Day 31

I’m going to be honest. I only did this challenge to fulfill my publishing requirements for the Abydos Writing Institute that I’ve been doing since July. At first, I figured that I would just write a few blogs and be done. Boy was I wrong! I got hooked! I’ve never considered myself much of a writer, but after completing this challenge I definitely call myself a writer now!

Before this challenge, I would write lesson plans, on Abydos Days, and… that’s it. Now, I feel like writing is here to stick. Maybe not every day, but definitely more than I was doing. I am so thankful for the Slice of Life March Challenge for pushing my limits! There were days when I felt like I should just not and then my reminder to post would go off and I would try to find at least six words to publish.

Thank you to everyone who read all of my ramblings that turned into something publishable!

Where Do I Begin?

Sitting here staring at my screen

I don’t know where to start

I type a few words

Then quickly delete them

The cursor is taunting

Demanding that I write when I can’t

All of the wrong words are there

But the right words are elusive

It is usually easy

I typically have a lot to say

But today…

My thoughts refuse to become words

Lists are Important

Normally I’m a list maker. I LOVE lists. I have a list for everything. Today, I did not make a list. I ventured to the grocery store without my list. I really only needed hand soap but decided to pick up a few things for the week. I thought I would be okay. I knew what I needed: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, and wine for wine night.

I just kept repeating it: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, and wine for wine night.

I walked in the doors: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, and wine for wine night… and I need milk. That’s it! I’ve got this! Who needs a list?!? Not me!

Aisle One

Internally: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, and milk… and I need eggs to make Buckeye Brownies. Got it! Score! They have salads to go. Check off lunch stuff for two days!

Aisle Two

Still in my head: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs… and cheese from aisle one. I find the wine for wine night, but which one do I choose?!? I know very little about wine. I’ll just pick a cool looking bottle! I need to go back to aisle one for cheese… and cuties.

Back to Aisle One

Mumbling to myself: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs, and cheese. I go to the cuties which are right next to the salads I just picked up. I grab some cheese. Then I remember that I need chips for tutorials this week. I need to add it to my list!

Aisle Two Again

Still mumbling: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs, cheese, and chips. I only need to grab the chips then escape this aisle.

Aisle Three

A little bit louder this time: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs, cheese, and chips. I need bread. Why did I not put this on my list? Why am I in aisle three? I don’t need anything from here. Next aisle.

Aisle Four

Still in a soft voice: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs, cheese, chips, and bread. I see the bread! I’m almost done with my list. Just a few more things. I can’t forget to go to the back and get hamburger patties. I want that this week for dinner!

Last Aisle

In my head again because I’ve got this: hand soap, cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs, cheese, chips, and bread. Just two more things! I can go to the last aisle and skip all of the cleaning stuff and random stuff I don’t need. I want to get home! I find the milk and eggs. This is so easy! Why do I always make lists?!?

Checkout

Repeating in my head one last time to make sure I have everything: cuties, lunch stuff for two days, hamburger patties, wine for wine night, milk, eggs for Buckeye Brownies, cheese, chips, and bread. I have all that I need! I can go home!

At Home

Out loud for all to hear because I am the best non-list making grocery shopper ever: hand soap… not in this bag. Maybe the next bag? Hand soap… not this one. Maybe third times the charm? Hand soap… I forgot hand soap. The one thing I needed from the store and I forgot it! This is why I make lists! At least I have just enough hand soap to last me the next few days so I don’t have to go back right now! As I am writing this post, I remember the other thing I needed that never even made it on the list: brownie mix for Buckeye Brownies. Looks like I’ll be making another grocery store run before Wednesday night!

Life Lessons Learned from Baseball

Opening Day is next week! After realizing this, I started to think about all of the lessons I have learned from the game of baseball and how it can be applied to every day life. While thinking about this, I remembered a piece of writing I had started at the end of last baseball season that had To Be Continued at the end. Knowing that the new season is less than a week away gave me the jump start I needed to finish it…

Baseball… America’s favorite pastime. It goes with hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. It’s about the joys of victory and heartache of defeat. The game has everything you need! 

Music… “It’s time for the 7th inning stretch! Everyone get ready to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame!”

Drama… “Bottom of the ninth. Down by 1. A runner on 3rd. 3 balls and 2 strikes… Here’s the wind-up and the pitch…”

Action… “And the pitcher hits the batter in the hip! Oh that’s gotta hurt! The pitcher and hitter are now exchanging words. The hitter is approaching the mound… And the benches are clearing!” 

Victory… “Here’s the wind-up and the pitch, a big swing and… that ball is out of here! Talk about a walk-off homer! That was a moonshot!”

Defeat… “Here’s the windup and the pitch. A big swing and… a miss. And that’s the ballgame folks. They came close but not close enough.”

Some of life’s biggest lessons can be taught through baseball and from some of the greats who have played. 

Lesson 1: Cheating has consequences. ‘Cough’ Astros ‘Cough’ ‘Cough’

Many times when it is discovered that a team or player has cheated at the game, they are not only fined or suspended, but opposing pitchers exact their revenge with a well placed pitch that is just “a little” inside. This type of revenge often leads to a benches clearing brawl.

Lesson 2: When you are on a team, the needs of the team outweigh the needs of the individual.

In 1939, Lou Gherig voluntarily ended his streak of playing 2,310 games in a row because it was in the best interest of the team. He didn’t keep playing just to prove he could, he wanted his team to win. That is the true definition of: “There’s no I in TEAM”.

Lesson 3: Find the silver lining in everything.

Lou Gherig ended his streak because of his failing health. Instead of being angry at the world, he ended his farewell speech with these words, “I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

Lesson 4: Even after a tough loss, there is another game tomorrow. 

Just because one bad thing happens to you, you don’t have to give up. Tomorrow is a new day to try again.  

Lesson 5: Take chances.

As Babe Ruth said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Why should failure stop you from trying?!? You can always learn something from failure.

I’m sure that there are many more lessons that can be learned from baseball, but they will have to wait for another day!

Today is NOT Friday

It’s 5:20 am and this annoying sound is interrupting my wonderful dream. It won’t go away. So I wake up and realize that it’s Friday which means it is History Day at school. It’s my favorite day of the week. I get to wear jeans and the kids love this day. They have been waiting for weeks it seems like to get back to History Day FriYay!

It’s now 5:21 am and I look over at where my clothes are hanging up for the day. The first thing I see, dress pants. Why did I pull out my gray pants for Friday when I can wear jeans? I wouldn’t make a mistake like this! Quick… think back to what I did yesterday! I had History Day on a Wednesday because I’m going to be out Friday morning. I stayed late for tutorials. But if it was History Day on a Wednesday and I had tutorials, that must mean that today is… Thursday and not Friday.

Wednesday’s Wonderings

Today is brought to you by the questions what and why!

What are you doing? Why are you doing that?

What are you supposed to be doing? Why aren’t you doing that?

What are you doing now? Why are you doing that?

What did I ask you to do? Why haven’t you started yet?

What do you mean you don’t know? Why didn’t you look at the board?

What day is it? Why is it only Wednesday?

What time is it? Why is it only 9:00 in the morning?

What…? Why…?

This Wasn’t in the Lesson Plan

I’ve been spending the last few nights working on lesson plans and trying to get ahead. Trying to map out what the rest of the year is going to look like, because state testing is right around the corner. I fully understand that lesson plans are important, but sometimes… there is more to learning than what is written down in the lesson plan. Sometimes… we take a detour and end up far away from where we had planned. Sometimes… the questions lead to new learning opportunities. Sometimes… students need a little more help than what we anticipated. Sometimes… they understand faster than predicted. And sometimes… we just have to take a step back and remember that they are kids.

So many times, we are focused on data driven instruction and where they currently are, where they have to be, and on creating plans to help them get where they need to be by the end of the school year. We sometimes forget that they are only 10 and 11 years old and in the 5th grade.

Today, I was reminded that sometimes… leaving the lesson plan behind and just letting them take a minute to get recentered is important. One of my students (who can sometimes be a little rambunctious) was not themselves this morning. Typically, they are all over the room and having to be redirected throughout the entire RtI block. This morning they just sat there. When I called them over to me, I asked what was wrong and all they could do was shrug. They had no clue what was wrong just that they were not feeling it today. At this point, all I could think about was that we are six weeks from the state test and every minute counts. But then I remembered: sometimes… you need to take a step back and remember that they are a kid.

So, I asked if they just wanted to run errands for me and sit next to me so it looks like I’m “working” in case the principal walks in. (I know that my admin. would understand that I was sitting with the student and doing anything but reading, but the student needed to feel like they were helping me more than I was helping them.) The relief on their face was instantaneous. They thought that I was going to make them work no matter what. Instead, this student ran a few errands and sat with me so it looked like I was “working”. I would love to say that when they left after the RtI block that they were their typical self, but they weren’t. So I made them promise that they would try in first period and if they still weren’t feeling it when they came to me for second period that they would only have to do the bare minimum. I wouldn’t call on them unless they raised their hand or ask them to work in a group, they would just have to show they were paying attention.

I know that there are days when adults just don’t feel it and only do the bare minimum. I know that I am guilty of this. So why, do we sometimes forget that kids just don’t feel it either?!? I hope that after today, I remember that sometimes… throwing the lesson plan in the trash and going with what the day brings is perfectly fine.

When the Pencil Thief Strikes

Arguably the smallest place in my childhood home, it holds some of my more interesting memories. The bar separated the kitchen from the living room. According to my mom, it was once a bookshelf that closed off both rooms. Right after they moved in, WAAAAY before my time, they had someone come in and take it out. They decided they would leave the bottom half in creating the bar.

One of my first memories of  being at the bar revolves around a pencil thief and a trip to the hospital when I was about 3 years old. My brother, 8 years old at the time, hereby known as Pencil Thief, had shown me how to jump from the bar stool and land on my feet. He had me practice so many times that I felt like I could do it in my sleep! We had even practiced with my eyes closed!  Later that afternoon, Pencil Thief said he needed to “borrow” a pencil. I knew that was code for, “Take the only pencil you have and keep it for eternity!” (Insert evil 8 year old laugh). He was so smooth talking that he convinced our mom that he “needed” it for this thing called homework that he would do at the bar. 

When Dad got home from his busy job of doing… something important at the school, we had supper. Pencil Thief had left the pencil and his homework sitting on top of the bar for everyone to see. While everyone was busy enjoying their dessert in the living room, I snuck into the kitchen and climbed up onto the bar stool. I grabbed the pencil, did a SMALL victory dance, and then… jumped off.

The Pencil Thief started to yell! I laid on the floor trying to figure out what had gone wrong. Why didn’t I land on my feet? That’s how we practiced! I didn’t know my arm could bend that way! When I stood up, my mom started to “calmly” freak out. Pencil Thief started to look sick. As for my dad, he was as calm as he could be. He told my mom to go get the pillow from their room and bring it to him. He told my brother to go call our friends from down the street to let them know that he was going to need to stay with them for a little bit. 

Once we got the pillow under my arm we loaded up, dropped Pencil Thief off at our friends’ house and went to the ER. I thought all little kids’ arms created a U-shape when they fell down on it. The doctor informed me that wasn’t the case! After taking FOREVER to take pretty pictures of my funny looking arm, I was sent home with a sling and a trip to a special doctor planned for the next day.

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