The Write Timing

My voyage toward publication

Mommy, sit. January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!!  2016 was a year of blessings and sadness (as most every year is), but the birth of our sweet and adorable son, Nathan, topped the list of 2016 events.  Baby Nate is a perfect addition to our family and has allowed me to shake my head when I hear others talk about what a horrible year 2016 was.  Not for me – I got sweet baby Nate!




As most of the rest of the world settles on a resolution or two, I have made some of my own.  Do I want to be healthier?  Sure.  Exercise more often?  Yep.  Stay more organized?  Uh huh.  All of these are lofty (though they shouldn’t be) goals, but they are not my tip top resolution for 2017.  That one came about with a little inspiration from my daughter, Olivia.  The day after Christmas, I was flitting from room to room, unpacking gift bags (and folding the tissue paper so as to save it for next year), opening new toys, and attempting to bring a semblance of order back to our house.  Olivia was playing with her new Beauty and the Beast tea cart and had brought Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the other tea cup to our front staircase.  She was seated about two steps up, tea service spread in front of her.  She looked up as I walked into the laundry room to drop off some new baby clothes I wanted to launder before Nate wore them (yep, I’m that mom), and smiled.  “Mommy, sit.”  She pointed to the step next to her.




I looked at my sweet 2 year-old and responded, mid-step.  “I will in a little bit, sweetie.  I’m just trying to get some of these things put away.”  I continued into the kitchen and grabbed something off the island.


Then I stopped.  What am I doing?


My daughter didn’t ask much.  She wasn’t for the world.  Nothing extraordinary or expensive.  She just wanted mommy to sit with her and play with her new toy from Santa.


So what did I do?


I sat.  We drank pretend tea and talked about how delicious it was.  She made me banana pie and I raved about its flavor.  We toasted and giggled and cuddled.  It was the best.  And it took absolutely nothing from me but time.


So the gift bags stayed packed, the tissue unfolded, the new clothes unwashed for one more day.  And it was totally worth it.


My most important, Olivia-inspired, New Year’s resolution: be more present.  The mess will be there (try as I may to clean it up).  The Facebook updates will still be scrolling.  But the time I spend with my children and my husband won’t always be there.  So I will commit to being more present in the moment in 2017.  Cheers!




Goals for the 2015-2016 School Year August 8, 2015

Filed under: Classroom,Goals — michellephillips @ 9:24 am
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Image courtesy of Pexels.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

It’s about that time!  School supplies fill the aisles, my Pinterest account is dominated by lesson ideas, and I’ve ordered my first ever Erin Condren planner (I cannot WAIT for it to arrive!).  That means it is time to set some goals for my 2015-2016 school year.

I am a firm believer in setting goals and in documenting those goals.  If they aren’t written down, it is a lot easier to let yourself slack (at least it is for me!).  So, I’m posting my goals today.  In addition, I will be posting the list of goals by my desk at school and the cabinet at home.

1.) Complete lesson plans for the following week before I leave the building on Friday.

My lesson plans have to be turned in by the end of the day on Monday of each week.  Last year, my first year in second grade at a new school, I had them turned in on time (almost always) and even had them turned in by Friday during some weeks.  I noticed that my weekend was so much more relaxing if my plans had been completed and emailed before I left school on Friday.  In the interest of relaxing weekends this year, my goal is to submit my plans by Friday afternoon.

2.) Implement a Math Workshop model.

I’ve read a lot about math workshops on some of the teacher blogs I follow and in other professional reading.  I have a difficult time teaching whole group math to a mixed ability group of learners, and I think a math workshop model will help me feel like I can better serve the students I teach.  I know in the beginning of a new method of teaching, there can be a learning curve, so I hope I can adjust quickly and my students will be game to try this new model along with me!

3.) Write every week.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

It is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of the school year.  Once that bell rings on the first day of school,

many other things in my life that I enjoy get pushed to the backburner.  This year, since I am dedicating more time to submissions with the hope of finally being published, I know I need to dedicate time to my writing.

4.) Read for pleasure.

One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to read what I want to read.  Don’t get me wrong, I love reading professional development books (I love the new ideas!), but there is nothing like picking out a book and reading the whole thing just for fun.  After all, that’s what I want my students to do!

5.) Stay positive.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a positive person.  I smile a lot, I’m friendly, and I always try to look on the bright side.  In the education field, that isn’t always an easy thing to do.  I can sometimes fall into the negativity trap (especially on a gray or rainy day).  This year, I will surround myself with positive people, try new things, and keep smiling.

I’m certain I’ll come up with more goals as the year progresses, but for now – this is where I’ll begin.  It’s the 2015-2016 school year.  Here we go!!!


Welcome 2013! January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

A toast to 2013!

I’ve bid adieu to 2012 and greeted 2013 with excitement and high expectations.  I have a couple of resolutions to share with you all.  Here’s what I plan to do in 2013:

1) Write more.

(I know, you’ve heard this before.)  I will try to dedicate a little bit of time each day to writing, and more time on days when I can.  I’ve started writing in my journal again (my previous entry was from June 15) and I am participating in Small Stones 2013.  Each day in January, I will take a moment to really see something, then write about it.  I have a lovely little notebook ready to go and will be documenting these small stones right here – on The Write Timing.  (Check out the icon on my sidebar for more info on how to participate!)

2) Read.

I am very good at reading during summer break and winter break.  I can usually even fit in a couple of novels during my spring break.  But during the school year, it’s a lot more difficult to find the time to read.  As a person who identifies herself as a true reader, this is torture.  2013 will be the year I dedicate more time to doing the things I want to do for myself, and reading is one of the first I plan to do!

3) Keep balance.

I am a very dedicated teacher.  I love working with students and spend countless hours preparing lessons that will engage and motivate them.  But, I have to admit, I often sacrifice my own sanity and time with my family and friends in order to do it.  So 2013 will be the year that I remind myself to keep balance.  I am more than a teacher.  Teaching is a part of me, but it is not all of me.  I am dedicating myself to keeping balance among my career, my hobbies, my passions, and most importantly, my family.

4) Stay healthy.

Over the past year and half, I have made a lot of strides in living an overall healthier lifestyle.  I am active (not a gym-goer, but the gym itself isn’t necessary to keep me moving!), I eat healthy (lots of fruits and veggies, plus cooking at home), I drink a lot of water and rarely drink pop.  I plan to continue these healthy choices and make even more!  I no longer bring microwave meals in my lunch, instead choosing to make sandwiches, salads, or wraps.  I’ve tried to eliminate some of the processed foods I used to buy and instead try making things myself at home.  I plan to “up the ante” on this and try even more new recipes this year!

And that’s it!  Four resolutions should be attainable (I hope!).  There are other things I’d like to accomplish this year (keep the house ever-tidy, eliminate my student loan, go through the mail every day), but these are the big ones.

I hope that you have set good and attainable goals and wish you a very happy 2013!


Balance August 27, 2011

I’m now two weeks into another school year.  Typically, at this time in the late summer/early fall, I’m already staying at school until 5:00 or 5:30, bringing stacks of papers home each night, and lugging a bag full of textbooks home on the weekend.

Last week looked a lot like that.  But this week has looked a bit different.

As my summer break drew to a close, I took a moment to sit back and think about how I wanted my school year to run.  Obviously, I hoped for a sweet group of students who love to learn (and have some fun, too).  Check!  (Thanks 4th grade teachers for putting together such an awesome group!)  All of you (my lovely blog followers) know that I’m striving to work on a new novel this school year as well.  But when I really thought about how I wanted to try to make this school year different than the others, the word that came to mind was balance.

Every year, when the calendar flips to August, my life shifts and begins revolving around school.  I suppose that’s to be expected.  It’s an important job, a vitally important job.  Yet, that’s exactly what it is.  My job.  And while I would never say, “It’s just a job,” (teaching clearly isn’t just a job, it’s a passion) I’ve decided that I can’t let my job dictate the rest of my life.

Being a teacher is an enormous part of who I am, and I’m extremely proud to be one.  But it’s not all of who I am.

I’m a wife.  Unfortunately, my husband often gets neglected during the school year because I’m so focused on making everything perfect for my students and my classroom.  Which is silly.  Especially since, entering my 8th year of teaching, I know that some of the best lessons are the ones that don’t go as perfectly as I planned.  They go in a new direction that I never could have expected in my long hours of picture-perfect planning (alliteration will be something my students know all about by the end of the year!).  I need to spend time focusing on my husband (and our pup, Kasey) when I’m home, not just grading papers and doing lesson plans.

I’m a writer.  I write because I love it.  I’ve loved it since 2nd grade.  And spending time doing the things you love is so important to living a fulfilling life.  Not to mention, if my goal is to be published (which, duh, of course it is), I need to dedicate some of my time to writing (*see the plethora of posts on finding time to write).

I’m a reader.  As much as I love to write, I also adore reading.  Many a time, I’ve tried to decide which love outweighs the other, and I simple cannot.  The two go hand in hand (as my fellow writers know) and I refuse to go through another year without setting aside a bit of time to read.  Now don’t get me wrong, reading can certainly apply to school (it often does).  I’m drawn to young adult and middle grade fiction.  As a person whose brain works in a very organized, sequential fashion, I try to alternate by reading one adult book, followed by one children’s book.  I’m able to find books to recommend to my students (see Blessing of the Books, which will begin next week in the classroom!) and still keep up with my book club – everybody wins!

I’m a dancer.  Every year of my life as a child, kindergarten through senior year of high school, part of my weekly schedule included dance.  Ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, I wasn’t particular about what kind of dance I was doing, I just loved doing it.  I don’t dance for a studio anymore (though I did my first two years of teaching), but I haven’t given up dancing.  There’s no way I could.  It’s my favorite way to exercise, whether it’s a workout video or simply music that I dance to in the basement.  I’m a Dancing Classrooms teaching artist, which introduced me to the world of ballroom dance.  And I coach a 6th grade cheerleading squad at Dundee.  Though you can’t come see me perform anymore, I’m still very much a dancer.

There are so many parts of me, I just can’t justify focusing on only one.  So the commitment I made to myself is this – I will find balance between being the best teacher I can be, and being the best Michelle I can be.  And the wonderful part about it, is that I know creating this balance will end up making me an even better teacher.  Win-win.


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