Be prepared #sol18

I discovered the importance of having a notebook handy on Friday. Normally, I don’t leave my house on Black Friday, but I needed to get a new phone. I’d been putting off this chore, but since I’ll be traveling soon, I knew that I had to go ahead and take care of this task.

My cell phone carrier’s nearest store is about forty-five minutes away. Theoretically, I could have ordered the phone and had it delivered, but I wanted to make the purchase in person. So, Friday afternoon, I headed down the interstate.

I chose a phone fairly quickly and handed over my old phone to have everything transferred to the new phone. The salesclerk told me that it would take about an hour. I hoped that was not the case because sitting around the store for an hour wasn’t something that I wanted to do and there really wasn’t anywhere else to go while I waited. So I plopped down on an uncomfortable orange “chair” (and I use that term very loosely) to wait. I realized that I’d left my Kindle at home and didn’t bring a paperback and my other option for reading was the cell phone being transferred. I realized that it was going to be a long hour without something to read! Thankfully, though, I had a notebook and one of my favorite pens in my purse! I opened my notebook, forgetting about the uncomfortable chair and all of the conversations around me. Before long, I’d filled up several pages. I paused for a moment before starting to scribble again. The hour flew by thanks to my trusty notebook and I got a jump on a project that I’d been putting off for a while!


You’re all decked out! #sol18


Today was “Team Day” at school and I could not resist the opportunity to pull out all of my favorite UVa items.  I am wearing my UVa sweatshirt, hat, earrings, and bracelet.  I left off the UVa snowman pin and the orange and blue barrette, but you could still definitely identify my favorite team!

My fifth grade group comes to my room after lunch and I hadn’t seen any of them in the hallway, so they hadn’t seen my team attire.  However, they immediately noticed as soon as they entered the classroom.  They seemed impressed with my team spirit.

“You’re all decked out!” D said.  “You must really like UVa! Did you go there or something?” I answered that I did attend UVa and I talked a bit about how much I loved the school.  I also joked that I’d paid them a lot of tuition, to which D answered, “It looks like they’ve gotten a lot of your money in merchandise!” I burst out laughing and told him that he was exactly right.  They have gotten a lot of my money and not just for tuition!

The First Winter Storm Watch #sol18


It’s that time of year again…the time when we find ourselves glued to the television, listening to weather forecasts that sound downright nasty.  Local meteorologists shared the first winter storm watch of the season, which seems entirely too early for me.  Tomorrow night into Thursday morning, sleet and freezing rain are predicted.  If the forecast is accurate and the sleet and freezing rain begins before midnight tomorrow night, it will be the earliest such event in local history.

I am not ready for this weather.  I am not ready for the early morning Honeywell Alert calls canceling or delaying school.  I am not ready for interrupted lessons and missing time with my students.  I am not ready for slipping and sliding and freezing temperatures, especially not in mid-November.  I have lessons to teach, books to read with my students, pieces of writing to work on, and so much to accomplish.  So, with all due respect to the meteorologists who are tasked with forecasting the weather, I hope that you’re wrong and that I’ll be at school with my kids on Thursday!

Currently #sol18


I’m relying on a favorite prompt today as I’m working on details for the 2019 VSRA Conference.

Currently, I am…

Listening to…the news and checking out the election returns.  I have my computer situated on the kitchen table where I can keep up with everything.

Eating…nothing:( I am ready for a snack break, though!

Drinking…water.  I am getting better about drinking water, although at times, it’s been hard not to drink as much sweet tea!

Looking at…my computer screen and the scribbled to-do list in my notebook.

Thinking about…my to-do list for the 2019 VSRA Conference.  I’ve got a few things to accomplish this week regarding planning and I hope to check off several things tonight.

Reading…nothing right now, but I’m looking forward to some reading time later this evening.  I’m reading Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss.  I’m currently reading about the Mexican War.

Wearing…my glasses, which I don’t care for.  I don’t know how many times I’ve had to clean the smudges!

Feeling…excited as I work on conference details! This has been such an incredible experience!

Needing to…finish reviewing the registration form for the VSRA conference.  I’m looking forward to the registration link going live in a matter of days.

Wanting to…eat some chocolate! Hmm…there are some M&Ms left in the jar…


What Do You See In The Pickle Jar? #sol18


Today’s slice was discovered on the dinner table.  I’m not a big pickle eater, but others in my family are, so we often have a jar of pickles close by.  As we enjoyed our hamburgers, this one pickle in the jar attracted my attention.  I moved the jar closer to check it out.  Then, I had everyone else at the table take a look at the jar, just to make sure that I wasn’t seeing things.  Maybe it’s too close to Halloween, but it looks like a tiny pickle face staring out of the jar at me.  Thankfully, I didn’t have any pickles on my plate—I don’t think that I could have taken a single bite with this looking back at me:)

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So, what do you see in the pickle jar? 

“She wrote this book!” #sol18


I’m leading an after-school book club with students and have enjoyed spending time with them and some of my favorite books.  Each day, I’ve shared books that I love and then they have time to read on their own.  Sometimes, we’ve focused on specific authors, such as Josh Funk and Ryan T. Higgins, while other times, we’ve explored a genre.  Yesterday, we enjoyed a variety of nonfiction, including Melissa Stewart’s Can An Aardvark Bark and Jennifer Ward’s Feathers and Hair: What Animals Wear.

When students had time to read on their own, I noticed a lot of excitement from one student as he pulled a book from a tub.  He poked his friend on the arm and said, “She wrote this book!” I stifled a giggle as I realized that the child was pointing to my name on the top of the cover.  He proceeded to show the book to others in the group, telling them that I’d written the book Pig and Pug.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but just as I was prepared to draw his attention to the actual authors of the book, one of the other students kindly explained that I didn’t write the book.  He pointed out the true authors’ names and the confused child seemed okay with the explanation.  He sat down and started to read, occasionally stopping to share parts of the book with his friends.

Maybe one day a student or a teacher will pick up a book with my name on it.  Until then, I will enjoy my few moments of “stardom” among the elementary set.  I can’t wait to see what happens during book club tomorrow!

Habit #sol18 #DWHabit


I couldn’t decide what to write today (which seems to be the story of my life right now), but was bailed out by Teach Write’s word of the day.  As soon as I saw today’s word, habit, I had an idea.  By the way, if you’re not familiar with Teach Write, I highly recommend checking it out at or on Twitter @TeachWriteEDU.

Sometimes, a habit becomes something done by rote without much consideration.  Some habits are good for us, while others may make us cringe.  We can go through the motions to the point that they become meaningless—just another thing we do during the day.  

Students pick up on our habits.  My kids notice the ever-present McDonald’s cup that I have every morning (but now it’s half sweet/half unsweet).  They notice that I have a habit of writing with InkJoy pens.  They’re well aware that I regularly forget to change the date on the whiteboard without their reminders.  These seem like little things, but I think it’s important to remember that they’re paying attention  because if they notice things like my McDonald’s cup and pens, then they’re going to notice my habits as a reader and writer.  They’ll know if I’m walking the walk, or if I’m just telling them to do something because I’m the teacher and they’re the students.  They know when reading and writing is a habit and not just something written into a lesson plan.  They’ll notice when I’m writing beside them and start crossing out and adding words.  They’re observing when I’m searching for the right word.  They’ll recognize that writing is a habit for me and not just something I do when I think they’re looking.  As a teacher who writes, making sure that students are aware of my habits is non-negotiable and essential.