SOL Day 25

When I head to school tomorrow morning I will be able to say there are only 3 more wake-ups until spring break. That sounds manageable, right?


The weeks (months!) between winter break and spring break always seem never-ending.  For weeks, I’ve been making lists of things I can’t wait to do during spring break.  The list consists of things I can’t do during the school year:

  1. Read a whole bunch of books that I pick.  Not books I have to read, but books I have been dying to read.
  2. Sleep past 7am.  I’ll still get up at 5:15am to walk the dogs with Chris, but then I plan to head back to bed.
  3. Walk the dogs in the middle of the day.
  4. Eat lunches that I don’t pack myself.
  5. Go shopping!
  6. Write a whole bunch of stuff.
  7. Binge on a bunch of shows I’ve fallen behind on, like Law and Order: SVU.

Just four more days until spring break starts.

This will be me in just a few days.

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SOL Day 24

I spent most of my day at the NJCTE Spring Conference at Montclair State University.  NJCTE is the local affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English; we have a small fall conference each year, but the big conference is always in the spring.  I did not present this year, so it was nice to be able to go and learn for the day.  There were about 200 people registered and a great group of authors on the speaking schedule.

I woke up bright and early to arrive at Montclair by 9am. I ended up skipping the first session of workshops to catch up with some friends and talk about books and teaching, but I learned a ton at the second and third session.  In the second session, I had the opportunity to learn about some amazing, new-to-me contemporary poets and ways to bring them into the curriculum.  I’ve already ordered books by Ocean Vuong, Rachel McKibbens. and Clint Smith.  I left the workshop feeling inspired to integrate more poetry into my curriculum.

During the third session I was able to attend my friend Oona’s workshop.  Oona is my fellow #nerdcampNJ organizer and we are always running around at Nerdcamp or presenting at the same time, so it was great to have the opportunity to learn from her.  I walked out of her session about reading workshop in secondary school with a ton of great ideas.

The day ended with a keynote by author Jason Reynolds and he was as inspiring as he always is.  I’ve had the pleasure of learning from Jason a number of times and he always forces his audience to think and then pushes them to think even more critically about their relationship with their students.  He’s an inspiration  (and his books are pretty awesome, too).

I didn’t get home until almost 6:30pm because we had a board meeting immediately following the conference; I left my house again at 7:30 to drive to my parents for a birthday celebration.  Needless to say, I’m exhausted!  But I’m looking forward to decompressing a bit tomorrow and ordering some new poetry books!

SOL Day 23

Tonight Dublin and I participated in a read to the dogs event. We usually do this once per month, but with the holidays and winter weather we hadn’t had an event since November. It took him a few minutes to settle in, but he did some great work tonight!

Dublin loves working with kids, and kids who need him usually find him. He’s worked with kids diagnosed with autism and with kids with cerebral palsy. He loves reading with kids and will gladly sit and listen to them. Tonight he spent an hour with a young girl who was scared of dogs. Her family is hoping to get her a support dog, but they were worried about her fear of dogs. They came to read to the dogs so that she could see how nice dogs can be.

Well, I think it worked! She was immediately drawn to Dubs and went on to spend an hour with him. By the end she was hugging him and giving him treats! She read a few books to him (and made sure he looked at the pictures). He put up with being pet a little rough, and she learned how to be gentle with puppies.

Dubs has been a therapy dog for about 5-6 years now. It’s definitely my favorite thing to do with him and I highly recommend looking into therapy dog work if your dog is comfortable around strangers.

SOL Day 22

I woke up to 13.0 inches of wet and heavy snow this morning. Our delayed opening quickly turned into another snow day because the side roads were still snow-covered. But today turned out to be the best kind of snow day- the kind where school gets canceled but the roads are clear by early afternoon.

Once the roads were clear and the sun was out, I met up with my mom and sister. We drove to Bridgewater to check out the Vineyard Vines Whalehouse Sale! It turned out to be a very worthwhile trip.

The company rented and empty storefront for ten days and set out boxes and boxes of merchandise. We got there about 2 hours after it opened and it was a mess, but if you were patient you could find some great items. If you bought ten items you got an additional 20% off the already low prices, so we combined our finds and made out like bandits. We had to wait about 40 minutes to check out, but you could continue shipping as the line wound around the store, so it wasn’t a big deal. I ended up leaving with a new shep shirt, a long sleeve tee, a polo shirt for Chris, and a new raincoat. My sister and I actually bought matching raincoats because they were so cute!

After shopping, we headed across the street to the Shake Shack at the Bridgewater Mall. I was very excited to learn they had a Concrete dessert with salted honey pie mixed in. I tried salted honey pie for the first time at Christmas and it’s my new favorite kind of pie. Needless to say, my Concrete was delicious!

All in all, it was a very productive snow day.

SOL Day 21

Last night we got the call that school would be closed today due to the impending storm. For days, the meteorologists have been talking about the 4th nor’easter in 3 weeks and upping the snow totals with each forecast. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to no snow.

Ok, I figured. It will probably start soon

No snow at 8am.

Or 10am.

Or 11:30am

By noon, it looked pretty wet and slushy outside, but the snow forecast seemed to be busting. It was irritating, because we easily could have had school. Maybe we would have needed an early dismissal, but it was clear the morning would have been fine.

Finally, around 3pm the snow started. The meteorologists kept saying we would get a foot of snow, but I found it hard to believe them.

Well it’s now almost midnight and I have had to eat crow. There was about 6 inches of snow when we shoveled the driveway at 9pm and it looks like another 3+ inches have fallen.

It’s supposed to keep snowing until 2am, so we might be buried when we wake up in the morning. They’ve called a delay for school, but the schools in my town are already closed tomorrow. Considering we’ve already had a bunch of snow days this year it does not bode well for summer vacation!

SOL Day 20

Again. 🤦‍♀️

The forecasts have been shifting upwards all day and it looks like we are in the jackpot zone. Last time I checked we were looking at 16+ inches of snow. Hopefully, most of that will be on the grass and not on the roads.

In the meantime, we are hunkered down. All the devices are charged and I downloaded some movies onto the iPad. The extra chargers are charged up. I have bread, milk, and eggs. I picked up some chicken dumpling soup at Delicious Orchards after school, so we are ready for dinner tomorrow. A big box of Scholastic ARCs arrived today, so I’m planning to get some reading done.

Cross your fingers that our power stays on!

SOL Day 19

It’s going to snow on Wednesday. No thank you.

They say it’s going to snow 16 inches on Wednesday, the second day of spring. No thank you.

Meteorologists say it’s going to sleet 2 inches or so on Tuesday. On the first day of spring. Nope.

They are predicting a nor’easter on Tuesday, another on Wednesday, and a third on Saturday. No thank you, weather.

Seriously, this is ridiculous! We don’t build in snow days, so any additional days off will result in the school year going later. I knew our calendar was too good to be true when it said we’d get out on the middle of June! Ugh.