• 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,  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,  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

    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…

  • 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,  Training

    Social Media: Are You Creating or Cringing?

    Technology continues to advance. Students’ learning continues to evolve with technology.  Is your instruction evolving, too?    What do you think when you read the phrase Social Media?  Does it spark your creativity or serve up a hefty helping of uncertainty? Social media wasn’t what it is today when I was still in the classroom full-time.  We weren’t tweeting and updating our status by the millions…. yet.  I often think about how much fun it would have been to have all the social media tools when I was still working with high school students in the classroom every day. Now, I try to incorporate social media  into training and coaching sessions, building communities of  learners online and  in …

  • Instruction

    The Worst Teacher(s) Created ME

    Worst teacher ever? the “one” who talked AT us (wish there had only been ONE!) … didn’t listen. didn’t ask questions. sat behind desk. didn’t know us. didn’t care to know us. didn’t know content? made learning boring…. AND who turned me into the OPPOSITE kind of teacher!!! (who knows what will influence us??) 20+ years later and still going strong – from training fellow sailors in the USN, to middle/high/junior college classrooms, to staff development/training and now fitness/wellness coaching/teaching/mentoring. Thank you, worst teacher EVER, for making me who I am… An off-beat educator dedicated to making learning engaging, fun, and valuable (at least, that’s what students and fellow educators…