Cannot believe I made it and so happy I tried the challenge.
I will remember…
- the learners coming in every school morning at eight o’clock and sharing with me the slice they were going to write.
- the talk that filled the air as the learners shared their ideas with each other.
- the music we played every morning to help create the mood for writing.
- the eager faces of the learners as they shared their slice with me after they posted it on our classroom blog.
- my colleague (who also took the challenge) and I drinking coffee, writing, and just watching the learners write.
As a SOL writer, I will remember…
- creating my first blog.
- my very first post.
- my husband’s reactions and feedback on my slices.
- the comments and how they propelled me forward each day.
- there were days that it was really hard to write.
- my favorite slice and sharing it with my brother.
- how important it is to be writing alongside my students.
I look forward to our SOL celebration this Monday. We are having breakfast together, sharing favorite slices from the month, and of course, handing out gel pens so the learners can continue to write in their special SOL notebooks.
Thank you for this opportunity TWT.
I had the best belly laugh today. The kind of laugh that goes on and on.
The grey cumulonimbus grey clouds were growing on the horizon. I knew there was a weather alert for later this evening. The wind was blowing as the girls were moving around the track for Girls on the Run.
As I stopped running with one girl, a student of mine asked if I would run with her. “Of course,” I said.
As we were running, she turned to me and said, “My dad says high knees, high knees.” She lifted up her knees as she ran, I decided to mimic and join in the fun.
So we both started shouting, “High knees, high knees, high knees… (faster and faster we went)” And then, we immediately looked at each other with wide eyes, it was as if we both just realized at the same time what we were actually saying because we were getting faster and faster (“heinie”). As our wide eyes locked onto each other, we both just started to laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed. She turned to me again and said, “Maybe we should say knees high, knees high?” Still smiling and laughing, all I could do was shake me head, yes.
The silliness and humor of nine-year olds – I definitely need that in my life.
Before I closed the classroom door today, I glanced at my phone and checked my email messages. As I walked to the car with my red Osprey school bag over my right shoulder, I checked my home account…nothing important; I checked my school account…okay, need to call that parent when I get home; I checked my school Gmail account…yup, need to start thinking about my slice; then I check my personal Gmail account…a giggle and a smile appeared on my face and I pressed accept.
Love this man. As I drove home, I started to think back 25 years.
And I remembered the day I saw him. His long blonde hair tied back in a pony tail, his goatee surrounding his sweet smile, an Australian outback hat propped on his head, sunglasses covering his beautiful blue eyes, flannel shirt layered over the Jacksonville green t-shirt with only the front of both shirts tucked into his worn khaki shorts, and wool socks which were protected by his duck taped Nike boots. He had a look that spoke of noncompliance, but his eyes showed he really did care about others. And he did and still does.
It was a beautiful site to behold…two girls who really did not know each other, walking around the dirt track behind our school, and asking each other questions.
The workout for Girls on the Run was to try to “run” with everyone on the team. As they moved around the track, they had to ask their partner or partners a question that was written on their index card. All the questions were generated by the girls. One open-answer question per card. The theme today was “Making Friends.”
These two girls are not in the same class. They do not play with each other during recess. Both have long brownish hair and are similar in height. One girl has an extra chromosome, the other does not. One talked up a storm as they walked, the other listened intently, nodding her head even though it was hard to understand exactly what was being said.
At the end of Girls on the Run, the one girl who listened intently gave an “Energy Award” to her new friend.
Energy Awards are a way of saying, “Thank you and I appreciate what you did for me today.”
She thanked her new friend for walking and talking with her. It was her new friend’s first Energy Award for the season. You should have seen the smile on both of their faces.
I had mixed emotions on my drive home today…
Our principal does a Pep Talk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (on the intercom). It is the way we start our days. We watch a video that connects to the Pep Talk and we spend time discussing and reflecting. The messages have been around Habits of Mind and Growth Mindset. We encourage humility, empathy and compassion with our students.
My class has their own weekly blog page where two bloggers are completely in charge of the focus for that week. They decide what the theme will be and I would say that the Pep Talks impact their thoughts. They leave words of wisdom for families and give family homework on what to discuss at home. I would say that they are becoming more compassionate and empathetic with each other (it hasn’t been a smooth road for sure this year).
So why am I having mixed emotions on my drive home today?
Today was the first day back from Spring Break and the end of the year is on the horizon. We get out of school the third week in May and I know this is a time when families begin to think about the next school year.
Unfortunately today, I overheard some girls talking about next year.
So, why I am surprised to hear certain families complaining about “those kids” in our class and how they want their child with different kids next year?
How did they miss the blog page and what their child has been sharing with them all year?
How have they missed the Pep Talks that are posted on the school’s website?
How have they missed the weekly newsletters about what the learners are learning?
How do I not feel like I failed?
I never thought that the last week would be the hardest for this 31 writing day challenge. I feel like I am just trying to accomplish the challenge as a new slicer this year. I am already thinking what I would do differently next year. I am also wondering how much I will continue to write after this challenge. I am always impressed with teachers who have a blog and post on a regular basis. I don’t know if my husband would be thrilled.
You see, he has been reading my posts. I am the kind of writer who likes someone to read their writing before it goes public. I know that my husband is convenient, but he has always read what I have written and he has a way with words. This challenge has made him think about his days and he wonders what he would write.
Actually, this challenge has been a beautiful gift for us. We are approaching 25 years of marriage in just nine days. We have known each other for half of our lives. This challenge has helped us both stop and think about our days beyond the responsibilities of our work. It has made us both stop and look around, to see things with new eyes.
He is the one who says, “Look, look out the window, you could write about that…”
Yes, I could write about the light. How the light changes everything and brings out the beauty around us. Or I could write about the other light and how my husband is my light, who lights up my days when they are dark or lights up my heart when he walks in the door.
What to write?
Write about the 7.4 mile trail run I did this morning with a friend and then how difficult it was to read my book, All the Light We Cannot See, not because it is not a wonderful book, but because I was exhausted from running that far. I realize I need to up my mileage. My 4 mile runs are not cutting it.
Write about the most amazing slice of left over pizza from the other night that I ate after my 7.4 mile run. It is called the Stash, handcrafted goodness. Who would ever think that figs, truffle oil, gorgonzola, and prosciutto with olive oil could taste so good. I devoured a slice while standing in the kitchen with one hand on the refrigerator door.
Write about how I am only two days away from school starting up again after Spring Break and I spent the better part of the day planning with my teaching partner.
Or write about what I just saw outside my window. The weather changing, the sun setting, the wind whirling, the sky turning dark grey and then, as if suspended in midair, a rainbow. Not a rainbow that curves across the sky, but a rainbow that hangs like a wind chime in the air.