My Daughter’s Wedding / #ProudMother

My daughter, Bridgit, and her partner, Charlie, recently gathered family and friends in Savannah, GA and on the afternoon of May 1st, they stood under an immense oak tree covered in spanish moss and said, “We do” after the officients (their siblings) took turns reading their five personally-written vows.

The night before this joyful event, Bridgit and Charlie invited all their wedding guest to gather at a local Savannah distillery for the “Welcome Party”. It was important for them to orchestrate many opportunities for their family and friends to spend time together because over the past several months, due to Covid, together time mostly involved screens. (In fact, many guests were meeting in Savannah in-person for the first). During the party, Brian and I gladly offered toasts. Brian went first, sharing a few small moments from Bridigt’s early years (yes, a few tears were shed by all) and then I went. Click to read if interested.

Brian’s Toast
Sally’s Toast

The following day, guests arrived via the Savannah Trolley and Bridgit and Charlie arrived by horse-drawn carriage. First, guests mingled and played lawn games – bocce, croquet, giant jenga. And after an hour, all were asked to take a seat under the live oak tree for the ceremony. First, three adorable flower-girls, dressed as princesses, walked across the field and down the aisle as the song “Happy Feet” played. The seated friends and family clapped and sang along as the little nymph-looking girls reached into their baskets and dropped a rose-petal trail for Bridigt and Charlie to walk upon.

Then the music changed to something that sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it immediately. “It’s the West Wing theme song!” a voice in the crowd whispered and I thought, “how perfect”. Both Bridgit and Charlie didn’t just watch this series but were inspired by the Sorkin-idealist-democracy portrayed on TV and spent many years working for progressive candidates. It was finally their work with the DNC to elect Biden that allowed them to cross paths, meet and fall in love. Of course, they were walking down the aisle together to this TV-theme song. This gathering was so them. They stood under a ginormous oak tree glittering with Spanish moss and joined hands. Charlie’s brothers, Joe and Hank, placed colorful braided cords over their hands as Bridgit’s sister, Anne explained this chosen ritual of handfasting.

Bridgit and Charlie explain it best in their online wedding program:
In a nod to May Day, Beltane and our shared Irish heritage, we chose handfasting as our unity ritual—literally tying the knot! Handfasting is an ancient Celtic ritual in which the hands are tied together to symbolize the binding of two lives. We like that it is a lasting, physical representation of our commitment to each other, as well as a very egalitarian ritual. We made our handfasting cords ourselves, based on color meaning: BLUE fidelity, longevity, strength, safe journey GREEN fertility and growth, love, luck, prosperity, nurturing PINK love, happiness, unity, romance, honor, truth GOLD wisdom, prosperity, longevity BLACK pure love, wisdom, success, strength.

Once their vows were share and the knot was tied, they kissed!! All cheered and waved their miniature May Pole in celebration. Then family and friends proceeded inside and we ate, drank and danced the night away, under the twinkling lights that covered the ceiling.

I can’t think of anything that would have made this wedding weekend better. I am so grateful that Bridgit and Charlie found each other and planned such a lovely weekend in Savannah to celebrate their union with family and friends. #ProudMother

Photography by Carraway Weddings – highly recommend!!


Why do we gather? Priya Parker asks this question as she begins her book, The Art of Gathering. One of her answers in to welcome.

I realize as 2021 gets ready to turn its page and begin a new chapter, I have two special gatherings planned.

My first one is in Toulouse, France. Toulouse is known as the “Pink City” due to its century-old terra cotta bricks, It will be my first visit and I am imagining enjoying my breakfast of a croissant and tea in the hotel coffee shop. Then I’ll pull on my overcoat and head out to meet up with my daughter Anne and her partner, Remi. As I meet him for the first time in person, they will introduce me to their city. I am so looking forward to this December gathering.

Twenty years ago, during the month of August my husband and I explored Spain with our two girls. One evening as the sun was starting to set in Barcelona, we strolled the busy Ramblas, stopping to view the the movements of the mimes. I insisted that we touch the Mediterranean Sea and the girls raced ahead to the water’s edge. Then Brian arranged us by height and suggested we pose with our hands on our hips and snapped our photo. Maybe then we should have realized that at least one of our daughters would return to this region. Anne is only four hours to the north, teaching, exploring with Remi and caring for their new cat, Rajah! Come December, I’ll gather with them in Toulouse.

Five months later, I’ll gather in Savahana, Georgia. Know for its cobblestone squares and Spanish moss-covered oak trees. On May 1st, my oldest, Bridgit, will stand under one such tree and agree to be united with her partner, Charlie with all her family and frieds gathered.

Gatherings. I will admit, I’m a little out of practice thanks to Covid. However, I am feeling grateful my girls are giving me wonderful reasons to gather again in the coming months.

Do YOU have any plans for gathering?!

I learned of Priya Parker her and her work while listening to this episode of On Being. I used this as a Quick Write during my October ELA Department Meeting.

Keep Cup

My Writing Club (two lovely writers who participate in the March Writing Challenge as PencilOnMyBackPorch and WordJourneys) met last Wednesday and one brought along Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home.

We descided to all try this exercise: Pick one word. A noun. Something concrete. Write two pages with this word in mind. Afterwards, in the margin, write the links to this word.

I picked the object that I now carry with me – my Keep Cup . Here’s where the prompt took me….

For Mother’s day, my girls had my present delivered to me. They must have been conversing across the miles and I recall Anne sending me a text a week prior asking about my favorie color. I recall my reply was “green, blue and purple but I guess blue if I can only pick one.”

As I opened the small package, I found a glass cup the size of a Starbuck’s grande drink inside and a blue plastic removable lid. I immediaely sent the girls a thank you text. Anne’s reply was, “Use it at Starbucks and be sure to ask for the reuseable-cup discount.” This made me smile as I held this small but thoughtful present called a Keep Cup. The girls know me and my routine well.

Now, I routinely carry my Keep Cup with me when I head to Starbucks in the morning. “Grande black iced tea, no sweetener,” I announce and $2.95 appears on the register. Then the minuse ten cents (-.10) appears. I smile and think how the girls’ gift is the gift that keeps on saving!

Last week and over a month since Mother’s Day, I drove and parked at my neighborhood Starbucks and realized I forgot the Keep Cup. Not wanting to return to my old habit, I actually drove back home to retrieve my Keep Cup. Each Starbuck’s purchase is one less plastic cup and one less straw added to a landfill. One small, very small gesture to reduce by reusing.

(My writing began to wander to the girls’ gift to their dad for Father’s Day…a comparision but after a paragraph, it seemed off-topic so I stopped and wrote this next…)

Reduce. Recycle. Reuse. Gestures needed for my planet. My girls are conscious of the need for such gestures. I wonder if it is doing anything at all. I am reminded of the story of the hummingbird (which PencilOnMyBackPorch shared with me last Earth Day – view video here). The hummingbird, though so small, tries to put out the fire. Action. Thanks to my girls, I’ve made it a habit to routine;y use my Keep Cup. Action.

After 2 pages, I write these links in the margin: gift, new routine, gift is saving me $, different dad gift – off topic, being sustainable

NOTE: I enjoyed this exercise. I see now that this writing could be a seed for many more stories. I really enjoyed doing this exercise in the company of my writing club. While I wrote about my Keep Cup, one picked the noun, fireplace and the other picked the noun bra. So fun to listen to their ponderings related to their chosen noun!

Do you ever “prompt write”? Maybe something to try.
Now I’m heading to Starbucks with my Keep Cup!!


Now I Tag

I started my first blog back on July 13, 2011. At that time I began reading the blogs of  Staff Developers at TCRWP and thought if they could do it, so could I. I posted a total of 11 posts from July to December that year. I included writing related to my own reading and tips on teaching reading and writing. I included photos and hyperlinks. I added widgets to allow people to follow me, show blogs I follow and archive my posts. I used blogspot and was pretty proud of myself.

Now in 2018, I feel I have evolved as a blogger. I owe that in large part to the community I found here at TheTwoWriting Teachers. In March, 2014 I started a new blog to host my first ever Slice of Life posts. My first blog stayed as the blog where I post my learning at TCRWP and other PD related to Reading and Writing. This new blog’s purpose was to hold only the stories I can tell which became my blog’s title. It held my small moment slices and it served me well all of 2014. That first year, after writing for 31 days, I was done. I went back to occasionally adding to my other blog. I returned to my SOL blog in 2015 by adding my OLW thoughts and then March, 2015 another 31 days!

After year two, I felt comfortable enough as a writer to add a Tuesday Slice to my routine during the months not called March and I started adding 4ish slices during these months. And then daily in March. I followed this pattern through 2016.

Then I started noticing people “liking” my posts and I wanted to be able to “like” them back. By then, my daughter, Anne, was blogging (her insightful posts can be found HERE) and she helped me start a new blog using wordpress. WordPress allows me to easily like others. It allows me to easily reply to comments. I liked wordpress so much that since, then, I’ve started a blog to hold onto my thinking about teaching Middle School and another blog I use with a group of teachers doing Teacher Research. 

However, this weekend I wanted to be the kind of blogger who uses “tags”. I’ve seen this on other’s blog pages like this one on Fran McVeigh’s:

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One problem, my go-to tech support (AKA my daughter, Anne) is living and working in France until May. And I wanted to do this NOW. So I searched google “How to tag in a wordpress blog” and it indicated that there were only 8 million links to help me. When I clicked on VIDEO, now only 6 million links were available! So I picked one and watched. It indicated that this box can appear as I am drafting my post if I click on the wheel on the top right corner.

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Without clicking on the wheel, which was something I had never done before, my screen simply looked like this:

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Suddenly, I got it!! I went to my dashboard and clicked on BLOG POSTS and saw this total:

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 2.08.26 PMYikes…that meant I could revisit each of the 274 posts, click on the wheel and add a tag or two or three. I started with enthusiasm. Soon, my stomach was grumbling and I took a lunch break. Then I pushed on. I wanted to be a blogger who tagged and it only felt right if I tagged all that went before and then started tagging each in the making of a post going forward. After a dinner break, I finally finished! Now this can be seen on my blog:

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Before I publish, let me just add the tags for this post. What is it mostly about? I’m tagging it like this: tech, SOL, Blogs, friends, Anne.  

 I can’t wait for Fran to see this tomorrow when I post it as my SOL #5!

Are you a blogger who tags? Are you a blogger who uses another feature? Please share!

PS: I also discovered I can publish this right now to be scheduled to actually be published tomorrow…so sneaky!!

PSS: I still want to be the kind of slicer who includes the orange slice and how I’m blogging as part of the challenge. Maybe I’ll figure out how to add that next weekend!

8/21/17 Eclipse Reflection

He looked up at me with big dark eyes and as soon as he saw that I’d listen, he started. His words came out of his mouth non-stop and included hand-motions.

“We just saw it! If this is the moon (and he held out his one hand) and this is the sun (he held out his other hand) right now, the moon moved right in front of the sun (and his one hand moved in front of the other) It’s right in front and it covered it up. It is an a clips. It happened right now. Right outside.”

“Wow. And you saw it?” I asked with interested eyes.

“I wore these glasses and I saw it!” he responded with a big grin.

I turned to his mother and said, “You are doing a great job. He is a budding scientist for sure.”

After that exchanged I decided that instead of being alone to watch this event, I’d drive to my daughter, Anne’s camp and share my glasses with her and watch with the other campers.

As I made the trek to South Arlington, I was listening to the live stream of the 2017 Solar Eclipse. The radio announcer was checking in from station to station from Oregon to Kansas to Tennessee and finally to South Carolina. The folks in Oregon cheered and then got very quiet at the moment of totality. Not really great radio. The folks in Kansas were annoyed. It was raining on their gathering. As I drove, I’d tried out my glasses shared by my good friend and great scientist Fran. The day before I was wondering if I was being silly to drive into DC to retrieve glasses from her. Yet, at the first stop light, I placed the glasses on and looked up. WOW – how cool. It was just as that little boy described.

Once at the camp, I sat on the steps outside and Anne texted me that she was bringing her theater campers out in a few minutes. I sat and watched. Another women came and sat by me and I insisted she take a look with my glasses as she didn’t have a pair. For the next 10 minutes, we shared the glasses. Then another mom came with 2 boys. They had glasses and also cereal boxes. The mom also had signs that read My First Solar Eclipse. The boys dutifully stood holding the sign and allowed their picture to be taken. She then pulled out 3 balls. A yellow ball, a little bigger than a baseball, and smaller balls, one blue and one white. She held them and described what was happening. The boys, about 6 or 7 years old seemed to just want to play with the balls and kept asking when they could go get a snack. Despite these boys not being quite as enthusiastic about the cosmic event occurring overhead,  I also thought this mom was doing a great job to raise scientists.

Then the camp class came out. Anne and I shared my glasses as all the campers seemed to come equipped with a pair. After about 15 minutes, we heard thunder and next, a cloud started to move toward our free show. But it was great while it lasted!

Earlier today I read a blog post about another person’s eclipse story. It involved waiting in a long line to get glasses. But her story really was about interacting with the older couple in front of her in that line and with the little girl behind her who told her all about her newly lost tooth. I left this comment on that blog post:

“Yesterday’s eclipse brought people out into the community to interact. Where does community meet to talk, hear about the tooth fairy and share in person, now in the 21st century? I keep wondering about this. Your story reminds me of the importance of shared events and community.”

A week ago Monday, August 21, 2017 was my first remembrance of an eclipse. I do hope to have this experience again. Either way, though, I will continue to seek out opportunities to share events with others in my community.

Notice the eclipse-shaped shadows through the leaves. And the puffy rain cloud rolling in. And the sun through my dining room window once back home. This event was hard to photograph but will stay with me! I’m saving my glasses to use with the next one!

She called me a NERD!

In her post yesterday, my daughter called me a nerd. I LOVE it!!

To add more evidence to support her opinion, I was the first car into the school parking lot yesterday on a 2-hr delay. I still arrived on time so I could complete my sub plans for Friday. Taking a day off from school doesn’t make me a nerd. But, listen to why I’m taking the day off.

I’ll be on the 6:05pm train to NYC tonight so I can have a Nerd Weekend! First, on my Friday, a day I took as a personal day, I arranged to visit PS58, a school where my friend works. Yes, you read it correctly. I’m taking a personal day and still going to a school! Yep, that’s nerdy. This school has taught using the Units of Study for Reading and Writing in all grades for years. I want to be inspired by their work and bring it back to my school. It’s just our 1st year.

Another piece of evidence is where I’ll be on Saturday.  I’ll be getting up by 7am and in my seat at Riverside Church on the Upper Westside of Manhattan by 8am. I can’t wait to be surrounded by hundreds of other nerdy teachers, all gathered to learn from the very best literacy minds on the planet. I’ll spend the whole day learning on a Saturday, yep a Saturday. Each hour between 9-3pm, I’ll attend a different workshop in order to gain tips to teach reading and writing better. All on a Saturday. Yep, that’s nerdy. TCWRP generously offers a day of free workshops each October and March. I’ve attended all, but one  since 2009. I only missed this past October’s making this Saturday ever more precious. It has been a year since I was last at a Reunion.

A final piece of evidence I’ll share is that I also come to TCRWP during the summer. Yep, the summer when as a teacher I am off on vacation. Since 2009, I’ve attended their Summer Institute, a week of learning, all day long, Monday through Friday. During these institutes, they invite authors, my rock stars, to give keynote addresses. Because of this I’ve heard Kevin Henkes, Mo Willems, Kate Di Camillo, Ralph Fletcher,  Katherine Patterson, Sarah Weeks, Carmen Agra Deedy, Naomi Shihab Nye, Seymour Simon, Pam Munos Ryan, Ellin Keene, Stephanie Harvey, Tim Rasinski, Colleen Cruz, Jen Serravallo, Carl Anderson, Kathy Collins, Kylene Bears, Lester Laminack, Jacqueline Woodson, Niki Grimes, Matt de la Pena to name a few. I love authors! I love using their book to understand how to live. My summertime week at TCRWP feels magical to me because I get to meet authors.

Yep, my daughter, Anne, nailed it. I’m a nerd!


Bud, Not Buddy – the play

I awoke Sunday to see this text from my daughter who currently lives 12 hours ahead of me in France:


Usually on a Sunday, I would be spending a few hours doing homework  and therefore taking time to see a play at the spur of the moment wouldn’t enter my mind. But Monday’s a holiday, I thought (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) so I went to the Kennedy Center website to get more information. I discovered the last show was today at 4:30pm and a balcony seat was just $20. I was in!

Once at the Kennedy Center, I stood in a short line and purchased the last balcony seat. “It’s in the last row, center seat. In the Eisenhower Theater, that is still a great seat,” the box office man told me. “I just want to be in the room so I’ll take it!” And I handed him a twenty dollar bill.

The show wouldn’t start for 30 minutes, so I walked out onto the terrace to enjoy the view of the Potomac River.  While wandering, I saw this quote carved on the building, a building honoring the great President who was the President the year I was born-John F. Kennedy.


I read it again and thought about what is happening in just 5 days on Inauguration Day, just blocks from here. Somehow it doesn’t feel to me like my country is even being recognized for its strength right now, let alone its culture. I wondered if we can still be a civil society.

Once seated, I had to agree with the box office – I loved my seat!


Bud, Not Buddy is a novel I had started a few times and never finished. Then a few summer’s ago, it was given to me again while I attended a Summer Reading Institute at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I was to read it in a week and daily have a book club discussion with my partners. This workshop emphasized reading and thinking and jotting down those thoughts to bring to my club meetings and discuss.

I recall vividly while reading it closely that summer that I realized who Herman was before the main character, Bud did. I then wondered, how? What clues had Christopher Paul Curtis given me? I reread and jotted down all the places where he left clues. I shared these with my club members, proudly showing that I was a careful reader who felt the light bulb going on, even before it did for Bud. I came to love this book. Thinking back, I think it is mostly because it symbolized for me a book that I worked hard at to really get.

At the Kennedy Center, I saw the cast of a play, read the play before it gets blocked. Along with the reading with a full Jazz Orchestra played and only the only set I saw was the one in the picture above. However, I still truly enjoyed the hour of this story told as a play. Now I wonder how one could read this book without hearing the music. Jazz is such a huge part of the story that a play almost seems like the natural way to enjoy the story fully.

I few of my favorite lines:

  • “Whhhoooossshhh….the sound of the door opening!”
  • “Always remember, no matter how bad things look to you, when one door closes, another door opens.”
  • “This was where I was suppose to be.”
  • “I can see why this band has six exclamation points behind its name.”
  • “French always makes things sound classy – we will call you Sleepy Le Bone.”
  • “I carry everything I need inside.”

Sunday I saw the play Bud, Not Buddy! I am glad my daughter clued me in from miles aways. I am glad I was spontaneous and went to see the play. I am glad I have books in my life that I can read closely to understand how to live better. I am even trying to be glad/hopefully that as another great President passes the baton this coming Friday, our nation will still strive for all that President Kennedy demands.

Black and White with Lots of Green Bamboo


IMG_7495“There!” I said excitedly as I pointed to the zoo map. I was touching the upper lefthand side and noticed that the star and the label YOU ARE HERE was in the lower righthand corner of the same map.

“Ok, let’s head up along this right side to see some other animals along the way,” my daughter Anne said. And off we started. Anne, her friend Giulia and I were tourist at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

First, we spied a lazy lion lounging in a shady spot in his enclosure. His head was held up high as if he knew we wanted to take his picture. We all did snapped his picture. Then, as if he knew we were done, he stretched to his left and laid down. Nap time! We only glimpsed one tiger living next door.  He was pacing down the stairs in the corner, outside the zookeeper’s entrance to the exhibit. “He must be thinking it is lunchtime!” I suggested.

Next,  I was in awe of the size and the details I saw at the gorilla exhibit. One very active gorilla was outside. He ambled from spot to spot, stopping at times to sit and eat some leaves he grabbed with his hands. His body resembled mine – a head, 2 arms, 2 feet. But the big different was the size. He was HUGE. And he was all covered in dark fur. Inside, a gorilla was fast asleep right against the glass wall separating him from me. He looked so peaceful sleeping on his back with his hands folded on his chest. Seeing him up close, I realized even his hands resembled mine. He, too, had fingernails and knuckle lines. His thumb was shorter than his other fingers, just like my thumb. The only difference seemed to be the darker, chocolate color and the fur covering his forearms.

Once back outside, we kept climbing the hill at the zoo to reach our ultimate destination – the panda house! Last year a new panda was born and I had not visited to see it in person yet. As we continued on, I had my fingers crossed that we would get to see this black and white bear in action. I wondered if instead, he would be tired like the lion and gorilla. With hope, I kept walking up the hill to reach the Asian Trail.

“We made it!” I pointed out when I spied the sign Pandas with an arrow pointing to the left. We turned and took the path. As we walked by the outside enclosures, no crowds were gathered. A sure sign that no pandas were outside. “They must be inside,” Anne said with confidence, believing we would see this beautiful black and white animal.

Once inside, there he was!! He looked like a student at school who was told to sit “Chris-cross-applesauce”. On his bottom, with his front legs crossed in front, he reached and grabbed a stalk of bamboo from the pile surrounding him and started eating the leaves. Munch, munch, munch! He sat in his enclosure enjoying his lunch as dozens of tourist clicked a photo or a video from the other side of the glass. Anne, Giulia and I joined right in. We watched, clicked, and laughed at this amazing black and white and covered in green animal enjoyed his lunch. I realized I was seeing something miles from my house, usually only seen in China. IMG_7503

As we headed back down hill, we saw more animals. Pink flamingos in the Bird exhibit, elephants in the Big Mammal exhibit, tree frogs in the Rainforest exhibit and pigs and goats in the Farm exhibit. All so different in their appearance and habits from each other and from me. Yet, this trip also made me realized the many ways we are similar. Walking back to the car, I said, “What a day! I feel like I have traveled the world.”

“Let’s stop and get a snack on the way home,”  Anne suggested. I chuckled and agreed. I guess seeing all those animals eating, gave her an idea! We headed toward a restaurant to get a human refreshment!

Have YOU visited a zoo recently? If so, what did you see?
If not, I recommend that you plan a visit soon!

NOTE: One reason I wrote this post was because this summer, I have been reading the TCRWP Writing UoS, Grade 3: Unit One, Crafting True Stories book. As I read each session, I acted as the student and went off to write independently, keeping in mind each session’s teaching point.

Before beginning the unit, I wrote this Narrative On-Demand:

Pre-OnDemand, June 26, 2016

Planning….a small moment…I could write about swimming…softball…shopping for back to school dress…July 4th fireworks… July 4th games…penny toss…


The whistle blew as the second hand of the clock reached the nine. It was a quarter to 2pm on a hot and sunny Fourth of July and I was playing Sharks and Minnows in the deep end. Yet, the blasting sound from the lifeguards meant I had to get out of the water for a 15 minute break because I was only 9 years old.

As I dried myself off with my big yellow towel, an announcement came over the loudspeakers. “All children ages 6-10 years old, report to the 3 ft area of the pool. It is time for the Annual Fourth of July penny-dive.”

“Come on,” I shouted to my friends Diane and Lisa and we speed-walked across the pool deck. My pool was shaped like a Z – the top part was 3 feet deep. The middle part was 25 meters long and started at one end as 4 ft and ended at the far end at 5ft. Then the bottom part of the Z was the deep end. It was where I had been playing before the whistle blew and was 8-10 feet deep and also had 2 diving boards, a low dive and a high dive. Being a strong swimmer now, I rarely spent time in this 3 ft. part of the pool but I was NOT going to miss the PENNY DIVE CONTEST.

“Sit on the edge of the pool, please,” the lifeguard instructed. Then stepped down the pool stairs and was standing in the 3-foot high water in front of a long line of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year old boys and girls sitting with their legs dangling in the water. He was holding an open coffee can and he reached in, grabbed a handful of the contents and threw it into the water. Suddenly, copper-colored circles sprayed across the surface of the water and slowly drifted down to land on the bottom of the pool area. He repeated this action 4 more times, sending coins throughout this area of the pool.

I sat and waited. He moved back to the pool steps and ascended out of the water. “Swimmers, whatever you find, you get to keep. If what you find has a RED mark on it, be sure to show it to Mrs. Larkin at the PRIZE TABLE. The RED marked coins can be traded in for a PRIZE.”

“On your mark,” he shouted.

“Get set….”


Ten minutes later, Diane, Lisa and I returned to our towels, sat down and revealed our newly found treasures.

“I found 10 pennies and 1 dime but nothing with on it,” Diane announced.

“I got 3 dimes and a 8 pennies but no RED here either,” Lisa chimed in.

“LOOK,” I shouted. “This penny is painted RED! Come on, let see what I win!” I screamed.

Once at the Prize Table, I discovered I could pick from anyting on the table. I saw candy bars. I saw coloring books. I saw water sqirt guns. And then I saw a real, live baby turtle.

“Can I have the turtle?” I asked.

“You sure can!” Mrs. Larkin said with a smile.

Just then the whistle blew for break to be over and Diane and Lisa ran to resume the Sharks and Minnows game. I happily took my turtle over to show my mom my new pet. What a great Fourth of July!


And then this week, I drafted this panda story as my final on-demand. As I wrote it in one-50 minute sitting, I kept MY goal in mind. My goal I set for myself was to work on my ending so that “I chose the action, talk, or feelings that would make a good ending.”

As a final reflection after reading and living this Unit One:

I used to be the kind of writer who didn’t think much about my endings. My stories just ended. Now I am the kind of writer who works hard right through the end of a piece of writing. And I think about how to craft the ending by including just the right action, dialogue or inner thinking.

I can’t wait for school to start on September 6th to teach this unit alongside a group of 3rd graders!

#18 – Memories recalled from reading "Sip a Little Springtime"

“Sip a little Springtime” the sign read as I purchased a Friday breakfast treat at Starbucks this morning. Instantly in my mind, I was transported back to a day spent sightseeing a dozen years ago. My mom, my two girls and I did all the touristy things – saw the ducks, rode the swan boats, went to the top of the Prudential Building, played in the fountains we saw nearby from above. As we were walking back to the T to ride back to the hotel, we were sweaty and so hot. “Let’s cool off inside here,” I suggested and I ordered four grande vanilla bean frappuccinos. Sipping this cool drink was a great ending to our first day of sightseeing in Boston.

Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts

“You like cabbage. Brussels sprouts are just like cabbages, only smaller.”
I was slicing a large cabbage last night to make my family’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day side dish. I know I am more than a week early but I had time over the weekend to cook the corned beef and it was already on sale at the grocery store. So why wait! Maybe she’s right, I thought. My daughter returned from college with a love for this vegetable. She prepares them by roasting slices on a tray drizzled in oil and topped with salt in a hot oven. I do like them when she makes them.
Yet I never think to buy this vegetable. I’m more of a corn and green beans cook. Maybe it was my college experience. My own mom never served me brussels sprouts and I recall during my freshman year they being a regular choice at the dining hall. They were boiled and looked like little brains and many jokes were made about them. Those snide jokes stuck and for my whole life I never bought or cooked brussels sprouts.
As I sliced the cabbage last night, I started to see brussels spouts in a new light. I love coleslaw. I love this dish my mother-in-law taught me how to make that I’m preparing now – fried cabbage with egg noodles.* Maybe I’ll start to buy brussels spouts. “They’re just a small member of the cabbage family,” my daughter reminded me.
Now I wonder what I can tell my daughter to change HER present mindset about raw tomatoes and anything seafood?!
*Click HERE to see the recipe for Galusca, the cabbage/noodle dish in my March 16, 2014 SOL post!