Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Squawky Momma Bird {SOL 5.23.17}

I heard her before I saw her.

The telltale "yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip" I have heard many, many times.

Up the road from where I was walking last night, I saw her -- long twiggy legs carrying her swiftly away from the shoulder of the road across to the other side. Once there, she sat down on in the gravel, fanned her tail, stuck her right wing out at an awkward angle and began to shake. As I approached, she got up, ran about 20 feet up the road and repeated her broken wing act.

The "her," in this case, is a bird called a Kildeer. Kildeer are known for protecting their nests (which they build on the ground in grass or gravel) by distracting a predator with a high pitched yip and pretending to be injured. Their goal in this act is to draw a predator away from the nest, thinking the adult bird is an easy target instead.

I had no intention of harming the nest, yet the momma bird insisted in yipping at me until I moved way past them and up the hill.

When my daughter was younger, she rightfully called this bird the Squawky Momma Bird. The sound the Kildeer makes is rather obnoxious and persistent. The name has stuck after all these years.

She is one determined momma. Very protective. Very smart. Very clever.

But then again, most of the moms I know are.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Running Out of Books {SOL 5.02.17}

I have a problem....

I am running out of books for my some of my students to read.

Not all of my students, just a few of the higher level girls.

(The boys seem to be happy with a constant diet of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate or Goosebumps.)

These girls have read everything I've got. Pax. Hour of the Bees. Fish in a Tree. The Red Pencil. Wish. The Last Fifth Grade. Raymie Nightengale. Land of the Forgotten Girls. The Seventh Wish. The War That Saved My Life. Almost Home. Mr. Lemoncello. Echo.

And more.

You see, we are nearing the end of our second year together. We looped together from fourth grade to fifth grade so they lost out on having access to a new teacher's library. They were high readers in fourth grade and even higher in fifth.

Now I'm finding that not only do I not have new book recommendations for them, many of the books that are available for them at their reading level are not "appropriate" for fifth-grade girls. (LOVE and other things like that.)

I've tried to encourage them to reread a few of their favorites and they have. But it is killing me not being able to put new books into their hands.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Scents of Life {SOL 4.25.17}

I was walking through the health and beauty section when I saw it sitting on an end cap: A giant display of Coast Soap.

I picked up the package (16 bars!!) and deeply inhaled through the cellophane wrapping. That clean, crisp scent brought me instantly back to the days of my childhood when we showered off the remnants from spending the day playing outside or swimming in the lake with good ol' bright blue Coast Soap.  It was like I was 8 years old again. It made me happy so I bought the 16 pack.

A trip down memory also happens when I smell the smoke of blown out candles.

That scent transports me back to the days of my family birthday parties which my mom always held on the last Sunday of January. This day was always bittersweet because it marked the end of the monthlong feeling of celebration that ran from Christmas day until my birthday on January 27th. Once my birthday passed, it was back to boring old winter. The blowing out of those candles signified the end of this time. It made me feel a bit sad. Smelling the smoke of a blown out candle still makes me think of this, bringing along feelings of melancholy.

Things like the scent of certain shampoos I have used can transport me back in time. Just smelling the scent can trigger a memory of something that was going on when I last used the same shampoo.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Focus on the Good {SOL 4.18.17}

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about how I approach conferring with my student writers.

As a teacher, I think I am sometimes unconsciously hardwired to want to fix things, to make them better.

I see something that is "wrong" and instantly try to make it right by breaking out my red pen.

The result is often a piece of student writing that is full of red ink, circled words, and comments that are not as helpful as I would hope. The ownership of the writing has left the hands of the student writer.

       Does this ever happen to you too?

Sometimes, we get so focused on fixing that we overlook what is already going well.

Sometimes, our continued helpfulness even makes the student lose their enthusiasm for writing altogether. Because....who wants to be told what they are doing wrong all the time? (I don't!)

So as I sit with my student writers, I try to keep this in mind. I try to be more aware of the words I use to talk with them about what I see in their writing. I try to always, always, always lead our conferences out with what I see them doing well.

       "I noticed you used the Power of Three...."

       "This part is very easy to visualize..."

       "Your paragraphing makes your article easy to follow....."

       "The FANBOY you used gives you nice sentence variety...."

Sometimes, I will leave it at that -- a few minutes together, talking about all the goodness I see in their writing. I offer no unwarranted suggestions before I send them back to work. The result always leaves the student writer feeling good.

Some days, when I am feeling the desire to push them a little further or that "fixer mindset" washes over me,  I will I ask them..."How can I help you with this piece of writing today?"

I don't tell them what I want them to fix. I leave it up to them.

And the funny thing is, about eight times out of ten, they ask for help on the exact thing that I noticed needed help.

But then it was THEIR idea, not mine.

THEY remain in control.

THEY retain complete ownership of their writing.

     And best yet --

THEY still walk away from the conference feeling empowered to make their own writing choices.

So while we do spend time in class talking about the importance of correct spelling and conventions (those things that bring on the wrath of red ink), I try not to focus on it in our writing conferences.

I want my students to know that there is more to good writing than just proper comma placement and capital letters.

Compliment conferences focus on the good in writing and can help turn a disengaged writer into one that takes ownership and interest in writing again.

So as you go about your conferring with your student writers, I challenge you to spend a day just giving compliments (and only compliments!) on the goodness in their writing and see what happens. You might be surprised how this simple act changes the students -- and changes you!

Looking for more ideas for teaching writing? Visit my Teach Write site for lots of other ideas and to sign up for our newsletter.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Celebrating an Idea

If you are reading this, there's a pretty good chance that you are a teacher (of any capacity) who writes.

The internet has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to connect ourselves and our words with other teacher writers.  These connections inspire us, sustain us, and give us an audience (and sometimes a therapist) for our words and ideas.

Being a teacher who writes also helps us in the writing classroom. We can share our writing processes, writing struggles, and writing celebrations with our student writers. As fellow writers, we "get it."

We are better writing teachers because of the writing we do ourselves.

But there are lots and lots of writing teachers out there who do not know this.

For them, their writing instruction often comes out of a manual with scripts and directions for teaching writing. Conferring with and assessing their student writers is often dreaded because these teachers don't know what to say. The manual doesn't usually come with an "If you see this, then say this" section. (And if it did, who could memorize all of that anyways?)

          But there is a better way.


Earlier this week, I put out a call on social media and to a few of my email friends to take a survey about being a teacher who writes. The results will help shape a book I am writing.

The response has been overwhelming. In the first three days, almost 100 teachers responded to the survey, sharing their thoughts about the importance of writing teachers being writers themselves.

But it wasn't just the vast number of responses that struck me, it was also the comments:

"I never realized how important it was to write myself in order to better my teaching of writing. You gotta live it to teach it."

"To me, it is the most important qualification of a writing teacher."

"You have to write to know how it feels. You have to be willIng to be vulnerable with the students so can offer the help/guidance you would want to have."

I can tell I'm on to something here.

This is a story that needs to be told. Ideas that need to be shared.

I am still in the way, way early stages of this book, but the words of the teachers who have taken this survey have inspired me in more ways than I can say.

So this week, I celebrate this idea, the educators who are sharing their thoughts, and the power of being a teacher who writes.
If you would like to share your thoughts about being a teacher who writes, you can find my survey here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

On Becoming a Writer

I am lucky.

My history as a writer is a pretty good one.

When I was in elementary school, I had the same teacher for three straight years. This teacher LOVED to write. She made sure "Creative Writing" (that's what they called it back then) was on our schedule every day.

I don't remember getting my writing back with red marks on it. Actually, I don't remember there being any marks on my writing papers at all because my teacher talked to us about our writing.

My writing life began pretty well.

          {I know not everyone is that lucky.}

As an adult, my writing identity continues to grow and I am excited when I think of how far I've come.  There are a few experiences I credit for making this so.

The NWP's Summer Institute at UW-Milwaukee: This is where I got serious as a writer and a writing teacher. I learned why it is so important for teachers to be writers, developed my adult writing habit, and learned how powerful feedback was when it was given in a thoughtful, supportive way.

Blogging: I have had a few blogs in recent years, most recently this one you are reading right now where I share personal stories and now a professional blog at Teach Write where I share ideas for the writing classroom. These blogs are the forum for me to make my writing public.

Community: As a result of blogging, I have connected with so many wonderful teachers and writers from around the country (YOU!). I am blessed that some of these connections have turned into friendships even. The support I receive from all of you helps me continue to grow as a writer and teacher every day.

Teach Write: Because of my passions for writing and teaching, I have begun a new consulting business that I will pursue full-time after this school year. Teach Write is where I will continue to develop as a writer and teacher and help other educators do the same.

What experiences have shaped your writing identity? Good or bad, we all have come from somewhere. 

{PS: This post was inspired by the Literacy Lenses blog who asked its readers to think and write about the experiences that have made us the writers we are today. You are welcome to add your own writing story to their post too.}

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Celebrating My First "No"

Some of you may know that I am leaving the classroom at the end of this school year to begin my own consulting business focused on helping teachers improve their writing instruction. (If you didn't know, you know now. :)
For the past six weeks or so, I have been working two jobs: my classroom teaching job during the day and getting Teach Write set up and ready to roll during the evenings.

I am at a point where I am ready to start looking for business. So over spring break, I sent out a few proposals to local school districts. 

The first response to come back didn't take long -- just two days:
At first, I was a little crushed. A little scared. A little worried. What if no one hires me?? Have I made a mistake?

I think it is human to have a reaction like this. It's normal to worry when you are taking a major leap and you want others to affirm your decision.

But I didn't wallow in it. I recognized it for what it was -- one rejection.

There will be lots of "no's" along the way. I know that. 

But I still need to celebrate...
     That I was brave enough to take this chance.
     That I am following my dream.
     That I am far enough along to actually begin looking for clients.
     That this "no" brings me one step closer to my first "YES!"

So this week I celebrate bravery, dreams, action and reaction. How about you?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Scardey Dog {SOL 4.04.17}

It's been awhile since we've had a good thunderstorm around here.

But the other night, we had just that.

I do love a good storm, as long as I'm inside and can listen to the rain pound on the skylights in my office. (It makes for an awesome writing soundtrack.)

My dog, Rosie, on the other hand, is not a fan.

Long before a storm starts, she is pacing and panting. She's better at predicting a bad storm than most weather forecasters I know.

Let's just say Winn-Dixie has nothing on her.

She paces. She races. She is unsettled and inconsolable.  She climbs all over me. All over the sofa. All over my other dog, Toby, who can't even hear the storm because he is deaf.
Rosie asking to get up on my lap - where she will stay for about 2 seconds before hopping back down.

I pet her, rub her ears, talk calmly to her.

Nothing works.

Even when she finally makes her way onto my lap, she won't settle down. Her claws grip into my thighs. Her body shakes.

And this is all before the first drop of rain even hits the ground.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


On Thursday, my mom had knee replacement surgery. Being her main caregiver, I was with her from check-in through discharge.

It first started in the pre-op room with the prep nurse. She was going over my mom's vitals and asking about contact information.

"Is your sister here your main emergency contact?" she asked.

My mom and I looked at each other. Sister?  My mom laughed.

"No, I'm her daughter," I told the nurse.

"Oh my gosh, you're kidding!" the nurse replied, blushing.

Later after the surgery, her doctor came out to talk to me in the waiting area.

"You must be Janet's sister," he began.

I literally grunted.

"No....she's my mom," I told him with a tiny bit of aggravation in my voice.

"Oh, jeez, you both look so much alike! I'm really sorry," the doctor went on.

When we got up to her room after surgery, there were three nurses busy getting her settled. I told my mom the story of her doctor asking me if I was her sister.

"You're not?" one of the nurses asked me.

Now, this was getting ridiculous....But my mom was loving it.

At discharge on Friday, the pharmacist walked in with my mom's medications.  "Whoa...." She paused in the doorway, looking back and forth between us. "Are you twins?"

I kid you not.

My response: "Yes. Yes we are."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Puppy Playtime {SOL 3.20.17}

As I sat down to write my slice about giving my dog a haircut yesterday, my daughter walked by.

"Are you writing a post about me starting my new job today?"

I looked up from my laptop.

"No...should I?" I asked.

My daughter has taken on a second part-time job to save money for college next year. She works at a local store as a cashier, but they weren't giving her many hours. Then she heard a nearby kennel was hiring people to play with the boarded dogs for Puppy Playtime.

It is the perfect job for her. She has this amazing way of working with animals -- she brings her whole heart and energy to them and they love her back for it.

"I don't care," my daughter responded. "You could just tell them you are proud of me."

That I am.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Summer Buzz {SOL 3.19.17}

What happens when you sit down to trim your dog's bangs (yes, my dog grows bangs over the winter that flop into his eyes) and you get a little carried away and look up and it's an hour later?
Turns out there was a puppy hidden underneath all that fur! He looks so much younger and now he's ready for summer. 
We will be all set, as long as Mother Nature doesn't bring us any more snow to freeze my poor boy out.

(This is Toby. He's a Springer Spaniel and will celebrate his 14th birthday in April. Don't you just love those freckles?)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bubble on Your Lips {SOL

Parenting teenagers is hard. Mentally hard.

Parenting a teenage girl is especially challenging sometimes when the mother and daughter are so much alike.

My daughter has caused me a bit of frustration lately. It seems that every time I tell her to do something, she has to say something back to me. Usually, this comes in the form of an excuse as to why she can't do what I've asked.

      Let me just calmly say: I've reached my saturation point with the excuses.

So I asked her the other morning, as she was spewing excuses as to why she couldn't get her clothes out of the upstairs hallway, if there was a signal word I could say that would get her attention that she was on thin ice and save me from yelling.

She thought about this for a moment.

She thought hard.

Then with a sly smile, she said, "Yes, 'bubbles'."

"Bubbles?" I asked. "Are you sure you want it to be 'bubbles'?"

"Yes, I am" she answered then giggled.


Then I remembered something I heard our 4K teacher say to her students as they were walking down the hallway.

"Put a bubble on your lips, and your hands on your hips...and do what I told you to do." (I added this last part, of course.)

My daughter stared back at me, her mouth open but no sound coming out for once.

"Mom, you are the only person I know who can say the word 'bubbles' and make it not sound happy."

Yep, point for me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Positive Thinking Thursday {SOL 3.16.17}

We have a choice: 

We can spend our time obsessively thinking about whether or not something we really, really want will happen. (Which we have no control over, by the way.)

Or we can spend our time planning for what we will do when it does because we believe that it will.

I don't know about you, but the second option sounds like a lot more fun.

Which will you choose?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Can Do Anything, But Not Everything {SOL 3.14.17}

I used to really dislike this quote.

I used to think...What do you mean I can't do everything? Of course, I can! How dare you try to limit me! You must not know me very well.

Being the over-achieving, obsessive perfectionist that I sometimes am, I thought -- not only could I do everything, but I would do it awesomely, darn it.

But that was then....

          Now, I get it.

Sometimes, my ambitions are bigger than my energies.

Sometimes, I overcommit, thinking there are endless hours in the day and that sleep is for the weak.

Sometimes, I really, really want to do everything, but know deep down that I shouldn't.

When I started the Slice of Life challenge on March 1st, I had high hopes for myself. I planned to post every day and comment on other slices as much as I could, sneaking in comments at lunch or before making dinner.

But the truth is, no matter how much I love slicing, how much I love visiting other slices and leaving comments, I can't do it to the level I wanted to and still have time for everything else that's going on in my life right now.....

     I'm trying to start a new business.

     I'm trying to get a website up and running.

     I'm trying to migrate past blog posts to my new website.

     I'm trying to complete my course with the Institute of Children's Literature that I began in January.

     I'm trying to wrap up my career as a classroom teacher.

     I'm trying to prepare for a leave of absence to take care of my mother after her knee replacement surgery next week.

So I have realized that for the sake of my sanity, something has got to go.....

So if you don't see me slicing every day during the month of March, know that I really, really wish that I could, but I have realized that I really can't do everything.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things {SOL 3.11.17}

Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life has invited us all to a virtual Five Favorite Things Party where we share our five favorite things and why they are special to us. You can read the details here and participate at your blog too. I've spent a few days narrowing down my choices and I'm ready to go.

My Five Favorite Things that I am bringing to this virtual party are:

I mean, look at all those COLORS! If you are a pen addict (you know who you are), then you must check out these pens. They are super smooth and dry quickly. 
I keep a few of these in my desk drawer for those days when I am experiencing a little stress and need a pick-me-up. (Like when I'm teaching fractions.)
I don't know how we are so lucky to have fresh fruit year round, but strawberries in winter are an extra awesome treat!
Tulips are my favorite spring flower. I can't wait to see them in my garden soon.
My favorite 80's movie? Say Anything! Truth is, I still love it. This movie became the soundtrack of my teenage years.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Persistent Little Plants {SOL 3.10.17}

A few weeks ago, I felt like I needed to add some new plants inside. I really like succulents so I went to the store and picked out one.

I wanted to put it in a nice pot so I came home and replanted it.

About a week later, I started noticing something strange about my new plant....
It was growing long, lanky sunflower seedlings too!

My only guess is that the potting soil I used to replant had gotten some sunflower seeds from the bird seed mixed in with it thanks, perhaps, to a little mouse hiding away food for the winter.  (The bird seed sits above the potting soil on a shelf in the garage.)

These little sunflower seedlings are persistent! I pull them out and about three days later, more are back.

Funny, but also a bit annoying.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Positive Thinking Thursday {SOL 3.09.17}

Thursdays are the day that I share some of my favorite inspirational quotes that I found from the past week. Hope you find something here that speaks to you!

Try it!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Life as a Five Paragraph Essay {SOL 3.08.17}

I enjoy listening to podcasts on my way to school. My ride is about 30 minutes, just long enough to do some serious listening.

On my way to school on Tuesday, I pulled up a podcast from Christy Wright's Business Boutique called "Recognize Your Gifts."

Christy is a podcaster and blogger who helps women start up businesses. If you read my post from Saturday, you may remember that I am leaving the classroom in June to start my own consulting and PD business, Teach Write. I love Christy's podcasts for the practical and inspirational advice she offers each week.

On the podcast I listened to on Tuesday, Christy had a guest, Annie Downs, who in talking about her gifts, said she had a revelation one day when she recognized that her life was like a five paragraph essay. {Format = thesis, detail, detail, detail, conclusion.}

Annie went on to explain that for many years, she was a teacher and thought that teaching was her thesis statement. Her identity was wrapped up in being a teacher and everything she did supported that identity. It was who she was.

But then one day, Annie felt like she needed something more. She still enjoyed teaching but wanted to teach in different ways. She recognized that being a classroom teacher was not her thesis statement, but rather one of her detail paragraphs. Being a classroom teacher was not who she was, it was what she did.

I heard this and pressed the pause button on my phone.

This is exactly the way I feel.

I love teaching. I think being a teacher is both a blessing and a calling. I absolutely love my students and watching them grow. For many years, that was all I wanted.

But for the past few years, I have felt this aching to do more. To do something different. To teach in a new way.

I know I have more detail paragraphs coming. Looking back, I have had a few already. {I'll probably exceed the three paragraph limit. Don't tell the English Comp people.}

I'm not quite sure how they all fit together to form my thesis statement, but I'm thinking really hard about that.

In the meantime, hearing about this five paragraph essay life theory has made me feel a little bit better about my decision to leave the classroom. I don't feel like I'm abandoning ship on my life plan, just changing it a bit.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Morning Battle {SOL 3.07.17}

I don't like working out, but I love how I feel when a workout is over.

(Kind of like writing sometimes: I don't always like writing, but I do love having written.)

Exercise and I aren't exactly the best of friends. It's one of those relationships that I know is good for me, but sometimes it pains me (literally) to be in it.

I woke up Monday morning, feeling that creeping sense of guilt that I should get up and go down to the elliptical to work out.

I wish it was that easy.

Here's the conversation I had with myself about that:

Time to get out of bed if I want to have time to work out.

I really don't want to work out today. I'd rather read Slice of Life posts. That would be more fun.

But I didn't work out yesterday.

I think my back still hurts from Saturday. I don't want to overstrain myself. Besides, aren't we supposed to take a day off between workouts for recovery?

But I bought those cute new Reeboks on Friday. I could wear those.

{Thinking, thinking.....}

OK, maybe I'll just get up and put my workout clothes on. That would at least count for something.

Yay! I did it! I'm dressed. Hey, these workout pants feel a bit loose. And these Reeboks are really cute!

OK, maybe I'll just go downstairs. If I don't feel like it, I can always come back upstairs and read.

{Congratulating myself as I am walking downstairs......}

There we go. Put those ear buds in. I think that Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull song should get me going.

Let me just pull up Pinterest on my iPad while I do this.

Well., that song went by fast. What's next? Taylor Swift telling me to "Shake It Off." I wonder if she knows the trouble I'm having today.

Pin that recipe.

Pin that quote.

Pin that writing idea.

Check email.

{Twenty minutes and six songs later.....}

Oh my gosh, time's up! I did it!

Man, it feels good to have gotten through this. What was my problem anyway? 

I know, right?! I should do this again tomorrow.

Now, let's not go getting carried away.

{I can write this conversation from memory because it is the one I have with myself every morning.}

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pretend Parenting {SOL 3.06.17}

My daughter is taking a Parenting & Families class at school.

This past weekend, she got to bring home the computerized baby to practice her parenting skills. Along with the baby came a diaper bag, special sensor diapers, a bottle, carseat, three changes of clothes, two rattles and two pair of socks. (I kid you not.)

When the baby cries, which it does according to some pre-programmed code, my daughter has to touch the special sensor bracelet her teacher strapped to her wrist to the sensor on the baby's belly. She then has to figure out if the baby wants it's bottle, diaper changed, or just to be rocked.

"Being a parent is exhausting," she announced Sunday morning. "I didn't sleep at all last night. The baby cried practically every hour. And when it wasn't crying, it was breathing really heavy. I thought I was sharing a room with Darth Vader."

Yep, sounds about right.

This morning, my daughter will take the baby back to her teacher who will it into the computer to receive a print out of how well my daughter attended to the baby. It will tell her if any feedings or diaper changes were missed, if the baby was shaken too roughly and if its neck was supported well enough.

This Parenting class is serious business.

But then again, so is parenting.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Dinner {SOL 3.05.17}

Next fall, both of my children will be students at the same university.

My son is a freshman there already and was a tad bit not excited that his little sister had decided to join him there. After all, he has already made a home away from home for himself and having his sister become a part of that wasn't in his plan.

But my daughter is very sensitive to this. She reassured him that it was a big campus and they probably wouldn't see each other.

"Except for Sunday dinners," she told him. "We have a standing date on Sunday nights to get together for dinner. It's what we do in this family."

Then I saw my son posted this on Facebook:
Yes, Sunday dinners have been a family staple forever, but I guess I didn't realize what they meant to my kids.

This surprised me, but it also made me this momma's heart happy that they will carry a piece of family tradition with them.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Being Brave: Time to Fly! {CTW/SOL 3.04.17}

I have made a life-altering, maybe completely crazy decision.

I consulted many trusted friends for guidance and input. I prayed (a lot!). I hemmed and hawed...Could I do it? Could we afford it?  Am I losing my mind? Am I brave enough? Do I know enough?

But here's the truth:

We don't know what the future will bring.

Life does not give us any guarantees.

The comfort zone is a nice place to visit, but we shouldn't live there all our lives.

We can't win if we don't take chances.

Finally, I decided it was time to have faith (my OLW), kiss my comfort zone goodbye, and take flight, trusting that I WILL land on solid ground.


At the end of this school year, I am leaving the classroom to start my own local educational consulting business focused on writing instruction!
I don't know what all of this means yet. I am still working out the details.

I do know that I want to help other teachers grow in confidence, skill, and in resources focused on teaching writing.  But there may be more. I am trusting that I will be led where I need to be. All good things will be revealed in time, right?

For now, I will focus on being brave, having faith, and trusting that even better things are on their way.

For this, I celebrate.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Nice to Meet You! {SOL 3.03.17}

The SOLSC is an opportunity to meet so many new friends. I'd thought I'd take a moment and introduce myself and share a few things about me. Since there are 29 days left to this challenge, I will share 29 things. (Thank you to Lisa Keeler for the post idea!)
  1. I am currently a 5th grade teacher, although that will change next year as I begin a new adventure that I will write more about on Saturday. 
  2. I am a Teacher Consultant with the UW-Milwaukee Writing Project. I love to help other teachers teach writing.
  3. I am also currently a student working on the Writing for Children program with the Institute of Children's Literature. It is my dream to publish a book some day.
  4. I have two kids -- a college freshman and high school senior.  They are my proudest accomplishment.
  5. I have been married to my husband for 22 years. We met while working a summer job together at Six Flags.
  6. I have two dogs -- an old Springer Spaniel named Toby and a younger Puggle named Rosie.
  7. I am always reading too many books at once. I try to finish one before beginning another, but can't stop myself.
  8. I am addicted to buying washi tape.
  9. My bullet journal is my lifesaver! (It also is a place to display my many washi tapes.)
  10.  I am a positive thinker and love to share inspirational quotes on Thursdays with #positivethinkingthursday.
  11. I am an adjunct professor and teach classroom management to new teachers.
  12. I love to garden and last year grew so many cantaloupes I harvested 16 in one day alone!
  13. I nap every day.
  14. I wake up at 4:30 every morning. (Hence, #13 above.)
  15. My favorite pens are Papermate Ink Joy Gel 0.7. I can thank my friend Michelle Haseltine for bringing these wonderful writing tools into my life. 
  16. My favorite snack is almonds.
  17. I love the color turquoise.
  18. I am speaking at three conferences this summer about our schoolwide writing project called The Cartonera Project. I hope to expand this project into other schools around the country.
  19. I collect notebooks for journaling, but probably have more than I will ever use.
  20. The All-Write Conference in Indiana is by far my most favorite conference to attend. The speakers there are great and it's where I meet up with many of my blogging friends in real life. 
  21. I live in Wisconsin.
  22. This is my 4th year participating in the Slice of Life March Challenge.
  23. My favorite place to write is on my front porch.
  24. I love to bird watch. I was so excited when I spied the first robins and red-winged blackbirds of the spring earlier this week!
  25. Breakfast is my favorite meal.
  26. My favorite read aloud novel is Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. 
  27. Jeff Goins is my favorite professional writing blogger.
  28. My first blog was called Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.
  29. I have taught for 9 years at the same school.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you this month too!