Joy in PE #SOLSC23

Joy in PE? It sounds unusual, right?

At 12:10 PM today, family members of my Kindergarten class streamed into the gym. It was “Bring Your Parent to PE Day,” the first since “the before times.” It was also our last day working with the gymnastics equipment that has been housed in our gym for the last six weeks. On Friday afternoon it will be loaded onto trucks and moved next door to our upper elementary school. Now it’s their turn, after a “residency” with us and our neighboring sister lower elementary school.

It was time to celebrate all our physical and mental achievements and challenge family members to join us. And what a blast we had. I’m not sure who had more fun — the kids or their parents. They came in sweats and sneakers, some hamming up their pre-game stretches and warmups, ready to show their proud child that mom or dad’s still got it. The rope swing, parallel bars, tumbling mats, climbing wall, vault, and balance beam — they did it all. They showed their child that they can still be a kid, try something new, take a risk, and have fun. And how proud they were of their child.

Oh, the look on their faces. Pure joy.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

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Not Again! #SOLSC23

Not again! I just fixed it!

I love birds. I love my feeder station outside my classroom. I love mud. However, mud does NOT love my feeder station!

Wild Birds Unlimited makes the coolest feeder station — The Advanced Pole System. It is truly awesome. It literally screws into the ground and then has these four doohickey things (very technical term!) that secure it into the ground. Well, at least they are supposed to secure it. But guess what? When the ground gets saturated from too much snow, rain, and subsequently mud, there’s no securing this thing!

Every time I look out the window, guess what I see?

And then I go back outside and stand it up again. Until it falls over again.

You win, mud! I am ready for spring!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Praise for Bare Pavement #SOLSC23

Today’s Slice was inspired by today’s nor’easter in my neck of the woods.

Praise

for bare pavement

that keeps us safe

as we travel hither and yon.

Let plows traverse

Its craggy surface,

scattering crystals of stability

shimmering in. the afternoon light.

Let shovels scour

perilous sidewalks

guiding school children and dog walkers

safely home.

Linger longer, snow,

upon grass, hillsides, and roofs,

blanketing homes and tender buds

until spring has settled.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

I can’t believe you came! #SOLSC23

“I can’t believe you came!”

How could we not go? We knew everyone in the cast of Shrek the Musical Jr. The production was only open to fourth and fifth graders and the school my husband teaches at is only fourth and fifth graders. Essentially, it was a school play, just put on by the town’s junior branch of the local theatrical society. And I had so many of them in KIndergarten at my lower elementary school just across the street.

It was a joyous production on a dreary late winter Saturday afternoon. We laughed, we beamed with pride, and then to see the looks on their faces as they came out from behind the stage at the close of the performance was priceless. It was a sign that we care about more than how they perform during the school day. It was a sign that supporting them in all aspects of their lives is important. Wasn’t an investment of two hours on a Saturday afternoon worth it? You know it!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

If I hadn’t gone for a walk… #SOLSC23

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk. It wasn’t terribly long — about 15 minutes or so. I didn’t have much time, as I had lots of schoolwork to do, house chores to catch up on, and a School Committee ZOOM to attend. But I needed a break. I’m so glad I went.

If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed looking down from the bridge into the river. No heron today, but they’ll be back soon. I’ve spotted them elsewhere

If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed peering through the window of the home decor shop. They have lovely spring things ready to beat the winter blues.

If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed signage changes outside the movie theatre and adjacent ice cream shop. It’s so nice having them open again. They were sorely missed during the pandemic. Oscar-nominated short films sound interesting!

If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed checking in on the trees that were planted downtown two years ago. No buds yet. I’m excited to see them in bloom!

If I hadn’t gone for a walk, I would have missed what the new 5:00 pm looks like now. Daylight savings time begins this weekend, so it’ll shift again, but not for long.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Unrealistic expectations #SOLSC23

Dear March,

We want you to be something you are not, and we are sorry for that. I know. Our expectations are too high! But here’s the thing. You get us all excited when you warm up, but then there you go being all raw and windy again. What’s up with that? You can’t do that to us! Our sugar maples are chugging along doing their job, and then they get stuck.

You’re such a tease. You let our spring bulbs and forsythia think they have a chance and then WHAM! You bury them under snow and ice. Pretty soon they’re gonna give up trying, you know. And don’t get me started on the poor spring peepers and wood frogs. Come on! The poor things just finished up their state of torpor, and they’re all excited to get their spring thing on. The skunk cabbage is out, so it’s so confusing. Stop messing with them!

So what do you say? Keep being winter until it’s time to be spring. OK?

Sincerely,

New England

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. Happy Slicing!

Currently #SOLSC23

Today I was out of town attending a teacher conference, so I’m serving up a Currently Slice, one of my go-to quickie Slices when I’m short of time and/or brain power, but I want to keep up my writing streak.

I am currently…

Reveling in my first in-person educator conference today. It was my first Massachusetts Environmental Education Society Conference, which was energizing!

Watching “Walking Hadrian’s Wall with Robson Green” on PBS this evening. I worked on an archaeological dig at a Roman supply fort along Hadrian’s Wall back in 2012, and I’ve been waiting for this program to air in the U.S.

Reading Murder in Old Bombay: A Mystery by Nev March. I love period true crime and mysteries!

Listening to “You’re Dead to Me,” a hilarious podcast from the BBC for history lovers.

Hoping our teacher’s union and School Committee can agree on a contract with our assigned mediator. We’ve been working without a contract all year, and it’s really taking a toll on morale.

Waiting for Spring!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. Happy Slicing!

A Day of Firsts #SOLSC23

Tomorrow is a day of FIRSTS.

I will be attending my FIRST in-person educator conference in three years — first since “the before times.” I have to admit it feels a little something. Not sure what yet. I’ll let you know. The last conference I went to was NCTE in Baltimore in November 2019 — “the before times.” That feels so long ago!

I will be attending my FIRST Massachusetts Environmental Education Society Conference. As one of my colleagues jokingly said, “So you are hanging out with tree huggers for the day.” Yes, exactly. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m a tree hugger, bird nerd, frog fanatic, and vernal pool enthusiast, what can I say?

I will be driving to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA for the FIRST time, and by myself, I might add. It’s about a 45-minute all-highway drive at 7:00 AM, so that should be fun.

I will be going to MEES alone, which is a FIRST. I usually meet up with friends or colleagues when I go to educator conferences.

I wonder what other FIRSTS might happen tomorrow? Stay tuned!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. Happy Slicing!

But would it actually work? #SOLSC23

“But would it actually work?”

“How will the chickens access the water?”

“What purpose does this part serve?”

These are all questions I found myself asking my Kindergarten designers and engineers on Friday during our Chicken Bowl STEM challenge. They were asked to design something that would keep water, essential to the survival of chickens, from freezing during the cold Winter months.

Students worked all week long on what looked like the craziest contraptions! They all started with the same plastic bowl and were asked to build something to go either over, around, under, or any combination of these out of recycled materials. Some completely blocked the water source so chickens would have no chance of accessing it or required them to drink through a straw. Others left the bowl unprotected, but featured wild constructions off to the side.

I found myself shaking my head and getting frustrated, but then I reminded myself that they:

  • are six years old
  • drew design plans and labeled them
  • collaborated with a partner
  • presented their designs with the document camera on the big screen to the whole class, taking feedback from classmates
  • chose their own materials and created prototypes
  • met with another design team for feedback
  • had fun

So who cares!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. Happy Slicing!