Troubleshooting an illness #sol18


I have such a neat group of fifth graders and I am dreading the end of the year because they will leave me to go to middle school.  Actually, last week, they took a trip to the middle school to take a tour.  While I’ve loved watching their growth not only as readers and writers, I’ve also enjoyed watching them grow as people.  They are a sweet group with none of the drama that often starts kicking in.  They’re kind and considerate, from asking about my day to telling me to “have a good day!” I’ve been under the weather for several days with a nasty sinus infection, sore throat, and earaches and they immediately noticed that I wasn’t feeling well and began troubleshooting to solve the problem of my illness.  After cycling through different ideas, N looked up at me and solemnly asked, “Do you sleep under a ceiling fan?” Trying not to chuckle, I answered that I didn’t sleep under a fan.  My answer seemed to perplex him, so I directed our conversation back to our lesson.  But before they left, they made sure to wish me well and I realized that there’s not going to be enough Kleenex to get me through the Fifth Grade Farewell ceremony at the end of May.


Winner? #sol18


I rarely win contests.  I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve won a contest.  My dad, now, was the complete opposite.  If he entered a contest, he was likely to win something.  I particularly remember the television that he won in one contest.  We had that television for years.

On Friday night, my school held its annual cakewalk.  Our cakewalks are fun evenings where faculty and staff members, students and their families, and members of the community gather in our gym vying for a variety of cakes, cookies, brownies, and other baked goods.  There are door prizes and silent auction items and lots of food and everyone has a great time.

Normally I work the ticket table where people purchase either individual tickets or “Walk All Night” tickets.  However, this time, I worked the table where 50/50 and door prize tickets were sold.  I was amazed at the number of door prizes that area businesses donated! The door prizes ranged from gift cards to local businesses to scarves to baskets of electronic goods (car chargers, cell phone cases).  One door prize that just about everyone drooled over was a beautiful wooden breadbox.  I noticed several boys eyeing a nice pair of headphones on the door prize table.

The ticket table was busy most of the evening.  We were so busy at one point that we had to search for additional rolls of tickets.  The bucket filled up quickly and on the spur of the moment, I decided to purchase a few tickets.  I think that I ended up with eight or ten tickets total.  Since I rarely win anything, I didn’t think much about it.  I almost didn’t even take the time to check my tickets during the first round of the door prize drawings. But something made me pull the tickets from my pocket as the numbers were called.

My principal held up a brightly colored stuffed dinosaur donated by a store in town.   Ticket numbers were announced and when I glanced down at my ticket, I realized that I held the winning ticket.  I claimed my prize, and sat back down at the ticket table.  Several kids looked longingly at the huge dinosaur that sat on the table in front of me and one parent even offered me ten dollars for it.  I decided that I couldn’t sell the dinosaur, but that he’d become a part of my classroom, even though he might clash with Elephant and Piggie!

However, winning the dinosaur wasn’t the extent of my evening.  I ended up holding the winning tickets for a pair of earrings and a Subway gift card.  As I looked at the small pile in front of me, I had to laugh because this “windfall” was so unusual for me! I briefly wondered if maybe I needed to stop and purchase a lottery ticket on the way home!

My First Paint Night #sol18


I love my school family and feel so blessed to work with a group of educators who not only are passionate about teaching children, but who are fun to be around.  We don’t simply co-exist from 7:30-3:30, but stay connected after the end of the school day.  It’s common for group texts in the evenings that become full-fledged conversations completely unrelated to school.

We also spend time outside of school participating in different activities.  Once, we went bowling in a nearby town (our town hasn’t had a bowling alley for years).  We’ve gone tubing at Wintergreen.  We’ve gathered for meals at our favorite restaurants and hosted celebrations at our homes.  These folks aren’t just my colleagues, but they are also my friends.

Recently, someone suggested that we get together for a paint night.  Now, I have little, if any artistic ability.  I struggle to draw stick people and I can’t produce a straight line even with a ruler.  However, since I enjoy hanging out with my school family and knew that they wouldn’t judge me, I signed up.  We gathered at M’s house for appetizers (fried pickles wrapped in bacon are pretty awesome), fellowship, and art.  While we missed a few people due to colds and the flu, we had a wonderful time laughing together and making memories.  While my final product was pretty shaky, that was okay because the evening wasn’t really about creating something perfect. It was about the relationships with each person in the room.  I can’t wait until our next adventure!

paint night

Random conversations #sol18


I love random conversations with my students and today was one of those days when I had to chuckle at their comments.  Today was one of those days:)

I have a group of first graders before lunch and I love the kids in this group because they always say what is on their minds.  As I was coaching one of the girls during our lesson, she noticed my nails, which are pretty long.  She looked at me and said, “You need to cut those nails!” I had to chuckle because she was right.  They’ve gotten so long that it’s affected my typing and several of my nails have chipped.

Then, as I finished a lesson with a group of fourth graders, one of the students started talking about her favorite subjects at school and asked me, ” Is this class a subject?” Then, she immediately said, “It’s my favorite subject.” She went on to talk about how she loved reading.  One of her classmates looked at her and said, “I like reading, but not 24-7!”

My last student of the day is a fifth grader.  As we were reading, out of the blue, he looked up at me and said, “I feel more motivated in the mornings.” Then, he continued on, and even though he may not have been motivated at the end of the day, he at least kept digging and we made some nice progress on our work together.  As I thought about his comment and the fact that he kept working, I was inspired to open a new post and start writing even though I wanted to pack up my bag and head home.

Falling Down The Rabbit Hole-#sol18


I sat down to write my blog post at 8:10.  It is now 9:30 and I am just now recording my words.  That’s right, one hour and seventeen minutes and here I am.  I will admit that for the first ten minutes or so, I scribbled ideas only to cross through them.  I had several ideas, but quickly discovered that they needed more time to incubate.  So, that put me at about 8:20.  I decided to do a quick check of my e-mail and discovered a couple of messages that required a prompt response.  That took maybe another ten minutes at the most.  Okay.  8:30.  No problem! I started to write a few words, but again, those weren’t the right words at the right time.  8:35.  Hmm.  There’s cold pizza in the fridge.  Maybe a little snack? Okay! Then, back to the blank page.  That lasted maybe another five minutes at the most.  I decided to scroll through my Twitter feed.  Then, I remembered that I hadn’t checked out Goodreads for a while, so I entered that web address and started skimming lists and reviews.  That lasted for another ten minutes or so and it’s almost 9:00 and still nothing to post.  Oh, my cup was nearly empty, so I needed to wander out to the kitchen for a refill.  Then, back to my desk.  I picked up an orange pen, but then switched it for a green pen.  I shuffled some papers on my desk before they scattered and searched for the remote.  I clicked through channels, but nothing appealed to me.  Back to the blank page again.  9:17 p.m.  No, I’m not going to pick up my phone again.  No, I’m not going to channel surf one more time.  It’s time to make the words happen.


Currently…with a twist #sol18


I’m relying on a favorite prompt today, but with a twist.  As I wrote this, I thought about what a “Currently” post would usually look like on a Tuesday afternoon as compared to what I’m actually doing.  Normally, at this time of the day,I would be in the process of finishing up with a group of second graders.  So, I drafted two responses, one that describes what I am actually doing, as well as a response that describes what I would be doing at school.

Currently, I am…

listening to…a classical station with my Sirius XM streaming radio.  I love to listen to classical music when I’m working on something that requires focused attention.

watching…the cursor blink as I think of words to write.

drinking…water.  I’m trying to work on my sweet tea habit, which has been a challenge!

eating…nothing right now, but thinking about the jar of M&Ms in the kitchen.  Where is my willpower?

needing to…go downstairs and walk on the treadmill.

thinking about…that jar of M&Ms and sweet tea:)

wanting to…get back onto a regular routine.  Due to the weather, we haven’t been in school since Thursday and before that, we had three days with late starts.  I’m ready to get back to a normal schedule!

feeling like…I haven’t accomplished much during the past few days.

Currently, I should be…

listening to… chairs being pushed up against the table.

watching…my second graders line up at the door.

drinking…a sip of water in between groups.

eating…nothing, but thinking about what’s left in my snack drawer.

needing to…make a few notes about the second grade group.

thinking about…the next student I’ll see.

wanting to…make sure that I do my absolute best everyday!

feeling like…it has been a productive day!

Air conditioning on a frigid day-#sol18


It has been frigid here in Virginia (as in most of the country this week).  This morning, at 7:00, the temperature was two degrees.  Due to the extreme cold, school started two hours late today.  For someone who absolutely hates to wear a coat, scarf, or gloves, this weather is challenging because it forces me to wrap up.

However, once I started the day at school, I forgot about the weather.  Today was our first day back after the holiday, so I appreciated some extra time to get prepared for the week.  Everything was going along great! I had a particularly great lesson with my fifth graders and was reminded yet again of how much I am going to miss this group when they go to middle school.  I even had to chuckle when one of my fourth graders asked to borrow one of my beloved InkJoy pens for the rest of the day.

However, about ten minutes before the kids were released for the day, I noticed a sudden chill in my room.  I paused and realized that the air conditioning had kicked on and a near arctic-blast of air was pumping into my room.  For at least twenty minutes, the air conditioner hummed merrily and the room just got colder and colder.  Thankfully, our wonderful custodian, Mr. C., will get everything taken care with a phone call to the Maintenance department before my classroom becomes a habitat for penguins and polar bears!