

     I cherish the time I had to share with the professional learning communities in APS! Implementing the writer's workshop is truly a new venture for our district this year and I want to make sure we get it right. write. right?

I made suggestions on resources and people to follow...I celebrate the opportunity to link up with many writers here.

I also shared some of my favorite children's book titles about writing too...

You are authors!

You all have a story to tell!

So look closely at the world and notice the details...

I celebrate being thankful for teachers who are teaching kiddos how to write!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebrating Celebrating!

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for hosting the Weekly-#Celebratelu at Ruth Ayers Writes

Happy Minion
click the link "Happy Minion" to play 24 hours of Happy by Pharrell

I'm happy!
I'm happy because I have been doing a lot of celebrating this week!  Thus, my post title-
"Celebrating Celebrating"!

A big celebration of this week is that my hubby found a new position with a great company just down the block from where I work.  He sadly said "good-bye" and "good luck" to his colleagues that are moving on to Pennsylvania with PPG but gladly knowing that we wouldn't have to worry about commuting or even moving long PPG, hello new company!  He starts at his new place of employment on Monday!

Another celebration this week was being a part of the Lebron James coming home to Akron Welcome Home Event.  Last Saturday, I helped out with renovation of one of the ten yards of his Family Foundation picked to revive.  It was amazing how the yard transformed in such a small amount of time.  The family was so excited and thankful to be a part of the event.  I hope Kennedy loves her new backyard!  The big event was last night and since I was able to help I got tickets to be on the field with all the kids of Wheels for Education.  It was amazing!  I am blown-away by how generous Lebron James has been with the Akron Community.  Kameron was able to be on the field with me and I know this is a special event he will always remember.

I am also celebrating 18 years of marriage this week with my wonderful hubby Kev.  We got to go out on Thursday to celebrate our anniversary!  We ate at the Burntwood Grille which was delicious!  We then went to hear a jazz band at the Akron Art Museum and finally went for dessert at Crave!  We enjoyed the whole evening outside as it was a gorgeous night with perfect weather!

I am also celebrating my little guy turning 10!  Ten years ago, I was in labor at this moment-praying and hoping that the delivery of my first born would all go smoothly...he was finally born at 10pm that night.  So here's to my little man-growing up much too fast right before my eyes...Happy Birthday Kam!

And, last but not least, I'm celebrating over a week of re-joining the Rec and heading out to exercise-mostly fitness walking (almost jogging) 5 of the last 9 days.  Exercising is making me feel's been great!  I need to get it into a more routine process but I'm sure that will come with returning to work next week.  Yes, my summer vacation is officially ending's ok because I've been celebrating celebrating!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ready for the Rec

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” 

I giggled to myself when I found this quote about exercising!  In first grade, I was Winnie-the-Pooh in the class play.  I sang "Up, Down and Touch the Ground".  I was feeling a lot like Pooh lately, tubby and overstuffed.  So, I decided to re-join the rec center and take on the task of exercising there.

The rec center makes it easy for moms to find time because...they have a babysitting service.  Yes, that's right!  They will watch a little person for a mom who wants to exercise.  Thankfully, my little person loves it there.  She practically begs me every day now saying, "I'm ready for the rec Mom!"

As a matter of fact, she's calling to go exercise!  Up, down, touch the more feeling like Pooh!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Time to Be

Allowed to run!
Allowed to play! 
Allowed to shoot...
at the basketball hoop
ball in hand-alley oop! with my friends

Wanting to shout--
Allowed to laugh out--
Wanting to echoooooo
from the top of the hill down to Basswood
goods in hand from the trading post!

Learning to chat...
Learning to waiter and wait...
Learning to eat and try tasty new foods...
Learning to sing new, silly songs playing fun games (gizmo)
in the dining hall, cleaning up making things neat-leave no trace
breakfast, lunch and dinner with friends!

Hunting for critters...or sticks for a fire!
Learning to explore with the guys out in the woods... 
Identifying parts of the beauty of nature!
Being there rain and shine
finding the treasures at Manatoc!

Dressing in uniforms...
Learning to salute!
Loving retreat, closing the day 
on the parade field, flags flying
marching-left, left, left right left gather...entering the trail to Eagle
Sitting down to listen...
Learning to reflect...
at the Manatoc Council Circle
thinking in silence
to be
just me...
away at Webelo Residence Camp!

The idea for writing this post came after thinking about all of the unique experiences that went on during Webelos Residence Camp with my son Kam.  I want to thank the leaders who attended the camp this week for offering encouraging pieces of advice to my son and the other boys there as they work toward becoming a Boy Scout.  Thank you to Shaun Grayson, Scott Kline (& Zack), Matt Roeser, Jason Ehrhardt, Steve Smith (& Robert), and Ammie Brigger.  Thank you for being such great role models for the boys this week.  Your kindness, generosity of spirit and friendship are amazing points of light for the boys as they continue to learn and grow to be our future Boy Scouts.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friends Make It...

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the weekly Slice of Life!  I'm writing via my phone from  Webelos Residence Camp.  My son is a camper here this week...we are camping for the first time, together.  I've been here since Sunday afternoon.  I have seen so many neat things (people helping each other, boys learning responsibilities for setting up and cleaning up, and vespers)...
I'm definitely soaking in the idea of listening since it's my OLW this year.  I thought deeply about this as I listened to the sounds of the snap, crackle, pop of the raindrops on the tent last night-

Even though the weather has been atrocious-cold, windy, monsoon-like-it hasn't been so bad because of the friendships that are being fostered!  Friends make everything better!  And that's my slice live from camp!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Basketball A-ha

Slice of Life-Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers Blog for 
hosting the weekly Slice of Life! Every Tuesday

"Momma, is Kameron going to walk the yellow brick road?"

I giggled, thinking of how Nattie remembered this concept from two weeks ago when Kameron was at Basketball Camp.  "You know what?  You're right.  He was late last night.  Maybe he should walk the yellow brick road!"

"Yes, Momma, I think he should!".

So, I thought about Basketball Camp for my slice.  I reflected on the things that Kam and even Nattie learned from the coach in just a short amount of time.  It was a four day camp from 9-3 each day.  The campers lived and breathed basketball and the skills that are part of the game-including life skills.  I want to share these key ideas.

1.  Don't be late.  If you're late, you have to skip on the yellow brick road.  The coach demanded this expectation from day 1.  If you're late, you had to skip on the yellow brick road.  This was embarassing as the boys who showed up late, even parents had to skip through the road of boys and sing the munchkin song.  It motivated Kameron, Nattie and me to get moving in the morning so we were early almost every day.  It was a fun topic of conversation too.  The boys (about 200 of them) made two lines, creating a road down the middle of the gym.  The friends who were late had to skip down the road and sing whatever the coach made them sing.  (All in good fun of course-but it sure motivated a lot of boys to hustle and be on time!)

2.  Basketball takes practice (skills are part of that).  The coach taught the boys skills that they could practice daily to improve their game.  I thought of this in terms of writing, reading-anything that a person would want to get better at...takes. practice. daily.

3.  There is no "I" in team.  Kam shared with me that the coaches were encouraging the boys to work together and get to know their teammates and play to each other's strengths making the whole team better.  Surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in your work will result in greater success for all.

And last but not least of the key ideas-
4.  Just do it.  Our game is not improved by sitting on the sidelines watching somebody else play.  We have to get in on the action to really get better.

I think all of these apply to life skills that anyone wants to improve...hopefully you can see the connection to your own life.

Which one is your favorite?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Revised Frog

Today's Teachers Write Blog post is courtesy of Kate Messner and David Lubar about fixing inevitable mistakes.  

Dear Amy,
I think that you need to consider your audience and structure of your original piece.  Maybe it would be more appropriate to change the format into a chapter sort of book.  This might make your book more appealing to a more sophisticated audience.  Good luck with your changes.  Although I originally like how you wrote me, I think it could be better the new way.

Hopping yours,
Your frog 

Hello friends.  I am Fred the frog...I am green and a bit slimy and walk or hop on four legs.  A funny thing about my legs, they've stretched and grown since I was a tadpole.  Soon after I hatched from my egg, I had a tail and no legs and I got to swim through the water like a fish.  My back legs continued to grow. Before I knew it, I had front legs too and could hop onto the land nearby instead of only living in Carol Pond.  On top of all this growing excitement, I also lost my tail!  Who knew?

My Hangouts!  
Now, my favorite place to hang out is around the lady’s flower pot.  I slowly creep out on hot summer evenings to hunt for my dinner of bugs.  I don't like sharing my flower pot with anyone else, I love to keep all the bugs for me so I can eat, eat, eat!

News about my family!  
When I was first born, I had lots of brothers and sisters.  We all hung out as small black eggs together in the water connected to the roots of the lily pads in Carol Pond.  After we hatched, I got to spend lots of time swimming with the family in the water of the pond.  Sadly, some of my siblings (my brothers and sisters) were eaten by Koi which are a kind of fish or Blue Heron, which are a type of bird or hawks.  I don't see my family much now that we've all left the pond.  We went our separate ways.

My Favorite Part!
I'm going to tell you about my favorite part of me-my tongue!  I love how I can stretch it out and use it to catch my prey, like beetles, flies and ants.  I want to fill my belly with good things to eat.  The least favorite thing about me is my skin.  People stare at my skin and comment about its ugliness when they see me.  That makes me feel sad sometimes.

Pet Peeve!  
There is a myth that people always blurt when they see me and try to pick me up- “Don’t pick it up, it will pee on your hand and give you warts!”  This is completely untrue!  I think that mommies made this up so their kids wouldn't pick up frogs.  However, I do have warts on my skin that can pass along bad bacteria to people-so you might not want to touch me after all.

Scaredy Things! 
I am most afraid of birds.  I don't like birds for two reasons.  One reason is they can be big enough to swoop down out of the sky and eat me!  The other reason I don't like them is because the smaller birds swoop into my garden and eat the bugs I was spying on for dinner.  You can see why I wouldn’t want to be friends with a bird!

All About You!  So now that you know a little bit about me, what could you tell about you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wild Reading, #CyberPD part 2

Thanks to Laura Komos for hosting part 2 of #cyberpd2014 at her blog Ruminate and Invigorate this week.

Response to Chapter 3 and 4- Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
Confession:  I have been wanting to finish reading Reading in the Wild for a number of weeks.  I am making the claim that although I hungered to read the book as soon as I purchased it, my life just keeps throwing curve ball after curve ball and I don't seem to have the right bats to hit them with lately...that said, I am now finishing up reading the book as we celebrate the Cyber PD event.

Reaction and Reflection:  I read the book with such enthusiasm and excitement pumping through me and kept thinking about my own wild reading habits.  I thought about the ebb and flow of my reading life.  I feel a strong sense of growth on nutritious professional reads, picture books, tweets and blogs.  The area of nutritional deficiency for me is the YA fiction for grades 3 and up.  It seems like I start these books but I can't commit to finishing them and so I want to get stronger in this area.

Connection:  There were many strong points to be savored and shared as I reflect on my own reading habits.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Cultivate growth for our wild readers by building relationships and a strong community that supports social and emotional safety for students.  This made me think of the book Mrs Spitzer's Garden, cultivating reading habits based on individual needs that last beyond the school year with students.

  • Broaden the wild reading habits with parents and other community stakeholders about the importance of creating lifelong readers.  I like the idea of having "I'm currently reading..." signs outside each classroom door.  I also like the idea of a graffiti wall of favorite quotes from books as a sales pitch for a next read.  Both of these ideas spark interest in the community for reading to continue. 
I made this graffiti wall via padlet
And Padlet automatically creates a QR code for easy scan access for students to get to it and also includes multiple additional ways to share it with others via social media.

  • Confer to build relationships with wild readers and determine the next steps needed in continuing to cultivate their growth.  Start the process all over again once everyone has met..and find a record keeping system that works to track conversations with wild readers all year long.
  • Connect with people or places that continue to influence growing my wild reading habits (some of these include Tweet chats, Pinterest, and friends).  Use blog posts, tweets, and pins to plan and track ideas for future books to read.  I also try to share my a favorite read aloud each time I open a p.d. session with teachers...
  • Set reading goals and reflect on the progress in reaching them. Encourage wild readers to develop their own reading plans-no plans are needed when someone else does the planning for you...So true Donalyn!  Also, look for ways to add challenge.  An additional key idea that I found important was setting goals for the calendar year rather than the semester-carrying our plans across summer rather than ending with the school year could cultivate wild reading habits all year.
 After reading through chapter 4, I really feel like there is so much more that could be done to cultivate wild reading.  Thank you, Donalyn, for being such an igniter of the flame to inspire all of us to do better.  We can do this.  I plan to share this book and my plans with as many teachers as possible.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Thanks to Ruth Ayers for hosting the #celebratelu each Ruth Ayers Writes! 

This week I am celebrating being Connected! 

Family Reunion- I had a chance to re-connect with many family members from the Papp family last Saturday at the Family Reunion.  It was great to see family, celebrate over good food, and remember those we loved. I made Texas Sheet Cake to share (everyone brings a favorite dish).  It turned out great!  The highlight of our event was the White Elephant Ticket give-away...We won a basket of Italian dinner items-pastas, sauces, bread, cheese, and spreads.  As a result, I made chicken alfredo last Sunday.  I also shared some of our dinner with our priest-so it ended up being a pay it forward share with others!

Children-I have enjoyed spending time re-connecting and playing with my children.  This I believe is a special part of having the summer off.  We played and did fun things together all week.  We read books, played in the water table (which Natalie tried to treat as a swimming pool :) heheheh).  We trekked out to the Great Lakes Science Center and also the Akron Zoo...

Twitter-Time to re-connect with other Twitter Tweeters and have a little fun as well as learn from the amazing PLN there.  Thanks to all for the favorites, retweets and learning this week.

Mom-I had the chance to re-connect with my mom.  We had an appointment with the Geriatrician this week and got an update on where my mom is with her dementia...she's currently in the mild to moderate stage.  The challenge is going to be trying to get her to commit to going to adult day care so that my dad can get a bit of a break as the primary care-giver.  It's so hard to see this happening.  The day went well though...she was in good spirits as we ate lunch together, shopped and went to the doctor.

The Educator Collaborative-A new website started this week by Super Star Educator Chris Lehman!  The site launched on Wednesday.  Anyone can join as a member and become connected to other educators with like interests.  I hope you'll consider joining as well.  This will be an incredible source for professional growth and learning.  I've already learned about using the "My Library" option on Google to create a record of books read.  Thanks Brian Sweeney!

Hubby!  We got to connect during "date night" last night.  We enjoyed delicious dinner out (just the two of us) and listening to a salsa band at the Galaxy...good times and good fun. 

You can see why my theme had to be "connected" this week!  As I reflect on the week, I am happy with the connections.  Things that I wanted to do and am still working on are participating in the #cyberpd2014 and writing with #teacherswrite.  I am behind on my reading, writing and posting...but it will come.

What connections have you made new or old this week?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fortune and Teachers Write

This week, the start of something personally meaningful is beginning!

I participated in Teachers Write two years ago and only a little last summer.  And so, I reflected on what has prompted me to get fired up about this writing adventure-- the opportunity to learn more about myself as a writer and what I hope to accomplish in the future as a writer...

Today, Jen, at Teach Mentor Text posed this question "Why are you writing?"

I have been thinking a lot about writing lately-because I haven't been and should be...and then a few weeks ago, I got this fortune cookie on date night at PF Chang's!

I opened it...not always one who believes in the power, timing or predicting of fortunes...

and got this good fortune...

You are lover of words,
someday you should write a book.
Karma.  Karma.  KARMA!  The chance of me grabbing and getting the message in the cookie was devine intervention I think.  Then, I was browsing Twitter and saw a tweet about Teachers Write starting up again soon...and then Thursday, July 4th, there was this awesome post by  Cynthia Lord on Kate Messner's blog (thanks for this message Cynthia/Kate-I definitely needed it) about making time to write...I just need to do this for myself.   I can do this.  I can make time to write daily and be inspired by the words and work of other teachers around this community to build my thinking and learning about a dream I've had since I was young...becoming an author of a children's book!

So I will dive in once again and work at making my dream a reality...this makes me think of the old Dr. Pepper commercial and the little jingle about being a pepper fan...only in terms of writing-She's a writer, He's a writer, We are writers, wouldn't you like to be a writer too?  Will you join the Teachers Write Community this year?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I Am...

starting my day doing one of my favorite Saturday morning routines, reading the Big Fresh!  Today's blurb caught my eye the second I opened the email-"Books for Launching Reading Workshops"!  I did a massive "fist pump" when I saw this as I am always on the hunt for great books to read aloud.  

After reading the article link by Carol Wilcox, I got today's inspiration for writing my celebration-an "I Am" Poem around just starting my summer vacation this week after two and a half extra weeks of work to finish our integrated pacing guide.  Today, my celebration is about finally being able to kick back and relax...cherishing the opportunites before me as I spend time with my family...

I Am
I am exhausted and thrilled!
I wonder what adventure awaits this summer...
I hear lots of fireworks booming with possibility!
I see a journey beginning,
I want to celebrate being with my family!
I am engergized!!

I want to avoid looking at the calendar
I feel excited for the possibilities of learning and growing together
I think about the learning of others through what I take in
I worry that time will drip-drop away too quickly... 
and I can't catch it!

I am excited...

I understand how things can change in an instant!
I say let's go!
I dream of being "just the right amount" of "mom"!?!
I listen in a loving way...
I hope my time is well-spent on what's left of summer with my kids...
I am excited!!
I celebrate summer!

Thank you to the Big Fresh and Carol Wilcox for today's inspiration!  AND thanks to Ruth Ayers @ for hosting this weekly celebration! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Birdies and My Toad

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Weekly Slice of Life!

My little bean loves the outdoors.  She's different from my son because she's always wanting to explore the things she observes in nature.  With the weather turning warmer, we're outside almost every night we can be, swinging, playing, observing.

Each time out is a new conversation and a new adventure.  We've most recently spent time in conversation about birdies and toads...

Birds tweeting, she tweets back-"What's the birdie saying Momma?"

I say, "What do you think he's saying?"

"He's saying that we are having fun on the swing!"

I agree and add, "Yes, you and I are having fun going as high as the sky!"

We swing more and she tweets again, "What's the birdie saying Momma?"

"I think the birdie is saying that we have to go in soon!"

"Momma, let's go look for my toad!"

I get her out of the swing and we head toward the front flower bed to see if we can get a glimpse of  the toad she calls "my toad".  We look around the big flower planter in the front yard...sure enough the toad is there.  Hopping along and looking for its latest snack...she squeals in delight when the toad appears.  "Toadally" making her day.

"Momma, I love my toad!  He's a cute little guy."

"I love your toad too, and I'm glad he's in our garden to eat up the bugs!"

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Oh, the things to celebrate!

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for hosting this weekly celebration

This spring has been pretty stressful in good and bad ways!  There has been much new learning taking place, saying good-bye to colleagues and co-workers, and appreciation for streaks of good health.  Additionally, this week, the change of roles for coaches and the process of coaching moved from being "discussed" to action plans...

New learning...I am excited and nervous for all the new learning with being a member of my district's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Team of trainers.  We went through the training process by the State of Ohio, have worked as a team to tweak our approach to training teachers from the district!  I have used things I learned about from the past year to help the team push the news out to teachers and parents using the newsletters!  Here is one of our samples:

I am also currently using the Video Scribe app to make a video that shows interesting facts about the new components of the KRA.  The best part of all this new information and the part worth celebrating is that our team has worked together-supporting and building the new foundation and framework of this learning.  So I thank you team!

Beauty of the Earth...I am excited to say that I've enjoyed spending time in the gardens around the house-trimming hedges and planting some annuals.  The best part having a little three year old helper that wants to add water to everything we've planted!  She makes me smile  :)!

The retirements...we celebrated saying good-bye to fellow teachers who are retiring from their positions this year as most have either 30 or 35 years in with the district.  One of them has been a great friend and sounding board as a fellow literacy coach.  Yesterday was her last day and she will be so missed.  We hopefully think that it will only be for 60 days...and then she'll be back!  I am celebrating her accomplishments as a coach, colleague, teacher and friend as she's made a huge impact on children's literacy lives!

The health streak...  Since my dad entered the hospital at the beginning of the month, he came home and is doing better.  Both of my parents are in a stable pattern of good health lately.  Thankful and celebrating good health.

The job...the district decided to rename all of us and change our position to "Instructional Specialist/Coach" with more of a focus on being generalists.  We are now updating our coaching profiles and will be assigned to no more than 2 buildings each.  This makes so much sense although I am nervous about going out to the buildings who are matched with similar profiles to meet and be sort-of interviewed  by building principals and SIP teams.  Hopefully this will go well and I will end up well-matched with the buildings because we have similar views rather than being randomly assigned.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Celebrations-the short list

Things I am celebrating this week:

1.  My dad came home from the hospital yesterday (in for pneumonia).

2.  A good friend of my parents stayed with my mom while my dad was in the hospital-Thank you Roo!

3.  My cold is getting better...I slept through the night without waking up to start coughing...

4.  I got to see Kam play his first little league game of the season.

5.  I attended Chromebook Camp via the University of Akron Lakewood, Ohio and connected with a lot of new and old friends last Saturday.  Some time in the near future I hope to be able to share all of the wonderful links and ideas from my learning with you-when my cold is gone and my energy is back. It was awesome!

I'm in this pic-farthest left black jacket!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Puzzling Library Lament

Spending the next few days flying solo as a parent has me on hyper-alert.  I am the one responsible (solely charged) with making sure all is well for my kiddos.  I take my hat off and bow to those who single parent 24/7!  It's a hard job.

Natalie requested to visit the library during Kameron's baseball practice.  I agreed to take her if she agreed to be a good listener and complied with directions when it was time to go pick up Kam.  We've had tantrums at this point in the evening before and it was not something I was willing to take on...but I reconsidered and decided to risk it.

The risk payed off!  I soaked in every moment of our time together.  We visited with Scooter, the blogging turtle.  We played store-and I got an ice cream cone.  We read books, Tea Party Rules and The Story of Fish and Snail.  We played trains.

And then, we puzzled.  Here there was drama!  Nat dumped out one of the puzzles and began to put it together.  She loves working the puzzles...there was a sudden moment of distraught over a missing piece-

"Oh, no!  Momma, it will never be complete!"

I'm certain that the entire level zero noise library patrons heard this dilemma.  I giggled to myself and insisted that we look around as I was sure we could find it (even though we didn't).   When I was checking out my books, Nat mentioned to the librarian that we couldn't find it.  She assured Nat that it was somewhere and not to would be found.  But will it?

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting this weekly Slice of Life event!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nature's Performance

Thanks to the teachers at Two Writing Teachers who team up every week to host the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge...

Leaves clogging down the street,
Arriving for the play!
Wind howling in our ears
Performers coming nearer...
Thunder clapping in the distance!
Performance beginning,
Drops plip-plopping hard then harder!
Light dimming...
Leaves settling down watching the show.
Wind howling through the eaves!
Storm storming now!
Thunder booming
Lightning flashing

Actors hamming it up
Rain splashing harder
Thunder booming louder
Lightning flashing brighter
Performance almost ending
Drops are dropping
Still plip-plopping
Leaves glistening with joy in the sun
Lights coming up...
Storm moving on.
No blackouts today!
Thunder and rain taking a final bow!
(without a curtain call)
Nature's new backdrop-
the rainbow!
Upstaging thunder, wind and rain's performance!
What a beautiful sight!

Just some inspiration after hearing the leaves and the storm yesterday...but no rainbow...that part's a dash of imagination!  Happy Spring slicing friends!  I think it's finally here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Defense of a Big Brother

While Kameron is on Spring Break this week, he's going to the same childcare center where I send Natalie.  She's so happy that he's there with her.  And dropping them off at the same place and same time each day this week has been a nice change of pace.  Kam even shared with me today that he got to watch Nat during her dance class and said she did pretty good.

On the drive home though, Kam shared with me that one of the teachers just can't seem to get his name right. I asked Kam if he wanted me to talk to the her about it.  He said yes.  Well, Miss Nattie heard this too and later shared her own thinking on the topic as we got ready for bed...

"Momma, I want my notebook."

"You do?  What for?"

"I want to write Miss C a note and tell her, Kameron's name is nooot Ethan!"

"Ok, I'll get you your notebook!"

I promptly went downstairs and shared this little tidbit with Kev and Kam.  We all had a little giggle at Nat's defense of her big brother!

I came back upstairs and she promptly scribbled away a little scribble-scrabble note in her fat and chunky notebook.  She turned a few other pages and did some more scribble scrabble and then laid down pencil and notebook still in hand.  I turned out the lamp and she nodded off to dreamland holding on to the defense plan...the truth!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers writers for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge...thank you for all you do to encourage the written word!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Traditions, Rituals, and Routines



These are the words that tumbled through my mind as I contemplated the slice for today...I was able to live in two worlds today!  The new and the known.  It was a smooth blend of fulfilled expectations and hope for future connections.

I got to work with first graders on their writing today.  I loved this because their pictures and writing were so sincere.  We started our new unit on informative/expository writing today.  The students shared experiences where they have seen people writing.  One of the little darlings shared that he saw his dad writing the taxes!  And another shared that he watched his mom write a grocery list.  One of the rituals we've worked to improve was our "stretch it out, write what we hear, underline it and move on" routine for figuring out words we don't know how to spell.  And we're getting better at it!

A new tradition was started today as I worked with some fifth graders who started to blog for the first time.  They approached the new routine confidently as I showed them what to do.  They decided the topic of their posts for today.  The kids wrote about books, vacations, TV shows and the first day of school.

After school, I met up with fellow slicer Julie Johnson at Raising Readers and Writers for coffee while she's in town at her parents' house.  She shared how coming up to visit during her spring break has become a bit of a tradition.  We had a nice visit...talking about all things teaching, family, writing, and books.  I am most excited to read A Snicker of Magic...Julie highly recommended it!

And the Ohio winter tradition we can't get a break from-more snow made its mark as well.  As we chatted, the snow began to fall once again in pretty, large flakes.  I thought that if this had been one of the first snows, everyone would have commented on its beauty...under the circumstances at this point, most would say "Not again!".

I headed for home and arrived in time for supper, clean-up and reading...but breaking from homework. And still the words tumbling in my do we keep these feeling fresh and new?  Or is there more joy found in keeping things the same?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hatching Eggs!

Slice of Life
Day 23

The refrigerator door slowly opened and I wondered what to eat for breakfast today.  Hmmm.  I decided on making an egg and English muffin sandwich.  I carefully lifted the egg out of the six pack, cracked it gently into the bowl and began to scramble it adding just a drop of milk.  I cooked it in the microwave because it simply makes the perfect round egg to plop on the English muffin.  My muffin came out toasted just right along with the egg and I sat down at the table to enjoy my sandwich and the hazelnut coffee my hubby brewed this morning!

The little imp of the house had already decided to eat the coco puffs for her breakfast.  She decided on not finishing them as they had grown soggy after she went off to play with the toys in the sun-room.  Then, she heard me cooking and watched me eating my tasty toasted blend of morning joy...

Half way through my breakfast, the little imp insisted, "I want to hatch some eggs!" meaning she wanted to crack the egg into the bowl, mix it, and cook it.  So I called her over to the kitchen and we began the process for cooking her egg and toast.

photo credit:  wikihow

My nerves were on edge as I handed her the egg to break on the edge of the bowl.  My habit of prediction brewed up images of messiness as soon as the deed was done.  I demonstrated the slow and careful approach to egg "hatching" and hastily handed over the egg for her to do the deed...and then "hatch"!  She tapped the egg so hard that it immediately broke in half with some shell and egg going into the bowl, her hand and the floor.  "Ok, Nat, not so hard next time! Let's clean it up!"  

"Sorry Mom!"

"It's ok, just not so hard..." and we cleaned up the mess that began her second nibble of breakfast.  It's hard to let your imp make mistakes...but how else can they learn?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Celebration Slice

this week

Each year I grow older, I reflect on the year that's been.  Today, I am celebrating a-one-year-older-one-year-wiser me...It's been a year of ups and downs but still I celebrate.  I celebrate because I am blessed with a very loving family (immediate as well as extended)!  I have a wonderful husband (loving, patient, understanding and supportive!).  I have been blessed to be a mom twice-what could be better?  I also have many wonderful friends I've connected with through my job and throughout my life.

And then, there are my virtual friends-whom I've met through slicing, blogging, and tweeting!  Meeting the slicers at NCTE this year was a definite highlight (so many inspirational people!).  Thank you to my fellow blogging after day, and week after week, you leave precious little gifts through the thoughtful comments you share. You've all pushed me and challenged me to grow both personally and professionally...

So today, I celebrate the abundant blessings that have come my way.  Each of them special for it's own reason and so cherished.  Thank you to all of my wonderful family, friends and colleagues for celebrating with me on my birthday!  Love to you all.  I feel as if I can have my cake and eat it too slice by slice!

Photo Credit

Later, we'll celebrate with a special dinner at Nuevo Acapulco (Mexican cuisine), cake and ice cream.  Then, we'll head out to the Pinewood Derby-good luck to my K-man!  What do you do to celebrate your birthday?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Celebrating Mini Slices II

Slice of Life Story Challenge
Slice 15 of 31 

Thanks for hosting these special events and celebrating writing and writers!

Another busy week flew by and I was able to write and slice a few of the days for the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Today, I am glad to wake up slowly and take some time to reflect on the Celebration Mini Slices that I would have written if the time and energy would have been there...

Day by Day

I am celebrating my sweet little family!  We enjoyed spending time with my in-laws!  The reason we got together was to honor Kevin on his birthday!  The kids loved the chocolate cake my mother-in-law brought to share.  Of course the kids love seeing their nona and poppa!  We also watched the half-time ceremony of the Cavs game when Z had his number retired.  What an honor! 

We met up with my side of the family to celebrate our birthdays at New Era restaurant.  We talked a lot about my uncle who passed on Saturday.  We will miss him greatly but know that he's now comfortably residing in heaven and no longer suffering.  My mom took this very hard...just adding to the difficulty of what we're already going through with her.  My uncle also had cousin and I have been talking about the similarities between my mom and her

I am celebrating that we completed Kameron's biography report and presentation board on John Glenn without any accidents or mishaps.  We were also able to find the Model Magic he needed for his landform project.  I also made it to work early for an important meeting with the Curriculum and Instruction Division.  Our Assistant Superintendant wanted everyone in their seats ready to go at 5 till 8.  I was there at 7:45 (a stretch for me since I have both kids to drop off in the morning before I get to work).  I made it!

I also took my mom to a follow up appointment with the surgeon. This lead to her telling me about how bad her ear hurt.  As a result, I took her to the med clinic they normally go to and she had wax impaction in her right ear and her left eardrum was perforated...she probably had this for awhile.  How she dealt with pain without telling anyone is unimaginable...

I have been in contact with Derek Munson, author of Enemy Pie and Bad Dad since summer.  He willingly responded to questions third grade students at Barber had regarding the book Enemy Pie.  We tweeted his response that was posted to our class kidblog and he tweeted back to us.  Many thanks to Derek!

I made it through another doctor appointment with my parents.  This time we had our appointment with the geriatrician.  She started floating care options toward my dad.  He's going to have a hard time making this decision on how to best take care of my mom.  The geriatrician and I agreed that my dad can barely take care of himself now...

I breathed a sigh of relief as yet another winter storm turned out to be less problematic than originally forecasted. Thank God we didn't have another snow day called.  As a result, we were able to get pizza for Kam's school pizza night at Marcos.  This was a special event since the kids designed their own pizza boxes.  We celebrated seeing Kam's box design.

I celebrated the health of my children...I thought Kam was getting sick.  He came home and slept for two hours after school.  He didn't want to eat or drink...just sleep.  When he woke up, he seemed less pale and ate some jello.  I am not sure what was going on but he ended up being ok and was able to get up for school on Friday.

I enjoyed a fun lunch out with friends, although a little rushed.  We went to a newer restaurant called The Blue Door.  It's a buzzing little bakery/cafe.  I had the grilled cheese special (gruyere cheese with fig butter) YUM! tomato soup and bib lettuce greens.  It was delicious and the company was perfect.

Waking up, writing, and here to celebrate with you!  Looking forward to date night with my hubby...babysitter lined up...what could be better?