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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day 31 of 31 #SOL16

Here it is. The final day and it is after 11 p.m. I have had slicing on my mind so much today, afraid I would forget to do it. I think I almost did! Today I am sitting here surrounded by piles of clothes as we prepare for a trip to a conference this weekend. My kids are making a trip to the grandparents and my husband and I are going to a be kid free for four days! It's going to be amazing and it will make those hugs at the end of those four days that much sweeter.
I love my kids but I also think little breaks once in a while are good. It's great for my kids to have the undivided attention of their grandparents and it is wonderful for my husband and me to have a meal whenever we want! I am really looking forward to the trip, the break from school, and some different surroundings. It is welcomed and much needed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day 30 of 31 #SOL16

Dreaming of
a stream
in between my toes

Thinking of
a sun
shining down in rows

Wishing for
a day
slower I suppose

Hoping it
will stay
warming breezes blow


I am growing more and more impatient for sunny weather that is consistent. I try not to complain about the weather too much. However, lately, I notice a distinct difference in how I feel when I walk outside and the sun is shining as opposed to dark gray clouds with a side of sprinkles. Here's to dreaming, thinking, wishing, and hoping for warmer days ahead.




Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 29 of 31 #SOL16

IEP's
Goal focused
But sometimes
Reality focused
When everything
Is stacked against you
Yet, you are worth it
I hope you know
We want it all
Knowing we can only give
Knowing it may go away
June-August
Knowing we are your support
Knowing you are doing your best
We see you
We will do our best too.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Day 28 of 31 #SOL16

I just finished up practicing the EdCollab presentation with three other co-authors from TWT. We present on Saturday together along with a variety of presenters. It should be a great day of learning. We practiced via Google Hangout, which essentially is a video call. It's always fun to "get together" with these ladies and we always find lots of opportunities for laughter. I just hope I can keep my cool on Saturday without cracking up (TWT authors, if you are reading this, I promise to be on my best behavior). I have a few tweaks I want to make to my slides and I am crossing my fingers that technology is on my side Saturday. Hope you join in at the gathering!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 27 of 31 #SOL16

Where do I begin? Today was one of those days that had so many slices I feel like I have a whole pie ready to serve and another one going in the oven! Let's see...

The best slice of my day was likely when my daughter and I made her birthday treat for tomorrow. Birthday number nine is on its way and she is pumped! She wanted mini dirt cakes to share with her classmates and all her former teachers. That amounts to about thirty cups of cake. I may have, at one point, looked at her and said, "Are you sure you don't want ice-cream sandwiches?" Nah, she wasn't having it and really I knew it would be fun.

We started by mixing up the pudding and milk to set up. The butter and cream cheese were busy softening on the counter while we crushed up two packs of Oreos. She then proceeded to lay out fifteen of the cups on the counter.

Next came the creaming of the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar with a splash of vanilla. It came together pretty quick but I soon realized I did not have room in my bowl to fold in all that pudding (6 1/2 cups) plus 24 oz. of whipped topping. We'd need to divide and conquer the ingredients. So about three bowls later we had everything mixed up and ready to layer.

I placed some crushed cookies in the bottom of each cup (we used little clear punch cups) she put on two ice cream scoop fulls of pudding mixture and I topped them with more cookie. When we finished all thirty of them I worked on pulling apart thirty little pieces of press and seal wrap to close up the tops of the cups.

After they sit through the night the bottom layer of cookie will kind of become one with the pudding and the top layer will stay a little bit crunchy. It really is a little cup of rich yummy goodness. Those kids better love them and I better get one since this year I happen to be her writing teacher one hour of the day. :)


Recipe from Just a Pinch Recipes:
I doubled everything to make thirty little servings plus had about a pie plate worth for my husband to take to work tomorrow.

Ingredients
1 bag(s)
oreos, crushed
8 oz
cream cheese, softened
1/4 c
butter, softened
1 c
powdered sugar
3 c
milk
2 sm box
instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp
vanilla
12 oz
cool whip, thawed
Gummy worms (optional)
1
Cream together cream cheese, butter & powered sugar & vanilla.
2
In separate bowl mix milk & pudding chill until set. Fold in cool whip after pudding has set. Blend in cream cheese mixture.
3
Layer pudding mixture with crushed Oreos. Chill until ready to serve.

You can also add some gummy worms for garnish!



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day 26 OF 31 #SOL16


I wrote about small victories yesterday. We went out for a late breakfast to celebrate. Nothing like a good old diner to bring you back to reality! People of all walks of life seem to enjoy the diner scene. We don't go often but when we do there is always bound to be a story or two just waiting. I watched as waitresses bumped into each other hustling around the counter. They worked their hardest to force a smile while it appeared chaos was all around them. Plates clinking, silverware falling, "behind you," and "hot coffee" rang through the crowded conversations. My kids proceeded to play rock, paper, scissors, some other finger counting game that doesn't have a name, and "karate chop the straw wrapper" while we waited for our food.


As I looked down at my practically plate size omelet and side of hash browns I asked myself, "What was I thinking?" It's the kind of meal that tastes so good you just can't stop eating even though everything inside you is telling you to quit whilte you're ahead. I think I ate about half of it and then watched my kids eat their pancakes and pick from my plate, "Are you going to eat those hashbrowns?" and "Can I have your biscuit?" I gladly gave it up as I sat ridiculously full.

We had planned on running a few errands after breakfast but when I looked over at my husband I could tell we were all heading home. I'm thinking a nap may be in my future.

"Order up!"


Friday, March 25, 2016

Day 25 of 31 #SOL16

Life is full of small victories. I was having a conversation with my sister today and we were sharing with each other some that have occurred recently. Though I won't share those victories here I felt like it was appropriate to write and record that they are happening. Sometimes big problems don't feel as though they will ever be solved. Sometimes big things take over our life. Tucked within those big problems that seem to overwhelm every fiber of our being there are small victories taking place. They are chipping away at the big problems. Once in a while it almost feels like real progress.

Today we colored eggs for Easter. One of the eggs cracked a bit while cooking. I left it out of the pile to be dyed. My daughter had other ideas. She took the little egg and dipped in many colors. Then she put it with the rest of them. A little later she asked if she could open it to see what happened on the underside of the shell. Both my kids marveled at their discovery of a web-like design on the egg.

Sometimes things that seem like a problem or unfixable are actually just waiting for their big moment to be amazing.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 24 of 31 #SOL16


"I'm hungry," whine.
"Really, really hungry."

"Grilled cheese?"

"YES!"

It's late
You're hungry
Usually it's just too bad
but tonight is different.
No obligation tomorrow.
You can have a grilled cheese.
Some nights are made for exceptions.
Wait...what?
"No, I just want a hug."
Okay
I've got plenty of those
and I don't even need to butter bread.

Goodnight sweetheart.
"I'm hungry."
"How about some ice water?"





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day 23 of 31 #SOL16

WHEW! What a crazy couple of days. Lots of music has been alive in the Hubbard household. We had my son's band concert last night and my daughter's third-grade class concert this evening.


As a band parent, I supervised kids who were not on stage while the other band played. It was fun to see former students, "Hey! Do you remember me?"
This evening as a teacher, I again supervised students. The kids were so excited and it was fun to see them do such a nice job on "The BIG Stage."



I watched, as swarms of families and people from the community filled the auditorium. I work in a community that is very supportive of education. I haven't always taught in a district that had this philosophy. When things seem grim, and although it isn't perfect, I try to remind myself that there are many places where the support is nil and the respect is even less. I remind myself of the stories my husband tells me after a day in his district where daily fights and lockdown drills are the norms. Like I said, my district isn't perfect but when I see what I am surrounded by I have to be thankful.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 22 of 31 #SOL16

Today is one of those BUSIER than ever days. Every time I turn around there is something else to do or prepare. Tomorrow isn't looking any better. I am hoping that soon I will be able to relax a little and take a breath. I just keep reminding myself that sometimes this happens. Some days are like this. They aren't necessarily fun but it will hopefully make me appreciate the days that do go smoothly. On that note I probably need to be somewhere...


Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 21 of 31 #SOL16

Things that made me smile today:

"Mrs. Hubbard, remember that time in first grade when you got the hiccups and,"
"AND you told me to take thirteen sips! Yes, Jolie, I remember. I even think I wrote about that. Let's see if I can find the story."
I read Jolie the story from back in October of 2013 and we smiled.

I was on my way to the store and looked in my rear-view mirror to see a very elderly man in a full on yawn. His adorable wife at his side. We sat at a stop light and I just kind of stared at the two of them. They looked so sweet and charming.

I got to have a twenty-minute conversation with my good old friend from way down in the kindergarten hall. Even though the topic of conversation was a bit frustrating it was really nice to chat.

My daughter needed a new pair of shoes for her music concert on Wednesday night. I made a quick run to the store and found three pairs. One was bound to work, right? YES! One of them is perfect.

I have written for 21 days and have ten more to go! That is smile worthy for sure.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Day 20 of 31 #SOL16

No more boots
snow pants
mittens.
No more scarves
heavy coats
or gloves.


Boxed
and in the closet
put away, then
only to hear
snow's coming near
in just a few more days.
This is a joke...right?



Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 19 of 31 #SOL16

Yesterday I saw a video about creativity. I found it interesting. They did a little experiment with kids giving them ten second or ten minutes to draw something that appeared as though it should be a clock. Everyone drew a clock in the ten-second test. In the ten minute test, there was a variety of creative drawings. It was a reminder that time does matter. When we are given the time to think and process our brains are drawn to our most creative self.
Watch the video yourself. What would you create?
I think this would be an interesting experiment to have with my students. It would be neat to see what they do but it would also be fascinating to hear what they have to say about the results. What would they gain from this? What does it tell them about themselves? Funny, as I type this I'm thinking, I don't have time for this. Isn't that the point?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 18 of 31 #SOL16

This is hard. Writing for 31 days is a challenge for many reasons. Things get in the way but that is the point. Any challenge is supposed to be...well, challenging. Writing for 31 days is suppose to give us the push to find the words every day that reside within us on any day. They are there. It's up to us to give them the voice they deserve. If you are struggling or if you want to give up just remember that there are words within you that want to come out. There are stories that deserve a voice. Some stories are better than others. Some words are more relevant than others. Finding the right ones is the challenge we face every day. I hope you write today. I hope you find the slice that resonates with you and you find the time to write it down.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 17 of 31 #SOL16

Ten Things I am grateful for right at this moment:

  1. My headache is finally gone.
  2. My daughter and her love for creating. She did quite a project today.
  3. My son's sensitivity. His science fair project plant broke in half today and although he is upset he is handling it really well.
  4. Science fair projects aren't due for another week!
  5. Conferences are finally over.
  6. My class took a break from test prep (BLAH) and we spent time exploring a new website today (EPIC). They loved it!
  7. I'm really tired but I have tomorrow off. No alarm for me tomorrow!
  8. Spring break is around the corner.
  9. The sun was bright today and it felt so nice!
  10. I can just veg out on the couch tonight and watch some TV. A welcomed treat. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 16 of 31 #SOL16

I might be late to the party but I discovered something new today! EPIC for Educators is both an app and a website for teachers and students. It is full of books with a huge range of genres and topics. Some of the book can be read to you or you can read it for yourself.


My students already have so many accounts, usernames and passwords to remember for different things but this might be worth adding to the list.

I am especially excited about the range of nonfiction topics. I have a nice amount of nonfiction books but you can never have enough. Especially when a student comes to you with an interest that you don't have built up in your library yet! I think this will fill the holes that I currently have as far as book choices. I haven't played with it a lot yet and I'm not sure you can bookmark books when you stop reading but I'm hoping it is as user friendly as it looks!

I know there are many sites out there like Bookflix and Storyline Online, which will read books to you (EPIC has mostly "read on your own" titles). However, this seems to have more title options and some are even chapter books. With my students really diving into researching topics and finding evidence to support opinions, I could see this coming in handy for kids with unique interests.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 15 of 31 #SOL16

Spring's Arrival

In the quiet, I listen
I think I heard you
you weren't too far away
but too far for my eyes 
to capture your colors

In the mist, I look
I think I saw you
a flash of red and brown
in flight, I strain 
but you are a blur

In the light, I wait
I think I feel you
closer now
I'll patiently await 
your warmth rolling forward








Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 14 of 31 #SOL16

Tonight I am grateful for conversations with my kids and the people in their lives. One conversation, in particular, was quite eye-opening.
Janie was reading from her new book, Drama by Raina Telgemeier. She was reading a description of one character told by another.
She immediately chimed in, "Oh, she's a level one!"
"What? Did it say that?"
"NO! Didn't you hear what he said about her? It's everything a level one is."
I probed for more information. I knew exactly what she was talking about but I wanted to play dumb for a moment and hear her tell me.

We have a character education program at our school. One of the character traits is kindness and it is broken into four levels. I like this because it's true, kindness can look different and feel different depending on the situation. I asked her to tell me about the levels.

"Well, level one is caring about only yourself. Level two is when you care about yourself and your friends. Level three is caring about your friends, family, and yourself. Level four is caring about people who don't care about you."
I looked at her hard, "What level are you?"
She took a breath, "I'm a level three. It's hard to care about people when they are mean to you."
"Yes, it really is. I bet it takes a lot of work and time before someone becomes a level four. What do you think you would need to do?"
She paused for a moment, "You have to talk to people even when you don't want to."
"Yeah, I suppose you are right. Talking is always a good place to start."
With that, I gave her a kiss on the head and let her get back to her book.
It was a nice way to end the day. I'm proud of her for being so reflective and realizing she has growing to do. We're never done growing.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 13 of 31 #SOL16

I'm in the midst of prepping for a presentation in July. Maybe you've heard of it, Nerd Camp MI. It's a great conference full of great people who are all passionate about educating kids. This weekend I began reading the book, Making Nonfiction From Scratch by Ralph Fletcher. It was recommended to me by Tara Smith. I am a few chapters in and already loving the book. My hope is to inspire teachers to embed voice across genres. This book is going to give me so many ideas and strategies to try before July comes around. It seems like many of the qualities of our narrative voice can often become lost in the formulaic process of writing opinion, argument, or information writing. When we tap into the narrative qualities of writing, our voice often emerges, adding creativity and life to our piece. I'm hoping to find creative ways to share these strategies with my students and with teachers this summer.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Day 12 of 31 #SOL16




Those little curls
and hearty smile.
That belly laugh
and little toddle. 

You peek-a-boo
and hold up two.
You remind us all
of what to do.

We smile back
we laugh and hug.
With you around
so much is love.




Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 11 of 31 #SOL16

Tomorrow is my nephew's 21st birthday. I can still remember the day he was born. I was a senior in high school and getting ready to leave on a trip to Florida with the school band. My sister went into labor and we rushed the couple hours away to get to her. It wasn't a simple birth but all was well and he arrived healthy. I remember holding him for the first time in the hospital room. It was the first time I had held a baby so new.
After he was born I went to call Shawn, my then boyfriend, now husband. As I was walking to the waiting area to find the phone I passed several expectant mothers. I distinctly remember overhearing a conversation between a nurse and a woman who looked desperate to go into labor. She was telling the nurse they had tried everything, bumpy roads, walking and nothing was working. The nurse's response was priceless, "Well, you could always try doing what got you pregnant in the first place!" I giggled to myself and thought, really? That's an actual suggestion?
Tomorrow will be nice. It's always fun to get together with my whole family even if it is just for a few hours. There's always lots of laughter which is the best part of being together as a family.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Day 10 of 31 #SOL16

"Hey, mom? Can you come in here?"
I start having flashbacks to last night when my daughter started yelling for me and ended up getting sick.
Reluctantly, I walk to his door, "Everything ok?"
"Yeah, check this out!" He holds up his large drawing notebook so I can see the latest. Usually, it's an alien or a sea creature.


But this time, it is something different. His art teacher gave him a guide for drawing an owl. He decided to try it out in his notebook. It turned out so neat. 

I love seeing the pride spread across his face when he finishes a drawing. He was so excited to show me and I was so in love with all the details. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Day 9 of 31 #SOL16

Today was one of those days that was just a little too eventful. I had my formal observation today. Of all the times of the year to get observed I happen to be smack in the middle of my mandatory test prep. The least favorite part of my job. Something I have the least amount of passion for and feel sick about doing. Yes, that is what he came to see. At least, I have the many years of prior observations where I did display characteristics of good teaching and passion on my side. Ugh.
Then I got home. I had already prepped dinner and just had to put it in the over but, unfortunately, I needed garlic bread. Ah, no big deal I'll just run to the store. I grabbed my purse and headed out to only moments later hit a deer and then realize I had forgotten my phone. However, as luck would have it a "Large Animal Veterinarian" just happened to be passing through. He not only let me use his phone he moved the deer, which was still alive and flailing in the middle of the road. While I was on the phone, the deer got up, looked at us and then ran off. Okay...whatever! Glad you're fine.
Alright, so I eventually got the bread. While my family ate I talked to the insurance company and all seemed okay.
Bedtime comes along and I hear the words, "Mom, I need the bucket!" Yeah. You know what I'm about to say. Sure enough, now I have a sick kid to top off the day. Really? She just got over a stomach bug about two weeks ago. Do we need to do this again?
Bah, whatever. That's about all I got at this point. None of it really matters. Everybody made it through the day and the only one with a scratch is that deer and my bumper. I suppose eventful or not it's all okay.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 8 of 31 #SOL16

I'm in a different wing of the building now and have a big window that faces out toward the kindergarten and preschool playground. There is a LARGE puddle right outside my window. Today I was standing near my computer and noticed kids playing really close by. I looked out to find a preschool student practically making "snow angels" in the puddle. A few more kids joined in and started splashing and playing. I walked over to watch them and saw their teachers coming toward the area. We caught each other's eye and all we could do was smile. What can you really do at that point? Not much other than smile and maybe giggle a bit. I watched as the little kiddos s   l   o   w   l   y walked away toward the line filing back into the school, dripping wet. A few of my students began to notice and came to the window. They started waving back and forth. It made me a little sad for my students. It wouldn't be deemed appropriate if a third grader went and jumped into a puddle. I understand the reasoning but it's still a little sad to think their puddle jumping days might be over. We expect so much of these little people and I keep finding that I need to remind myself they are eight. I think we might need to round up some bubbles this week and go rekindle our love of wonder.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Day 7 of 31 #SOL16

I've been so excited to come across a few slices of poetry these past few days. It reminded me that it has been a while since I wrote much poetry. There was a time when I was writing a poem or two a day. I went to visit my poetry blog to remind myself what once was there remains inside me I just need to tap into it.
Writing evolves and changes. Focus evolves and changes. I've had opportunities come along that have changed me as a writer. People have come into my life and changed me as a writer. A lot of different students have come into my life and changed me as a teacher/writer.
When I first began writing again I was exploring all kinds of genres and writing the good, bad, and the ugly. It's fun to look back on some of my first blog posts to see where I "began." I'm sure the poet inside of me will emerge a bit during the month of March. At least, I hope so.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day 6 of 31 #SOL16

Today was room cleaning day. I really should have taken before and after pics. It was that frightening. It's funny to me how kids can wreck a room so quickly! As my kids get older they get better and better at organizing their "stuff." It's not perfect but it is better. I find that almost every time they go clean their room they find some new way to display something or set something up. My son has a pet lizard in his room. He has a stool placed in front of the aquarium so he can sit and watch him. Today the stool took on a new purpose. It is now the art stool. He took some of his favorite clay creations and displayed them on the stool.
He wants to be an artist when he grows up. He loves making and creating things. I love this about him. He loves sketching and drawing as well but clay has been a more recent passion for him. It was all he wanted for Christmas. I hope his curiosity and creativity continue to grow in the arts. I told him it looked like he had already run out of room, he was going to need a gallery soon!


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Day 5 of 31 #SOL16

Today I am feeling thankful and happy. I'm preparing for a presentation in July and called on a few people to help me gather my thoughts. They immediately came to my aid. I now have a great title, sweet topic, and I even got my descriptions done. I got some book recommendations and a few thoughts from some very smart ladies. This all made me feel really good and excited instead of stressed.
I'm also prepping for a presentation in April for the ED Collaborative with some fellow TWT authors. We had a little Google Hangout today to prep. It's always nice to chat and laugh with these ladies. They are like an extended family. We have each other's back. It's a great feeling to know I have wonderful people in my corner. 
So in preparation for some busy months ahead, I feel a little more at ease right now. Always a good place to be. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Day 4 of 31 #SOL16

It was a take-out kind of night. I was craving some veggie lo mein and a cookie. On my drive to Tony's Garden, a song came on. It is amazing to me how songs, no matter how old, can bring on a range of feelings. I immediately felt a good feeling all over my body. It was a song from one of my old running playlists. I used to be a runner. I trained for races. It gave me a good feeling and a sense of accomplishment. I missed it. For the first time in a long time, I missed running. We'll see if I pick it up again. I can't really imagine adding something else to my plate but it would probably make me feel better.
I pulled into Tony's and grabbed my food. We had a quick dinner at home and onto the fortune cookie I went. I cracked it open and ate a bite before reading my fortune. I have a superstition that the fortune is meaningless unless some of the cookie is eaten before reading. No idea why. When I read it I found this (not the cute magnet, that is courtesy of my fridge):

My daughter was with me when I read it. She asked, "What's your goal?" I paused, "I don't really know. I have so many." So many goals. Unfinished plans and projects. How does one focus? I certainly am missing that right now. Focus. We'll see. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Day 3 of 31 #SOL16

Here are some of my super readers. We did our door decoration for reading month today. The kids had fun decorating little capes and the sign that reads, "We Are Super Readers!" I'm hoping they feel like super readers every day. They've made some nice progress this year and I hope it continues. It's been really neat watching this group of kids grow into third graders.
Of my current class, about a third of them were with me in kindergarten and first grade. Overall this entire group of third graders is a high needs group of children but I can always think back to where they started and feel better about where they are. They've come a long way and it has been nice being part of their journey. My daughter also happens to be in third grade which is a bonus because I will forever be connected to this group and have the privilege of watching them grow up.
The other day I was walking my class from the kindergarten wing back to our hallway. One of my current and former students looked up at me as we passed our old room. "I really miss it in there," she said. "Yeah we had a good time together back then," I said looking back at her. There was a touch of sadness in both our eyes. There was something very special about those first two years together. I remember telling them and making them promise me they would always look out for one another even when I wasn't there teacher. Soon enough I won't be their teacher anymore, but I'll still be watching and hoping.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day 2 of 31 #SOL16

To notice. To observe. To be conscious.
To be possible.

My One Little Word for 2016 is Possible. I chose it to remind myself that even in moments when things seem impossible, anything is still possible. What have I got to lose? If I continue to work and move forward it's possible things could turn out differently. 
I think as teachers, embracing a word that is so open and inviting we encourage ourselves to acknowledge that things are not always as they seem and even in the bleakest hour there can be surprises. We just have to look beyond the obvious.
When I take the time to stop and notice I see obstacles from a new perspective. I can observe and take note of a situation. Stop, be conscious and think about all the angles. Taking the steps to notice, observe, and be conscious I take myself out of the spiral of negativity that can sometimes accompany tricky situations. 
This year, my first year as a third-grade teacher, I have found myself doing this quite often. As we enter March, possibly one of the busiest months so far this year, I can't help but find myself a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming test prep, new units to teach, parent-teacher conferences, and the day to day struggles that would be there anyway. I also know I have people in my corner who will have my back in those overwhelming moments. It's just a reminder that I must stop, notice, observe, be conscious and see that the possible is around the corner. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Day 1 of 31 #SOL16


Human minds yield helplessly to the suction of story. No matter how hard we concentrate, no matter how deep we dig in our heels, we just can’t resist the gravity of alternate worlds. ~Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal
It was December 28, 2010, when I wrote my first slice. I have to say it was a life-changing moment. I had no idea it would be so meaningful. There were fourteen links in the comments that day. I didn't really know what I was doing yet, but I already felt like part of something special. Today as I visit the blog there are already 159 links and there will be lots more before the day is over. At that time, I did not identify with the word writer. I had always enjoyed writing. All through school I liked the process but it hadn't necessarily gone well for me and I didn't have great experiences to associate with writing, but I didn't hate it. Funny, when I think back now, how things would change over these past five or six years. I have to admit that some days my well of words is fuller and on others feels dry, as though a drop of words never resided there. I think this is how most writers feel. I think it is why, we, as teachers value this experience each year. Watching myself struggle is the single most powerful tool as a writing teacher I have ever experienced. I have great days, good days, and terrible days as a writer. I watch this same thing happen every day with my students. Yesterday, one of my students proudly came up to me with her four-page realistic fiction story. She said to me, "I had no idea I could do that!" I responded by saying, "Well, you are a writer you know?" What an amazing accomplishment for her. At that moment, it was about quantity for her, but within that moment, she felt like a writer. That very feeling is something that can be built upon. When you do something you never knew possible, it creates a realization and a curiosity about what else could be possible. What else am I missing? What risks should I be taking? Doing this challenge helps me see what I am missing. It allows me to visit alternate worlds of others through their stories and share a piece of my world with all of you. It really is an astounding feeling and I am so humble, proud, and thankful to be a part of it.