Guilt – Yep!  It’s a common emotion for me, a single working mom.  In Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan has a whole chapter about guilt, parental guilt.  “I feel guilty, gulity when I drop them off at school.  I feel guilty when I pick them up from school.”  (p.27)  And his list goes on…basically there is no way to not feel guilty!  And this is coming from a happily married, successful comedian and father!  Maybe it isn’t just me!

I took my first vacation alone in NINE YEARS last week.  I felt (and still feel) huge amounts of guilt!  I left my son alone for ten days!  (Reality:  Well, not alone, he was with his dad and my grandma.)  I feel guilty for taking the time, even though I know that it was needed and deserved.  But, it does make me feel better to know other parents feel the same.  I feel bad if I’m having fun without him.  I would feel bad if I left him and didn’t have fun.   Try as I might, that guilt was/is always there.   The beach, reading, no responsibility, and more reading…the vacation was worth it.  But, I don’t think I will be taking another ten day vacation without my boy anytime soon…

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo


Kate DiCamillo is definitely one of my favorite authors.  More than one of her books are regular read alouds in my third grade classroom.  This book is no less special…matbe my favorite yet.

Although the book is a novel, with words seperated into chapters, there are pictures and comics interspersed.   This only adds to the experience

There are many funny, laugh out loud, parts.  (See giant donut line above.) The book is about a squirrel with superpowers he received from being vacuumed up, after all.  However, my favorite aspect of this story is the parent-child relationship.   Her parents aren’t together anymore -and spoiler…they aren’t at the end either.  But the main character,  Flora, learns that she is the most important person to each of her parents.  They may have mad mistakes, said things they didn’t mean, but she is still their #1.  And thanks to her superhero squirrel, she realizes it.

THIS is a message kids need to hear! 

What I’m Loving Wednesday 6.10.15

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Thanks for the Linky Michelle!

♥  Everything about Summer!  Waking up late, which means around 7 for me…Drinking coffee on the couch…Reading, writing, browsing Pinterest, and watching my son draw or build with his Legos…Afternoons at the pool…I love everything about summer!

51jt1hDk0GL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_20150610_134350♥  This book!  I just finished Brown Girl Dreaming, my second book off my summer reading list. It was so beautifully written, capturing the time period and a little girl’s coming of age.  Jacqueline Woodson wrote in verse about growing up in a time when the country was changing and people were fighting for equality.  One more book to add to my classroom library for next year!

♥  My new phone!  Now I have a phone that will stay charged!  Woohoo!

IMG_20150609_184638♥  Seeing my son’s eyes after a much needed haircut!  He grows it out all year long and then has to get it cut at the start of summer.  Seven inches chopped off!

I was cleaning out the kitchen cabinet, tossing all canned goods that are past their expiration date.  And in the cabinet I found a CD.  Who puts CDs in the cabinet?  Apparently me…but honestly, I don’t even remember buying it.  I guess at the time I didn’t connect with the songs?

20150601_170015After discovering it, I listened to it in the car on the way to work.  I was shocked.  So many of the songs reflect exactly how I am feeling right now…

The Bridge You Burn (Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher)

He’s the lesson you learn / He’s the dead end you see when you realize you made a wrong turn

Cry (Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally)

I might bite my lip / Look down at my shoes / I might clench my fist / Or just leave the room / But I’m not gonna cry / Not one single drop / Cause once I get started, I / I may never stop / I might even laugh / Right in your face / When you come out and ask / Oh if I’ll be ok / But I’m not gonna stop

Somebody’s Chelsea (Reba, Liz Hengber, Will Robinson)

I wanna be somebody’s Chelsea / Somebody’s world / Somebody’s day and night one and only girl / A part of a love story that never has an end…/ You know that’s what every woman wants to be… / Somebody’s Chelsea

All The Women I Am (Kent Blazy, Mary Green, Shane McAnally)

Hey, I’m a realist, I’m a dreamer, I’m a silver-lining seeker / I’m a devil or an angel, who’ll come running when you need her / Cause I need a man who can love all the women I am

When You Have A Child (Tom Douglas)

When you have a child / You learn it’s a serious business to have a little fun / You give grace and forgiveness /

These four walls you call a house / Take on a life of its own when you bring ’em home / You will cry and you will laugh / When they hurt it cuts you in half, it’s your flesh and blood

And year after year / Pictures fill page after page / They never really grown up / Still your baby at any age

When you love a child / Oh when you love a child

IMG_20150609_184638How is it that so many of the songs, from this CD I don’t remember buying several years ago, express so many of the things I have been feeling lately?  I am not a big believer in fate, but I know that I need to find this.  I have listened to it several times and I needed to find it.  I needed to hear this at this point in my life.


Summer Lovin’

Not that kind!  But I am loving these first few days of summer!  (BTW…Can you believe our parents let us watch Grease?!  Even if I was oblivious…)

♥  Trips to Half Price Books with my BFF and great picture book finds like this one…

3046420This is so cute and funny.  I absolutely love the twists and the Tooth Fairy’s attitude!  The thing is, I can’t just read a book anymore without seeing the potential applications in the classroom.  This would be a fantastic mentor text for Fairy Tale Adaptations – completely original twists!

♥  One book crossed off my “Someday List” already…

I-Am-Malala_-How-One--pTRU1-21121877dtI read the version written for young readers.  I am always looking for books that I can recommend to students and I need to beef up my nonfiction reading recommendations.  This one will be added to my library in the fall.  She is an amazing, intelligent, inspiring girl…

I also told [the president] that if America spent less money on weapons and war and more on education, the world would be a better place.  (p.190)

I raise my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. (p.191)

One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.  (p.192)

♥  More time with my favorite…now a fourth grader!  He can have fun with anything…even red solo cups!  Empty of course!


End of Year Reflections

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.48.53 AMBest Memories

Many of the memories that stand out turned into blog posts.  One conversation with a very special girl.  Mentoring conversations with new teachersAnd a beautiful smile from a sweet child at exactly the right momentAnd major writing success!

Our class was filled with talented, intelligent, energetic students this year.  One student in particular, let’s call him Jake, was a very big joker and prided himself on being the class clown. So when he found out we would be giving out awards on the last day of school, he assumed he would be receiving the Class Clown award.  We couldn’t resist, we had to pull his leg…

“And the Class Comic award goes to….” (Student started to stand up, expecting it to be him.)  “Mrs. Stalter!” (My co-teacher began to bow and cheer.)

The student was shocked and appalled.  The class booed.  I let it go for a little bit and then….”Oh…wait….I made a mistake…It says Jake!”  The class cheered!  Jake came jogging up, arms raised, smile big.  We got him!

Missed Opportunities

Science…I spent a lot of time working on creating Science units based on NGSS, but then I didn’t get to finish.  I saved the Forces/Motion for the end, because it had the most opportunities for students creating experiments.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish it.  😦

Game Changers

Standards Based Grading.


A lot of my energy was directed at classroom management and teaching social skills.  Although teaching the whole child is always part of my day, a lot of our Social Studies time was spent teaching about bullying and empathy.    It was necessary.  Although the group has a long way to go, I think they are on the path to becoming kind, empathetic children.


At the beginning of the year, students created hopes and dreams for the year.  By mid-year, most had accomplished their original hopes and dreams.  I had planned on students reflecting and revising, but it never happened…



Next year I will have more patience.  Focus more on using positive language.  Continue to work on my math instruction.

This year was my most challenging and difficult year both professionally and personally.  I was at my breaking point more times than I can count.  Now that the year is over, I can say I made it and am stronger because of it.  Now it is time to recharge, relax, read, spend time with my son, and take time for me.   Summer…I’m here!