Thursday, March 31, 2022

(31/31) Another March SOLSC Complete!

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We made it!
For those of you who have completed your first SOLSC, congratulations and welcome to the community. You weren't quite sure what you were getting yourself into and the excitement and adrenaline got you through most of it. Yes, there were days where you weren't sure what you were going to write, but you did it! You got something down. You also joined in the community aspect, commenting and supporting other slicers. We are so glad you joined us!

To those of you who have completed your second year, you've made it through the hardest one. You knew how hard it would be going in. You also knew how great the community is and how valuable the discipline is - so you joined again, more experienced and at the same time without the rose colored glasses of a first year slicer. 

To the rest of us, I know you're here for the long haul and I love the relationships we build across the years and across the miles.

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers team. None of this would be possible without your commitment, time, and energy.

Finally, a big shout out to the Leopard 8! It has been SO much fun to have a community of slicers here in the building. I know there is a special bond that will continue and I look forward to pulling more Leopards in.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

(30/31) Nappetizer

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In order to go to bed I have to get ready for bed. If the bedtime routine hasn't been accomplished I can't get in bed.

There are bits of my routine that I can skip and parts that vary depending on if the next day is a school day or not. The following are non-negotiables: taking pills, brushing teeth, washing face, using neuromodulation unit, and putting on pajamas.

If I get to the point of being so tired that I can't accomplish my entire routine I am likely to lay down on a couch. Sleeping on the couch is acceptable without completing the bedtime routine.

I'm not sure if anyone else has these rules for themself. Thanks to my friend, Christy, who posted the following (I don't know who DonutHawk is), I now have a term for these couch sleeps.

There are two times in my day that I am likely to have a nappetizer. One is proceeding bedtime. Once I've had the nappetizer I then wake up, sometime in the night, get ready for bed, and then crawl into bed. The other time is a pre-dinner nappetizer, but that may have another name.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

(29/31) You've Made It - Basically

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For those of you who are new to the SOLSC I am here to tell you that day 29 is really exciting! "What's so exciting about day 29, Kristi?" you may be asking. Well, let me explain.

Yes, the month of March is 31 days long. What you don't realize yet is that day 31 is often a time of reflection and thanksgiving for the journey. All the places you have seen growth in yourself as a writer and appreciation for the community that embraces this challenge together are celebrated.

That means that day 30 is really the last day of coming up with an idea. We all have one idea lurking in us somewhere. (Start noticing the things around you now so that you are sure to start tomorrow with confidence!) 

So, if you can slice today you've made it - basically. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

(28/31) A Text Set on Text Sets

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"Today, in preparation for our Minimum Day, we are going to explore text sets. I don't expect you to know what a text set is at this point. This is a time for inquiry. You have been sent a text set on text sets and your job right now is to take the next 12 minutes to explore. At that point we will touch base."

Now, if you have ever been in a room of teachers who are supposed to be engaged in an independent learning activity you know that they are worse than students. So I wasn't the least bit surprised when there was chatter scattered around the room where our entire teaching staff was gathered.

Two minutes later I was astounded when the room fell SILENT - and it stayed that way for the next ten minutes! Teachers were actively engaged in the text set on text sets; reading, watching videos, and taking notes.

"Get in groups of 3-4 and share what you have discovered."

The room became a buzz with conversations with all teachers engaged with their groups. Wandering around the room I clarified wonderings and asked questions within triads and quads.

"You now have another ten minutes to explore further." And a hush fell over the room again, this time with occasional whispers and pointing out something on their screen to a neighbor. 

After the time was up I asked, into the mic, "Do you think a text set would be helpful in your classroom?"

Heads nodded in affirmation with some audible "yes"es around the auditorium.

"Great because that is your task for the Minimum Day. We are giving you this gift of time. Time to create useful resources for your class. Choose one subject to start with. You may work independently or in teams. The choice is yours. The purpose of today was for you to have an understanding of what text sets can look like and start thinking about what you may want to create. This was done today rather than Wednesday so that you have the entirety of your time on Wednesday to dive into the work. Before we leave this morning, turn back to your group and share what text set you think you might start with."

P.E. teachers shared with Arabic teachers. Elementary teachers were knee to knee with their secondary colleagues. Everyone sharing how they thought they might incorporate text sets into their teaching.

As teachers headed to their classrooms to welcome students to another day of learning I was still in awe at how silent the room had been when they started their inquiry. The morning appeared to be a success, based on the engagement, conversations, and ideas that were being shared. The survey after the Minimum Day affirmed the hypothesis. 

Some of the comments are listed below.

Text sets are very handy for both a student and a teacher. It can be time consuming to prepare but totally worth it. 

This was a great opportunity to actually get meaningful work done.

Students gained additional information related to the topic discussed in the class from text sets. 

Students have more points of access to math through interesting stories, videos, articles and pictures. 

Thank you for the gift of time!

Thanks for the idea of putting it all together it makes sense that we provide an easy way of learning to student's access. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

(27/31) Riddle Me This

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Today is my brother's birthday.
He is the brother who has been my brother the longest.
He is not my oldest brother.
I am an 'oldest'.
All of these statements are true.
How is it possible?

Pretty typical for a Gen X, probably. I have an older half brother (whose birthday it is today!) I have a little brother and the two of us grew up in a house together. I also have three older step brothers whom I have known since I was three as we grew up in the same church together. (They have been my brothers since I was 13.) So, as far as birth order 'stuff' goes, I am an oldest and yet I have four older brothers. Today, the youngest of those four is celebrating his day. Happy Birthday, Mark!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

(26/31) Dear SB

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Dear SB,

It's not you.
It's not even me.

I enjoy you very much and if I could, I wouldn't be leaving. But I am not free to make those decisions so I have to say goodbye to you. 

I am discombobulated and won't sleep well tonight. I will be concerned about the alarm going off in the morning and what comes next. I have tried to put that part of my life out of my mind while we were together.

The wonderful memories we have created will stay with me. I am thankful for a chance to get to know myself better due to time with you - thankful for the relaxation you brought to my life. The photos I snapped during our time together will sustain me in days to come, bringing a smile to my face. I look forward to our paths crossing again.

Much love,

Edited to disclose SB's full name: Spring Break

(25/31) Foto Friday - Farewell

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Farewell drinks 

And then farewell view…

Thursday, March 24, 2022

(24/31) Procrastination

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Packing at the end of the trip is easier than at the beginning because you've already made all the tough decisions. Now it is simply about putting everything that is yours into a bag. The hard part is that it signifies the end of the trip. In this case I am able to postpone the inevitable a few minutes while I Slice.

I have read and commented on several posts. I am composing at the moment. I will then comment on the three people who posted links just prior to mine. (Am I the only one who does this? I figure if we all comment on the three people immediately proceeding our link everyone will always have at least three comments.) I can then collapse into sleep, putting off the actually packing part until the morning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

(23/31) I Could Be Wrong

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It is truly vacation when you aren't sure what day of the week it is, let alone the date. I haven't looked at my work email account, so I don't even know how many messages are waiting for me. Though I am reading books, I am not thinking about planning lessons or PD.

Enough about what I'm not doing. What am I doing? I spend hours watching the water, or the stars  - or the fish. I only wear a watch to know what time meals are. 

I think I'll be ready to dive back in to school when we return, but since I'm not exactly sure how many days away that is, I could be wrong.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

(22/31) To Each Their Own

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Walking down the jetty on our way in from the boat we talk about our morning.

"That wasn't very fun." says the tween.

"Tell me more." I say, trying to not think about the expensive outing we took that she is grumbling about.

"I would rather have been diving. I didn't like getting water in my snorkel or having people pushing me or having to work so hard. A regulator makes it easier and there is more space when you can be under the water."

Well, that makes it clear. She has fully become a diver. (At this very moment she is out on her Open Water certification dives.)

Contrast this with my experience a couple of days ago when her Dive Master wanted to take me snorkeling with dive gear to prove that I would want to dive. I knew that there was no chance that I would rather dive than snorkel, but I was willing to give his experiment a go. 

He was surprised at how comfortable I was in the water. I wasn't surprised. The surface was just above my head, even when he submerged me it was only enough to have my tank under the surface and I knew I could still stand up at any moment. The opportunity to pop my head above the surface at any moment I choose is what keeps snorkeling accessible to me, even when plopped in the middle of an ocean. The claustrophobic opportunity does not exist when the openness of the sky is accessible anytime you want it.

To each their own!

Monday, March 21, 2022

(21/31) Safari, By Any Name

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Step by step guide to a safari...

  • Wake up earlier than you would prefer, especially for a vacation day.
  • Ensure you have all the gear you need including layers and sun protection.
  • Quickly eat something.
  • Arrive at the rendezvous point on time.
  • Load into the vehicle.
  • Notice the anticipation in the air with everyone hoping to see whatever is highest on the list of animals for that outing.
  • Wonder how long it will take until you might have your first viewing opportunity.
  • Bump along on the journey.
  • The vehicle slows and the excitement rises.
  • Guides/drivers/spotters exchange hand signals.
  • The group attempts to interpret hand signals being exchanged.
  • Heads swivel right and left.
  • Pointing happens while guests attempt to keep their tones hushed.
  • Cameras poise.
  • Jump in the water.
  • Wait.
  • Watch in wonder as the majestic manta ray swims past.
  • Repeat the last two steps with a grin at your successful observation of the targeted animal in the wild.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

(20/31) Tropical...

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I'll take most things tropical:

Tropical breeze
Tropical fish
Tropical island
Tropical flowers
Tropical birds
Tropical fruit

All of the above are lovely parts of this vacation.
I sure hope we mange to go without tropical disease.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

(19/31) Moonlight

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My family was sleeping, and I should have been too, but the moon - and the water…

I went out on the deck to enjoy the quiet of the night and realized that the temperature on day bed was lovely, so I laid down to soak up the night. The slight breeze washing over me and the lapping waves against the break wall must have lulled me to sleep. The next thing I knew I was waking up because of a bright light in my eyes. Realizing I had never made it back inside to actually go to bed I opened my eyes.

The moon was so bright that it had woken me up once it was directly overhead. (Technically it was sun light, reflected off the moon.)

I padded inside and crawled beneath the covers, smiling from my night adventure.

Friday, March 18, 2022

(18/31) I Know It's There; Privilege

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"She will need medical clearance." the Dive Master informed us as G finished filling out her paperwork for the Discovery Diving course she wants to take while we are on vacation.

"No problem. It's currently 3:30 in the morning there, but when they open I will call to have him write the clearance."

As the words were coming out of my mouth my awareness of so much privilege were there as well. They include, but are not limited to, the following...
  • the ability to go on vacation
  • the ability to have vacation time from work
  • a family unit that vacations together
  • scuba diving in and of itself
  • medical insurance
  • a doctor who has known my child since a few hours after she was born
  • access to said doctor, even from across the planet
  • a diagnosis and successful treatment for her epilepsy
  • internet access, let alone Skype
  • and did I mention - vacation
As I got to bed, trusting that my voice message will not only be heard, but responded to by the time I wake up, I am very aware of my privilege. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

(17/31) You Learn Something New Everyday!

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Today I learned that...

Relivion is a new device on the horizon that will be able to stimulate both the trigeminal nerves and the occipital nerve or just one. (If you or someone in your life has migraine, the Migraine World Summit started today. There is SO much information. Check it out.)

And I learned that...

Gilligan (of Gilligan's Island) was his last name. His first name? Willy. Willy Gilligan. (Did you know this? Am I the only one for whom this is a news flash?) Spring Break is starting and we are headed to a remote island...

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

(16/31) Ponderings that are Blowing in the Wind

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Arriving at a school this morning, a windy day, I saw this...

and wondered at the futility of sweeping the hard court at 8:30 am for something happening after 3 pm. 

Sure enough, now it is lunchtime and the bits of trees and rubbish that have blown in are a vast quantity higher than it was prior to the morning's sweeping. 

Yes, I shake my head at the waste of time and energy, however I know it is not on this worker's head - he simply did what was asked of him.

What would the world be like if every person had the encouragement to think critically and propose solutions that are best for their circumstances? I know this is what we want to instill in students. What does it say when the entire school community is not empowered in the same way?

Those are my ponderings this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

(15/31) Ugh. Sigh. Now what?

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Having the ability to teach a hybrid class is a great way to keep students in the routine of learning when they can't be in the classroom on a given day. Parents walking through a room and observing a few seconds of a lesson and writing a letter based on those few seconds can be challenging.

I was asked to weigh in and I have so many questions and no concerns from the snapshot of what is known.

The glimpse shows an engaged student with developmentally appropriate material. Isn't that what we want?

So many questions! What all did they observe? What other snap shots have they noticed across the numerous days of virtual school? For this episode, what preceded and followed the moment observed? What did the child say when asked about what they were learning? What did the teacher say when asked about this lesson? Why didn't you email the teacher with your concern?

And then I land on wondering what we can do better. I know parents want what is best for their child. That's what we want, too. I know parents are trying to understand their child as a learner and our philosophy and curriculum are different than when the parent was in school. How do we get information to parents, in a format that they will take the time to take in, and therefore reduce frustration all the way around?

Monday, March 14, 2022

(14/31) Time

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Time is really hard to figure out. 

Not the idea of 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day, etc. That's the part of time that can be calculated. I'm talking about the passage of time. (Are you singing James Taylor now?) 

Time may technically pass in a consistent, methodical manner and yet that is not how we experience it. I have thought about this deeply, even wrote a paper in grad school about God's view of time. I won't get into all of that here. 

What I am amazed at is teacher time. 

Any teacher reading this will know exactly what I mean. There is the first six weeks of school. (I'm not talking of "COVID Times".) You then get in a routine with things going really well until a couple of weeks before Christmas Break, and EVERYONE knows the break is coming, and the break is needed and then it is upon you. You enjoy every minute of it, often thinking that some of the days disappeared somewhere along the course of the break. Then you are back at school, resetting routines, knowing that this is the the toughest stretch of the year. Am I right?! Every year, from the return to school in January until Spring Break seems to take a b s o l u t e l y   f o r e v e r. After Spring Break? Regardless of how many weeks that is on a calendar, June appears before anyone had a chance to see it sneak up and then it is time to wrap up the year, finishing it well for the students and falling into summer.

So, that is how it goes. And right now we are just before Spring Break. Remember? That stretch that you think will never end?

Except this year. Something happened. For some completely inexplicable reason the stretch from January until now has zipped by. I am a little concerned for the speed at which we will feel like we are living upon our return.

Oh yeah, except Ramadan starts a week after we return, and that slows everything down.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

(13/31) A Poem

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The slanting light through the palms
as the grit blows through the air.
The temperature hops and skips
up, up, and up some more
to then crash down as the wind fades.
Streetlights, moonlight, slanting sunlight
all pass me by.
Sky clears to blue and can be
not only endured, but enjoyed.
Until the heat or the dust take over
once again.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

(12/31) It Has Arrived!

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It has arrived! The day that I am past ready to crawl into bed and despite keeping my eyes open for something to slice about all day, I am here typing without a plan in mind. It happens to all of us. It happens to our students. I know I have said, "Start writing and see what happens!" Here I am, continuing to write and not sure what will happen. I can tell you I am tired. Thankfully my touch typing (learned on an actual typewriter in high school) comes in handy as I yawn and can't see anything in the process. A moment of the day to zoom in on? I'm not sure. I ended the day with a call to my mom. It is amazing how much harder an eleven hour time difference is than a ten hour one. With the USA springing forward tonight the gap shrinks to ten hours and near daily conversations are easy to have - even for just a few moments. There won't be any more "Will you check if Grandma is up yet?" at dinner until next fall.

Friday, March 11, 2022

(11/31) How Is It Possible?!

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If you remember having to wait for the Cabbage Patch Kid you had paid for to arrive at the store because of the extensive backorder or if you wore one of these...
this post is going to resonate with you. If neither of those things is true, then you may read this post from the perspective of research for your future self.

How is it possible that each day I peer into the magnifying mirror to search for errant hairs, upon finding one I yank it out with the tweezers - barely holding onto the miniscule amount that is protruding, and yet there are still days that all of a sudden a hair appears that is at least a half inch long?!?!

Anyone else?

Thursday, March 10, 2022

(10/31) Life Overseas: Expect the Unexpected

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As the day starts I anticipate a slice appearing while I try to renew my prescriptions. It is probably my least favorite regular part of life about living here. I would love to be wrong on this one. I'll be back with an update.


The good news is that I was only there for three hours, and that included the doctor showing up 1.5 hours late.

Arriving at the final stage, I know to not get too excited. This is often when the pharmacist and I discover the doctor and/or the insurance person didn't do the math correctly and they haven't either prescribed and/or approved the correct amount of at least one of the medications for the days allotted and I have to repeat the previous three steps of the process.

Today, however, the pill count appeared to be correct as I handed the insurance authorization printout to the pharmacy. And then the pharmacist called me over.

Yesterday I had a conversation with two Saudi friends and learned a new word, bahour. Think incense and you are in the ballpark. Unfortunately this next part of the story allowed me to utilize my new vocabulary word.

As I stepped up to the pharmacist's counter, who happened to be at the inside corner of the 'L' configuration that sits in an alcove, I noticed a strong smell - even 
through my N95 mask. Smoke was wafting from behind the post next to her and I quickly backed up as far as I could, though there was a wall behind me and I couldn't get very far. Rapidly pulling a paper out of my bag and fanning the air in front of my face I found myself internally shaking my head at the fact that a pharmacy, inside a hospital, had very odiferous bahour wafting prolifically all over a migraine patient who was there to get more medication to keep her from having migraines.

I'll admit, I was not very polite for the duration of our interaction and I am pretty sure both of us were glad when I scampered out of the hospital, to the 'fresh' air with the remnants of the last dust storm.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

(9/31) Around the Sun

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Birthdays are funny in that the number is the trips around the sun you have completed and yet we tend to celebrate them as a year of something starting. I am more than ready to be fifty, so I am going to claim my 50th trip around the sun, which starts today.

I was also very ready to turn 40. I wonder if it is because my husband is older than I am. I adjust to the new number when he flips to the decade. By the time my turn comes around I feel like I am already part way into it, or playing catch up. 

If we weren't moving from pandemic to endemic I may have had thoughts of grandeur for this year. I am a planner. I could have figured out how to have all kinds of grand adventures to mark the year. There are a few things up my sleeve, which will be much more than my husband got for his, even with trying to reschedule the grand plans and still having to cancel. 

Next week we head off on a family vacation. Our first family odyssey since COVID began. In fact, as of today no PCR or antigen testing is needed for our going, coming, nor layover. It is going to be a grand week, but you'll have to wait until the 18th to hear more about it.

As for today; school, parenting, and a good night's sleep are the plans. My husband offered to do something special for dinner, though with our daughter being one day into her braces, that seems mean. I can wait. We'll celebrate soon enough.

I did stop at the chocolatier's yesterday to bring a bit for everyone on staff today. In this culture it is common for the person whose birthday it is to get something for those around them. Lots of people stopped by today, some dropping things off when I was out of my room. One of my favorites was a set of cards from some first graders for whom I get to teach phonics lessons with. What a great, authentic reason for them to write. They brought twenty some smiles to my face. Yippee for trips around the sun!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

(8/31) Newly Bracketed

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"Guess how old I was when I stopped sucking my fingers." 

She started guessing ages and then realized this was probably not a completely random question, so began looking for the connection.

I squashed her guessing game, "The night before I got my braces off - in 7th grade."

Soft foods and wax, as well as ice water, are the focus as she's adjusting to the brackets and wires taking up space in her mouth as of this afternoon.

"I only had six brackets, total; four in the front," pointing to my top teeth, "and one anchoring each side in the back. It was because I sucked my fingers that I needed braces at all. I had given myself an overbite."

I do have more experience than anyone else in our house with braces at the moment, though with every tooth that is big enough to hold a bracket sporting new hardware in her mouth, her experience is going to be more all encompassing than mine was.

Hoping she could sleep through the night due to tooth pain is something I thought was behind us, but I was wrong.

Monday, March 7, 2022

(7/31) Joy from Kindergarteners - Who Doesn't Want Some of That?!

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Summer of 2020 my daughter did a virtual musical called Super Happy Awesome News. I sometimes have one of the songs surface without realizing it until I find myself singing. Today it's the theme song. When I realized what I was singing I paused to figured out why and realized it is because of this NPR story. Have you seen it? It is Kindergarteners bringing joy to the world through a hotline called "Pep Toc".

What would you give someone as words of encouragement? What would be the pep talk you need to hear today? Have you taken time to be surrounded by laughter - better yet to create a room full of laughter?

With people fighting in lots of places on the planet; the house down the block, the kids on the playground, politicians everywhere, the countries you are praying for - what are you doing to bring joy to the world?

We are in the midst of planning for next year's PD. After looking at data from a student survey we found that open mindedness is one the characteristics in our Profile of Graduates that they rated themselves lowest. I believe that open mindedness is one of the ways to bring understanding among people and therefore increase the likelihood of joy.

How do we facilitate the growth of open mindedness? Is it through allowing for more discussion and debate from a different of perspectives? Is it encouraging people to look at a variety of opinions? I'm not sure those will move the needle without first delving into finding our own biases followed by being comfortable with cognitive dissonance in a safe environment. 

The building of community is the foundation of this work. Each person has to feel safe to be able to express what they believe and what they don't understand in order to be able to have an open mind. Once there is a safe space and self awareness I hope we can truly hear the opinions of and experiences of others. Perhaps then we will be able to find ways to bring joy as well. In the meantime, why not call for a Pep Toc?

Sunday, March 6, 2022

(6/31) Ear Worms

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This was the first weekend since the new West Side Story has been on Disney+ and I mandated a family viewing. Spielberg's reimaging of this classic does not disappoint. The music sounds even better than ever, probably due to our improved sound system from what I grew up with. So, with refrains constantly drifting through my mind and my hips swaying as I dance through the day, I knew I wanted to reflect on my experience. When it comes down to it, I keep coming back to Anita.

Chita Rivera created an iconic role that seemed would never be rivaled. And then came Rita Moreno and that purple dress! And now Ariana DeBose stands equally beside them. The thing is, she literally stands beside Rita Moreno in the film as a role was created for Rita in this version. Instead of Doc it is Doc's widow, Valentina, that runs the store. Who plays Valentina? You guess it, Rita Moreno. To watch both of these women on screen is thrilling. To watch each embody a strong woman who is multilayered is astounding. And Ariana's dancing? Nothing rivals it!

More important than the film or the actors is the representation. The original film left big gaps and this film intentionally worked to fill those gaps. Instead of using makeup to have all of the Sharks be the same color there are dozens of Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent showing the wide range of skin tones: representation. Anybodys is portrayed by a non-binary actor, iris menas. The retelling allows for the trans story to be explicitly included rather than portraying them as a 'tomboy'. When "Tonight" is sung we are hearing the voices of the faces we are seeing. There were community discussions and historic experts brought in to ensure that what we see and hear is an accurate representation of the time and people. And coming back to Anita, (I told you this is what has been happening!) "A Boy Like That" is sun by Ariana rather than a ghost singer. 

I don't want to spoil anything - go to Disney+ as soon as you can. (And the 20/20 documentary is also there. Watch it after you see the film.) I'll be over here with my ear worms and wanna be dance moves.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

(5/31) Ten Things I Know To Be True

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I was inspired by Krista's post here. I've been pondering each of the four lists she has her students use as brainstorming sessions. 

Ten Things I Know To Be True

1) There is no place more beautiful than the Pacific Northwest. (I'm not a fighter, but I would argue with you very strongly about this one!)

2) Number one is true AND the deserts of southern Jordan/Northwestern Saudi are beautiful in an entirely different way. (Image search Wadi Rum, if you need a visual.)

3) Dark chocolate is always worth saying 'yes' to.

4) The harpsichord could be erased from the face of the earth and all recordings and I would be fine with that.

5) Playing handbells brings me great joy.

6) Summer camp is one of the best formative experiences anyone can have.

7) Technology, like many things, is both a blessing and a curse.

8) The movie is never better than the book.

9) Parenting is hard.

10) God loves you (and me) more than we can imagine.

Friday, March 4, 2022

(4/31) One Little Word

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Do you have a One Little Word? (As far as I know this is where OLW started. If my memory has any accuracy, I become aware of OLW through the TWT blog and others slicing about their One Little Word.)

For several years I was not an adopter of OLW. I'm still not sure when I decided I had One Little Word. And I know it wasn't a start of a calendar year kind of thing. I remember we had a consultant visiting our school five or six years ago. She is the one who got me thinking about purpose. It wasn't long before purpose became my focal point, especially around my work at school. A couple of years later I had a PURPOSE banner made. At that point I realized I had my own One Little Word.

Purpose is not going away anytime soon in my conversations with teachers and students and how I organize training and conversations. At the same time I realized I had started pondering a new word often and wondered if it was becoming my new One Little Word.

Today, as I read some slices and poked around in all of the procrastination spots my new OLW kept showing up around the edges of my thinking. I finally acknowledged it and here I am to share with you: impact

When I started my new journal in January (happened to be when the old one was filled) I wrote IMPACT across the first page. (Does anyone else sometimes leave that first page blank, awaiting inspiration for something worthy of the prominent spot in your notebook?) 

I have been thinking about my impact. My impact on student learning. My impact on teachers' practice. My impact on my daughter. My impact on the planet. My impact on those I interact with. All kinds of impact. It's my new OLW.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

(3/31) "Uh, Mom..."

3 of 31 - SOLSC 2022


"Have a great day at school and fun at track!" I say to my daughter as hoists her backpack, heading for the door.

"Are you OK?" I add, looking at her scrunched up face concerned look.



"Your scar...."


"Oh!" I had totally forgotten.

She and I had both forgotten, though we are both fully aware that I had a pacemaker implanted in November. 

February is the time of year where the weather outside is lovely in Saudi, but not yet so warm that we need the AC on. I have taken to doing my workouts at home, in shorts and a sports bra. She isn't usually around when I'm headed to the shower. Though she had seen my scar as it was healing, it is usually under my shirt.

I am glad that simply acknowledging my scar seemed to right her world; her face unscrunched and she bounced out the door. And yet I found myself thinking about my scar, and the pacemaker under it, several more times throughout the day.

I am thrilled to have my pacemaker. I had no idea how much I needed it and the change I have felt is exponentially greater than anything I expected. Science is pretty great! How I feel about my scar is still forming. It was winter. Even my new medical alert bracelet had been under long sleeves until recently. What will it be like in two weeks when I'm wearing bathing suits and tank tops? I'm not sure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

(2/31) Ashes

 2 of 31 - SOLSC 2022

Ashes mark my forehead. They say to the world that something is different, something is happening. The ashes acknowledge the finite reality of current life. They are applied in community with the scorched remnants of the waving palms that accompanied the Hosannas from last spring. The community walked together into the city. Now the community walks together awaiting the return to the city - and then the coming of a new city. Both now and not yet. Both here and somewhere I can't imagine. Lent has begun.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

(1/31) Let's Do This!

1 of 31 - SOLSC 2022

Jumping into the March slicing community with other teachers in my school community brings another level of excitement to my tenth year of the SOLSC. I have had 'a' teacher join me for a year here or there. This year there are seven of us! I have no doubt that the SLOSC community will wrap their arms around these women and that they will grow as writers, commenters, teachers, and as humans - thanks to these 31 days of slicing.

The daily discipline of writing will add to this.
Leaving comments that reflect on other's writing will do this.
Reading about classrooms all over the world will do this.
The range of experiences they will read about will do this.

I am excited that we are all here together. For those of you I have known for years, for those who are joining me from our corner of the world, and for those I have yet to meet - let's do this!