Tag Archives: Time

#SOL22: And before that …

It was blazing. The wind had whipped up flames shooting over a foot above the fuel source. The fire truck had left. Water was not a solution. The ambulance had left. No injuries. The deputy sheriff remained on the edge of the street with a spotlight from his vehicle trained on the fire. The fire was blazing.

And before that, the neighbors hung out their doors watching. Lights, sirens, and yelling above the roar of the vehicles as a variety of community helpers assembled, studied the problem and then left. Many onlookers remained to see what would come next.

The flames continued.

What would be the solution?

Before that, it was a few sparks. A few small pops. And before that, a single spark. Probably caused by “the 7,000 volts of electricity through the insulator” was one cause the technician from the power company suggested.

The CO2 or ABC powder extinguished the fire as the wind spread it across the grass and the road. Before that, the tech had raised the bucket on the truck. Before he climbed in the bucket, the tech had donned protective clothing and a halo of lights . . . perfect for the late October setting.

The good news was that the electricity was only turned completely off twice. The second time was for repairs. A plan. The execution of the plan was successful.

And before that, the power was turned off prior to the dousing with the CO2 or ABC powder and the subsequent fire flaming out.

The irony. The pole was scheduled to be replaced. The pole with the fire blazing at the top. The fire did not reach the transformer. The fire that began as a spark.

Just imagine as you look at this picture …

… A spark at the top of the electric pole. A spark in the middle of a drought. A spark that could have caused so much damage but didn’t. The blazing fire from the single spark.

And before that, I was working on my computer responding to emails, and getting ready to post announcements for my courses. Unaware of impending excitement. Just a regular Sunday evening.

Do you always tell a story that begins at the beginning and flows straight through to the end? What other structures do you use to heighten the anticipation?


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

#SOLSC21: Time

How do you count time?

Typically in March, I count out all 31 days. I’m not sure if the counting was to continually urge myself on or just a way of consecutively mark the time. Are you counting up? Are you counting down? This year I decided NOT to put the number for each day on the post title. I think it was a result of how differently time has felt during the last year . . .

since that fateful Friday the 13th of March, 2020.

It’s been a year since the pandemic actually took root in the US. A year of changes. Of course it was going to be two weeks. Then 8 weeks. And then . . .

It was like the movie Groundhog Day . . . over and over and over.

During the last year, time often felt frozen. Days melted into each other. Days lasted for a hundred hours. Months lasted for 100 days. Time moved so very slowly! The year felt like decades passed.


It was a strange sense of time. Patterns of getting up. Going to work. Going to appointments. All disrupted. Time existed on another plane.

How would you describe the passage of time during the last year? What do you anticipate for the future?


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

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#SOLSC21: Timing

I open the app, enter the location and wait for the response. 15 minutes wait time. Too early to confirm, I finish up tasks and get ready to go. I will need to wait because it’s too early.

I try to wait patiently. As I hit the open road, I check again. Now 7 minutes wait time. Still too early.

I wait through two songs on the radio and then I check. Now 2 minutes wait time. Still too early. I’m not even half way there.

I wait two more songs and this time when I check it says 22 minutes wait time. I click confirm. It’s a mental high five as the plan seems to be coming together. I click on “countdown” so I can check the time when I am closer.

As I coast to a stop at that first red stoplight, I almost panic.

TWO Minutes!

No way. Not going to happen. What was too early now feels so late. How on earth did that happen?

I push the upper limits as I safely make it through the next two green lights, turn the corner and see that I still have two minutes on the screen.

Simultaneously, I park, grab my mask, and my billfold.

It’s time!

Haircut time!

How do you allocate time? Do you plan backward from an arrival time? How often do you check the time? What are your coping mechanisms when the plan seems to go “awry”?


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

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#SOLSC20: Day 28

Screenshot 2020-03-28 at 7.33.37 AM           


Still 60 seconds in a minute

And 60 minutes in an hour,

Yet hours slip by.

Alarms buzz,

Snooze is pressed,

And time slips by.

Schedules adjust

Days become monotonizingly the same

TGI . . . what? And time slips by.

School buses remain in bus barns,

Churches are shuttered,

And days slip by.

Home 24/7 and tasks remain unfinished

Deadlines seem relaxed,

And weeks slip by.

Time, adrift without a schedule,

Time, unprioritized externally,

          Time slips by.

How have changing schedules impacted you and your community? 

How are your keeping track of time and days?

How are you maintaining goals and purposes and mental sanity?

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

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#SOL19: Just a few seconds

A prone form.


On the 48 yard line.



Two coaches run out.

The crowd quiets.

An EMT arrives in the circle.

He talks to the coaches.

He motions to the ambulance.

My stomach drops.

It’s hard to breathe normally.

I check the program.

I check the sideline.

A sigh of relief when it is not my great nephew.




slowly. . .

The parents are NOT in attendance.

Some of the crowd are NOT so silent.

Time moves so slowly.


Slam into the present.

Over shadowing the current reality.

Days gone past:  broken bones, concussion protocols, and arranging transportation.

Such is the life of a football parent.

But what if . . . ?

Regretfully . . .

Preventable . . .

Time moves so slowly when

a young man is eventually loaded onto a backboard.

And then a stretcher.

And then into an ambulance.

But the ambulance sits there.


No flashing lights

Silence is deafening.

Time moves so slowly.

16 minutes before it moves.

When does every minute count? 

When is “the first response” critical? 

What information is needed by whom?  And when?

Who controls the safety of these youngsters?

Just a few seconds

A bit of inattention

A lasting impact.

What is the level of vigilance in our classrooms?

Fortunately, classrooms are not contact sports.

But . . .

What do we see?

What do we miss?

How do we keep our focus when the needs are so many? 

What is the impact of just a few seconds?

How do we make sure we focus on learning? 

How do we make every second count? 

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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

What if, for our 35% of our students with test anxiety, that this is how they feel, knocked down and unable to move?

#SOL18: It’s About Time!

Screenshot 2018-07-17 at 5.54.01 AM

The heat and summer weather continues but visions of classrooms are filling many heads as teachers and students begin the final stretch of “vacation” and “It’s the last time, I can . . . this summer” routines.

I attended a research round table at #ILA18 in Austin  and posted the first side of the hand out from one 15 minute segment about Chapter 16, “It is About Time for Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction (We’ve Tried Everything Else!)” in this post.

Screenshot 2018-07-23 at 6.02.34 AM

This book.

487 pages.

I’m still reading.

How will those “8 Components” be implemented?

Well, that was side two of the handout and some brief discussion. This post is going to focus on just three of the 8 sections on implementation. (The numbering is mine so that I could keep the sections in order.)

The first implementation I am highlighting was the first on the page.

  1. Make Time for Self-Selected Reading and Teacher Read-aloud
  • Replace “morning work” with self-selected reading
  • Reduce time for “packing up” and end the day with self-selected reading
  • Read aloud to children during “snack time”
  • Read topic-related books and magazine articles aloud in subject areas

Four different options for “making time” were listed.

Will one of those work for you?  Which one?  More than one?

If your students need to increase their reading volume, time is an issue.  How can you ensure that they will have more time to read? What is within your control?  How are your priorities visible for yourself, your students, and your entire learning community?

The second implementation:

4. Teach Handwriting along with High-Frequency Words

  • Focus students on each letter during high-frequency word learning by integrating it with handwriting instruction

Sight Words?  High-Frequency Words?

What are you having students learn and why?

How will you know that students have learned the words?

I’m a believer that sight words are “known” when they are used and spelled correctly in writing. Not just the quick, fast recognition for reading but also the accurate recall and correct spelling when the words are written.  Part of the practice to get the word into long-term memory can be handwriting.  What a win/win for students!

And what a way to achieve my goal:    No more students spelling “said” as /sed/ because that is the way it sounds!!!

And for today, the final and perhaps most important recommendation . . .

8. Stop Doing Things We Know Don’t Matter

  • Stop doing activities, skills or lessons in traditional grammar
  • Stop teaching cursive handwriting
  • Stop teaching dictionary location skills

This last section is probably the most critical in my thinking.  Why on earth do we keep doing “stuff” that we know either a) is not effective? or b) does not matter?

Here’s the link to the document (both pages).

How will this inform your instruction?

What conversations do you need to have prior to sweeping changes?

How will you know if you are using time wisely?

How will you continue to “check in” on your own use of time?

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOLSC17: Blended Learning

You can read more #DigiLitSunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog, Reflections on the Teche.


What is blended learning?

One definition is that:

“Blended learning is an education program that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.” Source

I appreciate Beth Holland’s view in the quote that began this piece. . . “not only the opportunity to gain . . . but also an element of authority over this process.” The students are an integral portion of this work.  Blended learning, implemented well, has the potential to provide some of the best differentiated instruction.  Blended learning done poorly has the potential to provide mind-numbing, electronic worksheet type practice in a “one size fits all environment”.  The key is some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.”

Here’s an example:

“Tracy is a language arts teacher who has posted all of her lesson plans, assignments, and quizzes online so that students can access them at home, as well as at school. Tracy’s school recently implemented a one-to-one program in which each student has access to a personal computing device. To leverage the technology, Tracy has all of her students follow along on their devices during a guided reading exercise, during which the teacher and students examine a piece of text together. After a class discussion on the text, Tracy has the students switch over to Google Docs where they each write their own agreement or disagreement with the central argument of the text. During this time, Tracy roams the classroom making sure students are on task and answering any questions that arise.

Is Tracy using blended learning in her classroom? No. Let’s understand why:

  • By posting all class material online, Tracy is using the Internet to merely host information, not to manage the delivery of content or instruction.
  • The fact that Tracy’s school is a one-to-one program is irrelevant to whether blended learning is taking place. One-to-one is not synonymous with blended learning, as it doesn’t imply a shift in instructional delivery or an element of student control. Although equipping all students with devices can be a crucial component of creating a blended-learning program, if not implemented correctly, the devices themselves can easily be used to support traditional instruction (as in Tracy’s case).
  • Tracy’s students are all using the personal computing devices s to read and write, but they are moving through the content as a single batch doing the same thing at the same time with no element of control over the time, place, path, or pace of learning.
  • Tracy’s use of Google Docs for the student writing exercise is no different than if her students were writing with pencil and paper.

Tracy is participating in a “technology-rich” classroom, not a blended one. Technology-rich instruction shares the features of traditional teacher-led instruction with technological enhancements. This includes electronic whiteboards, digital textbooks, online lesson plans, Google Docs, virtual reality, and so forth. These tools may enhance learning experiences, but do not fundamentally shift instruction in a way that gives students some element of control.” Source

Are you providing blended learning environments?

Are you providing technology-rich environments?  

How could students have more control over time, place, path or pace?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


early morning slicer

#SOLSC17: Friday Morning

15 minutes

Every Friday morning I wish I had just 15 more minutes.

15 more minutes to read or write.

15 more minutes to get organized for the day.

15 more minutes to chat with Mya.

15 more minutes to review lessons for my day.

15 more minutes to talk to the kids in the classroom.

15 more minutes to get organized before the weekend.

Oh…. just 15 more minutes.

What would you do with 15 minutes?

What would you do with that hour by the end of the month?

Or is this your wish for every day?

Reader notes:  Today’s blog post is based on Romeo Lit Coach’s post, “15 More Minutes March 6 #SOL17” here.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


early morning slicer

#SOL16: Counting Down


Single digits now remain

Where once 180 were yet unwrapped.

Days filled with reading, writing, speaking and listening

Math, science, social studies and all those specials.


Days rushed by

90 minutes plus of reading

Was it enough?

What remains?


Time to continue learning

Time to celebrate learning


Time to read and write

Advice for the next class

Wishes for the next year


Final blog entries

Final skype sessions


Saying “hello” as we acknowledge where we began

Saying “goodbye” as we note our accomplishments

Yes, Time

Time for more reading and more writing

Making our summer plans

Because reading and writing don’t end

Although the 180 days will soon close the classroom door.

We are readers and writers EVERY day!

slice of life 2016

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

#SOL15: March Challenge Day 17


Tick, Tock!


60 seconds in a minute

60 minutes in an hour

24 hours in a day

3600 minutes in a day

How do you choose to spend them?

Tick, Tock!




60 seconds in a minute

60 minutes in an hour

7 hours in a school day

420 minutes in a school day

How do you choose to spend them?

Tick, Tock!

How do you make decisions about how you spend your time?

Is it the “to do” list?  Is it checking things off?

Is it the “living” list?  Something for yourself and something of service to others?

Quotes about Time 

Which one fits you?

“Charles Richards
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
H. Jackson Brown
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

Benjamin Franklin
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

Thomas Edison
Everything comes to him that hustles while he waits.

Robert Browning
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made; Our times are in his hand who saith, “A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: See all, nor be afraid!

Louis E. Boone
I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.

Jeffery J. Mayer
If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

Lee Iacocca
If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”

Does it matter?

Last night, I chose to work on my “to do” list.  A sure sign that my four day weekend was over.  I also chose to set the timer and read and respond to slicers . . . and I met some totally new folks that slice in a different time frame. For me, that was the perfect balance of “wants” and “needs”.

Did I get everything on my list done?  Of course not!  But my list is for today and I have a great start on it . . . which is usually impossible on a full day of professional development.  Choosing to work in advance was my choice, no complaints, just an opportunity to alleviate today’s pressures!

What choices do you make?

slice of life

Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!

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