Weekend Coffee Share

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If we were having coffee I would encourage you to get the Caramel Brulee Latte. It is just sweet enough for a change. I will have one too and then switch back to strong black coffee.

If we were having coffee I would confess that my Christmas tree is not up yet. We debated whether to get a real tree or not this year. Last year we got a real tree which was beautiful but it did not smell at all. A tree is ordered and will show up on the doorstep by Wednesday. There are a couple other decorations up, but not many. As a gift, we received a faux fireplace cabinet which my hubby put together. The stockings are hung and I have several reindeer around the house.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been writing everyday but not finishing anything right now. I had a dinner with a couple ladies from my IRL writing group which was delightful. We write very different genres and types but we get along great. It is fun to talk about process.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had the best time at work lately. I have been implementing the new ideas and learning from my week of professional development and have seen changes in attitude in teachers and their practice which of course effects students! It has been lovely to be able to follow a set of structures that are effective. I go back to training tomorrow and I am super excited about it. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am climbing out of my reading slump. I am a little farther into the NINE PERFECT STRANGERS book and I love books with strong characters. The book is sucking me in and I am happy about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went Christmas shopping yesterday while my daughter was at gymnastics. It was early so there were not a lot of people. I was able to find what I was looking for and didn’t feel like I was supposed to be somewhere else. There were a lot less stresses than what I had last season and I am relieved about it. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am looking forward to my holiday break starting at the end of the week. I am looking forward to my training tomorrow and the rest of the week at school!

What is inspiring you this week?

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Mentor Text Monday!

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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!

Weekend Coffee Share

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It is Sunday! Let’s meet at a bookstore today shall we? I just finished The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle and I would find the book and show it to you.

If we were having coffee mine would be really strong. I like dark roast and drink it black. What are you having? If we stay a long while I may have a caramel macchiato. I am a sucker for caramel but only treat myself once in while. Today is an occasion for that, don’t you think? The cafe in this bookstore is nice…maybe we can share a scone or a piece of pumpkin or apple pie. I will let you choose.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am really tired. We moved into a new house on September 24th. It was a stressful day and we moved everything in the afternoon and evening. We had our furniture and personal belongings in two separate place but only one truck. She was a beast but we got everything but 2 chairs and a box I cannot find. Those spices are somewhere! I am having trouble resting though. It feels like there is pressure and work everywhere and not a place to wind down.

If we were having coffee I would share with you that I am running again! I ran 10 miles last weekend and I ran 10 miles this weekend! I used to run 60-80 miles a week….I miss some things about those days but not the time that it took. I didn’t hate the last runs so that is positive. The bike trail where I run is picturesque. I know it is called a BIKE trail but the runners know it is really for them. 😉

If we were having coffee, we would have to talk about the challenges I particpate in and you might have to tell me that I am overdoing it. So far this year, I did the Two Writing Teachers blog challenge in March, I did Storyaday May, I did Storyaday September and I am planning to do NANOWRIMO in November. Then I would have to confess that I am doing a self imposed challenge combining two word lists – INKTOBER and 31 days of FMF or Five Minute Friday. I am revising some short stories that I am writing but cannot help to keep creating. I dare say it might be my new addiction. DO I need an intervention?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I started a critique group with some fellow writers from the Storyaday Superstars and I am super excited about it. I really need feedback on the piece I sent to them (I am first) and I am hoping we can help each other become better writers.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to my real life writers group last Thursday. I was really proud of the story I took and the group was fascinated with the story separator I used. I must confess it was super cute. ha ha Several people read poems which were really good and another woman read a first person point of view piece about a real person she is making stories up about.

I want to hear about your challenges you are going through – self imposed or not! I want to hear about your hobbies. I want to hear about how you take care of yourself and rest!

#weekendcoffeeshare

A Revisit

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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.

Welcome October!

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

 

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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.

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#happywriting #happyreading

2 Strategies to Increase Happiness!

Permission and Gratitude

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Kim Strobel is a Happiness Consultant that I was excited to hear speak on Sept 15. Her company is called Strobel Education and she talks about a variety of topics.

There were two big takeaways from this session which is relevant to today because there are things that are already starting to unravel! It is too early in the school year for that jazz!!!

 

Increase Your Happiness – Strategy 1: Permission Slips

This one actually comes from Brene Brown – to write your self a permission slip like when you were in elementary school and going on a field trip.

So right now…on a post-it note write:

I give myself permission…

 

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Increase Your Happiness – Strategy 2: Gratitude

On a different post-it note write 3 things you are grateful for – right now! The research shows 3 is the magic number – just like in writing.

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What are your permissions to yourself and your gratitude list?

 

 

 

 

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?

 

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!

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#idratherbereading