Day 31 of SOLC!

This morning I woke up anxious.  What will I write about?  Today is day 31 and I made it again.   (Year 2)  I need to write about something profound.  I need to write about everything I have learned, everything my students have learned, how much my students have grown this month.  All the way to school and even during our morning meeting, I was listing and discarding ideas for today’s very important slice. 

     Then, not long before lunch, a student made a comment.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  And I realized that this moment would be my slice for today, because this is why I write.  I ♥ working with kids and this challenge gives me the chance to share all of these small moments with other people willing to read them.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.40.11 AM     After a brain/movement break with GoNoodle, our little guy got to go through the “transmogrifier” to grow bigger.  He came out looking like the above picture.  A speech bubble popped up above his head saying, “Inventing is like dividing by zero…you cannot define it.”   I read the speech bubble and immediately a chorus of “What?!” and other confused comments filled the room.

The confusion died down and then one student clarified for everyone, “He is a strong nerd, so we aren’t going to understand what he is saying.”  And that was the end of that…

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI am grateful for this opportunity to share my writing, experiences, thoughts, and stories with an open audience.  Once again, this was a fulfilling experience.  Goodbye SOLC!  Until next year…

And You Can Only Laugh


Strange things happen,

When trapped in a room

with 27 kids…

Things are said,

And you can only laugh.

Stories are written,

And you have to smile.

Mistakes are made

And you forgive.

Frustration is near,

And then they smile.

Doubt creeps in,

And then they smile.

Strange things happen,

When trapped in a room

with 27 kids…

But sometimes…

Strange things happen

when they leave…

Randomly found on the floor at the end of the day…Strange.

Chuck E. Cheese…Where a Kid Can Be a Kid…

And apparently where an adult can be a kid…I’m pretty sure my mom had as much fun, if not more fun, than my son and nephew today!

My son wandered off and I was standing next to my mom.  Mom was contemplating how to earn the most points in the “Milk Jug” game. (I’m not sure what it was actually called?) After a couple tokens she still hadn’t got the ball into the milk jug, only the holes with smaller point values.

The third token in, second or third toss and she got it!  The ball sank into the milk jug and my mom screamed!  “Aahhh!  I got it!”  But she didn’t just scream this repeatedly…she jumped up and down, turned in circles, all while waving her hands wildly in the air.

Apparently you are never too old for Chuck E. Cheese.  You are also never to old to be embarrassed by your mother…



For some reason the topic of geese and/or fears has come up multiple times in the last few days.  For me, these two topics are related because my one fear is geese.  This fear stems from a slice of life that took place at the Brookfield Zoo, three or four years ago…

My son and I were siting on a bench by the fountain, minding our business.  We were playing with the toys he just got from the gift shop, some little plastic animals that cost at least three times what they would at another store.

Suddenly these geese started slowly approaching us.  I noticed them, but figured they would be uninterested because we didn’t have food.  Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to care about the lack of food.  The evil birds continued approaching us until they were pecking at my leg and our backpack.

I pushed the backpack in between the geese and my son, telling him to run.  (This may seem overly dramatic, however this is what happened.)  Once he got away, I climbed backwards over the bench and ran to where my son had stopped.  I grabbed his hand and we walked quickly far, far away from any winged creatures.  And my fear of geese was born…

This fear has only multiplied due to other near attacks by geese, but those are slices for another day!


Confusion = Fun

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hWe wandered the store, no idea where anything was…Where are the bananas?  The bread?   The hummus?

“I found the bananas,” my son announced. Then he started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, confused.

“This is fun!  We don’t know where anything is!”

I am still not so sure why he found it so fun, but his excitement transferred to me.  It was the most fun I have had grocery shopping in a while.  Maybe ever?  🙂

Kids are so perceptive!

“Ms. Bless, I need to show you something,” Al told me during math, while students were practicing math facts using

“Yes?”  I asked.  Something told me that this was going to be a good one.

“Sometimes…sometimes you look like this…” and he turned his computer…

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 9.40.06 AM

“Well Al…sometimes I feel like that!”  I told him, laughing.  In fact, I feel like this a lot lately.  Spring Break can’t come soon enough!  One week left…

“Why is it so quiet? It’s never this quiet!”

“The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write.”  – Gabriel Fielding

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hThe room is silent.  This never happens.  She turns around, “Why is it so quiet?  It’s never this quiet!”

It was silent because every single student was enthralled with her writing.  Our very talented young writer worked during her free moments and at home on an original fictional story.  Her writing included dialogue, narration, vivid word choice and more. It was fantastic!

We are in our second year of implementing writing workshop.  This structure has helped us reach every student:  struggling, accelerated, and in between.   Every student is improving in their writing!

Our young author had two chapters of her story done and now every student (and teacher) is waiting impatiently for the next installment.

When the students teach each other…

When the students teach each other…giving each other strategies, some that we taught and some that they learned themselves…those are the moments that make me feel like I am getting through.  After days yesterday, I need to focus on those moments.

After making it though more half the month of blogging, we have four students that have blogged everyday and many more that have blogged for the majority of the days.  There is so much growth in each student that has been blogging regularly and the other day I overheard one student coaching another.

“You have to check your post in preview now. Just to make sure the picture doesn’t cover up any of your words…that is really important.”

Such a small moment and yet it was a completely unprovoked moment.  It made me feel like I am not just shoving information and strategies down their little throats, maybe I am facilitating and they are learning!


Breakfast of Champions!

I didn’t get much sleep last night, typical Sunday night dreams….I forgot to mark a kid absent…A kid that we don’t actually have in our class.  Woke up to a text that my amazing co-teacher is sick and I will be flying solo today.  (Jill when you read this don’t feel guilty!  I don’t want you at school sick!)  And then I realized that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I better prepare myself for my day alone with 27 kids.  And so I did it…I had a cupcake with my coffee…20150323_044619


My mom is moving to Florida and my sister threw her a surprise party today.  (I still have doubts that she will stay permanently, but only time will tell.)  However, the big surprise was that her little sister came in from Wyoming.

When my mom saw her sister, she screamed hugged her, cried, and didn’t let go.  She just kept repeating, “I love you so much!”  It has been three years since they have seen each other.  I can’t imagine going years without seeing my sisters and so tonight I would like to write them a letter.

I’m in the middle.

Dear Little Sisters,

You are, and always have been, a pain in my behind.  You copied me, teased me, annoyed me.  All for the fun of it.  But, I know that I have told you a fair share of stories (that you may call lies).  I do not apologize for my stories, they were fun!

I know that sometimes we talk and see each other more, and other times less.  However, I promise that no matter what is going on in my life, I will not let three years pass.  I will never be that excited to see you, because I will never go that long not seeing you.

Every time we would argue, Ma would tell us, “You girls need to get along.  One day you will only have each other.”  And of course, she is right.  She is always right.  So, I promise that no matter what arguments we have, I will always be there when you need me…whether you want me there or not.

I love you two!

Your Older Sis