Loving Leaners

sol#SOL17 Day 31                                       31-day-streak-with-border

Teachers have three loves; love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together. ~ Scoot Hayden

Today is the last day of the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge. I joined this group for the second time and have just as inpsired by everyone’s posts as I was last year.  Thank you for inspiring me!

“Have I told you lately that I love you?”  This Rod Stewart quote makes me think of my current 7th grade classes.  I. LOVE. THEM.  I will be so sad to see them move up to 8th grade next year.  While I always like the students who sit before me each year, once in a while you get an extra special group. This year I have one of those extra special groups.

What makes them so special you ask? They are hard-working, they complete their assignments (for the most part), they are fun to be around, but most importantly, they love learning.  They are not afraid to ask questions.  They attack assignments without groaning.  They are just a joy. When we are independently reading, they are all independently reading.  When we are working on a writing project, they are all writing; they are all in.

They are currently working on an Indpendent Writing Project, and through it we are living the writer’s life.  They have chosen a topic and a genre. They have written  a “proposel” and presented it to me for approval.  They meet with me once week to check in on progress and to make revision suggestions.  They are full of excitment and enthusiasm.  Some of the products they are planning are:  ABC books, magazine articles, cookbooks, personal essays, short stories, and more. I am looking forward to sharing their success.

This group of middle schoolers are genuinely kind and considerate.  Don’t get me wrong – they are middle schoolers, and they make mistakes, but they are truly sorry when they step out of line.  There is not a “Smart Aleck” among them.

They make me a better teacher.  I look forward to each day and what new discoveries will unfold.  I am constantly looking for ways to step up my game so to speak and create new challenges for them to explore. I hope they will look back fondly on this year as they move on.  I hope they will remember that I always valued the student and the learning more than the grade on the paper.

Thank you class of 2018.  You have a special place in my heart.



sol#SOL17 Day 30

I’m just tired; I just want the world to be quiet for a bit. ~livelifehappy.com

I am tired:

  • of people who make excuses
  • of indoor recess
  • of always feeling tired
  • of being on this walker
  • of never knowing what day of the week it is
  • of not having enough time to read
  • of seemingly never ending laundry
  • of disturbing television news
  • of unmatchable socks
  • of people who talk more than they listen
  • of complainers
  • of people who don’t understand middle schoolers

I am so tired.

Good night! Continue reading

Book Club Friends

sol#SOL17 Day 29                          friendship-quotes-3


Tonight I had book club.  It was my turn to host, but since I am still on the walker, my good friend and neighbor hosted for me.  My fabulous husband took care of getting all the snacks and beverages and took them over to her house last night.

There are ten women in our club, and we are known as the Chapter Chicks.  We have been together since February 2004 when we started out with four of us and we read The Five People You Meet In Heaven.  Soon we grew to ten.  We meet about 10 times a year, and whoever hosts picks the book.  We have some favorite books and some stinkers.  We have some members who always read the books and some who hardly read.  We have some nights when we really discuss the book, and some where we discuss everything but the book.

Tonight we celebrated two milestone birthdays – a 60th and an 80th.  I believe the youngest member is about 55. Although not everyone is always present, we are all always there in spirit.  We have been through a lot as a group – the death of a spouse, the death of parents, health problems of spouses, graduations, weddings of children, then grandchildren.  Some of us have moved; some have retired.

What I know is that if one of needs something the rest of us would do anything we could to help.  I am so thankful for the friendship of these women.



Rainy Day Perfection

sol#SOL17 Day 28′

Oo, how I love the rainy days and the happy way I feel inside. ~ Neil Sedaka

Rainy days are perfect for:

  • taking cat naps
  • catching up on some reading
  • relaxing in your favorite pajamas
  • trying a new flavor of tea
  • putting on your favorite hoody
  • wearing fuzzy slippers
  • making a pot of soup
  • resting on the sofa under a cozy blanket
  • listening to the rain beat against the side of the house
  • popping some popcorn
  • binge watching HGTV
  • thumbing through old pictures and reminiscing
  • calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • counting your blessings

Kids These Days

sol#SOL17 Day 27

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. ~ Socrates


I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight, but then my son sent me this picture.

Kids these dayss

At least once a week you can be sure to hear someone in school bring up the subject of how kids have changed.  The kids are not invested in their education.  They want you to tell them exactly what will be on the test.  They follow a rubric but can’t think outside the box.  They are not problem solvers.  I have to admit that on occasion I have been guilty of joining in and agreeing with the conversation.  

After reading this quote by South Carolina head basketball coach, Frank Martin, I am second guessing my complaining.  He has gotten his number 8 seeded team to the NCAA Final Four after knocking off number 2 seeded Duke, number 3 seeded Baylor, and number 4 seeded Florida.  I am certain that it is due to hard work and commitment, not players making excuses for why they missed practice or didn’t complete all their practice drills. I am confident that excuses are not tolerated, and players who do not show dedication are not team members for long.  

I think as parents we want our kids’ lives to be easier than ours, although I really don’t think my life was that hard.  My parents expected things of me, and if I didn’t produce there were consequences.  They didn’t expect outrageous things.  They expected that I do my best in school, completed my homework, and that was with very little help from them. They expected that I complete my chores at home because that’s what being part of a family was all about – doing your fair share.

I remember one year in elementary school when my grades dropped from all 90s to almost all 80s from one quarter to the next.  I was grounded for a month.  A MONTH!  That was back in the days when we actually went outside to play after school.  We didn’t have air conditioning, so the windows were open, and I could hear and see all my friends playing without me.  When I complained to my mother that it wasn’t fair that I was grounded when my younger brother got 80s all the time and he wasn’t in trouble, she calmly told me that 80s were the best my brother could do but they were not the best that I could do.  I was paying the price for slacking off.

I think that I expected a lot from my own children, although I know that on more than one occasion I bailed them out of some situation where my husband thought I should have let them sink.  They both strove to do their best and made mistakes like any kid, but they were hard workers. Now as adults they still expect a great deal of themselves.  They are their own hardest critics.  My husband and I did our best to instill a solid work ethic in them, and I think we were pretty successful.

Back to complaints at school…..

As teachers do we expect less from our students?  Are we making things too easy for them because in some way it makes it easier on  us?  Not all parents are willing to let their kids take the fall for not doing their best, and that’s a shame.  However, are we as teachers afraid to push students because we may get push back from parents?  Does our test-driven society prevent us from teaching kids what is really important in life.  Skills that go way beyond curriculum?  

I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I will be looking more carefully at my expectations.  I want to be sure that I am preparing students for life not just for the next grade. Evidently this isn’t anything new.  After all, Socrates complained about children!


sol#SOL17 Day 26

To conquer frustration one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles. ~T.F. Hodge


I got  this prompt from Rip the Page by Karen Benke.  I purchased the book after I saw another idea used by another slicer!


Frustration, with her sick sense of humor,

waits to appear until I am trying

to accomplish a task.

She giggles when something

is beyond my grasp.

She chuckles when I stumble.

She brings along her close friends,

annoyance, irritation, and exasperation.

They speak in hushed whispers

secretly laughing at my inability

To complete the job at hand.

Together they mock me,

unknowingly make me more resolute.











sol#SOL17 Day 25

Surprises are the greatest gift life can grant us. ~ Boris Pasternak

Surprises are always nice.  This morning my daughter called and said she would come and make dinner for us.  Great!  What you need to know is I very rarely cook.  My husband is a chef, and he not only cooks every night, but he grocery shops each week as well.

Recently my husband started a new job.  He is now cooking at a new Italian Market that just opened this past week.  Needless to say, he is working some long hours because the store is brand new.  With me still being on the walker, I am not doing much cooking myself, so when Angela said she would cook, I jumped right on it.

It turned out to be a cooking co-op.  Angela made a delicious chicken dish – enough for tonight and some for the freezer.  I made broccoli with bread crumb topping and sauteed mushrooms the way my father-in-law use to make.  My husband brought home some rolls and chocolate chip cookies.

We had a delicious dinner with Angela, her husband Ryan, and my grandson, Parker.  If she didn’t come over, we may have gone out to eat or made some omelets.  Not only that, Parker and I got some snuggle time.  Surprises are always nice.


Five-Minute-Friday-4 I just joined a new writing group called Five Minute Friday.  Every week I will get a new word delivered to my inbox and have to write about that word for five minutes and then post.  I am looking forward to a new challenge.

Embrace the glorious mess that you are.  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I am having some difficulty embracing the ways my body seems to be deserting me.  First it was arthritis and creaky knees that need to be replaced eventually that some days made it hard for me to walk long distances.

Next it was the achy joints and intense fatigue which led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  Just when I was getting use to the changes that brought with it –

BOOM!  A pelvic fracture.  My body is beginning to spontaneously combust.

This latest diagnosis of osteoporosis has me longing for a do-over.  Could I have prevented some of these things from happening? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that I need to embrace the changes or I won’t be able to move forward. I will be stuck in a place of what ifs.


Thanks to…

sol #SOL17 Day 24

I saw this format on Tricia Ebarvia’s post last night and decided to try it myself.  I took a different twist and added the third line.  I want to thank some of the influencial teachers in my life, some of whom are now deceased but never forgotten.

A teacher affects eternity; s/he can never tell where his/her influence stops. ~Henry Adams

Thanks to Sister Rosathea, my elementary music teacher,
Who taught me the magic of music and putting on shows,
which started me on my way to becoming a music teacher.

Thanks to Mr. Rossi, my high school string bass teacher,
Who taught me not to make the same mistake twice,
which helped me land a place in the All-City Orchestra
and the chance to perform at the Academy of Music.

Thanks to Sister Claire Immaculate, one of my high school English teachers
Who taught me I could have a passion for both music and English,
Which led to publication in my HS Literary Magazine.

Thanks to Sister Regina Gormley, my college piano instructor,
Who taught me the value of stories and conversation,
Which carries over to my story-telling to my students today.

Thanks to Mary Buckelew, Director of PAWLP,
Who taught me to have confidence in myself as a writer,
Which found me in the Summer Institute and completing a graduate degree.

Thanks to all the students I have met over the years,
Who taught me that the little things really are appreciated,
Which keeps me grounded and focused on what is important.


sol#SOL17 Day 23

To thrive in life you need three bones, a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone. ~Reba McEntire

Well, I finally have a reason why I am starting to spontaneously combust — I have osteoporosis! I am not really surprised, after all, when you have a pelvic fracture without a fall suspicions start to arise.  Since we affectionately call my mom “the incredible shrinking woman,” I should have probably taken her advice more seriously over the years.  Take your calcium.

Seven years ago I had a bone density test and came out with flying colors.  Everything was great.  I guess that gave me a false sense of security.  Now I have taken my calcium on and off over the years, but the pills were just too big, and I had a difficult time swallowing them, and remembering to take them.  What really was my demise, I believe, were the years that I had an undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency.  I have since learned the multitude of benefits taking vitamin D.  This I take faithfully.

So, now I am on a road to change.  I am taking my Citracal gummies everyday.  I should have tried them years ago; they actually taste quite good. Next, I will be scrutinizing my diet and begin calculating the amount of calcium found in each morsel entering my mouth.  Once I finally get off the walker, I will have to start doing some weight-bearing exercise.  That will be tricky with my arthritic knees, but I have to find a way.

My advice to you is to stay vigilant and take care of yourself.  You only get one body and when it starts to break down it is no fun.  Who knows, maybe I still would have had this osteoporosis even if I had taken more calcium and vitamin D, but it’s never too late start putting me first and being the best this aging body can be.