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Slice of Life Inspired Writing

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 This page is designed to share the slice of life texts we have written in class as a result of our slice of life unit of study.  Our course text, Units of Study is based on the underlying framework that what we write should be inspired by what we read. From immersing ourselves in a variety of well-written slice of life texs and spending time in close study noticing author's craft, we have each tried our hands at writing our own slice of life pieces.  Please post yours here and specifically address "What have you read that is like what you are trying to write?"  In other words, let us know your mentor text(s) and any author's craft you were intentional about implementing.   *Please add your first and last name and the title and author of your text with your post. 

 

Slice of Life Texts We've Written and the Authors Who've Inspired Us

"The Center of My Litter" written by Dawn Mitchell

This slice of life text was originally written three years ago and was inspired by two of my favorite women columnists, Anna Quindlen and Erma Bombeck.  From reading several of Erma Bombeck's columns that were anthologized in her book, "Family:  The Ties That Bind and Gag", I saw how as an author, you could infuse humor into your stories about daily life.  Anna Quindlin, a columnist that I regularly follow in Newsweek, also showed me how it is important to be sincere and honest, even if it means airing yourself in a not so rosy light.  Both women columnists are gifted in using great analogies to exercise their point.  In this piece about raising a three year old and a toddler, I try to do all three.  Through comparing my children to a litter of puppies, I attempt to use both honesty and humor to capture my "slice of life" at the time.

 

The Center of My Litter

 

Some days I feel like I have given birth to a litter of puppies.  Lily and Hannah are my only two, but at the ages of almost three and a little past one, their arms and legs multiply faster than a dish of puppy chow at the PetSmart.  From the time they wake up they are all over each other and everything else that crosses their path.

Whining, growling, whimpering, gnawing, fighting, rambling all over the house. 

Every where I look I see evidence of my litter.  Squeaky toys underfoot, books with chewed edges across the floor, shoes scattered throughout the house, scuffed baseboards and tattered rugs.  In fact, my next door neighbor has popped in for her normal neighborly inspection on many a morning and asked, “What are you trying to raise here, Dawn?  It looks like a pack of wild animals has been through here if you ask me.” Well, I didn’t, but I have to shake my head in agreement.  One is struggling on all fours cutting her teeth on a plastic purple bunny, shaking her head like it is a piece of meat.  The other is galloping through the house wide open, tongue hanging out the side when the front door opens, jumping and pawing my lap, panting for my attention. 

At no time though is my brood more like a puppy litter than when it’s time to tuck

them in for bed.  They are completely incapable of falling asleep without laying on something warm with a heartbeat.  Both girls climb in beside me for a story, scratching and clamoring for space and the best snuggle spot.  After burrowing her head under my ribs and skooching up to my side as close as she can, my oldest finally gets to sleep – her left leg twitching every so often in her dreams.  My youngest has one leg sprawled out over my tummy, an arm wrapped instinctively around my neck, and has her face directly in front of mine so she is breathing in each breath I exhale.

Sound a little too close for comfort?  Tell me about it.  I wait, holding in my breath, keeping as still as possible until some deep REM sets in.  I have to plan my escape with the precision of a jail break.  Timing is everything and each move from my precarious position in the middle of their bed to the doorway has to be flawlessly executed if I want to make a clean break.  Law and Order SVU, my husband all to myself, and a chance to go to the bathroom uninterrupted all beckon me from the glow of a princess night light. 

I shift my weight and silently scream with the squeak of the mattress, rolling my eyes upward, mouthing “Can I get a little help here Lord?  I have given it my best all day and I need some quiet time.”  My youngests’ head bops up and she grunts.  The expression on her face saying, “I know you just didn’t try to sneak out on me like that Mom!”  I shhhshhh her back to sleep and slink back down into the covers planning my next move.  Sometimes flipping her to her stomach works wonders for speeding it up.  I take a deep breath…flip her over…assume the exact position and look up…. still sleeping!  Yes!  I do a little mental happy dance and get all the way to the door when she opens one eye and cold stares me down. 

            I immediately remember the last litter of puppies our boxer, Nellie raised.  She

was a doting mom the first six weeks.  Nurturing, protective, counting them when they’re

out of the kennel to make sure she doesn’t lose one (I think she picked that little tip up

from me!  Hey once you lose one, you learn things!)  Then, when those little bundles of

teeth and fur got a little size on them, she started kicking them to the curb.  The biggest

one, Delmar, was on her like white on rice all the time.  Watching that big chunk of love

chase his momma down in the backyard, leap on her back, and attempt to latch his jaws

around one of her ninnies was like watching a lion bring down it’s prey.  Nellie was

down but not out.  She tried to shake Delmar off but when she couldn’t lose him that way

she did the sneaky, yet effective kick and run method.  Delmar was pitiful after that,

whining aimlessly around, but he picked himself up pretty quickly and ran off to find his siblings. 

            Standing in the doorway, watching my youngest white eye me, I pondered this

method only for a minute, deciding DSS would probably consider it somewhere under

it’s umbrella for abuse.  I sighed, resigning myself to at least a few more minutes with my

two toddlers and decided to make the best of it. I silently pray for Jesus to please give me

an extra dose of patience and I wrap an arm around my one-eyed rounder, pull her close

so I can breathe in her baby breath, and squeeze as tight as I can in between the both of

them.  After all, their eyes will open soon enough to a world beyond our backyard and I

might not always be the center of it.

 

 

Dawn Mitchell

June 18,  2007

 

I love the self-deprecating humor of slice-of-lie writing. I, too, am a fan of Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck. Household activity is quirky, personal, and glimpses of our humanity, warts and all. 

Coupons Will Make Me a Millionaire! No…really!

by Kim Wells

 

 

        I’ve been saving Sunday flyers for months. I have sworn off clipping coupons and file the whole section from the Sunday paper in a manila folder, mark the date with a Sharpie on the front, and file it away until shopping day. Every coupon guru has a formula for saving small fortunes at the grocery store. Every husband with a budget and sharpened pencil with new fat erasure glares over middle-aged bi-focals with questions marked across his furrowed brow.       

         “How much do you need to spend to save $50?” he wants to know.

         “No, no!” I reply. “You don’t understand. I don’t spend anything except on what we need in the cabinet now.”

     “Have you checked the pantry?” he quizzes sarcastically, knowing the last time we stood side by-side in front of the pantry, it was because he could not find the can of peanuts hidden behind the three rows of canned French cut green beans, Hormel chili, and a month’s supply of canned tuna and Progresso soup.

(Note to self: If I want extra money for groceries, put his peanuts in front where he can find them and get out. Quick trip. No questions. No memory.)

        Yes, I have checked the pantry. I made a run to the church food closet yesterday…” I trailed off silently daring him to question my charitable virtue. Luckily he had returned to his evening paper, while I perused my favorite grocery store’s advertisements.

        Now, according to Smart Shopper 2009 anyone with basic math skills and just a little bit of brains can plainly see ‘couponing’ is America’s best kept secret. After all, if you buy 20 cans of cream corn and use the BOGO(that’s trade lingo for buy-one-get-one-free) and shop where all days are DC days(double coupon days) not just SS(senior saver) days, you can pay as little as 3 cents per can. Be sure offer is good in your area.

        I put aside my grocery list to buy what is on sale in lieu of filling the gaps in my cabinets. My reasoning: Stocking up on the SALE items will not be an option NEXT week. NEXT week I will buy what I TRULY need (i.e. fill the gaps in my cabinet.) Listing the items I plan to buy, the price of each item, and the coupon value savings for each item at stores along my shopping route tomorrow becomes my goal for the day. As I mentally rack-up my savings, my list grows longer. Pride in my frugality swells within me. I envision a shopping network providing a service to many busy career women. I will quit my job. I will shop for others. What began as a hobby helping family and friends will turn into a viable business. Just as I daydream into the new car showroom to purchase my new automobile with the profit from my fledgling business, my revelry is shattered…..

        “Hon…where are the peanuts?”

 

Here we go... I'm pretty sure this would be considered slice of life... while I hope it's not an "every day occurence" the topic of loss and grief is one that will affect everyone at some point in their life.  This is greatly influenced by the poetry & short stories of Beth Moore – especially those in her book “Further Still.”  And as I read “God Gave Us You” I could not help but think about the ones that God took back… 

 

GONE TOO SOON by Heather Yordy

Sometimes I sit and wonder,

What you would be like today?

Would you be one that likes to read?

Or one who likes to run and play?

 

So many nights I sit here

And still see your little face

And the pain wells up inside of me

My heart begins to race.

 

The pain is beyond words

Just something one cannot describe

To have to say good-bye to a little one

Long before it should be time.

 

My heart is pounding faster

I feel as if I can’t breathe

It feels as if my body will break

Under the pressure as I grieve.

 

Right at that moment I hear a voice

That quietly says to me

“I know this wasn’t in your plan

of how things were supposed to be.”

 

“But I have a greater plan

bigger than you’ll ever know

and the story of this little one

is a testimony that will grow.”

 

“For the short life of this little one

and the journey you are on

will impact far many more

than if I let this one live long.”

 

That’s when I see this picture

Of Him holding my precious one

And I think about His sacrifice

Of how He gave His only Son.

And He says to me, “Remember

You’ll be together again one day

So tell My story through your baby

Lead the people to come my way.”

 

The picture brings me comfort

I know my little one is okay

Resting in the arms of the Savior

And we’ll be together again one day.

 

Through my loss and my sorrow

He brings peace and comfort to me

So that I can pass that on to others

To be changed for eternity.

 

I really did not understand the mode "slice of life" writing until I learned about it in class.  Since then, I have started to read the "Southern Journal" article in my Southern living magazines.  I now realize that I've ready examples like this throughout my reading career.  So, I'm going to try it myself.  Here we go.

 

 

What's the purpose of a Bay Leaf? 

By:  Bonnie Cumbo

 

     I recently ran out of bay leaves.  So, I added it to my Wal-Mart list. I've been to Wal-Mart twice and have not been able to find it.  Why is that?  Then I started to think about why I even use them in the first place.  Also, I don't really know the purpose of them.  After thinking about it, I realize that my mom always used one when she was cooking soup.  That has to be why I did it.  I must admit, that my soup always tastes good when I use one.  I also remember that mom always said "don't eat it because it's bitter." So, I'm always careful to take it out before I serve the soup or stew. 

     I also decided to look up the definition of a bay leaf under wikipedia on the internet. It stated that "fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance.  The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pate`s in Mediterranean cuisine."  I wasn't aware that we had Mediterranean heritage in our family.  Furthermore, I may have to look up the word braise.  I'm now wondering what that is.

     So, what is the purpose of a bay leaf?  Well, it gives your soups and stews and other unknown dishes a Mediterranean flavor.  But, mainly the purpose of it's use is to make your soup taste like your mom's delicious soup.  At least that's my purpose. 

 

 

Slice of Life Writing by Joan Green

I have enjoyed reading Dave Barry's "slice of life" writing.  The humor he uses makes me want to read more and more.  I tried to use his writings as a model for mine.

 

The Four-Way Stop

By Joan Green

 

 

          There are many things in life I don’t understand.  For example, blister packs.  No matter how badly I need an allergy pill, I cannot get them open.  Another thing that puzzles me is why did my school district feel the need to upgrade our Microsoft computer programs in the middle of the year?  Did they not realize how important my “undo” button is to me?  And why does Oil of Olay carry ten different night creams?!  Couldn’t there just be one or two to choose from?

          But the biggest puzzler in my life right now is…what is the four-way stop all about?  I guess it’s just my age showing, but I remember the days when there were stop signs on opposite sides of a road.  Cars stopped.  Drivers looked both ways and when nothing was coming, they went their merry way.  There was very little confusion about what to do.

          Now, we have confusion.  Or maybe it’s just me.  When there are more than two cars stopped at the four-way stop, what is the protocol?  I know whoever got there first, goes first.  But what if two cars get there at the same time?  What if three get there at the same time?  Four?! 

          There are times when the confusion is at a minimal.  For example, when a woman driver pulls up to the stop sign the same time as an older man in a pickup truck.  Of course, he will smile and wave to her to go ahead.  After all, we do live in the south.

          But then, there are times (and I actually had this happen to me) when you are sitting there waiting your turn and a car leaves and the car behind him follows him through the stop!!  How very rude!

          I have been driving for 38 years.  I learned to navigate the Hearon Circle by the time I was sixteen.  This should not be hard!

          O.k., maybe this is not very high on most people’s “things to be concerned” list.  But in my twelve minute drive to school each day, I go through two four-way stops.  Holly Springs is not that big a community.  Do we really need to manage traffic congestion?  There is none!

          Tonight I will put on my Olay Regenerist night recovery cream, use a pair of surgical scissors to open my allergy pack, and finish all my schoolwork on my home computer so I can undo all my mistakes. And tomorrow I will find another route to school.  Problems solved!

           

 

 

This is defiantly on unfinished piece but it was fresh in my mind and thought many could relate to nights like mine. Hope you enjoy, suggestions always appreciated.

Nights like these …  By:  April Camp

 

There have never really been normal days in the lives of my animals. With a beautiful daughter full of ambition at the age of eight to become a veterinarian our home has always been full of animals. We have owned several fish, a frog, two dogs, a few cats, and a gerbil. So with this information alone you can imagine the crazy life our family lives.

So it is nights like these that I realize I am a mother to more than just my daughter. Every Wednesday since August I have been attending my master’s class from 5 until 9. Most nights my husband is home to act as mommy. However, this one night, my mom stepped into the role of mommy and was taking care of my daughter and many animals.

I pulled up to my house just after 9:00 pm to find Charlie, my eight year basset hound, outside without his four year old, mutt, sister, Sara. This was very odd.

Upon entering my house I take a look around and begin to become very concerned with what I was seeing, BLOOD. My mom began to tell the story of how the blood found it’d way from one end of my house to the other; covering the walls, the kitchen, down the hallway and in places that I really could not find until the next morning.

“I was putting Macie to sleep just after feeding the dogs when I heard the worst sound I’ve ever heard. I began running to the kitchen to fins Sara, (the little dog), with her front paws wrapped around Charlie and her mouth wrapped tightly on him,” my mother explained.

Apparently Sara had enough of Charlie eating her food and she decided to show him who the boss was. After being bitten Charlie ran through the house flapping his enormous basset ears and smearing blood on one very inch of my 1,000 square foot home.

After one hour and thirty minutes of scrubbing and mopping the stains were removed and it was time to tend to Charlie. Finding a very small but deep slice inside the bottom of his ear showed the cause of the “Camp Massacre of 2010”. Tending to the oldest member of my “children” I washed Charlie down and returned his white fur back to him. Rubbing Neosporin in his ear seemed to do the trick of stopping the blood from redecorating one more time.

So, it is nights like these that remind me I am not only a mother to my daughter but also to my house full of animals. Needless to say I am not sure that Charlie feels all that mighty or that grandma wants to return to take care of her four legged grandchildren anymore.

 

By: April Camp

 

 

 

Walk a Day in My Shoes…

Amber McDonald

 

 

            If you ever wanted a job that involved excitement, constant people interaction, always your feet, and anticipation to the next moment, and a life lesson every once in a while, then a walk in my shoes for a day is where you should place yourself.

“Where is my pencil?”

“Here’s my lunch money!”

“Can you button my pants?”

“Has anyone seen my crayons?”

“I’m sorry that I have to use these scissors to cut your book bag, but when you use it to tie yourself to your chair, then it is a must. “

“Momma, oops, I mean Mrs. McDonald.”

            Even in the mad rush of the day and the numerous roles I play as teacher, nurse, mother, grandmother, friend, and the list goes on and on, I still cherish the moments of my classroom.

            I have teased that I some ended up with the job of herding cats, where my eyes have to be on 23 little ones as seconds pass through the day. They all seem to somehow go in 23 different directions in the small confines of Room 206.

            Motherhood as a teacher has taught me what real unconditional love entails. I tell parents that I feel like their child’s parent as I am with them more hours through the day than they are.

            I comfort and heal scraped knees, scratchy throats, and broken hearts.

            I praise good grades, unusual manners, and newfound friendships.

 

So the job of excitement, people interaction, never sitting down, and the anticipation of the next moment belongs to that of a TEACHER!

 

 

This was inspired by looking through a Guidepost book online. I think that slice of life sometimes is the type of writing that brings us back to reality for a short moment to take in the Ahh’s of the day and realize that there are good things about what we do!

 

Cammie Price

 

Mentor Text: I used Mr. Griggs’ Work by Cynthia Rylant as my mentor text. Mr. Griggs’ loves his job at the post office and tells us everything his job entails. This is a quick summary of my day to day life at my job.

 

First Graders are Fantastic

                I begin each morning by 7:45 am with 21 hugs and smiling faces looking at me eager to be at school and learn. So many come in with exciting stories of little brothers and sisters, sports games, and loosing teeth, while others come in sleepy and need a few minutes to warm up. We begin guided reading at 8:05 in 3 small reading groups. I listen to little voices and watch them using various reading strategies that I have taught.  Throughout the morning, they are expected to follow the rules, participate in class, and try to sit as still as possible and listen. I teach reading, writing, and word study during the morning. We all get excited at 9:30 am for our brain break. Students are able to have their snacks, talk with friends, and move around for 10 minutes while I’m busy returning emails and preparing materials for the next lesson.

                The morning flies by and it’s time for lunch with 6 and 7 year olds. Students sit quietly for the first 10 minutes in the cafeteria, or else they would not get a bite in. They love to sit with me at lunch and I enjoy when we have grown up conversations. Sometimes I have to turn my head to keep from laughing! First graders are the most honest people in the world. After reminding students to wipe their faces and not to play with their food, it’s time to go back for math.

                I love teaching math because you can see the “ah-ha” moments, when the light bulb goes off. Students love to be the math helpers and work problems on the promethean board. My students understand and know more about our promethean board than I do. I have a handful of first graders that fly through their math work and beg for more. I’m sure high school teachers don’t have this problem too often!

                Students then get excited about going to various specials. Walking down the hall quietly and in a nice line takes hard work for first graders. They are so proud when they receive compliments in the hallway for their behavior. After specials, it’s time for recess! Students love to run around on the playground and play make-believe games. I love watching little girls play school, especially when they imitate me. They remember and repeat everything that I say.

                Soon after recess, it’s time to pack home and go home. First graders are eager to do their homework and continually want to please their teachers. They leave at 2:30 just as happy as when they arrived. On the way out the door, students follow my “H rule.” This rule consists of students giving me a hug, handshake, or high five on the way out. What a great way to end the day!

                Working daily with first graders is fantastic. They love me regardless, soak up what I say, and have so much to offer and learn. They are hilarious and at the same time so innocent. So many have stolen my heart over the last few years!

 

                                                  What Has Happened With My Stuff!

 

                                                            by Kimberly Trott 

I recall the years when everything that was mine was theirs.  I did not mind sharing my drink, my french fries, my hair brush, my gloves nor a host of other items that I would willing have let my children borrow, use, or have.  It’s hard to imagine as time goes by that this wonderful sense of sharing and bonding you have with your children can become one of contention and anger.  One day you just wake up and say to yourself, “What has happened to my stuff?”  It may seem petty; but as I think about these simple items, I realize I no longer have control of things which use to be my stuff.  Things like my makeup, curling iron, socks, gloves, sunglasses, car radio station, television, remote control, weekends, vehicle and my cell phone. 

 

To start with; my makeup, I must say I don’t mind letting my daughter borrow my eyeliner, pencil sharpener or foundation but it would be nice for it to be put back in the correct place for the next day.  No, it is a screaming match each morning to locate my missing makeup, especially eyeliner, in order to get ready for work.  We have bought no less than three eyeliners in three months.  The curling iron, this is an easy one, it is normally located in one of the three bathrooms in our home.  It is just a matter of looking through the laundry on the floor for the cord to find it. 

 

Socks, we have them by the dozen. Yet, I have not one pair downstairs in my sock drawer.  They are all upstairs in my daughter’s bin.  Luckily I can see the bright spot in this and have adjusted my attitude; because now I realize that’s how boys separate laundry, and as long as they are doing the laundry I don't mind searching for socks.  Gloves, needless to say I have bought at least fifteen pair over the last ten years.  The year before last I bought eight pair from Target on clearance, and this year I bought three pair.  As of yesterday, I could only find two pair.  Well, one pair along with one lone glove.  My son took one of the three pair to put on under his Lacrosse gloves last week and needless to say; instead of the three pair sitting on the dryer now, as of yesterday I am down to one and a half pair.      

 

Searching for my radio station as we back out the driveway, I turn on the radio and turn the dial to find NPR.  Once I find my station and settle in someone reaches over and presses one of the six preset channels to their station.  Not one of the preset channels is NPR.  They tell me there is no room for my station.  Sunglasses, well last year I actually bought three pair of the same sunglasses because I knew that’s what it would take to get me through the year.  I can tell you the three scenarios for my missing sunglasses: first, they can’t find theirs; secondly, they have broken my sunglasses because they have either sat or stepped on them; or thirdly, someone has lost them because they removed them from my car.

 

The television and remote control, they may require each other to work, but they are separate issues here.  I have resolved that no one wants to watch what I would like to see; so in order for us to have some sense of family time together, I always let my children watch shows that interest them.  I can’t be the only one looking for the remote each day.  The television does not work without it.  The remote control, well this little bad boy causes me a lot of distress.  It never seems to be put back on the coffee table.  I search the entire house to find it and somehow it always shows up in a spot you have already checked.

 

Weekends, vehicles and my cell phone are all classified as my stuff too.  Yes, at various points someone has used, taken, or lost this “stuff” to.  My weekends are never free and relaxing.  They are spent driving and supervising.  Cell phones! How can a phone not charge one month after it was purchased?  How can it be misplaced again?  Why is everyone borrowing my cell phone?  Finally, my vehicle is a two fold issue.  It is in the process of slowly being destroyed.  Red clayed soccer cleats have stained the carpet.  Massive book bags are shoved across the leather seats. Those dirty cleats are slid on thier big feet by pushing those spiked shoes against the back of my seats, or they prop their cleats against the center consul, or press them on against the front dashboard.   Wrapping it all up are spilt Cokes, brownies thrown down, and dripping ketchup packages are left to dry.  Part two of the car, you don't wanta know.  How many fender benders can a sixteen year old have?  You wouldn't believe it even if I told you.   

 

I think each day about what is happening to my stuff but I also think about how many life lessons those who use my stuff are learning along the way.   I realize that this “stuff” is really not that important.  I hope my children don't remember my angry outbursts about all my missing stuff but recall along the way that it is important to be responsible enough to respect other peoples stuff.      

 

Teaching is…

By Kelly Compton

Teaching is walking into Carlisle-Foster’s Grove every morning wanting to pinch myself because I actually get to teach every day. It’s unlocking my door while eager children, ready to learn, greet me with “Good morning, Ms. Compton” or the occasional “What did you do to your hair?”…there’s nothing like the honesty of a child!

Teaching is scrambling around replying to the latest email or writing the morning message on the Promethean Board before the bell rings then greeting my students at the door with a warm welcoming smile.

Teaching is sprinting around the classroom collecting money for the field trip to the Peace Center, answering questions from parents, that I’ve already answered twice before they even asked, checking the roll, wondering what parents don’t understand about 7:40, checking homework, asking myself, through clenched teeth, “Do they even check their child’s homework after daycare?” All while I’m hearing, “Ms. Compton…I lost a tooth last night, wanna see?” “I hit a homerun”, or admiring the masterpiece that was created with love for me.

Teaching is reading Charlotte’s Web and watching their little hands shoot up in the air to ask questions, make text-to-text connections, or to share their mental images of the barn where Charlotte and Wilber live. I’m thinking, “WOW, they ARE listening to me!”

Teaching is watching them manipulate Unifix Cubes to add and subtract, understand the connections the two operations make then turn to a buddy to share the discovery.

Teaching is observing the amazement on their faces as they watch Zinnia, Sunflowers, and Basil grow- plants they’ve planted, watered, talked to and cared for-knowing they have ownership over the plant. My ears ring with, “Ms. Compton, this is so cool!” “Look how much it’s grown.”

Teaching is ingesting school lunch, some days tasty some days not-so-much. But it isn’t the food I’m concerned about it’s the conversations going on around the blue rectangle table full of active bodies and minds bursting to tell a neighbor, or me preferably, the new song they’ve come up with or stories they’ve made up off the top of they’re heads.

Teaching is reading and modeling wondrous words written by Rylant, White, or Palocco. Some of the writing at the beginning of the year is gobbley-goop but it blossoms into well-crafted pieces by the end.

Teaching is rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off to get out the door before the bell rings at 2:15, checking cubbies, giving specific directions to either put the papers on the “keep at home side’ or the “return to school side”, then hearing a shout from across the room, “MS. COMPTON WHICH SIDE DOES THIS GO ON?”, getting all notebooks and folders ready to stuff in their tethered CFG bags, lining up in order of transportation…finally saying our farewells, giving hugs, and hearing “I love you Ms. Compton.” all before walking out the door to go home.

Teaching is unwinding from the day reflecting on what I could or should do differently in order to help them soar even further. It’s planning for a new day by reading through the next book or placing the pieces together for a math center, all for the opportunity to impact their lives and minds tomorrow.

 

Sarah Stephanoff's Slice of Life Writing

One of my mentor texts was My Father the Dog by Elizabeth Bluemle because that's where I got the idea for my story and the content.

My other mentor is Craig Wilson. I tried to follow the spacing and style of his columns - especially with an ending line that stands alone and is powerful/humorous.

My Cat the Dog

By Sarah Stephanoff

Salsa looks like a cat, but I know there is really the soul of a dog trapped inside her feline body.

Consider the evidence:

She LOVES water.

Allow me to explain.

She drinks out of the toilet and hops in the shower. Her current water fascination is with the sink. As in she tries to drink out of the sink while my roommate or I are brushing our teeth. Picture how a dog tries to catch the water coming out of a garden hose and that is pretty much what Salsa looks like.

Salsa also likes when you rub her stomach. Cats usually bite or scratch you when you do that, but not Salsa the dog.

Salsa also comes when you call her.

This is very unusual behavior for a cat. Most cats are aloof; they go where they want, when they want. They think the rule the roost. Not Salsa.

She hates being alone and follows me every where I go.

Up the stairs.

Down the stairs.

Which is alright with me. I can have man’s best friend who is litter-box trained and conveniently sized for an apartment.

Here doggie kitty.

 

Slice of Life / My Baby Chloe By: Amber Pitts

I am married and will turn 28 next week. The question that I always get now that I’m married is “When are ya’ll going to have a baby?” My mom, sister, grandmother, everyone in my family asks me this question. I know it’s bad now because even my hairdresser and random people at work have started asking me this question! I think about all of the responsibilities that come with having a baby and one day I might be ready for all of that, but right now I’m happy with where my life is at this moment.

My sister’s baby has just turned 1 and I’ve watched his first year of life and all of the things that she has had to do for him. When I think about it, I do have a baby, my dog. My dog had to be potty trained and sometimes she still has accidents, just like a child. There are other times when she wakes me up at 2:00 AM for a trip outside or wanting to get up in the bed, wanting to snuggle up right in the bend of my knee or the small of my back so I can’t roll over- just like a child. And then there’s that time that Chloe got sick and had an upset stomach for two days straight. I had to take her to the vet twice, then a specialist for an ultrasound, and $1700.00 later I realized that having a sick dog is just like having a sick child. Then, there are the times when Chloe likes to go run around in the back yard right after it’s rained and her paws are covered in mud, I have to give her a bath and then clean up all the mud she’s tracked in, just like a child.

Then there are the times when my husband has to work 3rd shift and I’m home alone, those are the times that I enjoy having someone to snuggle in the bed with. There are those times when I need to talk to someone, but I don’t really need them to talk back. There are those times when you want someone to love you unconditionally no matter what you’ve said or done earlier that day.

Yes, I don’t have a baby yet and I’m okay with that. I have found that I have something that works even better in my life at this moment, my dog.

 

BUGS! BUGS! BUGS!BUGS!  By Kim Sutherland

This past week the word “bug” has a whole new big meaning for my family to be such a small word. No, not the insect type with six legs!! This viral bug was STRONG enough to wipe out four human immune systems in a matter of three days.

So, my youngest peep comes home and begins the whole vomit process from the car to the door, in his sister’s book bag (she’s freaking out) with the chunks of hot dog in the floor board of the car, in the book bag, and smeared all over his clothes. Trying to clean him up first, the car, the book bag, and trying to keep myself from adding to the disgusting pile he just expelled from his sick, small body. Once this mission was accomplished, I thought okay he will stay home the next day from school, it’s taken care of. Well, never are things as simple as they should be. So, Thursday night I’m lying there restless and feeling sick now pains in my stomach and the “bug” has struck again. ME! Now, when I’m “bug” sick it is a huge drama scene. I want my husband to know I’m sick and he needs to be up with me doing something to help me feel better, since he sleeps like a rock and never hears a sound, I tend to die right there beside the toilet before he ever hears me!! I thought, Lord I’m gonna be dead right here in the morning beside this disgusting vomit and diarrhea bowl, because no one will respond. This was the longest night of my life, and this went on until Friday night.

Well, what you know my daughter whose book bag was covered in hot dog chunks two days earlier comes home from school Friday afternoon in the same condition. Finally, my husband was the last one to harvest this nasty “bug”. Fortunately for him, I think it had finally weakened its strength and his was mild compared to the rest of us. This story is all too common and we can relate to this whole sick “bug” experience. The word “bug” now means BEAST to our family because we were so sick and useless over the weekend!!!

Kim Sutherland

 

Slice of Life Writing

Cathy Rode

Choosing Life or Misery

It was a Monday morning, and I was introducing my students to our unit on poetry. We read various books, authors, etc…..then as I was reading the poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, I suddenly realized that I was right at that crossroad in life--once again-as I am having to go through a devastating divorce with a teenage girl that hates life. I connected with this poem through the author’s craft of creating a visual picture, sometimes dismal, of life’s challenges and monumental milestones we come upon.

If someone would have told me that my life-at age 40-would be anything but perfect, I would not have believed them. Somehow my dreams of a white-picket-fence-two-story-home-two children-and a wonderful husband-dissipated when my soul-mate-so I wanted to believe-left me for not just another woman, but several other women. This was right after I had to go through a hysterectomy and face another dream crushed of not having another child. When it happened I just felt numb, then angry at everyone, and now I just….am.

If one more person tells me, “everything happens for a reason”, I think I will explode. I get down on my knees each day, several times, and pray that God will give me peace. I feel like a person with a GIANT L on my forehead-LOSER. Then I stop and remember what my mother would have quoted to me, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen” Hebrews 11-1. I do have to believe that God is in power of my life and he will see me through it all.

So….now I am at my crossroad once again and my eyes shall stay upon the lighted path and I will have faith that God will guide my way as long as I don’t take my eyes from Him. I know that life will continue to be a struggle, but there is a LIFE for me somewhere in that lighted path and I will travel that path.

Cathy Rode 

 

The Never Ending Pacifier Wall

By Kimberly Barnette

So there I was, so excited, we were on our way to pick out all of the cute stuff that I wanted for my little boy when he arrived. Shopping who wouldn’t love that. I had a list like I always do and couldn’t wait to scratch the items off, and be completely ready for him to arrive. I knew exactly what I wanted and needed. We walked in I grabbed my price gun and I was off. By the looks of me you would have thought I was an old pro, or that is what I was telling myself. There for a while I was doing so well, scanning anything and everything that was on my list. And then we turned the corner and there it was the wall of pacifiers. This wall seemed to be as tall as the empire state building, it went on for ever. My husband said come on scan one and let’s go, and I just stood there terrified. Which one, what style, what brand, what is BPA, is that good is that bad? All of these questions started to fly through my brain and then it happened I officially became nervous. I knew nothing, what was I going to do, what if I picked the wrong one, what if my son never stops crying. Right there in the middle of Babies R Us I was loosing it. I knew every mom there was laughing at me and saying oh she must be a first time mom. And suddenly a lady came over and said, “my daughter likes this one.” And just like that I scanned it and walked away like nothing was wrong. As I was trying to focus on the other items on my list, the questions still raced around my head. What if he doesn’t like this one, what if he doesn’t take to it, and what if . . . This went on for the rest of the day. By the end I was back at the incredibly large empire state building wall full of pacifiers, and there I stood questioning my first choice. So I started to scan different kinds. By the end I had scanned every type, model, size pacifier they have ever made. I left the store confused, emotional, and very exhausted. My fun shopping trip turned out to be a life long family lesson, and that nothing was going to be easy from then on.

 

My slice of life piece is called, "What a Day to Sled" by Lindsay Blanton.  After seeing Lester Laminack's Snowday on the slice of life mentor text list I thought about my own snowday as a child and wanted to share that experience writing it in a way that would be published in a magazine.  Belle Magazine always has a writing contest to enter and a feature story with a particular theme.  These two mentor texts together inspired me to write about a snowday. 

 

What a Day to Sled

 

     While warming myself by the fire listening to the winter storm warning on the news, I think back to a time when the biggest snowfall of my young life arrived overnight.

       I awoke to snow covering everything in sight.  The snow was already deep and was still falling, huge silver dollar sized snowflakes!  I sat at the window too excited to do anything else, watching it come down.  My brother and I dressed to go out, which was a huge production.  Two socks, long underwear, a snow bib, gloves and a toboggan with a coat, of course.  Mom wouldn’t let us go out if we didn’t have all of these layers on.  Dad would meet us outside and my cousins and uncle would be waiting of us.  

       My brother and I usually used the wooden sled that dad always took us down the hill on or the plastic cylinder kind that you couldn’t steer.  You just ended up at the bottom of the hill eventually.  We walked to the top of the driveway and stood upon the most perfect hill.  We just loved it. 

       The snow was at least a foot deep.  Climbing to the top of the hill was difficult, but the ride down was worth it.  I can remember the exhilaration of zipping down the driveway over and over again. 

The greatest part – school was out!  Getting a snowday and actually getting to play in the snow and seeing it stay around awhile was the best feeling!  Later in the afternoon once we were tired daddy would tie the sleds to the back of his trailer hitch and we would ride up and down the road hanging on for dear life.  Four-wheelers would come out, too.  I was the only girl in a sea of boys, but jumped right in with them.    

       Everyone should experience one huge snow as a child with a sled and a perfect hill.

 

 

Slice of Life Writing by Crystal Weathers 

 

My mentor text for my slice of life writing is A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo. I just happened upon this book as I was searching for picture books to use in my classroom. As I read it I first thought how can I relate to this book myself, what would have ever made me feel like an outcast. Then I went back to my early childhood days when I was in school. Between my early grammar school years, first grade through the fourth grade) I did experience being different than the other children. I was born with a congenital heart defect which limited my aactivities until i had open heart surgery at the age of eight to correct. I had forgotten about the first day of each school year when my mother would go to the classrrom and explain to the teacher that I could not run and play at recess nor could I participate in any physical activity that would be stressful. I can rememeber the look of horror on my teachers face, kind of like a deer in headlights and why is she in my room look. I don't remember being made fun of as much as children being cautious about getting near me on the payground. A Very Big Bunny is a wonderful mentor text because you can literally change the name and make it your own story.

 

A Broken Heart 

by Crystal Weathers 

 

     I remember dreading the first day of school when my mother would have "the talk" with my teacher. "The talk" always happened in the classroom in front of all the children. I could hear the whispers and see the other kids sitting and straining to hear what was being said to the teacher from one of the mothers'. That would be about the time the teacher would look at me with the look of, "why did she have to be in my room?" I didn't understand that look until I became a teacher and experienced having a child that had to be monitored, and my experience has only been with children and asthma, I can't imagine being told I was going to have a child with a heart condition. So I do understand that look of terror that I saw on my teachers faces when they were told that I could not participate in any recess activity or physical education and to watch for any signs of breathing problems or if I my lips turned blue to get help immediately. hey, it wasn't my fault,  I didn't want to be different, I didn't want anybody to know and I desperatley wanted to play like everyone else.

     The happiest first day of school came in the fourth grade when I went in on the first day of school and my teacher didn't get "the talk". Over the summer I had had my open heart surgery and I was able to play and do all the activities that I was not able to do before. My mother didn't explain to the teacher all the things I couldn't do and the teacher never got that deer in headlights look. I was finally a normal kid in a normal class with a teacher who didn't freak every time I took a deep breath.  I was a very happy child with a broken heart that was whole again.

 

 

I have read a lot of Slice of Life this year because I did a unit on this genre earlier in the year. My favorite is Craig Wilson.

 

Car Shopping

 

So, what do cars and shoes have in common? Easy, when they wear out, there is no other option, but to go new. I don’t mean a heel wearing off,  tires falling off worn out, I mean, it is almost time for a new set of tires or 60,000 tune up worn-out.

A couple of months ago, I felt the strong need, or maybe desire, to get a new car. I knew that mine was about to need some maintenance items done, and I just wasn’t up for that. I decided that I should just get a new one. Ladies, as equal to men as we are and can be, car shopping is not something to be taken lightly if you go alone. I took precautions. I called my uncle; he has new cars all the time. I asked his advice and did he give it to me. (My favorite was, “You are smarter than half of the men you will meet!”…funny, I ended up buying from a woman.) I took notes, studied them over and over and then, set out.

The first trip to the lot was 3 hours long. While I would not say I was necessarily smarter than the men there, I would say I wasn’t as ridiculous. We played a little game where my keys wouldn’t be returned. They won in the end because I ended up with the “big guns” for my last 40 minutes. The manager. Oh yes, you heard it. The manager. He had me going too. After 3 hours, I was sure I would walk away with a new car, yet, I didn’t.

I called my uncle on the way home and I was beaming. I had them, I knew they would call in a few days with an amazing price. Maybe $150 a month I did so good talking the talk. My uncle was actually pretty convinced himself. I waited and waited and much to my disappointment, I didn’t get a call with a lower price.

After almost a week, I decided to go to yet another dealership. This time, fate took over. I was handed over to a woman. Yes, a woman car salesman. It went well. She was able to win me over by convincing me that she was looking out for me like I was her daughter. My payment went down $16 a month, but by the time the papers were signed, it was only down $2.

In the end, I got the car I wanted, paid a couple dollars less and didn’t get taken. What I realized though is this. Buying a car…it is a game. One that some win, some lose and some just have enough money to not care. It is not quick and painless, but contrary to popular belief, woman can do it alone.

                                                                                                            Lori Milan

                                                                                                            March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

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