Teacher demonstration piece

I walked into a first grade classroom’s drafting session of writing workshop. Students were also planning and generating ideas for new stories. I wanted to see what students were writing as they used mentor series books to inspire them. These little writers inspired me. Here is a draft of my story, The Adventures of Lily.

A Little Bit of Extra Time Today

It is a rare occasion for a little extra time these days… but today was different.  I almost forgot what to do during this special gem of a moment! So I grabbed my computer and decided to write. (Of course next on deck is a little bit of soccer with Lily at the park.)  Since it’s Tuesday, I wanted to make sure I was posting online.  The month of March helped me make time to write more consistently than I did before I joined the 2018 Slice of Life Challenge.  I have really enjoyed getting back into capturing my thoughts, experiences, wonderings, struggles and successes in writing.  It has cleared my head a lot.  

It can also be funny and frantic at times too.  When that writing moment appears, I want to make sure it doesn’t vanish quickly and I’m on a mission to write it down.  Sometimes, I’ll turn what I’m thinking about into a little jingle, singing it over and over again until it’s recorded. There is also that not so pleasant, all-of-a-sudden, method, “Oh no, I have to go!  I need to write something down,” interruption.

My favorite way to spend my little bit of extra time is in a journal.  I have a gazillion journals (like the rest of you reading this do too) sprinkled around my house, as well as post-its, construction paper, loose leaf paper and good old copy paper.  At any moment, I can grab even my phone to record my thoughts!  Now that I have cleared my mind… it’s time for soccer!

What do you do with your little bit of extra time?

My News Buddy

Lily is an active TV watching dog. Imagine that person in the movie theater cackling away at a funny moment on the screen. Lily talks, barks, moans, sings, moves her head in the direction of the action and wags her tail at humming bird speed when she sees any kind of animal.

Forget about watching Animal Planet! When she hears a tune from a commercial with a dog in it… craziness happens!!!! She goes bonkers and will race down the stairs to catch a glimpse of horses or any creature. Lily searches behind the left side and then the right side of the TV stand looking for a playmate but mumbles sadly in dog speak.

“I’m waiting for lessons.”

“Whatcha doin’?” I’d ask.

“I’m waiting for lessons,” replied my mom.

My mom has replied to that question the same way, “longer than I’d like to remember,” she’d say.  My mom is a piano teacher at the ripe age of… 87.  She has taught private piano lessons for decades with students coming and going- Monday through Saturday.

Now, that she is 87 year’s old, she still replies… “I’m waiting for lessons.”  She’s waiting for four students to be exact, from the 60 students per week a decade ago.

On one hand, it’s amazing how at the age of 87 and with a memory that is deteriorating, she teaches those four students as effortlessly as she did three and a half decades ago. On the other hand, the phrase, “I’m waiting for lessons” has changed it’s meaning for me again.

When I was young, it meant Mom was ALWAYS waiting and teaching.  She was super busy to say the least, while keeping an eye on her brood of children.  When I was a college graduate, it meant we couldn’t seek out the biggest bargain of the week as often as we wanted to.

Now, it means she is hesitant to miss a lesson when invited out.   Now, it means she waits for those four students as if she waits for 60 students.  But we try… we try to keep her from waiting for those 56 students,  she no longer has to wait for.

Thoughts after calling her today.

First and foremost…

For my final slice, I chose to do another inspirational piece. I found the pop-out words and phrases from NEA TODAY; a magazine that shares news about the education world.

This writing community is a powerful partnership that teaches and inspires; and we all get to learn from each other. Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing to share, read and be uplifted by slices of life.

Let Kids Be

I was playing a game of solitaire, with an actual deck of cards, while scrolling through Facebook posts. One post led me to some video clips.

Those video clips led me to one that talked about letting children be the natural explorers and scientists that they are when they make a mess of the kitchen cabinets, with the dinner in front of them or what ever it is that gets things messy. The speaker goes on to say that we, the adults, are the problem. We have reacted in ways that stifle natural curiosity in children and I would have to agree.

I remember this pattern of stopping the natural inquisitive mind as far back as fifteen years ago. I was babysitting and asked the kids to make their beds, the house keeper was on vacation, so I could start lunch. Next thing I knew, one of the kiddos was crying hysterically, “I can’t make my bed, I don’t know how,” she sobbed clutching the top sheet in her 9 year old hands.

I couldn’t believe my ears, eyes and thoughts about the fact that she was crying over not knowing how to make her bed. Just pull the top sheet up towards the pillows and repeat for the blanket then duvet. Last, fluff pillows and smooth out the look. It wasn’t like I’d asked her to put the bottom sheet on the bed, at least I could understand a little frustration with that tug-o-war. I was asking her to pull up the sheet, blanket and duvet.

I tell this story because I do see a difference in the way children were raised 40 years ago to that moment where I witnessed this in ability to problem solve because adults started taking away that time to explore, make mistakes, make a mess; to honor and encourage the curiosity with in all children.



This week, I shared this blog with a couple of second grade classrooms. They were quite impressed by how much writing I had out in the world for all to see. As I scrolled down the titles of my posts, each class blurted out, “Read, the Sweet and Sassy one,” with semi-toothy grins.

I gave a little preview of the post and told the eager listeners that Sweet and Sassy was the venue. I read the post aloud, while glancing back at times to see students’ reactions. When I smiled and goofily danced to act out the part where I invited the girls to join in the fun, giggles exploded.

Writing is a gift that gives both giver and receiver joy, sadness, hope and so much more. I hope students were inspired to share their thoughts and experiences as a gift to the world.