• Instruction,  Process,  Writing

    Caution: Curve(s) Ahead

    How do you feel when faced with a new Learning Curve? Excited? Overwhelmed? Motivated? Exhausted? Hopeful? Is it more like an uphill climb or a long road laid out ahead of you? For me, it’s a combination of any of these at any time, and sometimes a euphoric blend of all, at the same time. Mind-numbing. Returning to WordPress (origination date: 2009), migrating my blogs [this one and the Turtles] back over from another blogging platform (where simple style was the norm), and visiting fellow WP bloggers’ work, I feel a Learning Curve kicking in. Today, a week after returning to WP, I took some time to explore blogs.  Fellow WP bloggers, your work is beautiful, especially the photographs! I feel I’m in the…

  • Instruction,  Process

    Cheers for Process AND Simplicity

    I love it when working the process ends with a positive result, don’t you? I also love customer-centric business sense:  Make it user-friendly.  Keep it simple. This Week’s Process:  Question confounded me.  Process began.  Struggled, walked away, pondered, came back, tinkered awhile, struggled some more, walked away (again), and finally….. got it! Backstory:  I began blogging in 2009, trying out WordPress and Blogger.  I  started with WP, selecting a title and exploring the dashboard, but found it too advanced for my newbie technical skills (read: nearly none!).  I moved over to Blogger, a simple place to hone my technical and writing skills. Check out my first post ‘ever’ [here]. Blog posts included the ups and downs of running, eating healthfully, positivity, and eventually, professional stuff (added in 2010).  Result?  Big ‘professional…

  • Instruction,  Life

    If Only I Knew

    Death. A dreadful event. “Why did it happen?” they asked yesterday. If only I knew. Navigating daily twists and turns with teens broadens my perspective, tickles my funny bone, sharpens details often overlooked in a chaotic adult world, but in the never-ending ‘tragedies’ teens create, death – a real tragedy – brings pause. And confusion. “Why did it happen?” they ask. And in that brief pause, the air heavy with sorrow, I have no answers for these young people who’ve come to expect reasonable reasons and enlightened explanations. If only I knew ….  is all I can muster. Death. A dreadful event. R.I.P.  Axel and Cameron.

  • Instruction

    Time Flies… A New Year Awaits

      “Quitting is not an option but resting is.”      Author:  Jordan D. Ulmer     Has it really been an entire year since I last blogged here? HOW does that happen??  WHY does that happen? Even after nineteen years, the ‘busy-ness’ of a school year continues to surprise (and overwhelm) me.  Fellow K-12 educators know exactly what I’m talking about. One minute it’s August/September and you’re dragging your supplies (and buttola!) back to school, readjusting to 21-minute lunches, a bladder that’s offended by the lack of relief, the never-ending paperwork, and ongoing lesson plans. The next minute, it’s June and you’re sending your students home for the summer, or for some of us, off to college and the military.  It’s a…

  • Instruction

    Here We Go: Awesome Sites for Educators

    A new school year begins… preplanning starts officially today, though ‘planning’ has been going on all most of summer.  For me, being organized sets the tone for daily classroom life.  This year, I’m feeling ready! How about you? How much time do you focus on planning or other ‘classroom stuff’ during summer vacation? I’m thrilled to be starting the school year AT school/ON campus this year… nothing else like it in this business. Have a great school year, teaching friends.  And if you’re looking for a new resource, here are a few of my go-to favorites ~ definitely worth a click! teachingchannel.org  readingrockets.org nationalgeographic/education edudemic.com  Lots of ‘Ed 411’ across the Web….. Happy…

  • Instruction

    Where Did the Time Go?

    In two short days, we will walk our students off campus for the last time this year. Where did the time go?  As I suspected, time on a campus is much different than time in a district office… a vacuum, really.  This makes me happy.  My faith in ‘school year time’ has been restored. With fondness and new revelations, I look back over this year that has been so tough for me.  With excitement, I look ahead – first, to summer – to recharge, rejuvenate.  Then, to next year – filled with potential.  Where did the time go? It went steadfastly to the minutes, days, and hours that made up…

  • Instruction

    Thank you…

    Got a message from a student today. He transferred into my class in early February, from another Intensive Reading class. He’s a senior with special needs, looking forward to graduating in two weeks. When he arrived, he spoke to no one, including me.  Now, he participates in peer discussions and likes to hang out with a few other classmates (and me!) during lunch.  The message reads: “I will miss you next year and thank you for getting me out of my no speaking zone and  you are the greatest reading teacher I ever had in the school year.”  I cried. I grinned. I couldn’t be happier. You are welcome, D.  I will miss you next…

  • Instruction

    Wear Your Passion

    Every day, I am thankful that I’m back in the classroom full-time. My high school students shock me, bewilder me, anger me, humble me, humor me, teach me …. every single day.  Lately, they even seem to like me. A bonus, indeed! Above my desk at home, I have a small poster about Life (itself, not the magazine). And at the end it says, Life is Short. Live your Dream. AND WEAR YOUR PASSION. I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that I DO wear my passion every day. It’s a tough job, negotiating the often turbulent waters of teenage land, but it’s a job I relish, and am so thankful to have.  Can’t imagine doing anything else. And…

  • Classroom Life,  Instruction

    Board Games: Tapping into Word Play

    I introduced Word Play Wednesday to my students in early December, a few weeks after my new classes were formed and students transferred in from other Reading classes or from other electives. Finding ways to engage students who were transferred ‘against their will’ proved challenging, but word games helped break the ice. On his very first try, a student puts ‘courage’ on the board, but only after considering courageous. Well done! I quickly learned (much to my surprise) that many of my students had never played Scrabble before, an age-old game for those of us over 30!  In fact, many students in my classes had never played a board game until they landed in Room 405. …

  • Instruction

    Illiteracy Linked to Dementia?

    While catching up on news and events today via The Today Show, I heard a statement: “Research suggests illiteracy can contribute to future cases of dementia because it keeps young brains from developing as they should.”   As a literacy educator working with learners of all ages, I found this statement interesting, thought about its implications, and wanted to know more about the study. Want to read more?  Click [here] to read the highlights of the study, led by mental health researcher, Deborah Barnes, PhD, at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. It seems illiteracy is one of the modifiable risk factors that can affect dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, along with physical inactivity, depression, smoking, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, and diabetes. What implications does…

  • Instruction

    Friday Five (Late!): Heard Around Town….

    As a writer, I’m always zeroing on things I hear others say or things that are said directly to me.  They make me laugh. Often. Might just be my twisted sense of humor??  5 Things Heard this Week: 5.  “It’s like a roller coaster ride. Keep your hands under the drape.” (a cosmetology student describing what to say to a client) 4.   “I didn’t like you Monday, but you’re pretty nice after all.” (what a 6th grader said to me at the end of our third FCAT testing day) 3.   “Can I cut your hair??” (what a barbering student said to me as I entered the classroom… um, NO!) 2.  …