Your #HappyParty Invite Has Arrived! #SOLC19

I have recently become addicted to podcasts. Admittedly, I was (fashionably) late to this party. Now I’m hooked! More about that in a Slice to come.

Two of my favorite shows are NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, “a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, comics, and music,” and It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, “a talk show with a heart.” Episodes drop twice-weekly — Mondays/Tuesdays and Fridays. What they both have in common is that the Friday episode always end with “What’s making us happy this week” (PCHH) or “The best thing that happened to me this week. (IBAM)” Both are celebratory ways to wrap up the week on, well, a happy note.

And so I now deliver, inspired by both of these podcasts, your invitation to…

christie's #happyParty (1)

If you are interested in attending, feel free to either share your #HappyParty news in a comment or in your own blog post at some point during the SOLC with a link back to this original invitation.

Without further ado, here’s what’s making me happy this week, in no particular order.

  • Rami Malek won the Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m ignoring what the haters are saying, because I thought his performance was mesmerizing.
  • My first week back at school after our February vacation had fewer hiccups than I predicted. Always a good thing in Kindergarten!
  • Gorgeous light fluffy snow fell Thursday morning, giving me my first delayed school opening of the year. The gift of two leisurely hours was priceless.
  • I participated in my first bioblitz of sorts at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. (You can read more about that here.)
  • I received a box of advanced reader copies of books from a wonderful publisher (my first!) that I can’t wait to read, write about, and share on this very blog.
  • We said goodbye to February and welcomed in March, moving us that much closer to spring.
  • The long-awaited SOLC19 began. It’s day 3 of flexing our writing muscles!
  • The sun is shining brightly as I compose this and fluffy white clouds are drifting across the sky.


This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us! It’s my third year of slicing in the challenge and I’m looking forward to writing and learning along with all of you all month long.





Love Is, Part Deux #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Jone MacCulloch is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Check It Out. Won’t you join us there? Not only is she hosting the Roundup this week, but she’s also hosting a CYBILS Awards Party. Party on, Jone!

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Back on February 1, I shared poet/author Kwame Alexander’s latest poetic challenge to loyal teacher listeners on NPR’s Morning Edition. (Click here to read my post.) The challenge this time was to give the following prompt to your students: “Love is…” and see what they come up with. Participants could submit individual lines, an entire poem, or even an audio file.

After reading a book to my Kindergarteners about love, I posed the question to them. “What is love to you?” Here are some of their ideas. 


I submitted all of these wonderfully sweet ideas to Kwame’s challenge. I also included a poem I crafted (or midwifed, as my dear poetry mentor Amy Ludwig VanDerwater once taught me) using some of their ideas and some of mine. 

Love is...

Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, Kwame shared submissions and his crowdsourced poem with host, Rachel Martin. (Click here to listen.) Over 2,000 teachers sent in poetry. Amazing! Although we ended up on the editing room floor, I’m thrilled so many participated and that my students had a chance to be involved. That’s what it’s all about. All for the love of poetry. 

ADDENDUM ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Would you believe that at our February all school meeting yesterday it was announced that a 3rd Grade teacher’s class would share a “Love is…” poem they had written? I was astonished, as I thought I was a.) the only NPR listener on our faculty, and b.) the only teacher participating in the “Love is…” challenge. I’ve since shared my poem with the teacher and we now have plans for our classes to share together after vacation and possibly work on a Kindergarten-3rd Grade collaboration. 


Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there.  Thanks for hosting, Jone! 

Love Is #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.  

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On Monday, during his monthly-ish appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition, poet/author Kwame Alexander issued his latest poetic challenge to loyal teacher listeners. Listen up, teachers! Kwame’s talking to us!  The challenge this time is to give the following prompt to our students: “Love is…” and see what they come up with. Participants may submit individual lines, an entire poem, or even an audio file. On Valentine’s Day, Kwame will be back to share submissions with host, Rachel Martin. I can’t wait to get started with my Kindergarten poets next week. 

I’ll be honest. I wish Kwame’s visits with Rachel occurred weekly and not monthly-ish. Their rapport with one another is endearing, to say the least. What a way to start your morning! These segments usually air when my husband and I are just sitting down at our kitchen island to eat breakfast together before heading off to work. As soon as Rachel begins her intro, my husband says, “Here’s your Kwame! Poetry time!” We listen together. Together. I think that’s part of why I love these segments so much. It’s a small moment in the day that my husband and I share. He knows the role poetry — reading and writing — plays in my life, and appreciates that it’s a part of who I am, just as history is for him. 

To get caught up on some of these poetry segments, you can listen to:

For more information about Kwame’s current “Love is” challenge, or to submit your students’ poetic offerings, click here


Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there.

Currently #SOL19

“Currently” is a great way to tell your “right now” story. Here’s mine.


  • (Binge) Watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Obsessed and feeling the urge to purge!
  • Reading Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings. Her passing last week was a loss to the world. She has always been a great inspiration to me, and a mentor for my nature-based poetry writing.  Also reading Simon Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles with #TeachWrite’s Wednesday night writing group. Chatting on Voxer about it is new for me!
  • Listening to the Bonobos episode of one of my new favorite podcasts, How I Built This with Guy Raz (NPR). Fascinating story about the origins of the company. Podcasts are a great companion when you have a chore to do around the house like cleaning or making lunch for tomorrow.
  • Making speedy chicken parm for dinner. (Ask me for the recipe in a comment!)
  • Feeling stressed about Thursday’s data team meeting. It’s only our second ever.
  • Planning our summer hiking trip to the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. Didn’t you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?
  • Loving using my Inkjoy gel pens again after trying Bic Gel-osity for a day or two. They weren’t doing it for me.


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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?