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!


Forced Tech Drought in the Forecast #SOL18


Standardized testing time is a desert for technology. There can be no devices in the room. Proctors are not allowed on their computers or their phones. No phones are even allowed in the room. Some people go into a panic attack with this news. With our culture always checking phones and apps to the point of new diseases being created for addiction it can be a problem.

I welcome the break. It is a lovely feeling. My mind is calm and it feels like stolen time. Time I am getting back from some other crazy time in my life.

The fact that I CANNOT be interrupted is a huge break in my work routine. As a teacher coach, people are constantly stopping me in the hallway or showing up at my door for “I just have a quick question” conversations. I love this part of my job, it is just how it works normally. The break is refreshing for the week.

Why? I am comfortable with pen and paper. I am comfortable with my thoughts and the silence. I can focus more – on one thing at a time. Whatever it happens to be that I am pondering. It is a gift.

With my mind so calm I give the directions calmly and deliberately so the student is able to take the test the same way – calmly and deliberately.

Knowing this I should schedule a self imposed technology break periodically. Should.

What Feeds Your Creativity? #DIYMFA

Writing ideas seem to flow unless I am sitting in front of the blank page, then sometimes I am stuck. Over the years, I have used a variety of tools to fuel my creativity so the words show up on the page and not just in my brain. After I started gathering the tools in a list I realized it is quite lengthy!

Where do I find my inspiration?

  • Talking and listening to students
  • Word lists
    • My own lists from freewrites or morning pages
    • Lists from writing books/websites
    • Wednesday WORD SALAD at
  • My collection of thoughts and ideas that I dictate to a Google Keep Doc on my phone, in my notebooks or index cards I carry in my purse
  • Twitter – either a writing prompt or a phrase from someone’s tweet
  • prompts or contests
  • The Ray Bradbury word exercise (see my blog post
  • Random phrases from books I collect in a list that I use as a sentence stem
  • Quickwrites in response to a poem
  • Tarot cards randomly chosen and write about their meaning
  • Ideas from a writing podcast I heard that morning!


Many of these ideas work for me to start a piece or to continue in a story when I am stuck. During NANOWRIMO I was in a classroom visit and decided to quick write in an 8th-grade classroom with the students. I ended up using that quick write to continue with a story in my collection that worked perfectly. Before that quick write, I was at a standstill to what direction I wanted to move forward.



What I am Currently Reading…and Why You Should Read it Too!



I am reading Sourdough by Robin Sloan and am so excited and enamored with this book I could not wait to post about it. The author name may seem familiar because he is the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. (Another great read!)

Sourdough was my choice for September Book of the Month (BOTM) club. I had first heard about it from the All the Books Book Riot podcast and was intrigued about a book about bread – my favorite food!

The way this book is written can only be described as “happy”. It warms and comforts me like a hygge day! While reading it I can smell what my own house smells like when my husband is baking bread. The main character is interesting and not conventional. She is a tech person who has started to bake bread from a starter given to her by men who ran a restaurant out of their apartment. There is a quirkiness to the story that makes it fun to read and unusual, but also genuine.

It is a book that I keep coming back to and I do not want to read it too fast because then it will be over. While reading it, you may get hungry for a great piece of bread and you  may also want to visit your local farmer’s market before it closes for the winter!

Reading this book reminds me why I love reading so much – I am captivated by a story about great people. I can feel the magic as the words enter my brain!

Image result for sourdough robin sloan

Anne Bogel is AMAZING!

Anne Bogel is an amazing woman and I have been a fan for years.

When her new blog post on Modern Mrs Darcy is posted, I read that first.

When her summer reading guide is released I am there!

When her online book club started I was in the first group.

When her podcast comes out every Tuesday I am downloading and listening to it immediately.

When she recommends books I am searching on Amazon where ever I am!


When I found out she was writing a book I was thrilled!


Then I was accepted to become part of the launch team and was able to read the book early which is equivalent to enjoying the whole bakery with sprinkles not just one cupcake.

As someone who loves personality tests this book talks about several measures with real stories and applications. All of us want to know more about ourselves and how and why we react to situations and people. I know that discovering I was an introvert several years ago was mind blowing for me. 

As a teacher coach,  I plan to use personality tests as part of my trainings this year so the insight from Anne’s book will be helpful. I am beginning my Workshop Wednesdays next week, and personality and collaboration is the topic.

Although I was familiar with most of the measures explained in the book, the real life explanations from Anne added to my understanding. I even learned about a couple new measures!!

I am the type of reader that is: THE INSIDER. I want to know all the books that are coming out and what the buzz is about them. I also pay attention to Man Booker Prize and National Book Award lists. I want to know which authors are from the Iowa Writers Workshop. I pay attention to the critics from the New York Times Book Review but I still make my own decisions about what I want to read…and what I chose to recommend.

This book is a great read full of useful information. If you want to know more about yourself and the people around you pre-order the book by clicking on The release date is September 19, 2017.

Check out Anne’s blog too!


Bookish Reminders

Over the weekend as I was listening to several book podcasts I was reminded of books I loved but have not thought about in a long time. Here are a few that stood out to me:

Image result for ella minnow pea

I loved this book because it is so clever. I do not like to reread books, but this is one of the books I will reread at a later date. It was recommended to me by a college student while I was riding in a van with Donalyn Miller to an Indiana Reading Association dinner. I was surprised I had never heard of it before that evening.



Image result for Griffin and sabineThis trilogy is amazing and I even bought the stationary set that has the artwork to these books. I have come back to this text over and over. It is comforting and reminds me of college.  The concept is fascinating to me and I believe this series has contributed to the obsession I have with time.


Image result for 84 charing cross road

I read this book early in my teaching career after it was recommended to me by a friend I taught with. I have such great memories of it that I recently bought another copy. I am unsure which move lost the first copy I owned. Another book I plan to reread eventually.




Image result for love letters ar gurney

This book was not mentioned on a podcast but thinking about the others reminded me of this text. I was at the Barnes and Noble in Indianapolis one evening and there was an event where two actors were reading the play. I was mesmerized and bought a copy that night. I still have the copy I originally purchased.

Image result for solitaire mystery

This book was recommended by my best male friend in high school and I loved it. I do not remember what it is about but is waiting on my kindle to be read again.



I need to read Rainbow Rowell…her name keeps coming up.

There were also some books that were talked about that I have not read but I have on my kindle because they were recommended to me before. The never ending TBR list gets out of control and I forget what is on it!

Image result for sorcery and cecelia


Image result for H is for hawk

As much as I read I will never get through all the books I desire to read. I will keep reading and acquire as much knowledge and words that I can accumulate.

Stoking the Fires of Young Writers #1

Inspiring students to write when they are not required to do so takes passion and creativity. Here are some ideas that I have used in various age leveled classrooms to get them to write.

I wanted a writing teacher when I was younger because I love the art from a young age. I was always writing stories. I try to be the writing teacher I needed when I was in school. Being a writer myself, I think about what I would do as an adult writer and try to modify that behavior for my students as I teach.

  1. Establish A Writing Community

The right attitude needs to be fostered for students to write. Routines needs to be established along with expectations. The teacher needs to model their own writing to students. The teacher needs to model how to read like a writer. The teacher needs to provide opportunities for publishing and sharing.

2. The Teacher Needs to be A Writer

Teaching writing is a task I have seen many teachers shy away from because they are not confident. You need to think of yourself as a writer – with a “lowercase w” as Ralph Fletcher would say. A writer with a capital W gets a paycheck!

Students must believe you have the knowledge to lead them to become the authors they can become. To do that you need to write. Write in front of them and write beside them. You can truly understand if a child is having trouble with a particular part of a story if you have struggled with the same issues.

I also believe in writing model pieces for your students. I do this before the lesson is taught and then also write again in front of them. This process also helps to find issues with your writing prompts. If you cannot write to the prompt as an adult then most likely the students will have the same issue. It gives you the opportunity to change the prompt before you give it to students!

3. Cultivate the Real Student Writer

I use materials and resources that real writers use – not just teaching resources.  I have used The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and Inner Outings by Charlene Geiss and Claudia Jessup.

Teach writing like it is an experience, not just an assignment. Teach the students like they are authors, not just children. It is important to honor their feelings and imagination while they are young since they seem to lose a lot of creativity as they progress through the grade levels. The spark that is their own voice needs to be respected and seen. Writing is not about formulas and plugging words into it. I do not want to read the same story over and over and your students don’t want to write that either.

A little freedom and trust can produce some amazing pieces from the most unexpected students. I worked with a group of fourth graders that most would call troublesome and they matured into such writers with incredible insight that I was moved to tears. Performance can be a true part of the writing process. They realized they had something to say and worked to make it clear to their audience.

I will share some specific writing activities I have successfully used with students in a later post.

4. Use Mentor Texts

To be a great writer, you have to read. Read aloud and point out what the author did craft wise or just lines you wish you have written yourself. If you are writing a specific genre piece then read books in that genre.

I also model how I use my writer notebook and the students see me carry it around all the time. When I am circulating during writing time and I say to a student, “Oh, I love how you said that. I never thought about it that way before, I am going to write a note about that in my writer’s notebook.” Then I do it right in front of them!


Keep writing!