Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Friday, April 29, 2016

Grumpy Cat Meme

Sometimes after you say things enough, the grumpy cat comes out in a interior voice. I made this meme in honor of these moments.

Sammy Meme

I wanted to submit this post in less than 5 minutes. I had this meme in honor of my adorable cat Sam. I hope that you enjoy it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Showing Your Work

I thought about how much we teachers ask our students to show their thinking on paper. We want to make their thinking visible. One way to do this is to show your work on the page. I made this meme in honor of the many times that I ask my students to show their work! I cannot wait to show them tomorrow.

Textual Evidence

Textual Evidence

by Maureen Ucles

Juanita and Javier
are asking
Can you please provide,
(don't be
textual evidence?
(Write it down.)

La maestra
me pide
Por favor,
Te ruego,
te pido
por favorcito-
provea y
evidencia del texto.

But me?
What do I do?
No puedo decir
Because I know
Voy a encontrar y escribir
evidencia del texto
and then
pensar y pensar
To sum it all up:
I will find and use the evidence
from the TEXT!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Refrigeratorless Me

Refrigeratorless Me
By M Ucles

I dunno
Can't eat
Can't flow
Peering out the window
What am I gonna do?
Refrigeratorless me

Four days
So poor
I am
Photos galore
Ole fridge
in the kitchen
On the floor
15 years purring
But alas...
No coolant
Time to part
Such sorrow

On Lowes
Refrigeratorless me
Who knows?
How long
Waiting, wonderin'
Black doors
Freezer above
Fridge below
Not too bad
Cannot wait

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

I am on the chapter called The Web, The Tree, and the String. Today, I had to reread this chapter a bit more than anticipated. I haven't read this one for a while. I had to get back to it again. I loved the way that he spoke about nouns and how some people get them confused. I know that the short definition is that a noun is person, place, thing. Now it has blossomed to include ( or maybe it was always that way) a person, place, thing, idea or concept. That makes sense.

I know that I will have to return to reread more since it was packed full of new things that I wasn't aware of like, for example that a noun can sometimes modify a noun. He went on about the modifiers and their purpose as well. I wonder if my English teacher from 8th grade had ever read this book. I learned all that I know from Ms. West. We diagrammed the world in her class. I remember liking it, but don't ask me how to do it now. My daughter, a journalism major, is taking American Grammar at her university and has to diagram sentences. Maybe I should be a refresher from her. I know, I digress and bird walk a litttle. Please forgive me. I am blogging though, so I think it might be okay to go off on a tangent.

I like the terms that he gives for certain things like words that have role of determiner. It reminds me of Jeff Anderson's work. He labels certain function of grammar. It is very helpful to use these terms so that you know what the writer and writing is doing.

I have so much to learn. I can't wait to have some time to really delve into this book. I also have a few more books on grammar. I am turning into a grammar fanatic, and I think I like it!

Lunchtime Blues...Low Carb Troubles with Meme

It seems that ordering nachos without the tortilla chips is frowned upon in this establishment. I ordered cheese sauce and ground beef today. The response that I received was comical. It was as if I was asking for the Brooklyn Bridge. "You cannot order just that. We can't sell it," one person said. "I can't have the carbs," I said. So then we wrangled back and forth. I conceeded that I would pay full price. (I never said that I wouldn't.) After 2 minutes of shock, I was awarded cheese sauce, ground beef, two helpings of corn. (I only wanted one.) Today shall be called Leave My Carbs Alone Day in honor of the paralysis that I caused in the school cafeteria. Tomorrow I will go to Whataburger and ask for a Whataburger with cheese, all the way, but without the bun to see what other calamities that my request may cause. Being low carb is frightening to some. How can you eat nachos without the chips? Easily, but leave 5 minutes for the shock to wear off and a brief explanation. What a day!

Poetry in the Parking Lot

Poetry in the Parking Lot

What shall I write?
7:00am on my phone
Sleepy am I
No coffee
Iced tea
McDonalds breakfast
KSBJ on the radio
Good morning!
Need to wake up

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lunchtime Post

I will be brief and to the point. I am eating my lunch composed of scrambled eggs and sausage. I also ate a yogurt parfait. I added some cooked carrots. I washed it all down with iced tea. Lunchtime.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Blues

Sunday Blues

I've got the Sunday blues
from my head to my shoes
Don't want to go to sleep
at a normal hour
but have to

I've got the Sunday blues
Watching the playoffs
on TNT
wish I'd 
didn't have to
go to work
on Monday

I've got the Sunday blues
cannot take the news
can't sleep
work beckons
Leave me alone!

I've go the Sunday blues
wish Monday could be
no traffic on 290
Free tolls
Breakfast lines
Starbucks would be nice

I've got the Sunday blues
Don't know
what to do
go to bed 
with no ability to fall into
tossing and turning
the pressure
What time is it?
What time is it?
Monday zombie
I will be

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kevin's Writing

One of my students wanted to share some of his writing with us. We used Snag-it! to highlight it so that the writing is easier to read. More writing will be forthcoming. He took the png using the iPevo.

Sounds of School

Sounds of School

If you can hear the sound
of my voice
clap once
If you can hear the sound 
of my voice
clap twice

Hasn't anyone ever thought
of thrice?
Or maybe you can quartile that one

The sound of restroom lines
Drinking water from a fountain
dumping trays of plastic
every now and then 
a spill of 

The endless whistles
and bells
I am attending 
to be honest
with you
Then there is the
phone calls
in the middle 
the moment
that teachable

Could you send
blah, blah, blah 
to the office
they are going home!

The sounds of voices
then the pollen
Can I go to the restroom?
Happens a billion times over

Then the bell
Final bell
If you can hear the sound of my voice
Yeah, I got it!
When will you say thrice?

Twenty Poems to go...Minus one-Lunchtime Poetry

Twenty Poems Minus One
Maureen Ucles

I've got twenty poems to go-
minus this one
Can fit the contents
in my pocket
pull of lent
dimes and quarters
left overs

I've got twenty poems or less to do
taking my lunch time
'til I am through 
to get the words down
onto this blog

I've got twenty poems to go-
Maybe tomorrow
I don't know
if I will have time to 
wipe away ten
from my list of 30

I've got twenty poems
'til the end
of April
press send
publish them all on this blog!
Just twenty or less
to do!

No Rain In The Forecast....Poetry in the Parking Lot

In honor of National Poetry Month, I will attempt a poem in the parking lot of my school. Here I go.

Poetry in the Parking Lot

By Maureen Ucles

Travis Herzog says
No rain today
Thank goodness
The world rejoices
Well, at least

I am happy
Poetry in the parking lot
Peering into creamless coffee
I ordered eight creams!
Mickey D's mistake
Hard to drink
But no rain today
I am good

Time to go
Face the day
Think about
this poem
Not too bad
Not too good either
HOWEVER, no rain today
Everything is grand

Poem is almost finished
Onto my phone
much fun  to create
on a day
such as this
In the parking lot--
Poetry in all places
but not limited to
the parking lot

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rain Drops

Rain Drops
By Maureen Ucles

Rain drops
In Houston
Historic flood
Still more rain drops
Inundating cars
Horses swimming
Rescuing all
In Hummers
Monster trucks
Air mattresses
Even fridges
Rain drops
Accentuate the problem
Saturated ground
Giving way
Extreme rain event
Poor Houston
All because of
Those rain drops

Struggle-Poetry for National Poetry Month

I brought this one back for National Poetry Month. I really enjoyed writing this one. It was rather cathartic.

Ever have one of those days when you just have to let out what's flowing inside and you just have to let it out?..This day would be just that kinda day for me...I am just going to write a few things.....I can't live in your the hurricane....waiting for the eye....bracing for the dirty side, the North side....of your craziness....I can't live in hurky jurky stop and go world....Okay I'll give it jab or two, wade in the ice cold waters,  here I go...


I can't live 
in your chaos
In the piercing,
of your hurr-i-cane
Waiting interminably, 
counting the seconds
Tick toc,
Tick toc,
Tickety, tickety, 
tickety toc
For the eye of the 'cane
For the calm to settle, 
settle, settle down
Just to be pulled up 
from within, 
In an instant
Howling, howling, 
Roaring, Roaring

I can't live in your fury
bracing for the dirty side,
So nasty, 
North of sanity
South of 
common sense

Won't live 
in your 
at the drop of a hat
nickle, dime, and penny
I'm  clinging to
 some consistency,
Just some normalcy,
Not again, 
not again 
and again 
and again
Por favorcito!
Basta ya!

take refuge 
the hurky jerky
wax on
wax off
kinda existence
with your persistence
wearing me down, 
down, down
like a Michelin with 
300,000 mile treads
to the bone

Can't live in the-
stop and go
go and stop
bumper to bumper
inching along and then
1,000 MPR
Outta no where..
 in 2 seconds
 or less

 name it
in five notes,
Four or just three
Please just let go
go of me
Unleash me now
Let freedom ring!
I beg  
and plead
I'm on my hands
 and knees
 I yearn, 
and plead
 to be 
set free
from the choas 
inside, inside,
inside of,

M. Ucles
Feb 13th, 2013

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Grasping At Straws- National Poetry Month-from the Archives

I am bringing back this poem that I wrote a couple of years back. I hope you enjoy it.

Grasping for Straws-Today's Written Poem of the Day

Okay since it's National Writing Poetry Month and I 've accepted the challenge, much has been on my mind. I've been searching high, I've been searching low,  sounds like Milli Vanilli to me!  BBBBBBBAAAAABBBAAA  BBBBAABBBYYY !!!!!!
Don't forget my number!
 Okay, don't forget my poem  is more like it.
So I've been grasping at straws all day! Enjoy!

Grasping At Straws

By Maureen Ucles

In the Wee Hours of the Morning
I've been grasping
For some semblance of meaning
Some sort of reason why
I should hold on
My iced tea

Breakfast haven, right?
McDonalds Inc
Okay now
Has my breakfast

Just like any other
Scrambled eggs
Sausage Patty
Drives me crazy
A little bit batty

Small coffee
Seven creams
No sugar
Not demanding
I am

Large Iced
No sugar
Just for
little old me
Not demanding
in the least

Had to wait
with a-
"Pull over to the side!"
that demeaning  raspy voice
To the side
Maybe 3 minutes
Stretch it out to more like five

Everything is fine
Or so I thought
Not so fast
My straw!
My straw!

My straw?
My perfect
Mickey D's Delight
Striped with Red
Crowned with

Are you kidding
It's April 3rd now
Too late for the fools
But the jokes
 on me
yes me

I've got no straw
To call my own
Hold the stinking phone!
Did ya hear me?
No straw
To drink 
As I go!

I can't drink 
on my way
Lid comes off
So I can drink
It will spill 
as I break
On the Katy

No straw and no lid
To  hold
All the tea 
That precious liquid cargo
gone flying out
Covering my seat
Splashing onto the dash
Into the glove
All the way to the back

Life is so cruel
Incredibly unfair
How can I get through this day?
I really can't bare
Without my Mickey D's 
No straw,
no straw
 could you spare?

I have napkins
napkins galore
On  my passenger's seat
Got Truvia packets in the 
all my compartments
Receipts on the floor
But no, no,
Straw to adore?

What's this world coming to?
When you cannot rely?
Ronald's dropped the ball
Made the unforgivable mistake
The straw is absent 
once more
Too much to take in
I'm loosing my mind
No marbles to be found here
I searched the whole car
I'm Out of luck 
I find
Myself tearing up
to no avail
Going to face it alone
I'm  locked interminably
In this draconian jail

So today is gone
The past  will linger
Tomorrow is not promised
I won't lift a finger.

Please give me a darn straw!
For crying out loud!
Before I  fall
Fall and fall
and fall

Remember, remember
and all-
Life is nothing
I said
Life is nothing!
I reiterate
Life is absolutely nothing
without some 
Iced Tea 
and a

Where's My Plant?-From the Archives for National Poetry Month

Okay I am going to try to take the Poem a Day Challenge.  The information below can start you out.  Please click on the link below:

Here's my stab!  I guess I owe two.  I'll post the next one.  Let's see where it goes!

Where Is Your Plant?

By Maureen Ucles
Dedicated to the Green Thumb, Ro Luecken

Where's your plant?
Sez Ro
Ya know
The one I gave you
For Christmas

I think to myself,
"I dunno"

I dunno
where that plant
may have

In the trunk?
In the closet?
In the garage?
In the trash?
On a shelf?
Spilling over?
Who knows?

Who knows?
I dunno
Where that plant
Definitely feel
the chide
a little chill

Poor, pitiful plant
Left it
some place,
some time
two weeks,
two months,
two years?
Tooo  loooonnngg!

No water,
No Sun
No attention
No time
No care
To surround
That sorry, sorry

Poor plant
Decimated Ro
What to do now?

Where is your plant?
She sez again

Take a picture.
Lost my Polaroid
A few years,

My smart phone?
That thing?
It has dementia
Won't function
Like my brain
I dunno

My daughter
Three cats
Two spoiled dogs
And a hamster named Lily

The pl-ant?
Your plant?
Can't find it
The memory
escapes me
I dunno
Please don't ask
Not again
Poor, poor

What kind?
Don't recall
It has leaves
It's sort of green
Kind of  Bamboo
Or a Cactus?
Who knows?
I dunno

Dunno now!
Oh no....
I'm caught!
In a trap
'Tween a rock
and a Eucalyptus
No alibi
for me
Oh snap!
 Ro knows
I dunno!

Closet...April 17th-18th

Closet...April 17th-18th
By Maureen Ucles

11:30 pm
April 17th
Booming, crashing
Invades my house
Cats run
I follow
to the closet
Shelter in place

In the closet
no where to lounge
carpet filings
all around

In the closet
not great air
I don't care
shelter in place
lights flicker
on and off

Coast is clear
No more pelting
do I hear
decent rain
no lightning near
sandman reigns
in my ear
Time to sleep!

3:15 am
awoken with rumblings
April 18th
Winds wailing
Outside it's falling
ice from the sky
pelting the roof 
and windows
like popcorn with 
a megahorn
the sky is falling
chicken little
am I
to the closet

In the closet 
once again
blankets, pillows
cell phone in hand
lights flicker
then darkness
total darkness
wind whistles
my phone
Tornado Warning!
Take shelter immediately
interior room or closet
That's me
in my closet
counting the minutes

Tornado expired
walk out to hear
heavy rain
no pelting
when will it stop?
electricity's back
Channel 13 Doppler
White! White! White!
When will it end?

Open front door
waters a rising
sidewalk disappears
Stop! Stop! Stop!
Beads in hand!
Prayers up to heaven!
No more rain!

4:45 calming
no more red or white
yellow is so nice!
No more closet!
6:00 am
sleep calls again

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Oops! I forgot! It is National Poetry Month!

Since this is National Poetry Month, I always have a challenge for myself. I am supposed to write a poem a day for the whole month of April. I have lots of catching up to do. I have one done and 16 more to do to catch up. In my previous post, I wrote Escaleras. I will go to Notegraphy and publish more. Be ready to read and I hope enjoy!

Next Poem-14 More to Go

by Maureen Ucles

It is Sunday
Ready to nap
Oh snap!
Got to get my plans written
the heck with that
Why can't I enjoy my Sunday
said every teacher before Monday

It is Sunday
A day of rest 
for some
no lesson plans due
for most
but for me
write away
more like 
wish I could run away

Hey wait!
No school manana
Nice Sunday
care free!
Day of rest
no time to toil
waiting on 

No Title

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is one of my newest poems published using Notegraphy.

Esaleras-Poesia en Espanol

Escribi este poema hoy. Dedico este poema a mis comadres. Ellas saben quien son.
I wrote this poem today. I dedicate this poem to my two comadres. They know who they are. I hope that they enjoy reading this poem. I hope that you enjoy it. Espero que si! I used Notegraphy to publish this poem.

Escaleras por Maureen Ucles

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Thoughts Right Now

My thoughts right now are racing. They are racing around in my head looking for solutions to the problems that plague me. My problems will give rise to solutions. The solutions will be tweaked to more questions, problems, and then solutions.

What are my problems right now?

  1.  I have some students who need much help for the Reading test.
  2.  I have students who need help in 2 different languages.
  3.  I have students who need additional help in Math.
  4.  I have 14 teaching days to figure this out.
Here are my questions:

  1. How can I maneuver things so that I can meet the needs of all the students in 14 teaching days?
  2. How can I split my day up so that I can devote the time when there is an author visit and field day in this time frame?
  3. How can I plan and implement my work stations so that the reviewed items are meaningful for my students?
My possible solutions:

  1. I have made up work stations where students will be responding to what they are reading and will be able to use the analysis pyramid.
  2. I need to make find more text where I can create questions that they will have to answer by going back and looking for text evidence. I have several poems copied in English and Spanish. I have expository text as well. I need more biographies and plays to use in both languages.
  3. I plan on cutting up the 2013-2015 STAAR test to make into a document that I will use in small group. I will use it to show the students how to find the textual evidence and reason through the questions and answers. The problems that my students are having is not completely understanding the genre of the test and how to lift the textual evidence to help them find the correct answer. I will do this all in small group. I look forward to the results. The past two weeks I had been working with my students with a review of genre and how to use the preview to gain information for the text and to engage completely. I also had them annotate to hold their thinking. Engagement and transaction equal greater understanding. I plan on seeing 2-3 groups a day.
  4. The Math groups have been moved around, based on current students observations and data. I will see 4 groups a day. I also have changed out my work stations. I also have given out more homework to the students.
This is my plan right now. I know that the groups will remain flexible based on observations, classwork, and any checkpoints that I administer. I feel very confident with this course of action. I have seen lots of improvement in both Math and Reading from my students. They are showing their thinking by showing their work more each day. They are seeing more connections between the results and deeper learning that they are experiencing by doing so. In addition to that, I also have sought divine intervention. I need all the help that I can get. Staying calm and reflective will go a long way. I also have a great teammates that I can go to bounce ideas and to receive feedback. That is important at this trying time.  Vamos a ver.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quick Lunch Time Post From My Phone

I get 20 minutes for lunch after I drop off the kids from the cafetorium and walk a country mile to my room. Then it is actually 15 because I must be kind to my bladder. 15 minutes to eat, and two minutes I used to post on my phone. What am I thinking? Cheetos always seem to stick to my teeth. Cafeteria lunches are sometimes decent. Today is not a decent day. I'm out of time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reflections and Butt Loads

I just walked out of my parent conference tonight. It was around 6:30. It went very well. I was able to speak to the parents about things that they could do to support their student's learning now and throughout the summer. I also used this time to reflect over the year. As I was speaking, the memories of the classroom flooded my mind. I realized that I would only have around 8 more weeks with this awesome crew. Every year, at the end of the school year, I grow teary eyed. I know this year will not be any different. This has truly been one of the best years of my teaching career.

I have had many ups and downs this year. The ups were too numerous to count. I loved seeing my students recite my poetry. I enjoyed seeing them fall in love with blogging, reading, and writing. The conversations that we had were funny, insightful, and always engaging. I cherish them all.

We have three and a half weeks until the STAAR Math and Reading test. I am doing my best to prepare them. Everyday I work with small groups. Working in small groups is so rewarding. You really get to see where they are, what they are thinking, and appreciate their personalities and quirks. One of my students got me laughing hysterically this week. This is what I needed after a very intense weekend at Abydos. When I returned to work on Monday, I was dragging. Every ounce of energy was zapped by the weekend. When I saw my students line up next to my door, their look of disappointed and frustration got me thinking. What happened with the sub?  They always give scathing reviews of my substitutes. I haven't been blessed with a decent replacement lately. They let me have it. One proceeded to tell me that they didn't appreciate the sub one bit because they didn't follow the plans. How they knew that was beyond me. I smiled and said, "Now don't you appreciate me the more?"  They said, "Yes, but Ms. Ucles. The sub was horrible." At this moment, all my stress and tiredness left me. "I am home, " I thought. "Home sweet home."

The day progressed and I was working in my Math group. One of my girls, who always can get me to laugh, said pepindicular. I told her it was perpendicular. She saw a smile come across my face. When I first wrote the word perpendicular in front of her, I spelled it incorrectly as pependicular. I immediately put a strike though it with my marker and then spelled it correctly. From that moment she kept saying pepindicular. I had to bite my lip and try not to smile  because she would continue making me laugh. She said it again and I burst out laughing. I told them, "I am trying to be very serious here."  One boy asked, "Why are you laughing?" He started to chuckle too. I said, " I will tell you later. We need to get through this."  So I put on my bravest poker face and continued. I told her after class that she has a way of making me laugh.  These moments are the reason why I left my teacher trainer position and have come back to the classroom. These moments are priceless.  And I have a thousand of them between the testing, benchmarking, testing, and benchmarking.

What I don't want to happen is to let the stress of upcoming testing to steal my joy. I know that I need to keep my eyes on the prize and cherish every moment that I have. I know that I am not perfect, and I will do my best. I also know that there are scores that are expected. My thought is this: I have prepared my students for life.My students are truly wild readers, writers, and analyzers of text. I hope that is it enough. I have prepared them to the best of my knowledge and abilities. I have done everything that I could have and then some. I worked Saturdays planning and teaching them. I worked Saturdays and spring break eating breakfast at the Egg while planning with my good friend and colleague Noemi Leon. I spent endless hours prepping and adding comments on a thousand stickies or so. I have worked tirelessly to provide the best for the best. Twenty years from now, what will I remember and appreciate?  Not the STAAR Reading and Math scores. Nope. I will remember pepindicular and one student saying that he had a butt load of books to read. I told him that it was a boat load. "A butt can't really hold too much, but a boat... " I told him, "think about it." His eyes got really big and he said, "Yeah, that makes sense." Another boy said, "I don't even want to visualize the butt load."  "Yep," I said, " A boat load is easier on the eyes to visualize." I want to remember a student saying, "Ms. Ucles, you forgot a comma in the number you wrote. Remember, punctuation saves lives." I replied, "Yes, it certainly does. Just add the comma on your paper." I don't want to forget the time that my students tried out the 11 Minute Essay. I welled up with pride hearing them share their writing. It was magical, surreal.

Now, I have 3 1/2 weeks until the STAAR tests. What do I want to make of this time? I would like it to be other worldly. It may not seem exciting or something to write home about, but I would like it to be a time to see all of their learning come to fruition. I am going to enjoy the ride and watch them shine. Welling up with pride? I am guilty as charged! The test isn't the most important thing. No, not by a long shot. All I want to do is do my best, work with my students in small groups, and enjoy the last 8 weeks of school. My goal will be to not let the testing of STAAR and other district assessments steal the moments away from me and my students. I will keep hope alive and have a butt load of fun doing it!