Category Archives: Slice of Life 17

#SOL17: Silver Lake


Where do YOU begin?

Here’s a simple list of words from my writing notebook

Begun with an early morning observation

Sipping coffee

Waking up

At Silver Lake

Some words from the present.

Some from the past.

Some added over time.

words

How does a list evolve?

Grow?

Morph?

What categories would you make?

While waiting for inspiration to strike,

I’ve learned to keep my fingers moving across the keyboard.

Looking for photos

Looking for organization

and word clouds suddenly appeared in my brain.

word cloud oneword cloud twoword cloud threeword cloud fourword cloud five

Changing colors

Changing shapes

Changing colors

Adding a filter.

Using a visual as a stimulus . . .

Ready to write!

One of Those Moments

One of those moments

Etched on my cornea

Burnt into my brain

Captured in my heart

Gray sky

Combinations of clouds

White, thin, wispy

Surrounded by large and fluffy white-topped clouds

With an under girding of gray

Ready for a sprinkle or

Perhaps a shower or

Sheets of rain or

Buckets full pouring from the heavens

Harmony in thoughts shared

Rich in laughter

Engrossed in fun

So much to do!

A boat ride,

Pictionary,

Writing talk,

3 Truths and a Lie, and

Learning to play a ukelele.

Friends

Voxer Cousins

Readers

Writers

Thinkers

Teachers

Students

Bound together by a few moments in time

One of those perfect summer moments!

20170624_222414.jpg

June 24 – Silver Lake, MN

How do your thoughts become your ideas?  

What shapes your format?

Where does your organization come from?  

How do you share this process with your students?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      Process:

My first draft was totally a description – what I saw, heard and felt while outside

But it seemed really boring

And felt like it could be any lake anywhere

So this is Draft Two . . . after some revision!

 

#SOL17: “There’s No Place Like . . .”


Think back to a “Best Time of Your Life”.  Where were you?  What were you doing?  What made it “THE BEST”?

If you were to return to that place of your “Best Time of Your Life” right this minute, do you think it would be exactly as you remember it?

dorothy clicking her heels

“There’s no place like TCRWP!”

Picture this:

#TCRWP

Yesterday

1399 colleagues (?)

Magnificent Riverside Church

“We come from . . .”

A call to action from Lucy Calkins.

We can.

We must.

Ignite the passion

In our students.

“Don Murray: Writing is not easy nor should it be.”

We don’t just recount.

We make meaning in our writing.

And later,

To celebrate the day’s end

A thunderstorm

A double rainbow

double rainbow kitty donohoe

    A Double Rainbow:          Kitty Donohoe, Twitter

Ready to begin anew!

June Writing Institute 2013

My initiation

My trepidation

And yet, filling a hole in my teacher soul

June Writing Institute 2014

Back to fill in the holes in my knowledge

Back to “be with my tribe”

Still anxious about all I did NOT know

June Writing Institute 2015

Armed with a plan

Specific session criteria

And questions for staff developers.

June Writing Institute 2016

Finally knowing “something”

Writing before, during, and after

Adding new knowledge

Consolidating and validating previous learnings

and this year, waiting for

August Writing Institute 2017

Because there’s no place like home with your writerly friends

The Learning at

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project!

So this week I’m following along on Twitter

Checking in for “learning bread crumbs”

Planning for that return to “My Best Learning Place on Earth”!

#TCRWP Writing Institute and #TCRWP Reading Institute

I already know that even though I’m attending in August this year, #TCRWP Writing and Reading Institutes will be better than ever!  Much writing and reading (and tweets) before then . . . See you soon!

Where do you go for inspiration?  

That feeling of “belonging”?  

And yet, where you are also “pushed” to be a better you, a stronger you, a more capable you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

#SOL17 and #DigiLitSunday: Problem Solving


In Real Life:

“Gramma, sit here.”

“H’mm. It’s a long way down to the floor.”

“Here, Gramma.”

I sit.  I can guess the activity by reading the clues in the area.

I don’t know for sure the plan but does it matter?  

Doesn’t the world revolve around my grandson?

How do I wait, without talking/leading, to see what “our play” is going to be?

In My Professional Life:

Book studies have popped up everywhere.  Which ones should I join?  Which ones are quite intriguing?  Which ones should I avoid?

My professional “shelfie” looks like this: (+Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst)

shelfie.jpg

How do I determine what groups to participate in?  

For example, I know of three different groups reading and responding to Disruptive Thinking. Do I just jump in?  It’s summer after all and I do have more “time” to spend on reading and writing.  Do I develop criteria?  What could/should that look like?

Last week’s #G2Great chat was with Patty Vitale-Reilly (@pattyvreilly) about her book, Engaging Every Learner:  Classroom Principles, Strategies, and Tools.  You can read Chapter 6 of her book from Heinemann here, check out the storify here, or even read my blog post about the chat here.

Where do I think problems with “being an engaged learner” might arise?  Where should I begin? Right now I believe I need to pay attention to actions 1, 3, 5 and 6 below as I develop my plans to participate in book studies this summer.

  1. Consider the three dimensions of engagement
  2. Cultivate engagement in the classroom
  3.  Establish routines to cultivate high engagement
  4.   Use assessments to build engagement!
  5.  Use choice to build engagement
  6. Cultivate my own engagement

My decision is to see which of the aspects of “engagement” hook me into summer book groups and provide the incentive for me to continue participating.  By planning to “problem solve” in advance, both when I get stuck when reading and when my participation wanes, I can gather additional information about both my problem solving and my engagement!

What are you going to learn / study this summer to move your literacy life forward?

When do  I want/need/crave choice and creativity and what role will that play in my decisions/actions?




 

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Additional #DigiLitSunday:  Problem Solving posts with Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.

digilit-button

 

#SOL17: Discovery


joy write fletcher.JPG

What do I want to discover this summer?  

What’s my goal?  

How will I grow and learn?

I plan to continue to grow my writing skills.  I will work on narratives but I also want to discover or uncover additional ways that informational writing can be fun.  I want to practice with Weebly, infographics, and video.  My journey is sparked by a 2ndaryELA facebook post that led me to this weebly created by a junior as a result of a semester long genius hour project.  Whitefish Point

I want to deliberately and purposefully take the same information and write it in several different ways to see whether graphics or text structures make it more understandable.  I want to know when I “really own it”!

Topic – not yet chosen

My fascination with weebly . . .

What is Weebly?  print

Review with Pros and Cons of Weebly

Differences between Weebly and Word Press

What is Weebly?  (video)

I believe that I will actually be creating a “multi-genre report” as I simultaneously work on

1) writing stamina

2) becoming more familiar with my chromebook

3) documenting my learning

4) digging into writing craft and standards simultaneously

What do you plan to discover this summer?  Where will you find joy?  What will you own?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Why?  Teachers’ Writing Matters

Storytelling

#SOL17: Voracious Readers


“Don’t read in the dark!” (Just yesterday in a hotel room while traveling!)

It’s my Kindle on my iPad.  It’s lit.

“When did you start reading?”

Have I ever NOT been reading?

I remember reading BEFORE I went to school for kindergarten.

And according to a first grader, “Was that before Columbus discovered America?”

I remember lying in front of a south window trying to sneak in a few more minutes of twilight reading hours.  In later years I remember having a flashlight and a book under my pillow in the camper so I could read if I wasn’t sleeping.  And now, now I read from my iPad.  Sometimes I read just a page or two.  Sometimes I flip back to an old boring friend and read just a page or two. And sometimes I read until the book ends!

My mantra:

voracious reader two

I checked out and read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books available from our public library in the 1960s and I credit those series for making me a serial reader – every book published by the author. (Note:  I love the new versions now available!)

Kylene Beers and Donalyn Miller (#TCRWP Reading Institute) have told us that series readers will be life-long readers.  Encourage students to embark on the exploration of a series OR TWO during the summer and they will be on the way to slowing or even stopping the “summer slide”!

Which books?

I’m not in favor of “mandated lists” because I believe that student choice builds a love of reading.  Here’s some advice . . .

voracious reader one

These eight bullets can help you, the teacher, increase your own voraciousness as well as  that of your students!

voracious reader creating one

Of course, building in a bit of humor as in “How would I rewrite the titles to fit a different concept?” can produce a graphic like “Hungry for Books”!

voracious reader

My final words:

voracious reader four

What does your reading list look like?

 How many TBR stacks do you have?  

When will you start/continue?  

How did YOU become a voracious reader?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

And what does this look like in a high school reading workshop???? How would you know if you have voracious readers?  Fabulous ideas from students incorporated into this rubric.

#DigiLitSunday: Better


better

Today’s call for slices from Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche immediately makes me think of HOW one gets better.  Previous posts about professional development are here, here, and here. I love learning.  I love learning with friends.  Therefore, one of the best tools that I use for professional development is Twitter because it truly is exemplified by this graphic.

good better best

What?

Learning.  Identifying a topic. Identifying a need.  Finding experts. Reading. Writing. Talking. Learning Together.  There are many ways to “Better Oneself” and one of the fastest routes is through TWITTER!

Start the Challenge

If you’re on Facebook, go to this post of Mary C Howard’s (author of Good to Great) for her Twitter 5-3-1 Challenge.

“TWITTER 5-3-1 CHALLENGE:
So I’m posing a summer challenge that will take very little time.

5: FOLLOW
Follow five people you admire. Just find them on Twitter and click the follow button on the far top right of their page.

3: RETWEET/LIKE
Retweet or like three comments that inspired you. Just click on the comment and then the up/down arrows at the bottom middle and hit retweet (or like with the heart at the bottom).

1: Reply
Make one comment to a tweet every day (even “Thank you.”) Just click on the left arrow at the bottom right and type.

I promise you that my 5-3-1 challenge will enrich you beyond measure this summer. Twitter is a treasure chest of inspiration, ideas, articles, posts, and dedication. If you’re not using it even to a small degree, you’re cheating yourself. This summer is a great time to dip your toe in the Twitter pool. I promise you that you’ll be grateful you did!”

My only addition is to make it the 5 -3 – 1 – 1 Challenge.

The final 1 – Find a chat

Weekly chats might be #TCRWP on Wednesdays or #G2Great on Thursdays.  Monthly chats might be #TitleTalk on the last Sunday of the month.  Additional chats like #TWTBlog may be scheduled after a series of blog posts.

Why a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat will give you an opportunity to “rub elbows” with the experts and grow your own knowledge base as well as your PLN.  You will be amazed at the authors who are available to learn from as well as the inspiration, ideas, articles, and posts that Mary refers to above.

You are at the crossroad.  You must make the decision.

How will you better yourself?

good better

#SOL17 and #DigiLitSunday


cleaning+4.jpg

Recycle bin one full.

Recycle bin two full.

Recycle bin three full.

Just how much “stuff” can one person accumulate in 36,639 days?  Apparently a lot . . . As in three bins full.

Sorting . . .

To keep for myself because I purchased it

Free to a good home although I had purchased it

Extra copies that teammates or districts might not have

GONE . . . no need to keep  . . .

Organization is a tricky thing.  Keeping what is necessary. Eliminating waste.  But what if I need . . .?  In a digital world life does seem simpler. But yet, do I put this file in a generic location or file it under the group with who it was used.

Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .

If my focus is to be on working with students and staff, was I to borrow from their precious time to organize and clean up?  Did I use my own time?  But wait . . . my own time was already spent on travel and so at the end of the ten hour day I was done with work.

Vocabulary.com says clean is

“The meaning of clean usually refers to removing something unwanted: you clean your hands by washing them, then you can clean some grapes.

This word has many meanings related to being pure or empty. You clean a chicken by plucking its feathers, or get cleaned out when you lose all your money at poker. If a drug addict is clean, he’s no longer using. You can clean someone’s clock, clean up your act, or clean out a safe and make a clean getaway. If the floor is clean enough to eat off, it’s very clean. A clean life is morally pure.”  (link– and do note that I am interested in a clean manuscript as some point!)

How do we build this habit?

Daniel Tiger of PBS fame has it right with these lyrics:

“Clean up, pick up, put away
Clean up everyday”

And if you’re not around a small child, check out the video here!

A little bit every day . . .

Or memesuper says it another way . . .

ys073

Link

How do you end your work year?  

Have you cleaned and organized every day?  

Or do you need to have a deep cleaning to reorganize before leaving this year in the rear view mirror?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

digilit-button Additional #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here.

#SOL17: Learning Again


“Ma’m, I’m trying to help you.”

Trying. Yah. Right. Do you understand how frustrated I am?

“A service technician is scheduled for Thursday.”

But will he really show up? It’s been 40 days and I have ZERO patience left.

“I’m trying to do the best I can.”

That “trying” word again. When will this be fixed?  For real?  No more “trying”.

On a GOOD day, this is what my speed test looked like during the month of April.

5.9.17 1 pm speed test

And GOOD is  a relative description, because there were days when I could NOT even connect to run a speed test. The night that I spent more than an hour online with Customer Service because I was sitting at MacDonald’s in order to participate in a Twitter Chat.

Not at home.

21 miles away.

Waiting impatiently.

Because I had 0 connectivity.

No phone, no internet, NOTHING!

I was NOT a happy camper!

The issue:  internet connectivity  

The problem: too far from the “REAL” connections  

My issue:   day after day of dealing with customer service folks (after the computer) not linked to the program engineers/planners who schedule service repair calls

 What I have learned:

  1. My modem is a wireless modem.  
  2. The wireless router inside my house was redundant.  It cut the speed in half.
  3.  My modem does not have to be in the garage wired to the outside phone box.  It does not have to be subject to the extreme temperatures in the winter or summer. The modem now lives in the house where I can watch the flashing lights.
  4. All devices do not test the same on speed tests.  My Samsung phone and iPad mini routinely display faster times than my laptop.  However, my chrome book is not faster than my DELL.
  5. Unplugging my Verizon phone booster increases the speed; however, cell phones then do not work in the house so at best it’s a short term fix.

This morning’s speed test:

5.16.17 speed test

It’s not high speed internet service.  But it’s more than THREE times the download speed that I had last week.  It works best when only one device is running.

Lessons Learned:

Just like with “testing” or daily measurement ~

Growth does matter.

Growth cannot be discounted.

If there had been an arbitrary cut score, I would have given up days ago.

Multiple data points are needed.

“Trying” . . . when I couldn’t SEE any visible progress or effort quickly became a VERY ugly word!

Information is power.

Learning is important!

Result:  Back in the groove with a slice completed in 30 minutes from start to finish this morning!  

joyful




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

And ALWAYS remembering . . .

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and

not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

#SOL17: Thanks!!!


thanks

Every day is a day to cherish and give thanks!

Thanks for the guidance

And for NOT saying, “I told you so!”

Thanks for being there . . .

When I had questions

Thanks for modeling grace

In times of trouble

Thanks for listening

To what I didn’t say as well as the words.

Thanks for loving books

And allowing me to bury my nose in books.

When this arises . . .

mom

I wonder . . .

What would Mom say or do?

Sometimes I don’t listen so well to that inner voice

And I think there might be a different, better way

But often I find that

Mom was right.

Each sunrise brings me joy, thanks to you.

Each time we talk is joyful, thanks to you.

Degrees I have four, thanks to you,

I can be brave, thanks to your example.

Every breath I take, I give thanks to you.

This week, I wish you joy, love and peace!

happy mothers day

This day was meant for YOU!

20170505_055722




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Just found this AGAIN.  Here’s my “placeholder” . . . real moms!

cartoon

#SOL17: My Brother


farm

There’s something about a farm and a farmer.  A sense of resiliency.  A sense of pride.  A sense of worth at the end of the day.

The end of the day for my older brother was last Tuesday.  The corn was in the ground.  He laid down to rest.

And our hearts are broken again.

He’s with dad.

He’s with our brother Joe.

He’s with nephew Joe and his wife Ashley.

He’s with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

No doubt, encouraging them to think of his view.  His stories. His love of family.

But our hearts are broken again.

We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye out loud to him.

We didn’t get to talk one last time.

It’s been a tough year.

An aunt,

An uncle,

My godfather (also an uncle)

My nephew

My nephew’s wife

And now my brother.

And our hearts are broken again.

Thank you, my friends, for your love and support.

Thank you, my friends and co-workers for your kind words and offers of assistance.

Thank you again, dear Lynn (and Bruce), for trekking across the state (and do remember that we take TREKS seriously in the town of Riverside).

A salute to farmers everywhere.  The salt of the earth.

The Life of a Farmer

Jim

Our stories are many:

Growing up . . . In a family of six kids

Birth order, #2 in the family, BUT the oldest boy

Sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters on one side of the wall and another brother on the boys side

Chores:  milking cows, raising pigs, feeding chickens, planting potatoes, watering small foot high evergreen trees one bucket at a time  . . .

Remembering . . . About age 8, ONLY getting one half of a hamburger when Grandma Ruth took the kids to MacDonalds

In 1970 working ALL the time on the new house and then being chief worker on tearing down the old house

Being 16 when the Mareks got a color TV . . . and the weekend shows were Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan

Chopping up Fran’s knee instead of the cockleburrs in the bean field

Being in the Washington HS Jazz Band when it went to Switzerland

Playing chauffeur and playing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” for his younger brother on the ride to school

Paying his sister $2.00 at least twice a year to wash and wax the outside of his car

Playing ball out by the barn with our double first cousins

Roller skating on the cement in front of the machine shed, hopping the pipe, and completing the skating circle inside

As a prankster:  “Pass the green beans” at dinner to Frank (and it was really asparagus);

Putting baby powder in the vents of Gerard’s car at his wedding.  That car always smelled like baby powder.

Shaking and bouncing up and down on the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge; and

Complaining about his oldest sister’s “pancakes” – EVERY Saturday night  – and a bit flat!

As an uncle . . .

Making sure the kids always had NOISY toys at Christmas.

Telling 3 year old Neel Chary to eat the chocolate kiss out of the peanut butter blossom and put the rest of the cookie back on the tray at Christmas

Telling the Chary boys to pinch off the frosting on Josh and Amanda’s wedding cake because no one would miss it

Promising to give Evan a horse and then forgetting it until the next time he saw Evan (Fran says “Thanks – for real”)

Being a godparent for Jessica Marie

And our hearts are broken again . . .

 




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

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