SOLC 31 of 31: Awake


and ready to go


and mind zooming

about things to do

things left behind

things undone


with excitement

with anticipation

with a bit of trepidation


best to embrace it

harness it

and enjoy it.



SOLC 30 of 31: Deadlines

It’s amazing how much one can get done with a deadline looming. I set a goal to write four reports before the day’s end today.  Amid multiple interruptions, I did it. I was determined to get them done (at least in rough draft) before leaving for vacation.  

Imagine how much I might get done if I always adhered to my self-imposed deadlines.  Hmmmm….

What’s interesting though, it that no matter what task is at hand, it’s the starting that’s the hardest.  Then, once you get on a roll, you get going and it’s not so bad.  

Now I have another deadline looming….finishing packing and getting on a plane tomorrow at 8 AM (oh and posting my last slice). 

SOLC 29 of 31: Goals

I attended a workshop today that asked us to reflect on our own personal goals as a precursor to reflecting on school goals.  In the workshop, they offered some pitfalls for meeting goals: unrealistic, not flexible, not focused, didn’t take action among others.  So I reflected on two personal goals: 1) to lose weight and get in shape and 2) to write personal notes to students and staff (working on it).  In doing so, I realized that my first goal wasn’t happening because often my goal with this is unrealistic and I don’t take action.  The second one, I am being much more successful with because it’s written down, has a time bound deadline and is something that I am working on over time.  As I write this, I’m thinking about the goal of this challenge: to write and comment every day.  So far, I’ve been successful with this?  Why? Maybe because it’s time-bound. Maybe because I enjoy it. Maybe because of the feedback. Maybe because it’s nice to have a goal that you can meet.  Whatever the reason, it’s good to have goals and even better when you can achieve them!

SOLC 28 of 31: I wasn’t meant to be a detective

Every once in a while, a situation arises at school that has me channelling my inner “detective.”  Problem is, I wasn’t meant to be a detective.  Problem is, besides watching a few police shows on TV, I have no idea how to be a detective.  Problem is, my  history with school detective work shows few closed cases.  And so, with each case, I try my hardest.  I interview, I talk to witnesses, I look for evidence, I look for corroboration and changed stories, but usually, I don’t end up with a clear conclusion.  It’s frustrating.  How do these detectives do it? I try the silence method, the let-them-sit-and-think-method, the let-them-think-I-have-lots-of-evidence method and more.  Usually, to no avail.  And, usually, I end up spending a LOT of my day on this.  I’m pretty sure that I’m a much better educator than I am a detective.  I think I’ll stick to my day job.

SOLC 27 of 31: It’s all about the desk

My daughter got a new desk for her room last night. We’ve spent the last few weekends shopping at furniture stores and surfing the internet to find just the right one.

It had to be the right size, of course.  It had to be white to match her bedroom furniture, of course.  It had to have storage, of course.  Those were my have-tos.

My daughter’s have-tos were style, storage and space.

In the interim of having a desk she liked in her room, she turned my living room game table combined with her “lemonade stand” furniture into an office suite.  It has taken over that space completely.

But what I loved about her want, need, must-have a new desk is that she was envisioning so many possibilities for herself: playing teacher, doing projects, organizing her memories, setting up an office, and more.  Her imagination let he be whatever she wants and to her, much of hinged on the perfect desk.

It’s funny, because although I had a desk in my room growing up, I don’t remember doing my homework there. I did it at the kitchen table.  But, I love that to her, this desk is more than a place to do homework.  It’s a place to imagine possibilities.

It’s all about the desk.

SOLC 26 of 31: Preparation

Books. Yes.

Bug spray. Yes.

Hiking shoes. Yes.

Hat. Yes.

Sunscreen. Yes.

New camera. Yes.

Bathing suits. Oy.

Summer clothes that fit? Ummm….


Oh, the plusses and minuses of getting ready for a trip!

SOLC: 25 of 31 Sleepless in NJ

3 A.M.

“Mommy, I’m scared!”

cuddle, cuddle,

snuggle, snuggle

back to bed.

3:10 A.M. still awake.

3:30 A.M. still awake

3:45 A.M.

“Mommy, I’m scared!”

cuddle, cuddle,

snuggle, snuggle

back to bed.

4:00 A.M. still awake

4:30 A.M. still awake

4:45 A.M. still awake

might as well get up

too early to e-mail?

yes (people will think I’m crazy!)

not too early to work on my shutterfly book!

6:45 A.M. still awake, but working on my book.

“Mommy, where are you?”

SOLC 24 of 31: Bad News Calls

When a get a call from a certain person on the weekends or when school is out of session, it can only mean one thing…bad news for my school community and usually, sad news.

And then, I get to be the same thing for those teachers that I call.  When they hear from me on the weekend, it can only mean, bad news.

I feel the same way when the phone rings at 6 a.m.  That’s around the time we got the phone call that my grandfather had passed away – that was 30 years ago.  But no matter what, since I don’t expect 6 a.m. phone calls, I always figure the worst.

And so begins the domino of communications about next steps and how to bring a community together when sad news strikes – this time the parent of a student.  But my staff has known many tragedy over the recent years including the loss of a staff member – 3 years ago, the loss of a student and her mother in a car accident this year, the loss of other student’s parents this year and many, many other personal family losses this year.

I hate those bad news calls.


SOLC 23 of 31: Making It Permanently Published

For many years now, I’ve been making photobooks for my children and my family (see one of my older posts).  But earlier this year, with a coupon from for a free book, I took my poems from my writer’s notebook and published them into a book.  I did the same thing in another book with some of my narrative entries.  Wow!  Taking it from my notebook into a bound book with a shiny cover felt amazing. I felt published.

And so…with another free book coupon in my hand…and 31 entries to publish…I am going to make two new books (last year’s slices and this year’s slices).  I think that looking back in a few years it will be so special to have these slices permanently published and give me a slice of life perspective of what was happening in my own life with my career, my kids and my writing.

So…who’s with me.  Ready to publish?

SOLC 22 of 31: The Magic Moments of Learning to Read

This morning, while driving my 5 year old to school, he had brought with him one of his favorite books, Shoo! Fly Guy.  He was desperate to read it.  He was determined to read it.  He needed to read it.  And so, I helped him with the familiar language of the first page and pointed out the names that he’d need to know: Buzz, Fly Guy.  And then, as I pulled out of the driveway, he began…word by word reading the ones he recognized, sounding out others he didn’t, and asking for help on some he couldn’t yet attack.  He surprised himself by figuring out the word “food” and “him” and “day.”  I was impressed and he was proud.  He got tired after about 6 pages, but I couldn’t help but admire his determination and stamina for working through a text that was hard for him.

Although I taught Kindergarten and First Grade, the magic moments of learning to read never get old.  I still marvel at the way my 2nd grader has gone from reading emergent reader texts to chapter books.  And this morning, I was reminded of the true aha moments that happen when reading begins to take hold.

What a magical way to start the day.

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