Sunday, March 30, 2014

CCSS: Room for Improvement

A few days ago I wrote about what I loved about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). You can read that post here. I mentioned that I would follow up with what I see as the downfalls at a later time. I'll have you know, I've been in revision with this post for a few days now. But, I suppose it's time to share.

The thing is, I'm not the kind of person who wants to complain about things and be all negative. Rather, I offer this to you all in the form of a few worries I have. Actually, I kinda went a little off-topic as I found my concerns with the CCSS mostly in the testing aspect of it. Are you ready for a discussion about this? Here are three of my worries about the state of public education in our day and time.

I worry that the CCSS make some teachers compromise what kind of teacher they are or want to be. Like the teacher who wrote this letter.

I used to (solely) look to standardized tests and data from them to inform everything I did. In grad school, I learned lots of other ways to collect information about students that could be used to inform my instruction - student interest surveys, running records and comprehension conversations, written responses to content and writing rubrics and portfolios. As an educational professional, I don't think standardized testing data should be the only source of information that means anything to us as educators, but unfortunately, Obama and Arne Duncan believe otherwise. (Hear from a principal who feels the same here.) 

I feel like they have set into motion a crisis mentality about our education system. They want to tell you things like, "We're in trouble! We are failing our students! Our schools need to be closed down!" The thing is, we are not in trouble. The trouble our public schools face is poverty. Take a look at this video:

My worry? I fear that teachers are looking to the government who wrote the standards and being upset by this crisis mentality that we're not doing a good job. Turns out, we are doing a good job and we have been. We are professionals who know what good teaching is all about!

I worry that teachers and schools are unfairly labeled and ranked because of the testing situation in our country.

I do not think that teachers should be evaluated by test scores - it's not fair! To the gifted teacher who has students at the ceiling on their standardized test scores - they should not be evaluated poorly because their students didn't grow. To the teacher who teaches students with special needs or students who are English Language Learners - how is it fair to evaluate those teachers based on the tests scores of their students?

As I mentioned in my other post, I agree we do need to have forms of accountability, but standardized test scores are just one form. I have a big problem with labeling students, teachers, and schools based on their scores. I think this is driving lots of teachers out of the profession and deterring new teachers from coming in. 

I worry that companies and billionaires want to profit from public education - that they see it as an "industry" to make money.

Have you thought about all the companies who make money in our field of work? I think at the IRC Conference one presenter referred to Pearson as the "PacMan" of the educational supplies - gobbling up any and all opportunities to create and score tests, provide textbooks that are aligned to the CCSS, and create book after book of mindless worksheets to test prep our students. I don't think companies should be making all this money off public education! It's really become just too much.

And in addition to that - PARCC and the other testing consortium are being paid millions to create the tests online that will measure student success with the CCSS. Look at all the people and companies making millions on testing our kids!

Honestly, I believe the best curriculum comes from educators. When I moved to Illinois, before I even met the team of teachers I worked with, I printed out the Illinois state standards and mapped them out with a calendar and a pencil. I figured out what made sense to teach when and in what order, so skills would build on one another. I created a year-long vision of what I was hoping to accomplish before I even walked through the front doors of my new school.

Then, I went to my resources and figured out what I had that would work with what I wanted to teach. I found my favorite novels and short stories that would model different strategies and I determined how I would have my readers and writers set up their notebooks for purposeful learning.

I then thought about my assessments. How would I know if and when student mastered my content?

But it's not just all that - I had to meet my kids and align my plans to their specific needs. While it's important to have an overview in your head, you also have to understand that you need to meet your students where they are. Yetta Goodman reminds us of this in this introduction she wrote in one of her books:

I am the teacher who is committed to discovering what each of my students knows, cares about, and can do.
I am the teacher who wants to understand each of my student’s ways of constructing and experiencing knowledge.
I am the teacher who helps my students connect what they are learning to what they already know.
I am the teacher who respects the language and culture my students learn at home, and who supports the expansion of this knowledge at school.
I am the teacher who knows that there are multiple paths to literacy, and who teaches along each child’s path.
I am the teacher who is committed to social justice and to understanding literacy as a sociocultural practice.
I am the teacher who believes that each child can teach me about teaching, language, and learning
I am the teacher who believes in the interconnectedness of language, learning, and life.
I am the teacher who supports children in writing I can! on their wings.
I am a kidwatcher.

My worry? That teachers look to basal readers and Pearson to inform their instruction. I'd hope they would look to their students, their standards, and their professional knowledge instead.

So there's just a few things. I understand that no system will ever be perfect. Luckily, this is not the kind of thing that is going to burn me out of education. I love the kids I get to see smiling up at me each day I walk through the halls of our school!

If you want to read more, I invite you to get a copy of this book:

I just ordered it on amazon this morning, so looking forward to having another book in my cue!

Well, this is a little heavy for Sunday morning, right? Perhaps you should go grab your Divergent series and some pancakes now!

Or, if you feel inclined to share, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

Thanks for listening!
PS - A really snarky/funny take on CCSS here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring has Sprung...A Poetry Blog Hop!

Hello blog hoppers! So glad you could stop by my blog for the poetry blog hop! First of all, a huge thank you to Rebecca over at Line upon Line Learning for setting up this blog hop! You'll want to make sure that you head over there so you don't miss any of the bloggers, their great ideas, and their freebies for stopping by!

So poetry...funny that we should be doing a hop centered around poetry because a week ago, and the Illinois Reading Council Conference, I heard Nancie Atwell speak. She's one amazing teacher researcher, and she told us that she always started her year with poetry. I had never considered doing this, but now, I think it's such a great idea.

For upper elementary and middle school students, reading, analyzing, and learning about free-verse poetry opens up doors to writing that are kind of limitless. Poetry defies the rules of prose writing, making it more accessible to students. They don't have to feel like they are confined to all the rules of writing and they can be free to express their thoughts and ideas. Starting the year with poetry also is a way for new classes of students to get to know one another, as I'm sure that many students will be writing about personal interests and sharing with a group.

Now, you may be thinking, "Okay, sure, Michelle. My students are just going to write free-verse poetry?" To this I share my first teaching tool:

If you haven't read this book, right now, go to amazon and order it. It's that good for teaching students to be open to writing poetry! (Well, wait, because you'll want to order a few other books, too!)

This book is about Jack, a third or fourth grader, who thinks writing poetry is for girls. The book is written in kind of a diary form, but all the entries are Jack's writing and all in poetry. Over the course of the year, the teacher shows Jack that anyone can write poetry, including himself, who goes on to write about his beloved dog, Sky. I would love to tell you the whole story, but it will be better if you read it on your own. You could probably read it in one sitting - it's super quick!

One other cool thing about Love That Dog is that in the back of the book are the poems that Miss Stretchberry, his teacher, has shared with the class. So, you can see how Jack's poems take on the qualities of the poems Miss Stretchberry shares.

Once your students see how writing poetry is just putting words on paper but


your students will be more open to trying this on their own.

Another idea would be a poem a day with your class. Pick poems you love and then share the content of it, and also the craft and structure that the author employs. Here are a few of my favorite collections, and a poem from each. Enjoy!

First - 

From this collection by Gary Soto, my favorite poem is Eating Mexican Food:

Eating Mexican Food
Rule #1
Don't pick up the tortilla
With your fork.

Rule #2

Salsa - red ants
Marching on your tongue

It's okay to scream into your napkin.

Rule #3
Keep things clean - 
Wipe the plate's face with a napkin of tortilla.

Rule #4
With posole soup,
The corn arrives smiling.
By the end ot he meal,

It's toothless as an old man

As for you, roll your tongue across your own teeth
Like a wiper blade pushing down dead
Yellow insects.

Rule #5
It's okay to prop your elbows on the table.
And if an ant comes to see,
Show kindness -
A single grain of rice will do.

Rule #6

The menu's in Spanish?
Nothing wrong with pointing.

Rule #7
You're friendlier than you think.
A fly, mostly eyes circles your plate.

When the fly sets down,
He scrubs his hands for dinner.

Offer this uninvited guest a chip.

A little kick-butt salsa will open his eyes even wider.

So good, right? My favorite part is the metaphor in rule #2!

Another great collection:

There are so many great poems in this book, about identity, and students who move to a new country where culture is different. As a middle-class, white teacher, it's easy to forget that many of my students didn't have the same background as I did, and poems like Why Am I Dumb? remind me that our backgrounds can be very different.

Why Am I Dumb?
Why am I dumb?
In my country

I was smart.
All tens!
Never even and eight!

Now I'm here.
They give me C's or D's or F's
- like fives
or fours. . .
or ones.
I feel like I'm turning into Kiko
from my old class.
Kiko's dumb
in any country.

Well, I'm still smart
in math.
Maybe dumb in reading.
But math - 
- all tens,
I mean

Another favorite collection of poems is Ralph Fletcher's A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets:

So many great ones in this book, my favorite though? Poetry Stands.

Poetry Stands
They wanted to level
our favorite forest.

Our class sent the mayor
a swarm of angry verse;
we pelted the newspaper
with a blizzard of poems.

At my cousin's funeral
her family stood up
armed with nothing
but tears and poetry.

Poetry must wound
or heal those wounds.

When everyone else sits,
poetry stands.

Are the nouns and verbs in that one just right on point or what? A *swarm* of angry verse? A *blizzard* of poems? My family stood up *armed* with tears and poetry? OMG! LOVE!

In addition to sharing great poems with students, a final recommendation for your poetry unit is a book I love that teaches kids about poetry and gives them tips for writing it: Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out.

This little gem, also by Ralph Fletcher (one of my faves!) is a little how-to for writing poetry, but for kids. This book covers the qualities of great poetry: emotions, imagery, and rhythm. Not only does it describe what each of those are, it also offers up lots of examples of each. Additionally, it has interviews with a few different writers who share their ideas about writing poetry.

When working on poetry with students, I would have them do these readings from Fletcher's book at home and then come back to school to discuss. I'd probably want my students reading and analyzing a poem a day, and then set off to write during workshop. We would end the session with a share time. At the end of our poetry unit, students would perhaps publish a set of five or six poems, employing poetry techniques that great poetry writers use.

Before you go, I wanted to thank you for stopping by! I've compiled a list of most of the books in my poetry collection at school and got that all ready to share with you! Stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download it!

hahhahhaa :-)

After you've done that, you're ready to head over to Kristin's blog at Ms. Jordan Reads for her post on poetry and another freebie! But, before you go, don't forget to follow me and connect with lots of great ideas here at BigTime Literacy!

One more thing before you go: Do you have a favorite collection of poetry to use with your elementary school students? Please share in the comments if you do! I'm always looking to grow my collection even more!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOLSC #28: CCSS - The Plus Side

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

I'm sure that you've seen somewhere on facebook that Indiana has withdrawn from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. We all know someone who is education and is having a hard time for a slew (is that spelled right?) of reasons - it's a tough time to be a teacher! But what gets me upset about this is when people don't do their research and say things like, "Ohhh I hope our state smartens up and drops out, too!"

Don't misinterpret: I have some serious issues with the CCSS, and I'll get to those, but first, be advised of the good things brought to our education system by the Common Core.

Prior to CCSS, all states in the nation tested their students differently. These results are not able to be compared - it's like comparing apples to oranges. Case in point: Arizona vs. Illinois.

In Arizona, when it's time to test, all the anchor charts and reference material on the walls has to be covered or taken down. Kids are completely on their own for the tests. In Illinois - everything can stay up, as long as it was up the month or so before the test.

In Arizona, there's no time limit to complete the test. In Illinois, there is. So to be smart in Illinois, you have to not only know the content, but also think fast. In Arizona, kids can pace themselves through the test.

In Arizona, tests are administered in April. I thought this was early, too...since there's still a month and a half of instruction after the tests. In Illinois it's even earlier - if you can believe that - Our tests were finished the second week of March. (This would have been earlier, too, since we were extended for snow days!)

In Arizona, on the AIMS, there was no written response in the reading (and math?) sections. There was writing at one time - for the sake of writing but not for response to content areas. In Illinois, there is extended response to math and reading problems.

So - those are just some examples. How can we compare progress in Illinois and Arizona when the tests are administered differently? (That, and the standards in the two states are different?) The fact that the CCSS will equalize all states is a pro in my account.

Teachers need an accountability piece. Like it or not, we need to have a measurement for all teachers to teach their required content and not just keep teaching about dinosaurs because that's what they like. The CCSS ensure that all students are getting exposure to the ten standards and then we can see how students are performing.

Some nay-sayers will tell you, "Oh, these ten standards mean that all students are going to be taught the same way. They are not robots and they might need different things." The thing is - the standards don't tell you *how* to teach them, just what concepts to cover. For example, standard 1 asks students to find text evidence of what the text says explicitly and implicitly. As informed citizens, don't we want our children to know what the author of a, say, campaign ad, is implying to us and explicitly telling us? Don't we need our children to know the difference so they can make informed decisions? Teachers can teach this however they want - they can use any resource they want to teach the difference between explicit and implicit information. Good readers know the difference, so how is this bad for kids?

Additionally, anchor standard 10 asks kids to read and comprehend from a wide range of genres. This standard asks that kids get to reading and read lots! No where in the former IL or AZ standards was this listed. How is reading widely bad for kids? In fact, many of the researchers I read say that this is the best thing we can do for our kids - get them to read volumes and volumes of text! Need more research? Check out Readicide, In the Middle, The Art of Teaching Reading, The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild, and/or Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6.

These are only two of the ten anchor standards, and the rest are all great. There's still room for creativity. I still have the ability to plan social justice projects for my students and, the teacher down the hall who wants to use the basal reader and have kids answer questions - well he or she can keep on with that (although this literacy coach highly discourages it!)

The CCSS wants kids to know why. I'm sure you've all seen the papers flying around facebook of the math problem where the student has to use an alternate method to solve it rather than just doing the number sentence. As someone mentioned yesterday in the thread I was reading, "My child learns differently! They should be able to do processes in many ways, not just one!" This is exactly why the CCSS are asking teachers to show students the concepts behind the number sentences. When teachers teach fractions, with say, fraction tiles, that's going to show kids why the fractions work why they do. It's going to show them that 1/2 x 1/3 = 1/6 and that 1/6 is less than both 1/2 and 1/3. Some kids won't see it with these tiles, and so the great teachers will figure out another way to show them.

Thanks Jennie B for reminding me of this!

So parents who are complaining, "Well, ___ way worked for me so that is just fine for my kids!" Here's what I have to say: Wouldn't three ways to compute it be better than one?

The CCSS has caused thousands of school districts to get to business with curriculum and instruction. Take for instance my former school district in Arizona. Even back when I was still there, they had Curriculum Committees every single summer. For two weeks, the district would pay teachers at all grade levels to come to meetings to read and unpack the standards and learn about them. Then, after we understood them, we would write our own long term plans, outlining what standards should be taught when. The work didn't stop there - we continued by writing common assessments to be used district-wide so we could take a temperature on student achievement and see where we needed to work before the end of the year test came.

CCSS is telling districts they need to write curriculum and maps and then hold teachers accountable to them with common assessments. And guess what? The work in my old district was never done, because each summer after that, we would go through all the feedback from teachers to revise maps and assessments and make them better. Creighton continues to be on the cutting edge of teaching and learning! For a district that is super high poverty, they are preparing their students well for the their futures, and this came about because of standards and the Common Core. I sometimes listen to my bff talk about the work they're doing and feel like I don't have half the knowledge that their teachers do as far as the major shifts that math and reading standards have made. So, thank you to the CCSS for getting teachers focused on student learning and meeting their needs, whether that means that we give enrichment to the students who master concepts or we reteach (in a different way) the students who need that.

For the sake of my readers, I shall continue on with this tomorrow. I'll share the reasons why the CCSS gets me super upset. This is a hard topic to discuss, because even my best friend sees this very differently than I do, so I need some time to collect my sources and get back to you. And I'm sure even then, she'll come back at me and disagree (and I'll get kinda scared and back down), but I say we at least open up a conversation here!

And teachers: What did I miss? What pros do you see happening in schools because of the CCSS? Please share in the comments below!

Stay tuned for the flip side!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SOLSC #25: Can't let them go...

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

When I taught at Heritage, our homeroom was called Excel. I'm not sure about the origin of that, but nevertheless, it's Excel. I *love* Excel. Like, my most favorite part of teaching in middle school is homeroom. For two reasons:

1. The kids get to do 20 minutes of silent reading during Excel, and
2. We hang out, get to know one another, and essentially become like a little family in Excel.

Some of my favorite things to do with my 7th and 8th grade Excel kids was at the end of the week when we would sit in a circle and debrief the week. We would do Highs and Lows (best and worst parts of their week) and also give appreciations to one another. I think that spending this time together was part of the reason that the kids really got bonded. I always talked about how we were a family. You know, because we're always together, because we mostly get along and have good times together, but then, we also get in fights and on one another's nerves, too.

I bring all this up because today I was with my old team and our former principal. We were just catching up over lunch (minus one coteacher) and got to talking about looping. Jon was saying how it's so cool, coming back to eight grade, because you can get started working right away since all the kids already knew you.

And then they reminded me about how we decided to keep our Excels. See here's the thing: my Excel would make me so happy, and then would also drive me insane (isn't that kinda like family, too?) :-) Anyways, there was a point during our seventh grade year on our last loop, probably right around spring break, where I told the teachers on my team, "Under no circumstances - no matter what I say later on - should you let me keep my Excel the same. They are ridiculous and the Excel lists need to be switched up, so we will switch them all around. Understand?" Then all nodded in agreement, probably smiling at one another with eyes that were saying, "Yeah right."

Fast forward till the end of seventh grade and we were making class lists. We had Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies done. It was time to talk about Excels, and you know, there I was feeling all nostalgic about my Excel, remembering exchanging Warm Fuzzies on Valentine's Day, helping a few of the ladies solve their problems with their friends, and listening to their appreciations to one another over the course of the year. So, you guessed it, I just couldn't give them up and they had to return to me. 

And my whole team was just fine with that.

A few pics of the kiddos...

The day they did a read aloud all on their own - my heart melted!

Here they are, all dressed up for their 8th grade graduation pics.

And again, doing some pose, which the name of slips my mind at the moment...

Well there you have a real life slice from years ago - any particular groups of yours that made this kind of impression?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

SOLSC #24: On being Specific, Informative, and Postive

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

I'm on spring break so you know what that means. Sleeping in till 8, staying in bed reading until 9, and then just as the sun is shining through my blinds, I get up for a cup of coffee and turn on Good Morning America. Then, I can be as lazy as I want until my fave yoga class at 11:30: Hot Power Fusion. It's soo good, and today was no exception.

Going to class during the week and during the day means way less people and lots more space in the studio. Today I got up front and all the way towards the wall, forgetting that this means the teacher would demo on me so everyone behind me could see the form various poses would take. When we get to the Warrior II - Triangle - Reverse Warrior sequence, that's when she came over to cue the class for adjustments.

Now, this is my favorite class so I'm super used to the sequence, and, not to toot my own horn, but I have heard teachers cue for correct posture so many times, I can almost self-talk myself through them. So there we were, and we're in Warrior II and she's talking about sinking deeper into our front leg of the lunge, rotating our back kneecap to the ceiling, and stretching our arms forward and back equally to engage all our muscles.

In case you're not familiar with yoga, this is Warrior II:

and then we moved on to Triangle Pose:

and finally to Reverse Warrior:

Now when I was doing this pose, the teacher softly whispered that I needed my arm to reach straight toward the ceiling rather than reaching back, as if I were in between two walls. She helped me adjust, and then continued to cue the class. And, when we got back to Warrior II and she got up to leave, she told me that I did a really good job.

And so this got me thinking about feedback, and how she used it so well to adjust my practice, and also model to the rest of the class the proper form. Which got me thinking about teaching, and how equally important feedback is in our classrooms.

Back in my early years when I worked in Phoenix, our admins always told us to "SIP" kids - provide them with feedback that was Specific, Informative, and Positive. This became the natural habit I used for classroom management to get the desired behaviors in class, and as I mastered classroom management, this SIP strategy transferred to the feedback I gave to students on their reading, writing - everything. I sipped kids verbally during instruction and in writing as I graded their papers. And when I did it well, kids were able to change their behavior and/or work in order to perform better in class.

Being in yoga class today reminded me about learning - and how anytime we're learning something new, we need feedback and it should be specific (focus on your arm), informative (reach up toward the ceiling as opposed to back toward the wall behind us) and positive (great work!).

I think that the best teachers are always on the hunt for providing this kind of feedback to their students - whether that is in a yoga studio, a middle school math class, or a first grade guided reading group.

How do you provide feedback to your students? Have you had an experience lately when you received great feedback? Please share!

Happy Monday! May this week progress at a turtle's pace so I can enjoy every moment of this spring break!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SOLSC #23: Lazy Sunday

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

I've been having a very lazy Sunday. It's been nice though - I haven't had time to do this in such a long time! I ran to the store for some groceries, but aside from that, mostly just watching TV and taking naps. As anyone who is a teacher knows, time to relax and recharge like this is absolutely necessary to carry on with the work we do every day with students!

Well, lazy Sunday yes, but lazy I've been doing a lot of thinking today as I was laying around! Here's a few things that have been going through my mind:

1. When you're a writer, one of your best sources of inspiration is what you read. I follow lots of teacher blogs and read lots of teacher books. One of my favorite teacher blogs is one written anonymously that is absolutely hilarious. I wish I was funny enough to write like this, but today, over at Love, Teach, she wrote about her love affair with cardigans. It's just such great content and also super funny. Anyways, I love reading that blog and it's a certainty that I get a good laugh each time!

2. Also concerning writing: I really really did not want to write today. I wonder if I'm going to be feeling like this every day until the end of the challenge? As I mentioned yesterday, it's definitely not for a lack of ideas, but just the build up to actually sit down and get to it. I seriously looked at my computer tons of times and thought, "Nah. I'll do it later." Well, then after enough time I just had to get to it. I just don't want this blog to become this thing that I *have* to do. I want it to be how it has been for the last six or eight months where I love writing! I really did not know if I would learn anything through this Slice of Life Story Challenge, but I have, and it's that writing is hard work!

3. I read another blog today here about standardized testing. We just finished our ISATs here in Illinois and I'm glad they are donezo. (dunzo?) (Love using nonsense words as I write!) I have some definite opinions about them...and don't want to get into that now, but I'm glad the principal who was writing this blog shared his belief that state testing does not measure everything. I'm glad that in that blog post he mentioned that as his staff worked on their vision and mission statements, they talked about educating the whole child. The fact is, these tests do not measure the whole child - do not measure social - emotional skills or if children have favorite books and authors. They do not measure if we are creating good people who care about others and know they can do to make their world a better place. Anyways, while I'm glad we will soon have an accountability piece that is consistent across all states with the CCSS, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who sees that there are some definite flaws in the system.

Additionally, I'm currently reading Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literacy Principals worth Fighting For, so I will report back after I finish!

Anyways, it's been a lazy Sunday in some regards, but not so much with my thoughts. Sometimes I wish I could just shut them down and not give them even a minute or a second, but I just have too many ideas bouncing around up there.

Thankfully, I have all of you to share them with! :-)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SOLSC #22: I'm baaaack!

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

Well, I have pretty much completely fallen off the blogging wagon! I didn't write on Thursday or Friday and was going back and fourth about writing tonight, but had about fifteen minutes before I had to leave, so I thought I would just put something done on paper.

I have always wanted to write a book - but this writing every day is really tiring. When you have to go to a job and there is emotional stress related to it, and then you have a social life, I just find that it's hard to make time to do this every day.

What I've learned about writing the last few weeks is that I always seem to have lots of ideas to write about. I've learned to go through my day "living the writerly life" and always on then hunt for a story to share. I've got like 5 in my head I still plan to write about! I can see how writing is a lot like running - if you're consistently doing it, it gets easier and faster. But, if you stop, it's kinda hard to get back into it!

Anyways, I'm off to a great spring break! I've already cleaned my whole apartment (and a good clean, as in washed the floors, too!) so I'm all ready to have fun! The boyfriend has been in Florida for what seems like forever and he comes home on Monday and I can't wait to see him and have some time to hang out with him! (Well that was a run-on if I have ever wrote one!) And then, I have lunch dates with lots of friends, so it should be a great break!

Hope you are making plans for a great Saturday night!

Talk tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SOLSC #19: A delish recipe!

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

Growing up, my family never made chicken salad...but let's be real, if they did, I would probably not have eaten it. Apparently I used to be really picky. Well, that's what my mom says anyways.

Somewhere along the way I got a recipe for chicken salad and I made it today after work. So I thought I would share with all of you! And I took pics!

Here's what you need to do:

1. Chop up some celery (you need to use a food processor).

2. Chop up some grilled chicken in the food processor and add it to the celery.

 3. Then add some dried cranberries.

4. And some chopped green onion.

5. Now here's the unhealthy stuff: you need to use some mayo as the base. Put some in. Start with a little and then add more if you want to. This was actually too much, but I still ate it. Also, use olive oil, too. If you don't use enough of this stuff, it will be too dry (that's what happened last time).

6. Finally, spice it up with basil, salt, and pepper.

7. And then serve it with pita chips or on some bread of some sort!

Anyways, I had the chicken already grilled from yesterday so it was a pretty quick recipe and it was delicious!

I know this is a literacy blog, so as a stretch, this is kinda like functional text, right? Like following directions? That, and a great appetizer to take to your next social gathering. If you try it out, lmk what you think!

Do you have any great recipes to share? That's all for me today!

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