Category Archives: #SOL21

#SOL21: Final Four


Not an elimination.

Not a bracket.

Not a sport.

The final four days of 2021. What am I willing to prioritize as 2021 wanes? What am I willing to let go? What am I willing to put on my “To Do” list? What won’t even get a mention on my “To Do” list?

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

This image seems to fit some of my end of the year traveling. And yet, it seems too simple. Are all the choices really straight lines? What if I venture off the track?

My final four days of 2021:

Finalizing my 2021 #OLW (One Little Word)

Updating syllabi and moodle courses

Reading

Writing

Playing

I don’t yet know the format for playing. Perhaps in fabric choices, Perhaps in writing or reading choices.

How will you end 2021? How will you begin 2022?

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#SOL21: Tradition


It’s been tough to be willing to dig into family traditions, holidays, celebrations and find a healthy balance for all ages and beliefs. That willingness led to a below normal attendance at a family even but even more individual time with some very specific family members.

I’m blessed to be a member of a large family. I’m a “Baby Ruth”. One of 56 grandchildren. I’ve written about “us” before here, here and here.

The calendar and the weather blessed us with many opportunities this year to begin our holiday celebrations. Smaller settings. Enjoying conversations. Catching up on the reality of missed events and holidays. Laughing about zooms.

On Sunday we celebrated Grandma Ruth who, if alive, would have been 125.

We celebrated the elders, those alive and those lost, as we viewed their high school graduation pictures. We know that not all rural kids were fortunate to finish high school during those early years of the twentieth century.

We recognize that it’s hard to keep track of generations, but our “Sunday dinner the week before Christmas” remains a priority tradition for many. We’ve had weather and Covid cancellations but we continue to strive for celebrating our strong ties.

Some of us spend time with out-of-town family so we bring our holiday with us.

We add in coloring, reading, telling stories, sharing memories as we play games, race cars, and decorate ugly sweater cookies. Telling jokes. Playing “I Spy”. Talk and laughter abound!

What traditions will you continue over the winter holidays? What traditions will you let go of this year?

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#SOL21: Morning Musings


I sip my coffee. Time moving slowly. Coffee. Caffeine. Wake up time.

Leaves twirl, swirling slowly to the ground. Yellow leaves are in the majority. A bright yellow blanket with a few dots of green. In two days the ground has changed color. How did that happen so quickly?

Leaves: quietly spinning, collecting together almost as if magnetized. Some deposited in piles. Some in thin sheets. The covering thickness varies. Not yet enough to jump in.

Do I dare walk through them? Will they crunch and dissolve? Will their shiny brightness become dull and dingy?

I shiver. The cool morning breeze brushes my back as my coffee cup warms my hands.

Too early for so many questions. Time to finish my coffee and make a plan for the day.

But first to identify the leaves. To satisfy just one curiosity.

Catalpa leaves.

Leaves bigger than my hand. Individually pretty. Gracefully landing on all surfaces. Attached to none. Easily shifting. Decorative trees. Not indigenous to Iowa. Link

What trees fill the neighborhood? What trees are routinely trimmed? What trees thrive even as the seasons change and their bare limbs are exposed? Are there more in the neighborhood?

What do you SEE when you take a breath and look quietly today? What are you curious about?

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#SOL21: In Olden Days #TCRWP Saturday Reunion


In the olden days, we were taken to church

And now we peer intently at squares on screens

A first blog post about the 88th . . . Link

Now blogging about the 100th.

Announcements from Lucy Calkins while the pews are filling.

Time ticking down, waiting for attendees to log in.

Rushing from session to session, even sitting on the floors,

Exiting out of a session, clicking on a new link . . .

Packing a lunch so as not to miss a single precious moment

Quickly grabbing a snack and moving to keep the brain engaged.

Planned events with Slicers and friends,

Scheduling solo or partner “virtual watches”

Inspiring Keynotes

Inspiring Keynotes

Link

Every

Single

Saturday

Reunion

Inspires

And

Transcends

Expectations

Thank you,

#tcrwp

https://twitter.com/franmcveigh/status/1451965482177896457

Mo Willems and a Pigeon

Jason Reynolds and

Humility

Intimacy

Gratitude

Community of Learners

Community of Learners

Welcoming

Welcoming

Storytellers

Storytellers

Laughter

Laughter

Tears

Tears

Front row seat

Front row seat

Family

Family

Weird

Weird

Fierce

Vulnerable

Vulnerable

Momentum

What am I willing to do to increase the momentum? (No “Loss”; No “Acceleration”) Your Turn: What commonalities and differences did you find?

And so the 100th TCRWP Saturday Reunion began . . .

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Formatting issues again . . .

#SOL21: Autumn


What are the signs of Autumn that you watch for?

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#SOL21: Patterns


A chorus repeats

Poems often include rhyme or repetiition

I’m on record as abhoring cookie cutter work

What’s the difference?

How are these two blocks the same?

How are these two blocks different?

# 1
#2

The blocks are a part of KISS blocks from Quilt Club. The requesting member shares a pattern, and fabric possibilities, or perhaps provides fabrics to use in the block construction. The next month everyone brings back their square to share with the “requester.”

Same: These two blocks are both from the Jacob’s Ladder pattern.

Shapes are either squares or triangles.

All shapes began as squares.

Both have 3 rows of squares.

5 squares are the same; 4 other squares are the same.

Both squares have stars printed on the fabric

Different: #2 is comprised of batiks and #1 is general fabric.

#1 has 3 fabrics; #2 has 2 fabrics.

#1 has squares and hearts in the fabric; #2 has rectangles and swirls.

What else do you see?

How many squares do you see?

Do variations of a pattern create more interest rather than cookie cutter sameness?

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#SOL21: Good Enough?


I’ve heard this phrase for years, decades even.

But I’ve been wondering lately what a person is to do if the quality of the lemonade is dubious, not up to expectations, or perhaps not even fit for consumption.

Do we politely sip it anyway?

Do we question the source to attempt to determine why the quality seems to have slipped?

Do we just say, “Oh, it’s for a good cause. Suck it up! It’s good enough!”

Colleen Cruz offers us much wisdom in her book, Risk. Fail. Rise.

What are mistakes? Are they “missed takes”?

During our #G2Great chat in February of 2021, Colleen defined mistakes for us.

Surprise! We thought it was going to go one way. But it went another!

And I was ready to talk about tons of mistakes.

Two real-life examples

Gravy too thin? A secret ingredient for quick thickening might be two tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes.

In quilting: A narrow seam might “fix” a seam that is pulled too tightly.

But the subtitle of Colleen’s book is:
“A Teacher’s Guide to Learning from Mistakes”

Recounting mistakes is not the end goal. My list could probably be a mile or two long.

Learning from Mistakes.

Where does the learning come from?

I liked the element that Jill added:

The learning begins with reflection and knowing a bit more about the types of mistakes that occur.

Getting beyond mistakes are “good” or “bad” takes some work or study. Not all mistakes are equal. Four kinds of mistakes include: stretch mistakes, aha moment mistakes, sloppy mistakes, and high-stakes mistakes.

McVeigh, https://literacylenses.com/2021/02/risk-fail-rise-a-teachers-guide-to-learning-from-mistakes/

The life mistakes with gravy and quilting were/are not earth shattering. Annoying? Yes. Easily rectified? Yes.

But they do require an awareness of the end product. A road map of our destination. An expectation or approximation of that end goal/ success criteria!

Who decides what is good enough? What if we set the bar too low> What if “any lemonade” becomes our goal and the quality drops off? Will we continue to make lemonade? Are we willing to adjust/adapt to maintain a certain criteria of excellence? Who determines the criteria?

Do give yourself grace.

It’s going to be another wild year.

But continue to have high expectations. Your life will be richer for all that you maintain high expectations. It will be up to you to determine where and how many mistakes you want to share. (Many folks won’t notice them. Others will notice and name many.)

The key is being willing (#OLW) to reflect on the “fails” in order to learn and grow your own list of accomplishments.

You get to set the criteria! Go for the Olympic Gold! Set some worthy characteristics!

Be flexible. Grow and learn. Don’t settle for making lemonade. Make the best lemonade possible!

When is “Good Enough” really Good Enough?

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#SOL21: Point of View


About five months ago, we “seemed” more optimistic. Some pandemic numbers were headed in the right direction. There were more mandates and then evil seemed to form this schism wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Black or white

Empty or full

Nothing seemed quite so simple.

I blogged about point of view here.

As school begins/continues/or is perhaps even delayed . . .

here’s some food for thought.

Give yourself grace. Pause. Think. Take a deep breath. Listen to understand.

Is it really this simple?

It’s not easy. There are multiple “sides/views” of every interaction.

Solutions require us to look each other in the eye.

We must let go of the old and ineffective beliefs and practices.

We cannot grab onto the “new and shiny” promise dangled in front of us.

We must center students and their identities in all that we plan and do.

We cannot let fear keep us from embracing the work needed for our students to flourish.

We must stand together in unity.

We cannot stand by when loud voices take over the bully pulpit.

What can you personally do? What are you WILLING to do?

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#SOL21: Slicing Inspiration


Where do ideas come from?

It depends.

Do I already have an idea in my mind? Do I like that idea? Or is it my “I’ll settle for that idea if a burst of inspiration does not hit me before it’s time to push the publish button.

Today felt different.

I didn’t have an idea in mind. (I had many ideas circulating but no ONE idea.) I didn’t have a draft written before the “call to slicers” was posted. So the inspiration came from sleeping on/with this idea on my mind.

Writing . . .

Stepping back

Looking

Admiring

Celebrating

And therefore, being most present.

Examples from this summer include these two volunteers in my sister’s garden. . .

Unexpected

Silently growing

And then blooming

Proudly

Claiming space

Stretching, growing

Volunteering to create

Beauty

In unexpected spaces.

Today a petunia and a sunflower are the same.

Volunteers!

When have you been most present? How do you KNOW? What is your plan to be MORE present?

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#SOL21: Internet


Really.

Sixty.

Sixty minutes.

Sixty minutes of turning off and on. Unplugging. Timing for at least two minutes. Turning back on. Reconnecting. Next device up.

No time for foolishness.

Long list to accomplish.

Three devices later, I’m ready to toss all three devices.

N.o.t.h.i.n.g…c.o.n.n.e.c.t.s…NOTHING!

I begin this post on my phone. The WordPress app seems to work. I push publish. It spins.

I gently close the lid to my chromebook. I power my ipad mini off. I restart my phone.

I find a stack of post its and begin a manual list.

What do you do when technology fails? How do you work through the frustration with tech and the loss of time?

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Check out the writers and readers here.

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