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!

Monday, March 30, 2015

#SOL15: March 30, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

What I Needed. 

I must admit that I have not posted the past several days. I have been busy with visiting family, friends, and traveling home. All of this is exactly what I needed. 

I spent time with one of my best friends in New York City. We ate good food, hung out with more friends, and just talked. It was exactly what I needed. 

I spent time traveling back home. I always find that I am extremely anxious to get home to my puppies and my comfortable bed. I was reminded where home currently is. It was exactly what I needed. 

Today, I spent time with family that I haven't seen in a very long time. We watched the sunset, walked around the Hotel del Coronado, and caught up on life. It was exactly what I needed. 

Sometimes what we need is just time with the people and places that are most familiar to us. This spring break has brought exactly that. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

#SOL15:: March 27, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

Legos & Life

I went to an exhibit at The Franklin Institute that featured an artist who used legos. His art was amazing, but his messages behind each piece and how he got there is what helped bring his work up a notch. 

Nathan Sawaya left his job of being a lawyer to follow his dreams and pursue what he loves. Each of his pieces was made with thousands of legos that were carefully put together. After viewing a dozen or so pieces, I began to look at the artwork differently. Each lego was carefully placed. Some pieces I had to step back to see the full picture. 

It is much like each moment and event in our lives. Each moment is carefully placed to put together a much bigger picture. Sometimes we have to step back to see the bigger picture. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#SOL15:: March 26, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

A Letter to My Little Sister

Dear Sissy, 

I want to tell you how proud I am of you. Today, I got to spend the day with you at your high school, go on a dinner date with you, and see your high school's musical. You invited me into your world and my eyes were opened. 

You are admired by not just your friends, but those younger than you. You have moved others to be a better writer and to speak their mind. You have shown others what it is like to truly have a passion for something, writing, and to continue to grow. You have shared this with others and have helped them see what writing has to offer. 

Your teachers love the person you have grown into and what you have to offer to their class! As a teacher, I know that this is the biggest compliment and testament to who you really are. 

You have grown into such an inspiring young woman. Your face lights up when you speak about screenwriting, literature, and writing. I was able to see how you handled different situations and take charge. You cheer your peers on with a true kindness in your heart. This is something that I love about you. 

I love that you and I can talk about friends, food, politics, sports, food, education, and how awesome Dunkin Dounuts is! I love that we can have fun watching movies or driving in the car. I love that I can share my goofy moments with you and you understand why it happened. Not to mention, you just laugh along with me. That is what sisters are for, right? 

I know that in the coming days and weeks you will make a decision about where you go to college. No matter where you decide, the professors you learn from and the friends you will make will be truly lucky. Just as they will learn from you, you will learn from them. Remember to soak up everything and hold on to what your want and throw away what you don't. Wherever you decide, they are truly lucky to have you!

I am so lucky to call you my little sister and to be your "little" big sister!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#SOL15:: March 25, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!


Rain, Rain, Please stay. Coming from Southern California, we don't get a lot of rain. Not nearly as much as we need. However, today, during my visit in Philadelphia, it began to rain. Of course, everyone got out their umbrellas and sighed. However, I did not. 

Once again, I enjoyed what seemed to be unpleasant weather. I enjoyed the smell of clean air. I enjoyed the raindrops falling on my jacket. I enjoyed my attempts to miss the puddles. I enjoyed the grey skies. I enjoyed the rain. 

Most of my friends and family on the East Coast envy the continual sunshine that San Diego offers. However, after a while, I want and crave something different. I spoke with my mom this morning and she said it was to be in the high 80s the next couple of days. While this sounds wonderful, I could not help, but soak up all the rain this afternoon. 

I love the feeling of wanting to cozy up in a blanket and take nap. I love the feeling that rain brings to drink a warm cup of coffee or tea. I love that it pushes me to read a book. I love that is makes people want to stay in and interact with each other. 

So once again, my East Coast friends and family, I know you are sick of this weather and want sun. However, I LOVED it!

The grass is always greener on the other side... right?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#SOL15:: March 24, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!


Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine." -Alan Turing

Tonight, we finally watched The Imitation Game. It was a fantastic movie and I would recommend it to anybody. 

A quote was repeated several times in the movie and I just had to share it. The quote above I found inspiring and powerful. I can't wait to share it with my students when I get back. So I thought I would share with my SOL family. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

#SOL15:: March 23, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

Date with Dad!

One of my favorite things about visiting my dad is our daddy-daughter dates! Today, I dragged my dad along to the Constitution Center. As we all know, I am a huge history buff and absolutely love visiting Independence Hall every time I come... rain, snow, or sun. I love all the history there is in Philadelphia. So true to form, I chose for us to go to the Constitution Center. 

We toured an exhibit that featured all of the Kennedy's photos that were taken by their photographer. It was amazing to see the transformation that Kennedy made in elections. He really knew role that photography played in his image. Not to mention, I just loved seeing Jackie's fashion and Caroline's sweet face. 

We got to see and examine the ORIGINAL Bill of Rights. I was was in heaven. I got to see John Adams' original signature. It was amazing! It was cool! It was fantastic! Words can't describe it!

After our two and half hour exploration of the Constitution Center, we went and got some Philly Cheese Steaks! Can you say delicious?! My dad and I are both proud foodies.

Needless to say, it was a great, well needed date with my dad. I may be 26, but I am never too old for a good old date with him. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#SOL15:: March 22, 2015

Finishing a book. 

The feeling when you finish a book is indescribable. I just finished Something Blue by Emily Giffin. It was an easy read, but really hooked me. 

I must admit that as an avid book reader I hate finishing books to a certain extent. I know that is why I have such a hard time finishing books. While I want to see how the plot evolves and what happens with the characters, I don't want it to end. 

In Something Blue, I got swept away with Darcy's growth in maturity. In the first book of the series, Something Borrowed, Darcy is very materialistic and self-absorbed. However, through this book she consciously works on improving herself. The last two lines of the book has gotten me thinking. Giffin wrote, "Love and friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them." I absolutely love this. 

I love that books let us escape into a world different than ours. I love that books teach us lessons. I love I can have a different vision of a character or a setting in a book than a friend. I love that reading brings about all of these emotions. 

Finishing a book brings just as many emotions. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#SOL15:: March 21, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

Let it Snow!

I know that everyone on the east coast is sick of snow. However, I was very excited to see snow this morning when I landed in Philadelphia. 

My family and I went down to the park to walk in the snow. I am pretty sure that I was the only one who was excited about the snow... well me and some children. 

It was definitely colder than what I have experience the past couple of weeks in San Diego. To be honest, it felt wonderful. It felt nice to feel the cold air on my cheeks. To see my breath. To feel the snow in my hands. 

I say, "Let it snow!"

Friday, March 20, 2015

#SOL15:: March 20, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year! Today is more than just the first day of spring. It is International Happy Day as well as my first day of spring break! Woohoo! I found it all very fitting. 

This spring break I have made a to-do list... because we know I love lists. 





spend time with family

cuddle with Chili and Daisy

spend time with friends

eat more


read more

be a tourist


write in my passion planner

sleep more


do nothing

do something



be happy. 

Enjoy your break! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#SOL15:: March 19, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge

hosted at the Two Writing Teachers. 
Join us for a month of writing!

Conferences, Check!

Conferences are done! To be honest, conferences and I have a love/hate relationship.

 I love conferences because I am truly a people person. I love to sit down and talk with my parents about their student. And third quarter conferences are my favorite. Third quarter, I get to talk about the growth, academically and socially, that their students have made. This year that is all I seemed to be talking about. 

Conferences always make me think about how far my students have come. Don't get me wrong... they all still have areas to improve on. However, it is always nice for them to see how much they have truly grown. In particular this year, my teaching partner and I have shared time and time again with our students the idea of a growth mindset. Common Core really calls out the idea of the growth mindset throughout the standards, specifically the mathematical practices. Man, our students have really taken this idea to heart and have grown. That is why I love conferences. I get to share their growth. 

My hatred of conferences is that it is physically and emotionally exhausting. I mean I love talking... I do it for a living, but doing 31 conferences for 20 minutes each on average. That is talking for 620 minutes... That is a whole lot of talking. 

It is all worth it. To see the students and parents smiles after the conference, it is truly priceless. So thank you to my parents and students for a successful week of conferences. Thank you for your continued support throughout the year and trusting your babies in my hands. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#SOL15:: March 18, 2015

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

How do you define yourself? 

This week my students and I finished Wonder, including The Julian Chapter. I highly recommend this book to any fifth grade teacher... actually any teacher... well any person really. The message of the book is to choose kind no matter what is on the outside. My students have learned empathy and have become a true friend of Auggie's. 

In an effort to bring home the overall message of "it is not what is on outside, but what is in the heart," we have been watching TED Talks about this very issue. Today, we watched half of the TED Talk by Lizzie Velasquez about "How do you define yourself?" We stopped right when she asks this question. I told my students that this was their homework. They were to think about how they define themselves.

Naturally, I started to think about this question myself. "How do I define myself?" And here is my response.
I am a woman

I am a woman of courage.

I am a woman of determination. 

I am a caring woman. 

I am a woman who continually sees the best in someone

I am a woman of goofy mishaps

I am a woman of laughter

I am woman who believes in love

I am a woman of kindness.

I am a woman who listens

I am a woman of many words

I am woman of few words

I am a woman who sees that change is a good thing. 

I am a woman of a growth

I am Jennifer Morales

I am The Chronicles of a Teacher

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#SOL:: March 17, 2015

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

Groundhog Day!

Is today Friday, yet? Nope, today is only Tuesday. With Spring Break dangling in front of me, I feel like I keep waking up thinking, "Is today Friday?" Only to be disappointed that I am wrong. While I love my students dearly, I am in desperate need of a break. 

This past week, I started taking my last two classes of my Master's program. Ever since that day, I feeling like I am dreading water to get by. I am in desperate need of sleep, sleep and sleep. Throughout this past week, I feel like as I cross things of my list, more things get added. And while I love being busy, I feel like I am barely keeping my eyes open. 

Spring Break is three days away. I am dreaming of sleep, reading, exploring, laughing... and of course homework. For now, I realize that tomorrow is Wednesday. Who knows what I will think tomorrow! 

- The Chronicles of a Teacher (and a Dreamer)

Monday, March 16, 2015

#SOL15:: March 16,2015

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

A Letter to My Students

Dear Students,  

With third quarter coming to an end, it has gotten me thinking about how little time I have left with you. There are so many things that I hoped you have learned this year in fifth grade. 

First and foremost, I hope you know how much you are cared about and loved. There is not a day that goes by that I don't worry or think about you. Remember that you are apart of my family and always will be. I know that sometimes it may seem like I have high expectations for you and that you are having a hard time meeting them. However, please know that these expectations are there because I want you to go out in the world and #choosekind. I want you to be a citizen that contributes positively. I want you to be the best you

Secondly, I hope you have learned that even though you have hit some road bumps along the way, there is no road bump that is too big to get over. Please keep this in mind in the upcoming years. There is no one or thing big enough to stop you from accomplishing your dreams. I have shared with you that people always tried to stand in my way of accomplishing my goals, but I used them to inspire and motivate me. Remember that you can do anything you truly put your mind to. 

I hope that you have learned that life is too short to be sad or down. I know that some of the best days this year were the ones we laughed, smiled, and cheered each other on. So even when you think that it is the worst day ever, remember to think about one positive thing you have in your life and smile

I hope that you have learned that learning can be fun . I hope that you see that school is a place that you can grow and be yourself. I hope that you can see that you have grow immensely this year. You have read books that you never thought you could. You have written pieces just as authors and writers have. You have become a colonist and scientist. You have become a speaker of many words. You have stood up for what you believe. You have become you

Lastly, I hope you know that you will always have me cheering you on. As we have discussed, we are each other's biggest fans. Years from now, I will still remember your smiling, goofy faces. I will still be cheering you on to be the NFL player, doctor, teacher, or military member. Whatever you choose, I will be cheering you on. 

This year you have allowed me the opportunity to grow as well. And I thank you for that. So over these next weeks, let us just enjoy the time you have left in my classroom. 

Miss Morales

Sunday, March 15, 2015

#SOL15:: March 15, 2015

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


Even though Sundays bring about the thought of the upcoming work week, Sundays also bring about some of my favorites.

Sundays are for...

sleeping in

binge watching Netflix (House of Cards)



cuddling with Chili and Daisy



hanging out with friends


good conversations

meeting new people

naps (my favorite)

Daisy at her first kickball game! 

#SOL15:: March 14, 2015

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


Today, I was in continuous laughter. As they say, "Laughter is the best medicine." 

Things that make me laugh:






talking in British accents or any accent for that matter



dancing in the car


delicious food


Friday, March 13, 2015

#SOL15:: March 13, 2015

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

I can go to college!

I have been waiting several days to share this slice of life. To be honest, this has to be one of the highlights of my week. 

One of my students, Alexa, is extremely hardworking. This year has not been an easy one for her due to her grandmother having cancer. She is shy at first, but soon enough her silly side will come out. Alexa is an English Language Learner and is working on becoming proficient in English. This year she has grown as a reader and writer. Today, I want to share a moment that I will never forget.

This week I graded their rough drafts of their argument essays. She received a 3, which equivalent to a A/B. I was beyond excited to share this with her. I purposely put her's at the bottom of the stack so she would be the last one on the carpet and we could celebrate together. 

I started passing the drafts back and my writers were waiting in anticipation. Finally, I got to her's and she had this nervous/ worried look on her face. Of course, I had the biggest grin. I flipped the paper around so she could see it. She was stunned. She squinted to make sure it was her's and jumped up in joy. 

She asked me, "Are you sure that is mine? Are you sure I got a 3?" 

"Why, yes I am! You deserve it!" I replied. She quickly went back to her seat and got right to work on revising and editing. 

Little did I know, she would go back to her third grade teacher and tell her all about later that day. My colleague emailed me that night telling me about how excited Alexa was and how she couldn't believe it!

Alexa came in the next morning to get some help in math. I pulled out her rough draft and told her to go find Ms. Guthrie. She walked out of my room standing tall and proud. 

Ten minutes later, she came back in with the biggest smile. I asked her, "So what did she think?"

"She thinks that I can go to college!" Alexa replied. 

"Well.. of course, you can. You can do anything you put your mind to." I assured her. 

"You really think so?" She asked. In that moment, it all hit me. This grade meant more than just her progressing towards mastering another language. This grade signified a change in her mindset. She was starting believe that this was an option for. 

"Why wouldn't you be able to go? You are just as capable as anyone else. As long as you work hard and put your mind to it, you can do it!" I told her. 

"You're right!" She exclaimed. 

From that moment on, something changed even more inside her. I really do hope she realizes that her dream of being a doctor is never too far way. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

#SOL15:: March 12, 2015

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

A Response to My Work Wifey's Letter

Yesterday, my work wifey, Jasmine Marie, wrote a letter to me. Here is my response. 

Dear Jimmy Fallon to my JT, 

There are not enough words to express how thankful I am that I am able to call you my teaching partner, work wifey, best friend, and mentor. Two and half years ago, we were brought together for a reason or two. During this time, we have grown from acquaintances to best friends. 

You are always there to calm me down when I am about to explode. You are always there to laugh with/at my questionable moments, such as falling off of treadmills. You are always there to tell me when I am right or wrong. You are always there to make me laugh when I have the blues. You are always there to eat chocolate with me. You are always there to talk about reading. You are always there to tell me that boys will mature someday. You are always there to encourage me to go to PureBarre. Most importantly, you are always there when I need you. 

I have learned so much from you as a teacher and as a woman. I have learned that not every day is going to be the best, but that you can always make the best out of each day. I have learned how to spread the love of reading through book talks as you have done with me and our students. I have learned that post-its and Pentel pens are a teacher's best friend. Most importantly, I have learned that it is important to continually grow as a teacher and a person just like you have. 

I cherish all the memories that we have and will continue to have together. I love that our students see us as one big family as well. I love that they see as true friends and true teaching partners. I love that they think we can communicate telepathically. Most importantly, I love that I share my students with you. 

Thank you for always being there, even through some of the tough moments. Thank you for encouraging me to be stronger each day, even when I didn't want to be. Thank you for being patient with me, even when I am hyper from sugar or coffee. Thank you for welcoming me into your family. 

Most of all, thank you for being the best work wifey EVER! You are the ko in #adventuresofkoandmo and the Jimmy Fallon to my JT. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#SOL15:: March 11, 2015

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


It is all in your attitude. Today, I was reminded of that a couple of times. 

During my writing class today, I kept repeating to my writers about how excited I was by their growth in writing. As always, they laughed (If you have ever met me, you know that I am extremely animated and it always gets my students laughing). My writers were just as excited. I couldn't help, but think that it was partly due to my attitude. Last year, I felt like my attitude controlled my writing class. My writers last year dreaded writing because I did. This year, I have been consciously working on my attitude and so have they. Today, my writers reminded me that attitude is everything. 

I left work in a hurry to get to GradFest to order my cap and gown for graduation (Yay... it is only two months away!) I couldn't help, but listen to the conversations around me... after all, I am super nosy. Anyways, these two girls were complaining about how they were spending their Wednesday afternoon at GradFest. I am not going to lie... I laughed out loud (I pretended I was reading a funny text message, but I really wasn't). I mean I highly doubt that they had anything better to do. I know plenty of people who would die to be in their spot, to have received an amazing education from such a great university. They were discussing how they had so much grad work to do, instead of waiting in this long line. While they were complaining, I was catching up on emails, text messages, and social media. Again, it is all in your attitude. 

So I guess my point of today's Slice of Life is that it is all in our attitude. Today is only Wednesday, but Wednesday is one day closer to the weekend! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#SOL15:: March 10, 2015

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

"I just can't wait to write today!"

I hear the chatter of the voices as they come to the carpet for our mini-lesson. One voice happily tells her friend, "I just can't wait to write today!" 

Right then and there, I knew I could go home a happy teacher. I had been waiting for this day for weeks, actually months. At the beginning of the school year, I sat down with my associate principal and discussed my goals for this year. I told her that I really wanted to work on my writing instruction and becoming a writer myself. I was also determined to change the minds of my students to think and live their lives as writers. 

Well... today, I finally was able to see that their minds have changed

As the rest of them came to the carpet and joined, I asked my writer, "Why do you feel this way?" 

She replied, "I finally feel like I am getting good at it." 

Boy, was she right! Tonight, I had the opportunity to read her second draft of her argument essay. It was good. She has nearly convinced me to not allow chocolate milk to be served in schools. 

Lucy inspired other students. Other writers chimed in by agreeing with her. They were excited to try our new strategy of explaining our evidence in our writing. I released my writers to their working time. Again, I heard the same chatter of voices leaving the carpet. Only this time, it was not just one writer that was excited, but all the writers. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

#SOL15:: March 9, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
Join us for a month of writing!

Oh Daisy!

There is nothing like coming home to someone who is excited to see you. Night after night, Daisy is waiting at the door for me. She hears the beep of my locking car and listens as my foot steps get closer. By the time I get to the door, I can hear on the other side. 

As I open my door, I see the cutest, happiest, and craziest puppy waiting for me. Daisy likes to run around in two circles and then sprints towards the couch. She will then leap off the couch and doggie slide into me. Even though she does this every night, it always catches me off guard and puts a smile on my face. 

Each night I have my camera ready to try to catch her in action. I know my students would get a kick out of it. However, each night I get lost in all her excitement that I usually have to put the camera down. 

Daisy is one of the happiest dogs I have ever had. She genuinely loves being my dog and spending time with me. Tonight was no different. She met me with as much excitement as any other night. And every night she makes me feel extremely special. 

The Many Faces of Daisy

Sunday, March 8, 2015

#SOL15:: March 8, 2015

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
Join us for a month of writing!

Sunday Night Blues

Sunday nights are always difficult. As the weekend comes to an end, it's hard not think about what the next week has in store. Tonight, I feel is especially difficult. 

As I sit here trying to write my Slice of Life, I am really at a loss of words as to what to write about. I thought about writing about my kickball team's shut out game today. (Side note: We won 18-0.) I thought about writing about my cuddle sesh with my puppies this morning or accomplishment of finishing the write up of my Phase 1 of my action research. However, I have been staring at this blank screen for the past 30 minutes. 

I can't stop thinking about why I am having such a difficult time writing. And I think I can contribute it to my Sunday night blues. This weekend was full of unexpected adventures, which were all needed. Each adventure brought about something that was good for the soul. 

So even though I have the Sunday night blues, I know that means I had an awesome, relaxing weekend. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

#SOL15:: March 7, 2015

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

Spring has arrived. 

Spring has arrived in San Diego. And I love it! Today, it was nearly impossible to not be outside in the beautiful, warm sunshine. It was about 80 degrees out with a slight breeze and no cloud in sight. 

My friend and I decided to go on our favorite hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve. The bees were buzzing, the waves were crashing, and girl talk was on full blast. 

While on our hike, I couldn't help, but make a mental list of all my favorite things about this time of year. So I have decided to share this list with you.



smell of the ocean

blooming flowers





a good book

eggs benedict (bennies)

sand castles

running from crashing 

green hills 


We talked a lot about how March is such a crazy month for teachers between report cards, conferences, test prep, and the stress of the end of the year fast approaching. However, in the midst of all this craziness, spring always brings the thought of all of the above.