Monday, March 23, 2020

Slice of Life 2020: 23 of 31- A bigger slice than usual because I can't sleep

March is for daily slicing, and all are welcome! Join us at Two Writing Teachers!

I don't think this is going to be a slice of life right now. More like a wedge of life because for the last hour I've been awake in bed (and it's now 3:07 a.m., and I'm still awake) thinking about the things I could do to have fun through this pandemic which doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. 

Yesterday, we found many ways to have fun and connect within and beyond our family. We met Amy, my best friend and sister-in-law, at her yoga studio, and the five of us helped her live-stream a 75 minute yoga class on Facebook. I was in charge of some of the tech glitches in case there were any, and a few minutes into the class, I had a text message from our friends in Barcelona to please send the link. Throughout the class, I could watch who was joining, and there were at least fifteen people who were there for the whole time. I don't know if they were practicing, but they were there! How cool is that! And when I looked at the feed later, she had almost 300 views. 

Later, after a google hangout with a couple other curriculum writers, I experimented with Zoom. I texted a few fourth-grade teachers to see if anyone was available to try something out, expecting maybe one of them. Within a minute, three of the four were ready to go. The fourth was annoyed because she was unavailable and called me later. She was hiking and couldn't join us...but she wanted to hear all about it. The four of us met on Zoom for almost an hour laughing, sharing stories, and thinking about what would make the most sense for students as we move their writing lives forward. They agreed to a recorded "talk show" where I asked them questions about their feelings on social distancing, pro and con. Our "talk show" will be a mentor text for students when we get going on this on-line learning thing. 

And then, after some in-person time with my family, my high school friends and I met up on Zoom with all of us playing around with our virtual backgrounds. Sue showed up from Vermont with the Austrian mountains behind her, and she inspired us to put ourselves in all sorts of other places. That was a prelude to the virtual salad bowl game that brought together five households (three in Connecticut, one in Boston, and one in Denver) and my daughters connected the computer to the television set. You can read more about it on Larkin's post, if you like. It was a pretty gutsy way for her to introduce her new boyfriend to the extended family, especially since it was after eight, and some of us might have been drinking. 

So I've already written more than a slice. I did warn you if you need to reread the first line...

As I type here, and it's now 3:21, I am swirling with the ways some of this lends itself to teaching and creating play and connections for students. I am envisioning morning meetings with virtual Boggle boards. There must be virtual Boggle somewhere, and after I finish this slice, I'll research that if I still can't fall asleep. I have some grammar games that would work for silly morning meetings, like everyone think of a sentence that starts with an adjective. Ready? Go. Type your sentence in the sidebar. And don't forget your capitals and end punctuation because I won't get excited about your sentence unless those rules are showing up... Maybe just do a quick drawing of something you did today and get ready to share it. Ready, set, draw. Let me know when you are ready... so many possibilities, and that's only the tip of what I've been thinking about as I haven't been able to sleep.

Those are the fun things, and I'm not going to share the worries. Instead, I'm going to limit my slice, go look for virtual Boggle and research Zoom and what premium memberships cost now for educators. I'm also going to try to go back to sleep, so if anyone knows about those memberships, feel free to share in a comment. 

Have I mentioned how much I am valuing the community of slicers? Now more than ever, all of these connections are feeding my soul. Thank you. 


  1. I have been awake a long time, too, Melanie, and also turned to writing. Funny how daily-grind stresses used to keep us awake and now it's trying to think of fun things to do (see how our brains keep seeking patterns!) Maybe we wake because we are actually getting the rest we need for a change ... at any rate: Wedges can clearly be good. Like your slice, so to speak, and, say, potato wedges ...

  2. Please let me know if you find virtual Boggle! I am so impressed that you can get up at 3 am and slice - Jess does that, too! Even on sleepless nights, which I had one last Thursday night, which was because I was thinking about how I can connect and lightly teach 1:1 (not overwhelming families) ! I love your wedge!

  3. Rough night here as well. I resorted to reading a book under the covers--anything to take my brain far, far away from its nocturnal wonderings. It sounds like you've done a great job connecting with others in a social distancing sort of way, and on line Boggle sounds like great fun--if not for my class, then for my family! We're long time fans. Thanks for sharing your wedge.

  4. So much information even though I'm sorry you couldn't sleep.... hope you sleep better in the coming days, but there is a lot of brain overload right now! Thanks for your many tips and even though I can't access my students via the internet I will try to find stuff for them to do.

  5. The possibilities for virtual learning seem endless, which is a good thing, but too many choices can be frustrating. We are being told to limit our use (should we go to online learning at some point) to what we are already using, which actually makes me feel better. Good luck with finding the resources that fit you and your needs!

  6. After our conversation, I've also been brainstorming lots of ideas for games to continue to build our community. I'm not sure if you noticed but my class loves this peach ball. We hide it and take turns directing one student to locate it. Could I do this on Zoom in my house? It might take some working through. Or, the mouse named Jim they all desperately want. How can I virtually include him in some games? I'm excited for the options.

  7. You must be exhausted! Good thing tomorrow's meet up is in the afternoon. Wishing you sweet dreams tonight!