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.

 

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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?

 

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26 Questions

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

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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!

Fusing My Life Bubbles

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I was supposed to be moving to a new house this weekend.

Now I am not.

The circumstances are out of my control, BUT I cannot get past the fact that THIS move was supposed to be smooth. It was supposed to be an easy transition with little strife and stress.

I have moved too many times in the last 4 years. With those moves and life changes comes reflection. I love freewriting and use it as a technique often when I am stuck or just don’t know what I want to write for that day’s writing session.

Two the freewrites I keep coming back to are:

“What do I value in my life?”

and

“What are the critical attributes of a good life?”

Coupled with those questions are the ideas of what I value in a place to live. The thought that occurred to me is: Why do I keep coming back to this topic of life and home?

I keep writing about living and what I value but why?  Do I keep revisiting this topic because I think my answers or beliefs are in a state of flux and the answers will be different than last time? Do I deep down think that my ideas are somehow wrong?

I think the real culprit is I keep hoping there is an attribute I am missing. That there is something on the edge of my understanding that I cannot see yet and will be revealed to me when my mind is racing and the ink is flowing from my pen. There are many things that I do not understand about life. This fact has become abundantly clear especially the last few years.

Now I must find a new place to live. What do I want? The list seems simple enough:

Openness

A nice kitchen with a full-size gas stove

Some wood floors

Lots of light

Laundry

Trees and a lake

At least 3 bedrooms

2 bathrooms

Fireplace

 

What is in your ideal living space?

Quotes I am Pondering Today

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“We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us”  Adrienne Rich

 

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place-you belong every place” 

Maya Angelou

 

Nicola Davies from his book: King of the Sky

“It rained and rained and rained.

Little houses huddled on the humpbacked hills

Chimneys smoked and metal towers clanked.

The streets smelled of mutton soup and coal dust.

And no one spoke my language.

All of it told me This is not where you belong.”

 

“Things take the time they take. Don’t worry” – Mary Oliver

 

10 Questions and the Answer!

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10 questions from Tsh Oxendrieder and my answers

Morning person or night owl?

Morning Person hands down. Although the last two nights I have gone to sleep after 1 a.m.

How do you drink coffee?

Black and strong

Beach or mountains?

Mountains

What was your favorite thing to play as a child?

Anything by myself – reading a lot. I did play mermaid in the pool

What is on your nightstand right now?

A coffee cup, sour gummy worms and 3 books and a kindle

What smell do you love?

Bread baking

What is your favorite season?

Winter – I enjoy the cold and the snow.

Do you prefer e-readers or paper books?

Either – it is all reading and that means it is all good

If you could travel anywhere in the world next, where would it be?

Germany for Oktoberfest

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Read faster

 

What are your answers to any and all of these questions??

My Relationship With Boredom

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Do you let yourself get bored?

This is a touchy subject for me.

I love input. Any spare moment I want to be learning something or reading something.

The closest I think I get is ISTEP+ time when I am forced into a tech drought. Then I just write,read, reflect, and enjoy that time.

I am not sure boredom is a thing for me…like writers’ block. I just am not sure it exists.

Thoughts?

 

Smelly Marker Writing Exercise

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Smelly markers – the good smelling kind! The ones that conjure up memories!

I love the Mr. Sketch Markers for anchor charts. They last forever and the smells bring great stories to mind.

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At the end of last school year I was able to order some markers for teachers and myself. I brought them to my presentation on Wednesday and everyone went crazy with “OOO I love those “and “Can I smell them?” I even converted a couple people who were not on the Mr Sketch marker train.

You know your kids have been into the markers when a colored dot is on their nasal septum (that part between the nostrils) even if they claim they have not been sniffing the delicious scents!

My favorite scent is the Brown Marker that smells like cinnamon. YUM!

In my presentation last week, someone said it would be great if there was a marker that smelled like McDonald’s french fries. Broccoli would not be a good scent for green. What do you think? What do you think your students would say?

 

Writing Exercise:

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Go write!

 

3.2.1 Quote Me – Hope

Thank you to Family Furore for nominating me for the 3.2.1 Quote Challenge.

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post 2 quotes for the Topic of the Day, which is HOPE.
  • Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me’.

The chosen topic for this challenge is HOPE and these are the two quotes I have chosen:

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A bonus quote:

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Hope is the piece that you sometimes have to look hard for when you are in the middle of despair. If it is dark, the hope is easier to see. There is a lot of pull between light and dark in our lives.

I always try to choose LOVE over FEAR. Everything is temporary and I try to remember that HOPE exists even in the darkest of circumstances.

 

The three bloggers nominated if they choose to accept the challenge are…

Kristyn from The Bibliophile Empress

https://eclipsedwords.com/

Books Inked

 

 

Graffiti Boards

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I am continuing my series of fun stories from my teaching career. It has been fun to share these funnies and to remember these wonderful students who are so important to me.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Today’s story is more fun than funny.

Graffiti Boards

Let me start this story by saying I am that annoying teacher who puts writing and reading opportunities up in a school everywhere. I put jokes and poems on the backs of bathroom doors, over pencil sharpeners, in the hallways, in the teachers’ lounge, in the teachers’ bathroom, and whatever random place I can get kids to read and write. This causes students in the stalls to read knock-knock jokes to each other.

I don’t even remember where I heard about graffiti boards but I started posing a question on a large piece of butcher paper outside my room so students could stop and write their responses.

In the school I was in I was about midway down the length of the hallway. The concept took on a life of its own and would cause a traffic jam in the hallway in the morning and the afternoons at dismissal. Students also randomly asked to go to the bathroom so they could come and write their responses in peace in the middle of the school day.

The questions varied from silly to serious. Some examples:

Who is your favorite character in what you are reading?

What is your favorite food?

What are you looking forward to over spring break?

What color should Mrs. Breitweiser dye her hair?

Rainbow and pink I believe were the most popular answers to the last one.

I had teachers who were salty about this idea. They were afraid students would write something inappropriate. To be fair, it did happen twice that I can recall and it wasn’t that bad. There were no cuss words just something minorly insulting that a 5th grader would think is funny.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad. Any opportunity for reading and writing is a good thinig in my book!

Sunday Morning Coffee Talk

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Let’s take our cup out on the porch! The sun is shining and the weather is pleasant and not humid today!

Yesterday I meet with a friend and colleague to talk through the first two chapters of Onward Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar. I was introduced to this author and coach by my wonderful coach Lisa Vahey. Elena was recently on the Cult of Pedagogy podcast talking about the new book which sparked new interest.

On the way to work I was listening to the podcast. When I arrived at school my friend Erica had listened to the same podcast the same morning. We decided it was a sign to meet and go through the book together.

The program is designed to progress over the course of a year. As the coach, I plan on using elements of the books (text and workbook) in my PD’s,  but the deep work will be with Erica.

Cover art

 

The first chapter is “Know Yourself”.

I had the teachers do the 16 personalities quiz at the beginning of the school year which changed conversations for the rest of the year. You know something is effective and sticks when the personality letters keep getting brought up in casual conversation and people joke about it. It really started a ripple effect.

I am constantly trying to figure out how to make my coaching “sticky-er” as Vahey would say. Core values is an avenue I want to explore more with my teachers this coming school year and is part of the chapter. Danny “Sunshine” Bauer has a wonderful podcast called The Better Leaders Better Schools. He also has a “mini-podcast” that addresses snippets of great ideas called the School Leadership Series. He has stories attached to his core values. I want to incorporate this idea in my own practice. I will be writing more once the school year starts but you can check out the episodes “Rule 6” “the Big Dominio” and “Honey badger spirit” for the story examples.

Erica and I are old enough and have been teaching long enough to know ourselves pretty well. I am happy to say that there are elements in Auguliar’s book that were new which is always welcome. Sociopolitical identity groups was a new one. Erica and I talked about our personality type (we have almost all the same letters) and white advantage. We talked about how the groups we belong to and culture can affect how we deal with students.

The second chapter is “Understand Emotions”. The beginning paragraph really sums up how I feel about emotions. I take things personally about 4 days out of the year and I will cry because my feelings get hurt. I teach with someone who is the opposite so that is a big joke too.

Elena’s quote sums up this chapter for me and my feelings about emotions:

Whether in response to my own emotions or those I perceived in others, my mindset was, I see that you’re sad, and I’m sorry, but deal with it. Wipe off those tears. Get to work. It wasn’t that I lacked empathy, but I didn’t believe that there was a need to explore the emotions that adults had, or that it was my role. P. 45

I am looking forward to diving more into these books.

In other news…

I am reading an advanced copy of Meant to Be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow and I am so excited. It has started out fantastically and I am looking forward to sharing the review in all the places when I am done reading. Look for that soon!

I finally finished:

I enjoyed it. I would put it in a book flight with Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Novel by Robin Sloan and Rodrigo Corral.

Questions for us to consider and converse about today:

Do you know what your core values are? I really had to think about it in my conversation with Erica yesterday. I really pondered what situations really bend me out of shape and what I fundamentally have an issue with…Erica and I had a real conversation about the difference between integrity and honesty too. (integrity is one of my core values BTW)

Cannot wait to hear your thoughts to this idea or anything this beautiful Sunday! What do you want to talk about?

Happy Sunday!