Category Archives: being me

The Worth of You

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Lynda Mullaly Hunt made me cry yesterday.  Right in the middle of a panel session on the community of the Global Read Aloud.  I had held my tears back all throughout as the authors had shared what it means to have their book read and loved by so many children on a global scale.  I had held my tears back as they had talked about the ways that their books had changed the lives of others, how children had found hope, courage, and determination through their pages.  … Visit the author's original post

The Fish Tank

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I sat there watching the fish swim in place, barely noticing Augustine’s excited screams.  Amazing that a 19th month old toddler pointing, yelling, and even wanting so badly to hit the glass did not shake the fish.  They barely moved.  And Augustine stood in total awe, oblivious to the world around her.

The fish seemed content.  They had clean water, a few rocks, a few fish friends and obviously enough to eat.  And yet, they were clearly too large for their tank.  … Visit the author's original post

6 Simple Ideas to Get Kids to Read

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Loving reading, loving books, being a reader, and finding your own books to share are central goals in our 7th grade English classroom.  And I spend every waking moment at times it seems trying to find ways for students to find that special book that will make them feel like they are a reader.  I spend hours planning, prepping, buying books, and yes, reading them to make sure that I am the best teacher possible for all of my many students. … Visit the author's original post

This Is For the Kids

This is for the kids who made me cry.  Who wore me out, who tore me down.  This is for the kids who wondered why.   Who dared to speak, who dared to question.  This is for the kids that didn’t give up, that saw something in me I would have never seen myself.  Who questioned persistently, who had the audacity to say they were bored.  And who never ever thought that school should be about the teachers and not about the kids.… Visit the author's original post

My Child Is Not A Struggling Reader

She snuggles in next to me, holds up the book really high and looks at me expectantly, “Ready, mom?”  I nod and off we go, Thea trying to figure out what happened to Daniel Tiger and why he got so upset with his friends.  Every word is a thought. Every word is work.   She uses expression yet chops her way through.  Some words she completely misses, her legs moving, her body wiggling, and guesses fly out of her mouth because her eyes are not looking at the words but instead at the pictures.… Visit the author's original post

Enough…

My love of reading never had to survive my childhood.  My love of reading never had to survive well-meaning teachers, at least not when I was young.  When I grew up, teachers weren’t really that bothered with what we read, or how much we read every night, just that we read.  That we grew.  That we became better.  They didn’t ask us to keep logs, to record minutes, to stick post-it notes whenever we had a thought.  They didn’t tell us which box to pick from or give us a label.  … Visit the author's original post

A Few Ideas for Using Skype in the Classroom

There are technology tools that come along and make your day easier, that make your day better.  There are technology tools that integrate themselves so seamlessly into your lessons that you soon forget what life was like before.  There are tools that you know you can rely on whenever you need them.  And then there are tools that encompass all that and oh so much more.  Tools that elevate your teaching ideas to places you never thought they could have gone.  … Visit the author's original post

So It Turns Out I Am a Terrible Teacher

It turns out I owe everyone an apology.  Or at least a great big “I am sorry” to all of the people who have ever been inspired by this blog to change the way they teach.  It turns out I don’t know what I am doing, at least not if you look at our test scores.  You see, my students took our district standardized test, the one they take three times a year, and it turns out that at least for some all of my crazy ideas have apparently ruined their English skills.  … Visit the author's original post

To the One Teacher Who Shaped Me the Most

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It is national teacher appreciation week here in the United States. and all through the blog world I have seen the incredible letters of appreciation being shared.  I have seen the words that praise, the words that show once again just how much of an influence a great teacher can have.  And I am grateful because I too have had amazing teachers in my life, who believed that i had worth and who believed that I could make the world a better place. … Visit the author's original post

Five Words For You

For five weeks, I have tried to find just the right words to preface the following message.  For five weeks, I have carried a tattered post-it around, waiting for just the right angle to present it to the world.  For the past 35 days, I have waited for inspiration to strike, for the moment to come where I could finally unleash the words and let them resonate with others as they have resonated within me.  For 35 days I have waited for an opportunity but that opportunity has not come.  … Visit the author's original post

Why Do We Hold Students to Higher Expectations Than Adults?

I told one class today that I was not there for their sheer entertainment.  I didn’t raise my voice, nor did I yell.  I simply stated it and asked them to step it up, to show engagement, to show me that what we were doing mattered to them because I could tell they were checked out and it made me unhappy.  And then we continued on with what we were doing.  Just another moment teaching 7th grade.

Yet, as it popped back into my mind, a seemingly insignificant moment from my day, I now see what a missed opportunity it was.  … Visit the author's original post

Why Book Clubs Suck And We Need to Talk About

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I had meticulously made my lists.  I had thoughts of habits, tastes, personalities, reading preferences, pace and yes, even their assessment data.  I had scoured the book room, gone book shopping spending my own money and used most of my Scholastic points.  More than 50 choices awaited my students, I couldn’t wait to start book clubs.

So when I announced that today was the day they would know their book club groups, I had not planned for the groan of disapproval that met me.  … Visit the author's original post

If My Mother Had Listened to My Teacher

If my mother had listened to my teacher she would have realized what a horrible child I was.  How I should be kept away from others.  How I should not be with children my own age because I would corrupt them.  How I was doomed to live a life of solitude because no one was safe around me.

She didn’t.

If my mother had listened to my teacher she would have realized how little imagination I had except for the morose.  … Visit the author's original post

If You Could Change Just One Thing

“So if you have one piece of advice for anyone looking to change the way they teach, what would it be?”

I cannot count how many times I have been asked this important question or the myriad of ways.  In podcasts, webinars, face to face, workshops, and even in lunch time conversations.  What would you change?  What would you do?  What should we do?

It makes sense really.  There is so much we could change, there is so much we could do.… Visit the author's original post

A Few Nontraditional Tips For Starting Your Own Blogging Journey

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4 1/2 years.  That’s how long I have been spreading my random thoughts on the internet.  What started out as a way for me to simply get things out of my mind, has grown to be an integral part of me.  I never knew I would be a blogger.  With that title comes many things; access to a vast network of people who know so much more than me, heartfelt discussions, emotional reflection, and even the occasional kick in the stomach when someone goes to the dark side on one of my posts.  … Visit the author's original post

Am I the Barrier to My Students’ Full Tech Integration?

I have been integrating meaningful technology into my classrooms since 2010, trying my hardest to find tools that would help my students find an audience, spark their passion, and find their voice.  I wouldn’t call us tech infused, I don’t use a lot of tools, but the ones we do, I love.  And yet…I cannot help but feel that sometimes I stand in the way of my students and the technology they use.  That sometimes the parameters I set up hinder rather than grow.… Visit the author's original post