Lessons learned

Slice of Life Day 31

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

 

We made it! 31 one days of writing together. It is the best thing that has happened during this confusing time. Marlowe and I have both grown as writers. In years past, my slices have been mostly poems. This year, I have been forced to write in a narrative form to share Marlowe’s writing journey. It has been really great practice for me. Marlowe used to throw herself on the floor a lot in frustration when she couldn’t get her letters to look like the letters in books or in my writing. We have been trying to support her through some of her perfectionist tendencies but what helped more than anything we have done in the past is write each and everyday. She still gets frustrated every now and again when writing (who doesn’t?) but more than anything, I see her confidently carry herself as a writer.

 

Today we decided to write what we learned this month. Here is what we came up with! Marlowe’s lessons are in black and mine are in pink.

 

 

What did you learn this month?

A Moment of Weakness

Slice of Life Day 30

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

 

Parenting is wonderfully exhausting. It comes with so many gifts and treasures but also lots of challenges. Lately, I have found it far more exhausting than usual and for that, I am blaming the mistake I made today.

Before I could realise what I was saying, I suggested that we put the tent up in the basement and have a pretend camping trip.  This suggestion was of course met with cheers and smiles from my four year old, followed by gasps by me. It occurred to me that it meant, that I too would be sleeping in the ice-cold basement on the paper-thin, excuse for a carpet.

It was too late, I couldn’t take it back. When you make an offer like that, there is no way that you can unmake it. So, I decided there was nothing else I could to except, go ALL in!

It was going to be a movie theatre tent and a camping tent. Marlowe has been talking a lot about Finding Nemo, so we rented Finding Nemo on the computer and made popcorn, lots of popcorn. Marlowe made tickets for the movie and a sign so we would know what movie was playing at the theatre. She also made a ticket for the popcorn. According to her, we only needed one ticket because we were going to share. She is good at sharing.

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The movie theatre part was fun, but I don’t have high hopes for the camping part that is soon to come though.

Cookie Day

Slice of Life Day 29

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

Today seemed like a cookie kind of day. I love cooking and baking but sometimes I find it difficult to muster up the motivation to get started. I knew if I told Marlowe of the cookie idea, she would force me to follow through. Kids are good at that.

 

I let Marlowe choose the kind of cookies to make and she picked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. She and I have the same taste in cookies. My husband was really rooting for chocolate-peanut butter no bake cookies, but he was out numbered this time!

We got out all of the ingredients and set to work. Ingredient followed by ingredient, spills here and there. It is a lot slower and messier when you are baking with children but it is always more fun too. My favourite part is noticing when they sneak a little taste here and there, thinking we aren’t watching.

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Marlowe said she wanted to write about making cookies today. She made a recipe for her cookies to share with you. I nudged her to add labels but she wasn’t feeling it and I know an important part of teaching emergent writers is to know when not to push too far. Today was that day. It was nearing bedtime and there wasn’t a lot of space left to squeeze in her words. So we left it as is and ended our writing time with giggle and smiles instead of frustration. It was the right choice today!

img_6744Can you find all of the ingredients hiding in her recipe?

 

If you want the real recipe, you can find it here. They were pretty tasty and not too tricky either!

Doughnut Drive By

Slice of Life Day 28

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

Doughnuts and familiar faces, what more could you ask for? A couple of friends sent a message to our “lady gang'” chat group saying that they ordered doughnuts and were going to be dropping them by with a smile to all of our houses! Our chat group is a mix of friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends, all strong, amazing women in our area! I am a newly added member to the group and it has been the source of a lot of goodness these days!

If you have been reading my blog lately, you will already know that doughnuts are a source of excitement in our house. I told Marlowe about the plan after her nap and she jumped up and down and sang, “DOUGHNUTS, DOUGHNUTS, I LOVE DOUGHNUTS” on repeat for a while. Then said, I think we should write about it. I said, “Ya I was thinking that maybe we could write a thank you card for the people bringing the doughnuts.”  To which she said nonchalantly, “Ya, That’s what I was thinking ’bout too.” Apparently my 4 year old writer, doesn’t think my ideas are all that original.

We got out some special watercolour painting paper and got to work!

 

239561f4-dbd3-47f9-975d-fa106aaae721Look at that awesome doughnut painting. She added the lines around the doughnut in case they wanted to connect the dots!

 

Who made your day today?

How my little writer has changed…

Slice of Life Day 27

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

 

It has been 27 days of writing for Marlowe and I. I didn’t know what this would look like when I decided that I would have her write alongside of me this month. It has been so much better than I ever could have imagined.

“Time to write mommy!”

“Can we have a writing party?”

“I have an idea, let’s write!”

“I have a surprise for you!”

I get to hear little phrases like these ones each day as she eagerly chooses to write everyday.

I made a list of changes I have noticed in no particular order:

  1. Her letter approximations are becoming more letter-like.
  2. She chooses to write and draw independently more often.
  3. She can write her name.
  4. Her confidence as a writer has grown dramatically, no more throwing herslf to the floor shouting,  “IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A _____”
  5. She is starting to listen for sounds in the words she wants to write.
  6. She is adding more details to her pictures.
  7. She tells everyone we talk to (on video chat)  that she is doing a writing challenge.
  8. She is coming up with new ideas on her own.
  9. Her stamina as a writer is growing each day.
  10. She genuinely LOVES to write, almost as much as reading now.

 

Here is a book she wrote today…

I am not a fan of giving emergent writers lined paper but Marlowe found some paper with lines from my recycled paper from school pile. Of course there was only one and I was instructed to make lines on every other page for her book. She said she wanted to write “This is Mommy.” I nudged her into stretching out her book by asking, “That sounds like a great start to a book about our family. What else could you include in your book?” When I helped her to stretch out the word This…. she said “I hear the sound that t and h make together.” I was pretty surprised that she internalised that so quickly. The other thing I noticed today was after the word ‘this’ she said “Do I need a space now?” It is neat to get little tiny insights into what they are thinking about as emergent writers.

 

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Family By Marlowe

 

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This is Mommy.

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This is Daddy.

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This is Marlowe.

Puddle Jumping

Slice of Life Day 26

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

 

Pedal, pedal, pedal

Splish

Splash

Pedal, pedal, pedal

Splish

Splash

Swerve

Splish

Splash

Hop off

Drag

squelch

ooze

Stuck

Yank

Free

Pedal, pedal, pedal

Splish

Splash

Never ending puddles

Today was the last day of the Cross Country Ski season where I live, so I went out and enjoyed a 3.5 hour ski in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I arrived home, Marlowe was just awaking from her afternoon nap and eager to get outside with me. We packed a picnic and parked ourselves on our driveway on a perfectly placed picnic mat facing the sun. It was delightful. It was about 8 degrees Celsius outside and it was a welcome change from the subzero temperatures of earlier this week. Once we finished our last picnic bite, Marlowe requested a bike ride adventure. I am the kind of person that is eager to partake in every type of adventure that takes place outside. You ask, I am there! I got my bike and bike trailer out and pumped all of the tires as quickly as I could. I was desperate to hit the trails.

It felt so good to have the wind and sunshine on our faces. I was still wearing my winter gloves and coat but it felt delightful nonetheless. When I got to the fork in the path that allows you to choose the short or the long loop, I couldn’t help myself but take the long route. At first, I was happy with my choice but before long, I had major regrets.

There were puddles. Not just a few puddles. Never ending puddles that were many meters long and many feet deep. I kept telling myself that they would end soon, it wasn’t worth turning back. They did not!  They continued and continued. By the time we got past the seemingly infinite puddles, the bike trailer was soaking wet, Marlowe was spattered with mud and I was so exhausted, I could barely make it up the hill back to our home. I may be exhausted but I am definitely going on another bike ride tomorrow, maybe a bit shorter this time though.

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“Pudl jump with yoo”

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Unrelated but how cute is this little hand person Marlowe made while I was making dinner?

Doughnut Decorating Party

Slice of Life Day 25

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

My husband has the best ideas. He can make the most monotonous things into the most creative games. I love listening to him play “pretend” with Marlowe because the conversations they have are hilarious. She is a really lucky kiddo to have such a great Dad in her life. It is weird though. She would always choose to play with me.

Last night, Andrew went to the grocery store and sneakily put a container of old fashioned doughnuts in the pantry without Marlowe noticing. He whispered to me, “I have a plan for those tomorrow!” When Marlowe went to bed he shared his secret plan.

Doughnut decorating party! 

When everyone was awake this morning, Andrew got out the doughnuts, found some glaze recipes and dug out all the sprinkles in our pantry.  Andrew and Marlowe went with the chocolate glaze and added a few sprinkles. I went gourmet with my vanilla glaze and added a drop of lavender oil and shredded some basil and topped it with white sprinkles.

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I will be the first to admit that I am way less fun than him. Don’t get me wrong, she loves her Dad and enjoys spending time with him, but if she were to choose, she would always choose me. I don’t get, but I won’t complain either!

Tips for when you are frustrated

Slice of Life Day 24

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

Faster than lightning

Flying through the air

It’s a bird

It’s a plane

Wait a minute

No…

It is a 4 year old throwing a temper tantrum!

Rolling

kicking

yelling!

 

Marlowe wasn’t much of a temper tantrum thrower as a toddler but part way through 3, everything changed! We have always practiced strategies that we can use when things don’t go our way, when we are feeling frustrated or when we make a mistake. Marlowe is an expert when it comes to sharing her strategies and getting to be more consistent using them in the moment.

We wrote a book together today to share the strategies she finds useful.

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What strategies do you use when you are feeling frustrated?

Family Games

Slice of Life Day 23

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

I love games! I love board games and card games, running games, word games, number games and even made up games.

 

My husband also likes games but not to the extent I do. I could literally play games all day long. He likes to every once and a while. He is pretty great at playing games with me whenever I ask, despite the fact that I almost always win.

Recently, Marlowe has developed an interest in learning how to play every game on our shelf. I do my best to create a kid version of all of our grown up strategy based games and she loves them all.

I have also been stocking up on our ‘kid’ games too.

I asked Marlowe to teach you how to play her favourites but realised that I can’t imbed videos on here. My recounts will have to suffice.

Marlowe’s Favourite Games:

  1. Hide and Go Seek in the dark

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“You hid but the person that finds has to use the phone with the flashlight to find the hiders…you have to play when it is night.”

2. Monopoly Junior

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“You roll the dice and you have money and you buy the houses and you have to pay money if you get on a different house. I get lots of the special cards because i’m lucky….whoever gets no money doesn’t win.”

3.  The Colour Game

“You pick something that is a secret and you say the colour, the size, texture and somebody has to guess it.”

4. Ghost Blitz

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“There are tricky cards and easy cards, I do the tricky cards now. They are really tricky. You turn over a card and look to see what you see. Then you look and see what thing isn’t on the card. It is really tricky. You  gotta see very carefully what colours are on the card. They are very tricky.”

 

 

What games are your kiddos playing these days?

 

What We Are Thinking About

Slice of Life Day 22

I am participating in the twowritingteacher.org Slice of Life Challenge where I write each day for the month of March. This year my three-year old daughter (now 4 year-old) and I are writing collaboratively. Feel free to follow along our month-long writing journey!

 

Marlowe and I got home from snowshoeing starving today, so after making dinner we hurried upstairs to get writing. I try to start our writing time by saying “What were you thinking about writing today?”

Today she responded with “it’s a surprise!” This is her go to answer to everything lately. I can’t complain though because she had an idea and she got started right away.

As usual, she started drawing hearts but paused and said “Mommy, can you help me stretch out the word IIIIII’MMMMMM THHHHHIIIINNNNKKKIIINNGGGGGGG BBBBOOOOUUUTTTTT YOU?”

Stifling back laughter, I said ” It sounds like you are stretching out those words already. What sounds do you hear?”

Together we got her sentence down and she quietly whispers to me with a smile, “Who do you think I am thinking about?”

I guessed, “Daddy?”

“You and Daddy!” she said with pride.

 

Marlowe’s writing inspired me to write what I was thinking about today.

 

  1. What a beautiful place I have to explore.
  2. How much longer will I be able to take advantage of the snow and get out cross country skiing and snowshoeing?
  3. When can I get out our bikes and hit the trails?
  4.  That saag paneer and homemade naan bread dinner my husband and I made together tonight was INCREDIBLY delicious and restaurant quality.
  5. Marlowe’s writing habits and confidence has changed so much over these past 22 days.
  6. I miss my students.
  7. I wonder how my 99 year old Grandmother is doing. She isn’t very good at picking up her phone and no one is allowed to visit her in her nursing home.
  8. I need more chocolate in my house.

 

What are you thinking about?