Simply Tuesday #SOL18

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My refrigerator masquerades as a freezer in my office. It likes to pretend. This is normally helpful for quickly making my Diet Coke cold or keeping “emergency” lunches on the days I forget to pack my sustenance.

However…

It is not a good thing when you forget you had an extra can of DIET COKE in there overnight. When you open the fridge to enjoy the frosty beverage you find frozen coke all over the bottom and a bulging can that looks like something from a horror movie.

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Then you kick yourself for being in a hurry the afternoon before and not remembering to take the can out of the fridge to avoid this situation.

Oops…I am more upset I lost a can of Coke rather than the mess!

#SIMPLYTUESDAY

 

 

 

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Weekend Coffee Share

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Hello! Grab your cup of coffee! I am having a strong Columbian blend today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a busy Saturday! I drove to Lafayette for my daughter’s gymnastics meet. I made good time and had scoped out two independent bookstores on Friday just in case I got there early. I easily found Main Street Books downtown and also walked through the Farmer’s Market.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about Second Flight Books that I also visited. This was a true gem of a bookstore with used and new books and interesting people. One girl sat and worked at a large wood table. It looked like the perfect place to spend a Saturday among the books and the random patrons that came in.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the concept of Utopias keeps coming up. I was part of a co-planning meeting earlier this week and it is part of the concepts my 8th grade teachers teach in their Springboard units. I started to think that I have not read much about utopias. Heaven, of course, is one. Thomas More actually was the first to write about them in 1516. There have been poems written about it by Wislawa Szymborska.

Have you ever thought what your utopia would be like?

I feel I want to explore this idea more and maybe I will take inspiration from Brain Pickings and make a map. 

If we were having coffee I would tell you about Inktober and FMF writing. I have been writing every day. Sometimes it is a short story and sometimes it is just about my reaction to the words and how to weave them together. I like the idea of finding the connections between the two words and how they are braided together. I don’t always post because they are too personal or not quite completely formed ideas.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my critique groups. Yes, groups, because apparently, one was just not enough. I am involved in a Storyaday Slack channel. This is wonderful to talk about writing and share. I also have my mini-critique group with two ladies from the same group. Holly Lisle’s forums are amazing too. I received some really honest feedback that helped tremendously mold a story into something worth sharing!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was reacquainted with the podcast 88 cups of tea. Such amazing authors on there: Holly Black, Emily X R Pan, Susan Dennard…and more. I also started listening to Writing Class Radio again after scrolling through the episodes.

If we were having coffee I would share I listened to the 10 Minute Writers Workshop podcast which I miss. They are not recording new episodes but the backlog are timeless.

I am so glad that we were able to chat again this week!

What are you working on? What is inspiring you?

 

FMF: Story

Story

FMF: Story

How can I use my story to influence or inspire other people?

This is a question I often ask myself.

 

I have been told I am interesting. I suppose this is true.

I am a wife.

I am a daughter.

I am a runner that has achieved some interesting goals.

I am a teacher that has accomplished obstacles and earned many awards.

I am a coach for education and fitness.

I am a mother.

I am a writer.

Not necessarily in that order…

 

I have been through some trauma and have come out on the other side. There have been many highs and lows with no warning to switch 180 degrees.   

 

I have been called: accidentally inspiring and an old soul.

 

I am careful how I share my story.

 

If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

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FMF: Moment

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Today’s word for FMF (Five Minute Friday) is Moment. I have actually written with this word twice today because I was having such problems with it.

My moment is now. It is always now.

The moment the clocks hit 12:34 I automatically look. I am drawn to this time.

Moments that matter is how our lives should be measured. We have the power to create them.

I have been motivated my entire life by “shoulds”. I have led a  life on a timeline of goals. This plan did not lead me to Utopia or anything close. From a near-sighted view, the outcome looked utopic – and then reality hit.

Taking moments as they come, creating experiences and going with the flow seems to be a better fit for me now. I cannot fear or worry about things that do not exist.

Being open in as many moments as possible seems the way to live as I see it…in this moment.

If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

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Reluctance and Reading

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I am a reluctant reader….sometimes.

My students are reluctant readers…sometimes.

Unfortunately, some students are labeled RELUCTANT READERS as their primary reading identity and it needs to stop.

In the realm of education, the phrase reluctant reader gets thrown around a lot. I believe there is some truth in this phrase. I also believe that some students have not found the right text to make them into a reader.

I say text purposefully because it isn’t always a book. It could be a blog, a graphic novel, tweets, articles, etc.

Different factors make up our reading identity. Reluctance a small part of a reader’s identity no matter how old you are. I have an inbox of school emails that I am reluctant to read. I can procrastinate for as long as I can but I have adult deadlines. I have put some of this reading in my bullet journal and there are arrows moving certain tasks to the next day for DAYS. Can you relate?

I have to read a 20 page article for a meeting on Thursday. Am I reluctant? YOU BETCHA!

I too am a reluctant reader.

Am I a reluctant reader all the time? Absolutely not. Neither are our students, and we need to stop saying it.

I can be a reluctant reader for book club too – a book I am supposed to like that I am not enjoying as much. Can I appreciate the character development? Yes. Can I talk about it and notice the positives? Yes.

This is not the only factor that gets a bolded capital label for students. Reading level is another issue. These factors are part of the process of how we become a better reader. We need to remember to look at the whole child, not just numbers.

Labels can be helpful and dangerous. I am trying to find the new balance for where I stand.

Most of the time, I would rather be reading. That is part of my identity too.

What are your thoughts?

 

FMF: Common

 

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Common is a tricky word – much like the word “normal”. What is common to me is likely to be foreign to you. Definitions of common are muddy. They are based more on perception rather than fact.

This idea reminds me of an experience when I attended my first sleepover birthday party in elementary school. My friend lived on Blake Street and she did not live like I did. Her mother was deaf and her house was small and dark. None of their furniture matched. We had pancakes for breakfast but no syrup or milk.

I have common practices on Tuesdays.

  • I write my Slice of Life Post for the Two Writing Teachers blog challenge
  • I remember it is Simply Tuesday
  • It is family dinner tonight – there are no practices!
  • Favorite podcasts drop
    • The Next Right Thing
    • What Should I Read Next?
    • Alone in a Room with Invisible People
    • First Draft

 

What is common for you?

 

 

If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

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The Real Neat Blog Award!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Thank you to dearkitty1.wordpress.com for the nomination!

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

 

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

WordPress reader and Twitter

2. What is your favourite sport?

Running!

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2018?

Our family rented a boat and went tubing with the kids. It was a great day on a lake near where we live.

4. What is your favourite quote?

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

English – hands down. Reading and writing – oh yes!

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

That IOWA was the mecca of MFA’s …and what an MFA even was!

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

The violin! I played from 6th grade to 12th grade. I almost played in college but intentionally chose different activities in my college experience.

My nominees are:

Melanie At Home

My Best Friend Adeline

 

Genius Hour Update #SOL

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Yesterday I met for a second time with my 7th graders who are participating in Genius Hour. The 45 minutes was the highlight of my school day.

This is what it looked like:

  • The students finished their analog planning on the sheets
  • Whip Around Share Out
  • Assignments were given for each group of what they need to do before next Monday – mostly research.

I am super excited about the projects and how they are shaping up!

Here is a sampling of the projects:

  • Two students are planning The Random Happiness Project
  • Two students are planning a motivational presentation to be broadcast for the entire school
  • One student is making a People of Michigan City presentation to show what our community really looks like
  • One student wants to raise awareness of elephant poaching and to give people 3-5 action steps of what they can do to help

Notes:

  1. It is interesting that one of the most talkative girls is having trouble narrowing her big picture idea to an actionable list. She wants to jump in with both feet and no plans! It is very telling for her process. A place I need to intervene.
  2. The buzz of work, while the time was clicking away, was energizing. You know that buzz when great ideas are flying around the room – THAT was what my room sounded like yesterday at 11a.m.
  3. Two projects sounded the same when they did their “elevator pitch” in the whip around but we unpacked it and came to realize the end results were different: one focus was truly happiness and the other was motivation. The audiences were different as well. It was a great discussion about focus and intent.
  4. I need to take some pictures of the students. We were so busy I forgot! They are so excited about this time and I hope to capture that feeling in their expressions.
  5. I am loving this process because it is teaching students to be lifelong learners which is a basic philosophy I have had since I started teaching.

What is exciting you about education today!?

FMF: Audience

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Who is my audience? I guess it depends on what I am writing. I write for myself, fellow writers, teachers, and students. Professional work in education is mostly for educators but some pieces can do double duty. I do enjoy writing with students and for students as well. I hope that my personal work will be likable for others. I have beta readers that I write for or least have in mind when I write certain stories.

I am not sure I am always worried about audience to be honest. I know I have a certain style for writing and know that it won’t be to everyone’s liking. I am ok with that. I hope that people like it.

In my job, I feel like I perform a lot. Teaching isn’t just about content knowledge it is about presentation. “You aren’t selling the steak – you are selling the sizzle,” my husband always says.

This type of performance can sometimes take its toll on me though. It exhausts me. If I have too much peopleing then it can take me days to recover. Writing helps for sure. It is my therapy in a way.

I am quite breakable so I am careful with audience. I feel like I am on an emotional edge most of the time. I am always waiting for the other shoes to metaphorically drop.

If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

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FMF: Help

 

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Help can be expensive – or so it can appear to be.

I was listening to the Pivot Podcast yesterday during my run and Jenny Blake and her guest were talking about how we outsource all types of services in our lives and have no conscious thoughts about it. They help us and we pay for them and that is seen as normal. What does not seem to be normal is for people to pay for services when they need time to pursue a passion. Or that the expectations are that if you can do it yourself you should.

Services we outsource:

We don’t churn our own butter.

We don’t sew our own clothes.

We don’t deliver our own mail.

No one can be an expert in everything. Sometimes we need time to focus on what we are good at. That might look like hiring an accountant so we don’t have to take 5 hours to do something an expert can do in 30 minutes. That might look like child care so you can write for 2 hours straight.

Sometimes we might barter for time.

We need to remember that it is not weak to ask for help. This is as much a reminder to myself as to you dear reader!

Happy Monday!

If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.