Are you a Genius? #SOL18

 

sols_6

 

#Thisitheyear

This is the year I will start programs for students.

I started Genius hour yesterday with a group of 7th graders.  My school moved to block scheduling this year which allows the opportunity for remediation and enrichment with students during an Impact time. I am taking advantage of this time opportunity!

I conducted a writer’s workshop a few weeks ago which was successful and took place during a consecutive 5 days. Genius hour will take place over 6 weeks. The group of 10 students meet once a week to work on their projects.

I introduced the concept to the students last week and they were able to sign up. No one had heard about the idea before I spoke about it but they were very excited it was inspired by Google. I told them a few facts and then listed several ideas of projects that could think about.

Genius hour is time for students to pursue a personal interest, make something, and share it with the world. It could be a program, a blog, a game, a video, or anything they imagine. It can solve a problem or showcase a study.

Yesterday’s agenda:

  • Video 
  • Brainstorming
  • Joined Google Classroom
  • Read aloud: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spears
  • Discussion about perseverance and making things that don’t look like what is in our heads
  • Students took 16 personalities test

 

Cover art

This is another video I found helpful about general concepts about Genius Hour.

Results of day one:

  • One of my students wants to make a motivational video to share because she feels it is needed. She is thinking about staging it like a TED talk.
  • Several students are thinking about starting programs or clubs for their fellow classmates
  • Several students are thinking about starting fundraisers for local community organizations
  • One student is thinking about a photography project.

They are all THINKING and wanting to CREATE! It was a glorious day and I cannot wait to see what the end of 6 weeks looks like!

What have you created today, no matter how small?

 

Advertisements

5 On Friday

5 on Friday

What is Saving my Life Right Now

Taking the format from Tsh-

  1. The thing that is saving my life is my fountain pen. It was recommended to me by Ninja Writer Shaunta Grimes. It is amazing and I love writing with it. It is deeply satisfying to run it out of ink.
  2. The habit that I have adopted that is saving my life is showering when I get home from work. I am able to “wash the day away” and it helps me mentally transition.
  3. The work of art that is saving my life right now is Kelly Link’s story FLYING LESSONS.
  4. A philosophy that is saving my life is: Follow the White Rabbit: Be Brave. To read my thoughts about this click here.
  5. A bonus thing that is saving my life is this episode of The Secret Library Podcast.

Mentor Text Monday!

Image result for yes day

Any Amy Krouse Rosenthal book is a great read aloud but this book is FUN and is really a springboard for creative thinking.

After reading Yes Day, students will create and write about the events of their special day.

The endpapers of the book provide some brainstorming ideas:

  • Not Gonna Happen Day
  • Never Day
  • International symbol day
  • Talk Backward Day

I have had kids create ICE CREAM DAY, READ DAY, and EAT DAY!

Happy Reading! Happy Writing!

Thursday Thoughts

wood explosion fire hot
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

As the weather toys with getting cooler I think about the activities I like to do in front of the fireplace. I am always looking for the interesting around me. I enjoy recording these sparks for stories later, whether it is for my fiction or non-fiction. The non-fiction tends to be the blog and fiction tend to be short stories in my life. Sometimes, they bleed over into my verbal world as limited as I try to make it.

Yesterday I remembered that I used to write letters. I had pen pals starting in elementary school. It started with a family friend’s granddaughter that lived several towns over. To a 9-year-old, a 30-minute drive was worlds away. There was excitement in writing about my daily activities and putting those treasures of words into an envelope and sending them off and then anxiously awaiting the response, which was never quick enough for me.

brown paper envelope on table
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Soon, I found out about the concept of mail art and started making my own envelopes. I played with shapes and writing letters on different types of paper. It was not unusual during the month of October for me to cut out the shape of a large ghost and write a letter on him. I started shopping with my allowance at the Hallmark store for the fanciest paper I could afford. I am pretty sure I was the only 10 year old getting the Crane Stationary catalog in the mail.

One time, I sent my German grandmother a letter and put glitter in the folds of the paper. Not until it was safely in the mailperson’s hand did it occur to me that my very CLEAN and TIDY German grandmother may be upset with me when glitter fell all over her freshly cleaned floor if it was Wednesday…luckily she called me laughing after she had received my prose. The explosion of glitter had delighted her in the most unexpected and surprising way – THANK GOODNESS!

In late high school, I found Alexandra Stoddard’s book The Gift of a Letter and was amazed that someone else felt about letter writing the way I had for years. It was validating and a book I had reread numerous times.

I wrote to several friends in college and was always aiming for a full mailbox.

When I graduated college I read in a newspaper, maybe the New York Times, about The Letter Exchange: a magazine for letter writers that connected people with security in place.

As I took my letter journey I knew I had to pay attention to my life so I could write about it later. I really do wish I had copies of some of the letters I wrote. I thought of them as gifts to the person I was sending it to – just for that one person. A snippet of my life that I would share only with them.

The noticing I did for my letter writing has helped me now as a writer. I observe and record with abandon the experiences around me. The difference is I am writing and sharing the pieces in a much more formal way. Email just isn’t the same.

I am thinking I am might need to revisit letter writing…I may have to get back on that Crane stationary mailing list.

 

Do you write letters anymore?

A Revisit

Image result for celestial omnibus

After some reflection, I realized I was introduced to short stories back in high school. In one of my English classes, we read The Celestial Omnibus by E.M. Forster and it has always stuck with me. I have reread it over the years several times. There is always something new that pops out to me each time. It was my introduction to magical realism and short story done well.

If you would like to read it you can find a copy here.

The beginning paragraph has always been a section I reread even when I do not have time to read the whole story.

The boy who resided at Agathox Lodge, 28, Buckingham Park Road, Surbiton, had often been puzzled by the old sign-post that stood almost opposite. He asked his mother about it, and she replied that it was a joke, and not a very nice one, which had been made many years back by some naughty young men, and that the police ought to remove it. For there were two strange things about this sign-post: firstly, it pointed up a blank alley, and, secondly, it had painted on it in faded characters, the words, “To Heaven.”

I did not know what an omnibus was and remember being glad this description was written in the story:

It had two horses, whose sides were still smoking from their journey, and its two great lamps shone through the fog against the alley’s walls, changing their cobwebs and moss into tissues of fairyland. The driver was huddled up in a cape. He faced the blank wall, and how he had managed to drive in so neatly and so silently was one of the many things that the boy never discovered. Nor could he imagine how ever he would drive out.

It is a story full of adventure and imagination! I highly recommend it.

Grateful Tuesday

autumn decoration fall field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. Writer friends that talk writing

Superstars from Storyaday

My real life group that meets at the library

Other writers that are not connected

2. Beta readers

It is nice to have someone to trust

3. Skype and Zoom

4. Fall flavored coffee – Starbucks Fall Blend – Hearty with Spice Notes

5. The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

6. Writer notebooks

7. Stories

8. Cooler temps – thankful it is October!

9. Libraries

10. Love and acceptance

 

What is something you are thankful for today?

sols_6

 

Welcome October!

autumn decoration fall field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To celebrate the month of October I found a copy of Neil Gaiman’s version of Hansel and Gretel.

 

Image result for hansel and gretel neil gaiman

From a writing perspective, Storyaday’s Julie Duffy talks about the Hansel and Gretel structure of story. You can listen to her take on it at this link here.

There’s something about fairy tales that seems very autumnal for me and this Neil Gaiman version has these wonderful illustrations done by Lorenzo Mattotti which gives it a spooky feeling.

I also love the short story by Neil Gaiman for October too:  Click Clack Rattlebag

Does anyone have any spooky short stories they can recommend to welcome October?

 

I am combining challenges this October. I am combining the word prompts from Inktober and Kate Motaung FMF Five Minute Friday .

Today I am writing a story inspired by POISONOUS and STORY. I started dictating while in the car  – it is going to be FUN!

 

I started The Dinner List and couldn’t be more excited! I also found out On Writing by Stephen King is an audiobook.

Image result for on writingImage result for the dinner list

#happywriting #happyreading

10ish Things I Learned Over the Weekend

20180915_085949.jpgI was honored to be able to attend the Indiana State Literacy Association (ISRA) Fall conference. I used to be heavily involved with this organization when it was still called ISRA (Indiana State Reading Association).

The main reason I wanted to attend was because Pernille Ripp was the keynote speaker. I was not disappointed in either her keynote or her breakout session. She is a unique educator and reading warrior and a seventh grade English teacher.

Here are some highlights!

Her keynote was full of great educational wisdom and in the fashion of a true writer, she used her unique voice and uttered several funny statements.

  • Pernille was able to live in the United States with her mother on 3 occasions in her childhood. When she was 18 she moved to Wisconsin where she said,

I met a boy.

That boy introduced me to a much better boy.

Thank God!”

 

  • She started teaching in 4th grade (Like me!) and she said, “I graduated college with my fictitious lesson plans.” This made me laugh because it is true! I know in college we learn the whole process but my lesson plans never look like the ones from college in the “real teaching world”
  • “I know the student through the stories that we share.”
  • “If I know the books you like I know you more deeply as a person.”
  • Reading needs to be fun.

We cannot say that reading is the most important and then not give them time to read!

 

To Create Readers We Need:

  • Inclusive libraries – kids read more when they are surrounded by books. Even if the school library is right outside your door, that sometimes is too far. You need books in your room.
  • Sacred time to read
  • Exploration of self and reading identity
  • Choice to discover what they like or dislike
  • Relevant and meaningful work
  • Building a community of readers

 

The question that stayed with me:

How do we protect the hope of readers?

 

Her breakout session was about picture books and how to use them in the classroom. She reads a picture book to her 7th graders on the first day of school to kick the year off correctly.

 

20180915_092010.jpg

My Amazon cart and library holds are going to be busy bees!!

If you have the chance to hear her speak, do it! She is inspiring and heartwarming.

 

Who is a professional you would love to hear speak?

 

26 Questions

Thank you to This, That, and the Other for posting these questions on his blog!

analysis blackboard board bubble
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1. Share your profile pic:

2. Who are you named after?

Debbie Reynold’s movie character Tammy

3. Do you like your handwriting?

Sometimes. I write differently with different pens. I get compliments on my handwriting which makes me snicker.

4. What’s Your Favorite Lunchmeat?

Butterball Deli turkey –  thickly sliced

5. Longest relationship?

It will be with my husband.

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

No, they were removed when I was 4 because I couldn’t eat because they had grown so large.

7. Would you bungee jump?

Nope.

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Nope.

9. Favorite ice cream?

Coconut without nuts

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their shoes! ha ha Usually their smile – or lack there of.

11. Football or Baseball?

White Sox!!!

12. What color pants are you wearing?

You all lucked out! Usually, I am in a dress – today my pants are army green.

13. Last thing you ate?

Pork tacos from a little family owned Mexican place

14. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Periwinkle

15. Favorite smell?

Bleach – it’s very clean!

16. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Husband

17. Hair color?

Dark blonde -all natural

18. Eye color?

Blue or green depending on my mood

19. Favorite food to eat?

Pizza or bread

20. Scary movies or happy endings?

Scary

21. Last movie you watched?

Hereditary

22. Favorite holiday?

Hands down – Thanksgiving

23. Beer or wine?

Both, but usually Jack.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Sunday – usually a slower pace

25 Three favorite bloggers you want to learn more about?

HubCity Girl

The Introverted Christian

Chuck Wendig

26. Added info you didn’t know you wanted

I like the random little lines of text that are added in books or articles. The footnotes if you will! It is the reason I liked Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

 

How would you answer these questions?

Pick them all! Pick one! Pick three!

Happy writing!

It’s A Book Tour!

 

I was honored to be a part of the I’d Rather Be Reading Launch team for Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I received an advanced copy of the book for being part of the team.

You can find the link to the book here: https://www.idratherbereading.com/

 

I love books, especially about books. If you are familiar with Anne’s writing and work or this is your introduction you will love this book.

The format is pleasing and is a collection of essays which can be read from cover to cover or in random order. Some of the essays are expansions from hints of stories Anne mentions on her podcast or her blog. One of my favorite chapters is The Books Next Door. I am completely envious of one of her houses situated next door to the library! The visualizations that are conjured in my head are exciting.

In Confess Your Literary Sins Anne talks about how people tell her their bookish secrets – books they have claimed to read or other book misdirections. My confession time: I was encouraged to read The Catcher in the Rye by a friend who recommended it to me. I had not read it and have made more of an effort to read classics that have been overlooked. I do not understand why people like this book at all.

There are loads of book recommendations sprinkled throughout this book and many of them I have read. Of course, many others are on my TBR list and some I even own copies of. Some are new and of course, are searched on Amazon and the library and are currently on my wishlist.

In the essay,  I’m Begging You to Break My Heart the writing is about books that make you cry. Where the Red Fern Grows is a classic that I love that is discussed as well as Me Before You and  The Fault in Our Stars. A more recent book that made me cry is Ms. Bixby’s Last Day which is a Young Hoosier Nominee for this year.

As I read this book I wrote in it and filled it with my annotations. Many of the notes are a simple YES! and others are snippets of words to remind me of a personal connection. It was FUN to read.

As a devoted reader all my life, Anne’s words and sentiments have encapsulated exactly how I feel,  which is not an easy feat.   The stories are heartwarming and funny and worth reading. There are no essays that I wanted to skip which is a rare occurrence for me to say that about an essay collection. Anne’s voice is a delight to read.

The book is not only a great read but also makes a great gift for any reader. It is the perfect book for any busy reader in your life. The format works for snippets of time and the size is great to pop into a bag and read on the go. It is also the perfect book for that warm fuzzy feeling curled up in your favorite reading chair with a blanket nearby and a nice beverage.

Pop over to any bookseller and get your copy!

IMG_gpik01.jpg

 

#idratherbereading