Slice of Life #17

St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday.  Obviously, I am very Irish.  My dog is named Dublin.  I have a cat named Guinness.  Chris and I even got engaged in Dublin last year.  If that didn’t prove it, I also burn in the sun and can’t tan for my life.  So needless to say, I love St. Patrick’s Day!

I love to dress up for the holiday, but today’s weather threw a wrench in my plans!  Last year I went all out- shamrock tights, green sequin shoes, shamrock earrings, and green from head to toe.  When I saw today’s weather I was thrilled because it was supposed to be almost 70 degrees.  But how do you dress for Ireland when it’s sun and blue skies?  After oversleeping by 20 minutes this morning, I started throwing clothes all over.  Luckily, I had purchased a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt from Old Navy that proclaimed “Go Green!” with a shamrock emblazoned across the front.  I ended up wearing my jeans, the tshirt, a long pink/orange cardigan, green headband, St. Patrick’s Day socks, and pink & green boat shoes.  Maybe it was green overload, but it was awesome. :)

One look in the mirror and I was downstairs to throw my Guinness beef stew in the crock pot before heading off to school.  I grabbed my Irish soda bread biscuit and a chocolate milk for breakfast and raced off to school.

Slice of Life #16

65 degrees.  A gorgeous breeze blowing through the trees.  The perfect day to spend at the park after work.  So I flew home from school, put the leash on Dublin, and put him in the car.  Within 25 minutes of school letting out, we were at the park.  The sun was shining and Dublin had a blast racing around the park and hearing the mud squelch beneath his paws.  We ran around and chased the other dogs for about 45 minutes before the park emptied out.

Because Dublin was still a bundle of energy, we decided to do our second favorite thing- hike.  We spent the next half hour playing in the woods and it was actually warm enough for him to go in the creek.  Dublin loves the ocean but he had never seen a creek up close until today.  Needless to say, one he realized it was moving water he was sold.  On the extended leash, about 10 feet long, he ran up and down the creek, leaping from bank to bank.  He kept sticking his nose in the water and snapping his mouth, attempting to catch the leaves that were racing by in the current.  It was hysterical!

He may have ended up covered in mud and soaking wet, but it was totally worth it!

Slice of Life #15

Today I finished up teaching my students about appositives, using an activity from Jeff Anderson’s Everyday Editing.  I was a little hesitant at first, because my students can be a handful sometimes, if given a hands-on project (especially on a rainy Monday morning!).  But I decided to jump in anyway.  During my newspaper meeting, I put together the booklets and set them up, in order to save time.  I knew that having the students do it in class would result in us using most of the class period practicing following directions. ;)

To my surprise, all four classes were awesome!  They wrote their five sentences, copied them into the booklet with minimal distraction and questions, and in each class at least one student realized what we were doing.

“Wait!  This is like Madlibs!  You can mix up the sentences!”

With that, I would have them demonstrate for the class.  For the next few minutes the students would mix up their sentences, with sudden gales of laughter coming from different corners of the room.  Each student shared their silliest sentence.  And man, some of them were silly!  But by the end of the period, they were appositive experts.

I love when a lesson works out better than you planned.  :)

Slice of Life #14

“What do you want?  A McFlurry?” Chris leaned over and asked as we pulled into the drive-thru lane at McDonald’s.  We had headed out into the rain so that Chris could pick up the holy grail of milkshakes- the Shamrock Shake.  He looks forward to them all year long.

“Nah, just a small chocolate milkshake,” I told him.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, can I take your order?” The speaker crackled to life.

“Umm, yeah.  Can I get a small chocolate milkshake,” Chris began. “And a McFlurry”

“Rfdnsa dasjfskaj” crackled the speaker.

“No!” I hissed at Chris.  “Not a McFlurry!”

“Oreo or M&M?” the speaker deadpanned, very unenthusiastically.

“Oh, not a McFlurry,” Chris corrected himself. “A Shamrock shake.”

There was a pause.

“Uhh, we don’t have those.”

Suddenly, the air was sucked out of the car and Chris was deflated.

“You don’t?”

“Forget it,” I told Chris.

“Never mind then,” he spoke into the speaker as we pulled away, disappointed.

Year #2 with no Shamrock Shakes. :(

Slice of Life #13

Chris and I were sitting on the couch around 3pm, watching TV and avoiding the monsoon outside, when we heard a strange noise.  We looked at each other, unsure of its origin but both assuming it was the dog or the cat upstairs.  Suddenly, the crash  got louder and we jumped up in alarm.

At that moment, a huge tree crashed onto the roof of our storage closet out back, rolled off, and fell onto our back porch.  On its way down it hit the bedroom window upstairs, ripping the screen.  It also hit the grill, my butterfly tent, and destroyed the screen door to our back porch.  As of now, we still can’t get out our backdoor, as it is completely blocked by this huge tree.

Definitely the most exciting part of our day.  As of now, we are still waiting to hear back from our condo association’s emergency manager.  Don’t even get me started on how angry I am about that…..

view out my bedroom window

Slice of Life #12

Three days of conferences.  Printing progress reports.  Three hectic days of half-days, full of assemblies and student activity fairs.

In other words, pure chaos.

Is it any wonder that I came home tonight and felt like I had been run over by a truck?  Since walking in my front door, I’ve only done the following:

1. Vacuumed

2. Cleaned the counters and dusted the mantel

3. Walked the dog

4. Ordered pizza

5. Picked up said pizza

6. Sat on my couch and watched tv.

7. Almost fell asleep on the couch.  Ten times.

Conferences are absolutely exhausting.  While I love seeing my students’ parents, I hate the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion that overcomes me over the course of the week.  Maybe we need to do one day of conferences in a week, and spread out the days over a few weeks.  I think I could handle that a little bit better.  But in the meantime, I am off to catch some zzzz’s!

Share a Story-Shape a Future Discussion Questions

My response to Share a Book-Shape a Future’s question: “Do you have a favorite chapter book for reading with kids of different ages  (e.g., 4, 9, 13)? “

Share a Story - Shape a Future

I have two favorite read-alouds for my sixth-graders.  Two very different read-alouds!

Every year I love sharing Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie with my classes. It’s an amazing story of of one family’s experience with childhood cancer. Sonnenblick is a former middle school teacher and he captures the middle school voice perfectly. My kids always laugh out loud while we are reading and beg to keep going. They also shed a tear or two when they make connections to their own experiences with cancer. We grow closer as a class while reading Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie. Plus, we always tie it into a a service project for the pediatric cancer ward of the local children’s oncology hospital.

Another favorite read-aloud is The Lightning Thief. Like Sonnenblick, Riordan is a former middle school teacher. The Lightning Thief is laugh-out-loud funny and appeals to girls and boys alike. Without fail, most of my students go on to read the rest of the series. But I am a sneaky teacher, because I love to use The Lightning Thief to expose my students to Greek mythology and critical essays/thoughts on literature. For the past few years I have used essays from Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series to expose my students to critical literary essays. Because they love Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, they don’t fight me when it comes to the essays. Before they even realize it, they are Greek mythology experts and are able to write their own critical literary responses to novels. (See, I am sneaky!)

Because read-alouds are such an important part of my classroom culture, I could write about this topic for hours. In fact, I had a really hard time deciding on just two books to discuss in this entry. I have a list of 25 books I love to share with my students during read-alouds. Then I have thousands that I love to share during book talks. It’s a never-ending list!

What are some books you love sharing with your children?

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