Sunday, March 31, 2019

31 of 31: I Made It!

At the end of what feels like a really long month, I can look back and proudly say that I succeeded in slicing each and every single day.

That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment.

As I sit and type, I'm actually contemplating continuing the challenge through April. Maybe at least once a week. This is the same declaration I made last year...without much success (I only blogged once in April last year). 

However, maybe this year will be different. Maybe I will tap away slices all spring long. Maybe I'll miss this community of writers so much that I won't be able to stay away.

All I can do is try.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

30 of 31: Turkey Dinner...But Not the Kind You're Imagining

This evening I will attend a fundraiser dinner complete with raffle prizes, a silent auction, a live auction (which is my secret downfall), and the better part of my husband's family.

I love giving to a good cause, but I'm not quite sure what to expect this evening. Tonight's donations and charitable contributions are aimed to raise funds for turkeys.

Huh? you ask, well so did I.

You see my husband was raised in a small, rural Midwest town and he is a hunter. Having grown up in "the big city" I was unaccustomed to guns and hunting and apparently fundraising dinners in support of turkey hunters and organizations. In truth, I didn't even know such organizations existed.

So though turkey is not on the menu (probably chicken), and I don't fully know what to expect, I will hold my camo clad husband's hand and support his interests because he lovingly supports mine.

I'll also probably get in a lot of trouble for getting caught up in the frenzy and excitement of the live auction. I just can't keep my hand down.

But it for a good cause, right?

Friday, March 29, 2019

29 of 31: My Mental Shift

Today got off to a bumpy start.

Despite my best intentions, I stood before my fourth hour a bit grumpy. First hour hadn't gone so well.

So there I stood recognizing my own grumpiness and the deepening crease in my brow. I looked to my screen projecting the day's "Do Now" directions to get class started. I had added a fun GIF from

its friday GIF

So as I looked at this spunky dancer, I had a stroke of inspiration. I asked for a brave volunteer to imitate the dance. At first, the only answer I received was questioning looks and blank stares. Then students started volunteering one another. Soon they cajoled me into my best attempt, which was lackluster to be sure.

Finally, a tall, lanky 8th grader spoke up stating he would do it. So he sauntered up to the front of the room, turned around, and threw his hands up in the air, kicked out his feet and began giving it his all. Hoots and hollers bounced around the room as he repeated the dance. We clapped and I quickly uncapped my Twizzler stash and offered him a treat for his courage and confidence.

And just like that, I felt better.

In that moment, I realized how I could harness attention and engagement by simply taking a moment to be silly. I could alter my own mood by tapping in to all that I love about middle school students.

I turned that proverbial frown upside down and we got on with our lesson, which went much better than in first hour.

Like it says, it's finally Friday!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

28 of 31: Slice Slice Baby

I stood in a fellow ELA teacher's classroom before and after school today co-hosting our Slice of Life Story Challenge informational meeting for 7th and 8th graders.

Almost every seat was filled with smiling, eager young writers who have pledged to participate in the SOL challenge in April. So far 47 students have made the official pledge! My esteemed colleague put together an awesome slideshow explaining the challenge entitled "Slice Slice Baby," a Vanilla Ice throwback that makes me smirk every time I say it. She walked students through the process and I worked the crowd as students created their blogs. If there was a problem, yo we'd solve it.

Students filled out signs for their lockers to proudly display their commitment to blogging in April. To the extreme, they hung their signs like vandals. (the good kind of course)

It's always a bit unnerving to try to drum up interest and talk young writers into taking this challenge. With the promise of donuts once a week and some cool swag and prizes at the end, we had our biggest turn out yet! Will it ever stop? Yo I don't know.

I have to offer my sincerest gratitude to my teaching partner for cajoling me into taking this challenge three years ago and for spearheading all the technical troubleshooting for our kids the last three years. She is amazing, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't be typing right now if it weren't for her.  She's quick and nimble.

So slice, slice baby (can you hear the bump bumpa bump bump ba ba that follows?)!!
It's a heck of a concept!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

27 of 31: Bugs

Today was the kind of day where you could stand outside after work on your back deck without a coat or even a light jacket. So I did. I was sort of basking in the warmth and thinking about how cold I had been just this morning as I drove to work.

That's when movement caught my eye just above my back deck's wooden railing. The sort of movement that you have to stare at for a second before you can register what was actually moving. And that's when I saw them. A small swarm of tiny, winged insects hovering and diving back and forth around each other as if engaged in a sort of mid-air dance.

Bugs. Usually I'm annoyed by them. They can be quite pesky. And if they draw blood, I will too if I can swat them fast enough. But today, well today I smiled at the sight because it means that spring is finally and truly here.

Thank God.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

26 of 31: Postcard Magic

The cardstock mesures five and a half by four and a quarter inches. It's a aqua and gold colored. A record album, or more aptly, half a record album fills its left side. "FOR THE RECORD YOU ARE AWESOME!" is printed in large white letters. It's a postcard I received in the mail.

Seemingly, you might not think much of this postcard, but you soon will. A friend and colleague of mine made it her mission to send a postcard to someone each and every day for a year just to let him/her know that she valued the recipient. To show her gratitude.

Now, I knew about the postcards since a writing retreat I attended quite a while back. I was both awed and inspired by the the unique design she created and by the message she was sending. I was also quickly humbled thinking there would be no way I could send that many postcards. I just didn't know that many people.

Secretly, I pondered the possibility of ever receiving one of these prized postcards.

And there I stood at my mailbox pulling out the weekly advertisements, bills, and credit card offers from its belly when this small card slipped its way out of the pile. I practically squealed in delight. Seriously, I might have even jumped up and down. I quickly flipped it over to read the personalized message on the back. Her handwritten note expressed her gratitude for our paths having crossed and even mentioned that she has enjoyed our slicing challenge.

You know how there are moments when you are so thankful and humbled by the small actions of others? The moments that reaffirm your faith in human beings. Well, this was one such moment, and so my grin is ear to ear. The postcard found a proud and prominent place on the front of my refrigerator. And I had a moment more worthy than most to slice about.

So in the sage words of the sender printed at the bottom of her postcard..."Happiness is contagious. Be a carrier."

Monday, March 25, 2019

25 of 31: Perfect Ending to a Long Day

Today was the first day back to school after a very relaxing and quiet spring break. Needless to say, my system went a bit into shock as hundreds of 8th graders filled the hallways before school. Their chatter and hugs and exuberance at being reunited brought a smile to my face. I loved that they were interacting and talking with one another. On any other morning, half would have in earbuds and eyes glued to screens, but on this morning, they yearned for that personal connection.

By sixth hour, we were all zombies. My throat was a bit sore. I decided to pick back up with our read aloud and probably talked more today than over my entire spring break. They, too, seemed a bit drained, and all that energy from the morning had worn off around 3rd period.

So it was a long day, but a good day, too. I had missed my students and enjoyed hearing about their various adventures over break.

But the best part of my day was without a doubt when my nephew Landon, who is in town on his own spring break, showed up on my doorstep with hanging plant in hand. Aunt Julie drove him two hours so that they could hit the city sites and stay with us for a couple days. She couldn't wait to tell me that as they picked out a hanging plant for my front porch, Landon had commented that it didn't matter which they selected since none were as good as his Aunt Liz. That's me in case you are wondering.

My heart melted.

And just like that, what was a good day became a great one!