The Ocean

From the book “Write the Poem” introduced to me by a Teach Write friend, Donnetta Norris.


The Ocean

It sparkles in the sun

A million glittery diamonds stretching on without end

as far as the eye can see

Rhythmic waves billowing, a hypnosis for the viewer

Tides rolling in and out…some calm, some rough, like days in our lives

Foamy bubbles cascade onto the sand, an overflowing washing machine

gently cleansing your feet and your soul

carrying your worries back out

into the glittery abyss


SOL Day 31- The Uncertainty of Indefinitely

slice-of-life_individualEven though there are still opportunities to slice, I am a little grateful that today is the last day of the March challenge.  Because right now I need deadlines and definite end goals to help me stay calm.

I’m a planner.  I like to write things by hand in my paper planner (color-coded, obviously).  I like to schedule out what I’m doing and when I’m doing it.   I like to make lists and check things off…..I also like to write things on the list that I’ve already done so I can cross them off and look like I’m already making progress.

Yesterday, the governor of Pennsylvania announced that schools and businesses would now be closed “indefinitely”.  This is not a word that is great for a planner.  Indefinitely implies no definite end.  It means that we don’t know when we can go back to that pre-Corona life.  I like specificity.  I like paper chains and calendars.  I want to be able to put an end date to this madness.

I get that it’s not that easy.  That no one really knows when this will all end.  But that’s a really hard pill to swallow for a planner.  For a calendar-maker.  For someone who’s already on anti-anxiety medication and yet still feeling incredibly anxious.

So while I’m sad to see the challenge go, I’m also a little glad.  Because this end date means that at least something is definite.  At least I can plan on one thing.  At least I can cross one thing off my list.

SOL Day 30- A Letter to My Student Teacher

slice-of-life_individualDear Megan,

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for you.  Not only were you an amazing intern during the fall, but you picked up seamlessly in January.  You were just about to take over more responsibility and planning when the world went sideways.

I’m so sorry you aren’t in the classroom with our kiddos.  That you are at home wondering what your future looks like.  I’m sorry you won’t get to experience taking the class on a field trip or down to the stream in the school’s backyard.  I’m sorry you won’t get to run the day from start to finish and deal with all the little quirks and questions that come from our sweet and silly second graders.

This is not how you imagined your student teaching.  It’s not how I imagined my 16th year of teaching either!  This should be the time when you are applying for jobs and going on interviews.  This should be the time when you’re planning an epic graduation celebration because you earned it!  Instead, you’re at home, I’m at home, and we can only see our students in little tiny boxes like we’re in the opening credits of The Brady Bunch (I sincerely hope that reference is not lost on you….).

Through all of this nonsense, however, you continue to impress me.  You’re right there planning lessons with the team.  In on every zoom call and ‘training’ meeting.  You’re showing complete professionalism and I’m amazed- mainly because I want to curl in a ball and cry every day and you seem so together.

This whole crazy experience is giving you more skills- maybe not the ones you wanted, but think about all you can talk about in an interview-  and you WILL get interviews, because you are amazing and are going to be a wonderful teacher.  In fact, you already are one.

I would not be getting through this without you.  I can’t thank you enough, and I’m so very blessed to have you in my life.

With Gratitude,


SOL Day 29- Blast from the Past

slice-of-life_individualOne of my resolutions for 2020 was to clean out one drawer or cabinet per week.  That’s really picked up a lot since I’ve been home for so long and will do just about anything to avoid writing my dissertation.

Anyway- today I found the funniest thing stuck under a coaster that was stuck at the bottom of a drawer:


It made me think about what it would be like if this pandemic quarantine had occurred years ago.  Now, if you are privileged enough, you have Netflix and YouTube and whatever else exists on the World Wide Web at your fingertips to amuse you in times of boredom.

Years ago, would people have stormed Blockbuster to rent videos? Would you have panic-rented something that wasn’t that great just to have something to watch?  Would you have grabbed a VHS copy of When Harry Met Sally (or is that just me?) and held it close to your chest so no one else could take it? Would people hoard romantic comedies or action thrillers the way they are hoarding toilet paper?Would Blockbuster have waived the late fees so that you could have the videos for as long as this lasts?

One thing is for sure- there’s no way I would have rented Outbreak.  But I definitely would be kind and rewind.

SOL Day 28- Man in a Tree

slice-of-life_individualOne positive thing to come out of the increased time at home is that I am taking a lot more walks throughout the day.  My town, like many others I’m sure are in a “shelter in place” situation where only *essential* workers are supposed to be leaving home.

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk.  And we saw several landscape trucks on one of our neighborhood streets.  It made me wonder if landscapers are considered essential workers and if not….why were they mulching and tree trimming?


This guy was taking social distancing to a whole new level by being high up in a tree.  Now the tree was not touching any wires or anything, so I’m not sure if the branch trimming was purely cosmetic or not.  I don’t know.  There could have been a very good reason for this that I’m not aware of.  And I know that businesses are hurting and everything and that they need support. And I know the government is a hot mess and we’re basically at the whim of a madman right now.

But.  This isn’t going to go away unless people take  directions seriously.  And stay home.  Stay inside. And maybe your mulch can wait?


SOL Day 27- Working From Home

slice-of-life_individualWorking from home is more work than working from work.  This week I’ve had more meetings, learned more new technology, and have been more stressed than ever before in my teaching career.

Today by the numbers:

57 text messages between my grade level team and myself

1 incredibly long zoom meeting in which I tried to walk my 70 year-old grade level partner through using Nearpod.

4 Nearpod lessons created (over a span of about 6 hours)

2 Seesaw activities created and scheduled

25 emails

1 panic attack when I realized we were adding links incorrectly into a shared document that is going out to parents.

2 walks with the dog

12309843501923098234 deep breaths

1 meltdown crying in the shower

8 oreos consumed in one sitting

2 videos made for my kiddos for next week.

And now….It’s not quite 4:00pm here….but it’s definitely 5:00 somewhere if you get my drift!

SOL Day 26- A Quarantine Mystery

slice-of-life_individualI’ve been sheltering in place at my mom’s house because that way neither of us has to be alone.  Yesterday something mysterious happened, that now Nancy Drew (me) and Agatha Christie (my mom) have to try and solve.

I spent the entire morning on Zoom meetings for school, trying to figure out how online learning really works (spoiler alert: I still don’t quite know).  During our lunch break I turned on the news to see what the latest updates were.

Then the TV turned itself off.  I looked down to see if I bumped the remote.  The remote was on the table.

Then the TV turned itself back on.  And off. And on again.  With no one touching the remote at all.

We tried a number of different solutions-  different outlets, cables, cords, switching the TV with another one in the house.  Same thing.  On and off of its own accord.

We called the cable company so they could talk us through some kind of troubleshooting.  Nothing worked.

My mom called a friend who is an electrician.  He made some suggestions and we tried those.  Nothing worked.

Because we are in quarantine, no repair people are coming into the house, and of course this is not a tragedy, we still have food and power and toilet paper.  All the essentials.

But the mystery continues.  No rhyme or reason.  My knowledge of electricity taps out at 4th grade circuits.  It makes no sense, except….perhaps the universe is trying to keep us occupied?

SOL Day 25- Staying Connected While Far Apart

slice-of-life_individualIt’s funny how we are isolated from so many, and yet I’m finding more connections than I have under ‘normal’ circumstances.  To be clear, I’ve had enough zoom meetings/trainings in the last week to last a lifetime….but I’ve also had fun meetings with friends.

Being home all day, every day, means that I’m more present on text chains.  Usually during a school day I miss out on a lot because I don’t check my phone very often.  The same goes for catching up on various social media activity (and this is both a good and bad thing…)

Last week I had a virtual dinner date with some friends who live in other states.  So we are always distant geographically, but we never took advantage of this idea before.  We each had our dinner and our computers and chatted while we ate.  It was nice to be in a Zoom without an agenda other than catching up.

There’s more Face Time and virtual happy hours and watch parties online than I even knew existed.  While I live alone and one would think that this is a lonely time, I feel very connected to my friends both near and far.

I hope that when this all goes away (and Please LORD let it go away soon) that I remember to have virtual dinners with friends who live far away….that I make more time to check in and see how people are doing.  That I send more cards in the mail. That I look at the good things about technology and digital communications, and use them to stay connected.


SOL Day 24- Zoom Room

slice-of-life_individual The creators of Zoom must be raking in the money right now.  Pretty much the entire planet is connecting using this format. I have used this technology for my graduate classes for the last three years, and my district just fully embraced it for lots of staff meetings.  I even had virtual dinner with some friends last week.

But today…was the best zoom.  Today I zoomed with my second grade students.  We had our usual morning meeting, but virtually.

First, I set up the meeting and my assistant teacher, Murphy, got all dressed up in his business casual attire- bow tie and his St. Patty’s Day collar.  I…was in my pajamas.  He doesn’t have tenure yet, so he’s still trying to make a good impression.


Then we connected to those little faces and mass chaos ensued.  It was amazing.


There was a lot of excited screaming and of course, excited sharing of various pets.  We shared about what we’ve been up to, how much we missed each other, and I made it through the entire meeting without crying.

I hate that this is what the world is like right now, but I’m so thankful that I can “see” my students and talk to them in real time and just smile, smile, smile.