Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Making Connections Through Laughter
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Slice of Life: Making Connections Through Laughter


Laughter is the closest distance between two people.

                                                                           Victor Borge

Computers packed     Check

Books we need            Check

Video we need             Check

Running shoes              Check

Handouts uploaded     Check

Boarding passes printed      Check

Pack matching outfits for our presentation….

As we unpacked our suitcases it was immediately clear…. we packed a nearly identical outfit for our presentation.

No one will notice

Are you kidding?

I don’t think they are that much alike. I think we are fine.

I think we will look ridiculous

It will be fine. Really, no one will notice.


Well, we were both right. EVERYONE noticed AND it was fine!

CKNgq-YUEAAw38YAs we looked into the faces of our audience, all we could do was laugh and tell our story. After 22 years together, sometimes we wind up dressing alike without planning it.


What we discovered from this experience was that we connected with more people at this conference than we ever have before. People who attended our session found us throughout the weekend to share a funny story that happened to them. It was more than the usual “Hey, we liked your session” or “Can I ask you about this assessment?” They shared a part of themselves with us. It started with a laugh but then teachers shared their stories about mandates, accountability and over testing. They expressed their fears, frustrations and hopes. They connected with us through laughter.

Our topic was about using formative assessment to find the stories of our readers. We found by sharing a bit of ourselves we learned so much about others. We clearly did NOT plan this, but we could not help but notice that once again taking the time to share one’s story helps build trust, relationships and connections. We want to always remember to take the time to share our story with our students and colleagues and make time to hear theirs. Our students need to know we are listening and we want to hear what they have to say.


Thanks to everyone who laughed, learned and shared their story with us. It was an amazing conference, but next time we will plan our outfits.






  • Avatar
    Posted at 22:04h, 21 July Reply

    The matching outfits were clever! Great minds think alike!

    Great presentation at ILA15 on a very important topic – assessment. It’s such an important topic as you could tell by your packed and overflowing session. I really enjoyed all the videos where we were able to listen in to what the students were saying! So much to learn from our students if we would just slow down, close our mouths and LISTEN!


    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 22:42h, 21 July Reply

      Love that — slow down, close our mouths and LISTEN –we might have to quote you in our next session. Thanks for laughing with us and spending our time with us that morning.

      Clare and Tammy

  • Avatar
    Posted at 22:51h, 21 July Reply

    You looked wonderful and your session was great! So much information that we all need to think about when it comes to assessment. I am so excited that you will be sharing your stories in PA this fall! It is the story behind the numbers that makes all the difference in assessment.

  • Avatar
    Linda Baie
    Posted at 22:55h, 21 July Reply

    I am jealous reading the above comments, would love to have seen you. As for the response: it’s always about the stories, isn’t it? We should just listen, & listen well. That’s how we get to know someone. Congratulations on such a wonderful response, and although you implied it, I bet it wasn’t just about the clothes!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 00:40h, 22 July Reply

    You look great! I’m sorry I missed this one, but it sounded wonderful (thank you Fran for writing about your session).
    I love the way you started this post with both of your voices combining into one unified message. This is so true: “by sharing a bit of ourselves we learned so much about others.” That little bit of openness means so much. We need and want to connect.

  • Avatar
    Amy Rudd
    Posted at 01:02h, 22 July Reply

    Connecting with others through story is so valuable. I think it’s sweet that you packed alike and that you shared your story. I also think that ‘s what makes the slice of life writing community such a great place to connect and learn with and from others. I wish I could have witnessed your presentation. I’m sure it was fantastic!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Sniadecki
    Posted at 01:10h, 22 July Reply

    I was thinking, “Great minds think alike!” The content was amazing, I’m sure. It’s nice to laugh, isn’t it?
    I love going to workshops and conferences to hear all the speakers. I hope to see you in person one day soon!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 01:19h, 22 July Reply

    Similar outfits? Too funny! I agree completely about how important it is to share our stories. That’s one of the best ways I’ve found to build a relationship with my students.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 01:19h, 22 July Reply

    I wish I had been there! Great minds certainly do think alike…right down to perfect outfits!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 01:39h, 22 July Reply

    Sharing stories and connecting through laughter – such a valuable part of learning! Like Linda, I wish I could have been in the session.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Nero
    Posted at 04:15h, 22 July Reply

    I’ll be honest … I didn’t notice the matching outfits until you said something! (But I was a bit nervous too!) It was fabulous meeting you both at ILA!

    Tonight I sat down to read the last two chapters from DIGITAL READING and there are your words reminding me of the importance of assessment beyond a number. (It is noted in my #cyberPD reflection that I am kicking myself for not attending your session! But Fountas & Pinnell and a literacy luncheon were scheduled …) We have been hearing it often that we all have a story and now you also remind us of the importance of sharing our stories to build trust, relationships, connections, and laugh together! I am thankful for the quick moments of connecting with you both this weekend and look forward to many more opportunities!


  • Avatar
    Posted at 07:06h, 23 July Reply

    What a great feeling to connect with your audience like you did. A bit of laughter always helps. Just for the fun of it, when you plan your outfits for the next time, make them match again. It won’t lessen your message, one that I plan to share with a team of young people who are starting their own school.

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