Category Archives: #SOL21

#SOL21: Summer Learning


Reading. Wriing. Thinking.

So many great books out there.

What am I reading this summer?

Here are some of the professional books that I shared with the “BookLove” community last week!

What I am rereading . . .

RereadsThe Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K-5 : A Hands-on Guide to Child- Centered, Equitable Instruction by Corter, Kelsey Marie (9781071840641) |  BrownsBfS

New Reads . . .

    August

Speakers that I am listening to . . .

What are you reading? writing? thinking? What are you listening to? How is your plan working? Are you working your plan?

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#SOL21: Choices


dough crust?

graham cracker crust?

fruit filling?

creamy filling?

baked?

refrigerated until set?

heat up the house?

just stir up the treat?

Tart?

Sweet?

How do I decide?

Flip a coin?

Choose a number?

Buy the ingredients for one?

Buy the ingredients for both?

But I don’t really need two desserts

Although the choices are not even similar.

Which would you choose?

Gooseberry pie or cheesecake?

What guides your summer food choices? The weather? Availability? Ease of preparation? What criteria carry over to other decisions?

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#SOL21: A Simple Plan


A simple plan: A six store drive through south central Iowa.

Up. An early departure.

Obstacle 1: First shop closed today.

Keep moving. Five more to go. A simple plan.

One day of shopping. No major needs. But my first AISH. AISH is the All Iowa Shop Hop that consists of 86 stops. 86 stops in a two month period – June 1 to July 31st.

Truth be told. I’m not a shopper. Never have been. Book stores? Yes. Lumber/fix up stores – Menards, Home Depot? Yes. Otherwise, not so much.

I’m not planning on all 86 stores. I was thinking of starting small. The 17 shops in southeast Iowa. This has been my corner of the state all my life. There are some shops I have not yet visited since this quilting bug bit me last year. (Sound interesting? Link) Visiting all the shops in one region makes one eligible for a regional grand prize. One small goal.

It won’t be easy. Some shops are rural. One in my region has this posted under updates:

DIRECTIONS: Our address is 1949 110th St, Salem, IA 52649, but we are not in the town of Salem, we are about 5 miles from the town and about ‘ONE country mile’ off the 27/ 218 four lane Highway.
From Mt. Pleasant, where Quilters Paradise is on the square; Take Hwy. 27/218 South for about 12 miles, to 110th Street, just across the Henry/Lee county line. The street numbers go from 330th street in Henry county, Instantly to 110th street in Lee county. (Look for the “QUILT” signs.)

The first road in Lee county is 110th Street & is our road. Turn to the Left or East, we are about a ‘Country mile’ down the road and at the top of the hill on the Left or North just before the crossroad, Pilot Grove Road.

If you miss 110th street, the next highway crossroad is the Junction of Hwy 16 & 27/218, which is about a mile farther. If you get to the Junction of 16 & 27/218 you can make a U-turn, or turn Left or East onto Highway 16 and go to the first gravel crossroad, which is Pilot Grove Road and turn Left onto gravel headed North. Go a ‘Country mile, ‘ at the stop sign, we are on the corner. You can see the driveway where to park to the Left, the ‘RED’ door is on the WEST SIDE of the building is the Shop door. If you go through the STOP SIGN, the road is a Dead End and coming back we are on the corner.

If ALL Else FAILS… Call our phone number, 319-850-0524, and we will get you to us from wherever you have gotten lost.

It will be interesting to see if GPS and Google Maps play nice on those directions. Surely one will be close . . .

So back to the simple plan for today. Drive approximately 30 miles, shop, 30 miles, shop, 1 hour, shop, 10 miles, shop, 15 miles, shop and return home with “free stuff” from AISH as well as any purchases along the way.

There was a surprise at the first town. A collection of farm equipment at the fairgrounds and then these signs along the road.

The fairgrounds was packed.

Lawn chairs lining the sidewalks. Vehicles in the shade facing the parade route. Pickup trucks with tailgates down at the corners of rock roads. These folks KNEW there was going to be a tractor parade. And they were prepared for the sun with hats, umbrellas, sun shades, and awnings.

“A few tractors. A few miles. No big deal.”

We were traveling at 10 mph. Ten miles per hour. If the tractors stayed on this road, we would share it for 30 miles.

How long would 30 miles take?

Your answer?

And then for the reality . . .

Exactly how long would you travel at 10 mph or less? Willing? Able? Settling for?

Highway 92 is a state highway. Two lanes. Asphalt. Two lanes. With no passing zones every mile due to hills. Hills that meant slower uphill travel.

Google Maps told me there would only be a 6 minute delay.

(I saw that major eye roll.)

To believe or not to believe . . .

The good news was that we followed for 10 miles before the tractor parade left Highway 92.

Revising and changing plans.

When have you had to adjust your daily plan? What variables mattered? What variables were completely beyond your control? When were you willing to go “with the flow”?

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#SOL21: May Learning


What a month!

Celebrations of birthdays and graduations . . .

A world-wide pandemic continues with hope as more folks are vaccinated.

BUT . . .

There is also the solemnity of learning about the past.

Why does it matter?

Winston Churchill in 1948 said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

In the US

100 years after Tulsa Massacre

Meanwhile in Canada

Confirmation of the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School were reported.

Who knew what and when?

True or False

The Tulsa Race Riot was so named in order that insurance companies would not have to pay claims.

The Canadian government knows that many more residential deaths were unreported.

TULSA

What is known is that 35 square blocks were burned down and destroyed and that many massacre survivors would flee the city in order to relocate elsewhere in the United States. Despite these catastrophic losses of life and property, no one was ever charged in relation to the murders or the destruction of homes and businesses based in Greenwood.

Source

Excavation begins June 1st of a possible mass gravesite. Two other sites have already been explored. How many died?

Source

Mathematically, what reports should we believe? Two Whites killed? How many Blacks? Zero made the headlines in the Tulsa World as reported by the headlines above. Estimates range as high as 300. How was this story covered up for so long?

What about other massacres? Link

Another place to learn is on Twitter via Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul’s 20 tweet thread.

Link

Meanwhile, in Canada . . .

… at least 4,100 students died while attending the schools, many from mistreatment or neglect, others from disease or accident. It found that in many cases, families never learned the fate of their offspring, who are now known as the missing children.

While there have long been rumors of unmarked graves at schools, if the findings in a preliminary report presented to the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation this week are confirmed, it will be the first time a major burial site has been discovered.

New York Times link

What historical events are you studying? Where do you get your information? Why do you need to know more?

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#SOL21: Stories


A cookie story. Cookies made by a spouse. Cookies that presented a challenge. To the plain-speaking recipient, “Can I take these home? I’ll drill a hole in them and use them as washers.”

Sisters listening intently.

Sisters side by side.

One liked to drive the tractor.

The other not so much.

Sisters listening intently.

One brother came and collected him after school using the argument that, “he was needed at home for chores and he was late.” They left without another word.

Sisters naming the cows.

Bonnie and Sweet Pea

in their stanchions.

Knowing their own spaces.

Something like this . . . times 9.

Sisters listening intently.

Sometimes adding comments.

Sometimes asking questions.

Always laughing

While sisters listened intently?

Getting in Trouble? Nahh!

But there was that story about tying the tails of two cows together. And yes, it was a problem when they tried to leave the barn at the same time and the door wasn’t open quite wide enough. Or even how while tied together, that tail felt like a billy club instead of an easy “swish, swish, swish” while milking.

A few stories shared in great detail.

Perfect company.

Perfect grouping.

Listening.

Laughing!

What stories do you tell? What stories do you remember hearing? What makes a story memorable for you?

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#SOL21: Tiger, Tiger


Animals exist on so many planes. Which ones are your favorites?

William Blake in his poem says

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake The poetryfoundation.org

You may know Daniel the Tiger, a PBS American/Canadian character with Mr. Roger characteristics, who headlines a show for preschoolers with 30 minute segments.

Where in the world are the most Tigers found? Of course, it is India. Who ranks second?

You may be surprised to find out it’s Texas with approximately 2,900 tigers. Source And then there was the tiger India, a Houston star on the loose in Texas just last week. Source

Two weeks ago I spent some time in the National Quilt Museum at Paducah, KY. It’s worth the time and energy to study the artistic and workmanship qualities of quilts.

There were hundreds of colors, patterns and designs that captured my attention but I returned to this one multiple times. Was it the fact that some of the fabric extended beyond the quilt? Was it the visual characteristics? Was it the fact that it made me think?

See the paw that sticks out beyond the border as the tiger springs through the window!

Every creation has information about the designer/creator/craftmanship.

Was it the challenge that drew me back?

The illusions?

What did I notice?

What catches your eye when you are in a museum? What causes you to return to the same item time after time? What are you willing to spend time on? Where does your curiosity take you?

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#SOL21: Decisions


It began with a statement. Something lost. Something found. How to send it in the right direction. Possible solutions. Possible outcomes. Hardly a disaster.

Of course, it began with a cell phone inadvertently left behind.

Clear choices to retrieve it.

An extra 15 minutes (one way) to retrieve it. Plus time for a quick chat.

Time well spent.

Decisions:

Yes.

No.

How many choices in life are truly dichotomous?

I’ve come to hate “but” whether it is attached to the yes or the no.

Maybe that’s a personal issue for me.

Currently, I know that I appreciate “when” attached to either the yes or the no. It just doesn’t feel as negative or as conversation stopping as “but”. Maybe that’s my perception.

“Yes, we can play dinosaurs when we pick up the cars and trucks.”

Yes, we can have ice cream with our cupcakes when we finish dinner.

Maybe it’s restating the desired action first before the WHEN that works for me that didn’t work when I said, “Yes, but pick up the cars and trucks first.”

And then again maybe it is ageism. Maybe fewer things are black and white and the WHEN just feels like a larger gray area. Maybe it’s a grandma thing.

Listen to your next three yes or no responses. What follows? Are there conditions? Which ones work for you?

Right now I’m still collecting data.

WHEN seems to be winning and feels right for me.

For me, adding a condition of “time” and not an ordinal number makes it less of a negotiation and yet a bit more specific. I’m willing to keep studying when I say “yes” or “no” which words am I tacking on!

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#SOL21: Willing to Celebrate


It’s birthday season. The next four months each have birthdays in my son’s family. It’s easy to celebrate. The grandkids love all sorts of things. As do the big kids. Sometimes there is a list. Sometimes not.

It’s not as though a Grandma would spoil the boys.

What other birthdays do we celebrate?

In my family (the siblings), it really varies. If they are on to grandkids themselves the siblings are SOL unless it’s one of those big numbers. This is a year for a big number for Mom. Her last big number 10 years ago involved a cruise of the Meditterranean with the youngest daughter.

How do we celebrate?

Well, it depends. (Not that answer again!) But it does.

So how do you celebrate when two second cousins have their 104th and 105th birthday?

The answer:

A birthday parade.

Led by a sherriff’s car.

Four firetrucks

Cars decorated in birthday trimmings.

Trucks

ATVs

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

And a squad of Harleys.

Just a Saturday afternoon birthday parade

In Hills, Iowa.

Need a bit of a “Good News Happy Celebration”?

Article Link with video

Celebrating 209 total trips around the sun

Two cousins

In small town Iowa

Friends and relatives

Willing to celebrate safely

On a Saturday afternoon.

How do you celebrate birthdays? Whose birthdays do you celebrate? What are you willing to celebrate?

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

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#SOL21: Habits


Tulips in Iowa – April 19, 2021

Will they survive? Will they flourish?

Three nights of freeze warnings and this view in the daytime.

It’s spring. A time of growth. A time for blooming. And yet, a time for snow and freezing temperatures.

Do we let Mother Nature take her course? Do we try to mitigate the results? Plants, flowers, pleasing to the eye. What’s our response?

In our schools, it’s the season of standardized tests. Tests in the midst of the pandemic that continues on. A year+ like no other. What are the options?

What’s the cost? Check out Tim Wheeler’s blog.

What are our goals? What are the habits that we want students to develop.

Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum have this gorgeous new book. We featured it on our #G2Great chat March 25th and Val Kimmel’s blog post is here. It was featured on TWT here.

One of my favorite resources in this book is Chart 1.9. It speaks to me of reasons why I write daily. It speaks to me of why students need to write daily. And it speaks to me of things that are not so easily counted. Not so easily measured. But habits that I want all students to have. In their writerly lives. In their daily lives. In their student lives. In their adult lives.

To name just a few habits:

Perseverance

Empathy

Resilience

What habits in life are you willing to identify today? What habits will you nurture today? What habits do you actively support? How do you do that?

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#SOL21: Self-evaluation


I had a plan to construct a 9 x 11 quilt out of 10 inch blocks (raw size 10.5 inches). I had a pattern. I had fabric. 35 different fabrics because I didn’t want a lot of repetition in some of the columns. Column 1 and 9 were organized as planned with just a few shifts to ensure that certain colors were not adjacent. Columns 3 and 7 used fabrics for the most part that were NOT included in columns 1 and 2. Column 5 in the middle was a blended mix of squares combined from column 1 and 3. (After all it’s the middle column!)

Fairly simple. I constructed the squares – each with 7 pieces of fabric. I laid them out on the pool table to check the patterns. I shifted and revised some: flipping end over end broke up a line that wasn’t meant to be or reversed the original pattern. Column 1, after all, consisted of 45 stripes. A veritable vertical feast of colors.

When you view the grid above, it becomes obvious that the placement of the blocks needed to be done in an orderly fashion to match the pattern. But which concerns should receive priority? Blocks with 2 seams, 3 seams, or 4 seams?

I quickly became adept at checking for two or three specific fabrics as my love for them caused them to be included at a higher frequency rate. I knew that checking in advance would keep the dreaded frog away . . .

RIP IT!

Rip it!

RIP IT!

Not my friend. Physically “revising” by ripping out fabric in a quilt.

Last Tuesday, I needed to make a decision. I knew that two blocks bothered me. How much? Enough to rip out? I couldn’t decide. But they did bother me ENOUGH that I decided to construct the quilt rows in two different pieces so I could manage the fabric more easily ( 90″ in width and 60 ” in length).

Here is what I was facing. Two fabric colors were too similar.

Should I replace them? If yes, with what color or pattern.

It wouldn’t be too obvious to anyone else without a fair amount of studying the pattern.

Here’s where the plan failed in execution.

I waged an internal debate.

Who would notice? Who would care? Would it really be that noticeable to others? Was it good ENOUGH as it was?

Would my nephew notice?

And I instantly thought of other times in my life.

Did I settle for good ENOUGH?

Was this about the final product? Or the process? OR both?

I’m not YET jammed for time, so should I do it “correctly” as defined in my planning?

OR should I “LET IT GO?”

PAUSE. Can you name a time when you have been faced with a similar quandary? What helped you make your decision? Did you have any regrets? How would you evaluate your own QUALITY of work?

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Like Paul Harvey

“And now for the rest of the story . . .”

Have you predicted my response to my self-evaluation?

Yes, I spent 90 stinking minutes ripping out and replacing the four fabrics in the block that did not match. I could NOT leave it as it was.

My biggest project to date: Quilt number three, a 90″ by 110″ project.

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