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Showing posts from March, 2012

Reflecting on Slice

Today is day 31 of the Slice of Life writing challenge. Today is the last day those of us in the challenge are asked to post. I took on this challenge with lots of trepidation, I'm not a writer. I've never written for 31 days straight in my life. I have boxes of journals that were begun with good intentions but never got past a few days. Taking on this challenge has taught be a lot about myself as a writer.

*Ive learned that my best writing comes from ideas that I let simmer in my mind for a while.
*I've learned that writing about something every day is really hard.
*I've learned that I need to hear feedback on my writing...the sooner the better.
*Some topics are better left unpublished.
*Finding my voice in words is harder than I thought it would be.
*Reading other Slices taught be more about writing and hopefully made me a better writer.
*I don't foresee myself being a fiction writer at all. I'm at my best when I write about what I know and am passiona…

Untold Stories

During this Slice of Life challenge I've started several different stories that have never been published. I started one about a student and her incredible growth this year but I was nervous about posting even with names changed. I started another post about my dad. I just can't get it right. I firmly believe my dad is the greatest man on earth and I can't quite capture him in words. I started a post about yards in my neighborhood and the almost unspoken competition between them. We are in last place in the competition and had to call in professionals. I also started a post about traveling I love traveling but hate packing.

These are my untold stories from the slice challenge. Do you have any stories that didn't make it in?

Possibilities and Realities

I love first thing in the morning when the classroom is quiet and the possibilities are awaiting. Who will be here today? What questions will they have? What stories will they tell? Every day is different and the possibilities are endless. The only thing I can hope is that they learn something new and are happy to be here. Today will be better than yesterday.

THe previous paragraph was written about ten minutes before the bell rang. I had just checked my email and I was thinking about our day.

Today brought many adventures. After a student shared a book with Blue Whales we went outside to see exactly how long a blue whale was. The chalk went all of the way across the black top and halfway down the sidewalk...80 ft. You can't explain that without looking at it.

Today was the last day of our study of non fiction writing. We shared our expertise with the second graders. My students were amazed they knew things that the "big kids" didn't. They've worked …

Almost Wordless Wednesday

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I will be here in 2 1/2 weeks.  Cell phones will not work.  Life will be amazing!



What is in the box?

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A teacher friend emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking for my address. She said she was cleaning out her bookshelves and thought some books would work well in my classroom. I was floored! Of course I'll jump at any chance to get new books. Friday, I came home to a GIANT box of books on my porch...I had trouble lifting it. I couldn't wait to get it inside so I perched myself on the concrete and dove in. I Pulled book after book out of the box. It was A-MA-ZING.

I couldn't wait to get the books to school yesterday for the kids to see. Kindergartners notice everything, I mean everything, so when they walked in and their was a big box on the reading table they freaked out.
-What's in the box?
-I see books everybody!
-Whats under the books? Me-more books (sly smile)
-You mean there are books all the way to the bottom?!
-Do you think there is a Dinosaur book in there? (from my dinosaur expert, there was one)
-I bet there is a book about animals.


I left that box there…

Today

Today was just a good day. My sister did my hair, mom and I went shopping and had dinner with the whole family this evening. My dad and I also made a plan for doing some work on our yard (Sidenote- I've tried for 2.5 weeks to write a post about how awesome my dad is and haven't been able to capture him properly. I'll keep trying).

Today ends with peace and smiles. Can't ask for more than that.

Is it home?

Tonight I'm in Kentucky at my parents house. It the house I lived in from the time I was 10 to 18. It's the house my friends came to and prom pictures were taken. It's where I got ready for countless band practices, had family dinner every night and played many games on Family Game Night. Is this home? This is the place where the cupboards are stocked with all the delicious food I refuse to buy and we talk for hours about everything. I come here several times a year to open arms but is it home?

I have a home of my own now, it's a work in progress but it's nice. We've lived there for two years and love being there is that my home?

I thought about this a lot on my drive this evening (I think a lot on drives). Then I walked in the door here and realized this is home. This place has the memories and the love built it. Years of it are seeped into the walls.

My new home is a blank slate waiting for the years of memories and love to overtake it. Both of these plac…

Snake on a Playground

Tuesday was a gorgeous day outside. The sun was bright, there was a nice breeze and the kids we running around like they had been let loose from the zoo. It was one of those recesses where I was tending to lots of falls, splinters and a couple of bee scares.

A former preschool teacher had just stopped by to visit when we hear "Ssssnnnnaaakkkee!!!" Honestly, I ignored it. My kids love to pretend they are all sorts of things from ninjas to dragons to tigers so pretending they were snakes was nothing new. Then the kid who I don't see from the time the playground gate opens until we line up comes running over. "Ms. Kessler, Ms. Kessler....There. Is. A. Snake!!"

I walk over to investigate. All kids are on the concrete section and I'm being really brave as "the snake hunter". I walk around for a minute or two and see nothing. I go in all the different directions they are sure they hear hissing and see the grass moving and then there it is. He…

Today

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Today was one of those days where this morning feels like it was a week ago. Any section of my day could be a whole post on its own but I'm too worn out think that much. Here are some words and phrase that describe my day.

Beautiful morning
Kids extra quiet
One student late ( explains quiet)
"I'm special because I can sew"
"I'm special because I'm a great big brother"
"Theres nothing special about me..."
SSSNNNAAAKKKEEEE!
No less than 54678 questions about snakes
Snake research and learning
Confused
Frightened
Tears
Bruises
Splinter
"this is my best story EVER...can you read it, can you read it now?" It was his best ever!!
Making tough decisions
Questions
Changes
Uncertainty
Manicure :-)
Grocery
Home
Dinner
Shopping for gift for tomorrow
Eyes barely open
Good night

Spring

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I would say that spring is my favorite season but I'm usually happy for whatever changes each season brings. I like spring because it's a time of renewal. The flowers come up, the trees bloom and I feel energized by the sun and warm weather. Tomorrow is the first day of spring, yet it was 80° here today. I would think that the spring would be taken for granted with such a mild winter but I was wrong. Today Chris and I spent much of the day outside planning projects for the next couple of months. Some will happen and others will be put on hold. We talked about what we would like to include in the garden this year (last year was our first garden and it looked like a jungle), we want to build a small wall around the flower bed and have some top soil delivered, but more urgently we looked around at our yard which is full of weeds. It would be a beautiful meadow but not a beautiful yard. This will be our 3rd spring/summer here and it's time to call in the professionals …

Comments

Ruth convinced me to start this project at the Dublin Literacy Conference. She talked about how she is driven to keep writing because of the feedback she gets from comments. I thought about this, and I do love getting comments but I didn't think it drove my writing.

After starting this project I realized how much the comments on each post mean to me. I can't wait to hear what others think about want I decided to share that day. The comments that challenge or extend my thinking are my favorite. I also like hearing how others relate to my stories or have something similar at has happened to them. All in all Ruth was right, the comments do drive me to continue writing even on days like today when I don't feel like I have much to say.

So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my writing. It's always a work in progress but you keep me going.

Beautiful Day

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Today was an amazing beautiful day. Here are some pictures to illustrate.

First is the tree the city planted for us after Ash Borer Beatles killed 100's in our neighborhood.





Second is the daffodils in my front yard that are about to burst open.



And finally the grill full of delicious food





Two Kindergarten Stories

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Yesterday I introduced the Quarter to my class. We were looking at it closely, comparing it to the other coins we know and talking About the face on the front and the symbol on the back. We were noticing that the quarter has a man on the front just like the other coins and one boy chimed in
Student-" I know who this is on the front of the Quarter."
Me- Great, can you tell everyone who you think it is.
Student- Its the principal
Me (confused)- Our principal, Mr. S_______?
Student- Yes, looks just like him.

Our principal is a tall, slender man, with short dark hair, in his 40's...

I love discovering with kindergartners.

Today was an extremely nice day in Ohio. The temperature was in the mid 70's and the sun was shining bright. During recess my students discovered a lone worm in the mulch. They banded together and decided to save "him". Well you can't have just one worm, he needs friends to we stayed outside digging with sticks until the first worm …

Roller Coaster Day

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Stared off slow
Got better and better
T h e n
Woooosh
Upside down
Around and around
Now back in the station
To start over again tomorrow.

Aunt Pam

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Yesterday as I was driving home from that funeral (it was a long drive) the date hit me. March 10.

It was a sunny Tuesday morning. My sister and I were getting ready for school and I was really excited to be going on a field trip that day. We were going to a science museum in Cincinnati and when you are in 6th grade that's a big day. Right before we left on the bus there was a phone call. Mom was worried, we could tell. Aunt Pam had been rushed to the hospital. That was all I knew when I went to school.



Aunt Pam is my moms sister. She was about 5'4", platinum blonde short hair, and a frame the wind could blow over. She had a scratchy voice and a fiesty personality. Growing up Aunt Pam lived in a very small studio apartment in town. She was at our house every Saturday morning so she could do her laundry. She wasn't married and had no children of her own so my sister and I were like her kids. Every Saturday she came over and every Saturday she had somethin…

Legacy

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This afternoon I attended the funeral of a friend's grandmother. I had never met Grandma Bernie but I did know a lot about her through my friend. She was the matriarch of the family. She was loving and giving but also ornery. She and her husband opened their home to a girl, for reasons I do not know, but I do know the impact they had. She volunteered, was active in her church and belonged to many organizations. She always had treats for the kids and an open ear for them to talk to. She loved to travel often convincing her reluctant husband to go. She played cards and shuffle board and was apparently very competitive. She held the family gatherings right up to this past holiday season. That's where the family came together laughed, cried and connected. She was well loved by many people that was evident today.

I had a long drive home and I got to thinking about legacy. Obviously, Grandma Bernie left many memories and a wonderful legacy for people to remember. Are …

Funk

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I'm in a funk...not a funky chicken kind of a funk but a no motivation, is this really helping, where do I start kind of funk. I'm not really sure when my funk started or why. These things happen from time to time, usually about this time of year.

I walked into my classroom yesterday and thought "This place is a mess", I'm not sure how my classroom got so disheveled but it did. There were books all over the floor, papers exploding off my easel and piles...piles of I don't know what, everywhere. Writing folders are spilling with work, puzzles are on the counter and the puzzle shelf is empty.

This time of year also gets me thinking that I have ----------------------------this much still to teach with ------this much time left. Have I done enough? What can I still do? Have I done enough?

It's also "testing season", I don't have students who are taking a test but I can still feel it. I can feel the pressure mounting in the other hal…

Wordless Wednesday

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My love...

Things I like...

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Today I don't feel well so for my slice I'm going to list some random things I like. I always thing that if you feel terrible thinking of positive lovely things will make you feel better.

1. The first Daffodils and Tulips in the spring.
2. The smell of a fire in the fireplace.
3. Children laughing.
4. Telling a student "I don't know but let's find out together."
5. My dogs waggy tail.
6. Anything by Janet Jackson..we've all got our guilty pleasure. :-)
7. Reading a really great book all the way through without stopping.
8. Sunshine
9. Anything Chris makes for dinner.
10. Learning new things.
11. My mom's chili
12. Babies with giant bows in their hair.
13. Cold pillows
14. Discovering new picture books
15. The waves crashing against the beach.
16. Sunsets
17. The blackest nights when millions of stars are visible.
18. Brownies
19. Laughing
20. Finding the perfect gift for someone.
21. Sitting on our deck in the evening.
22. New adventures
23. Anythin…

Wonder

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When comparing myself to most people I would say that I'm a reader. I read several books a year for pleasure and many professional and picture books. When comparing myself to my friends on Twitter I'm barely a reader. So when people who literally read hundreds or thousands of books a year go on and on about a book I know it's a must read. That's what happened with Wonder by R.J. Palacio.


My library only had the audio recording so I emailed them about the book version and they put me first on the list. ( I know it's totally nerdy but how cool is it to be the first on the list). Wonder is the story of a boy named Auggie who was born with a facial abnormality and he is getting ready to start school, 5th grade, for the first time. This book isn't about a disease but it's about kindness. It's about our reactions and how they are perceived by others. The story is told from several different points of view to get you inside many different minds. When t…

My buddy, Max

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A couple of years ago when my boyfriend and I decided to live together we often talked about getting a dog. He works ALL THE TIME and I was really tired of being alone. We both thought a dog would be prefect.

In our six years together he's only forbidden me to do one thing and that's go to the animal shelter. Not because we have anything against animal shelters but he knew I would come home with as many animals as I could load in the car. So instead, I stared looking at petfinder.com. All of the animals are rescues but there's something different about seeing them online than in person.

I was constantly on the site looking at dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, mature dogs, puppies, everything you can imagine. Then one day he popped in the screen...Max. He was this little skinny looking thing with a terrible haircut but he was cute. I read that he was three years old and had a rough time before he was rescued. I had to meet him. Chris thought he was cute but was I sure this w…

Tornados

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I love a good thunderstorm.  As a kid my dad and I used to sit on the breezeway between our house and the garage and watch the lightening and listen to the thunder.  We would watch the ditch in front of our house fill up with water and cout seconds between lightening strikes and the sound of thunder.

Yesterday, Mother Nature crossed the line from showing her power to causing destruction.  The surrounding areas where I grew up had terrible thunderstorms and tornados.  I'm very thankful that my family and friends are safe but I hurt for those close by who are not.  Lives are destroyed and the only thing left to do it pick up the pieces.  When I figure out the best way to help I'll let you know, in the meantime please keep KY, IN, and OH in your thoughts and prayers.

This new journey in writing...

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Yesterday's post wasn't the introductory post I had envisioned. I thought my first post would state why I was joining this crazy challenge, who I am as a writer and what I believe. I always tell my students to "write what's in your heart", that's not what was in my heart yesterday so it didn't get written.

Last weekend at the Dublin Literacy Conference, Ruth Ayers talked about this Slice of Life Challenge. I'd seen posts from other people but didn't really know anything about the project. Ruth challenged us to write something of our life once a day for 31 days. I'm not really a writer. I always have tons of ideas swirling around in my head but never seem to be able to get them organized or communicate them as clearly as I want. I'm nervous about writing. Writing puts you out there, vulnerable, your thoughts floating around for others to read and know.

During her keynote Donalyn Miller said reading is the inhale and writing is the…