Tag Archives: Slice of Life Story

Is this illegal?

20 Jun

I had a list of errands a mile long. That’s why I was sitting in my car, in front of the library, waiting for it to open. I was running a bit ahead of schedule, but, as this was only stop number two of eight, I wasn’t cocky over over-confident. I knew this was temporary.

I had a few minutes to kill, so, as I sat listening to The Underground Railroad, I decided to look through my wallet to see what Items I should remove before my upcoming trip to Chicago. I usually only like to carry the cards I need, and an emergency credit card. As I riffled through the items tucked into pockets, my eyes caught sight of my car insurance card, and they bugged out of my head. The expiration date was two weeks ago.

I calmed myself down, closed my eyes and tried to remember if the new cards had come in the mail. I couldn’t see them in my mind’s eye, but remembered receiving the list of   E-Z Pay dates and amounts that would be deducted from my account. Okay,  I thought, calming a little, they haven’t closed my account, so I’m still good.

I tried to remember receiving the big envelope that arrives annually, but couldn’t. That didn’t mean it hadn’t come. Knowing they were planning to deduct the payments, I was sure it had to be at home. I was nervous, but planned to look for the cards as soon as I got home. If they were there, they’d be in one of two places.

The library opened and I got my holds. Driving to complete the next six errands, I was nervous, worrying that, with an expired insurance card in my car, this would be the time something happened. Nothing did.

When I got home I looked in the first of the two places…and there was that lovely large envelope that I;d never opened. I tore it open and there were the cards. I carefully tore along the perforations and put one card in my wallet and another in an enveloped labelled  INSURANCE 2017-18, to be placed in the glove compartment later. Then, I sat, and finally relaxed.

slice-of-life_individual

 

 

 

A conversation overheard, then understood

6 Jun

The buzz of conversation filled my classroom as the 5-minute break began. Sixth graders clustered in groups and their energy was palpable. Well, there are only three weeks of school left, I thought as I bustled about the room getting things ready for the second half of our 2-hour block.

I scanned the room, looking for trouble (there was non) and paid vague attention to their conversations, until I heard one that piqued my interest.

“Oh gosh!” exclaimed a popular girl. “I have learned SO much this year.More than I learned in all my years of elementary school.”

WOW!  I thought. These kids really recognize and appreciate how hard their teachers work. I felt really proud of myself and my team. We had taken this group of highly gifted young people and given them the educational challenge they needed. Yeah us!

And then I overheard the rest of the conversation.

“I am the most corrupt person in my family,” she went on, bragging, and I realized that she was not talking about the formal education we’d been providing for the last 8 months. She was talking about the informal learning she’d picked up from her peers about life and how it all works. My heart dropped.

And then I laughed at myself.

slice-of-life_individual

A tough weekend – #SOL17

30 May

I live in Portland, Oregon.

It was a tough weekend.

Bad news Friday night about racist comments and death on the Max.

Sunday, I woke up to the neighborhood next to me cordoned off because of police activity. Residents were to shelter in place and had to be escorted to and from their homes most of the day.

Monday dawned grey and gloomy, but, by late afternoon, the clouds had burned off and the sun was shining giving us perfect Memorial Day weather.

It is as though we hit bottom and were on the way up again.

Over the last few weeks, my team and I have had a series of meeting with a couple of families. One kid in particular had me very worried. He hit bottom about two weeks ago. Fortunately, school and family noticed and we have put some things in place to help him and he has seemed happier.

We’ve been having some troubles at school too, and each grade has had a presentation about empathy. As a follow-up, instead of doing what I’m supposed to do in my Enrichment class, I am teaching lessons from  The Educator Collaborative’s Global Kind Project.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 5.39.04 AM

I will be honest and say that Enrichment is not my favorite part of my week. I teach it every other day and it is a mix of 6th graders from all halls and teams. And yet, doing the activities and reflective practices the project talks about has made it so that I am enjoying this class far more than I have over the last two years. I am now planning how I will use these activities to start Enrichment next year.

 

Both the student and my city have some work to do, but I think we are up to the challenge.

 

 

Not counting down

16 May

I’m not counting down to the end of the year yet.

Really.

There are six weeks of school left. It would be absurd to start counting down now.

But my brain can’t help it. It looks for patterns and makes connections. When my last morning traffic direction duty ended two weeks ago, my brain noted that I could check it  off my list of things that I finished for the year. And so it began.

Here, then, are the end of the year stats I have been thinking about lately, looking down from 10,000 feet.

Six weeks of school left

Only one five day week of school to go

Four more Mondays

Two more Fridays

One more staff meeting

Three more PLT meetings

Two SBAC tests

12 more Enrichment classes to teach

25 more days of school

slice-of-life_individual

Life’s little ironies

9 May

I placed my groceries on the conveyor belt and sighed. After a long day at work, I was almost home.

The cashier finished checking the people in front of me, but, as I pushed forward she said, “Give me a minute. I have a mess to clean.”

I looked to where she went, under the end of the conveyor, where you stashes the basket you carry by hand. The basket that had been stowed there was oozing eggs. The cashier made three trips to and fro, getting more paper towels and spray cleaner. She grumbled a little about people who don’t mention problems and leave messes for other people to clean and I commiserated.

I didn’t have many items, and I was checked out quickly, with two paper bags in the shopping cart. Portland is plastic bag free. I parked the cart and carried my bags to my car, looking back to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind. Nope. I was good to go.

When I got home, I quickly tossed the frozen berries into the freezer and the yogurt into the fridge, then took Lucy for our afternoon constitutional. I would unpack the rest of the groceries when we got home.

I fed Lucy when we got home, then started unpacking the rest. It went a little faster that I expected, then poured myself a glass of mineral water. It had reached 72ºF in Portland!

I don;t know what caused the niggle in my brain. But something called me back to the fridge. Hey, where were my lemons?  I pulled out my receipt and sure enough they were on there, but they weren’t in my fridge. Weird. I looked over the receipt once more. Holy cow!  Two other items on the receipt were missing: celery and carrots.

The grand total was just over five dollars worth of veggies, but the pain in my life was huge. I was in no mood to run back to the store (though I did check the car, just in case.) So, I took the only action I could – I sent an email using the comments form on the store’s website. A feeble effort, but I let them know that it wasn’t the value of the items, it was the value of my time that was the bigger loss.

In the aftermath, I thought about the fact that, driving home, I’d been thinking over the fact that I didn’t really have a good Slice of Life story.  Ha! I thought, too, about the cashier, who had complained about people not doing the right thing. Ha! Ha! Life sure is full of irony, isn’t it.

slice-of-life_individual

Oops, I did it again

2 May

It should have been a simple process.

When I came to the page in my checkbook reminding me it was time to reorder new ones, I simply got online, went to my banking site and clicked the reorder button.

When asked for a shipping address, I was about to type in my home address, but I got to thinking. Since the last order in 2014, there had been a few package thefts in the neighborhood. I decided I would simply have the package delivered to school, where it would either be delivered directly to the office, or to our locked box near the school’s entrance. A much safer option than having them left on my stoop.

Within 24-hours, I had an email announcing my success.

Within a week, I had a letter from my bank asking me to call them about the order.

I called, curious as to what the issue might be, and spoke with a very nice young man, who dug deep and found my order. He asked me to verify my address. Check. He asked me to verify my shipping address. And here was the problem. The shipping address didn’t match. Weird.

My brain erupted in a fury of synapse firing. What had I entered for address? And then it hit me. My “new” school where I have been for almost 2 years, is on a street whose name begins with an L. So was my old school. So, I gave him a new address: my “new” school number with my “old” school street. BINGO!

I’ve made this mistake before, but had always caught it. This time, apparently, I missed it. The young man was now able to fix my order. As he worked we chatted about middle school. He told me I wouldn’t have enjoyed having him in my class. He also told me he was a veteran and had just been accepted into a university program to finish a degree he had started a while ago. It was a lovely conversation. In a matter of minutes, my problem was solved and we said good-bye. I wished him luck and success as he started down his new path.  With any luck, I will have my new checks in a week and a never make that mistake again.

slice-of-life_individual

The Case of the Anonymous Commenter

25 Apr

They don’t teach handwriting analysis or crime scene investigation in teachers college. Those are skills good teachers just pick up along the way.

I had to call on these superpowers last week in The Case of the Anonymous Commenter.

You see, we have a classroom tradition. At the end of a writing unit everyone displays their finished product and students wander the classroom, take a seat and read a person;s paper. When they have finished reading they make a positive comment that acknowledges a move the writer has made. After reading and commenting on one piece, they get to take two cookies.

We like to splurge when we celebrate writing.

The kids know the rules: Sign your actual name. Comment on the moves. No ‘suggestions’ or criticism.

Well, last Tuesday, we celebrated the end of our sci-fi mini unit. The room had a minty scent because I bought mint Oreos. What I really wanted to buy was alien head cookies at a bakery, but, with 600 6th graders in two classes, that was not in the budget. Minty Oreos, green like alien heads, were. In any case, students were milling around absorbed in the creativity of their peers, munching their Oreos. It was good. All too soon, it was time to wrap things up.

“When you finish the story you are reading,” I announced in my best Lt. Uhura voice, “please return to your seat and take a few minutes to look over the comments you have received. When you have finished reading the comment, staple them to you paper, turn it into the basket, and take your break. ”

I looked around the room monitoring student behavior. A quiet girl came up to me, her paper in hand.

“Someone didn’t sign their name,” she said, concern in her voice.” They just put anonymous.”

I looked at the paper. Indeed, someone had signed something other than their name, for written on the line for a name, was  “anonomous”. Interestingly, the comment was actually quite complimentary. It turned out she was not the only recipient of  an anonymous comment.

Break buzzed with the mystery of who the anonymous commenter might be. I overheard a conversation and knew which papers to start with to solve the mystery.

When the students returned from break, they got started on their Social Studies project while I got to work sleuthing. I took the stack of papers from the basket and found the ones with Anonomous’ comments. All in the same handwriting. Then, I looked through the others, paying special attention to the one belonging to the name I’d overheard at break. Sure enough, there was a match. In fact, he used some of the same words in his comments, anonymous and signed. I had him. The funny thing was, all of his comments were kind and supportive. I didn’t really understand why he hadn’t signed his name.

While the class worked, I sauntered over to his table feeling like Miss Marple must, just before cracking a case. I crouched beside the boy and simply asked, “Are you Anonymous?”

He reddened and spluttered, “Yes, but…. I….” and didn’t really know how to excuse his crime. I complimented him on his comments, reminded him that he should always sign his own name, then I slipped him a sticky note.

“By the way, ” I said, a smile on my face. “This is the correct way to spell anonymous.

slice-of-life_individual

 

 

 

 

 

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Teaching Thinking

It's what our world needs now.

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

indent

"When you know better, you do better" Maya Angelou

Always Going Home

Writing from a writing teacher

Ancient Arts Yarn

Nature | Inspiration | Glorious Colours!

Writing Workshop Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

2015 YA & MG Debut Authors

Leaping to your bookshelves in 2015!

Sixteen To Read

YA and MG books debuting in 2016

The Sweet Sixteens

2016 Young Adult and Middle Grade Debut Authors

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

What's Your Opinion?

A site to state what YOU think!

Love.Life.Read.

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

%d bloggers like this: