Farewell Slice of Life 2016

Troy and I were treating ourselves to some frozen yogurt BEFORE lunch today.  (We can do that – it’s Spring Break and I’m the adult.)

After filling my cup with pecan flavored frozen yogurt, I turned the corner to add some toppings.  And…Nutella!  There was a bottle of Nutella to squirt on top of your fro-yo.  Yes!!!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really come out of the bottle easily and I ended up with only a little bit in my cup.    However, the fro-yo topped with moist brownie bits, tiny Reese’s Pieces, and gooey marshmallow was still delicious!


And this is what I love about the Slice of Life challenge, other than creating and reinforcing the habit of writing.  Each March I am reminded how special these tiny moments are.  By then end of the month I notice so many things that would have been passed over, had it happened a month earlier.  My irrational excitement about adding Nutella to my ice cream would have been forgotten…although I guess the world not knowing about this isn’t really a bad thing….hmmm…..

Thank you Two Writing Teachers!

What do you see?

20160330_111522We spent the day at Brookfield Zoo with my sister, mom, and two nephews.  It amazes me how everyone sees the world differently.  The same moment, the same view, provokes different thoughts in each person experiencing it.

My four year old nephew focuses on the facts about the animal:  Look at it walking!  Where do they live?  What do they eat?

My son goes strait for the narrative:  The giraffe looks like it’s talking to the tree.  “Hello Mr. Tree.  What is my future, Tree?”

My mind is thinking two things at once.  I see the giraffe and feel guilty. Guilty that I can roam the world and she is stuck inside this fence.  Simultaneously, I am listening to these two beautiful, very different boys voice their thoughts.  I am enjoying this moment, despite my guilt.  I am lucky to have these boys in my life.

Moments that Matter

I sat next to a student, conferring with her for the first time on her current fairy tale.  I complimented her on organizing her writing into paragraphs.   Then, we discussed substituting other words for said in order to show how the characters are feeling.

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It hit me how far she has come this year.  I needed to show her, so I pulled up her first published piece from the year.  And as she looked at her work, her eyes got big and bright.  She saw how she has grown and it lit up her face.   And that is why I teach – for that moment that a student realizes what she can do.

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This is her first published personal narrative piece from the beginning of the year.

“I’m your mommy!”

Yet another conversation between cousins with a six year age difference…


They sat at Ma’s kitchen table, playing with dinosaurs and blocks.

“I’m your mommy!  I’m your mommy!” the four year old repeated, getting increasing louder and screechier.

Finally, unable to ignore him any longer, the ten year old says, “We’re actually two different species of dinosaur.”

“I’m your mommy!”


Saturday Projects

My sister is throwing my nephews a minion party in April, so she enlisted me to make a “Pin the Eye on the Minion”  game.

I purchased two poster boards Friday night and Troy and I got to work Saturday morning.  He started working on Bob with his preferred media, pencils.  I started on Stuart with paint.


After drawing Bob with pencil, he traced the pencil with black marker. Later, he would color it with colored pencil.

As I finished painting the yellow part of the minion, my phone rang.  I answered it and was talking to my sister when I noticed that Troy was leaning over to my poster with his marker uncapped.

“Don’t you dare touch that!”  I burst out.

“But, you can’t see the mouth.  I’ll just trace it,” my son said.

“Don’t touch my minion! Work on your own!”  I demanded.

“What?”  my sister asked over the phone.

“Talking to Troy.  He is trying to fix my minion.”  I told her, giving Troy the stink eye.

Isn’t it supposed to be the parent that takes over the child’s project?


SOL #26: A Gem of a Sentence

I incorporate phonics/decoding into my guided reading groups based on the need of the students.  My groups reading below grade level get phonics/decoding practice every day.

Recently we have been working with r-controlled vowels.  We read them and spell them. Once they’ve got the pattern in single words, we move on to sentences.  I dictate the sentence including a word with given phonics pattern.   They write the sentence with appropriate capitalization and punctuation.

And then, sometimes, I give them each a word and they have to make up a sentence using that word.  It is with this activity that I get to read a gem of a sentence like this one:


I hear voices…

The sun was shining through the car window.  I was singing along, when this song came on the radio and it got me thinking.


It got me to thinking about the voices I hear in my head…Those people that have left an impression…The words of advice, wisdom, and more that have stuck…

Here are some of the voices I hear…although not as poetically or rhythmically written…

My grandpa saying, “Never count on a man to do things for you.”

Mom saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Jill saying, “Accept help.”

Ma saying to my sisters and I , “Be nice.  One day you will only have each other.”


Why do you wear so many layers?

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He’s not wrong. This is what I am wearing today…Not any different than any other dress down day.

I have no idea what subject it was during, or even what day.  But, I was sitting on the ground working with one kid and another student was close by when he decided he had a pressing matter he needed to talk to me about…

“Ms. Bless, why do you wear so many layers?” Then, without pausing to wait for an answer, “I mean, you have three shirts on.  Why do you need three shirts?  You say that you get crabby when you are hot, but you wouldn’t get hot as much if you didn’t wear so many shirts.  I mean, you have three shirts on.  If you wore one shirt or even two, you would not get as hot.”

Unexpected, completely off task, yet extremely observant.  I didn’t know how to respond, so I said, “You are too observant.  Get back to work.”

I need a mini-lesson!



As I pumped my legs, the swing moved higher and higher.  I watched my son on the monkey bars while I enjoyed my favorite park activity,  simultaneously thinking about how to write a slice of life about swinging.   (Often, I draft my slices in my mind multiple times before I get to my computer.)  And then I got stuck on the first line, the sounds of the swing…I don’t know how to write sounds.

You didn’t know it was a swing from my attempt at the sounds did you?  Be honest.

I must have sat on that swing, listening to the sounds for five minutes, trying to figure out how to spell what I was hearing.  Eventually, my son saved me from my thoughts, running over to swing next to me and talk about the day.

But here I am again, trying to put the sounds into words and I am at a loss.  Squeak….Eeeerrrk….nope……

Please help!  I am in need of a mini-lesson on how to put sounds into words!