Tag Archives: The Slice of Life Challenge

last dance


Wind IMG_2186


a poor

dance partner






#micropoetry    #SOL18

Maine endured a terrific wind storm last fall that left many without power for days on end. We could hear the wind through the forest and the crashing of timber. It wasn’t until this winter, when I could strap on snowshoes and scale the mounds of snow deep into the woods,  that I witnessed evidence of that destructive dance.



face of hope


They rise from their desks
and take to the street
with cries of heartbreak
but not defeat.
With determined fire
they strive to cope
and rise from the ashes,
the face of hope.



At a time when turning on the news generally causes me to cringe with despair, my heart soared at the sight of students across the country walking out of their classrooms yesterday. (My son would have been among them had we not had our millionth snow day).
I feel optimistic for our future watching these young men and women speak truth to power. I am grateful to each and every one of them! This is the face of hope!

snow haiku

snow falls- flake by flake

but rises fast- foot by foot

moves slow- scoop by scoop



Here in Maine, we are in the middle of our third nor’easter in two weeks that has dumped at least a foot each time. This is our 8th snow day (2nd this week) and winter isn’t over.

Fortunately, we’ve had melting in between storms to keep the snow from burying us.
Unfortunately, the timing hasn’t been great for keeping school in session.
Fortunately, I love snow and it’s beauty.
Unfortunately, I also love summer and it’s beauty. I want to have some time away from the classroom to enjoy it before June ends! 

My Zen word for the day is acceptance.




We don’t need
to harden
our schools,
Our students’
are hard enough.
They need
soft places
to pursue

#MicroPoetry #SOL18

There is no Amendment more sacred than this declaration….”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am sickened by the talk of “hardening our schools” It’s a ‘get tough’ soundbite that has disastrous implications for our nation’s public school children. Arming teachers will not deter a suicidal killer; they won’t be scared, but our children will be.  This vision of school looks more like prisons or warzones. Our children need books, not guns…calm, not violence…teachers, not body guards.  There is so much wrong with this thinking that I can barely breathe thinking about it. This Twitter Thread demonstrates how hard it is to put teachers in the position of killing one of their own.






The thing about
is I always
   stumble a bit
      to hit the reset
but after I wipe
    the sleep from my eyes
       the view from here
is spectacular.




#MicroPoetry   #SOL18

The first few moments of Mondays are always the hardest. My bed feels so warm, my weekend was filled with family, my time was my own…the alarm disconnects me from all that. I usually lie in bed for a bit and let the week come into focus, and when it does I am usually eager to greet it. I love my job. I love the students. I love the teachers I work with. My worlds just overlap a bit too abruptly at the crack of dawn on Mondays.

Happy Monday, Slicers.



you get good news
and no one knows
the private celebration
you are having

no one knew
the private struggle
you were living.


#MicroPoetry   #SOL18

There are many variations on the quote by Wendy Mass, Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  The older I get, the more I find this is true. The students we teach, the colleagues we work with side by side, and the friends we love all face struggles and challenges in life that we know nothing about. Life is filled with joys, but also suffering. When we face our own challenges and stresses we can appreciate joys more sweetly, and hopefully anticipate the silent suffering of others more compassionately.  A recent health scare brought this home to me. I am grateful for good news, but I am reminded it that not everyone does, and we often never know.




Love is
venturing out
into the cold
long after your bride
has snuggled down
to clear her way
into morning.


#MicroPoetry   #SOL18


Love evolves into something deeper than roses on the table and dinners by candlelight when you have found your soul mate. There are a thousand acts of love that pass between two people in a lifetime-the key to longevity is selflessly offering them and being woke to receiving them.


Plan Ahead to “Slice”!

slice-of-life_individualUPDATE: I will begin blogging every day in the month of March for the #SOL17 (Slice of Life Challenge) I won’t be posting about teaching pedagogy, instructional ideas, or book recommendations.  Rather, I’ll be sharing “slices” of small moments, poems, photos, that reflect what is important or ‘in the moment’ for me in the month of March.  I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled blogs once a week in April. If you’d like to “slice” I have information in this post to help get you going!

This March marks the 10th year of The Slice of Life Challenge  hosted by Two Writing Teachers. The idea is to write a small “Slice of Life” every day in the month of March. The  Two Writing Teachers believe, “Teachers who write regularly can better support the students they teach in writing workshops daily.” I couldn’t agree more.

Last year was my first in attempting this challenge and I have to say it was truly a ‘game changer’ for me.  Knowing that I would be writing a little each day not only kept my skills sharp and my ideas flowing, but I began to frame experiences as stories.  Everything around me suddenly became seeds for writing.  I saw my world in a whole new way-I began to appreciate others’ experiences with greater clarity and compassion.

I lived a writerly life!

I strongly encourage every teacher I know to give this challenge a try. You may not be able to write every single day, but even if you wrote several times a week I guarantee you will think about writing with such a different perspective. You will see the writers in your classroom with greater appreciation and empathy.

The big idea is that you write about what is important to you: a moment in your day, a memory from your past, a poem, a short story, a collection of words or images that expresses a “slice of your life”.  Then you post it on your blog and post the link on the Two Writing Teachers Blog (https://twowritingteachers.org ) so that other slicers can read and comment on your posts. You also agree to read and comment on at least 3 other slicers writing each day. That way you are truly part of a writing community! Believe me, you will love getting feedback from others!

All Participants click here for PARTICIPANT INFORMATION FORM starting Feb 19

First Time Slicers CHECK OUT THIS LINK that goes live on Feb 20.

Not sure you can do it?  Here are a few tips to help…

  • Read through the directions before March 1 so you can be ready
  • Set up a FREE blog on Blogger, Edublogs, or WordPress (click HERE for easy tutorial)
  • Write some slices ahead of time- there will be days you can’t carve out 10 minutes to write, I get that.  Have some slices ready to go that you can quickly post.
  • Don’t want to create a blog? Post a slice to Facebook with the hashtag #SOL17 and use the Slice of Life Logo as your image, you won’t be officially in The Slice of Life Challenge but it’s better than not slicing at all!)
  • Don’t quit if you miss some days-sure writing every day is great, but living a writerly life is a greater goal!
  • Invite some of your friends to take the challenge with you.  We all know that accountability partners help us with our goals.
  • Read other “Slices” for inspiration and ideas-it’s probably not as daunting as you might think when you can see what it looks like.

Not convinced? Here are my Take-Aways from last year:

  1. Stories are everywhere-seriously…EVERYWHERE!
  2. We are not the center of the universe.
  3. Some days writing is hard.
  4. There is no standardized unit of measure for a “slice”
  5. Some slices whet our appetites for writing!
  6. Getting comments on your writing makes you feel good.
  7. Writing gets easier when it becomes a habit.
  8. Being a part of a writing community enhances your writing identity.
  9. Writing shapes the way you think about the world.
  10. I am going to miss the intensity of pulling story from experience each day.

Happy Writing!!

What’s On My Book Radar?

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-9-22-24-amThe Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo

If you are a nerdy teacher like me you have probably been waiting with baited-breath for this resource! Just like her companion text The Reading Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo has compiled an amazing series of lesson ideas to meet the needs of of literacy learners from K-8. She builds off the work of Lucy Calkins and Carl Anderson to offer concrete and specific teaching points to move writers forward. A ‘must-have’ resource for writing teachers!

I also think this could be a great resource for SLICERS to try out some writing techniques during the Slice of Life Challenge in March!

Happy Reading!