Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Slice 31

Thirty-one! I have never done non-required writing for thirty-one straight days before!

Anyway, I have been thinking about this challenge a lot. When I was in grad school, I really got serious about starting to run. In November, I signed up for a marathon that would take place the following November. I did most of my running on the treadmill and did some cross training. I picked a time where I would move to running mostly outside and found a plan I would try to follow. Come that following August, I moved out of state to a brand new place completely by myself and started my first year of teaching. I didn’t want running to become a source of stress, so I backed off to the half-marathon. And that November, I ran a half marathon!!

The next year, I moved up from the primary grades and started teaching 4th grade. This was a very writing-intense grade, and my students were no where near ready for it. And it hit me- writing is like running. No way could I have gone out on my first day and run 10 miles. I had to build up for it. It wasn’t too awful hard because before I had started running, I had been going to the gym and doing other things for about three years prior.

So when I had a parent come to me concerned about the fact that I was making kids write, and her kid just wasn’t good at it, I used my running metaphor. I told her we are going to have to make an effort to write more, to get ourselves used to it. We’re going to have to do a lot of bad writing to get to the good writing. And then, even after we get to the good writing, we’ll still have bad writing days. And that’s ok.

Well how does all of that fit into this challenge? I have been thinking about my posts each day. I kind of just sit down, write, and push publish. I definitely want to move away from that and put more focus and effort into my writing. But this is like starting to run. I need to start trying, start building up my stamina. I need to get used to trying to find things to write about, and then actually write about them. I have some drafts saved that I want to revisit later. I want to keep this “writing thing” up and see myself as a writer.

The really funny thing to me? Stress really did take over my life and running became stressful for me. My runs would never “good enough” for me and I kind of just let it fall. I do some running, but I’m always disappointed at what I’m not capable of doing. Yesterday it hit me- I need to think about my running like I’m thinking about my writing. Right now, whatever writing I can do is enough- it’s more that I did last month. I’m going to have to start over with my running, and that’s ok. So, I kind of went from a runner who used running to help me think about writing to a “writer (?)” who is using writing to help me think about my running.

Now, to think about what I will write about on Tuesday…

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Slice 30

I am usually way too good at looking at the negative. In fact, as I left the gym today, I focused mostly on the fact that I am nowhere close to where I used to be, instead of the fact that I did one machine longer than I have in about a year and I actually went when the gym opened today instead of putting it off for tomorrow. I focused on the fact that I didn’t run and instead used one of the machines, and not on the fact that I exercised and I pushed myself.

Which is why I was so happy that it hit me what a beautiful day it is outside when I was driving home. I had the windows down some, felt the wind on my face, and listened to a good song on the radio, and I just thought about how perfect this moment is. How nice and lovely and gee I wish I could just keep driving. I was stopped at a light just enjoying the moment, and enjoying myself for being positive, when the light turned green and I started to move and then an ambulance came blaring down and I had to stop in an awkward place in the road to let it pass and of course the light was then red and I was in this weird place in traffic and…at least no one honked at me and I was able to really truly enjoy at least five minutes of my day. ūüėČ

Slice 29

Swirl, swirl, swirl around
All of these thoughts,
Will they ever settle down?

I can’t even think straight right now. Cleaning then grading, and then repeat times a lot. Please remind me why we have our unit projects due at the end of the quarter. For more than one subject. How have we not learned any better yet!? And then I came home to work on my portfolio.

Swirl, swirl, swirl around!! 

Slice 28

Tomorrow I have a work day. I had intended to have my report cards completely done and take tomorrow off. Yeah no. I have been¬†exhausted¬†at the end of each day (actually by like 10 in the morning some days…) and have had to just leave.

But I kind of actually like work days. A day off from the kids, and many of the other staff members. I don’t work well at home, so it’s good to have a place to go to that doesn’t have a lot of distractions. I have already started a list of things to do and am looking forward to crossing all the items off.

I also enjoy a lot of the others that come in during work days, even though the total number of people there is small. And I really love the hour (to two…or three) hour lunches that we get to have on workdays!!

Slice 27

I’m very list-y today, so today’s slice will be a list.

  • I’m thinking about moving to a binder system next year for my students. I piloted it this year with a few of mine, and most are a hot mess. I’m thinking kids might need 2- one for the first half of the day and one for the second. Ugh.
  • I’m moving from a classroom to a trailer next year. Will¬†definitely need to work on organization! With both kids and myself!
  • Finally realizing (or admitting?) I don’t have a strong enough fitness base to do the running I want to. When I first started running, I had already been going to the gym regularly for a few years and did about a good hour of cardio followed by some strength 5-6 days a week. I’m lucky to do 30 minutes 3-4 days now. So why am I always way more tired these days?!? Need to fix this!
  • Everyone is done. Even one of my teammates who is always positive and keeps pushing us along admitted she is done and ready for break!
  • I forgot I have an assignment due next Monday for the class I am taking. Friday all be all grading and finishing report cards. Saturday should be about this assignment. Then Spring Break will be…sleep?

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!

Slice 26

I have done SOL writing in my class for a few days now. It always goes so much better when some of my class is pulled for TD. A few other kids are pulled for a few other things, so I have 13 or 14 kids left. I have them sit in a circle, and honestly I think that is one of their favorite things. Today most of my kids who were left were really on. I would like to continue this in my class after Spring Break, and I’m trying to decide how to do it. Do I want to do it on one specific day each week? Do I want to try to get them to do it 2-3 times a week? As homework on their own using kidblog? I don’t think that last one will stick.¬†

I would like to spend more time on certain things, but I feel so smooched for time already, I don’t know how to fit this in. But I¬†want¬†to. Ugh! I am also very low on energy, so I’m hoping I’ll be more energized after the break.

I also found out I will be changing grade levels next year, so I will have a brand new curriculum (again!) next year. I’m actually excited for the grade change and hoping it will go well!

Slice 25

I believe it was February. My class was working on writing fictional pieces, and I needed to make sure they all had a piece they could publish. As I was speaking with each kid, I came to one who absolutely hates to write. He’s always one-and-done, so this would be interesting. I asked him if he had a piece in mind and he nodded yes. What was it about? A school bombing. I’m not the wisest person, but I’ve learned enough to know to not just say no, so I asked him, “Student, may I ask why you chose that topic?” And this is what he said:

“Well, I was watching the news last month, and they were talking about the Conn. school shooting. I had completely forgotten about that, but the minute they said it I thought to myself, ‘I¬†have¬†to write about that!'”

This was a kid who lives no where near the place where the shooting happened, but I know he was affected by it. He’s one of my older kids and tries to act tough, but when we had our practice lockdown he had dozens of questions. He was using the writing unit to work through his thoughts and feelings. And thank goodness I knew enough to not say no whenI first heard his topic.

This kid also never stuck with a piece of writing or did any revising in his life. Two or three weeks later I sat down with him and asked what revisions he made. He had given his characters names and added dialogue. “Why?” I asked.

“Well, I was talking with my writing group and they said they were getting confused because they never knew who I was talking about because no one had names. Then, they said dialogue could help give more information about what people were thinking and could give details in a more interesting way.”

WHAT WHAT WHAT?!? He stuck with one piece of writing for weeks, he actual listened to feedback from others and made changes to his writing that actually did make it better. And in the end, he turned in a piece of work that he was proud of an wanted others to hear.

Huge success in my mind!

Slice 24

I really love Spring and Summer. I’m usually always cold, so I think I just enjoy being a little less cold during those months. I also enjoy being able to be outside. I love it when I am able to get up early and run before I start my day (we’ll see if that happens this year!). I love being able to have the windows open- that reminds me of my mom for some reason.

But today, I keep thinking about fall. I also love fall. ūüôā It’s football season, which could be fun but is usually very frustrating for me. But two things keep coming back to me.

There is a memory I have of walking down the stairs and into the kitchen. I am either in upper elementary school or starting middle school. It’s on the chilly side and I’m getting ready to go to school. For some reason, it just all feels right. My mom babysat, and there was a boy that got dropped off before school. He had on a denim jacket. I have no idea why, but I wanted one of those so bad! I don’t know what it is about that moment- the feeling of the breeze coming in from the window, that fall smell, the dark blue denim, the colors of the leaves on the trees…

And one of my other fall memories is when I visited the school I eventually attended for college. I thought I would hate it, but I went because it was in state and too good of a school to not look at. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and the town has small mountains surrounding it. All the trees had colorful leaves on them, and the brick buildings had the glow of lights coming from them. The students walked around looking happy  and busy and I just knew that it was a place that I wanted to be. 

I wonder what other random thoughts and memories will pop into my head today!

Slice 23

Today…

Today was supposed to be a productive day. There is a lot I need to do on my computer. But both my cable and internet are out. I need to wait at home for a repair person to come. I’m sitting at a place eating my breakfast and trying to use as much time as possible (I hate sitting in a place for more than ~30 minutes- I keep checking to make sure there are still empty tables available!)

I need to email some principals my resume. I need to look at the curriculum, because if I stay at my school, I have the option of moving up a grade. I want to make the best choice for me. I need to do my taxes. I need to get myself to the gym. I need to grade a crap-ton of papers. 

I need to relax!!!

One day, I will write a much better post. I just want to get my thoughts out and post them now, as I might now have internet access again today. Hmmmm hmmmm hmmm. One day, life will play nice with me!

Slice 22

This one has nothing. I was all ready to go when I got home from a looooong day, and both my cable and internet are out. I decided to see if a friend wanted to go to dinner and she did, just 40 minutes after I called. So we went. We had fun. It ended with lots of laughter. I stopped here on my way home to write this short post and post it. Commitment!