I spent part of today talking quietly with individual students. We talked about their responses to a survey I had asked them to fill out yesterday.

These brief talks with my students felt strange at first; it wasn’t until later that I realized why.

Nevertheless, I continued to meet with my students throughout the day. I didn’t ask them about every response they gave on the survey, only those that stood out for me in some way.

The conversations were enlightening: my students want to be heard. And, although I thought I had been listening, maybe I hadn’t.

And, that’s why these conversations felt strange at first. I realized that it had been a long time since had I sat down with any of my students. I had been far to busy “doing” instead of listening, talking, and learning from them. I had neglected our classroom community. And, that’s why these conversations felt strange.

So, what did I learn today? Simple: I need to take the time to talk with my students, one-on-one. I need to do this as often as possible. I need to give my students many opportunities to think about things that are important to them. To tell me what’s bothering them. To make sure they feel reassured that I am listening to them.

Not rocket science, but certainly an important reminder as we head into the last half of the school year.

Thank you to Christina Nosek for sharing her Google Doc on social media. It gave me a place to start having these much-needed conversations.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.



I’ve been staring at a blank screen for the last 10 minutes.

I don’t know what to write about.

I had an idea for today’s slice earlier in the day. But I didn’t jot it down and now I can’t remember what it was about.

Every so often, I draw a blank about what to write. Where to start. How to continue.

Some days, I just settle for nothing or close to nothing.

Some days, I just start writing something. Anything.

Some days, that’s enough. It’s enough to put myself out there. On paper. Online. To make my mark. To say: I. Am. Present.

Today I am present.

Crossposted to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.




Conversations – They Really Do Help!

Sometimes it only takes a conversation to address a problem and find a solution. In fact, most problems can be resolved through conversation. (If only world leaders thought so, too! Perhaps many wars and battles could have been avoided…)

Kids rise to the occasion and respond in mature ways when they are trusted to do so.


a messy classroom; materials not returned to their places; everyone waiting for someone else to tidy up.


–I will make sure that students have 5 minutes at the end of class to clean up. – Everyone will take care of their own materials. – Everyone will remind someone at their table to tidy up if they’ve forgotten. -Everyone will pick up materials and garbage off the floor, the living room area, and the carpet area. -No one will leave the class until the room is ready for the next activity.

It worked like a charm. All. Day. Long.

So simple, yet I didn’t address this problem with the kids right away. Instead,  I kept nagging and nagging and nothing changed.

Sometimes, it only takes a conversation to make things better.

Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life.

Yoga and Living the Life of a BADASS

I finally went to a yoga class this afternoon. Although I’m not a big yoga person, I have enjoyed going to yoga in the past. However, it has been a long time since I’ve gone; I am intimidated by the usually more experienced participants that populate yoga classes. So, instead of plowing through and not caring what others thought, I chose the easy way by sitting out.

But this is my year of being a BADASS and there’s no turning back.

I had to go.

I had to conquer my fears.

I had to stop caring what others would think of me long enough to focus on myself.

And, right now, I feel pretty proud to have gone to a yoga class that, while not rigorous (that’s my pre-badass self speaking – hard to shut her down completely, yet), certainly allowed stretching, moments of mindfulness, breathing and meditation.

I really needed that.

Can’t wait for next week’s class!

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesdays.


My OLW: Badass

This is not the first time I’ve chosen one little word to guide my year, but this year is different.

Most years I struggle to come up with a word that feels right. In fact, most of the words I have chosen in the past were lies. I never felt them or embraced them fully. But since I didn’t want to miss out on the OLW pandemonium, I picked a word. Any word. I faked my way through the OLW craze, so that by the end of January I could claim amnesia. So many others who swore by their words in December were disavowing them in January that I didn’t feel alone. In fact, I felt part of the group.

But this year it’s different. This year I did not struggle to find my one little word. In fact, this year, I didn’t even consider a little word until it found me. I still can’t quite believe it. I’ve read how other people are seemingly chosen by their one little word rather than the other way around. I always thought they were the chosen ones. Blessed. Lucky. The opposite of whatever I was. 

Not this year.

This year my one little word is… 


Or is it a big word?

It may even be a word you’re not supposed to say in public.

But I’m going to use it to guide me in 2019 because this is my year to be a badass!

I will be a badass when I focus on my students and their needs, first.

I will be a badass when I ignore the naysayers first, last and always.

I will be a badass when I take a leap forward with the projects percolating in the back burner.

I will be a badass when I stop procrastinating and tackle important projects head on.  One at a time. 

I will be a badass when I confront my fears and insecurities like a warrior queen.

I will be a badass when I take myself seriously by embracing myself. Full of love.

I will be a badass when I stop making excuses for my badassery.

I will be a badass when I write from the heart and speak my mind with love, intention and a full on presence that says: I am here.

Let’s do this.

Crossposted to Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life.


The Holidays

It’s that time of the year. Exciting and, at times, bittersweet.

My house is full.

My two daughters and my son are home.

My son is 14 and growing fast.

My oldest is here with her daughter and husband. (Yes, I’ve been a grandma for seven months! I am abueli, short for abuela in Spanish.)

My youngest just got engaged.

We get together to celebrate Christmas and toast in the New Year. Now that our family of five is growing we have new relationships to navigate. We make mistakes, but our love and respect for each other sustains us. I couldn’t wish for more than that. We have quiet times with moments of laughter and some tears as we share memories, old and new.

It’s that time of the year.


Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.




Carvel. The ice cream store.

A memory. Out of nowhere.

A short walk from my house. On Kings Highway. In Brooklyn.

We walk there after dinner.

For the best soft ice cream in the world.

My parents. Younger.

Me. Younger.

My mother rarely buys her own cone. Eats at least 1/2 of my father’s ice cream.

Chocolate. Vanilla. Nothing fancy.

We walk out of the store.

Ice cream cones in hand.

The sun is bright in the sky.


A memory.

And just like that.

It’s gone.


Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.