• Art,  Creativity,  Instruction,  Life,  Process,  Stories from the Art

    Bit by Bit: Creative Elements and Life

    It’s been a while since I cobbled words into a blog post. Nine months give or take. Where does the time go? To be sure, I’ve been writing plenty since then – filling writing notebooks before sunrise, building words into my art, and making notes in the margins as I read books that fill me with answers and more questions about the reading/writing/creating process. Business ownership also became a central theme as I committed to moving in the direction I’ve intended the past four years. Less than 48 hours ago – after a month of planning, I enjoyed a Friday night Sip and Make Mixed-Media Art Workshop with friends –…

  • Instruction,  Life,  Process

    Learner or Teacher?

      The other day, while reading fellow blogger and author Carrie Rubin’s post about authors, gender, standards, and profanity/violence, I replied with my perspective as a teacher who worked with middle and high school students for many years. As a reading specialist and as a writer myself, I required lots of writing from my students and taught them that reading and writing go hand-in-hand. My reply to her post:  Characters need to be believable and readers need to decide what’s appropriate for themselves (or with a parent, if the reader is a preteen/adolescent); a rating system isn’t necessary. I didn’t give my response a second thought when I hit Send….. I naturally define my thinking from a teacher’s perspective. Or do…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction,  Process,  Six Words,  Students' Words,  Writing

    From Every Book…. Learning the Pleasures of Being Literate {Slice of Life}

    I wonder:    Who taught you the pleasures of reading and writing?  Did you discover them in high school? Earlier? Later? In my high school Intensive Reading/Critical Thinking class, it takes a while to get students to ‘buy into’ reading for pleasure.  It’s not uncommon to hear, “You want us to read???” followed by:  Do we get a grade?? My classes are a mix of AP and Honors students who don’t use strategies (because they ‘know how to read’) and are insulted that they’re in my class, thinking they most certainly do not need to be, and struggling and reluctant readers who haven’t read for pleasure in years and have limited knowledge and nearly no use of reading skills and strategies…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction,  Life,  Process,  Training

    Of Aqua Net and Apologies…. {Slice of Life}

    Recently, while hurrying through our teacher workroom before sunrise, a fellow teacher stopped me. We worked together in Career & Technical Education a few years ago. She was a tech center instructor, while I served as an instructional coach, bringing pedagogy to CTE instructors. Now, we both teach at the local high school. “I owe you an apology,” she declared. I quickly sifted through my not-yet-awake brain, but couldn’t think of a single reason. “No, I can’t imagine you do,” I answered. “Oh, but I do,” she insisted. Now she had my attention. “Remember when you came out to XYZ  Tech (protecting the innocent) …  and tried to do training?” I smiled, remembering in clear detail, the training sessions at…

  • Classroom Life,  Great Reads,  Instruction,  Process,  Training

    Tell Us About Yourself: Sending an Introvert Into a Tailspin

    Freaked out at the thought of having to introduce yourself to strangers?   Several months ago I blogged about my BIG discovery {here}, after reading Susan Cain’s, Quiet: The Power of Introverts, last December.  What a great read!  In it, she discusses introverts in our society and society’s response to them.  She writes, “The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness.”       You can see her TED Talk here: If you’re an introvert, you know she’s singing the gospel… Now, if everyone would just get quiet and listen….!! Right? What was particularly enlightening to me ~ other than discovering I’m really an introvert camouflaged in an extrovert’s…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction,  Life,  Students' Words,  Writing

    When Dads Walk Away…. {Slice of Life}

      What happens when dads walk away? As a ‘dad-less’ daughter, I know kids are left behind to wonder why. Why did he go? Why didn’t he want me? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t he want to be around? What could I have done differently to make him stay? Or, worse yet, kids left behind think mom pushed dad away, and surely, if mom had done things differently, then dad would’ve stayed. It’s her fault. As a teacher, I see the fall-out, too. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes blatant. Always painful. Last month, I asked my juniors and seniors to develop a written piece for National Day On Writing (#NDOW).  I provided three photos and asked students to choose one (or…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction,  Lists,  Process

    Becoming Unnecessary

    A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~ Thomas Carruthers Become unnecessary?  Why would I do that? Because as teachers and as parents, it’s our responsibility to our students/children. My two cents?? Teach kids the definition of integrity: what you do when no one is looking,” … and get out of the way. Ever wonder why some teachers seem to just have it all together?  You walk into their room and things are humming along.  These folks might be your colleagues or they might be your own kids’/grandkids’ teachers.  What makes things different in these classrooms? If you’re a teacher with a classroom, a student in a classroom, or have visited a classroom,…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction

    Early Childhood Ed: Tykes, Testing, and (Future) Teachers

    This post was first published in 2011.  At the time, I was a member of our district’s CTE Instructional Support team.  Since then, I returned to my own academic classroom, where I’ve spent the past three+ years.  Now, with a wish to return to CTE, I’m sharing an answer to the question I get from fellow academic teachers in my current high school:  What’s Career and Technical Education?  Isn’t that for at-risk kids?  My answer:  No way!  It’s definitely not your father’s shop class anymore.  🙂 -> -> -> ->   Remix debut:   November 2014   Rigor + Relevance + Relationships  What do you get when all three are in balance?…

  • Instruction,  Six Words

    Six-Word Wed: Celebrate Librarians/Media Specialists!

    Always endless effort, media specialists ROCK! (6)   In the twenty years I’ve been teaching and training fellow teachers, I’ve often said our school’s Media Specialist is one of our most important resources.  He or she wears so many hats and now more than ever, has an expanded role that requires much more knowledge and ability to juggle. Thank you for keeping our classrooms, training sessions, testing, etc … running smoothly every day of the school year and throughout the summer!  I appreciate you greatly! I stumbled on to @cybrarian77, Ms. Julie Greller’s, blog [here] while researching National Library Week.  What a great example of today’s media specialists!  

  • Instruction,  Process,  Quotes

    Help Readers Read: Banish Boredom!

    Five years into my teaching career, I decided to move from English Language Arts to Reading, specifically. I began working on my Master’s in Reading Education, and while I learned a lot, my biggest A-ha! came not from the volumes of textbooks read or the 1,000s of words written. No, my biggest lesson came from my students. “Reading is boring!” they said. “What??”  There was no hiding my surprise … or confusion! “What do you mean, ‘Reading is boring?'”  I wanted to ask, “Have you lost your minds?” but I had been teaching long enough to know that was not an appropriate question –  at least not in that tone. Turns out, reading comes down to two…

  • Instruction,  Process,  Writing

    Week in the Rear View1

    Earlier this weekend, I read Tara’s weekly Week in Review over at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh! and got to thinking about ways to share some of the events that make up my own ‘life process’ in a week’s time. There are always so many things happening in our lives that influence everything else, and sometimes – at least for me – slowing down to reflect on how they’re related, takes a backseat to the effects they cause.  When I asked if she minded if I borrow her format, I’m sure it seemed like a newbie question to Tara, but it was more to say, “Hey, I like the style…