What Did You Learn Today?: Slice of Life 20/31 #sol20

I learned some things today.

I learned that copycat Starbucks vanilla bean scones are different from the original, but way, WAY better, like hover over the baking sheet still warm from the oven and eat them straight out of the pan hoping no one comes into the kitchen and sees you or worse asks for one because you do not want to share better.

Mo the Sloth

I learned that sloths have bad breath and smell like wet dogs. (Thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo for its daily Home Safari Facebook Live Event, which I–and thousands of children–look forward to every day. Also, in case you didn’t know, the Houston Zoo is doing the same thing on Facebook. Yesterday I watched Dash the cheetah take a walk around the zoo on a leash and developed a new life dream: take a cheetah for a walk.)

I learned that my cats very quickly get used to on demand 24/7 lap and play time. They are currently living their best lives.

I learned that every single idea Amy Ludwig VanderWater has for keeping a notebook inspires at least one entry in my writer’s notebook. (Seriously, her short notebook talks are so good!)

I learned that Twitter is my lifeline–all the news, all the funny, all the heartwarming, all the reflection, all the learning, all the #QuarantineCats. (Also, if you’re not following the creator of the #QuarantineCats hashtag, Elle Maruska @elle_em, on Twitter, you should. They are an American living in Spain running an unofficial cat sanctuary among many other things, and they post great cat photos and super informative threads about how to take better care of your cats.)

I learned that subscribing to Disney Plus and having access to all the Pixar movies was my son’s life dream. (Who knew I could make him so happy spending just $6 a month?!!)

I learned that it’s just as easy to order new books online from my favorite independent bookstore, The Tattered Cover in Denver, as it is to order from a certain retail giant that doesn’t pay taxes.

I learned that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the characters in the beginning chapters of War and Peace. Reading slowly–three short chapters a day–is allowing me to appreciate Tolstoy’s ability to bring a character entirely to life with one sentence–even if I can’t quite remember who they are two paragraphs later. (Follow #TolstoyTogether for a slow-paced, 12-15 pages a day, virtual book club read of War and Peace.)

I learned that learning is keeping me sane during pandemic isolation. I am so grateful to all of the teachers, artists, writers, scientists, doctors, journalists, museums, zoos and more who share so generously online. (Check out #MuseumfromHome for more Twitter goodness.)

I learned that I’m not sure what is best for my students. I’m on extended break this week; I have until Sunday night to get my classes up and running for remote learning. I have been researching options and learning so much from reading about other teachers’ experiences, but I still have so many questions.

I learned that there are only 11 days left of the Slicing Challenge, and I am going to feel rather bereft to lose this community and the daily routine of slicing at the end of March.

Thanks to humbleswede for this format!






31 responses to “What Did You Learn Today?: Slice of Life 20/31 #sol20”

  1. arjeha Avatar

    Such a lot of learning from so many different sources. I am not on twitter, but you blurb about Quarantine Cats has me intrigued. We actually had a chance to walk a cheetah and lion when we were in Africa, but I was sick that day so I missed out. Bummer.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Sooo many great cat photos on Twitter these days, as everyone has their new “co-workers” helping them out. I am so sorry you were sick and missed out on walking a cheetah and lion. That sounds amazing!!

  2. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    I love your list of learning. The #quarantinecats hashtag is pure gold. I posted a couple pics of Hero w/ the hashtag. I recently signed up for audiobooks w/ Lib.ro to avoid that retailer and chose King’s English in Salt Lake City to support. Yesterday I learned lots of California Trail history at City of Rocks, and I learned how to operate my new mini printer I purchased for notebooking. I’m sure today will bring more learning as I continue reading “Goliath,” which is about how monopolies run this country and have for most of its history.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I seriously considered supporting a bookstore farther away from me because I follow a couple on Twitter whose Twitter content I enjoy, but then decided to go with the store that has given me the most in-store hours of pleasure. Many, many happy hours spent at The Tattered Cover. I forgot I have a mini printer! I never figured out how to use it. Ok, looking for that today and trying to figure it out. Goliath sounds fascinating, important, and infuriating!

  3. jarhartz Avatar

    I love this format. In these unstructured times, I think quantifying daily learning is a practice that could help keep us sane. And, you have taught and inspired others to go do the same. So many Twitter spaces to explore.

    As to your distance learning, I wish we could have a conversation about that. I am on day 5 of distance learning with my 4th graders. It is an adventure. We are going to have our first zoom meeting in 30 minutes. I know they will be so happy to see each other. At this point, distance learning for my kiddos is about 60% social-emotional support and 40% academic. And most of the academic has been things we have already done in class. Going into new learning will be another adventure!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      This was such a helpful comment for me! 60% social-emotional support is probably what all teachers, including college professors, need to focus on. I don’t know what kind of Internet access my students will have, and it seems rather silly to be contacting them via technology to ask about their access to technology. Like, if they don’t have access, how will they communicate that?!

  4. carwilc Avatar

    I love your list! May have to try this! Soon! Humble Swede’s post yesterday was brilliant, and so funny! Have you been watching Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher’s YouTube videos every day? They’re terrific!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m enjoying Kelly and Penny’s talks so much. Very helpful! Humbleswede’s neighborhood post was sooo funny. Had me laughing out loud.

  5. Kristy L Avatar

    I love this format and I will definitely have to steal it, although I don’t feel like I’m learning as much as you! I’ll have to get on that. I am sad to hear we only have 11 days left. We might need to extend this challenge for our mental health!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I know! I hope we can all find ways to continue to connect after March. This group is keeping me sane right now.

  6. Terje Avatar

    So much learning. I think that poetry with Amy and Doodling with Mo Willems and authors reading their picture books – this could be the distance learning curriculum for all primary school kids.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes! For schools where all kids have access, the curriculum is right there online, and there is so much good stuff. Jarrett Krosockza’s drawing lessons have been terrific too, though I’m way behind right now, LOL.

  7. margaretsmn Avatar

    Your learning has sent me into a tailspin of great things to enjoy. How is it that I have no obligations and I feel like I’ll never get everything done? This online learning is over the top. I actually think we need to extend SOLC into April. I joined in at the halfway point, so I’m ready to keep going.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m ready to extend SOLC through April too! I suspect a number of us would do so. I don’t know what my week will look like next week when I will be teaching again and attending so many virtual meetings!

  8. edifiedlistener Avatar

    Lots going on in your learning life! Love the animal facts. I will have to try one of the zoo sites. In a few days, I imagine that I’ll be able to settle in some and enjoy the ride a bit. Today I learned that 4pm is early to be drinking gin and tonic. Now I know.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s a rough transition to the “new normal”. Even my teen son is loving the zoo safaris. He gets bored before they’re over, but he has good attention for about ten minutes LOL.

  9. Tim Gels Avatar

    There is so much to learn! It seems like every time I go to Twitter or Facebook I find another learning opportunity. Like you, I’m preparing to go online with teaching. There are so many options–best of luck!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Too many options! I am trying to remind myself, keep it simple, do less. And I can hardly keep up with all of the learning opportunities. It’s nice to have the distractions and feel like I’m doing something productive at the same time.

      1. Tim Gels Avatar

        Keep it simple, yes! As I’m developing materials for my students, I have to remind myself not to let perfect get in the way of good.

  10. evarkaplan Avatar

    Your blogs are always so inspiring! I also watched the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and had no idea that sloths were so big! I am so overwhelmed by all the options that I am a mess with figuring out what to focus on for me students by Monday!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hear you! I decided to put together a padlet of options for two of my classes so that they can choose their own path to learning and self-care (including options for self-care). We’ll see how it goes. Aren’t the Cincinnati Zoo safaris great?

  11. Susan Kennedy Avatar

    You learned so much. I’m going to have to save this post so I can check all these opportunities out. The format is top notch. Makes me want to learn some things.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Definitely a generative format! I am grateful that there is so much to learn right now, because pursuing my curiosities about things keeps me very grounded and mentally stable!

  12. Trina Avatar

    I’m loving all the tidbits you learned today (and shared)! This is a great format… Maybe I need to try it out!

    Thanks for the bookstore suggestion! I need to find a different place to order from!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hope you’ll try it out! I’d love to see what you’re learning! Many independent bookstores that have closed their doors are trying to get online orders to stay in business, so every little bit counts!

  13. Tamara Jaimes Avatar

    I also loved all that you learned today and the structure of your post. I am going to keep it in mind.

    Good for you for diving into War and Peace. I was a Russian and International Affairs major undergrad, so I read a lot of Tolstoy—but not War and Peace. One thing I learned about Russian novels was to keep a character list. Once I realized that every character has multiple names the stories made much more sense to me. Boy, do I wish I’d had #TolstoyTogether as an 18-year-old!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      A character list is a brilliant idea! I can’t figure out who he’s referring to when he uses the character’s title to refer to them either. Who’s the prince? Who’s the vicomte? I’m so confused!

  14. Ramona Avatar

    Wow, I love the learning you shared. I’m not sure how you find the time. Somehow, the days get away from me. I still haven’t tried Amy’s Notebooking videos and I really want to. I have managed to get outside and to shower and to write a slice every day and I’m also making an effort to connect with at least two friends a day. Oh and I do story time FT every day with the grand boys! We had a Zoom gathering tonight for our film club. It was good to see friends and hear their laughter. Although one friend said she really missed the food. So we’re meeting again in two weeks (even though we usually just meet once a month)and we plan to make a big deal of the treats we’ll have and show them to each other when we gather.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The days get away from me too. It’s very odd to have no obligations and nothing to do and yet be shocked every day when it’s time to make dinner. I love that you are doing FT stories with the grandboys, though I imagine that’s a poor substitute for having them there in person!

  15. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    Oh yes, so much going on in your post, I read War and Peace many moons ago along with other Tolstoy books and other Russian authors, they are all so dense! How did I keep track as a teenager of who was who?!
    I have not walked but have patted and stroked a cheetah, thanks for the reminder, I need to write about that one and it was on my mind!
    There are so many options out there, thanks for reminding us of some of them. I think zoo walks would be great for our students who will never see a zoo. Unfortunately they don’t have internet either…!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I did so much more of that kind of reading when I was a teen too and never seemed to struggle with it. And now my head is spinning! I’ve heard that cheetahs are quite coarse. I hope you will write about that experience! They are my favorite animals.

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