One of those days #sol19

Today has been one of those days when there just aren’t enough hours to get things accomplished. I almost skipped posting this evening, but in approximately two-and-a-half years, I haven’t missed a Tuesday. While today’s slice is weak on content, I didn’t want to give in to not writing. I didn’t want to start giving myself excuses not to blog and then set a precedent for other busy Tuesdays.

Today I used an activity with my kindergarteners that involved cupcake liners. On the bottom of each liner, I wrote a letter. Students had to identify the letter and then sort them into the appropriate cupcake liner.

When I pulled out the stack of cupcake liners at the beginning of the activity, the kids’ eyes lit up and one said, “Cupcakes!” His eyes lit up in anticipation of a sweet treat and I felt horrible when I had to explain the activity. He handled his disappointment well and did a nice job with the activity. Maybe next time, we’ll celebrate a job well done with a cupcake!


No dressing, please #sol19

I have never liked salad dressing. I’ve tried different types of salad dressings before, but I just never acquired a taste for it. I always tell people that I like to enjoy all of the components of a salad without them being doused in dressing.

When I order salads at restaurants, many waiters look at me as if I’m a strange creature when I say that I don’t need dressing. I ran into the same kind of situation today. During district PD, we were able to order our lunches from a local restaurant. I’ve had their chef salad before, so I selected that. On the order form, I indicated no dressing, so I figured all would be fine.

However, when my salad was delivered today, two small cups of ranch dressing were tucked into the box. The person who delivered the salads said that the folks at the restaurant weren’t sure about the dressing, so they went ahead and included it. I briefly wondered if they included ranch because that’s their most popular choice or if they figured they’d just cover themselves and pop any kind of dressing into the box. Apparently they couldn’t grasp that someone didn’t want dressing on a salad. After all these years, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

The interview #sol19


The fourth graders at my school have been exploring different careers and interviewed a variety of community members to learn more about specific careers.  To prepare for this event, all of the students spent a lot of time developing questions for their individual interviews.  I was asked to participate, but not as an educator.  Instead, I was asked to participate as the President of the Virginia State Reading Association.  While it’s not a career, my role in VSRA is related to my career and I was excited to share about this experience and how it connects with being a reading specialist.

The student who interviewed me was not one I work with regularly.  This student usually seems pretty quiet, but after the formal part of the interview, he started to chat about reading and writing.  As I listened to him, he reminded me so much of myself at that age.  He eagerly described the different books that he liked to read (he’s a huge Lord of the Rings fan) and that he also liked to read his own stories.  We had a long conversation during the reception held just after the interviews.  As I munched on a cookie and sipped tea, I learned a lot about B and shared about my own life as a reader and writer.  I realized that while I know the names of just about every child in my school (we have about 125 kids), I don’t really know a lot about the kids who don’t come to my classroom for additional support in reading.   As I thought about this, I decided that I wanted to make a more concerted effort to connect with the kids outside of my classroom so that I don’t miss out on great conversations like the one with B today.

A Tuesday Acrostic #sol19


I can’t remember the last time that I wrote an acrostic poem.  It may have even been way back during my own elementary school days.  However, after reading Stacey Shubitz’s acrostic poem (here), I was inspired to try my own.

Thinking about and revising lesson plans

Until my break is over

Everything is coming together

Students will be here soon

Doing important reading

And writing on this

Yearlong journey together.

Where’s the Heat? #sol19


I love the heated seats in my Equinox.  I didn’t think that I would like this feature when I first bought the car because I assumed I’d never use them.  I’m the person who rarely wears a coat in the winter and have been known to flip on fans in December.  However, I discovered that when my back hurts, using the heated seat function makes everything better.  I can turn on the heated seats when I start my car and by the time I arrive at school, my back feels 100% better.  There was a time not too long ago when I thought about eating lunch in my car in order to take advantage of the heated seats for my aching back even though it was at least 90 degrees outside.  I envisioned myself sitting in the car, the heated seats soothing my back while the air conditioning blasted at a nice 60 degrees.

Well, Friday morning, my back started bothering me, so I immediately flipped the button for the heated seats.  I stopped at McDonald’s for an English muffin with bacon and iced tea and as I sat in the drive-thru, I wondered why my back wasn’t feeling any better.  I accepted my order and began to exit the drive-thru.  That’s when I realized that I had turned on the button for the passenger side’s heated seats instead of the driver’s side.  It was no wonder that I hadn’t received any relief! Sheepishly, I turned on the heat for my seat and flipped off the other button.  Soon, I felt the warmth spreading through my back and I sighed with relief.  Although I ended up with only about ten minutes of comfort, it was enough to help!

Dating at 23 and 43 #sol19

I’ve been blessed to have someone special enter my life and the past few months have been incredible.  As our relationship progresses, I’ve thought about how dating at 23 is different from dating at 43 and how I have changed over the years.

Dating/Relationships at 23                                                                                      

I called my significant other “boyfriend.”   

Dating/Relationships at 43

The word “boyfriend” just  doesn’t sound right at our ages! I don’t really know what to call him:) “Significant other” is a mouthful and just sounds plain weird.  “Friend” isn’t right, either.  I’ve tried out several terms, but haven’t figured this one out yet.

Dating/Relationships at 23

There always had to be a plan.  We had to be doing something all the time that involved going out.

Dating/Relationships at 43

Evenings sitting side-by-side on the couch watching a favorite t.v. show, movie, or sports event (we both love UVa sports and NASCAR).  Those quiet evenings, when the conversation and laughter flows and shared stories knit our hearts together, are the times we treasure.

Dating/Relationships at 23

I probably did all of the talking and not as much listening.

Dating/Relationships at 43

I listen more (I think/hope:).  

Dating/Relationships at 23

I wasn’t established in my career and didn’t really know what I wanted to do or who I was.  I was still trying to find out who I was as an adult.  I lacked confidence in myself, which affected that relationship.  I needed to find out more about myself before I could be in a successful relationship.

Dating at 43

My career is established and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past twenty years.  I know who I am and while I continue to grow and evolve, I am so much more confident in myself, which enriches my current relationship. 

Dating at 23

I was so much more self-absorbed.  Everything was about me all the time.  I expected grand gestures all the time.

Dating at 43

The world does not revolve around me.  I am not some princess on a pedestal, but part of a couple, which means that there are two of us to consider and we are a team.  I love doing special things to make his day brighter.  I love to hide notes all over his house.  He’s found notes in the refrigerator, the silverware drawer, and in his pantry, just to name a few.

Dating at 23

We communicated via landline and occasionally emailed.  I had a big old bag phone that I occasionally used when traveling in my car, but the communication piece was a lot different then.

Dating at 43

We text all the time.  We also love WhatsApp when I’m traveling.  He sends a good morning text every day (I’ve only beaten him once or twice).  We also send each other funny GIFs.

So, dating and having a relationship at 43 is different than it was at 23 and honestly, I think that this experience is so much better! Now, if I could just figure out what to call him…

The Things Kids Say #sol19


I love recording the funny things that my students say over the course of the day and today was no different.  I think that the best comment came from a second grader during the guided reading portion of the lesson.  We had already completed the word study and fluency components and were ready to begin a new book.  When I said, “We have a new book to read,” M looked at me and said, “Are you serious?” While the words were funny, it was M’s tone of voice that was so priceless.  Even though he’s worked with me for a year now, he honestly seemed surprised that we had yet another book to read.  I had to smother a grin and continue on with the lesson.