Saturday, February 28, 2009

Slice of Life Challenge

If you have not tried the Slice of Life by "thetwowritingteachers", you really need to check out their website this month. They are giving bloggers a BIG challenge. I can't wait to see if I can do it. If I can, not only will I have a chance to get some great prizes, but I will also become a better writer, just because I will have written more than ever. That always helps our writing, doesn't it?

Here's the letter I got from Stacey and Ruth. Try it out and see what you think!

Ruth and I hope this letter finds you well. Here on the East Coast of the United States, we’re preparing for a big snowstorm that’s coming our way. In fact, I just returned home from Stop ‘n Shop, which was as packed as a can of sardines. Bread shelves were sparse and nearly everyone had a gallon of milk in their cart! Ah, the overpreparedness has set in!
As I snaked through the aisles between the throngs of people with shopping carts, I realized that my trip to the grocery store would make an excellent Slice of Life Story. Even though it seems rather mundane, there are ways that I can make more out of my trip to the store thereby telling my reader something about the way in which people acted (not well) towards each other this afternoon as they stocked-up for the impending storm.
That being said, the second Slice of Life Story Challenge begins at Two Writing Teachers tomorrow. We’re hoping that you are going to take part in this 31 Day Challenge by writing and sharing a story about your day, each day, during the month of March. We know that sounds like a lot of writing, but that’s why it’s a challenge. And, in order to make things more interesting, we have a bunch of artists who donated writerly items as giveaways for participants (see details by going to If you miss a day, DO NOT DESPAIR... I'm creating something for one of the folks (as a drawing) who writes between 25-30 days of the Challenge.
Due to many technical problems Ruth and I have had with Mr. Linky, we’ve decided to forego using Mr. Linky this year. Hence, every day that you write a Slice of Life Story, please head over to our blog’s main page and post the link to your post by submitting a comment on that day’s post prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. (We’ll be keeping a spreadsheet of the people who submit comments so that we can expedite the giveaway process to folks in early April.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


A few weeks ago I got a call from someone I hadn't seen for about ten years. It was from a former second grader who was now a Senior in High School. He was calling because he was applying for the Lily Scholarship. He wanted to go to an Indiana school and the Lily Foundation gives out full-ride scholarships to qualifying seniors. Only two per county are picked. It is a tough competition.

The Big D and I have been coaching seniors with this competition for several years. Several of those we worked with have gone on to win the scholarship or other scholarships from the college they choose. It is so much fun to work with these intelligent, out-going teens.

Matt had been in my class when Murphy was young. When Murphy saw Matt on his first visit, it was like he still knew him. Matt was his buddy. He did not want to leave his side. He sat and pawed at him to make him pet him. He stared into his eyes. When Matt would answer questions, Murphy would seem to grin up at him saying, "Way to go! Great answer!"

Murphy is really hoping Matt is one of the lucky young people picked to earn the Lily. Naturally, so are we. This is one of the great blessings of being a teacher: seeing your kiddos go on to do great things!

Good luck, Matt!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The day started as any other Sunday, with me rushing to make it to church in time. I am so lucky to have someone always saving a seat for me. Even now that my best buddy, Grant, is off visiting family in Florida, I have someone who stepped up to the plate and is keeping a seat with a bulletin on it for me each week. Whew!

After church and Sunday School class, I came home to begin my schedule of all clear liquids today. That may not sound too bad, but believe me, chicken broth and jello is not my idea of Sunday dinner. Now that 5:00 has come, I have to take the dreaded Prep! Every 10 - 15 minutes in comes the Big D with an 8 oz. glass of cherry flavored goop. Don't let the cherry flavor thing fool is not good. It is like salt water with cherry added. No kidding! I chug it down because it is overwith sooner that way.

Tomorrow morning after all the adventures of what that liquid is supposed to bring about, I will enter DeKalb Memorial for a colonoscopy at 9:00 a.m. That is the EASY part. They strap me down with a line that comes from a bag of clear liquid (not again!). That seeps into my veins and then they add the meds that send me off to dream land. Well, I guess only part way because they can still talk to me and I do respond...or so they say. When I feel that stuff begin to hit, I simply close my eyes and blank out. Usually that is the last thing I remember until I get to hit Steak 'N Shake. That is the only GOOD part of the whole ordeal.

After a day of being uncomfortable I can get on those scales and see a much lower weight than I have had in ages. The problem is that chocolate shake afterwards. If I could only by pass that. Oh, shucks, that is the only thing I have to look forward to right now. Uh, oh, here comes the Big D again.

Hope your Sunday is better than mine!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I just came from an amazing workshop in Kendallville. If you haven't heard Dan then you need to grab his book on punctuation. The session today was for principals and administrators. I only got to go because two of the principals I work along side were going. The added bonus was that my boss, Natalie, was also going to be there.

Dan is from NYC and works as a literacy consultant in NYC schools and around the country. That's not all. He was one of the original members of the Teachers College Writing Project with Lucy Calkins. He also was a teacher at PS 321 in Brooklyn. He became a principal for five years and is currently a Local Instructional Superintendent in NYC's Region 9.

Oh, yes, the book you are to grab is: Practical Puntuation...from Heineman. Check it out to see what you missed today!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elementary Literacy Framework

Today was E.L.F. training. No, not like in Santa's Elves. That is what we call the literacy framework for our Elementary schools. We have training for new teachers or new teachers to their grade level several times throughout the year. There are two groups of them:K-2 & 3-5.

During the 3-5 session, the teachers were asked to take some time to write. They wrote about some emotion they had experieced this last week. After they wrote they did a small share with their groups. Then all 50+ got into a huge circle and shared just one line from their writing. I was shocked to hear how many of the lines were about the frustration the teachers were feeling. They told of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and just plain tired.

Teachers do have so much on their plates. They not only teach each day, but then there is the testing, data to analyze, and meeting to attend. Their schedules are bursting. I sat there listening to them share and realized how much they all put into their lives. They continue to do everything asked of them and do it with a smile and kind word for each student. I am honored to be working with such dedicated individuals.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It has been a while since I blogged. The reason: couldn't get on the site. Now I could use it if I was on my laptop, but not my p.c. I could read the blogs, but not sign in. How frustrating! I was getting so desperate that I contacted my Norton antivirus team via chat room. One of the service department men signed on. We chatted, did a question/answer interview and then he took off. He got on my computer via remote and the rest is history. Within a half hour I was up and running with my blogger in tack.

Glad to be able to blog again. But more importantly to me, I'm glad to be able to comment to my friends on their blogs. Sorry, if you haven't heard from me, but you will now!

I'm a BIG fan of the Norton Antivirus team!!! Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Audrey Is Changing!

We had not gotten to see Audrey for a few weeks and we were so surprised to see how much she has grown. We had so much fun watching her play with her toys and scoot across the floor in her new Christmas car.

It is amazing how much babies change in just a few weeks. Audrey is a very happy baby and loves to have people to "talk" to and play with all the time!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Christmas Is Not Over Yet!

We were so glad to get to spend time with Emma and Adrian. We played games, had pizza and played legos. What a fun night. We got to give Adrian and Emma their Christmas gifts when Andy came back to Indiana from going to school in Arizona.

We were so glad to see Andy. We can't wait until he comes back again!