#SOL20: Conditions for Success


Suitable for a beginner.

Approximate time to completion = 1 hour

I’m still steaming from those two labels.  It was NOT a beginner’s project and it took over 10 hours to complete.  I will concede that the accompanying pictures were XERO help. Yep. Tiny. Confusing. 

I’m still working on the series of projects from last week but I won’t be returning to that topic for public announcements until all are made and distributed.

Today’s project:

I guess-timated approximately one hour to completion and it was satisfying to meet that goal completely in an hour.

Conditions for Success:

  1. Concise Materials List
  2. Picture of End Goal
  3. Step by Step Instructions
  4. Video Available
  5. Already Have the Product so I know what it looks like
  6. Choice in completing the project, choosing materials, and time to complete it!

And YET,

it was the first time that I had completed the process by myself.

I began confidently.  60 minutes (or less) to success.

After the first 10 minutes, I was ready to pause and pat myself on the back.

It seemed like success was within my grasp

Sitting on step #8.

Quickly repeating.




Turning inside.

What was I constructing?

A soup bowl microwave caddy.

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Is it the “conditions” individually or all together? 

How do the conditions impact our lives? 


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

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#SOL20: Planning


I have a pattern and this basket of fabric.

Time passes by. I complete project #2 and #3 and assist on another gift.

Time passes by.

I’ve studied the pattern three times and have a copy on my phone on the event I run into a “quilting shopping emergency.”

First steps today.

Four hours of planning.

When I hit this “shredding” stage with the rotary cutter, it was time to quit.

But I am probably only 1/ 3 of the way towards completion of the planning stage.

Can you name these three stages of progress?









Thoughts?         A.  ____________   B.  ____________ C. ____________

I am estimating another hour to finish this “part” up.  Then I will need to cut out 30 rectangles to attach to the 2.5 inch squares in B and C.  All this is a part of planning.  The cutting.  How many? Which patterns?  A balance of colors. A balance of designs.

And always considering the reality of assembly . . .

where the project will take shape.

White on white.


Something to hold all these pieces together.

Searching for time.

Time to develop  layout.

Time to study the layout.

Time to revise the plan.

Time to complete the accompanying tasks.

GASP!  Revising during planning?

Of course.



Where in your life are you re-visioning?

What events take more planning than than the execution?

Does your planning take two or three sessions before you can begin the task?

Does planning ultimately save you time?

Does your planning always require a written component?


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

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#SOL20: Silence


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Simon & Garfunkel, 1964               Sounds of Silence


Hello, Darkness, my old friend,

I’ve come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping. …

I still recall writing that first dreaded college term paper about the role of imagery in this song as it related to The Graduate. It took forever with numerous false starts and many teacher conferences as I had ZERO clue about what the instructor wanted.  At that stage, writing was all about meeting the perceived needs of the instructor.

Silence at church was a requirement or knuckles were rapped by a ruler-wielding nun who was confident of her identification of the chattering troublemaker (s).

More recently discussions among friends have focused on Catholic guilt and silence. The expectations. The dynamics. Problems that were not aired publicly. Often not even aired privately.  Suffering in silence was a reality.

Growing up and silence was a tool of punishment.  “Be quiet” often buzzed in my ear as I opted to study in “my room” (a room always shared with either a sister or multiple sisters).

Silence.  Friend or Foe? Maybe I should have questioned the evidence and the “cause of death” . Mistakes happen. I do wish I had queried the ever-changing stories. Hindsight is often noisy.



I know.


I must use my White privilege to listen.

I have much to learn. Two books that I am studying in book clubs this summer are:

Screenshot 2020-06-02 at 6.36.35 AMScreenshot 2020-06-02 at 6.38.46 AM

I need to understand my biases.

I can rely on friends, family and teammates to support me and call me out on this learning journey.

I have to raise my voice to question and call out White privilege where I see it/hear it.

I will amplify IBPOC voices and support their work.

I must speak up in order to see justice. To remain silent is to be complicit.

I must do this work myself and commit to a lifetime of  anti-racist work even though I don’t know exactly where that journey will take me.

Silent, no more!

Envisioning 2020:  A Year of Action

How will you avoid “silence” in your future?

What actions will you commit to undertaking?

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

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31 Days of IBPOC posts – Link


Sheldon Eakins – “Framing Brave Conversations about Race and Ethnicity” – Link


#SOL20: What If?

What If?

What does it look like if/when students resume classes in school buildings?

China Link

Denmark Link

Maybe this?

Screenshot 2020-05-25 at 9.15.19 PM

Or this?

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.18.46 AM

Or this?

What will school look like?

What will students look like?

How will everyone be safe? secure? and ready to learn?

Who makes those determinations?

From Sarah Gross and a superintendent in New Jersey: Link 91 questions.

What If?

It’s hard to plan for the future

So many uncertainties

So many possibilities

So many paths

Too early to choose

So many uncertainties.



Dream of “best case” solutions.

What is your plan?

What will you do in the interim while waiting for decisions?

What questions are swirling in your brain?

What if students, communities, and school staff planned collaboratively?

What do you envision?

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

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#SOL20: Perspective



Which will prevail?

After seven years of blogging every Tuesday, I totally forgot this was Tuesday. After at least 350 Tuesday posts, I simply forgot.

What was the cause?

Pandemic brain?

Loss of time?

Loss of schedule?

In part, it was a combination but mostly it was eager anticipation. Today’s the day.

Goodbye patio door. Hello, new exterior door.

From this to this . . . today. The first door is out. Second door is in progress.

A midpoint?


Home improvement?

Which perspective?

The patio door had stopped working. Years of being slammed shut. In and out. IN and OUT! Not helpful to have a method of egress that was basically unusable.


Noise. Screeching of nails and screws being removed.

A variety of tools.

Early arrival.

Job underway.

Cannot wait to see the finished product . . . product over noisy progress.

Today I choose product.

Which perspective?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 9.04.32 AM

Half Empty?

Half Full?

Which do you typically choose? When is one prioritized over another? What pattern do you follow?

Considering schools and re-opening next year . . .

So many perspectives

Not simply black and white

Student safety? Student learning?

Transportation safety? Health and welfare of all?

School staff safety? Parental and community needs?

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

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Postscript . . .

Product matters!!!

Everything completely finished or vinyl clad. No upkeep!

#SOL20: A Milestone





Revise the Plan


Check the Plan




Sound familiar?

It was birthday time on Sunday. Back on Mothers’ Day when the story began. The big 5. And the big reveal.

In the beginning . . .

It began with a panel. Then a bigger envisionment and new learning.

Several artists represented . . .

Envisioning a goal, gathering resources, making a plan, checking in along the way and my grandson now has a glow in the dark dinosaur quilt.

In the midst of the world chaos I was able to learn a new skill and create some beauty.

What have you created?

What will you create?

What are you learning?

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

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Previous posts about the birthday quilt are here, here, here and here.

#SOL20: Appreciation

Ahh. Another cup.

Guessed it. The cup arrived in campus mail with a note attached. “In grateful appreciation . . .”


Be. Grateful.

Say. Thank You. And. Let. It. Go

Why didn’t it feel like “appreciation”?

Screenshot 2020-05-05 at 6.02.13 AM

Recognition alone is a great beginning.

Recognition alone does NOT always feel like appreciation.

What was missing?

  • The Enjoyment
  • The Valuing
  • The Respect
  • The Cherishing
  • The Treasuring
  • The Good Qualities
  • The Full Understanding

Recognition, even public naming, may fall flat if it feels perfunctory. Forced. Incomplete. A Checkmark of Completion. Forgotten until that one week rolls around next year.

Perhaps a feeling of Non-Appreciation the remaining 51 weeks of the year.

The personalized notes. The post its. The hand-written, unsolicited treasures from students, families, and peers. Treasures to receive. Treasures to revisit. Treasured messages that convey appreciation.

What if the “Appreciation” included a personalized reason, example, or some specific piece of evidence?

What if the ‘Appreciation” was simply words from the heart – whether spoken or written?

What if the “Appreciation” was personalized?

When does appreciation convey true meaning?

When does appreciation miss the mark?

(So many questions . . .)

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

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This post was would have been more positive and upbeat if I had not read tis first. Aye, yi yi!


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#SOL20: Passage of Time

At 5:30 the first song is heard.

Within two minutes a responding chorus begins.

Within five minutes single voices are no longer heard above the cacophony.

No light on the horizon.

Slowly he dark sky fades to gray.

The wind chime begins its daily chant.

Squirrels race up the maple tree.

Chattering as they scamper

 From limb to limb and from tree to tree.

The aroma of coffee fills the air

The sun rises above the horizon

The new light shines in the windows

Time to explore.

Time to learn.

Time to begin again.

Chris Doyle has been the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Iowa for the past 22 years. Check out his “Best Practices” wisdom in this tweet.

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What personal “best practices” are keeping you “afloat” at this time? 

What routines are you noticing? 

Do you wake up before the sun?

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

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#SOL20: #BookLove

“Do you belong to a book club?”

This question came out of the blue from a student who was working through some “online” course requirements.  My response, “Yes, and do you want to hear about it or see it?” was quickly answered with “Show me, please!”

As I shared the Facebook platform with units via the ubiquitous shared desktop in zoom, the students’ eyes glittered.  “You mean you are going to read different books EVERY week?”

I shared how the process had worked last year and that this year my goal is to participate in both elementary and secondary book clubs simultaneously so I will actually plan to participate in two DIFFERENT book clubs EVERY week! Now the student’s eyes glazed over under the realization that I was not the person who would say that reading a few chapters in one book each week was a silly assignment as I would really be reading whole books each week.

It’s year 3 for my participation in #BookLove.  Each year has looked a bit different because the elementary book club is only in its second year of operation. You can find out more about the goals of “BookLove” here and the classroom library grants for teachers which is one reason why I continue to join.  But it’s not just the book grants. It’s the community of readers, writers, teachers, and authors who come together each day/week that STRETCH my thinking. The very best part of #BookLove is the summer book club. You can see the book selections under the tab for Summer Book Club Registration.

Screenshot 2020-04-21 at 4.34.56 AM

BUT only one option is available. The online membership that provides the community of learning alongside the hundreds of teachers who will also be reading the books this summer.  You will have to order your own books from your favorite bookseller.

Not yet convinced?  I wrote about #BookLove19 here. So many changes in our lives this summer so I don’t yet know how many book clubs I will participate in, but I do know that I will be reading, writing, thinking and responding with hundreds of friends in #BookLove20.

What book clubs are you participating in? 

What does your book club WORK look like? 

How does your book club work mirror the work that is expected of students?

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

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#SOL20: Changes

Zooming . . .


Watching a go-cart go

Different times.

Strange times.



A month ago:  $0.88

302.27% increase in a month

A jump from $0.88 to $3.54

302.27% increase in a month

And then a limit of TWO posted on a sign.

The shelf was full.

No shortage.

302.27% increase in a month

Do I dare?

Do I really need them?

Yes, it would be nice to pick up two more.

The supply in the refrigerator is diminishing.

Research:                                                                                      Range           Mostly

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Source:  Link

BUT, they need to be boiled and dyed. It’s a tradition. And then some must be deviled for immediate consumption.

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I was shocked a month ago when a friend in the Tulsa, OK area said there weren’t any eggs available in stores. Eggs were plentiful in Iowa and in fact were $0.88 a dozen for large eggs.

“Not in the Upper Midwest,”  I said.

How quickly the lyrics changed.

I spoke too soon . . .

Do I dare purchase chickens in order to produce my own eggs? 

Or to sell to stores?

                                                                                                         Range               Mostly

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Who benefits from the 302.27% increased price?

Not the producers. Not the folks on fixed income. Not the folks needing a cheap source of protein.  Not the folks who didn’t stock up. The shelves were full of Large and Extra Large eggs by the dozen. No cartons of medium eggs to be found.

What “shortages” have you found? 

What price increases have shocked you? 

What changes have you had to make?

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

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