#SOLSC20: Day 7

For the last seven days, the temperature in Iowa has been in the 40s and 50s.  That’s 18+ degrees above freezing. Remember that freezing is 32 degrees.  That makes the 40s and 50s during the first week of March seem like a heat wave. So imagine my shock when I saw this on the north side of the garage.

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What is this weird white stuff laying on the ground?

Not so unusual for Iowa in March. But after a week of daytime temperatures in the 40s and 50s?  I was shocked.  But the shock was due to the irony of the situation – the reason I was walking around the back side of the garage.

Today’s REAL slice in pictures . . .

What do you notice? 

What do you wonder?

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Reading is an interaction between the text and the reader as meaning is constructed. The use of pictures is often a great way to focus students’ attention on some specific details.

Which details do you use to tell the story?

Which picture really advanced your story?

Which picture(s) did you reread?

What are you still wondering?


And now for the rest of the story . . .

I was greeted by a wall of flames about 40 feet long and 2 feet high on the other side of my driveway yesterday afternoon. I grabbed the hose, a bucket and turned the hydrant on. The 100 foot hose barely reached to the edge. I put my thumb on the end of the hose to arc it towards the flames. Not so successful.  Then I alternated filling the bucket and spraying water. When the flames on the edge next to the driveway were out, I went back to grab my phone. I needed help.

The good news: 

Four different fire departments in the form of 10 different vehicles showed up for the grass fire in our timber. Brush and grassy areas were burnt off with no buildings or vehicles in danger. Smoke hung over the timber as the fire was brought under control and the trucks were routed to a nearby fire. “Gators” with water tanks and leaf blowers were the tools of choice.  Some smoldering areas will need to be monitored for the next few days.

New Learning:

  • After 20 years of living here, I now know which town is the first response to fire calls.
  • Fire fighting has changed in the last 20 years. No longer do firefighters use wet gunnysacks to fight grass fires.
  • Fire trucks create a lot of noise and dust in March.
  • I still have snow in my yard after a week of temps in 40s and 50s!

How much work were you willing to do to figure out the story?

How can pictures help both the reader and writer sort out details?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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10 responses

  1. Fran, you always manage to pack so much into your slices. I was engaging with your lingering snow idea and connecting it to my own, then you give me some powerful visual reading strategy prompts, and then I am pulled into the emergency of your grass fire!! Can I just say, “I think you are brilliant.”

    1. Paula,
      Ah, but if only I could sketch note like you . . . finding gems in our lives – nature, people, and events – critical! ❤

  2. A fire! I have an extreme fear of fire going far back in my childhood. Quick thinking! I also was surprised by where this slice went. What?

    1. Margaret,
      I spent years on our volunteer fire department in another town – back when we had a wood stove. Fires are crazy and unpredictable. Thank goodness it wasn’t the day before with high winds!

  3. This is quite a slice of life! I hope there was not too much damage and I am glad you were able to notice the unexpected snow with the fire drama!

    1. Anita,
      A quick rain would be handy to wash off the black charring. The few trees lost were already dead so damage was minimal. And yet, another unexpected day! 🙂

  4. I am struck by the contrast in your pictures, Fran… snow and brush fire . Glad to hear that the fire didn’t spread and that there was no property damage. Here’s hoping things don’t flare up.

    1. The visual of almost white snow and the black charred grass is alarming. I am ready for the greening of spring.

  5. A snow surprise turned into so much more! Thank you for a great piece and leading the reader unsuspectingly into a full blown emergency! Artfully done. I’m happy to learn that it all turned out okay.

  6. […] Process: I began with this line, “I was greeted by a wall of flames about 40 feet long and 2 feet high on the other side of my driveway yesterday afternoon.” from this post. (Link) […]

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