Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#SOL18:: Digging through the Lava

Digging to the Lava

I have been struggling with this urge to write on the blog and get it going again. What has been holding me back was that I was not quite sure what direction to take it in. However, this week that has all changed with the help of one student, Bob. 

Bob is a student who continually makes me laugh with his wit on a daily basis. About a week ago, I was teaching elaboration to my students. I told them that currently our elaboration is like the surface the earth... the crust. I told them that elaboration needs go deeper... like the core. The students automatically started calling out lava. Bob raised his hand and said, "Ms. Jennifer, we need to dig through the lava to the core." I responded with a giggly, "Yes!" He stared at me for a moment and said, "Ms. Jennifer, it is going to take a lot of shovels to dig through the lava." We all laughed. That became our tagline for elaboration, "Dig through the lava." Later in that lesson, Bob told me that he was really digging, but it was a lot harder to dig through the lava than he thought. He made it very clear though that he would keep trying the next day.

The next day in writing we focused on revising our work. I told the students that they needed to finish "digging through the lava" and then they could revise and edit their writing piece. Bob was hard at work. Towards the end of the period Bob came up, "Ms. Jennifer, I have dug through the lava!!! Can I revise and edit now?"  Bob was proud of his digging and most importantly his elaboration work. I couldn't help, but smile at his excitement at "digging through the lava." 

Bob's wit does not stop there. This past week I introduced Genius Hour to my students. Genius Hour is one hour a week given to my students to explore a passion they have and turn it into a project. Needless to say, all my students were excited. During the introduction, I provided examples of what students have done in the past, including my own Genius Hour project. I told them of this very blog that I created several years ago as my Genius Hour project. All the students couldn't wait to start working on brainstorming ideas for their project, including Bob. Bob knew exactly what he wanted to do and what he wanted me to do. As other students were working, Bob came up to me and asked me questions about my blog. He asked if I still wrote on it. I said, "Sadly, no." He said, "Oh" and walked away. I thought that was the end of his curiosity. I was wrong. 

On Monday, Bob came up to me right before the school day ended. He asked if he could have the web address of my blog, so he could check it out. I told him, "Of course. Let me know what you think." Boy, did he let me know. The next day Bob came up to me, "Ms. Jennifer, I looked at your blog and I have a couple recommendations. One you haven't written in a long time. I think you should start writing again. I think you need to "dig to the lava." I also think you should add a travel section and in that section have a dessert section. You love traveling and you love desserts. I would love to know all the cool dessert places you have been to when you have travelled." I couldn't believe it. Bob's curiosity and interest in blog was what I needed to get going again. I needed him to tell me to "dig to the lava" with my blog. So here I am. 

While the blog will be getting a makeover the next couple of weeks, three things will stay the same. 

1. I will still tell of these cute little teaching moments.
2. I will still tell of the adventures with Daisy. 
3. Lastly and most importantly, I will still tell of the chronicles of a twenty-something teacher living life one dessert at a time. 

The Chronicles of a Teacher and Lava Digger

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#SOL16:: Fly


It's been a while since I have written on the blog. And lately, I have felt compelled to start writing again about my adventures. A lot has happened since my last post, where I shared my one little word. Fly. Man, have I flown!

In the past 11 months, I have left my teaching job in San Diego. I said "until next time" (I don't believe in goodbyes!) to my closest friends. I moved to Philadelphia for the summer to be with family. And mostly recently, I have become a New York City resident and teacher. To say the least, it has been a whirlwind of laughs, meltdowns and personal growth.

It has definitely been crazy. However, it has been the best kind of crazy. You see at times I wasn't quite sure I was strong or brave enough to actually leave a steady job and a place that I called home for 9 years. But I did it. And in the process I learned a lot about myself.

I learned that life is full of the expected and the unexpected. And I am working on how I handle the unexpected. I learned that living in a fifth-floor walk up and working on the fifth floor is a great source of exercise. I learned that you don't stand too close to the curb when it raining unless you want to get soaked. I learned that the best way to build Ikea furniture is with friends. I learned  fear will inch in as soon it can. I learned that New York students are just as easy to love as my San Diego ones and they are the best tour guides. However, the most important thing I have come to realize is that no dream is too big.

Throughout this process, I truly have felt so lucky and blessed. I am lucky to have support of my family and friends through this transition. They have truly encouraged me when all I wanted to do was quit. And to be honest, I wouldn't change it for anything. When I chose the word "fly" as my one little word, I had only hoped that this move would end up the way it has. So as I begin the last month of 2016, I only hope to continue to fly.

Monday, January 11, 2016

One Little Word 2016 :: FLY

One Little Word 2016:: Fly

2015 was a pretty good year! I went to Mardi Gras, graduated from my Master's program, moved to Downtown, attended the Reading and Writing Project's Writing Institute, and so much more. I learned something each and every day. I can't help, but feel that 2016 will be even better and full of adventures. That is why this year I want to fly. 

Fly. It may seem like an odd word to choose to capture an entire year. However, it is absolutely the perfect word to capture what I hope 2016 will be. 

Fly. This small, three letter word means so much. It means strength, courage, beauty, ownership, shine, love, daring, etc. In other words, fly encompasses all that want to encourage myself and others to be in 2016.  

Some of my favorite quotes have the word "fly" in them. 

Everyone has infinite creativity, energy, intelligence and bliss within, connect with TM® an see you life take off :) https://www.facebook.com/TM.UK.Women/app_128953167177144

Revealing HUGE life changing news #ontheblog today! Eeeek! (post includes this adorable free printable by @paperfelt ):

And some of the most beautiful, graceful things fly.

There is something about the delicacy of a butterfly that captivates the eyes and awakens the heart to appreciate the beauty of life.:

Lift Your Wings and Soar with the Eagles... ;-) Remember my darlings, you are a spiritual being... just because you are temporarily trapped in a physical body does not mean that your soul does not know how to fly... ;-):

If the state of our health is not all that could be desired, let us examine our method of thinking; let us remember that every thought produces an impression on the mind; every impression is a seed which will sink into the subconscious and form a tendency; the tendency will be to attract other similar thoughts and before we know it we shall have a crop which must be harvested. --Charles Haanel:

In other words, don't be afraid to fly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

#SOL:: Worth It!

 Today was one of those days when a teacher feels it has all been worth it. Today was one of those days when you leave work and you smile, laugh and even shed a tear. 

This year as been a whirlwind and it's only half way through Quarter 2. However, today was the day I saw and felt just how much my class has become a family... And that made it all worth it. 

We are reading Wonder by RJ Palacio. It is one of my favorite read- alouds. Today, we got to a part that makes me cry every year. (Spoiler Alert: When Daisy, the dog, dies.) Having two dogs myself, it always makes me cry. And every year, it is interesting to see how the class handles their teacher basically balling her eyes out.

This year truly surprised me. I started to tear up and kept reading on... Thinking I could disguise it by pushing forward. Then it just came... The tears. And what happened next surprised me. They began to cry too. Some said they were crying because they have had animal
pass away. Some cried because I was crying. When we got up to go outside, they came and gave me hugs. 

In between all this crying, I some how
managed to get out that Chili had had some close calls. One of my girls shouted out, "Miss Morales, when Chili does die will you call is to come to her funeral? Remember we are family because we are like your children." I could only manage a nod. 

This group truly sees us all as family and that makes all the whirlwinds worth it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#SOL15:: July 21, 2015

'Twas the Night Before the First Day of School

It is hard to believe summer is over and the first day of school is TOMORROW! I work at a year-a-round school, so our summer break is short. This summer literally flew by. I am sitting here thinking about all the things this summer has brought me. It brought me quite a few things. 

Summer break brought me a keen awareness of how much I need to carve out time for myself. The first week of break I spent lying in bed with shingles. It was no fun. I had literally stressed myself out to the point that my body told me to literally stop and slow down. This school year I plan on making sure I carve out time for myself. 

Summer break brought me laughs and smiles with my best friends. I spent a week in NYC with one of my best friends, Hannah, and a week with my other best friend, Christina, up in Northern California. In NYC, we went to a Yankees game, ate our way through Chelsea Market, and found a wedding dress for Hannah. With Christina, we played Settlers of Catan, made margaritas, went water skiing, and got Daisy swimming in the lake! Spending a week with each was exactly what the doctor ordered. Sometimes you just need to have friend time.

 Christina & Daisy

Summer break brought me the opportunity to learn from Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project. I still can't believe I attended the writing institute with my work wifey, Jasmine Marie. I mean I had a conversation and took a picture with LUCY CALKINS (She is who I want to be when I grow up!) I left that week feeling motivated and rejuvenated. Summer break brought me the excitement to share writing with my students. 
Summer break brought me time to spend with my family. I spent a week with family in Philadelphia. My little sister graduated from high school there and was valedictorian of her class (If you can't tell, I am very proud). I can't believe she heading to college! I also got to spend time with my dad while I was there. We all know I love our father daughter dates. Summer break brought me a chance to just hang out and relax with my family. 

So as I end my summer break and start a new year, I am taking all the things summer break brought me and sharing them with my new children over this year. It may be my fifth year, but I am still just as excited and nervous as they are!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#SOL:: April 28, 2015


Relief. It's small word, but means so much. This past weekend I finished my last assignment for my last class of my Master's program. The only word that I felt at the moment was relief. It felt as though the world had been lifted off my shoulders. As I sat there contemplating if I was ready to click "submit," I felt the shoulders relax and the headache I had had for the past week ease away. 

Clicking "submit" meant more than just turning in my assignment. This symbolized crossing the finish line of a two year journey. Throughout these two years, I felt as though the finish line would never come. I don't know how many times I thought I couldn't do it or meltdowns I had, but by clicking "submit" I was recognizing that I finished a stronger woman and teacher. 

During this past two years, I have seen myself grown as a teacher. I have seen my students benefit from what I have learned. I have felt stronger in the content areas of mathematics and science. My students have been my biggest supporters and I know they have enjoyed all the projects I have had to test out on them. 

I have seen myself grow as a woman. This milestone was always apart of my "five year plan" after graduation, but at times I didn't think it would happen according to my plan. I have truly proven to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. I always tell my students this, but it is always nice to be reminded of it myself. To practice what I preach. 

So as I clicked the "submit" button, it was the closing of one door and an opening of another. I sit here wondering what I will do with all my time. Maybe... I will go read a book. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#SOL15:: March 31, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!


I love the feeling of the sun on my face

I love the early morning breeze

I love reading.

I love spending time with my family and friends.

I love the first day of school.

I love cooking new recipes as well as old ones. 

I love the smell of fresh baked treats

I love watching movies in bed. 

I love NYC, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Chicago!

I love when I finally get into a good book.

I love teaching fifth grade. 

I love the crisp air after it rains

I love sending bitmojis to my best friends

I love learning new things

I love listening to Pandora on my way to work

I love traveling.

I love writing on my blog

I love meeting new people. 

I love this challenge for pushing me to write everyday. 

I love cuddling with my pups

I love who I am

Happy last day of the challenge! I have really enjoyed this month of interacting with other slicers. I thought I would take on of my favorite slice and change it up a bit with what I love, instead of what I believe. However, they are very much the same!