Friday, March 31, 2017

March 31: Things to know if your kids are my teenagers

Things I should know more about, because they matter to my children:

Do you know who Casey Neistat is? He's a New York City-based vlogger who my son adores. Casey uploaded a video blog post (a vlog) every day for 300+ days, and not just him in front of a computer. The guy is all about incredible production (music, drones, world travel). Well, he took a vlogging hiatus, but now -- he's back! And my son is back online, consuming a lot of Casey again (and he's not alone -- some of his videos have 15,000,000 views!).

Rookie (online and in annual Yearbooks) was founded by fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson. Rookie publishes a ton of content (I would say female focused, but I betcha my daughter would push back on that), and the talk is straight-up honest and covers it all -- sex, drugs, rock and roll. 

Instagram. Snapchat. Vsco. My kids love these apps, and I can't figure out Snapchat for the life of me. And now kids have Finstagram Accounts (their "fake" Instagram identities). And I'm way lost, seeing way too much skin, and wondering if Snapchat is replacing real conversation. At least VSCO seems artsy (she says naively).

Chance the Rapper. Glad he gave Chicago schools a big check. Not sure I should allow this to be my son's first concert (without us), but that's the almost daily discussion in my house right now. It's six weeks away. I better start figuring this out, and I don't think a "No; because I said so." is gonna work here.

Keeping up with my kids and their passions is part of how I stay connected to them, but I do find I need to be careful not to seem too informed or too excited about "their" things -- I try to take their lead, grateful when the door is open, and keep my cool without asking too many "mom" questions!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30: An acrostic poem (I know, I know!) to celebrate slicing

(We are going to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime tonight, so I'm slicing SUPER EARLY for me, because I know I'll be tired tonight.)

Listen up, my friends!
I've got big news
Since we last spoke (OK, I kept it a secret, it's true)
And it may surprise you...

(It definitely
Surprised me.)

After many years of supporting teachers with workshop, and supporting students with workshop, I am now a

Realizing I wouldn't do it on my own,
I jumped into Slicing. I stuck with it. And
Thanks to this writing community,
Every day this month, I put pen to paper. The month is ending, but April 4 will be here soon. A new Slicer is born. A writer is here. I'm
Ready to keep going.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March 29: The Queen has spoken -- books for everyone!

Today, I got to read aloud in two multiage K-2 classrooms. I read Cannonball Simp by John Burningham and Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña.
If I was queen of the world:
* Every classroom would have a robust classroom library. New teachers would have a library mentor to help them ensure quality. There would be some guidance on how to develop this library, plenty of baskets and shelving, and a cozy rug, a lamp and a few beanbag chairs, too. Some books might be leveled; some organized in genres. But many are organized by the kids themselves, to help build their ownership and investment.
* Children would be able to take books home. If they were lost, it would be OK. No threats, no "no more books for you."
* Every teacher would get $100 for new books the 1st of each month. They would be delivered by the 5th.
* At the beginning of each year, and then at the beginning of each quarter, each teacher would get a set of new books -- the top recently released books to inspire, build communities of readers, dazzle with knowledge presented in interesting, engaging ways. (Choosing these books is a special honor for a group of teachers; the committee rotates every two years.)
* Every day, there would be read aloud at least twice. Guest readers are the norm, too -- parents, family members, visitors, the principal. It's not a special thing, it's just how we do business.
* After we read, we might draw or share a response. We might write a review or take a picture of the book and put it on our list to read again. We might compare it to other books or gobble up everything by this author. Or we might just sit in quiet appreciation and let the book be in our heart.
Yes... just planning this makes me feel better... the library is the soul of the classroom and without amazing books, I would never be able to teach. So I'm going to be running for queen of the world soon! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March 28: Three Little Words Collection

I am tired.

A full day
Coaching engaged teachers
Assessing growing readers.

Three phone calls,
Supporting leaders and
brainstorming possible solutions.

A nonstop inbox
That needs attention.
Too many "urgents"!

A full workout
14 grueling miles,
yet feeling good.

Last minute stop
Picking up groceries
And late dinner.

Finally sitting down
And putting together
Three little words.

This writing habit
Is getting easier
At day 28!

I am grateful.

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27: Secret Slicer

So, here's the deal: I haven't told anyone I'm slicing.

Well, that's not totally true -- I've read one post to my husband, and he knows I'm doing something with a blog. And I also told a random person visiting a school (in from NYC) who asked me "if I was a writer" and I replied "Well, not really, but there is this crazy slicing thing I'm doing this month!"

And it IS crazy because:

* I love sleep. I love it so much. I'm 51 and I'm OLD! I've gone from needing 6, then 7 and now 8 beautiful hours of sleep a night, and when you slice, YOU GET LESS SLEEP! You're not only creating your post, but drawn into others', too -- not just 3 comments (that's the bare minimum), but I'm always finding a teacher-writer who has a voice that I admire, a story I want to learn from, a blog that draws me in. So if you're slicing, be ready to give up those zzzzz's.

* I'm not a writer! But wait -- 27 days of posting. Twenty-seven new ideas, and at least two comments/day means 54 READERS (albeit strangers). So, maybe that's not crazy, because if you write every day, and people read what you write, then you may be, by definition, a writer. So I. May. Be. A. Writer.

* This is hard work! And not just the time commitment (see "less sleep", above), but the work of drawing out ideas. Of writing drafts and rejecting them; crafting ideas then abandoning them as they lack substance; even scribbling notes and struggling to find those elusive post-its at the bottom of your backpack. But just like working out, if you plank every day for 10 seconds, eventually you can add 2 seconds. Then 2 more. And your new muscles make you proud (but not proud enough to share -- I'm still a secret slicer!), because your daily hard work is paying off, even if only you and 54 strangers can see it.

* Your heart gets involved. How many of you wrote about loved ones? About the heartache of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's death? About losses and sadnesses and terrible, horrible, no good very bad days? Yep, I see your hands going up. When we write, those emotions race to our finger tips and tap onto our screens and before we know it, our words & our heart are tangled on the page. Sometimes, that makes us feel better. Other times, less so. But that is part of our task, if we are to truly become writers -- to share/show our emotions, and to invite our reader into our hearts.

So maybe I will tuck this blog away until it's time for slicing in 2018 and be oh-so embarrassed when I see how green my writing is; how I lack muscle and how tired I sound. Or maybe, just maybe, I will find a way to share it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 26: Food diary

Today's food diary:

Breakfast: a cheddar/scallion scone with corn meal at our neighborhood bakery with a very strong latte; it was savory yumminess. Saw a friend, stayed at bakery for an hour, leading to half a sticky roll, split with my husband. Conversation on effective teaching, effective parenting of teens, effective caring for parents as they age. No wonder I needed that extra sticky bun.

Snack: six water crackers dipped in spicy carrot hummus eaten to stave off hunger before heading to the gym. Delish! Watch Chopped Junior while riding bike at gym. Wish I'd eaten more. 

Back from gym: one piece of Honey Baked Ham from the Honey Baked Ham store (a super-special treat for my son that I snapped at my husband for eating earlier; so I had to sneak my piece!) and a huge glass of milk. A slice of bakery bread -- Pullman loaf, one of our favorites. Add cheese to shopping list -- grilled cheeses tomorrow, for sure.

Dinner out with friends: blood orange margarita with salt on the rim, the perfect balance to the sweetness and a decadent treat for a "school night". Incredibly rich lobster enchilada with crema sauce. And lots of chips dipped in the sauce. What creamy deliciousness this main course was, so no dessert needed.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25: So far today

So far today... I woke up before my alarm, a New Yorker on the pillow next to me... must've fallen asleep reading.

Since I'm the only one home, I had half a chocolate cupcake and some leftover pasta for breakfast. I was bummed to see we were out of milk. Made a quick grocery list.

I talked to a friend about her job search. We practiced how to ask someone for an informational coffee without sound too "down" on your current job. We made a Google doc with over 10 ideas of people to contact. We promised to talk again for a few minutes tomorrow. When we got off, I said a quick prayer for her success.

I've done 3 loads of laundry:
  stinky workout clothes
  stinky 14 year old boy clothes
  flannel sheets that I think I'll now tuck away until next fall.

I had a super quick chat with my husband and son, away on their ski trip for 12 more hours. They are squeezing in a half-day on slopes in Utah before they come home to me. I can't wait to see them, but I suspect they will bring stinky laundry home with them. And I probably won't be having cupcake for breakfast tomorrow.

I cleaned out our two disgusting refrigerator drawers. ICK! How did they get so moldy? When do other people find time to clean out their fridge? Am I hoarding old cheese on purpose? Must not let this happen again. Such a gross surprise.

I folded a load of laundry and set aside workout clothes -- they didn't even go back in the drawer, so when my alarm goes off in 9 minutes, it will be super easy to shift to gym time.

So far today... I found 3 podcasts I want to listen to, but my tech was fritzy, so I decide to slice before noon!