Back At It

I know… I know… How many times can one start over and pick it up, only to be dropped again?  I don’t know if there is an answer to that question.  My answer is as many times as it takes.  Things slow down, pause, and ultimately stop for one reason or another.  The big question is, does one have the courage to pick it back up and persevere?  I have started, and paused, and stopped, and ended this blog more than once.  But ultimately, here it is.  The mission the same. The voice very different.  I am now a mother, soon to be wife, a teacher of 15 years, and a new teacher to be next year.

So it is finally happening!  Next year I will take on the honor of being the technology teacher/specialist for my school.  Everything that I had put aside and let linger in the background is now moving to the forefront.  I have to re-emerse myself into the world I only watched from afar.  I am super excited and apprehensive.  Let’s see where this takes friends.

Time to “Get My Life”!

Well, yes…it is another Back to Work post.  Yes,  It is only July 13th.  Yes, some of you just went on summer break less than a month ago.  And, YES, it’s HOT!

One week from today I will greet my new 2015-2016 6th graders for their first day in their last year of elementary school.  I am still fortunate enough to be a pairing teacher, meaning I only teach half the required subjects, and my partner teaches the rest.  So I will challenge two new groups of readers and writers and historians beginning next week.

IMG_2142 But it’s also a new adventure for me personally as I usher my son into his educational career (10,ooo hours folks).  I have a four year old that will start kindergarten this year.  (I can’t believe that is true!!!!)  Having children does change you as a teacher. I like to think for the better.  But today I signed up to access his grades online, and the rest of this week will be spent fulfilling the school supply and classroom donation request of his new teacher and shopping for school uniforms after I spend my days preparing for the new year for my new students.  I know that she will be doing the same for him and that makes it a little easier to swallow.  So it will be an exciting new school year on many levels.

So, YES! It is time for me to get my life.  My little one is growing up.  I have let some things go to be with him and take care of him because nothing is more important than that.  But that is all changing now.  Homework after school, practice, dinner, and then bedtime.  If that all goes as planned it will be an early bedtime, which means more time for Mommy to get her life.  No promises, but folks, it’s that time.

What time is it for you?


Back to What???

Well, it’s hard to believe but I officially go back to work on Tuesday. Yep, tomorrow, Tuesday, July 15th. There were so many things that I wanted to do this summer and it feels like only half none of them got done. So what’s the holdup?


1. I moved classrooms this year (again) so I planned on unpacking and organizing my room over break. There was a lot of planning going on in my head but not a lot of unpacking. That means I would actually have to get dressed and drive all the way to school and then actually empty boxes.
2. I had also planned on reading some novels and professional books for the new year. Since I now will be teaching 6th grade language arts with social studies integrated, I planned on getting ahead with some reading. I have started to read one of the three professional books.
3. I took a summer gig taking our 6th graders to college.  They got to spend three weeks as community college students.  They attended morning sessions with professionals in the science and educations fields.  They got to use the college library and computer lab each day.  They also designed and constructed solar ovens and tested them out by making smores.  It was very cool.

So this week I will move forward, full steam ahead to two groups of new students and I really can’t wait. What do the next couple of weeks have in store for you?

An Unexpected Gift at an Unexpected Time

I was on Facebook, I think, and  I saw this comment or link to Reddit Gifts.  They were doing a Gifts for the Teachers event.  Now I had never heard of Reddit Gifts before and really didn’t understand it, but I read, “FREE GIFTS FOR TEACHERS.”  Well, I’m a teacher, and free is my price, so what the heck.  The event was to gift teachers a $15-20 gift for the classroom.  Great!  We were already starting to go through our dry erase markers, so I thought I would request some Expo Markers to add to our room. (They really do last longer.)  Honestly, I really didn’t think that I would get a gift at all.  But, lo and behold, we were gifted.

So 2 boxes arrived at my door. (2?)

I opened the first (rather big) box and my jaw hit the floor.  I started to pull out box after box after box of colored Expo Markers.  Then there was box after box after box of black Expo markers.  Then there Expo Erasers and refills.  Then there were Expo white board wipes.


Then the next day, another box came.  WHAT???  More erasers and refills.

Here is what we received.  We really didn’t have to do much in return.  I just wrote a thank you note and we took a couple of pictures and that was it.  But words could truly not convey how excited and grateful I was, and then how excited my kids were.   It was truly an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.

What unexpected gift have you received?

Welcome Back!


Well, it’s that time again. I have to say this year I have probably been the most excited to start a new year than any other. I was most excited to start a new reading journey with kiddos this year, given the arsenal we developed last year. Most exciting (and scary) was starting the classroom library over again. It was very difficult not to influence them how to categorize the books, and very intriguing to watch the ones that did develop.

But most of all, I am excited for the room of readers that I have! I can’t tell you how many kids wanted independent reading in the first day when we had books literally all over the room. They are going to keep me on my toes. So to that I say, “let the reading begin!”


Beat Me Up

I am not going to beat myself up. And I know none of you will either. But I haven’t been writing here. I haven’t been writing NaNoWriMo either. I finally got some time to write and I was too tired. The only reason I’m writing now is because we have an hour wait to be seated for dinner. I thought I should be productive. (I knew I should have brought my ipad!). But as you know, I haven’t been writing in public. It’s been too long. Somehow I’ve got to figure this out. A colleague or two have been toying with the idea of doing National Boards. I really would like to try again, but don’t know how in the world I can make it happen. So for now. I will try to write in public more often. (Baby steps to everyday) And for now it will be badly. (Baby steps with that too).


I ran into some hiccups and have been silent for a week. I have the post in my head, but it’s still not here. Here’s what happened.

I didn’t have anything to say.

I was behind in reading my RSS feed and so I had no material. I’m not to the point where I have a multitude of original sources to talk about. So once I realized I didn’t have anything to say, then I had something to talk about. But then a day became two days and I let life take over again.
So here I am again, writing poorly in public. Everyday part 2.

I am a Hypocrite

Yes, I am outing myself.  I am a hypocrite.  I am not a reader in the way that I expect my students to be.  I require that my students read everyday. Without fail.  End of discussion.  So of course I read everyday, right?  Nope.

I haven’t read a book cover to cover in years.  Yes, I am embarrassed by that.  The last book I read was Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey in 2009.  Ok, so that’s not exactly professional level or deep reading.   It was not difficult and really kind of mindless.  And before that, I couldn’t tell you.

So now to defend myself.  I do read, everyday.  Just not the way I would like to be reading.  I read articles from my RSS feed.  I read some news.  I read things in social media.  The kicker to all this is I LOVE to read.  I have a stack of books I am waiting to read, and I want to read them.  I just don’t schedule it in and time gets away from me.  I would love to spend time with those books.  I had to stop buying books, because I just couldn’t get to them.  I used to LOVE magazines.  Well, I guess I still love magazines.  At one time I had subscriptions to  at least 8 magazines.  But then they started to pile up.  Last month’s would sit on the month’s before and finally I had to stop them.  Now I just subscribe to two and I really have to work not to get behind on those.

But now I want to change the type of reader I am.  I have started to get one of my magazines on my ipad.  That is really helpful.  I am able to read whenever,  wherever and I don’t have to lug around a magazine.  But I have a long way to go.  I have started to download samples of books that I would like to read because I will not buy more books until I have read what I already have.  So I am going to be a more dedicated reader as I also become a more dedicated writer.  If I’m asking it of my students, surely I can ask it of myself.

What kind of reader are you?

Good Intentions

Well, I started the school year with good intentions.  I looked back often at the renewed page and the first post of the school year and I thought, “Wow, I really should work on this.”  Guess what?  I was right.  I should do it.  But is wasn’t until I was cleaning out my Google Reader that I came across this blog post by Karl Fisch.  In this post Karl references Seth Godin’s post.  (I had never heard of Seth Godin before.)  But it was exactly what I needed.  So here I am, in this post.  Writing poorly in public (everyday).

In Seth’s post he talks about writers block.

Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.

Writers block has never been my problem.  I have plenty of ideas to write about.  That (his quote) has been my problem.  Doing it everyday.  I know, make it a priority.  But I have a very full life now: a 1 year old, a significant other and his children, a house, a new job, and a long commute.  But Karl’s post is what I have been wrestling with the day since I wrote the New Beginnings post.  Who am I as a teacher of reading and writing if I don’t read and write?

It also matters for my students.  Karl said:

I think we’re often overly concerned about the quality of our students’ writing, and whether it’s “good enough” to share. Now, to be clear, I think our students should be concerned with the quality of their writing, and should strive to get better at communicating their thoughts. But if we let the worry about what others will think get in the way of having our students write more, and for a larger audience, then we’re doing them a disservice out of fear.

That is something I struggle with; just having them publish their work in our room, let alone for the world.  But I think there is great value in publishing to the world.  What better validation and inspiration than to have someone who doesn’t know you relate to what you are writing and sharing. Not your teacher, not your mom, not your classmate.  I have had my students maintain a blog before, but have kind of shied away from it for exactly that reason. Their writing is not perfect. Plus working with students whose second language is English just puts the spotlight more on what is wrong.  But they have such great ideas and so much to say.  So yes, they need to  publish to the world.

So tomorrow’s post will be about my life as a reader because I am committing to writing poorly(and then not so much).  In public.  Everyday.

New Beginnings

Well, it seems this year will bring me a new opportunity and beginning.  I thought it was only fitting that I  refresh this site with a new look and a renewed effort for this to truly be a learning community for me and anyone who joins me in my journey.  I was refreshing a couple of the pages and went back and read one of the first entries from my first Camp Plug and Play.  And I can’t even imagine not liking a Mac.  But my reflections on ELL students was spot on.  I will always stay focused on being the best teacher I can, especially for our ELL students.