Star Wars Fans! {Six Word Wednesday}

The number six

rae from star wars
starwarsfunny darth vader toaster

May the Fourth be with You! 


Mocking my Insomnia…{Six Word Wednesday}


His hearty snores mock my insomnia.

What’s your story in six today?¬†

Finding Yourself…. {Six Word Wednesday}

six word memoirs logo Smith Project

Keys clacking, paint splattering, she smiles….


card with lady artist painting

What’s your story in six words?

Mixed Media Messiness…. {Six Word Wednesday}

number six in paint spatters

Mixed Media: Using all those scraps!


Hundreds of¬†lovely scraps of paper,¬†odds-n-ends, ephemera,¬†stamps, stickers, markers, metals, vintage fabric, vintage books, even vintage buttons… all being lovingly repurposed into¬†inspiring, fun, mixed-media¬†art. ūüôā


Wonder where all those scraps end up?

Check out the studios gallery on my home page. —>

Sometimes, You Gotta Wing It!…. {Six Word Wednesday}

The number six

Found this six-word a few years ago… always makes me smile! ¬†sometimes plan but sometimes wing it

 Have a wonderful Wednesday.


Sunrise Reminds Me….. {Six Word Wednesday}

Sign: Tell Your Story in Six Words


My morning view… #Driving

Sunrise reminds me daily….be thankful.¬†¬†¬†



After¬†returning to the high school classroom in 2011,¬†arriving¬†each¬†day in the predawn darkness, and¬†struggling physically (often, emotionally and spiritually) for 3 1/2 years,¬†leaving it was both a necessity and a¬†blessing that is reinforced daily as I drive to my new campus. A¬†beautiful sunrise¬†greets me with¬†a smile and a promise, one¬†that’s¬†never broken.

While¬†I miss my own¬†students, I now¬†work with¬†dedicated¬†teachers and their students in their¬†classrooms,¬†incredibly thankful for the opportunity, and though¬†I don’t need reminding to be thankful, the sunrise is a welcome start that warms my soul.

 Have a wonderful Wednesday.


Life is Good….. {Six Word Wednesday}

Sign: Tell Your Story in Six Words

Traded classroom keys for classroom support.


*Best decision ever!!!  

Learning new things every day….



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?

High school student writing at his desk

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 or critical thinking.¬† They’re¬†also insulted, because¬†in spite of their limited skills and strategies, they’ll tell you they can read just fine and WILL graduate.

You can imagine how much fun the first six Рnine weeks of each school year are for me.

Call me persistent.¬†I plug away at showing them¬†how ‘normal’ reading and writing really are.

I demonstrate the ‘naturalness’ of reading and writing¬†every day. I share how I stumble on to new words in most things I read, I talk about current writing projects, and I find ways to tie the two together.¬† I tell them, “We’re¬†always¬†readers and writers. This is not about school. This is about life.”

I am Chief Learner, right beside them, never assuming to know it all,¬†willing to show what I don’t know, and genuinely excited to learn new stuff……

This seems to alleviate some anxiety for some¬†students, once they trust me.¬† But it’s¬†a slooooow process.

Trust me.    Really.Slow.

In August, my reluctant and struggling juniors and seniors look at me like I’ve lost my mind, have three heads,¬†am¬†speaking a foreign language. Their eyebrows furrow, their arms cross defiantly across their chest, and an unknown power seems to pull some of them¬†lower and lower and lower¬†in the chair ~ as if swallowing them up so they don’t have to hear this nonsense.

You can almost hear inside some of their heads, (but thankfully, not!), “What is up with this lady? Has she lost her mind, talking about reading and writing like it’s something people do, something she expects US to do!?”

The¬†AP and Honors students typically take out a book to read the first opportunity they get.¬†¬†They seem to be thinking, “This might be the one saving grace to this class!”¬† The reluctant and struggling readers find this odd or just plain stupid.

Then September arrives. A few more books and magazines are evident on Wednesdays.

By October, most students have found something to read, even if it’s ONLY for the 30 minutes each week.


Girl on desk, reading
I encourage my HS readers to get comfortable…..

Sometime after October,¬†though, the¬†magic begins……

  • Mrs. Kyle, I’ve got a book on my phone. Is that okay?
  • Mrs. Kyle, I got a new magazine. Can I bring it Wednesday?
  • Mrs. Kyle, my friend told me about a book. Can I go pick it up from the Media Center?
  • Mrs. Kyle, can I borrow this book to take home and read?
  • Mrs. Kyle, I brought my e-Reader. Check out this book!

Finally, even the¬†most reluctant readers¬†find that treasure that makes me them sit still and just…. disappear for 30 minutes…..

Reluctant reader settles in for independent reading

With¬†little time to read for pleasure and wanting so much for my kiddos to find that pleasure, I’m thrilled when all students, even the reluctant ones, find the¬†sweet spot… that book or magazine that works just.for.them.

No longer do I have to babysit or ‘police’ Wednesday Reading.¬† I can actually sit back,¬†enjoy my own books (while keeping half an eye on kiddos… just in case), and model my own¬†love of reading, my own literacy. I often notice kids glancing up at me, as if to see if I’m really reading, too.

During a recent Wednesday Reading Day,¬†as fifth period was coming to an end¬†(and I closed my fifth book ~ I’m a¬†grazing nonfiction reader)¬†this thought popped into my head for Six-Word Wednesday….


Six Word: From Every Book....


I quickly jotted it down and in the last eight minutes of class, I shared it on the doc cam/screen.

I¬†showed my kiddos¬†where this thought came from:¬† the five books I had sampled that day ~ two books¬†on my iPad/Kindle¬†and¬†three print books I brought to school, telling¬†students, “When¬†I get bored or distracted or interested in some other topic,¬†I change books.”

Puzzled faces.

I often tell¬†them, “As a¬†nonfiction reader, it’s okay to close one¬†(book, Web tab, magazine, etc….) and open another when things get…… well, boring.¬† “And, as a writer, I’m always finding interesting things in everything¬†I read.”

I showed my Kindle library on the¬†big screen and held up the three books I had been reading/annotating, flipping through pages so the highlights and margin notes were evident.¬† I explained that, as a writer examining other writers’ work,¬†I liked the content of one, but not the writer’s voice and that I liked the layout of another, but not the content.¬† Students listened intently.

I pointed to my reading motto on the wall:   Life is too short to read boring stuff.   Read.Good.Stuff!  

A¬†senior then asked, “Is Kindle free? How do you get it?”¬†while another asked, “What’s the difference between fiction and nonfiction?”

Me {in my head}:¬†¬†I’ve talked about – and demonstrated – the difference several times this school year, but apparently, you¬†weren’t ready to hear the message. Today is your¬†Need to Know Day.¬† Welcome to the Literacy Club.

Aloud, I once again briefly mention the differences.

“Thanks!” he¬†cheerfully replies. “That helps.”

It’s amazing what¬†we learn when we don’t assume what kids know and¬†we teach them¬†the pleasure¬†of reading and writing…¬†even when they’re 18 and 19 years old.

Join us every Tuesday and share a slice of your life at TWT.