My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.



July 10, 2015

Digital Learning Chs. 1 & 2 #cyberpd

Text available from NCTE

Happy collaboration time!  Thank you to Cathy, Laura and Michelle for hosting this summer's edition of #cyberpd.  A place to read a professional book with other like-minded people and have a great conversation!  Grab a copy of Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 by Bill Bass and Franki Sibberson and join the discussion!

*****

Chapter 1 & 2 

This year I taught a classroom of first graders.  Everyone had a tablet.  The kids loved them.
I was not as excited.

I really thought I needed to hold back the reins on the tablets or my six- and seven-year-old charges would become completely dependent on their devices, needing to use them 24/7.  Yes, I am the same person who encouraged blogging and online reading just a year ago, but this felt different.  Would I be able to model the "right" kind of digital citizenship and using tablets as a tool?  I wasn't feeling confident, so I reluctantly let my students have access to these shiny, speedy digital tools.  I tried my best to provide guidance and anchor charts, yet I worried that my students would end up shunning our extensive library of books.

While reading the first two chapters of Digital Reading, I kept writing down the same word over and over on my sticky notes...
intentional
We (I, I, I) need to be intentional when making decisions about our instruction, our beliefs and our students.  First, we must decide what is digital reading. I love to read blogs and read lots of them.  They are snapshots of real people dealing with real situations, and I enjoy the insight into their thinking and feelings.  I have encouraged my students to write blogs, but I've never intentionally
showed them other blogs (written by kids and adults) that they can read and use as mentor texts.

*****

Digital Reading Workshop
During my many years of reading instruction, I've encountered many students who are "passive consumers" of text (p.13).  This book reminds me of the importance of teaching students to reach for deeper understandings of all text they encounter, no matter if it's digital or hardcopy.  I appreciate the authors' commitment to creating a digital reading workshop model focused on:

authenticity - ensuring students see reading as an experience that doesn't just occur in the classroom

intentionality- purposeful instruction; students make meaningful choices about text they use

connectedness - help students connect to peers, other readers, authors and the world using digital tools

****

As much as I'm guilty of seeing technology as an extra "thing" to manage in the classroom, I have a better understanding of myself as digital reader and communicator, and how I must intentionally guide my students in finding success, no matter what text or format they choose.  I look forward to gaining more confidence and knowledge about digital reading from our book study!

June 23, 2015

One Little Word

The message was received this winter, or maybe it was in the spring.

I think hope is a wonderful choice for your One Little Word**.  Hope floats.

Then my friend sent me the graphic.  Aha!

I have been clinging to the string of the balloon, keeping my chin up, continuing to push forward and follow my passions.

The balloon and my attitude kept rising up, up, up.

This summer has already been busy and I continue to be hopeful.

Hopeful for the present and the future.

Hopeful that I can do what I'm wired to do.

Hope is a wonderful choice for my one little word of 2015.
Even if it's nearly July.

Everyone needs hope.

**For more information on One Little Word, see this link:

OLW at TWT

June 16, 2015

Prioritizing #SOL15

Read more Slice of Life stories every Tuesday at

It's summer.  Time to relax, reflect and re-energize.

It's also time to
hop around the house,
starting one project
then another
adding to a list
leaving laundry on the couch to fold later.

It's time to
keep the refrigerator filled with food
and the spinning cabinet filled with snacks
and keep track of one daughter's work and school hours
while encouraging the other daughter
to stay focused on her job search and chores.

It's not hard to find things to do.
I feel like the house needs lots of attention.
But then so do my books
and social media (to get more book ideas).

It all comes down to prioritizing.
It's something I'm working to become better at.
Sure, everything gets done
but maybe not in the order it should.
Everything then becomes a priority.

How do other people figure out
what needs to be done
first?

June 9, 2015

One day left #SOL15

This was the picture my mom took in August after we worked in my classroom all day.  It's not really flattering, but it's an important picture.

I see hope, fear, exhaustion and excitement.  My first year in a classroom bigger than 8 x 8 feet.  A new adventure.

Tomorrow is the last day.

I still feel hope - will the kids remember the high points of this year?  Daily 5, field trips, making friends.

I still feel fear - did I do enough to prepare them for 2nd grade?  For college and careers?

I still feel exhaustion - teaching is a full-bodied, brain-draining profession.

I still feel excited.  Each morning is a new day, a fresh start.

Tomorrow is the last day.  It's been a year of roller coaster emotions.

May 12, 2015

Grateful #SOL15

Grateful

for sunny skies
cool weather
and blooming flowers.

Grateful

for a silly bird
who made us laugh
and smile
for a few years.

Grateful

for a warm, comfy bed
at the end
of a long day.

Grateful

to be surrounded
by supportive,
understanding
and kind
friends and family.

Grateful.

April 11, 2015

Celebrating Writing



Today I'm writing, here, on my blog, and there, in other places.

Here, I can share my thinking, my fears, my dreams.

There, it's informational writing.  It's important.  It's very intimidating.

Thankfully, I've been writing here since April 2011.
I've figured out that the hardest thing about writing is sitting down and writing.

Because of writing here, I am able to write there and not be too afraid.

Today I'm celebrating my writing stamina and my courage.

Today I celebrate all those who inspire me to write and share and press the publish button.

I am forever grateful!

April 7, 2015

Defeated


Join other teacher/writers at

Defeated.
Unbroken.

Frustrated.
Calm.

Distracted.
Focused.

Headache.
Meditative.

Anxious.
Relieved.

Angry.
Change.

Lost.
Prioritize.

Scared.
Fearless.
...
Try.
Attempt.

Believe.
Confident.

Improve.
*****
Backstory:  I wanted to slice today, but I was feeling defeated.  I challenged two teens to reframe my thinking.  Thanks, A and E for the positive words in italics to balance my negative feelings.