Slice of Life 2020 Day 31: Changing Times

Me: “Good morning, ______”

Class: “Good morning, ________” 

(Repeated twenty-two times). Just like old times. 

“Alright, friends, today is Tuesday, March 31st! It feels like it should be March 97th to me! We are going to play a game together and then I will send you off for your own day of distance learning!” Kind of like old times. 

We played headbands. I wrote an animal on a whiteboard while one student closed their eyes. 

You may know that my class really wanted a class pet, a mouse named Jim. “Mouse” was the first animal written on the whiteboard. The first clue? “Jim.” No clues were needed after that. Like old times. 

We continued to play for a few more rounds. We gave clues, we “clapped”  and gave “thumbs-ups” for clues. The student guessed correctly. We “clapped.” Kind of like old times. 

“That was so fun! I JUST love seeing you all together. When we are in Zoom, you can raise your hand by clicking ‘participants.’ Then, click ‘raise hand.’ Your digital hand is now raised! Everyone practice raising their digital hand.” New times. 

“So, if you have something you want to share with the class, you can raise your digital hand now.” 

Twenty-two digital hands were raised. Just like old times. 

Slice of Life 2020 Day 30: In my opinion….

“The show is so much better. Don’t even bother with the book,” my friend B texted in our group chat. 

I typed “?!?!” and erased it. I typed “I loved the book!!!” and erased it. 

I noticed my jaw tensing. Steam was close to pouring out of my ears. I really disagreed with B’s opinion. 

I typed, “Really?! The show is great but I loved the book so much more!”

“Whoosh!” My phone made that familiar sound when a message sends.

I wanted my other friends to read the book. I wanted B to give it a chance. I’ve been loving the show “Little Fires Everywhere” but I loved the book so much more. I always love books more than the movie or show. I’m that type of person. 

I think B’s problem is that she started watching the show and reading the book simultaneously. No wonder she won’t give the book a chance. 

While I still disagree with B, she’s entitled to her opinion too. I just want her to realize that she should read the book and that there are reasons why the book is better, in my opinion. 

With some trimming, I just found my workshop connection for my soon-to-be recorded video lesson for opinion writing. 

p.s. I’m still so passionate that the book is better. Writing this has not eliminated my frustration. B is totally getting a copy of my mentor opinion essay. 🙂 

Slice of Life 2020 Day 29: The Lasagna Surprise

My mom had asked me to pick up a lasagna curbside to support one of our favorite local spots. She wanted to drop one off for my brother later this afternoon. 

I was on the lasagna mission. I drove out of the neighborhood and was soon on the main roads. It was rainy so I pressed for the rearview wiper. 

I could now see the car behind me. “Aw, that’s the same car as Brad’s,” I said to myself. 

As I was looking in my rearview mirror, my foot simultaneously eased off the gas. 

“590-huh, those digits are the first part of Brad’s license plate, too,” I thought to myself. 

On the road ahead, two lanes were forming. One to go straight and one to go left. I was going straight. The car I was speculating to be Brad’s was going left. 

As I continued to assess the car and the driver, my foot continued to ease off the gas pedal, giving the car I was so interested in time to close in. 

It was Brad! I waved. I realized he might not be familiar with my new car yet. It took him a minute but he realized it was me. He waved back, his smile showing his pleasant surprise to see me. 

The light in front of us turned red, giving us a moment to pause. We rolled down our windows, our cars parallel to each other. 

“What’s up sis? I was just going for a drive for a change of scenery. Did you know that was me behind you?” He asked. 

“Yeah, I saw you first. I’m going to pick up a lasagna for you.” 

His excitement for his upcoming lasagna was written all over his face. His smile was contagious.

The light turned green. We rolled up our windows and waved goodbye. 

My brother hasn’t been able to see us or come to my parent’s house due to his doctor’s cautionary advice.

I’m very thankful for our conversation at the red light. 

Slice of Life 2020 Day 28: Four Hundred Pieces

I walked outside to grab the mail. From a very safe distance, I saw my five year old neighbor standing there with a bag of something colorful. 

“Hi, Evelyn!,” I said as I waved. 

She screamed back-most likely worried that with the extra distance between us, I would be unable to hear her. 

“Want some CHALK?” She yelled, with an extra emphasis on the word chalk. 

Before I could answer her, she explained her offerings. 

“My mom ordered chalk and they DOUBLED our order so now we have FOUR HUNDRED pieces of chalk!!” Evelyn exclaimed, with theatrical hand motions on her emphasized words of choice. 

“That’s so crazy! I’ve seen you put it to good use though. I would love some. You can leave it right there and I’ll grab it. Thank you Evelyn!,” I replied.

“You are WELCOME!,” she pronounced as she left the chalk a few spaces in front of her, with her winter gloves on. 

She marched off to find the next neighbor who might be outside; her skit having been perfectly executed on her first try. 

I put my gloves on, retrieved the chalk Evelyn had left for me, and wrote a message for one of medical heroes-my cousin, nurse Meggie. 

I began to see other driveways become alive with color. Driveways now illuminated with illustrations of creativity, messages of hope, and outpourings of gratitude- to the heroes out there and our spirited tiny neighbor. 

I snapped a picture of my message to Meggie JUST (in Evelyn’s emphasized voice) as I felt a raindrop on my forehead. 

At least there are four-hundred pieces of chalk….

Slice of Life 2020 Day 27: All Okay

Today, I got to see a lot of you today via FaceTime chats. The rest of you I will see on Monday. We will all get together for a virtual morning meeting on Tuesday.


You were so eager, 

so polite, 

had so much to share about your reading and writing lives, 

your new traditions, 

and the old ones you miss so dearly. 

You showed me a bear in your backyard, 

your paintings, 

your brownies that just came out of the oven, 

your dogs, 

and your favorite spaces to do your work. 

You looked older, 

taller, and you all seemed so mature. 

You were all okay. 

You were all okay. 

Slice of Life 2020 Day 26: Quarantine Pants

“Raise your hand if you’re actually wearing real pants,” I asked my team in our Google Meets PLC today. We were with the third grade team, admin,  and our instructional coaches. It was a pretty large group. No one raised their hand. 

Instead, we all attempted to simultaneously show everyone their leggings/joggers/pajama pants. Some legs went straight up, some went sideways, some cameras tilted as they tried to show their pants to all of us. 

“Oh boy, I’m glad we are all in our homes instead of someone walking into the conference room and seeing this sight,” our principal noted. 

The pants conversation continued. “Athleisure companies are totally marketing towards the work from home outfits,” a colleague commented. Everyone chimed in again, noting how they were totally guilty of buying another pair of leggings or sweats.

“I think our next biggest problem after all of this is going to be to figure out how to get everyone back in ‘real pants’,” I said. 

Everyone liked the sounds of that ‘problem.’

We did get a lot of work done-just in our comfiest “pants” and after a few laughs.

Slice of Life 2020 Day 25: I promise I’m working!

“What are you doing?,” My mom came into my makeshift office/classroom/workout-space and asked. 

“I’m working,” I told her. She looked perplexed-rightfully so. She probably heard my giggles from her office and now that she could see me, she probably saw my tear-filled eyes. 

Yesterday, I had asked our LAC what I could to help her as our curriculum coaches prepare for phase two of our distance learning plan. She asked if I could watch some short Pixar films for literary skills and grade-level appropriateness. So, yes, I really I was working.

“I promise I’m working,” I said as I smiled. I explained what I was working on. “Come watch this next one with me,” I told her. 

We sat and watched, laughed, and cried. I think it gave us a whole lot of hope and perspective, too. I can’t wait to see how this looks for our students. 

Slice of Life 2020 Day 24: Ideas to Build our ‘Distant’ Learning Community

I wanted to write this post because I’ve been really focused on not making our classroom learning community feel ‘distant’ to my students, and to me.

So here are some ideas….I’ve shared real-world math applications, stories, updates, jokes, and riddles so far through videos. 

I’m thinking about all that I might share in these coming weeks. There has been a lot of creativity happening in terms of positive media. Maybe my class will be given the “see 10, send 10” push-up challenge since I’ve been tagged and have yet to do my part (oops). Maybe they’ll even have to send out 10 push ups to a family member or comment with a classmates name who has to do 10 push ups. How many push ups will our greater class community do? My arms are sore just thinking about it!

Maybe I’ll take a picture of my neighbor who has put their Christmas decorations back out and ask if anyone has done the same in their neighborhood. Maybe I’ll also share the chalk art on neighbors’ driveways. Once we discuss Zoom with our administration more, the first time we Zoom maybe we will play a game. 

Have they made up their own challenges with their families? Have they created new traditions? How many hours a day are they truly spending on Tic Tok? 

I want to know it all! These are certainly the moments we will will remember once this craziness subsides. These are the moments they’ll need if things get worse. We might all just have better biceps after all of this, too.

p.s. I would love to read any ideas you might have for connecting with students virtually in the comments. I’ll keep brainstorming!

Slice of Life 2020 Day 23: Tie-Breaker Dilemma

“Did you think about what we would do in case of a tie?,” I texted my friend Courtney. Yesterday afternoon, we planned and made virtual resources so our classes could still each participate in a virtual March Book Madness. 

Today was day one. My class ‘sweet sixteen round one’ match-up was Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan versus The Can Man by Laura Williams. At 5pm, all students had voted, justified their choice, and it was a tie. 

Awaiting her response, I overthought my options. A few weeks ago, I totally would have just chosen my favorite and told them it was so close but the winner is _____. Now, I feel like I owe them so much more than that.

I could do a virtual rock paper scissors? I could make a video of myself choosing the winning title out of a hat? I could think of a number between 1 and 10 and randomly select two students, who chose opposing titles, whoever is closest wins? I could chose one students name out of a hat, have them close their eyes, hold up the two books, and whichever book they’re pointing to, wins?

Is Courtney’s delay in response because she’s overthinking it too?

Slice of Life 2020 Day 22: A Dog’s Perspective

Class, class, class…..

After providing you all with lots of ideas to help you brainstorm for your own writing, I wanted to write, too. Here is the story I wrote this morning …

No alarms, no yelling and grunting to get them to wake up, no big yellow bus, no spilled Cheerio’s. Instead, they stay in the same clothes for a while. There’s been lots of chocolate chip pancakes. They play with me a lot. I’m getting walked A LOT. What is going on?! 

I hear them talking. “Mom! Remember when Ranger walked to school? And he was standing outside the school with the principal when we got there? Almost like he was sent to the principal’s office?” 

Mom answered, “Yeah that was so cute and funny.”

“Yeah, I know, that’s how I feel about school right now. I just want to go as badly as Ranger did. I would even be okay with being sent to Mrs. E’s office,” Jackson answered. His face was long, his words were drawn out, he spoke as if something was missing. 

I knew I had to do something. Where’s his favorite lacrosse ball? 

I found the lacrosse ball. I kicked it in between barks and looking back to see if Jackson wanted to play with me. He wasn’t following along just yet.

“You better go get that ball from Ranger,” Mom told him. 

“Ranger!!!” He yelled at me, obvious hints of frustration. 

I’ll keep kicking it. He’ll keep chasing me. He’s not getting this ball back until we’re at the school playground. 

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