Saturday, March 31, 2018

Walks Bring Renewal - #SOL18 - 3/31/18



**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

**It is amazing that this is the final day of the Challenge. Out of 31 days, I managed to post 27 slices. So not everyday, but writing habits were built. It's been fun to meet new friends during this month-long challenge, as well as visit with old friends through our commenting. Thanks to everyone who has stopped once or more than once to share a comment with me. It's been great being on this journey with all of you! Congratulations to all of you who wrote each and every day.  I look forward to staying in touch on Tuesday Slice of Life.**


Today I took a walk.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing.

Signs of spring were everywhere - blooms pushing up from the soil, grass greening, streams full of rainwater rushing under bridges.

The wind was gusting through the trees, bringing fresh air to all around.

Every time I take a walk at this time of the year, my heart overflows with hope and renewal.

Wind blowing, sun shining, flowers blooming, grass greening, birds singing, streams rippling

Today I took a walk and felt renewed.







Thursday, March 29, 2018

Weather Woes - #SOL18 - 3/29/18



**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 2 remaining days!


A conversation 2 days ago:

1st person: This weather has been so depressing. Snow or rain, and gray skies forever.

2nd person (someone feeling quite full of themselves): You know, the weather this February and March really hasn't bothered me that much. I guess it's because when we were in Florida for the entire month of January, and I think I just stored up huge quantities of Vitamin D just being out in the sun everyday. It has managed to lift my spirits even on the gloomiest of days now. It's all good.


Today:

2nd person looks at the 10 day forecast:




What that same person feels like now (not quite so full of themselves):
Flummoxed!!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Porches and Patio Fun - #SOL18 - 3/28/18




**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 3 remaining days!

(My slice is more late than normal tonight as I just got home from the event I wanted to slice about.)

Tonight was a gathering of our Porches and Patios group. We have evolved over the years: we began as a group refining our use of technology to enhance our instructional practices in the classroom. And we always had chips and queso dip to eat, and we would gather on each others' porches or patios. Nowadays, it is far more about the food (tonight had an amazing Mexican food theme), the conversation, the learning, the laughter, and the fun.

There is no way to capture all the special, and often times hysterical, moments of our evening together, but here are a few of the conversational snippets overheard tonight:

On Voxer, is that "tap to talk"? 

Passion planner, panda planner, or bullet journal ?

Got it on Amazon - 'Something Wish' pen holder

Sketchnoting - yo need to get your head around process vs perfect

The Kids Should See This

Your name is _____, but you told me to call you 'Hot Mama'

We're going to ride fancy class with air waitresses

Anello backpack - is it a backpack or a wine carrier or both??

The 3rd piece of pie makes it

Funny thing said by teacher: 'Why are you licking your chair?'

Funny thing heard by teacher: 'Keep your balls low to the ground; it's windy today."

It's not a private school. They can't tell me what to wear.

Winky faces - what's with them? Send or not send?

You need to fix your face

Did you ever go to that jeweler?

At what point do flip flops become inappropriate?

You need to see these Kid Snippet videos

Truth

So, that's it... a random sampling of some of our conversations tonight.

Thanks for stopping by to read this silliness.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My Brain is Energized! - #SOL18 - 3/27/18




**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 4 remaining days!

Today, I went to Capital University, for a meeting with Dan, a faculty member in the technology department. He was bringing me up to date with the new platform I would need to use to communicate with students when my summer semester class begins in May.

As I worked with Dan and after, two thoughts were percolating in my brain:

1) I love learning. All different types of learning.
I've always had a passion for it. Being a learner energizes and enriches me as a professional and a person. Today, as I drove away from campus, I left feeling totally jazzed. My brain was firing on all cylinders, and it was exciting stuff.

2) When learning something new, I need to do, not just be told what to do.
When Dan was introducing the new platform to me, he kept demonstrating on his computer how to do it. He clicked this, then he clicked that, then this, then that... you get the picture. I had to slow him down, pull out my laptop, and have him watch as I tried to replicate some of the work he had shown. When that happened, with his guidance and scaffolding, I was able to achieve success with the tasks.

I'm really looking forward to teaching summer semester, but as I reflect on my own learning today, I will continue to look at all learners (student, pre-service teachers, adults) with whom  I work with different eyes, knowing that they have specific needs as learners as well.



Monday, March 26, 2018

The beauty of sharing book titles - #SOL18 - 3/26/18




**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 5 remaining days!


There is a beauty in sharing books with others.

Like the time this January I reconnected with college friends after 40 years, and one of my favorite parts was when there was a sharing of adult book titles we loved. One of those titles actually became a book club choice for one of my book clubs the very next month after I recommended it to them!

Then there was a recent retirement luncheon when the person across the table for me asked what I was currently reading, and it evolved into everyone chiming in and sharing titles across the entire table of ten.

This past Saturday, my trainer, Tami, was talking about the Easter basket she wanted to put together for her son, M. She wanted to include some books, so she asked me for my recommendations. Luckily, I had just read the following three:


I was more than happy to recommend all three of them to her. I knew her little guy (a kindergartener) would really dig the visual nature of Baby Monkey, Private Eye.

If you don't know these books, and you read with children, they are all great. But I have to say the biggest must have of these for me is The Rabbit Listened. I read this book multiple times to capture all that it had to offer in terms of message. 

It is a children's picture book, but it would also be a great book to use with adult learners. Coaching and collaboration requires a high level of trust, and this book addresses one of the keys to developing that trust. 

Loved this book, and will be purchasing it immediately.

Since sharing books is a thing of beauty, feel free to share one or two titles you are loving as well.

Happy reading!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Savoring Time with a Lifetime Friend - #SOL18 - 3/25/18




**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 6 remaining days!


Like most writers, I tend to have "writing territories" - today's slice is about two of those - my lifetime friend, Lisa, and my writing. 
Lisa and I have been friends since freshman year (1973) at college when we lived in the same dorm, and pledged the same sorority. An argument could be made that I haven't known her my entire lifetime, but her importance in my life for the past 45 years is immeasurable and thus feels like I've known her my entire life. We were friends in college, then lost touch for about four years, but when I moved back to Ohio in 1981, she became more than just a "friend"; for so many reasons, she is my "family", and as such, there are many stories to be told in my life that include Lisa.

Since my retirement last May, Lisa and I have made a concerted effort to explore the city, and its surrounding areas, in which we live. That entails visiting and exploring a new part of the city each time we get together.

This past Friday, we visited uptown Westerville. We found so many great independently-owned shops there, both for browsing and buying. I found one store in particular that I loved - Ohio Art Market. So many great finds, and all the products made by Ohio artists. Beautiful things.

We finally made it to lunch at about the time many people were beginning to think about early happy hours. Another one of our goals on our excursions is to eat at a restaurant that is unique to that community. Several shop owners, and some customers as well, highly recommended Asteriks. They weren't wrong! The food was delectable, and if you ever have the opportunity to eat there, don't miss out on the fried cauliflower; it truly could have been a meal all by itself!

At some point Friday, we began to reflect back on all the parts of the city we have explored together. However, both of us being 60-somethings, we couldn't remember everything we'd done; not even if we just thought about the places we have visited since I retired last May. Yikes!

I came home that day and made a decision - these outings together are too precious. I needed to create a recording of these memories for us. So, I got out a journal, looked back at the calendar on my phone, and recreated the dates/places we've visited. I plan to backtrack and get a few things written about our adventures since May, but after this, I want to take it with me each time, and have both of us contribute some of our favorite memories from the day.

I'm just using a simple journal, but I can't decide what to to title it:

  • Lisa and Karen Do Columbus (nah... a little too Debbie Does Dallas)
  • Lisa and Karen (nah... a little too Thelma and Louise)
  • Lisa and Karen's Excellent Adventures (nah... a little too Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)
  • Retirement Wanderings and Ramblings (might be in the running, but it's still too soon to settle)
Oh well... I'll leave it untitled for now, but I so look forward to much more exploring and time spent with my lifetime friend. And I look forward to recording it for posterity for our children to read and chuckle at someday. In the meantime, it will be the warehouse that stores our memories together.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cleaning Led to Revisiting Retirement - #SOL18 - 3/22/18




**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 9 remaining days (we made it to single digits!!!).*


I've been on a cleaning binge this week. Yesterday and today I was very focused on my office space. I had already tackled this job last May when I retired, and brought all my personal teaching possessions home. I thought I had it in control, but ten months later, every inch of that work space was a disaster zone.

How much of a disaster???

  • Two big black garbage bags full of papers and just stuff.
  • One large box full of school supplies - pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, binders, journals, post-it notes, pencil pouches, notepads, and much more. Far more than I could ever use in my lifetime. (Luckily, I can donate this box of supplies.)
  • A huge bag of ARCs and middle grade books ready to donate.


So, it was a productive day, my space is now clean, and I am now motivated to tackle the rest of the house.

But today, during the cleaning, I had a few emotional moments as some priceless treasures were unearthed:

  • All the retirement cards and notes I received last May to celebrate my years as an educator. Notes that were thoughtful and kind. Notes that shared how much it meant to the person that our paths had passed both personally and professionally. Notes that made me smile (and maybe made my vision a bit blurry as I got emotional). I loved rereading all those messages.
  • Many years ago, I had the good fortune to learn with the brilliant Samantha Bennett (That Workshop Book) during a coaching session in my 5th grade classroom. Sam really pushed my thinking during this experience, and made me dig deep to get to my personal beliefs and how they translated to my work with students. Today, I found the note she sent me after our time together - her words to me about our work together were priceless.
  • Right before I retired last year, I was honored with an award given to a staff member once a month in my district. I found the plaque I received when cleaning today, but the part of this that made me teary-eyed were all the nomination letters my colleagues had written for me to receive this award. I couldn't believe the both the quantity of letters written, as well as all the kind words about the impact I made. It was very humbling to read all these again.

So, yes, my office space looks great now, but to get to that place, there were some tears along the way as my cleaning led to revisiting my retirement, and reflecting back on my teaching career.