Getting ready #SOL19

Hard to believe, but it’s that time again. Time to get ready for this years’ Slice of Life Challenge hosted by our colleagues at the Two Writing Teachers blog. This is the 3rd year I have spent time during my February Vacation week (it’s a New England thing, I guess!) doing a few tasks that help pave the way for a smoother, more sliceable March. Repeaters know the drill, but first timers might find some of these tips helpful.

Tip #1: I prepare 31 blog post drafts with the basics common to each Slice. It’s amazing what a timesaver this is. I picked this tip up from several experienced Slicers. 

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Tip #2: I prepare a Word document or Google Doc with Slicing dates and idea seeds. I also work on my drafts here. I don’t always use the seeds, but they are here in case I hit a patch of writer’s block. 31 days is a long time. You’ve got to be good to yourself. As much as I want my daily Slice to be inspired in the moment, weekdays are the most challenging for me simply because teacher days are busy, as we all know. I get ideas from lots of places, including my calendar. This year there are five Fridays in March, so I’m excited to Slice some poetry with the #PoetryFriday community, too. Like I said, these are just in-advance ideas and I often go with what comes to me the night before or the morning of. 

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Tip #3: I find a good source for writing prompts. My favorite is Teach Write’s #DWHabit Word of the Day. I often use these to prompt the daily writing in my Writer’s Notebook, “Evening Pages” during the week and “Morning Pages” on weekends and other days off. If you are not part of the Teach Write community, why not explore now before the SOLC? The Facebook group give you the opportunity to check in daily, which I find inspiring. 

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Tip 4: I save examples of Slicing formats and content that interest me. I created this Padlet to keep track of them and share with others. If you feel like adding something, please do! 

How do you or will you prepare for March’s Slice of Life Challenge? I’d love to hear from you in a comment. We’re in this together!

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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?

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Global School Play Day #SOL19 #GSPD19

“Best day ever!” claimed one student. “Can we do this every day?” said another.

The reason for their excitement was Global School Play Day (GSPD). (Click here to learn more.) This was our first year participating, and I can’t wait until next year! Inspired by a TEDx talk by Peter Gray, GSPD’s organizers believe children in today’s world do not have enough time to play, and it’s time we return the gift of play to them. I couldn’t agree more! We committed to playing for one entire school day. We are lucky in our district because GSPD falls on the first Wednesday of February each year, and we have early release days at 11:30 AM the first Wednesday of every month. This made committing to play for the entire day of school a no-brainer.

My class split the time between indoor and outdoor play. We began with an extended outdoor recess, taking advantage of unseasonably mild weather. Another Kindergarten class joined us and it was fun to watch them get together and joyfully play without the usual time constraints. Next we moved indoors for snack and our regular 30-minute Art class. This left them with an hour+ of time in the classroom to pursue whatever struck their fancy. One rule about GSPD is that adults don’t make any choices for the children, so it’s truly authentic choice and play. Even our Art teacher got in on the act, setting up a variety of stations for children to work at — their choice! Back in the classroom, some chose to work in the Police Department set up in the Dramatic Play area of our classroom, others took out favorite board games, LEGOs, art materials, and books. All we adults had to do was join in!

This past Friday, poet/author Laura Purdie Salas issued an equation poem challenge to the Poetry Friday community in celebration of her new book, Snowman-Cold=Puddle: Spring Equations (Charlesbridge, 2019) This collage of photos from GSPD inspired my entry to the challenge, and pretty much summed up the day.

Equation Poem

We’ve already signed up for next years’ Global School Play Day on February 5, 2020. Perhaps you’ll join us?

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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?

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Why Is It So Hard? #SOL19

Today was not a good day in the wonderful world of Kindergarten Room 1. Wyman’s Wonders were not their best selves. Not by any stretch of the imagination. They are trying, but it is so hard some days.

Sometimes on challenging days like this, I open up my writer’s notebook to seek solace. I never know what will land on the pages. Today is was a skinny, a poem form I love. The rules are easy to follow.

  1. Eleven lines.
  2. Lines 1 and 2 must contain the same words, but not necessarily in the same order.
  3. Lines 2-10 must be one word each.
  4. Lines 2, 6, and 10 must be the same.

Why not give one a try?

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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?

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Currently #SOL19

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

Currently…

  • (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.

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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?

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Call the Cops! #SOL19

 

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“The Police were involved.” No teacher out of the building for a week-long PD institute wants to receive a text from their sub with those words in it. Especially when they are a Kindergarten teacher!

Here’s what went down.

  • Kindergarten boy asks to use hallway bathroom when classroom bathroom is occupied.
  • Said Kindergarten boy doesn’t return after reasonable amount of time.
  • Sub goes in search of said boy and can’t find anywhere.
  • When returning to classroom to tell co-teacher boy can’t be found, sub finds said boy hiding under coats in cubby area. Said boy find this hilarious. Sub does not.
  • Sub scolds boy and then hauls him to School Counselor’s office. Counselor is running the show while the Principal is with me at PD.
  • Counselor scolds boy. As she is sending sub and boy back to class, she spots School Safety Officer making his rounds and calls him over.
  • Safety Officer scolds boy and then sends him and sub back to class.
  • Mom and Dad aren’t amused when they learn of said child’s inappropriate and unsafe choice.
  • Said boy significantly scared within an inch of his not-quite-6-year-old self.

How was your Monday?

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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?

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#OneLittleWord #SOL19

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Happy New Year! The first day of the new year seems to be the perfect time to share my One Little Word (OLW) for 2019 and reflect on 2018’s word — write. (Click here to see a brief video of how a OLW can be a thread that weaves its way through life’s tapestry.)

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Write I did! As much as I would have liked? No, but does anyone ever accomplish as much as they would hope? Enough to feel good about? Yes! A few highlights included:

  • keeping a daily writing notebook, special projects mini note books, and launching my first bullet journal specifically to capture and nurture ideas for future (or not!) use
  • participating in my first month-long February Daily Poem Project on Facebook, an ekphrastic poetry challenge spearheaded by author/poet Laura Shovan throughout the month
  • slicing daily in my second Slice of Life (SOL) Challenge hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog, writing 31 straight daily posts
  • writing alongside (albeit virtually) author/poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during her National Poetry Month Project in April, writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique discussed in her brilliant Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann, 2017)

That was three straight months of daily writing, creating, and publishing. By May, I was exhausted, but strangely energized, so I also:

Now onto 2019’s word!

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2019 is going to be all about moving and moving forward, both body and mind. My husband and I have lots of fun walks and hikes planned, including a special trip in July. Santa brought us snowshoes, so we are just waiting for snow. And those InkJoy Gel pens (0.7mm, please) will keep moving forward, too, scribbling across notebook pages even more than in 2018. Promise!

Onto 2019! Let’s get a move on!

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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?

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Love Note #SOL

Today was one of those days. Come to think of it, yesterday was one of those days, too. When I arrived home this afternoon and reached into my pockets, as I do at the end of the every day, I pulled out a magical slip of paper. I admit in all of the chaos of the day, I had forgotten all about it.

Love Note

Earlier this morning, a very special First Grader, who was in my class last year, had paid her daily visit for a hello and a hug on her way down the hall to class. She dropped her backpack on the floor and said, “I have something for you, Mrs. Wyman. Let me find it.” And find it she did. Reading her special message and thinking about this “tiny” act of kindness made all the troubles of the day slip away.

 

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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?

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