Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Sick Day: Slice Of Life

Today,  I am home from school with a sore throat, sniffles, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing and fever CRUD!  I don't take days for me. I am a get to school tough it out kind of girl so when the fever hit I knew the battle was over!

Crud 1 Me 0

So today my classroom is my couch, and I am noticing a few odd things. One, daytime T.V. isn't for me!  A pillow form the bed makes the couch fantastically comfortable! Writing passes the time faster than reading, and when I am not feeling great, reading makes me sleep!  I am also noticing my house has many strange noises during the day.  The day noises are different than the night noises.  Somehow spookier!  My cat actually does sleep all day, and Siri will play random songs if you say " Hey, Siri play music! I am listening to songs I haven't heard for YEARS!

And the best one...
These 2  forbidden items made my throat feel better, and no one even knows I caved, except my cat who also loves chips!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Silence: Slice of Life

In today's writing class with Cathy Mere and Julie Johnson, I was asked to write about, What proceeds silence?  
My thoughts on silence will surprise those who know me.

For me maybe silence is preceded by maturity.  I am one who others say likes to gab filling any empty air with the sound of my voice.  Perhaps one who talks just to hear herself talk. I would have to agree with these statements and stand up and own the truth of these words.

Recently it seems I am embracing quiet time, maybe even seeking silent minutes. The silence gives me a chance to reflect on my thoughts. In my silence I find my ideas, new and old seem to find a space to settle in and breathe. I like this new breathing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Do You Go With Tim? Slice of Life 2017

Please join us at Two Writing Teachers to share your slice of life or to enjoy the slices of others. Comments make all slicers happy and build community. Please leave at least 3 comments as you visit. 


Most people like their coffee in the morning, but for me, I like an afternoon coffee.  So the afternoon I drove up to the window of my neighborhood Starbucks, it was a typical afternoon.  But what happened next took me back (just a few years) to middle school.

As the barista handed me my coffee, she asked, "Do you go with someone named Tim?"  The query was so random and oddly stated that I couldn't help but repeat her exact words but in the form of a statement laughing through it all,  "Yes, I go with Tim."

As if this whole exchange wasn't weird enough she stepped back from the drive-through window and announced to the entire staff of barista's (and if they were listening to the whole coffee shop), "Hey, this is Deb, she goes with Tim, so if you see Deb you'll, know she goes with Tim." The baristas crowded the window waved and greeted me by name.

I am still puzzling over the exchange at the coffee shop.  The best I can come up with is it's my husbands extremely unique coffee order,(five shots of espresso over ice in a Venti cup) and my Starbucks is a good ol' neighborhood shop where everybody knows your name. Except, instead of shouting Norm, they'll be shouting "Tim, Deb!"

Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading! : My Weekly Accountability Check In

Have you ever found yourself in so deep you had to go deeper to keep yourself afloat?  Well, I have, and that's exactly why I am here today!  I am reaching to the It's Monday! What Are You Reading?community to keep me buoyant in my #Mustreadin2017 challenge.  

I am back for my second week to share my reading! Thank you all for your open arms welcoming! I knew I'd find a great tribe here! 

First up this week is Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz.  This is a book I have read before as part of a book talk organized by our fabulous literacy coach, Tonya Buelow.  As we read the book I knew I would be revisiting the message and lesson ideas Stacey shares.  And I was right, now I am reading it with my first-grade team and my class of first graders!  As a teaching team, we've been working to build comprehension in reading.  As we work we have noticed a weakness in recalling specific details.  This is particularly concerning as kids will need to support their thinking with evidence from the book as they grow as readers.  As we discussed lessons to support our readers I thought about the lessons in Craft Moves teaching kids to add precise details to their writing.  This was a light bulb moment and I knew the lines of our reading and writing workshops were about to blur. 

I shared my reading and thinking openly with my class.  I know it's important for the students to know why we need to learn about details in reading and writing in order for the students to take ownership of their learning.  I also wanted them to know I was working purposefully to support learning.  With Craft Moves lying open beside me showing my annotations and highlighted text I began reading a class mentor text,  In My New Yellow Shirt by Eileen Spinelli.  As we read we stopped to consider the specific details and how the story would change without these details. "It's not fun, it's so boring."  The students were eager to locate precise details and share how much the details changed the sound and feel of the story.  After a few lessons, the students are beginning to share precise details they are finding in their reading. 

I am so impressed with these readers! @sshubitz @HCSDElemLit @DarbyCreekElem pic.twitter.com/1xgV8UF2ol
— First Grade! (@Frazier1st) January 20, 2017

In writing, we are blurring the lines of the workshops as we study how the author added these precise details and why.  Working together in shared writing lessons the students are eager to rewrite sentences and add precise details! I am hoping to see this pop up in their independent writing soon!

Who could overlook the irony the last week's bookends of Martin Luther King on Monday and then the inauguration of the 45th president of Friday?  So I packed in a little individual reading, Preaching to the Chickens the story of young John Lewis by Jabari Asim and illustrated by  E.B. Lewis.  Preaching to the Chickens refreshed my belief in be called to do for others. John Lewis became his life as a "doer." as he preached to the chickens on his farm.  In caring for these chickens, young John Lewis discovered his calling to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.  Reading the words of those who have fought so hard before reminds me it's our job now.

I am also Just beginning to listening to The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  This one is going to require a bit of sketch noting as I listen. The topic is heavy and following such difficult story lines is going to require full concentration.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading! : Jumping in to Save Myself!

Have you ever found yourself in so deep you had to go deeper to keep yourself afloat?  Well, I have, and that's exactly why I am here today!  I am reaching to the It's Monday! What Are You Reading?community to keep me buoyant in my #Mustreadin2017 challenge.

It all started when I surrounded myself with AMAZING people who read and share and say smart stuff!  It didn't take me long to know I wanted to be just like them!  So when they mentioned a title, a blog, or a hashtag I bought the titles, added the blog to my Feedly, and searched the hashtags!  The problem was I wasn't getting any smarter.  Then, I realized these smart people weren't just curating they were actually reading!

So, one day I visited the blog of Cathy, (one of those smart people who say smart stuff) and realized she was having the same "good problem" as she called it and had made a plan with #mustreadin2017 community started by @CarrieGelson to not to simply stay adrift but to actually reach shore!

In my typical fashion, I jumped in! (You see how I am already digging myself in deeper.) I created a #mustreadin2017 plan and made a commitment by not only pushing the orange PUBLISH button on blogger but I also shared the link on Twitter and Facebook! There was no going back, I was in!

So how am I Doing? What Am I Reading?

I shared The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas with my first-grade class, and the discussion was intriguing and demonstrated the strengths of the readers.  The story is about a man who lives all alone at the edge of the water. He has a very important job of opening any bottles containing a message and delivering the message to the recipient.  The man is very dedicated to his job but more than anything wishes that one day the message would be for him.  When the man retrieves a bottle with an unspecified message, the deeper meaning of the story begins.  This is where the story left the pages of the book and began to fill our hearts.  

Currently, this book is borrowed from the library, but this will become a forever book on my shelf! 


Dear Dragon by Josh Funk was another favorite this week! The story beautifully illustrates the beauty of getting to know the person behind the one you see. When Blaise and George are assigned to be pen pals they know nothing about the other. And that is precisely what makes this a beautiful story of true friendship.  Sometimes the best friendships are made we can't see the outward appearance of others.  Blaise and George will write themselves right into your heart and leave the door open for the important conversations facing our nation.  

Currently, this book is borrowed from the library, but this will become a forever book on my shelf! 

Special Bonus! @JoshFunkBooks is very responsive on Twitter! 


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance was just for me. This book, written by JD Vance a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate shares the story of growing up in an Appalachian Town and the struggles of the white working class. Much of the story takes places in Middletown Ohio, a town not far from me. My dad grew up in a town much like the town of JD which made this memoir and his stories even more powerful. I plan to watch the many Ted Talks with Vance and the interviews with Vance about Trump. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Good-Bye Laundry: Slice of Life 2017

Please join us at Two Writing Teachers to share your slice of life or to enjoy the slices of others. Comments make all slicers happy and build community. So if you have time please leave comments as you visit. 

The week before she goes back:

Me- (Looking at the overflowing hamper in her room) How is your laundry going?

Her- Fine.

Me- Okay.

Three days before she goes back:

Me-(Looking at the overflowing hamper in her room) How is your laundry going?

Her- Ugh, I do just fine at college with my laundry, I will get it done here too. (with tone)

Me- Okay.

Two days before she goes back:

Me- (Looking at the overflowing hamper in her room and clothes laying on the floor and strewn all over the bed) How is your laundry going?

Her- I don't want to do it! I have a load in the washer and one in the dryer. I gotta go to work, bye.

Me- Be careful, I love you.

The morning before she leaves:

Me- (The family sitting around the breakfast table enjoying her favorite breakfast.)

Daddy- Do you want some help with your laundry?

Her- No, I got it. I don't want to do it.

Me- Are you planning to take your clothes back dirty?

Her- No.

Me- You don't want to do it because then that means you're closer to leaving?

Her- Yes. I am going to say good-bye to my friend Hannah after breakfast.

Me- Okay.

Her (walking out the door to go to Hannah's) Mommy, I don't want to go back. College is hard, and I just don't like it. (Walks out with a grunt)

Me- I love you, enjoy your visit with Hannah. Plan a  time for Hannah to visit you!

Today is going to be an emotional day.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Taking Control of The Infamous To Be Read Shelf: #MustReadin2017

Taking Control of The Infamous To Be Read Shelf: #MustReadin2017

It seems every time I browse social media, have coffee with a friend, read a blog, or even breath there's a new title I want to add to the infamous to-be-read pile.  I am not good at keeping track of all these titles either! If they're for the classroom, I jump on the library app and order them right away.  If they're professional, adult fiction, or self-help books, I order them from Amazon.

 Unfortunately, I do this so often I can't keep track of why I ordered the book or where I learned about the title.

 As I looked at my bookshelves (physical, digital, and audio), I realized, simply owning the books was not enough!  I was actually, going to have read the books.

My Lifeline
Enter my friend and professional lifeline, Cathy Mere and her post, Let's Read: It's All About a Plan #MustReadin2017.  Cathy shares her discovery of Carrie Gelson's #MustReadin2017 post.  Knowing Cathy was always into something good I started following her clicks. I read the posts and lists of books to be read in 2017 linked on Cathy's blog and then on Cathy's Goodreads shelf.  I knew all this clicking was leading me exactly where I needed to go to get these books off my shelves and into my mind where they can inspire, shape perspectives, and help me to be a better person.

The Plan 
Step 1-
Pull some books OFF my shelf!

Step 2-
 Organize and update my Goodreads shelf.

Step 3-
Choose my books for the month.

Step 4-Write my post and commit!

My to-read shelf on Goodreads is organized and updated, and I am in!  I will use my Goodreads shelf to add new books and make note of where I learned of the title or why I have added it to the shelf.  I am borrowing Cathy's idea of monthly planning. This will allow me to leave room in my #MustReadin2017 plan to add new titles and picture books I find throughout the year. I also want to make sure I can meet my reading goals.

January's Plan: #Mustreadin2017