#DigiLitSunday: Balancing Goals & Needs


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When teaching, goals and needs often become blurred due to perspective.  Whose goals and needs are the basis for planning, instructing and assessing?  When are student voices heard?  When are parent voices heard?  When does the community have input?

Today’s topic seemed like an easy one:

Balancing Goals and Needs

YET

This morning I had a lengthy conversation with Mya over coffee.  Her needs seem simple:  food, water, shelter, hugs and kisses, time to play.  How many of those do I define?  How many of those does she define?  I laughed last week as she went nose to nose with an opossum and it was not playing.  As Mya barked, the opossum snarled back.  Not the quiet, placid Mya who walks among the deer without a sound.  Not the quiet Mya who allows Harry the cat to tell her what to do.  So I’ve been wondering what are Mya’s needs and what are her goals?

On this foggy Sunday morning Mya has no need to head outside.  She’s curled up on the love seat napping.  She’s already had her breakfast, her treat, a bit of conversation and she’s now in her own little world.

Are her needs met?  Are her goals met?

Conversation with Mya about basic needs is quite simple.  If either her food bowl or water bowl are empty, she comes and tells me.  Her nose on me is quite telling.  No words are needed.

And when she’s ready to play. OMG!  YES!  She’s bouncing. Or she’s patiently waiting.  That stare.  Those eyes!

And of course, I’m well trained.  When she’s standing, nose against the door, tail wagging, it’s time to open the door for her!

Are her needs met?  Are her goals met?

Because we live in the country, Mya has a LOT of unsupervised, unstructured time outside.  No pen, no fences, no boundary fencing. I like to think that her time outside gives her the opportunity to be an independent free spirit.  (Mya is a Lab and loves recognition for her skills.)

What about balancing my goals and my needs?

My initial draft of this post included a list of goals and a list of needs.  As fast as I listed something in either category, I was deleting it and moving it to the other side.  And then . . . . there were the list items that HAD to be in BOTH categories!  Ay, yi, yi – not productive!  Way too much thinking!

Last week I had the pleasure of learning with and from Cassie Erkens (@cerkens) author of Collaborative Common Assessments:  Teamwork. Instruction. Results. One important point she made was that we must understand the DNA (Desires, Needs, and Assets) of ALL students.

Do we even “know” that information about our students?

So that long conversation with Mya led me to realize this morning over coffee that it doesn’t really matter whether I can specifically IDENTIFY all my goals and needs.  Instead living my life so that I BALANCE my goals and needs in service of being brave and remaining a life-long learner is important.

At home:

Family, Comfort, Love, Peace, Fun, Faith, Joy, Reading and Writing

At work:

Fun, Learning, Collaborating, Equity, Joy, Reading and Writing

In life:

Fun, Family, Reading, Writing, Joy, Faith and Brave Support for a Better World

goals-needs

Can you tell what I am working to “Balance”?

How do you balance your Goals and Needs?  

How do you make sure that all voices are included?

Check out the posts at Margaret Simon’s “Reflections on the Teche” for more ideas / thinking about balance!

#SOL17: Evidence of a Reader


book

Does this sound like YOU?

How do you collect evidence of Reading Anchor Standard 10?

R. A.10. “Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.”

“Note on range and content of student reading

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. Through extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades. Students also acquire the habits of reading independently and closely, which are essential to their future success.”  Source

How do we measure this goal?

Some teachers use reading logs and activities after reading.  However, those aren’t always popular with students, especially students who would prefer to simply

READ!

Check out this post by seventh grader Paul Sinanis, “Yes, I Love to Read!

Are teacher actions inadvertently causing students to read less?

Students today want voice and choice.  Written book reports, especially 5 paragraph essays, are probably NOT working in many classrooms.  Readers may simply not be “recording” the books that they are reading in order to be spared  what they see as the mind-numbing expectations of an adult.  Expectations that they don’t see as relevant.  Collecting titles and comments as part of a portfolio of a reader / writer may appeal to some students.  But what else can be used?  (This post about reading goals had some options to consider.)

Are you adding book covers to your classroom door?

Do you list what you are currently reading at the bottom of your email?

Do you talk about the books you’ve read?

How do YOU share your reading life with your students?

Are YOU, the teacher, using the same mechanisms for reporting that you require of your students?

How do we know what our Reader-in-Chief is reading?  We have been fortunate to have a President that reads for the last 8 years.  And his reading has been well-documented by the press in pictures, articles, and lists. Check out the New York Times story or  Electric Literature’s summary of President Obama’s reading here for two different perspectives on reading and the President.

What are the possibilities that you could consider?

A top 10 list?

A top 5 list?

A “TBR” picture?

An adaptation of Car Karaoke?

A conversation with a reader?

How will we know that YOU are a reader?  What evidence will YOU share?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#DigiLitSunday: Real vs. Fake News


fake-news

What is “Fake” news?  What is “Real News”?

I have NOT YET taught this but I so appreciate that Margaret Simon has posed this for today’s conversation and you can read more posts at “Reflections on the Teche” here.

Defining the Issue:  Fake?  Real?  Is it that Simple?

real-fake

I was thinking that this graphic would be black and white so I was surprised to see the green and red that I found when looking for a graphic for “real/fake”.  But yet I don’t believe it’s that simple.  I wonder if there’s really a range of possibilities inspired by all the “reality” shows and images that now exist in life. (Note:  I am deliberately not YET using “True”opposite “Fake”.)

I’m going to work with this topic in an inquiry mode.  I really want to see how this grows as teachers and students think through how they understand and truly know whether news/events are “real” or “fake”.  I believe that there is going to be a continuum and this chart shows my beginning thinking.

real fake continuum.JPG

What needs to be explored?

Every newspaper headline could be explored.  Any statement by a political figure stated as a fact that sounds totally bogus could also be explored.  Or google “John Lewis civil rights hero” or “best president ever” and see the articles that pop up.  How do you determine whether they are “real” or “fake”?

What are some criteria to consider?

Source of the information – online (.org or .gov = tend to be real; co. or lo. = tend to be fake)

Who is “reporting”? What information is available about the author?

Who is the “audience”?

Is only one side of the issue presented?

Do the headline, quotes, picture and story support the same conclusion?

Are there “exaggerations” or blatant “lies”?  Is the supporting information “credible evidence” or “suspicious photo shopped pictures or unidentified sources”?

Are there discrepancies between “words spoken” and “actions”?

Are there other stories, quotes or pictures that support an opposing view?  How credible are those sources?

Can you fact check with  FactCheck.org,  PolitiFact.com, or Snopes.com?

Will this “study” change readers’ minds?

Doubtful.  However, a frank discussion of the rights from the First Amendment may need to also occur.  Just because one has the “right” to say anything doesn’t mean that “anything and everything” should be said!  Discerning citizens need to have a “filter” or “lens” to dig into statements, articles, reporting that seems to be less than accurate.  Maybe the goal is to begin to understand how much of “reporting” seems to have a purpose of shaping the news rather than simply stating the facts.

Personally . . .

I remember following my Twitter feed on Monday, May 2, 2011 to find out that Osama bin Laden was killed.  That was where I first saw it reported.  I verified with multiple other sources, ever hopeful that initial announcement was correct.  However, Twitter is not currently my  source of “Real News”. Neither is Facebook.  News and social media don’t always mix in my opinion because the rush to be “first” often does not allow for the “paragraphs” that need to address all of the possibilities. Being cautious and a bit skeptical works for me!

How will you determine whether news is “Real” or “Fake”?

digilit-button

 

 

 

#SOL17: Goals and Technique Cards Reprise


one-percent

I’m still reeling from the information on goals in Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris’s post about the 1% of the population that set goals and regularly review them. It’s a short post. Go read it here. The numbers are staggering and the consequences for learning are dire if teachers are NOT setting goals in their classrooms.

Let’s Review:  How important are clear learning targets for students?

Hattie, Fisher and Frey say that their effect size is .75 for “Teacher Clarity”. Teacher clarity could easily transfer to deeper student understanding of the desired learning target. Clarity in knowing what the target looks like would make the target  easier to meet..

What kind of goals should teachers be setting for writing instruction?

“Teach the writer,  not the writing.

Teach strategies for elaboration and development.

Teach for transfer.

Teach for increased student independence.”

What could goal setting look like?

One way it could go is through the use of the goal and technique cards from this post. As a writer I could pull out the techniques that I have already taught for the writing types this year.  I could list them in descending order by the frequency with which students are using the techniques.  Then I could check the on-demand writing for the new unit and see which techniques are present. This is one example of using data to determine goals.

Another way it could go would be to set up an inquiry study.  Students could have the technique cards and could self-assess their use and / or understanding of the writing techniques.  Then these students could use the goal cards to set some writing goals for themselves.  Maybe the goals will be about structure, development OR transfer!  Maybe students can begin to be “better than the 1%” if they have:

choice

voice

and time

to practice using the techniques

and goal-setting to improve writing across the text types.

Win/Win in Student Goal-Setting and Teacher Clarity!

narrative-goals-and-techniques

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Are goals for the day, month, or year?

Won’t there be a variety of goals and time lines?  Perhaps there will be an over arching goal that all students will love to write that will have its own steps or mini-goals. Perhaps it will be to improve the quality of the students’ narrative writing during this unit. Perhaps it will be the goals for this week.  But without clear goals . . .  what learning path are you on?

How could you use the techniques cards, goal cards and teacher clarity of work to improve your own writing and/or student writing?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

Reading Goals: What Do You Measure?


Disclaimer:  The ideas in this blog are not novel.  They are not original.  They are appropriately “sourced” where credit can be applied.  What is new / different / novel is perhaps the thinking that connects the ideas.  Research-based.ideas!  Student-centered.ideas!  Many folks KNOW this. But do the teaching practices match the teacher beliefs?

  1. Students need to read more in order to be better readers.  Volume matters. (Richard Allington)

How can students read more?

A.  Donalyn Miller – 40 book challenge

B. Book logs that keep track of books read. Compare lists over time.

C. Book lists kept by students that rate the books (scale of 1-5) and list genre.

D. Independent reading during class time followed up with time to talk about what was read.

Which ones of these have you tried and abandoned?

Did they work for awhile but then student interest seemed to wane and it seemed like students were “cheating” and recording books that they really hadn’t read?  Or perhaps books that students began to read but when the going got tough, the books were abandoned?

Did you REALLY understand the goal / purpose behind that undertaking?  Did you read the book behind the practice pushed into the classroom?  Participate in a book study?  Or did you find the pages on Pinterest or TPT and “try it” as a pilot with a high degree of skepticism.

If you went to the link above for Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge and read and even digested that post, you read these two paragraphs.

“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices. The Book Challenge rests on the foundation of a classroom reading community built on research-based practices for engaging children with reading. Assigning a 40 Book Challenge as a way to generate grades or push children into reading in order to compete with their classmates corrupts everything I have written and said about reading. The 40 Book Challenge is meant to expand students’ reading lives, not limit or define it.

The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for each student, not a contest or competition between students or classes. In every competition or contest there are winners and losers. Why would we communicate to our students that they are reading losers? For some students, reading 40 books is an impossible leap from where they start as readers, and for others, it’s not a challenge at all.”

This is just a small piece of Donalyn’s 40 book challenge.  Reading one blog, one tweet, or attending one hour long session at a conference is not enough for deep learning.  But it is enough to whet your appetite.  Your appetite for life-long learning as well as your yearning for a solution that makes sense to you, your students, and your community will grow.  Your appetite may lead to a mini action research cycle as you implement a research-based strategy in your classroom.

A week ago a friend of mine asked on Twitter:  “Does anyone have a genre chart they can share to encourage strong readers’ growth?”  And Dayna had several results immediately.

Steve shared this:

and Julieanne shared this:

I immediately drooled over both and wondered about combining them and adding

  • Quarter 1 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 2 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 3 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 4 Goal ________________

and then Steve added that his students also do this quarterly in google slides:

Why is this important?

Dayna Wells (@daywells) a principal in California asked the question. Two 5th grade teachers replied. Steve Peterson (@inside the dog) from Iowa and Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) from California. Teachers collaborating online to share their practices. (And of course commercial #107 for WHY you really should have a professional Twitter account! joyful) Because if you followed them on Twitter, you would also know that they all three blog as well and you would have access to additional resources about / from each of them! (Commercial #108 for Twitter)

Relevance?  What do you measure?

Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample), a public school administrator in Wisconsin, believes that “volume” is not enough for reading goals in his January 1, 2017 post “I didn’t meet my reading goal (and is that okay?)”.  Goodreads said, “Better luck in 2017.” But his reading was rich.  And look at all the qualities that Goodreads did include in their report as compiled by Kendra Grant:

goodreads.JPG

If you go back to answer choices A, B, C, and D above, how do those match up with the goodreads list.  I think 5 of the 7 data points are easily covered.  Do you NEED 5 data points? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Do you need ALL 7 data points?  Maybe. Maybe not.  It all depends upon the ultimate goal of your independent reading.

Quantity?

Quality?

Who our students are?

Who our students might become as readers?

What’s the ultimate goal?

Is the purpose for a reading goal . . . to hold a student accountable for what they read? Or provide proof that they read and understood and (gasp) remembered a boatload of details to answer a quiz?

Or is the purpose of the reading goal to provide an opportunity to NURTURE a love for reading?  And to encourage / nudge EVERY student to become an avid reader? See “Let’s Not Kill the Love of Reading” by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis).

Is the purpose to make sure that the teacher is helping all students to “BECOME a reader” (Thank you, Dr. Mary Howard – @DrMaryHoward) ?

What data do you need?

The data needs to match your ultimate goal AND the needs of the students.  Are you thinking, “OK, I can keep doing what I have been doing?”

2. “Students do not need:

Programs / contests that provide extrinsic reward

Book Reports

Packets of activities”

Why are they missing?

THEY.DON’T.WORK!

Section 2 of the table of contents is included so you can see the practices that support increased student achievement.

“SECTION 2: WHY NOT? WHAT WORKS?
Why Independent Reading Matters and the Best Practices to Support It, Barbara Moss

  • Does Independent Reading Influence Student Achievement?
  • If We Know Independent Reading Is Effective, Why Don’t We Do It?
  • A New Reason for Independent Reading: The Common Core State Standards
  • What Practices Are Critical for Effective Independent Reading?
  • Why Independent Reading Matters Most for Striving Readers and English Learners
  • The Last Word: An Overview of Independent Reading Implementation by Teachers

Need more evidence?  Check out “Three Keys to Creating Successful Reading Experiences” by Pernille Ripp (1/4/2017) and  “Revisiting My One Classroom Non-Negotiable” by Christina Nosek.

YOU MUST . . .

  • stop wasting students’ time,
  • stop assigning “activities” in the name of accountability,
  • make sure that anything you ask  require students to do is that which YOU are willing to do as well in your own independent reading life.

DO YOU . . .

  • keep a log?
  • set goals?
  • reflect on your goals?
  • meet your goals?
  • discuss how you feel about your reading?
  • review the text complexity of your own reading?

Do your personal practices match your instructional practices?

You MUST utilize some “lens” or filter to sort out resources.

These are NOT all equal.  A single number is NOT a goal!

How does your goal match your purpose?  What are you REALLY measuring?

Process Goal for this Post:

Combine tweets; google docs, drawings, and slides; blog posts, books and Voxer conversations for a blog post with at least eight links for the reader to peruse and consider as they reflect upon whether their current teaching practices SUPPORT increased student reading!  (And thanks to Dayna, Steve, Julieanne, Mary, Christina, Matt, Tony, Donalyn, Debbie and Barbara for the wonderful way that their work supports each other!)

Added 1.06.17

Kylene Beers facebook post about lifetime readers!

kylene-beers-lifetime-readers

#SOL17: #OLW


one-little-word

As 2017 begins there are many sources for information about #OLW and this video may add to your own knowledge base.  The authors of Two Writing Teachers are revealing their words daily and many additional words have been revealed this week.

Last year I celebrated “Joyful” and added “Joy” to the background of my blog so I would see it every time I made a post or responded to a comment.  I loved the constant reminder and the way that I seemed to spend more time deliberately reflecting on the joy that I found in reading, in writing, in my work and in my family.  2016 was truly a JOYFUL year.

Sometimes #OLW is elusive and sometimes it finds an author.  My words have been

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful

How do I impact the teachers and coaches that I work with?

This was just one question I asked when I began thinking about my #OLW. Teacher Leadership is always a focus.  All teachers can grow as both teachers and leaders because leaders truly come from the teaching ranks.

brave-fullan-and-dimensions-of-teacher-leadership

As I have been working with teachers and coaches this year, I have revisited these domains as organized by Michael Fullan.  Most of the coaches have a great deal of knowledge and learning experiences that have provided growth and strength for improving student learning.  Less time and energy has been spent on the fifth and sixth domains:  management of the change process and the sense of moral purpose.

Are all 6 domains evenly balanced?  Should they be?

I’ve been wondering about balance again for awhile.  Should there be a sense of teacher agency and urgency for more actions in domains 4, 5, and 6?  Are more “successful” teachers/coaches aware of these domains?  What would their own rating be?

Where are your strengths?

Many words surfaced. My blog posts are testaments to many actions/learning especially in domains one and three.  Domain two is evident in conferences and PD attendance as well as on-line and face to face work with teachers and coaches.

Change is often necessary as different results require a change in instruction and perhaps a different focus for assessment.  Moral purpose may be offset by a sense of urgency. For sure, students must be at the center of all decision-making so that requires student-centered thinking/planning/organizing.  An action research cycle with student learning as the focus could very well be an avenue to increase the use of those top two domains.

What will that change take?

Honesty

Courage

Reflection

Soul-Searching

Data

A plan

A goal

Constant Adjustment

and the ability to be

BRAVE!

brave-olw

In order to be ready for growth and learning, my word found me

brave word art.JPG

This may mean going against the mainstream beliefs.

This may mean constantly checking my mindset.

This may mean that there will be some bumps in the road.

This may mean longer periods of silence in a “no excuses” role.

This may mean abandoning “but we’ve always done it this way”.

This will mean that students will always be the number 1 consideration.

Because the end result for students  . . .

brave-rainbow

is a rainbow of possibilities!

What’s your #OneLittleWord?  How did it find you?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

(And so exciting to know that Melanie and I share the same word – BRAVE! for 2017!)

Ted Talk – Kimberly Davis (@onstageKimberly) – BRAVE

 

Reflection: Top 10 Posts for 2016


top 10.jpg

Which of my 131 posts during 2016 were most read?

In reverse order (10 to 1) with a few notes:

10.#SOL16: #WhyIWrite – No More Red Ink!

What happens when a teacher “edits” with red ink?

9. #SOL16: What are you planning to read?

Five books in February that were on my “MUST READ” list from authors: Stacey Shubitz, Kate and Maggie Roberts, Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins, Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen, and Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie.

8. #SOL16: Professional Development

Characteristics of professional development were highlighted for four different “sessions” attended within a two-week time frame.  Are these important for you?

  • Choice?
  • Free?
  • Learning Collaboratively with Others?
  • Available 24/7 to Revisit?
  • Passionate and Inspiring?

7. #TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 2

Different ways to share – a symphony and a museum share from Celena Larkey, why students need to write with a pen from Colleen Cruz, letting students lead with mentor texts with Mary Ehrenworth, and “DON”T KILL THE BOOK” with Donald Graves keynote.

6. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 2

The value of READING mini-lessons with Amanda Hartman, the value of “practice, practice, practice with Kathleen Tolan, What readers need in order to become AVID readers with Mary Ehrenworth, and Matt de La Pena’s keynote!   “Teachers and authors don’t often immediately see the results of their work.  Patience  . . . you will!”

5. #SOL16: Who’s Doing the Work?

Who's doing the work

Have you read this book?  You should have annotated and dog-eared it by now!  This post celebrates the twitter chats (with links to the storified archives) as well as an inside look into many of the activities Kim and Jan developed in their study guide.  How do you know you have “learned” something?  How do you expect students to share their learning?  So many DIFFERENT ways are shared here!

4. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 3

Learning about the many ways of shared reading with Amanda Hartman, inquiry for developing fluency with Kathleen Tolan, close reading with Kate Roberts and the keynote session with Donalyn Miller. What a fabulous learning day!

3. #TCRWP Reading: Takeaways Day 1

A Lucy Calkins’ keynote on developing reading community, sessions with Amanda Hartman on “one-focused teaching point” and Kathleen Tolan – a mind-blowing small group read aloud.  Never.thought.of.a.read.aloud.for.a.small.group.  And so obviously why I need to continue to learn.  Such a privilege to have been a part of Kathleen’s June Institute.

2. #SOL16: March Challenge Day 23 – DIY Toolkits

Do it yourself

Have you read this book?  You can create your own tools after reading this book.  Better yet . . . study it with a friend and then work together on creating tools.  Tip:  Best part of this blog post is the “summary tool” that Kate created and the links to other pages about this session (Tara, Sally and NCTE).

1. #TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1

This post includes quotes from Lucy Calkins (opening keynote), revision across the day with Celena Larkey, the power of stories with Colleen Cruz and planning for two or three days of small group sessions at a time from Amanda Hartman. What an amazing first day of Learning for the 2016 #TCRWP Writing Institute!

Reflection:

Data is so interesting.  I was not surprised at the popularity of the #TCRWP posts as the June learning has been quite high on the list in previous years.  Some of those posts continue to be “all-time” highs as well.  I was surprised that the top 10 was split evenly between #SOL posts and #TCRWP posts and absolutely delighted to see that three of the posts where Kathleen Tolan really stretched my brain were in the top 10. I learned so much from Kathleen this past summer and YET had so much more that I needed to learn. It’s time to practice, practice, practice.  I do write more “slices” than any other “type” of posts so I thank my slicer readers for boosting those stats! It was great to reread those posts with a “reader’s eye” as I considered WHY those posts were read more often than others!

What are you reading?  What are you writing?

How do you set goals and reflect on those goals?

And as always, dear readers . . .

thank you languages

#SOL16: In Memoriam


godfather

By the numbers:

34,310 +  = days alive*

Age 94

25,550 + = days married*

70th-anniversary

fran-and-godparents

July 26, 2016

Hundreds of family events:

The gold dress I wore in this family picture was a gift from my godparents . . .

36450025

Countless dinners and events across many states . . .

I remember presenting in Austin, TX and driving on down to visit Bob and Dorris.  It didn’t seem right to be “in the same state” and not go visit!  However, my favorite story is from my 16th birthday.

16

Old enough to drive with

Driver’s license in hand.

Five “drivers” in the family.

Three vehicles.

Mathematical improbability to get “drive time” as the youngest driver.

AND YET . . .

My godparents sent me a birthday card with a car key in it.

“When you find the car that fits this key, it’s yours!” was written inside the card.

Fun

Joy

Laughter

Thank you,

My godfather and uncle . . . Bob!

You will be missed!

(* Leap years were not accounted for. The numbers are approximations for average years.)

You were a father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, brother-in-law and filled so many hearts.

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Previous Connected Posts about the “Ruths” and/or my godparents:

Footprints

Family Christmas

Home

#SOL16: Traditions


It began with a text.

“What should I fix to take to the the Ruth pot luck dinner?  What do you all vote for?”

 

“Julie said buffalo chicken dip.”

 

“What for a snack at the hotel?”

 

“Fruit?  Like a fruit tray?  To be healthy . . . And because your grandson loves fruit!”

 

And the menu and shopping lists were created for the first weekend of holiday celebrations for 2016. Because of the extreme cold and the miles to be traveled, the shopping occurred in multiple cities and over time.

A tradition . . .

Family members returning home choose the menu.

Once upon a time . . .

My first paid publication was a $3.00 check for writing and responding to a call for a favorite Christmas dinner memory in the Cappers Weekly. My younger siblings were not as excited as me.  My favorite menu was that of a college student hungry for some home-cooked food. (And yes, I had to “cook” it myself! But that was a small price to pay for choosing the menu.)  Christmas with Mom’s extended family was typically the Sunday before Christmas and then a snack or two at Grandma’s after Mass. Our plans for Christmas on Dad’s side of the family depended on which day of the week Christmas fell on. Christmas this year was a day at home.  What a treat!  However, this was my first and only “choose your own menu” holiday treat.

The menu:

Fried liver and onions – golden brown

Mashed potatoes – used to build a dam on the plate

Stewed tomatoes – warmed, thickened, and held in place by that potato dam

Asparagus – my favorite vegetable

Dessert – gooseberry pie

traditions

What traditions do you and your family have?

What traditions do you continue?  What new traditions will you begin?

Happy Holidays and Enjoy Your Time with Friends and Family!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

PS. If I were a betting person, I’m sure that some of my siblings were checking out the Christmas candy BEFORE dinner even ended! But not me!  I wonder what those same siblings remember from that day!

 

 

 

 

#DigiLitSunday: Celebrate


celebrate

It’s time to celebrate!  Celebrate the waning moments of 2016.  Celebrate the oncoming 2017.  Celebrate winter in all its glory.  Celebrate family and community and togetherness!  I continue to celebrate “Joy” as my OLW for 2016 (how many times do you see that word in the background?) and as I spend this weekend with family! (Check out the other posts on Margaret Simon’s blog, “Reflections on the Teche” found here!)

Celebrate

Life

Health

Family

Safe travels

Time together

Precious time!

Today, I celebrate the kids in my life.  Short, tall, running, playing, talking, card playing and just down right entertaining.  Here’s the long and short of it:   35 inch grandson at 19 months and the 6’11” nephew who is 17!

jr-and-jay-waterlogue

Christmas 2017 with Waterlogue

What are you celebrating?

celebrate-one

 

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