Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Slice of Life 31

Here's to Day 31!

Day 31!  We made it!  Congratulations to all of my hardworking students who have sliced every day in March! And, congratulations to all you other 31 day slicers out there.  It wasn't always easy, but it feels great to have completed the challenge.  I would like to extend much thanks to Two Writing Teachers for organizing this exciting event.   My students have so enjoyed connecting with fellow bloggers around the world.  Thank you for providing a platform by which they could reach an authentic audience.

And, be on the look out for 6B Slicers come March 2016 - We'll be back! :)


Monday, 30 March 2015

Slice of Life 30

Today, we completed our final outing to prepare for baby.  This required the much dreaded and long avoided trip to IKEA.  Now, if you are a U.S. reader, you are probably wondering, "Why would anyone want to avoid a trip to IKEA? The store is great!  Everything you need for your home under one roof and reasonably priced!"  Am I right?  I admit, I used to feel this way about IKEA too, but then I moved to Asia.  IKEA in Asia is a totally different shopping experience.

First, there are crowds.  Terrible crowds.  Everyone I know strategically plans their trips to IKEA to minimize the crowd factor.  We are no different, always trying to arrive just as the doors are opening. Then, there are the customers.  In Asia, IKEA is a family adventure.  The local motto?  Bring the family, stay all day. Try out all of the furniture.  Go ahead, sleep in that bed.  Don't be shy, bring in a McDonalds meal, and enjoy it in one of the dining room settings.  Relax in a living room, just remember to provide toys for all of your children to play with loudly while you snooze on the couch. Seriously.  I am not making this up - I have seen all of this and more at IKEA's overseas.  Needless to say, Pat and I were not looking forward to our IKEA "adventure".

Fortunately, the gods were with us.  We arrived early and found a car park quicker than expected. We made a beeline for the baby section.  Mercifully, each item we needed was available.  Then, we whipped downstairs, careful not to make eye contact with any item cleverly placed to take us off mission - come on, you know exactly what I mean.  We gathered our final purchases from the warehouse.  We were nearly there, our only final obstacle - the checkout counter.  Now this can be tricky, because, pick the wrong line, and you extend your stay by the at least 30 minutes.  Again, Lady Luck was with us.  We selected a line with an efficient checker,  and we were in and out in 15 minutes.  She validated our parking, and we were free!  

Once in the car, Pat and I congratulated ourselves on an extremely well-executed shopping experience - a classic mistake.  Don't tempt Karma on your way to the exit.  As soon as we attempted to leave the parking lot, we discovered, oops, our parking had not been validated.  We were trapped.  NOOOO!  A near perfect trip was marred by our own arrogance in thinking we had outsmarted IKEA.   On the other hand, as any IKEA shopper in Asia knows, one small hiccup is really to be expected when having an IKEA adventure! :)


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Slice of Life 29


Today, I finally faced it - one of the most dreaded parenting moments of all.  Mille had been working quietly on an art project in her own corner of the room while Pat and I discussed our day. Pat living the life of soon-to-be Dad is headed off to the F1 race, and I have the exciting task of completing the week's grocery shopping.  Fair? I think not, but when your  9+ months pregnant there are many things which just don't seem fair at this point.  But, I digress.  Anyway, one moment we are chatting about our day, and in the next, there is Millie.  Yellow scissors in one hand and a lock of blonde hair in the other.  Yes, you guessed it.  Her first selfie - selfie haircut that is.

Holding back a scream, I frantically spun Millie around trying to assess the damage.  Fortunately, our child is blessed with enough hair that I couldn't find a hole... But, let me tell you, I was not impressed. Pat was amused, I think, but he had enough sensitivity to suppress his laugher - the look of shock and horror on my face was enough to keep him in check!  A time out, a few tears, and some confiscated scissors later, Millie and I have had a meeting of the minds, I hope. She will no longer cut her own hair. Instead, she will leave this particular task to the professionals.


Friday, 27 March 2015

Slice of Life 28

Hello Holiday!

Finally, Spring Break is here!  This year, sadly, we do not have exotic travels plans - instead we are grounded in KL as we wait for the arrival of the newest addition to our family.  So, while there may not be tropical beaches in our immediate future, and we do have exciting times coming our way.  As I look to the days ahead, I have decided to make a different kind of chore list - a holiday chore list!

  • Linger in bed and enjoy family cuddles.
  • Lounge by the pool.
  • Paint with my daughter.
  • Read. Read. Read.
  • Eat out.
  • Watch movies.
  • Visit with friends.
  • Walk the dogs.
  • Consume copious amounts of chocolate.
  • And, okay, pack my hospital bag... It is probably time... ;)

Image - Redang, Malaysia

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Slice of Life 27

I Am Grateful...

Today, for our slice, 6B Slicers were challenged to write an expression of gratitude. As today is my last day with my wonderful students and colleagues, for me, my subject came quite obviously. I am most certainly and unequivocally grateful for the ISKL Grade 6 team.

Dearest Students,

You inspire me every day. You make me laugh. You challenge me. And, I delight in your every success. You have made great progress this year. You are thoughtful, kind, generous and fun. It is my hope that I am sending you out into the world more confident readers and writers. However, I also hope that I am sending you out into the world ready to make a difference, knowing that you are capable, responsible, compassionate and empathetic global citizens. I have every confidence that you are going to change our world for the better. Make small changes.  Make big changes.  Make life changes. Just know that you can. Make me proud.

Much love,
Ms. S.

Dearest Grade 6 Teaching Colleagues,

Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. You make me want to be a better person. Your passion and enthusiasm is contagious. You always lift me to places I would dare not dream to go without you by my side. We share our lives. We share our hopes. We share our successes. We share our challenges. We collaborate. Strike that. We collaborate constructively! :) I will miss your smiles, your laughter, your wit and your friendship in the upcoming weeks. Know that you will never be far from my thoughts, and you will certainly be in my heart.

Much love,

Slice of Life 26

Today, in conjunction with our study of disaster preparedness and resilience, for our slice 6B Slicers were challenged to recall a time when they experienced resilience.  For me, this challenge brought back memories of a forest fire I experienced as a child.

The Ojai Fire of 1985

In 1985, my hometown of Ojai, CA suffered the devastating impacts of a great forest fire. During the summer months, lack of rainfall, high temperatures and strong winds leave our community very vulnerable to fire. This year, tragically, an arsonist decided to set fires around the valley. The flames quickly gave way to a raging blaze that burned out of control for days. Though I was only 10 years old at the time, I can still recall the events associated with this disaster quite vividly.

My family’s home is located just on the edge of the Los Padres National Forest. At the time, our small canyon community consisted of 12 family homes. Behind our home there runs a small creek and, in 1985, our home was one of only two homes in the neighborhood with a pool. We first became aware of the potential threat when we began to smell smoke, a quick look to the heavens revealed a “fire sky” - an orange haze cloaked the valley. We began to make preparations to evacuate. Soon, the local forest service officials arrived formally initiating evacuation procedures. We knew the drill - take only what you can carry, take valuables, take family photos, take important documents, take your pets. Say goodbye to your home - it might not be there when you return.

The fire was merciless. It jumped the creek behind our house attacking the brush on either side of the banks. All around our house, everything burned. Still, our family was very lucky. Our home was saved. Firefighters were stationed at our home, our pool proving a valuable asset in combatting the blaze. In fact, our entire canyon community was extremely fortunate. The firefighters were able to save all 12 homes. And, now, so many years later, we remain forever grateful to those brave men and women who defended our homes.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Slice of Life 25


My favorite day of the week, like many of you I am sure, is Saturday. In particular, I love Saturday mornings. On Saturdays, I usually linger in bed in until my heart’s content. My husband, Pat, the morning person, dutifully wakes with Millie each and every Saturday, leaving me to stretch out in our king-sized bed, in complete silence and delicious darkness, all alone. When I finally wake, I usually reach for my book and enjoy a few additional precious moments of alone time. Once I am fully awake, I head downstairs, accept the handoff of our child, and Pat heads to Starbucks to collect our morning beverages. While he is gone, Millie and I skype with family and catch up on all of the week’s happenings. Upon Pat’s return, we (okay he) makes breakfast. We sit down at table and slowly plan our day. Yes, Saturday mornings are near perfection.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Slice of Life 24

The Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami of March 11, 2011

In an earlier post, I mentioned that this month my students are studying natural hazards, natural disasters and the disaster preparedness cycle. As part of our unit, in addition to students completing community specific investigations, as a collective we have been studying the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster. This month marked the four year anniversary of this devastating tragedy. For my slice today, I will be sharing some surprising facts about the event.

Did you know?
  • The Japanese earthquake registered at 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it the fourth largest earthquake ever recorded.
  • The earthquake shifted Earth on its axis of rotation. 
  • The earthquake shortened the length of day by about a microsecond.
  • More than 1,000 aftershocks have hit Japan since the earthquake, the largest a magnitude 7.9.
  • The jolt moved Japan's main island of Honshu eastward by 8 feet (2.4 meters).
  • The Pacific Plate slid westward near the epicenter by 79 feet (24 m).
  • In Antarctica, the seismic waves from the earthquake sped up the Whillans Ice Stream, jolting it by about 1.5 feet (0.5 meters).
  • The tsunami broke icebergs off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • As the tsunami crossed the Pacific Ocean, a 5-foot high (1.5 m) high wave killed more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
  • In Norway, water in some fjords pointing northeast toward Japan (up and over the pole) sloshed back and forth as seismic waves from the earthquake raced through.
  • The earthquake produced a low-frequency rumble called infrasound, which traveled into space and was detected by the Goce satellite.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Slice of Life 23

Pet Peeves

For our writing warm up today, as teachers we had planned to ask the students to make a list. Specifically, the warm up prompt encouraged students to create an investigative list of information to seek in order to accomplish a lifelong goal. However, as I was preparing for my shower this morning, and picking up my husband’s wet towel for the one billionth time, I decided to go a little bit rogue and, instead of making an investigative list, today I offer up a list of my pet peeves.
  1. Wet towels in a heap on the floor or haphazardly thrown across the towel rack - either way, they will still be wet in the morning!
  2. People who talk during movies.
  3. Broken umbrellas.
  4. Motor bikes.
  5. Gum that loses its flavor moments after you begin chewing.
  6. Yappy, little dogs.
  7. Sick, sneezing, sniffly people, without tissue, sitting beside me on an airplane or really anywhere for that matter.
  8. Mushy apples.
  9. Litter.
  10. People (and students) who choose not to wear deodorant.
  11. Taxi drivers who pretend they know where they are going when clearly they do not.
  12. Wet shoes.
  13. Broken sidewalks.
  14. The inevitable stain on my white t-shirts.
  15. Surprise - no water!

Slice of Life 22

One More Week

For ISKLers, today marks the beginning of the last week of school before spring break.  Students and teachers alike are all looking forward to the holiday before the final push until the end of the year.  For me, this week is rather bittersweet.  Yes, I am ready for a holiday too, but, spring break marks the beginning of my maternity leave.  Thus, for me, spring break is more than a holiday, it is the end of my 2014-15 academic year.  I have so enjoyed my students and colleagues this year, and I simply can't believe that in five short days our time together will come to a close.

As I think of leaving, the line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has been playing over and over in my head... "Parting is such sweet sorrow."  So, for today's slice, I thought I would share the passage from the greater scene as it captures my mood at the moment perfectly.

     At what o'clock tomorrow
     Shall I send to thee?

     At the hour of nine.

     I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
     I have forgot why I did call thee back.

     Let me stand here till thou remember it.

     I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
     Remembering how I love thy company.

     And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
     Forgetting any other home but this....

     .....Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
     That I shall say good night till it be morrow. (Act II, Scene 2)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Slice of Life 21

Today, Millie attended a birthday party for one of her little friends.  This proved a very exciting milestone for Mom and Dad as it was a our first drop off party.  We had two lavish hours all to ourselves while our daughter enjoyed the mayhem of a three and four year-old celebration.  When we arrived for pick up, it was clear that a grand time had been had by all - even the parents were smiling. Here's a little glimpse into the scene.

The Birthday Party

Smiling, chocolate covered faces.
Sticky fingers.
Toys strewn here and there.
Colorful balloons.
Abandoned art projects.
Stickers, stickers and more stickers.
Funny hats.
Children laughing.
Children sharing.
Cuddles, hugs and kisses.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Slice of Life 20

Author Visit

This week, ISKL is very fortunate to be hosting visiting author, Ji-li Jiang. Ms. Jiang is a survivor of China’s Cultural Revolution. She chronicles her harrowing memories of this time period in her book, Red Scarf Girl. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. The narration is told by Ji-li through the eyes of her 12 year-old self. I believe readers will be deeply moved by her story, while simultaneously empathizing with the many teenage emotions and anxieties captured therein.

When asked why she felt compelled to share her story, Ms. Jiang offered very specific reasons. I thought I would pass her words of wisdom on to you, dear reader, for my slice today.

Why do I share my story?

  1. So that people do not forget. Millions suffered and died as a result of the Cultural Revolution. May they be remembered. 
  2. So that history does not repeat itself. Only when we study the past can we learn from our mistakes and ensure that they are not repeated in the future. 
  3. So that young people today appreciate their many blessings. During the Cultural Revolution, children survived with very little. Today’s youth enjoy a great many privileges. May they recognize how truly blessed they are. 
  4. So that those who struggle know that they are not alone. Each of us confront challenges in our lives. We share this common bond. May we have the courage to face life’s pressures with a clear mind and a peaceful heart. Let us make good decisions.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Slice of Life 19

Today, as I prepared to write my slice, my thoughts travelled home to Ojai. I miss home.


The warm sun creeps over the Topa Topas.
The cool morning mist slowly starts to lift.
A sweet smell of orange blossoms dances lightly on the breeze.
The blue jays call out their raucous greetings.
Man, woman and child being to wake.
Our little valley basks in the glory of the new day.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Slice of Life 18

Positive Comments

Last week, I promised those students who didn't receive a shout out in my Insomnia post that I would comment on their blogs this week. And, even though the teacher in me really, really, really, wants to remind each of you to edit your work, again, I will limit myself to only positive comments.

Sharika: Hugs - Very fun post. I definitely want to hug wizard’s magic! :)
Lyutha: Wonderful post about coffee. I love the extended metaphor. Coffee is a charger!
Anirudh: Great post about running. I felt like I was on the track with you.
Sean: Is it wrong that I loved your post on Writer’s Block? Excellent word play, and you characterized your teacher perfectly.
Gabe: Great post on hunting - this is some of your best writing this year!
Aneesa: Loved your post on swimming. Good use of sensory language.
Sacha: I agree, dogs are the best friends a person could ever have.
Annie: Great poem on Typo. I could feel your excitement.
Justina: I loved your post personifying the pen. Beautiful writing.

Romane: Wonderful post on the beach. You made me long for a holiday.
Jae Min: I love pizza too.
Arjun: I can tell friendship is something you value deeply.
Nanami: Your “Currently, I am in the classroom” post captures our quick writing activity perfectly.
Keivon: Your writing without sight post is one of your best.
Gabby: Your Ode to Homework made me smile.
Annalyse: I very much enjoyed your post on the bubble experiment. Great imagery.
Ariz: Thanks to you, I am craving pancakes.
Ayari: I prefer hamsters to mice. :)
Damiaan: I liked Jack and the Mountain – You have the beginnings of a compelling story.
Na Kyung: Perfect title for the post about your brother. It hooked me from the start.

Keep up the great slicing everyone!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Slice of Life 17

Students are seen crossing a river on a rope on their way to school, 
after a suspension bridge collapsed due to rain and flooding.
Bone, South Sulawesi, Indonesia


The Grade 6 students have begun a new unit, #Resilience. This unit is an integrated unit in which Math, Science and Humanities classes work together to study the forces at work on the planet that contribute to natural hazards. As part of our study, we also take a close look at the disaster preparedness cycle gaining knowledge and understanding of action we can take to make our communities more #resilient. Over the course of the unit, we examine case studies of past disasters and assess communities levels of resilience in an effort to make recommendations for ways in which communities can become more resilient in the future.

Today, students are looking at articles profiling recent disasters in their communities of study. While the content is challenging and the statics quite overwhelming, I have been impressed with the high levels of maturity and empathy my students are displaying. Their thoughtful analysis, collective concern, and sincere desire to find solutions to problems confronting their various communities is humbling. I congratulate my students as they showcase the characteristics of truly compassionate, responsible global citizens. Keep up the good work!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Slice of Life 16

Christmas Eve

Today for inspiration, 6B Slicers attempted to write without sight, relying instead on the rest of our senses to convey meaning to our readers.  I have described a scene that merges my childhood memories with present-day characters - so, in truth, this slice captures a slice of life I see in my mind's eye rather than one steeped in reality.

The gentle warmth of a fire envelops the room. Soothing and comforting, the scent of pine and burning oak mingles in the air. Colored lights twinkle in the far corner, reassuring us that all is calm and all is bright. The fire crackles softly in the background. The heat of my mug warms my hands as the taste of chocolate and peppermint lingers on my tongue. A fuzzy, nubbly blanket drapes pleasantly across my knees. My child and I snuggle together against the velvety cushions, her head laying tenderly against me. Content, we listen to my husband read, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

Slice of Life 15

A Day in the Life

Today, with Daddy away on an all boys golf weekend, Millie and I had a mother-daughter day.  It began with breakfast, followed by a little water color painting.  Then, we skyped with family in the U.S.  Next, we were off to the mall to gather supplies for the week.  After sharing a smoothie, we hit the pet store, pharmacy and then completed the grocery shopping.  We returned home, made a late lunch, and settled in for a film - Big Hero 6 - which we totally recommend if you have not seen it. Then it was off to the pool for a little swimming, and finally back home in time for me to get some work done while Millie relaxes on the couch until dinner.  Later, we'll walk the dogs, shower, read some stories, then bed - a full day and a good day, indeed.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Slice of Life 14

A Malaysia Day

Today, I had a bit of a Malaysia day.  In an effort to be adventurous, a friend and I decided to take our children to the local balloon festival.  Now, when I say local, I do not mean in KL - the festival was in Putrajaya.  This was our first mistake.  I find that anytime I leave the confines of KL, things tend never to go as planned.  The traffic out of town was shocking.  This was our second mistake. Why not just turn around and take the kids to the pool?  No.  We were committed.

Eventually, we arrived at our destination - sort of.  We were in Putrajaya, but we still hadn't managed to locate the festival itself.  We began looking for signs to direct us to the big event. None. We scanned the sky for hot air balloons.  None.  This, obviously, was our third mistake.  This is Malaysia! What made us think there would be any evidence of a major event going on even when we were clearly within throwing distance of it?  Rookies.  Finally, I got smart, accessed my phone's wifi, and sorted out exactly where we were supposed to be. After driving around for another 30 minutes, we began to spot signs of life.  We were finally, truly, closing in our destination!

Eventually, we made it.  By now the sun was high, the kids grumpy, and we had yet to do or see anything.  The clincher?  Not one hot air balloon anywhere in sight.  It turns out they only make an appearance during the early morning and late evening hours.   No matter.  We made the most of it. We grabbed some lunch in a thankfully air-conditioned cafe and took the kids on a dragon boat ride. Then, yep, you guessed it, we headed back to the car for the return journey.  Fortunately, the kids went right to sleep, so we enjoyed blessed peace and quiet the whole way home. Thus, like parents everywhere, I think we can count the outing as a success! :)


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Slice of Life 13

Today 6B Slicers took inspiration from Valerie Worth's Small Poems.  The subject of my poem is our team copy machine.  Today, sadly, it was Copier - 1 ~ Ms. Snively - 0.  Grrr.


In the corner.
Without a care.

No sense of
No sense of

When his slumber
Is rudely

Refusing to

Sweet talk.
Gentle touch.
Coax him.
Then… Maybe...

He wakes.
He considers.
Your request.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Slice of Life 12


Last night, I couldn’t sleep. So, to quiet my mind, I flipped open the iPad and surfed the Internet. Eventually, my thoughts turned to the Slice of Life Challenge. I realized I desperately needed to devote some time to commenting on more of my students’ posts. However, given the fact that 1) I was on the iPad and 2) It was 2:00 a.m., I was reluctant to begin commenting right then and there. That’s when it came to me. For today’s Slice of Life, I would offer a shout out in my post to the students' blogs I read while suffering from my late night insomnia.

And though, dear students, I really want to offer some “teacher” feedback (like please capitalize the letter “I” every time!), like you, I will limit myself to only positive comments! :)

Maddy: Love the storytelling.
Hossein: Great poem on gaming. Excellent use of rhyme.
Asha: Jane Goodall is one of my heroes as well.
Ian: Clearly, soccer is your passion.
Zooey: I love to read before I fall asleep each night too.
Lachie: I appreciate that you are making an effort to hit six sentences in every post.
Noah: You say you don’t enjoy writing, but I am enjoying your blog. I especially liked your "Currently I am..." post.
Zara: It is obvious that you love your big sister.
Coby: Excellent use of figurative language.
Kayla: Your post on the painted stork is one of the best pieces of writing you have produced this year.

Eric - I don’t give out A++ , you earn them. :)
Maya - I was surprised to discover that like me you transformed your “Hands” quick write into a post. I enjoyed the flow of your ideas.
Rafa - Great job using the mentor texts as inspiration in your writing.
Kirari - I enjoyed your description of Mana - she proved the perfect subject for your post.
Nathan - Your tiny stories are excellent. Great word choice.
Diya - I loved the before and after of your locker clean out. Your narrative really captured the emotions you were feeling.
Aditya - I am so enjoying your witty posts. Clever and funny. I am a fan.
Kelly - Wonderful post on boredom. I was smiling from start to finish.
Thomas - I can tell it’s all about soccer with you!
Xenia - Lovely post about Ayari. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Slice of Life 11

Today, I take inspiration from Sarah Kaye’s poem, “Hands”.


I know you are following my blog - This one’s for you.


My Mother’s Hands

I love hands like I love people,
And the hands I have always loved the most
Are my mother’s.

I remember...

Holding her hands in church,
Marvelling at the many bold rings decorating them,
Always at least two on each hand.

Perfectly manicured nails, 
Long, sculpted nails,
Beautifully painted nails.

Her hands gesturing to her students,
She rolls a piece of chalk across her rings as she speaks,
All eyes focus on her hands.

She communicates with her hands,
Across the room or on the phone,
Her hands help tell the story.

Her hands, holding mine,
Her hands, holding my father’s,
Her hands, holding my child.

My mother’s hands.
Elegant. Graceful.
So proud that her hands are my hands.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Slice of Life 10

For our slice today, 6B Slicers took inspiration from another slicer's post to capture a moment of our day.

Dinner Time

Currently, I am...

     Listening to Millie tell a tall tale about her day.

     Nibbling on a piece of cheddar cheese.

     Sipping a fizzy ginger beer.

     Wearing comfy, friendly, loose fitting clothes.

     Reading my daughter’s emotions.

     Feeling sleepy.

     Wanting to stretch out on the couch.

     Needing desperately to elevate my feet.

     Thinking about changes to come.

     Enjoying the calm before the storm.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Slice of Life 9

Today, 6B Slicers were challenged to use descriptive language while writing about a wild animal they might expect to see on any given day in Malaysia.  Below are the fruits of my labor.

The Monitor Lizard

Malaysia is a land of strange and beautiful creatures, especially for someone who has never lived in Asia or the tropics. A simple wander round the neighborhood can offer a visual feast sure to please any nature lover.

One creature that frequents our neighborhood is a sleek amphibious reptile whose look harkens back to the days of the dinosaur. This lizard-like creature enjoys spending its time snoozing in the sun, slinking across roads, skimming across rivers and surprising unsuspecting humans with its presence whenever opportunity strikes. A tremor seems to pulse through its body from head to tail as it moves across the land, slithering in a s-like motion, two flat-feet splayed out on either side of its round body. Beady eyes, sharp teeth, pointy claws and a long scaly tail serve as a warning - Do not approach this animal. It prefers the solitary life.


Slice of Life 8


If you know me or have been reading my blog, you know that I am pregnant.  You may not know that I am due in only six short weeks.  This is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind today.  I only have three tiny weeks left with my sixth graders - I am not ready to leave you.  I only have three itty-bitty weeks left with my gorgeous colleagues - I am not ready to leave you either. Then, once my maternity leave begins, I will only have three short weeks (probably less given the size of me) to complete final preparations for the arrival of my son.  Obviously, it is this change more than any other on which I should be concentrating, but all my worries swirl into one - and I find myself overwhelmed and unable to be productive in any area of my life.  This is a problem when so many people are depending on me.

The truth is I am not very good at change.  I like order, organization, and structure.  With so many changes soon to be coming my way, I am painfully aware that any semblance of order, organzation, and structure currently present in my life will be flying out the proverbial window.  So, how to prepare? Well, as of yesterday, thanks to my many friends in the ISKL village, it looks like junior has enough clothes, toys, and books to get him through the first year and beyond. :)  Hubby has been doing a great job of tasking us up each weekend to try and ready the house for baby.  My parents are flying in to offer their support come April.  And, me? Well, I am still working on that one.  Stay tuned though... I am sure as the month progresses my slices will find their way back to this topic.  


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Slice of Life 7

Feeling Grateful

Today I offer thanks for my many lovely friends and colleagues here in KL.  Sometimes I think you know me better than I know myself.  I am so blessed to be part of such a caring and generous community.  I love working with you, and I am fortunate to be able to share my life with you.  Know that I am a better person because of you. My heart is full.

Thank you for hosting such a lovely shower for Pat and me.  Words cannot express the depth of our gratitude.

Much love,


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Slice of Life 6

Giving Compliments and Commenting

As we quickly move to the end of the first week of the Classroom Slice of Life (CSOL), it's time to think about compliments and commenting on other students' slices. During class this week, there has been a heightened level of excitement and sharing of your slices. As teachers, we are thrilled that you are enjoying the journey. Some of you have already received comments from others, while others have been wondering who the random citizen was that commented on your blog.

Constructive commenting can be challenging.  Still, even though it is hard work, it is so rewarding for the person that receives the comments. The creators of CSOL have kindly provided us with a gentle reminder about giving and receiving positive feedback on your writing and the amazing feeling that you get when someone recognizes your work, provides advice or just generally loves your writing.

Many thanks to the team at CSOL for providing us with some ideas for your comments. Let their thoughtful suggestions guide you...

Sentence Starters

1. I love how you start with a few lines of dialogue (or a small action) that put us right into the middle of the story.

2. You paint such a clear picture of the scene. I can imagine exactly the kind of place where your story occurs.

3. Your bring out such strong emotions in your story through the dialogue and the way you describe people’s actions and reactions.

4. I can tell that this moment had a lot of meaning for you. Even though at first glance it seems like just a story about ______, I can tell that, for you, it was really a story about_______.

5. I can really relate to the experience you write about in your story because the way you tell it makes it feel universal. For example, …

Comments Ideas

1. Comment on the use of figurative language.

This is such an accurate description of what ______ looks like. I liked the way that you used figurative language, such as similes and metaphors.

2. Tell the writer about a word or phrase that you found really interesting in their writing. 

My favourite line in your ode was when you wrote "they looked like butterfly wings, fluttering ever so slightly"

3. Make a personal connection.

Even though I live in Malaysia and I have never seen snow, now I have a really good idea about how it would look, feel and taste. I love the sensory detail that you used.

Again, many thanks to the CSOL team for their ideas! Enjoy.


Slice of Life 5


As inspiration for today's slice, we challenged students to personify a "Big Idea" in a tiny story. Then, we asked them to enhance their posts with images, quotations, facts, and questions.  Many thanks to Sharon for creating our fabulous design template! :)

Note: Click on the image above to enlarge and view.



Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Slice of Life 4

The Evening Battle

Preparing our child for bed - the most dreaded time of our day. Each night, following dinner, my husband and I sit semi-relaxed, knowing that the battle is about to begin. First, we must convince our 3 year-old, Millie, to clean up her toys. She is a master negotiator, manipulator and accomplished procrastinator. We must be on our toes ready to divert any avoidance of task, knowing only too well that addressing the toy situation is only one of the many challenges we will be expected to overcome during the next hour.

Last night proved a classic example of our parenting nightmares realized. To be fair, we started off on the defensive, handicapping ourselves by neglectfully lingering over our evening meal. Millie, seizing the moment, and, admittedly unsupervised, skillfully removed each and every one of her books from the bookshelf only to then pile them carefully, purposefully miles away from the bookcase on the couch. The quiet from the other room should have served as a warning to us that we were forfeiting the high ground. But, no. We opted to seize the opportunity for five minutes of uninterrupted adult conversation before surveying the scene.

Prepared for the worst, we entered the living room. Millie, blue eyes twinkling, wicked little smile on her face, looked us over and, feigning innocence, asked, “Daddy, can I have story?” Relief washed over me - Millie had engaged my husband. I only would be required to offer back-up on tonight’s mission - Pat would lead the charge.

True to form, Millie craftily managed to drag out putting away of her books for a full 20 minutes. During this time, we countered her pleas for assistance with the task, fake tears, and general misdirection with pleas of our own begging for the task to begin, fake encouraging words, and, finally, no less than three time outs - including one “big time out" in which she was isolated in another room while we counted to 10 and regrouped.

Tragically, Millie returned to the scene sensing weakness. And, while I am loathe to admit it... Yes, eyeing the clock, we ultimately capitulated totally.  We helped her clean up her books.

I will end the story here. But, know this - the battle still raged on for another 40 minutes as we soldiered through shower, pajama dressing, teeth brushing, hair combing, story time, and, lastly, hopefully, with any luck, living on a prayer, sleep.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Slice of Life 3

Today for inspiration, 6B Slicers looked to Pablo Neruda and his Odes to Common Things.  Below, please find my humble poetic musings.

Ode to Birkenstocks

Oh, dear Birkenstocks,
Friends to pregnant women everywhere.
How I ridiculed you when I was young,
Not comprehending the comfort you could possibly possess.

My dear Birkenstocks.
Patent leather.
Flip, flop. Flip flop.

You cradle my feet,
Protecting my toes from harm.
Grooves worn to perfection.
Yet, odors do not linger.

Oh, dear Birkenstocks,
Happy days you bring.
Safely, deftly, snuggly,
I slip my feet in.

Slice of Life 2

Today for inspiration, 6B Slicers were given the opportunity to take inspiration from Joseph Gorden-Levitt's Tiny Stories.  Students were challenged to include a setting, character(s) and a plot with a beginning, middle and end in a tiny story.  Below please find my first attempt at a tiny story - and a slice of my day.


     As I sleep soundly beneath the covers in our cool, dark room, the alarm sounds.


     I hit snooze, obviously.

     Just 10 more minutes.


     No. I refuse to wake.

     I hit snooze again.


     Fine! I will start my day... Monday. Sigh.