#Blogmas Would you Rather?

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Be stuck in a elevator with an elf or reindeer?

The elf would have more interesting stories – unless the reindeer could talk. Then that might change my mind.

Find Olaf in your garden or Jack Frost?

I would prefer Jack Frost for sure. Every since I saw the movie years ago I am fascinated by Jack.

Have ham or turkey for Christmas dinner?

Turkey – I love turkey and all the fixings and can eat that meal every month! I do not but would like to.

Grow a permanent Santa beard or permanent Antlers?

Antlers would be cool.

and lastly

Untangle 700 Christmas lights or Peel 700 Carrots?

I would go with the carrots. Untangling the lights seems like it will never end. I am not sure why anyone would need that many carrots but…I would rather peel.


What would your answers be? I would love to hear!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and Conversation

Here we are at the end of 2019. It has been a roller coaster year for me. How has your year been? I have been reflective at this time of year. The thoughts have been more centered on general life rather than writing. Happy Winter Solstice to you! I need to find a good tarot spread for the occasion.

If we were having coffee I would tell you one of the podcasts I started listening to this year is #10thingstotellyou. One of the latest episodes was about 10 questions to reflect on. I am a sucker for this type of list — especially one of all questions! Laura posted the list on Instagram so here it is for you. My favorite is #3. This post type of mine has started many conversations in my real life and online.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my friend Jenna Britton started her podcast which deserves a subscribe and listen! You can find the info here. Jenna is amazing and has a wonderful Sunday letter you need to subscribe too as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am now on Winter Break from work! I am thankful for less driving for sure. I took my school email off my phone. I do not want to think about work at all.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my youngest made cake this morning after being inspired by the “Nailed On” show on Netflix. We watched an episode where this Marine made a cookie that looked like it should be in a horror movie. It was supposed to look like a toy doll with movable arms. I laughed so hard I cried.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we did some Christmas shopping this week with the kids. We ate not so great pizza at Pizza Hut but wonderful hot chocolate at Oberweiss. Our oldest started his new job this week too so that is exciting.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about my one word for 2020: MORE. A have a lot of projects planned for the new year. More on that coming soon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. I mostly just wrote morning pages. I did write some for my Kathy Fish Skillshare class. I find her incredibly motivating. I have to revise both of the pieces I started and they will become part of the 100 rejections project.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I received my Scribbler box and was super happy with it. It was exciting to get a box of reading and writing goodies. There is a paragraph writing contest I will participate in and also an editor chat for January.

If we were having coffee I would tell you Happy Holidays and thank you for joining me every week for our coffee chat!

Snowy Night

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Snowy Night by Mary Oliver
Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
tossed an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.

Copyright © 2019

321 Creative Sparks

3 Things to Read

1 – A great article to read about parenting from writer Eilidh Horder.

2 – Article from one of my favorite writing teachers: Sarah Selecky

3- Sometimes Parenting Looks Like American Ninja Warrior

2 Pictures

✔49 rustic tiny house design that make you amazed 16
#MensSleeveTattoo #SleeveTattoos Awesome Honey Bee Tattoo Designs on Ankle , click for more info..

1 Podcast to Listen To

Super excited my friend Jenna Britton has started her podcast Brave Enough to Be. You can listen to it on Spotify here. It is available on Google Podcasts now. It will be on iTunes soon! There are 3 episodes available for your listening pleasure!

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!


  1. https://ashalvesblog.com/
  2. https://bedvyang.wordpress.com/
  3. https://perpetuallypastdue.com/
  4. https://thecoycaterpillarreads.blog/
  5. https://astijake.wordpress.com/
  6. https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/
  7. https://travelwithigor.wordpress.com/

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

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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!