Thursday, March 31, 2016

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On the other side of the table

I have the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table as we interview candidates for a 1st grade position. I always dreaded interviews, but even more so now! We asked our candidates a series of questions and then they had to teach a mini-lesson and a guided reading lesson. It was a great way to see the candidates in action, but talk about the pressure...whew! I was so pleased to see how the candidates interacted with the students, and it is wonderful that we have such great candidates that want to come to our district. 

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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A Rain Haiku

A spring rain falls down
dampening my spirits more
where is the sunshine?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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I have been limping along a really old blender for far too long. It finally died, so I began my search for a replacement. This was a very overwhelming process. I could't make up my mind, so my husband did for me. My birthday present was this Ninja duo blender. I LOVE it! I have made smoothies for the girls and Derek both mornings this week and I now get a smooth shake mixed with my Shakeology in the mornings! In the past I was just shaking it in the cup...not good! I am super excited to try some more recipes and sneak some greens into the smoothies in the future!

Do you have a favorite smoothie?

Monday, March 28, 2016

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The Return

We are back from our week long spring break. It was tough to get out of bed this morning for me and my girls! (it helped a bit that I got to use my new Ninja blender for smoothies and my Shakeology.) 
As I proceed through my intervention groups, I can tell those students who read over break and those who did not. I am hoping it does not take long for those who did not read to shake off the rust. I did have a pleasant surprise with two of my kindergarten readers. They both read over break and were proud to read for me today. They are making nice gains and I look forward to watching them grow as readers and writers over this last quarter of school. 
We are in the home stretch (minus the too many days of testing that lay ahead), and I can feel the excitement at being 3/4 of the way through the school year. This last bit is going to fly!

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

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Good-bye 30's...Hello 40

For only the second time in my life, I share my birthday with Easter. It is a special birthday, for I am now 40. As I reflect on my 30s, I am very pleased with the last decade. My husband and I built our home, had two beautiful daughters and are in the middle of very rewarding careers in which we enjoy. 
I had always thought 40 was so old! Looking back, I am in better shape now at 40 than I was at 30 (18 lbs lighter), I have a healthy relationship with food, and exercise more now than I have in my adult life. I now look forward to my 40s. I have goals I want to accomplish and am confident in my abilities to reach those goals. 40 is now looking pretty exceptional!

On another family is notorious for taking selfies. In fact, our Christmas card was made up of selfies we took of the four of us throughout the year. My youngest brother wanted to help out our cause and got me a gift to help us in this endeavor. 

Can you tell what it is?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

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Easter Egg Hunting

 My youngest 3 years ago! 

Today we head south to my in-laws for their annual Easter egg hunt and feast. It is a cherished time for my girls as they get 40 acres to roam with over a thousand eggs to find with their cousins. I am looking forward to the food! My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook and always makes our favorites. It is a day to relax, have fun, eat well and spend time with family. 

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Forgotten Slice of Life

All day Friday I fretted about what to write for that day's slice of life. I couldn't find anything to inspire me. I would get an idea and then dismiss it. I did get some alone time twice that day, as my husband took the girls along on some work adventures. I appreciated the time to be in the grocery store by myself and then to get a run in during full sunshine! All the while thinking of my slice. Then at 1:00 this am, I remembered I didn't post! Darn it. Missed the deadline, but am still going to try and continue.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

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Holding On to the Moments

You are getting so big,
How do I hold on?

You are getting so big,
I cherish this time.

You are getting so big,
You will soon need me less.

You are getting so big,
but you will always be mine.

You are getting so big,
but asleep in the backseat, you are little again!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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Fingernail & Toenail Painting

We are halfway through Spring Break and decided to spend the night up at a local indoor water park. My girls HAD to have their fingernails and toenails painted. I love their individuality in choice colors and patterns. These are my 6 year old's choices. It won't be much longer and I won't be asked to paint them, so I am enjoying these small moments we have together. Now onto the hotel for some good family fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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Reading with Speed

Why do we connect speed with fluent reading? I am part two phenomenal groups on facebook that are centered around the following books: The Reading Strategies Book and the Notice and Note books.

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Someone posted about a friend's first grader, who thinks she is not a good enough reader, because her teacher says she doesn't read fast enough. The comments poured in. One that really struck me was from my friend, Aliza. She saw Jacqueline Woodson speak at WSRA's Convention this winter.

Jacqueline said that if "a child is not reading fast enough, she must be an author."

This was based on Jacqueline's experience as a "slow" reader, because she was always reading as a writer.

I thought that was pretty powerful. What do you think?

Monday, March 21, 2016

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Writing Lesson

I had an impromptu writing lesson last night with my husband. He was asked by our local newspaper to write about his experiences hosting students on his logging sites and also his visits at schools. Our local newspaper is very small and short staffed, so instead of them interviewing my husband and turning it into a story, he was asked to write it! (Hence, he turned to me.)
 I think the brainstorming was the trickiest part. I had to get him to clarify what the task was, what the purpose was and who his audience was. This was not something he had ever done before. It was clear to me how much writing I have done over the course of my adult life, how much teaching of it I have practiced and how proficient I have become. My husband, however, has had little practice or training in writing. He barely graduated high school, entered the Marine Corps and now owns a successful logging operation. He is super smart, but has little experience with formal writing. As I was reflecting on our experience, I think I took for granted my writing abilities. It was great to be involved in Slice of Life at this time as a means to process this experience and write it down!

Here is what Derek considered our best writing of this article:

Tassler Timber Operations, LLC has been partnering with K-12 schools along with a natural resource specialty school to inform students about sustainable forestry through responsible logging practices. Through these visits, students leave with a much greater appreciation for forest management and its sustainability, renewability, and the people and science behind it. Some of the many topics discussed are the following: sustainable forestry, best management practices on water quality, invasive species control, the benefits of   logging residue, and how a tree gets to market. 

Students learn about Tomahawk’s historic and current role in Wisconsin’s second largest industry. They also learn about the global distribution of responsibly harvested forest related products that many of the professional logging operations throughout the Upper Great Lakes region provide.

It was a great experience to work together to promote what he is offering to students as far as sustainable forestry.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

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Our family took a walk through our favorite park today and there were signs of spring everywhere! We had a two week stretch of unusually warm weather followed now by some normal temperatures. Some of the animals are a tad confused and this has lead to some tragedies. The bullfrog tadpoles came out of the mud in one of the ponds. Unfortunately some did not make it. We discussed this phenomenon with our girls and then my husband found a live tadpole and held it for the girls to see. My youngest touched it, but my oldest would not (interesting to see her change so much lately). I love how my husband always tries to foster creativity, curiosity and a wonder of the world in my girls.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

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Bock Buster/Date Day/New Digs

My husband and I like to race snowshoes races and road races. Often, this turns into a "date day". We raced a very intense 5K today. It was called the Bock Buster and was 1.5 miles of uphill and then back down again. It was my husband's 3rd time racing this route and my first. He convinced me to try it this year instead of the other 5K route the race offers. I am so thrilled that I did it. It was challenging, but one of the most unique 5K routes I have ever ran. Bonus: all the proceeds went to Honor Flight Veterans!
After the race we ate lunch at Thrive Foodery.

THRIVE foodery
This is our second attempt at eating here, as the first time, they were closed for a private party. We were not disappointed. My husband got a burger and I enjoyed a chicken wrap with chimicurri, fresh greens, red peppers and tomatoes. 
Following the lunch we got some new shoes!! We were both due for new running digs and both ended up satisfied with our choices, same old Kayanos for me, new Nike Free for Derek.
What a great way to spend a Saturday!

Friday, March 18, 2016

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I borrowed this image from the web, but it fits my afternoon Thursday.

My 6 year old loves the mud. She loves the sound it makes as her boots move through it. She loves the feel of it as her boot nearly gets stuck in it. She loves how it looks on her boots and snowpants. She takes every opportunity she gets to walk through it. Luckily her dad is a logger in the springtime in northern Wisconsin. It is not is a different season, mud season!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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Why did you come back?

Snowpants again in backpack.

Spring was so near.

Capris should be our gear.

Your beauty I cannot appreciate.

You need to hibernate!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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Dinner and a Movie

We are fortunate to have Treehaven  in our area. It offers many classes on Natural Resources for young students, college students and adult learners. During the winter months, they offer dinner, a movie and a discussion. The movies are tied around environmental themes. My husband and I attend our first one last night...a weeknight date night! The food was fabulous! The movie was clips from PBS's The Economics of Being Environmentally Conscious (buildings). It was really enlightening to attend a learning session and discussion with my husband. I am passionate about learning and he is passionate about sustainability, so it was a perfect fit for us. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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Literacy Night

We had our grades 3-5 literacy/math night last night. Our parents were treated to a yummy pasta bar provided by our PTO. We then had a guest author, Joann Early Mackin speak to our families and afterwards teachers had breakout sessions. I presented with our public librarian, Mrs. Annette Miller, whom I have blogged about a lot during this month's Slice of Life (here and here). We did some book talks, discussed the importance of reading aloud to your children, the importance of reading at home in general and the upcoming summer programs at the public library. I am excited to read some of Mrs. Annette's suggestions:

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We still have an issue of getting more parents to attend. What do you do to get parents to attend such literacy events?