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Friday, March 31, 2017

sol17 #31: thirty-one


What can 31 days of writing do?

It can allow a window into each other's lives, which helps us develop a better understanding for one another and also see our interests. (I feel a writing walk coming in our future!)

It can show you how wise your middle school students are.

It can help you find ideas a little bit easier.

It can create a space to compose your best work and some not so great posts, too, and the understanding that it's okay to publish stuff that isn't awesome.

It can help a writer find some NEW, FUN ways to craft text.

It can really elicit problem-solving skills, commitment, and creativity.


It can show you how compassionate your students are.

It can give you a voice, with your words on a mic to which others are listening.

It can create an opportunity for one student to inspire another.

It can help students find their writing interests; see one of my kiddo's who loves to write about sports, herehereherehereand here.

It can inspire you to complete next year's challenge (and maybe even create a challenge of your own!) hint, hint :-)

It can create a writer.


We made it! 31 days! I'm so proud of each of you, for writing once, five times, or 31 times. Just got an email from Mrs. Hauer, and she hopes that you will keep on writing, she's loving reading your writing! (So am I!) Cheers to you, writers!


I was writing when you sent this, Betz, and it made my day, thank you!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

sol17 #30: lots of emotions but mostly pride

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I sat on the bus to the Holocaust Museum with my class. They listened to music and talked quietly. I showed them how I left my self tanner on my hands too long and they were now orange and they laughed. I sat there, in the last seat, watching over them, thinking about how much I cared for these kids, and feeling so much

gratitude for this life's work.

And when we got off the bus and went through the entrance and down the stairs, our docent talked to us briefly. The first question she asked the kids had them standing there all quiet, too shy to share. And so I reminded them that they could turn in a ticket every time they participated, and so then they did. After the docent learned of the ticket situation, she remarked that they must have a good teacher and I remarked that I must have good kids and in that moment I was

proud to be with them.

And then we ate lunch - so fast, like in 10 minutes - and a few kids were at vending machines even after I asked them not to be and we didn't have enough time to eat and we were frustrated because of that but they didn't know what they were about to experience. And so even in our discontentment we got ourselves composed and cleaned up and started off on our way and I just felt

excitement for what they were about to encounter.

Our docent began a conversation with my students, sharing about why this museum exists. She asked if they knew what an Upstander was and they all raised their hand to share, and one student also added the definition of a bystander. And in that moment there was that

pride yet again.

We went into the first gallery and looked at all the pictures of Jewish life prior to the Holocaust on the wall. We saw families and birthday parties and business openings and holidays and we learned that this group of people who suffered the first genocide were people who were just like us. And knowing what was coming,

uneasiness began to creep in.

We continued on, learning about how Hitler came to power, watching videos, seeing real artifacts and pictures, walking across a floor meant to symbolize Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. Our docent told us how they took away and murdered Jews under 15 years old and over 40 because they were unable to labor. She said, "I would have been done for, I can't pass for 40, I'm a grandma!" and one of my students said, smiling, "Yes you could have!" and we all laughed and he was a cheeseball but in that moment

there was that pride again.

We continued on our way, and saw a model of a ghetto packed with thousands of people inside. Barbed wire surrounded this particular gallery and my kiddos pointed it out to me. We saw a model of the extermination chambers and were told how the Jews were tricked to believe they were taking a shower, but in reality, they were gassed. We stood inside a cattle car - pitch black - and thought about how 100 people or more were crammed into them to move the Jews to the camps. And thankfully we were standing together as we imagined all these atrocities and wondered how it could have ever happened and so being together make the fact that our


stomachs were turning a bit more okay.

Finally we heard a survivor speak. Ruth told her story of how, once resettled in the ghetto, her father bought illegal passports for her and her mother to save their lives. They went on to live on a train for 6 weeks and then tried to find work but lived in a constant fear that they might be found and killed on the spot. About how she finally made it to America only to be called names and made fun of by children in her new class, but finally, after yet another move, she found a place in Chicago that was home where she fit in and could live in peace. And her story will forever be with us, but in the moment she found peace, we found a bit of

relief.

This story reminds me and should remind all of us that we must look out for one another, we must not be silent when we witness injustice. We must stand up for our neighbors and groups of people who are targeted and push back against those who spew "alternative facts" and not just be idle in these moments because silence is

the most tragic problem of all.

Many emotions filled my day yesterday: joy and love for my students, complete bewilderment at the thought of a Holocaust, wondering how events like this continue to still happen, a bit of embarrassment at how our country has not been more welcoming to refugees in need, annoyance at traffic on the way home, but through all of it, there are no other people I'd rather share it with, because watching them learn something that can empower them to make our world a better place brings me

so much pride.



We have one more day, you made it! Congratulations to each of you, I'm so proud! Could you do me a favor for your last post? Could you write about what you think about writing now? Now that you've completed so much in the way writing, what do you think about writing now? Did you find a new hobby? Does it help you relax? Will you keep on writing? Write a post about... writing!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

sol17 #29: pinky promise

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Today in my 8th grade exploratory class, my kiddos were using a checklist to put the finishing touches on their reports. As they finished, they came to talk to me about it.

"Are you proud of your work?" I asked A, who finished first.

"Yes," he replied exuberantly.

"Okay, I just printed it, run over and grab it and then bring it back to me to turn in," I told him. He was on his way.

The next kiddo walked up to my table. "I'm done, Ms. Brezek."

"Awesome," I replied. "Are you proud of your work?"

A sweet smile emerged and she softly replied, "Yes."

"Okay," I told her, "go grab your paper from the copier and bring it back to turn in."

Class continued in this fashion for about thirty minutes. One of my kiddos (who sits in earshot of my table) was also finishing up a presentation with her group when I called out, "M, is your paper done?"

"Yes. But I need to resolve the comments on it, can you show me?"

"Ask the kids in your presentation group so I can finish conferring with J."

"Okay," she said, already interrupting the conversation to find out.

Five minutes later, J and I finished up and I called out again, "Okay, M, you done?"

"Yes. But....well, I'm not proud of it," she said as her eyes took another one-over on the checklist.

"So, if you don't print today, will you work on it tonight?" I have to ask this. Many times kids say they will, but it comes back the same.

"Yes, I will."

"Pinky promise?"


She smiled and stretched out her pinky towards me, but didn't walk up to me.

I said, "For real, pinky promise?" She nodded. "Well come over here and make it official then!"

She took her paper home. I'm hoping for eyes and a smile beaming with pride on Thursday.


Ideas on the padlet! Leave a comment for another student blogger!

Or maybe you would like another idea for a blog post? Write about your experience on the field trip!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

life is beautiful post

I hope you loved Life is Beautiful! It's one of my favorite movies to share when we study the Holocaust.

Life is Beautiful is just one way that one director thought to portray the Holocaust. How is this version similar to and different from the pictures, videos, poems and other articles we have read about the Holocaust?

Write a blog post that compares and contrasts Life is Beautiful and the other things we've read (pictures we read, videos we have already seen, Butterfly Poems, and the Rise of Hitler Article).

Be sure to say what was similar about Life is Beautiful and the other sources.


Then, tell how Life is Beautiful and the other sources are different.

Organize your blog post into four parts, using these sentence frames to guide your work:

Part 1: In the movie Life is Beautiful, there were many examples of a beautiful life. They include... (give at least three examples and elaborate on each.)

Part 2:  Life is Beautiful and ___ (another source) are similar in ___ way because they both... (Give at least three examples of similarities and elaborate on each.)

Part 3: Life is Beautiful and ___ are different in these ways...
Life is Beautiful portrays ___ in this way....
____ (the other source) portrays ___ in this way...
(Tell at least two differences and elaborate on each.)

Each paragraph needs evidence and elaboration! Be sure to read your work and make sure it makes sense.

sol17 #28: growing weary

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I'm too tired to write, but I'm here.
I have no ideas to share, but I'm here.
My computer has 5% battery left, but I'm here.
All I *really want to do is watch The Mindy Project, but I'm here.
I need a break for a bit, but for today, for these five lines at least, I'm here.


Grab an idea on the padlet and leave a comment for another blogger!

Monday, March 27, 2017

sol17 #27: hey, it's okay

Hey, it's okay...if you really are at a loss for ideas on the blog post today. Publish something that is just okay anyways.


Hey, it's okay.... if you slept almost all of Saturday. Waking up at 7:45 to get somewhere by 9 had your pretty tired, so it's cool that you took a 3 hour nap.

Hey, it's okay....if you haven't really cleaned your apartment in about 5 months. (Don't judge me!) I mean that I haven't washed floors and windows. Spring break is coming, spring cleaning is coming!

Hey, it's okay...if you've listened to Ed Sheeran on repeat for at least two weeks.

Hey, it's okay if you like Snapchat and Bitmojis and you're in the second half of your 30's. Your students think you're 26, after all.



Hey, it's okay...if you write a blog that comes off like it's kinda boastful, but really, you just don't want to forget all the nice things people said to you one day.

Hey, it's okay...if you mess up sometimes. Just say you're sorry and make it better next time.

Hey, it's okay....if you didn't send your bff her Christmas present until March. She understands.



Did you read my post above? The idea is to give yourself permission to mess things up, start with "Hey, it's okay..." and then fill in all the things you wish you had done better. Give it a try or check out another idea onthe padlet. Or leave a comment for some other bloggers!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

sol17 #26: three sizes

If you're a teacher like me, you've had more than your fair share of bad days. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about those moments when, like the Grinch, your heart grows three sizes.


Case in point #1:
I was sitting and conferring with a writer when I looked up and across the room. I saw two of the girls in my class working together. This was a few weeks ago, and so I don't remember what we were working on exactly, but what I saw was one of them coaching another one on the thing. It may have been introductions or conclusions for our Argument paper. Even from a distance, I could tell that one was most certainly teaching the other how to do it better.

And my heart grew.

Case in point #2:
There I was, again, sitting at my conferring table, and I looked up and saw this:


The one was just this week. We're in our Holocaust unit, and the kids were reading picture books together to review plot and theme, and also identify the bystanders, upstanders, perpetrators, and victims in the mess.

On one hand, it's not that special, since I told them to do it, but on the other it so is. They are reading a book, read aloud style, as if I were to the whole class. Totally engaged, helping each other, participating. And enjoying their work.

And my heart grew.

Case in point #3:
Yesterday, I handed back a third draft of reports to my 8th graders. I do not write on final copies, but I totally do on their drafts, it's a written way to do feedback with kids, plus, I never want to wait until the final draft to be the first time I look through their work.

And so, when I looked up, I saw a few kids talking about the revisions and edits they were going to make, showing their drafts to one another, marking them up with tracks of their learning.

And my heart grew.

When did your heart grow this last week?


Check out the padlet for ideas or leave a comment for another blogger!

Want another idea? How about a color poem? Check out this link for an example!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

sol17 #25: love and understanding, positivity



Have you got your hands on Ed Sheeran's new album yet? It's so good. My favorite song on the record is What do I know? If you have a few minutes, take a listen:


But if not, here are my favorite lyrics:

We could change this whole world with a piano,
add a base, a guitar grab a beat and away we go
I'm just a boy with a one-man show
No university, no degree but lord knows
Everybody's talking 'bout exponential growth
And the stock market crashing in their portfolios
While I'll be sitting here with a song that I wrote
Sing, love could change the world in a moment,
But what do I know?

This got me to thinking about voice. Ed is talking about it with his music - he's got a mic and a stage and some songs, he can create love with those things. But isn't it the same for us writers? How much power do we have from putting out a blog post a day for a whole month? Even if they are not commenting, people are reading.

And so this got me thinking about how we give our students voice. If our kids are writing, if they are publishing work out to a larger audience, they definitely have a certain amount of power, in their ideas, in the sharing with others, in learning, too, when they read the work of others.

When we listen to each other's stories, it creates connections. When we understand one another better, we're more likely to help them out when they need it. Writing does this because stories do this.


Writing stories and sharing them with others creates understanding. Spending a lot of time together doing this (like maybe a whole school year) creates the circumstances for a certain amount of love to flourish. and when we stay positive with all the understanding and love, I think we've got a perfect medley for taking care of one another.

And so close with another part of Ed's song... because teh last paragraph was definitely mentored from this song:

I'll paint the picture, let me set the scene
I know, I'm all for people following their dreams
Just remember life is more than fittin' in your jeans
It's love and understanding, positivity



What do you trust in? How about that for a blog post?

Or, take a peek at the padlet for some other ideas or leave a comment for other bloggers!

Friday, March 24, 2017

sol17 #24: bloomed from the mud

In the few minutes I've had today to myself so far, I've been consumed with the story of the Lotus flower. I noticed it on the cover of a book I'm reading (The Art of Coaching) and so when I was making my sketchnotes for my book club, I decided to look up this stunning creation of nature and find the story behind it so I could investigate the meaning of this cover art. What I found stopped me dead in my tracks.
"The lotus flower is one of the most remarkable creations of nature. Its beauty lies in its purity, because this magnificent flower emerges from the dirty and muddy bottom of a pond, yet still remains untouched and unstained by its soiled surroundings." source
Which got me to thinking, what a muddy week I've been having:

  • Got blown off for a first date.
  • Was stressed about my observation.
  • Was short-tempered when I should've been more compassionate.
  • Was overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done at school.
  • Carried around some negativity I should have let go.
But also, there was so much beauty this week. Namely, this morning when I got to spend some time with some of my favorite peeps, the Literacy Coaches. We had just finished doing a few Quick Writes to share our ideas about coaching when one of them came over with donuts and said, "Oh, how could I have forgotten? We're going to toast you now."

"Toast me? Why? Because I shared that modification for quick writing with you guys?"

"No, for your Golden Apple. Donuts are sweeter, so we picked these up and we all want to tell you what we love about you, and how you are golden to all of us."

I started crying before they even began. And continued all through out. They told me things like,
  • You made me a writer.
  • Not only am I so happy to work with you, you have been a dear friend.
  • You've told me you appreciate me and enjoy working with me; I can't remember another person who has said that to me recently.
  • I try and remember how you did things. I've learned so much from you.
  • You have taught me so much, I'm always learning when I am around you, there's always something to take away.
  • You're awesome.
  • You have such a warmth and a glow about you.
And so just when I was thinking about how muddy my week had been, how I was feeling overwhelmed and wishing I could have responded differently in a few situations, and how there were too many meetings, too much information to share and too many lessons to plan, beauty blossomed.

And I'm reminded of all the beauty in this life we live. It's everywhere. Sometimes you have to look for it a little harder but sometimes it sprouts and grows right in front of you as if you were the sun and rain giving it just the right amount of everything it needed.

Today in our meeting, we talked about why we want to be a coach, and more particularly, why coach in district 100. For me, it all begins with relationships. To the coaches: you have created a space for me to be myself, to be annoying in asking everyone to talk quieter, to be funny with jokes, to make mistakes and screw things up, to just be me, in my muddiness and in my moments of beauty, too. The relationships I have with you are a part of a wider community I feel here in Berwyn. There are so many teachers around the district who are some of my best friends, who have become almost family to me. These relationships and this community is why I coach and teach in District 100, striving to live at ease in the muddy water, knowing beauty is just beyond the surface.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

sol17 #23: math autobiography

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Thanks for the idea, Leah, who got it from Terierrol!

One...cup of coffee each day, although I really want three.
Two...scoops of vanilla protein in my shake for breakfast every morning.
Three...weeks till I see all of my family in Charlotte!
Four...years that I have participated with Slice of Life.
Five...more minutes till my bedtime.
Six...of my students have blogged every day this month!
Seven...the number of get-ups until spring break.
Eight...the number of hours I prefer to sleep, or more!
Nine...lights out at this time.
Ten...the number of days I'll spend in Spain this June!

Clearly I'm ready for bed! Good night!


Did you see my blog...a math autobiography? Try one out for yourself!

Check out the padlet for another idea or leave a comment for another student blogger!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

sol17 #22: gratitude lately


So many reasons to celebrate the blessings in our lives. Here are a few of mine so far this week.

Thankful for freshly squeezed OJ that goes into my protein shakes each morning. And blueberries. I love blueberries.



Thankful for the kiddo in my ELA class who walks into class every day, and whether I'm looking or not, says, "Hi, Ms. Brezek," all full of smiles.


Right back atcha, LF!

Thankful for my principal, who, during my evaluation, made it a point to talk to most, if not all of my students about what they were learning.




Thankful for my awesome friend who does yoga with us after school. It's the perfect community to be a part of 




Thankful for online shopping. Need a confirmation gift? Shop online. New leggings? Shop online. Your skin care line? Shop online. All delivered to my school, too!



Thankful for longer days and sunshine. Summer is on the horizon, friends!


What are you thankful for?


An idea for writing today...what about one like my post? Make a list of the things you are thankful for, especially better if you include pictures, too!

Check the padlet for ideas! Leave a comment for someone else!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

sol17 #21: a letter to the birds

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Dear birds who reside outside my bedroom window,

I'm so happy you're back, and on the first day of spring! What perfect timing! I was happy to hear you cheeping and chirping outside my window this morning, but, I wish you could have waited a little longer before the songs commenced. You see, I woke up in a start to an alarm of bird tunes, thinking I was late for work, but then as my eyes adjusted to the light, I could tell it was still dark out. I checked my watch, and to my surprise it was only 4:30. I was excited to have another 45 minutes to sleep, but kind of upset that I was disturbed in the first place.

I dozed back into dream land, and then was awoken once again, but this time to my alarm. I perked up my ears to listen for your songs, but you must have decided 4:30 am was too early to be awake and so you went back to sleep. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't afforded that luxury.

So one request, my neighbors in the trees outside my second floor apartment: can you keep your music quiet until 5:15? Then, I can sleep soundly until the ringing of my alarm. And you can enjoy a longer evening of peaceful sleep, too.


Warm regards,
Your neighbor


An idea: Did you see my post? Try and write a letter to someone or something! Check out my example above.

Check out more ideas on our padlet and don't forget to leave a comment for a blogging friend!


Monday, March 20, 2017

sol17 #20: ode to the Shamrock Shake



Oh Shamrock Shake how I
love thee, minty green goodness
topped with fluffy whipped cream and
sprinkled with sparkly sweet crystals
so cool and refreshing
available for a limited time only.

Lucky for you, Shamrock Shake, I
gave up drinking for Lent and so I
indulged in you - the toxic cocktail - 
on just one occasion this season: St. Patrick's day
I celebrated
with an American tradition
also know as
the tasty green goodness that is
deliciously minty,
festively green,
dazzlingly delightful;
the one and only
Shamrock Shake


Kiddos! Do you look forward to holidays for any special food-related reasons? Share about those today!
And you can check out more ideas on the padlet or leave comments for other bloggers at Two Writing Teachers.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

sol17 #19: silver lining

I found out last fall that I was nominated for a pretty special award, the Golden Apple, which is from a foundation local to Chicago. Even though I wasn't sure who nominated me, I applied, and found out in February that I had been named a finalist. Such an honor, I felt so thankful for that nomination, especially when I found out it was a former coteacher who I just adore. Those days teaching with her were some of my fondest memories of teaching. Thank you, Julia, for thinking of me this year!

On March 1st, two colleagues of Golden Apple visited my school. They met with my principal and assistant principal, and also panels of teachers, students, and parents. They spent over an hour in my classroom observing. As nervous as I was the night before (didn't sleep much) I was set right at ease when I met them. I had a great day, and so did all the people who participated on my behalf!

Following that, there was a brunch to honor the 33 finalists, a group selected from 600 nominations.


I heard from the founder that day, and really liked what he had to say about education. My big takeaway was that it's relationships that drives all the work we do, and I couldn't agree more. That's the best thing I love most about the work I am privileged to do each day.

For the past six months, I have been only sending positive energy at this possibility. I remember telling a friend a few months ago, "I don't want to get too excited, there's a bunch of amazing teachers in the running for this award," to which she responded, "No, Michelle. Envision it happening. Only think positive thoughts about it. Manifest this award that you are very deserving of!" Since that conversation, I have only been thinking that I would win, that Golden Apple would visit my classroom, a visit without my knowing, to tell me that I had become one of the ten fellows of their foundation.

So, when I got the call last week that I had not been named a Golden Apple Fellow, you can imagine the disappointment I felt. I thought back over the past few months, and really, until that moment, I hadn't thought that I wouldn't receive this prestigious opportunity.

That being said, I can't forget what an honor all of it is anyways. I was nominated - one of my peers thought I was good enough to be named golden. Then, my application essays created the opportunity for me to be part of a small group of finalists. People from the foundation spent a whole day with me and the people at Heritage. How amazing!

And so, even though I did not become a Golden Apple Fellow, I am still proud of the work I've done, not only this year, but in the 13 years prior. Work that led me to amazing relationships with awesome teachers, students, and parents, people who have taught me about myself and how to be a great teacher, peers who taught me to how live the most positive life, friends who shared an office with me or had a classroom down the hall who taught me ways to teach a child to read and love to write, colleagues who taught me the importance of consistency and compassion. Students who made me slow down, laugh, and have fun. Administrators who pushed me to be better today than I was yesterday.

All of that has brought me to be named me a Teacher of Distinction by Golden Apple, and will offer me an opportunity to collaborate with them in the future. I can't wait to find out more about this, and hope they don't mind if I continue to tweet to them, since they had me at their #teachgolden hashtag.

And just one last note to all those who cheered me on the past few months... the teachers who embraced me in the teacher's lounge, who high-fived me in the hallway or just shared a bright-eyed congrats... and to those teachers, students, and parents who showed up for me on March 1st, I continue to grow with all of you by my side. Thank you. xo.



Hey there kiddos! Here's an idea for Sunday:
A time I was really disappointed was.... but then I realized that something good came from my disappointment...

And if you don't like that idea, check out the padlet. And don't forget to leave some comments for others!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

sol17 #18: pb & j friends

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My bff Katie and I had a bet once. Well, I'm sure we've had lots of bets, but I remember this one because I won. Yep, that's right. I won. I outsmarted her. She wouldn't want to admit it though, but the secret's out!


You know those Uncrustable sandwiches? These:




Well, the schools I worked at in Phoenix always has these. One day, I didn't have a lunch, so I got one, but I didn't like it. It was waaaay bigger than the ones that you buy from the store. It still tasted the same, but the filling was just too much - too much peanut butter - too much jelly.


Katie and I used to live together. Some time after I had this Uncrustable at school, I was at home and hungry, and happened to have some of these in the freezer. I got one out to thaw and eat, and I mentioned to her how the ones you buy at the store are smaller than the ones at school. She said, "No they're not." I told her, "Actually they are." We went back and fourth arguing about this for awhile before she finally bet me about it. That was an easy bet to take, so we shook on it and that was that. I couldn't wait until Monday to make her wrong...I knew I was so right!


The following Monday, at lunchtime, we headed down to the lounge which was conveniently right next to the cafeteria. I grabbed one of the sandwiches and took it to the lounge, and waited for Katie to get there. By this time, I had let all the teaching friends know how wrong Katie was about to be....so everyone was waiting for her to arrive to meet her fate.


She walked in all proud, but I was quick to show her the ounces on the Uncrustable from school.... I was jumping around all excited because I was right, and more importantly, she was wrong. She's always winning bets, so don't feel bad for her :-) I haven't been right many times, so I never forget this instance.


So that has been our little joke ever since. Now, we find little peanut butter and jelly pictures online and post them to one another's facebook, including this one that she posted on my page on my last birthday:





One of my favorite things about friends are all the little jokes you have with this, and this one is one of my faves!


And so, few years ago, we had Thanksgiving together. Katie's taught me how to make the turkey, stuffing, and all the sides. I thought that since we were going to make the whole thing ourselves, I should find a gift that would be useful for us today....so I scoured the Internet high and low and found this:






It's our PB & J and I found an lady on Etsy to put it on an apron. Love it!


Want some inspiration for Saturday? How about a post about why you are writing for Slice of Life! Check out this post from Sejin who is blogging from Malaysia!


 If you don't like that idea, check out more ideas on the padlet. You can also read posts from other bloggers like you on the Two Writing Teachers blog!

Happy Saturday, bloggers!

Friday, March 17, 2017

sol17 #17: meh

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I wrote a whole slice then erased it. It wasn't my best work but wasn't awful. Are you ever in a mood like that? So now, this is all I'm publishing today. It does not make me proud but I'm too tired to do anything else with this right now.


:-(

Sorry, readers, for being a major bummer lately. I realize this is one of a few slices that have been whiny and complainy. I'm hoping to snap out of it soon. Thanks for granting me some grace until then.


Here's the padlet.
Check out Two Writing Teachers to read some blogs and leave some comments.
And be ready for a new QuickWrite in class!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

sol17 #16: 90's throwback songs

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I was just reading a bit. I'm currently engrossed in The Hate You Give. Reading probably doesn't seem slice-worthy, but this part I just read I found to be so super creative!

The main character in the book, Starr, was mad at her boyfriend and was talking about how she was going to respond to him when she saw him next, except I've never seen it done this way. She contemplates...
I don't know. Before Khalil, I planned to cold-shoulder Chris with a sting more powerful than a nineties R & B breakup song. But after Khalil I'm more like a Taylor Swift song. (No shade, I listen to Tay-Tay, but she doesn't serve like nineties R & B on the angry-girlfriend scale.) 
She goes on...
You know what? I'll BeyoncĂ© him. Not as powerful as a nineties R & B breakup song, but stronger than a Taylor swift. Yeah. That'll work. 
Such. Good. Writing. I just love it. And for any of my students who might be reading this, let me school you a bit on 90's R & B. Here's the song I'm envisioning Starr was thinking of in this part of the text... here's my favorite video, or you can just watch the one I've embedded (a live version that is just ok):



And after going through a bunch of songs, I found a few more I just loved in the 90's...check them out: Sittin up in my room, shoop, and waterfalls. and one of my first CD's had this song: weak.

Yes, I was a teenager in the 90's, kiddos. How much top 40 has changed!


How about a blog about your favorite songs? Or your favorite songs a few years ago?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

butterfly project

This year, as part of our Holocaust unit, students are reading poems from children at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (referred to also as Terezin). They are then making a butterfly to represent the poem, using ThingLink to annotate their creation, and sharing with the class (and all of our readers!) via their blogs. Students will also find out the fate of the child who wrote their poem, as that is revealed in the appendix of the I never saw another butterfly book, which was used to create the project. Huge thanks to Sarah Larson for her helping me enhance the way I had done this project in the past!

Here's my version of the project. 

The Butterfly
by Pavel Friedmann

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
      against a white stone...

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly 'way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
      kiss the world goodbye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live here,
     in the ghetto.

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