It’s A Party!

I am joining the party started by A Day In The Life.

Join Two Writing Teachers and other teacher-writers as we share a slice of life every single day in the month of March.

This is the slice that keeps on sharing. Sometime this month when you need a slice, (and yes, you know it WILL happen!) accept this invitation and join the party. The best part is that you can stop by anytime during the month, but here is the catch. You have to bring five items that are listed on the invitation above.

A favorite book:

Hands down it is THE IMMORTALIST by Chloe Benjamin. We would have a silent book party and just read!

A favorite person (living or dead):

Neil Gaiman. I want to hear him talk in his accent about books and reading. I want to hear him tell the story about being patted down before he left the house with his parents for books!

A favorite food or beverage:

I would make my prosciutto wrapped chicken and we would have a nice beverage of choice with it! It is super simple to make but fancy looking. Perfect for guests.

A favorite song:

To get the blood pumping this is the song I will bring:

A surprise:

A nice lined journal and some inkjoy pens for everyone! Then we would do a sketchnotes page on the first one to remind everyone of the great party time!

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge #3 + Bonus!

I am super excited to be a guest blogger on TeachWrite today. Check out the post here.


I was tagged for the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge by The Bibliophile Empress! Thank you so much! I love quotes and this is the perfect challenge for me. It is so much fun!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three bloggers each day

My third quote is from Ray Bradbury

Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

I love the simplicity and power of this quote! IT IS TRUE! aha ha ha aha

I do try to create something every day. My goal is always at LEAST one short story a week. When I gave myself the STORYADAY challenge I did find that my stories got better after about 4 or 5 consecutive days.


My three bloggers for today:

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge #2

I was tagged for the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge by The Bibliophile Empress! Thank you so much! I love quotes and this is the perfect challenge for me. It is so much fun!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three bloggers each day

My second  quote is from Neil Gaiman

Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. He is always one of the people I say I want to come to a dinner if I could choose 5 people living or dead.

I love the short story form and he is a master at it. One of my all-time favorite short stories is his Click Clack Rattle Bag. Short stories can be powerful. I write poetry as well so the short story appeals to me for its length and the element of what is not said that adds layers to the story.

Some flash fiction stories are so short you can read the whole thing standing in line at the grocery store.


My three bloggers for today:



Cozy Reader Connection

The Cat with A Book

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge #1

I was tagged for the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge by The Bibliophile Empress! Thank you so much! I love quotes and this is the perfect challenge for me. It is so much fun!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three bloggers each day

My first quote I want to share is from Plato.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.


This quote came onto my radar recently. I had to read it a couple of times to comprehend it. I have the tendency to overthink. I can work myself into a downward spiral quickly if I don’t catch myself. Sometimes I get worked up over things that don’t even exist yet. I should not fear something that isn’t even a problem.

I have been working on controlling the things that I can control rather than worrying about what might be. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is that just when you think you have it together life can throw you a curveball and knock you on your butt.

I do not have to fear,  I have to deal. This quote reminds me of that!


My three bloggers for today:

Baffled Mum 

Ms. Chiubooka Writes

Dad on Duty


Thursday Reflection

db4de-slice-of-life_individualYesterday was my Workshop Wednesday day. To be able to have professional development that is needs based for my staff I use team time twice a month. This is the time frame I create the environment to talk professionally or to bring strategies my teachers need.

For the first activity yesterday, I led each team through a trends chart about our last standardized testing window which produced professional discourse about what went well and what didn’t and the next steps to make the 2nd testing window more successful.

For the second section, I had my teams watch a video of a teacher deploying her FAVORITE NO strategy. The task was to answer the question: What do you notice? They had a graphic organizer with two columns to take their observations. One column was ACTION and the other was DIALOGUE.  In this exercise, the teachers always hyperfocus on what the teacher is doing in the video. This is not a bad focus considering we are working on becoming better teachers but I am trying to shift the mindset from the teaching to what the students are actually doing. To accomplish this task, we watch the video again and focus only on the students. They fill out the T chart focusing only on the students which changes the conversation. It is a paradigm shift to think about not only what is being taught but what is being gleaned by the students.

The video I used is My Favorite No which is a technique to pinpoint mistakes in math. I have also used it for grammar and sentence structure by lifting a paragraph from student writing to correct.

The list of takeaways from the discussions was large!

Modeling, students teaching each other, growth mindset, vocabulary, academic feedback, the importance of routines, etc.

I left the school walking on a cloud proud of the insights my teachers came to!

It was one of my favorite days as a coach. I had forgotten how fun Workshop Wednesdays are and how much the teachers look forward to them.


WWW Wednesday

db4de-slice-of-life_individualI am borrowing this post idea from Peaks and Pages.

If you’re new, WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To participate, just answer the following three questions:

1. What did you read last?

I just finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones on Sunday. It was the first fiction audiobook that I listened to the entire book. It is an amazing book and so well written. I do wish I had the print copy  – there would have been so many lines that I underlined. I attempted to dictate some lines into a Google Keep document but there were too many! I will use Goodreads quotes to make some reading journal entries.


Image result for an american marriage


I also finished Force of Nature by Jane Harper. I did not see the ending coming – to a certain extent. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone so I won’t say any more. I did like it overall. I felt it was a lighter read but enjoyable and worth the time.

Image result for force of nature

I also read Kelly Link’s short story The Hortlak. Awesome story but a lot of questions at the end.

2. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah. I am loving the book so far. The idea of being in Alaska off the grid is extremely appealing to me!

Image result for the great alone

3. What will you read next?

Since I loved The Immortalists I am looking forward to reading The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin which is her first novel. I also have Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble a collection of short stories. I love her. I have been sorting through podcasts trying to find interviews with her. She is amazing.


Image result for the anatomy of dreamsImage result for get in trouble


What are you WWW this Wednesday? Share or link in the comments!


An Idea: Coach Collective #SOL18


At the Fall In Love with Close Reading Workshop yesterday I had a brief conversation about support and the community of instructional coaches with several talented ladies which got me thinking on the almost 5-hour drive home.

The coaching community has been on my mind for a long while. I originally started my blog with the idea of connecting with other coaches. I had a need to connect with other coaches especially in my first year. At the time, I was a TAP Master teacher and although there are many master teachers spread out across the state and country, I had limited interaction with them. It was usually limited to face to face meetings twice a year. I had looked for blogs of other teacher coaches to see how they structured their PD and what connections they made. I had hoped to find a post on field testing at the time too,  but came up empty.

Luckily, there have been people and resources that have come into my circle of influence and I now know about The Art of Coaching, Elena Aguilar, and other coaching organizations.

I currently have a writing community and I have a reading community, but I really don’t have a solid coaching community. I’m wondering if there are coaches out there that would desire to have Coach Collective.

The Coach Collective in my mind works like the writers collective where you work independently but then you get to talk about coaching in between work time, but also could share resources and conversations online.

I am considering making a survey to get people’s thoughts so I can determine a plan to move forward. I will then be contacting some other coaches I have connected with through Twitter.

Here are my initial thoughts:

Is there interest for a Coach Collective?

Do you feel you have enough peer support?

Would you like to have a network of people across the United States to touch base with?

Would you like to have access to a bank of resources shared and created among coaches?

What framework of coaching do you operate from?

Which coaching frameworks are you aware exist?

What is your best coaching tip?

What are the areas of refinement you need to be a better coach?

Lately, I’ve been quietly reflective about my life and what I want to do moving forward in the next five years. At the end of the workshop yesterday Chris Lehmann said a few words that resonated with me. Hearing them jolted me to attention. To paraphrase, he said the work of teaching is hard,  but don’t give up. The kids need us. He had made several references to the less stressful environment to work at Starbucks and just worry about lattes – and only while you are at work.

But that wasn’t who the people are in that room. The educators there were not the people who just want to put in their time and then go home and not think about learning and students. We are the ones who make a difference in kids’ lives and believe in the mission.

Sometimes we need a little help and I think a Coach Collective might be a good step for additional support. Let me know your thoughts!

I Love Close Reading

db4de-slice-of-life_individualToday it is all about the love.

I am at the Fall In Love with Close Reading Workshop in Cleveland, Ohio today with Kate Roberts and Chris Lehman. I bought the book when it was first published and even had a little book club online with a few teacher friends.

I am honored to be at a conference learning about close reading. I am here on the recommendation of a literacy consultant I am working with. What is apparent from the first few minutes of the conference is that it is all about the love. The love of reading, the love of learning, the love of life, and how reading is all about life.

Talk about people who are on board with my thinking.

Some takeaways from today:

** Your beliefs and the WHY of your teaching drives what you do – otherwise it is just a bunch of activities

** “Close readings isn’t just a school thing, it’s a life thing.”

*”Every test is a test of reading.” It doesn’t matter what content area it is. This also goes along with the idea that no one worries about the kids who read and how they will do on standardized tests. The kids who read…pass.

** As teachers we want kids to practice things over and over especially when answering questions: “What we need to be giving kids is: How do I do that better?” 

** “Teach the reader…not the book.”

** Give the students a structure:

  1. First rough draft read with a lens
  2. List the details
  3. Find the patterns
  4. Revise your ideas and create understanding

** I am learning how to make some notebook pages to have strategies ready for problems I can anticipate for student learning. Having the tools ready makes it easier to differentiate.

Other fun things:

I met the Heinemann rep from Ohio and made a great connection. I met another fabulous coach of teachers and was able to spend some great time with my friend who also coaches me.

I did yoga with the above people at lunch which was super fun as well.

I am so happy that I took the time to come today. I still have a long drive home but now I have lots to think about!





db4de-slice-of-life_individualI live in an area of the country where we recognize daylight savings time. I usually think of daylight savings time as jet lag without the trip. I have felt off all weekend anyway and this loss of an hour did not help this morning. I also have a 4.5 hour drive ahead of me today with another time change. So, I guess this spring time I do have a trip!

I have an audio book to finish on my trip and some podcasts. Maybe some writing ideas will flow in my brain that I can dictate as well! Hopefully, I will have some writing time at the hotel tonight as well.


The Emotional Bank Account

db4de-slice-of-life_individualI believe strongly in the emotional bank account.

Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) uses the metaphor of Emotional Bank Account to describe “the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship” (p. 188).

Covey describes 6 ways to make a deposit:

– Understanding the individual;
– Attending to little things;
– Keeping commitments;
– Clarifying expectations;
– Showing personal integrity; and
– Apologizing sincerely when you make a “withdrawal”

When I first started teaching I had the honor of working with Dr. Rita Brodnax who exposed me to researchers and learning that became part of who I am at the core of being a teacher. One of the workshops she brought to the corporation was Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The concept stuck with me and connects to all the relationships – students and adults. The emotional bank account works like a checking account. You make deposits and you make withdrawals.

Deposits are the things that are listed above. Withdrawals are when you hurt someone’s feelings, forget an appointment, don’t answer, break a confidence, don’t keep your word, lie, etc

If you have a relationship built with someone over a year and most of the interactions are deposits then you are in the black even if the other person hurts you in a minor way. Your relationship is ok.

If you haven’t known the person long and there hasn’t been many depsostis, then a few withdrawals can deplete the account quickly. A large betrayal could deplete the account all together.

Then you have to decide if you are going to close the account and therefore the relationship. Overdrafting your emotional bank account suffers penalities.

This works in marriage. My husband has a simple explanation of a happy marriage: You take care of my needs , I take care of your needs. Simple to say,  not always simple to deploy.

It works in a classroom. The classroom culture is a relationship. You have to give and take for it to work.  There is the relationship between you and your students and there are the relationships between the students themselves. As the teacher, we often have to manage both to a certain extent.

Deposits are important and can as simple as knowing everyone’s names. My goal is always to make more deposits than withdrawals!