Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you to the fabulous Eilidh Horder for nominating me for this award! Check out her blog here.

She is a wonderful creative and a talented photographer!


So here they are:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their website.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself.

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

7 Facts About Me

  1. I abhor left turns – I will sometimes drive around in a circle to avoid them.
  2. I drink way too much coffee.
  3. When I was a toddler I used to hold my breath and make myself pass out when I was mad. I used to do this over trivial things like not wanting to eat my green beans. My parents took me to a sleep study to find out their daughter was just stubborn. They were not happy.
  4. I have been homeless 3 times in the last 5 years.
  5. I used to play the violin and doubted my ability the entire time. I was third chair and was recruited to the college orchestra but haven’t played since I was 17.
  6. I have run with an Olympic athlete.
  7. I am contemplating a podcast!



If you would like to read about some unexpected things about me you can do that here.

Energy Challenge Day 13

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Welcome to Day 13

Welcome back to Monday! There is a dusting of snow outside and that makes me smile. I love the winter season.

Are you in school all this week? We attend until Friday and then have 2 weeks off. It is a full schedule and we are traveling as a family the 2 days after Christmas.

Tomorrow is our last day of the challenge and I am so glad you all joined me for this experience. It was lovely to reflect on energy of my students at this always crazy time of the year. We had a full moon Wednesday so that always throws off people in my experience. It was more at home for me than at school this week!

I have been thinking of new ideas to connect educators for 2020. Interactive classes with PGP points, a podcast and longer trainings for intentional teaching. It is an exciting time.

Planning and writing fuel me. I have been in a short writing class and was able to get some feedback. This was extremely motivating for me. The suggestions were just what I needed too.

Today I want you to reflect on your student’s energy –

What is something that fueled your students’ learning today?
What is something that drained your students in the classroom?
What did you learn about your students?

Here is a quote to think about today:

Image result for quotes for renewal

Until tomorrow! Please share your responses either by commenting or your own blog! If you share on your blog please tag me so I see it.

I send you moments of silence and warm beverages!!


Day 12

Welcome to Day 12

The day where I plan my outfits for the week and the time I start making massive to do lists for the week. This week is full of teaching, yoga, and meetings. All with the spirit of St Nick swirling around making everyone high on sugar and anticipation!

Today I want you to reflect on your energy –

What is something that fueled you today?
What is something that drained you?
What did you learn ?

Image result for education quotes

Until tomorrow!


How to Increase Intentional Student Talk with Protocols

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on

Protocols are systems used to engage students in intentional talk. The person who is talking is the one who is learning. Using protocols also increases the levels of engagement for every student.

Join me in a workshop to learn how to use protocols with your students.

What is the book that you keep coming back to? What is the text you use in your classroom over and over again no matter what level you teach because it resonates with you and your students?

If you teach a class that isn’t reading or language arts based is there a text that you refer to because it’s just one you love?

I have a friend who loved a book in third grade so much she stole it from her library. She still has it — in fact she ran to her classroom excitedly to come show me the book after workshop at one time.

If you were attending my workshop in real life after you signed in and picked up your workshop point page you would write this text on an index card. We will be using it in just a few minutes.

The secret for some of these actions to work is you must do something with them. Students are more likely to participate and engage if they know their efforts are not wasted.

I’m just not having you arbitrarily write down a book because I want to add it to my Amazon list. We are going to talk about it and make connections.

Now let’s come to the back of the room and form a circle — it may be more of an oval because of how the class is arranged. Please bring your index card with you. We are going to do something called CrewWe are all crew, not passengers. Everyone has a job. We stand in a circle because everyone is equal, there are no sides, and everyone can see each other.

We will introduce ourselves and tell everyone where we teach and then the rest of the group will greet us by name. When you do this with students it is important to use names. There are several students I am sure you can think of that never hear their names in a positive tone throughout the day. Crew builds the culture and the shared accountability in the classroom. It’s important for them to hear their name in a loving supportive way from the teacher and from their fellow crew members..

Crew is made up of three parts — greeting, reading, and closing. Now we are ready for the reading part.

Can someone please give voice to the quote on the screen —

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” — Jim Rohn

Can someone else please give voice to the quote?

For our crew today everyone brought their index card with them which is your Admit Ticket. Now I’m going to have you combine your work from the Admit Ticket protocol with a protocol called Back-to-Back Face-to-Face.

You’re going to share what you wrote on your card and make a connection to the quote we just read about reading.

Back-to-Back Face-to-Face is a protocol where two students find a partner and stand back-to-back. This allows students to have thinking time for what they’re going to say when it is time to share with their partner. Teachers can have students put a thumb up on their chest when they are done thinking so the teacher has a visual clue that everyone is ready. Then the teacher says “face-to-face” and students turn and share. This can be a one-time share or you can have students find another partner and go back to back and face to face and share again to get another perspective.

Tea Party

The next protocol we’re going to move to is called Tea Party. This protocol was created by Kylene Beers. It takes a little more preparation than the protocols we have practiced so far.

I selected an article for you to read. It was cut apart in an intentional way.

Each student gets a piece of the article and independently reads it. On the back of their excerpt or on a separate piece of paper the student writes a prediction of what they think the article is about in a complete sentence.

Then students get in groups. Today I chose groups of three. Within the group share and compare text and predictions.

Then each student receives a copy of the article and reads it independently. Here annotation can be helpful.

Now each individual student finishes the sentence stem of

I used to think ….now I know….

using their first written predictions and their new information learned from the reading.

Back to the same groups and share these statement and formulate a group statement using the same sentence stem. Share out will be the group statement of predictions and new learning.

I particularly like the tea party protocol because it allows students to practice the idea of predicting and then changing their prediction based on new information.

It also allows for individual accountability for the reading and then a group accountability because the group works on writing their own statement


The next protocol we’re going to use as one of my new favorites. You will receive a large poster paper for each group. Please draw the boxes to prepare.

You will read the first page only of the article you just received. As a group please log your thoughts about what you already know about the topic and what you want to learn.

Now as a group decide how you want to read the rest of the article — everyone reads it all, or you may chunk it up. After reading, log quotes and new learning in the middle box on your poster.

After your new learning then log a summary within the center box. It can be a picture, a phrase or just one word.

This protocol is one where there’s lots of room for variation for digging in deeper to a worthy text. You can use it for poetry analysis where each group does a chunk of the poetry and digs in deeper to each stanza.

A gallery walk can then be done where each group moves from poster to poster reading their classmates work to learn of everyone’s insights.


Let’s circle up again in the back of the room. We are going to go around one last time. I would like you to share one word from today that sums up how you are feeling, what you learned, or maybe what your next action is.

Thanks for attending the workshop today!

Tammy L. Breitweiser is a curriculum coach in Northwest Indiana where she is currently dedicated to impacting student achievement in grades 3–6. With more than 24 years of experience, she is a reading advocate who believes reading is the gateway. She is working on a collection of short stories. You can connect with Tammy on Twitter (@tlbreit)or You can sign up for her newsletter here.

Day 8 Of Energy Challenge

Welcome to Day 8

It is Wellness Wednesday. Think about how you take care of yourself in small ways – a walk in the trees, always drinking good coffee, breathing…

I published an article yesterday about a writing exercise that ties into the idea of noticing and observation. You can read that here.

Today I want you to reflect on your energy –

What is something that fueled your students’ learning today?
What is something that drained your students in the classroom?
What did you learn about your students?

Here is a quote to think about today:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

 -Barack Obama

Until tomorrow!
I send you smiles and surprises!


Writing Prompt

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

 -Barack Obama

You can read this post here and support my writing.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

Writing Activity #1: Senses writing….a little different based on an idea from David Greenberg

Push for the detail……..

Use the sentence stem: I know

Choose a place to start with for brainstorming.

For example:

I know shopping at the mall. Write all the smells you have encountered at the mall.

The smell of cinnamon
Scented candles
Buttery popcorn.

Then continue the listing process with the other senses.

I know shopping at the mall: (sounds)

Plastic bags rustling
Elevator chain squeaking
Escalator purring

I know shopping at the mall: (statements/phrases heard)

May I help you?
Are we done yet?

After you write the lists a story will emerge and you will have a dynamic list of senses and dialogue to use.

Other sentences to play with:

I know our school.

I know Thanksgiving.

I know vacation in __________.

I know (name of character)

Writing well is about playing with language. I always like writing prompts because they allow the writer to think about something from a different angle.

Happy writing!

Day 7 Energy Challenge

Welcome to Day 7

Welcome to Llama Tuesday! This is a silly tradition I started last year. I am drawn to llamas which makes no sense – it is just pure fun. There are two toy llamas looking at me from the bookshelf this morning too!

What is something that delights you?

Yesterday I taught a 2 hour workshop in the morning that I can only describe as magical. The teachers were amazing and shared. There was a lot of learning packed into those 2 hours. I wish I would have videotaped it.

The workshop topic was EL education protocols and CREW which are fundamental pieces to increase student talk in the classroom. We participated in over 6 protocols during the workshop duration but was calm and fun not pressed for time.

Here is a quote for today to think about:

Q & A Collections: Teaching Social Studies -- all my Ed Week posts from the past three years on teaching social studies -- all in one place!

Today I want you to reflect on your energy –

What is something that fueled your students’ learning today?
What is something that drained your students in the classroom?
What did you learn about your students?

Until tomorrow!
I send you warmth and laughter!


Consider This

I delight in the breakfast that is made for me with love including rye toast, sausage links, and perfectly over easy eggs.

A writing friend tells me about a Goldberg book I don’t know and the rush is immediate as I read the description of it being Zen and the little sister of Bones. I wonder why I also name the friend with writing as a label. Do I believe it matters?

The pottery mug used every morning for coffee is a comfort and a pattern.

Podcasts in my ears as drive make the hum of the tires go away for more energizing thoughts.

I drive past the old water park now overgrown and abandoned with a for sale sign on the corner. And as creepy as it looks like a horror movie set I remember the joyous times we had there when it was Enchanted Forest. A tiny theme park with the Mousetrap roller coaster, boats, the octopus ride I almost fell out, Skeeball, and the ski lift umbrellas.

The tall brown grass grows between the curves of the snake water slide hiding the phantom laughter.

The man-made lake in the tiny Town was my introduction to the workforce when I was 17 years old. Many rainy days I spent playing Dodge pong more than Ping. I had thigh welts to prove it.

A look alike Santa’s open sleigh on wheels chugs past me with a huge billowy White cloud like Santa’s beard behind it.

I wake up at 6:30 from a dream I don’t remember and I don’t go back to sleep.

A 4 mile run in the cold drizzle.

The blankets move and cold air seeps in between our bodies and I shudder.

The coffee pot gurgles alerting completion of process.

Energy Challenge – Day 4

Welcome to day 4

Today is Saturday! Some teacher lives are just as busy on the weekends as it is during the week. The schedule is a lighter for me this weekend. How about for you?

Today you are likely to not be with students. How has the end of the week gone? Are there situations or feelings that will cause you to react differently next week? Positive or negative? Do thoughts of school fuel you or drain you with the idea of all you have to do?

Yesterday, I taught 3rd graders and was able to share one of my favorite picture books: Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack. 

Today I want you to reflect on your energy –

What is something that fueled you today?
What is something that drained you?
What did you learn about yourself and your reactions?

Here is a quote to think about today:
 “The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.” 
Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me

A quick question:
Do you refer to teaching as work or school when you talk to others?
I notice I refer to it as work when things are not going like I want them to and school when I am pleased! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until tomorrow!
I send you sparkles and sunshine!


Day 2 Teacher Energy Challenge

Welcome to Day 2!

Waht amazing and awesome sharing from Day 1! I loved reading about your day.

Do you choose a word for the year? Are you considering one for 2020?

Today I ask you to record:

-one energizing thing that happened to you personally
-one thing that drained your energy
-something you learned about yourself, your teaching, or your students.

Three sentences — that is all!

You can share it on your own blog
You can share it here!
or  email me directly at 

Here is a quote to think about:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Arthur Ashe

Until tomorrow!