Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 4

Today, March 4th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

The white gloves now securely on my hands, I placed the red and white hat upon my head and turned to face my four year-old daughter.  “Well?” I said. “What do you think?”  My daughter regarded me thoughtfully, then turned to consider the cover of the book I had just placed upon the coffee table.  Looking at the book.  Then looking at me.

“You need whiskers, Papa.”

Whiskers.  Right.

At that point, I heard my wife from the kitchen.  “We’ve got that covered, honey!  Come on in here, Papa.”  As I walked to the kitchen, I felt myself being followed by a still-pajama’ed four year-old.  In her hand, my wife held a black make-up pen.  Placing the pen on my face, she said to my daughter, “You’re right, baby.  The Cat in the Hat needs whiskers.”

Today was the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss.  So, as the Literacy Specialist in a middle school, I thought it appropriate to try and create a bit of nostalgic, albeit silly, fanfare in my building.

Two hours later, as our students disembarked from their buses and entered school, the Cat in the Hat greeted them.  “Happy Read Across America Day!” I chirped.  And what were those expressions on their faces?  Those smiles? Those reactions?  What was behind them?  In many, I thought I may have detected . . . just maybe . . .a sentiment of, “Yes, I remember that time.  A time when reading was fun. A time I sat on someone’s lap. A time no one tested me on my reading. A time now lost.”  Maybe that wasn’t the look.  Maybe I got it wrong. Maybe.

But in any case, I do believe my efforts brought a smile to the face of many that day.  And that makes the silliness worth it in my book.


Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 4”

  1. Love the whiskers and love that you made the effort to “dress up” and make the day special. I’m sure the kids will remember that no matter their expressions. Thanks for the picture too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My older elementary students ask to return to the Book Nook every year, yearning for a read-aloud instead of lessons on research and email etiquette. I’m trying to accommodate that request more, especially as we enter testing season. I would like to think that your middle schoolers felt the same, and are secretly thankful for that trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although a few probably thought they were too old or too cool for this their smiles gave them away. Sometimes, even though they are only young teens, they need to be reminded of the carefree days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great costume and whiskers! The Cat in the Hat has fond memories for me as it was one of my first books I had, my mom ordered them in a book club. I couldn’t read that one but when One ‘Fish, Two Fish’ came I remember being able to decode and read more of the text, the Cat came later.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s brave that you dressed up for your middle schoolers. (I’m not a costume person so any kind of dressing up feels courageous to me. Mix-in pre-teenagers and that is a true act of bravery.) I’ll bet that many of them did feel nostalgic by seeing you greet them as the Cat in the Hat. What a shame it is that a love of reading is lost when grades, probes, and constant assessments are given to kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you did this for your middle schoolers. I’m sure many of them were actually delighted to see that you did. They were pleasantly surprised in the inside. But, as with most middle schoolers, it not COOL to tell you that. Kudos to you sir.


  7. What a great way to tap into the inner child that lies in wait within us all… A brave, fun, and wonderful way to remind these middle school kids about the joy reading provides…👌

    Liked by 1 person

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