We Are Writers

We write every day in sixth grade. Each class begins with writing time in our notebooks. During the month of March, the slicers may blog during that time. Showing up and writing every day has created habits for us. We are living as writers. On rare occasions when the schedule changes, we feel it. We miss our writing time. Writing isn’t the only important part of this…sharing our writing is vital. I wish we shared daily, but time seems to get away from us. My goal is for writers to have the opportunity to share every two or three days. This week, our sharing time got pushed til Friday.

Sharing gives writers an audience.
Sharing inspires new ideas and techniques.
Sharing teaches us.
Sharing makes us all better writers.
Sharing is fun!

Here are some sixth-grade writers sharing. Notice the confidence? Notice the joy?

It’s the Small Things

It’s the small things that can make a big difference. Yesterday, a friend bought a snack in a vending machine. When two snacks appeared, her face lit up and she said, “This made my day!”

We have a wonderful custodian in our sixth-grade house and her name is Gloria. She always smiles. She works hard and she makes a big difference in my days here. As the classroom craziness and chaos ends, she quietly enters and says hello. Some days we chat, other days we don’t, but she’s always smiling.

When she cleans the bathrooms, she folds the toilet paper and paper towels into a triangular point. She does this every day. Every day that I see it, I smile. I feel special. It feels like I’m in a five-star hotel. She does this for the students too. Taking this extra moment to make us feel loved and special…it matters. She matters.

Pay attention to the small things. They matter.


“You teach MIDDLE SCHOOL?!?!”

I love this reaction from people. When I meet someone new and we get to the, “What do you do?” part of the conversation, my answer seems to incite yelps and cringes from people. They say, with horrified expressions, “MIDDLE SCHOOL? Really?” and they often follow it up with a blessing or a prayer.

The joke is on them. Middle school is the BEST. I feel like it’s the best-kept secret in education. Middle schoolers are quirky and funny and sassy. They are creative and interesting and in search of themselves. Every single day something hilarious happens…you just have to be paying attention.

I was out sick for a couple of days last week. My sixth graders had to find something from their notebook to publish. Here’s what I came back to…

Come on…that’s funny! When I take the status of the class, one student varies her response method. A few weeks ago she answered every day using a British accent and now she says, “Yo!” every other word. In that same class, I can’t say anything that resembles a song lyric or else the entire class will spontaneously break into song. (I fall into the trap with “Don’t Stop Believing” more often than you’d think!)

Middle school students are kind and goofy and inquisitive and they are figuring out who they are. I get the opportunity to witness that. They allow me to be part of their journey. There’s nothing better than that. So when you ask me, “You teach MIDDLE SCHOOL?!?!” I will smile and say, “Of course I do.”

We are Slicers!

Today begins a month-long blog challenge, called Slice of Life Challenge. Students were invited to participate in this challenge and more than TWENTY sixth graders have accepted the challenge! Here are the blogs that are participating, please visit and comment…

Ten Years in the Blink of an Eye, Slice of Life Challenge #1

Ten years since we’ve talked.
Ten years since I got a hug from you.
Ten years since we went for ice cream.
Ten years since we saw each other.
Ten years since we talked and talked and talked.
Ten years since I’ve gotten advice from you.
Ten years since I’ve heard your laugh.
Ten years since we fought over who gets the last cucumber.
Ten years since I heard you say, “I love you!”

But, you are with me every day.
You are there when I succeed.
You are there when I fail.
You are there when I walk my dog.
You are there when I sing along to the radio.
You are there when I’m comforting a struggling student.
You are there when I’m writing and writing and writing.

You are there
in the tears,
in the laughter,
in the confusion,
in the joy,
in the fear,
in the wonder,
in the sorrow
in the love…
you are there.

I miss you.
Recently, a friend shared these words of comfort,
“I realized the beauty of missing someone is the
reality that you had someone special to love.” 

That’s you…someone special to love.
You loved!
I love you, Dad!

I carry you with me
every day, but a
little closer today…
the day I lost you,
ten years ago. 

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you’ve created! I’m honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.