Root Where You Are Planted #SOL19

Melody Warnick wrote a book called, This Is Where You Belong. She has a great newsletter you should sign up for too!

The book is about loving the place you live in and action steps to help you if you don’t. I currently am struggling with feeling disconnected and not in the right place. I read Melody’s book awhile ago and recently recommended it to someone who was feeling displaced herself which then became a self reflection that I needed my own advice.

I asked some fellow writers how they feel about where they live since I am not really loving where I am currently.

They said:

“I have roots in this place…it is part of me.”

“I love where I live…where I live now is where I feel I am meant to be.”

Another said her family farm makes it feel like it is part of her DNA.

I do not feel this way about where I live even though my town is next the town I grew up in. That might be because I have moved too many times over the past 5 years. Or that I have only been in my house since last September. Or that I still cannot walk around in my house in the dark. Or that there are some memories of the area that torment me. I am glad my friends are rooted in their homes.

I am a woman of action, so I have pulled out Melody’s list to work through this issue and see if I can make a change.

To Become Rooted:

  1. Walk more – this I try to do as much as possible. The kids and I go for walks, we have walked downtown, and I walk and run on the local bike trail. The town does not lend itself to walking anywhere as a destination, at least from the house.
  2. Buy local – this we do. We shop at the stores that are near us. The grocery store closest to us does not have the freshest product so we had to do more of the shopping across town. The local farm markets are opening soon and we will buy veggies from them instead of planting our own garden this year. This is a future endeavor.
  3. Get to Know Neighbors – my husband is better than I am at this. We do know them, and they have helped us out.
  4. Do Fun Stuff – We have gone to the library, the local cafe and the used bookstore. We do need to explore some of the restaurants downtown.
  5. Explore nature – the bike trail..I need to research if there are more parks that I am not aware of.
  6. Volunteer – I have not done this.
  7. Eat local – we like our local pizza place but we have some more exploring to do. Once festivals start we can explore that way too.
  8. Become more political – this one I have more issue with. I am not sure how I feel about it honestly right now.
  9. Create something new – I am always writing but will have to reflect about what this means connected to my town.
  10. Stay local through hard times – it is hard to abandon the town now even though I will admit my husband and I talk about this often. I will have to stop myself.

So I was thinking, does this same list of 10 apply to schools? Can using this same list meant for living in a town provided the same feeling of rooted-ness in a school atmosphere.

  1. I can walk more and interact with teachers in the building especially ones I do not talk to as often.
  2. I can buy from fundraisers and the 8th grade t shirt and spirit wear. It shows a person plans to stay if they buy the clothing with the school name.
  3. I can get to know the people in the classrooms next to my space.
  4. DO FUN STUFF – this we do not do nearly as often as we should. I need to plan some FUN at school.
  5. Explore nature is pretty easy at my school – we have a 100 acre wood and trails!
  6. Volunteer – I need to volunteer more for sporting events next year.
  7. Eat school lunch? Hmmmm, maybe not. Break bread with co workers – much more doable. Maybe I should organize a carry in and then we hit #7 and #4.
  8. Become more political – same as above. I do believe this causes more problems than solves…
  9. I created Workshop Wednesday, Short Story Club, and Genius Hour.
  10. Stay when times get tough. No explanation needed here – it applies.

How do you feel about this list? Do you have other ideas for feeling part of your town or school?

Advertisements

Wishful Wednesday and a Share #SOLC Day 13

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life challenge. Each day in March teachers from around the country post to their blogs and the Two Writing Teachers website. We read and comment on each other’s posts.

Today is Wishful Wednesday. I saw it on a sign on my commute to work today and it feels right to title this post as such.

Today I send you time to take a few minutes to breath.

Today I send you thankful thoughts and actions to brighten your day.

Today I send you sunshine between the rain – literally or figuratively.

Today I send you a smile.

Today I send you the peace of knowing you are where you need to be, right now.

Today I send you a gift. The link below is to one of my Workshop Wednesday presentations.

I started Workshop Wednesdays in March of 2017 to address a need of professional development time. I am lucky to be in a middle school and have the advantage of team time. With the block scheduling this year I have 30 minutes to do this training. It is always voluntary and the topic is given ahead of time.

I follow the same basic outline each time. I have attached my Google Slides for you to see. The one I am sharing today is from August of 2017. I wanted to start the conversation about personality and Introverts and Extroverts. Students sometimes process out loud if they are extroverts. If there is an introvert teacher they can sometimes get annoyed by this practice.

There was a ripple effect here. People had their spouses take the quiz. Friends talked about it at dinner. The most important conversations happened at school and people came to me saying they were communicating better with people at school because they felt they had a better understanding about how others reacted.

I would love to hear your feedback.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Z1e3iTFCpnWGVgqpl61JMnlLPUkB3z_Iu5geH23b180/copy?usp=sharing

February Reflection

It is the last day of February which means it is time to reflect. Last year it was FIB – uary so luckily that was not the case in 2019.

In February, I participated in INCOWRIMO which is a letter writing challenge. The challenge is set up to send a letter every day but I didn’t. I wrote several and received responses back. It was nice to get real mail again. I missed my stationary collection I used to have but used my fountain pens a lot.

In February, I reconnected with my old home. It was great to drive around Kokomo and think about the great memories I experienced there. If you would like to read that post you can here.

In February, I connected with a writing/teaching friend from Twitter in real life. We met at a local Panera and talked writing and poetry and teaching. We are planning a writing meeting soon.

In February, I connected with more readers on the blog! I am now at over 1000 followers and am super excited. I also posted a survey to better serve my readers. I commented on posts that spoke to me and had some lovely conversation in comments and on Twitter.

In February, I connected with other writing communities through #write28days and IWSG. I was active with my Storyaday Superstars group every day. I did not attend my in real life writing group.

At the beginning of February, I attended a coaching training and enjoyed talking with other coaches and educators from the region. I was able to hand out my business cards for the first time which was exciting.

In February, I emailed several authors I admire. I also didn’t hesitate to send messages to people who wrote pieces I enjoyed.

Yesterday I met some of my husband’s family which was lovely. I was able to go to a cute coffee shop which was a bonus.

In February, I became a part of Emily P Freeman’s Book Launch Team. The book is released on April 2! I just received the full book yesterday and cannot wait to dig in.

In February, what happened? One thing is I feel more connected to people. I facilitated a Workshop Wednesday this month which was fantastic. There was lots of sharing and great discussion about checks for understanding BUT the next day was difficult because I was tired and felt depleted. I have to figure out some strategies to have that not occur.

Moving forward I have new exciting changes that are coming. I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Blog Challenge. I will continue to write daily and to submit short stories.

Writing Prompt: How would you finish the sentence starter: In February…

#Write28days STRIVE

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As a creative person I strive to be inspiring to others. I enjoy a group of creatives to collaborative with and grow as a person. I appreciate conversations that expand into something impactful to my life. Sometimes this manifests itself as a conversation that is life giving.

As an educator I strive to be motivating to students and teachers in my building. I believe words are important – spoken and written. I believe in the powers of notes and kind words and the giving of books.

I strive to have my writing mean something. To write is to be read.

Connecting with my in real life writing group allows me to share writing with others and for them to share their writing with me. This idea of interaction with other writers is more important than I thought even a year ago. A group dynamic is impactful but also one on one. I was working on a critique the other day for a writing partner and just the act of carefully reading and thinking about her piece raised my level of a writer. Recognizing components in her writing made me aware of different things in what I read for the next couple of days and my own writing! It is like magic!

As another writing friend stated – groups have to have the right fit. We have different groups for different purposes – they feed us differently.

As I explore the idea of gatherings for creatives over the next month I will be doing some reading in The Art of Gathering a wonderful book about events. I will be sharing some information from it as we move forward!

How do your groups feed you? What conversations are the most life giving to you? What do you need as a creative?

10 Things I Have Learned About CONNECTion

#oneword

Connect is my one word for 2019


The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.

I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.

Initially, the list held:

  1. Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
  2. Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
  3. Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
  4. Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
  5. Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
  6. Submit at least two pieces of writing
  7. Order business cards.

10 Things I Learned

  1. Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
  2. I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
  3. Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
  4. With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
  5. I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.

6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.

7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.

8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.

9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.

10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Moving Forward to Feb:

+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.

+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.

+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.

+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman

+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?

+ Every day Writing – of course!

How is your #oneword process going?

Workshop Wednesday Recap

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last Wednesday I hosted Workshop Wednesday during team times. The invitation was specifically sent out to the English teachers but everyone was welcome as always. The email informed the staff the topic was Independent Reading. This meeting is voluntary so I always let staff know ahead of time so there is no surprise. I was pleasantly surprised myself when my content teachers showed up as well.  Their attendance really showcases how dedicated they are to the new reading culture in our middle school. 

Last year there was not consistent Silent Sustained Reading, Independent reading, or choice reading. It doesn’t matter what the label was, but there was not enough time or support it seemed to pull it off.

It was decided with the new block scheduling this year there was time to implement Independent reading time. Now is the time where teachers have tried various components and how to differentiate for their classes and students.  I am so proud that all of the teachers who keep the choice piece sacred. All the decisions made were around that central idea.

The purpose of the meeting was to celebrate reading in our building and the culture they are all perpetuating. It was also to make lists of what was the reality of the reading time and what we want to make consistent across the school. To make a school wide definition decided by the teachers – not anyone else. 

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

It was a great discussion about conferencing, book talks, reading identity, first chapter Friday and what it looked like and sounded like in their respective classrooms.

We talked about what they needed and how to make reading spaces more inviting.

There was celebration about reading memories, students asking for more reading time, and books disappearing because the students want to read them so badly.

Taking inspiration from THE ART OF GATHERING by Priya Parker,  I had my version of “15 Toasts”. I had silly plastic champagne glasses with sparkling water. Everyone had a toast to make in the area of  a reading memory or the first memory they had of reading. One teacher shared she sat in the back of her third grade classroom because it was where the bookcases were and she could snatch books and read no matter what subject was being taught. There was one book that she loved so much she stole. She still has it! After the meeting she came to show me the book!

I also incorporated the Google Jamboard which I had never used before. It is designed to be used on an interactive white board but I just used the post it note function for everyone to share something exciting going on in their classrooms. I hope to foster some relationships between teachers to visit each other’s rooms and share ideas that are working. 

Here is the shared Jamboard

I am excited for the conversation when I can get all the stakeholders together and make some decisions for the achievement of our teachers and the students!