Category Archives: Books

#SOL18: Time


The lyrics from the Byrds have been going through my brain lately as I’ve lost track of day and night, days, and now even weeks, and WOW, how did it get to be August?

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven . . .”  Video, 1965.

What does it take to be an award winner?

This song won a Grammy back in the 1960’s.  Ah, yes, before many of you were born. So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?

Cherish . . . and another tune instantly comes to mind.

Do I have songs on my brain? 

Everything’s coming up roses and in verse! 

There’s something about the JOYFULNESS of song!

I’m hopeful that the joyfulness in my life spills over to ensure that joyfulness is a part of  every classroom this fall.  Enthusiastic teachers. Refreshed. Relaxed. Rejuvenated.

Ready for challenges.

Ready to toil anew.

Ready to advocate for EVERY student.

Ready to lose your heart to that next room full of students!

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And yet, every day the clock will continue!  Can you find precious minutes for MORE reading and writing? Can you redistribute the time you have?

The students . . .

Excited students. Excited and eager for routines. Eager for learning.  Eager to make a difference.  Eager and enthusiastic to be back at school.

A time to be curious and focus on their brilliant minds and all the great things they do know. A time to think about next steps and small nudges of growth that will start spinning the success wheel.

 

time

Time shows what we value.

I love this quote from Ralph Fletcher.

“Time is a new kind of poverty. A schedule

that features daily writing communicates to

students: ‘Writing is one of my non-negotiables.

It’s too important for me to squeeze in

once in a blue moon’” (p. 45).

~ Ralph Fletcher

The Writing Teacher’s Companion

Scholastic, 2017.

What is on your daily schedule? 

What are your non-negotiables? 

How will we know?  

And just to come to a full circle . . . “So what is a classic?  What is real?  What needs to be repeated?  What needs to be retired?”

What is really necessary in your classroom?

What do students really need to learn?

How will you know?

Life is all about decisions.  Time is in your favor.  Many have just begun.  Many begin soon. Others have about three weeks.  How will you use every precious second in honor of worthwhile and necessary learning?

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Before we can ask for MORE TIME, we must make sure that we use our existing time wisely!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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#SOL18: Why?


My #OLW stood me in great steed this weekend at #ILA18.Screenshot 2018-07-23 at 11.14.01 PM

So much to see . . .

So much to do . . .

So much to learn . . .



But What’s the Point?



Back in the Dark Ages,

In the late 2oth Century!

I remember the value placed on

Whole-Part-Whole in education.

The goal was always LEARNING!

The intent was for ALL to be LEARNING!

Students

Teachers

ALL!



After #ILA18 I feel that many empowered teachers have been set free in the universe to “change the world” and continue learning.  We haven’t learned it all.  There is a real need to continue to grow and build our knowledge base.

And that brings me to one of my Sunday sessions.   We were learning about the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4th edition) under the leadership of Diane Lapp and Douglas Fisher. It has 18 chapters.  Chapters that could be used in schools for professional development.

18 Must Reads.

18 Invitational Conversations.

Exploring the tight connections between research and best supported practice that promotes literacy for every learner.

This was not a book available to purchase in the Exhibit Hall.

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But could it?  Dare it be a lens to consider best practices?  A lens to consider What?  How?  or even WHY we do what we do in instruction?

In its entirety this is one side of a handout from a round table at that session . . .

Chapter 16

20180723_234838

8 Essential Components of Comprehensive Language Arts Instruction.

Any surprises for you?



As I reviewed the list, I found it quite interesting that this list of components included nine, or exactly half of the chapters.  Curiosity, of course, won out.  What on earth could the other nine chapters be about if this is “the list of components for instruction” and if THIS is the book for teachers to study.

So I was off researching.

In a classroom, I would have been in major trouble because I was on my computer and might have appeared to NOT be on task.  But I was in search of more information.  What is the other half of this book about?  This book we should study?  This book we should use? This 499 page book!



This post is titled “Why?” not to just allow me to pose my own questions but also to perhaps begin to develop some of my own theories.  Why these eight components?  Why do two of the eight (25%) not have chapter resources supporting them?

WHY? 

What are the “Whys?” that are circling in your brain?



What format will the chapter take?

Will there be recommendations of “amounts of time” per component?

Will there be “recommendations of additional resources”?

Were any teachers involved in updating this handbook?

Is there any support for how to put these 8 components into action?

Or how to “know” when the components are all aligned?



Will this text continue to treat each component as a separate silo?  What about the reciprocity of reading and writing? How will we grow readers and writers?

Why this text now? 

What’s so compelling about this text, right now, that this book should be a part of a district’s professional development?

It was a pleasure to hear much rich conversation around real reading and writing at #ILA18.  Real, rich, robust reading that is NOT about single standard instruction or assessment.  It’s actually quite refreshing to go back to the “Whole” of language arts instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening that moves stedents to take action in the real world.

Doing school must end.  It’s time to capitalize on any instruction that promotes high learning and engagement that challenges students without mind-numbing page after page of annotation, Cornell notes,  and skills-based minute particles that can easily be googled.  Why do adults think these decisions can be made without broader input from our communities?

If the whole is our entire language arts program

and the part is the eight components,

what “WHY?s” will you need answered before you can implement these 8 components?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

 

#ILA18: Sunday


Day 2



Joy

Friends

Breakfast

Sessions

Meeting face to face

Talking

Laughing

Learning

Dinner

Chatting

Chatting

Chatting

So blessed to have this time . . .

So important to make the time . . .

So important to say, “Thanks, Friends!  ILA was  so much fun together!”



Curious:  Mostly about the Pairs



Kari and Christina

“We believe every child deserves a teacher committed to conferring.  That work is within the reach of every teacher.”

Be there. Perfect place to be.  Next month, next year – grow your practice.  –  Kari Yates and Christina Nosek

To find out more, link to their blog here.

Or Facebook here.

On twitter:

@Kari_Yates

@ChristinaNosek

“Intentional language choices that include systematic thinking about how to support a reader. 

Figuring it out.

Celebrating.

Nudging.

Reminding.” – Kari Yates and Christina Nosek

Their book . . .

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Ellin and Debbie

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Two weeks until Debbie Miller’s new book is released.

Reviewing our use of time in workshop. . . This is the “Lift Off”.

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Ellin . . . brought her new book to life!

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Engagement . . . not compliance, not time on task, participation, nor motivation.

Read more here.



Rose and Lynne

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In a one hour session, demonstration, practice writing off a mentor text, revising, AND a video from a classroom.  Well done, Rose and Lynne.  So many great ideas!



Research

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This book . . .



And those that were missed . . .

Just a few quotes borrowed from Twitter . . . from all the cool kids tweeting . . .

“Kylene Beers & Bob Probst say to revise reading TODAY so that more kids engage with reading, we need to do four things in our classrooms: fewer strategies, more volume, more talk, more rereading. #ILA18 ”  – Penny Kittle

“Had a wonderful #ILA2018 because of the teachers who stopped me in the halls to chat, meeting colleagues who care about children, making new friends! Relationships matter!” – Laura Robb

“When a kid has the sniffles, we give them OJ & a healthy breakfast. We don’t rush to the ER. When they fall below benchmark in rdg, we send them out for an ER type intervention. How bout handing them a book? ⁦@AnnieTWard#ILA18 #fromstrivingtothriving #scholasticteach”  – Stephanie Harvey

@ProfessorNana Thanks for reminding us to feed kid books. Thinking a lot about edge time, priority time, and class time. #ILA2018” – Tenille Shade



Sunday, Fun Day!

How did you spend your Sunday?

 

#ILA18


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Dear Austin,

Thank you for the amazing warm welcome,  a supportive place to celebrate with friends,  the learning, and the many great dining adventures.

Love,

#ILA Attendees





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Spontaneous combustion of tortilla chips . . . Austin, Texas news . . . here



Celebrations . . .

Celebrating meeting so many in our #G2Great family as well as friends near and far.

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A book birthday.

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A real live face to face birthday!

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With friends

With friends from afar. . . FB Live (Julieanne & Justin) Facetime (Kitty & Justin)

With friends we have known for years are are just now meeting IRL (in real life)

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Our Montana connections!



The learning . . .

From the President of ILA, Doug Fisher . . .

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and not because of zip code!

From Cornelius Minor 

“Being nice in the face of oppression is not enough. Nice does not create change. Kindness does. Kindness means I care enough about you to call you out.”

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For more from the keynote – see Mary Howard’s facebook post here.

From Courtney

We don’t know what we don’t know.

Trust the wisdom of our children.

Ask them.

From Jess

Check the language you use.

Who does not fit in?

How can I be more inclusive?

Listen, Research, Self examine.

Also – look at the books you have out when parents and students arrive.  Do they see themselves in your classroom?

From Kate

Learn more than you can do.  Keep learning.

Keep your head and heart ahead of your actions.

From Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins

“What’s more important than text level when considering text selection by teachers?1) Student Identity,

2) Joy,

3) Reading Process,

4) Depth of Thought

Screenshot 2018-07-22 at 4.59.34 AM

From Reading Wellness

A weight lifting metaphor

3#  =   light effort- People magazine

5#  =   A Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom

8#  =  Where good ideas come from – Steven Johnson

10# =  Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading – Alverman

Why is this not the same for our students?



Dining

Recommendations from the locals . . . Thank you, Terry and Clare.  We loved Uncle Julio’s.

And then pure decadence.

Banana Foster Bread Pudding.

Melt in your mouth.

Not Soggy.

Pure scrumptiousness!

Screenshot 2018-07-22 at 5.08.05 AM



How was your Saturday?  

#SOL18: Summer Vacation


July

Hot days

Rising Steady HIGH humidity

Corn on the cob

That first BLT

Already anticipating

That dreaded question . . .

“How did you spend your summer vacation?”

Screenshot 2018-07-17 at 5.54.01 AM

Book Club 1:  4 books scheduled . . . just finished book 3

Book Club 2:  Writing about Reading . . . jotting, writing long, trying to create visuals

Book Club 3:  Rereading, jotting, applying, thinking, and writing

Writing Project 1:  Notes, resources, writing, writing, writing

Writing Project 2:  Daily writing, reading, and responding

Online Writing Class: Video and writing

Online Writing Class:  Daily checking in

Summer Class 1:  Teaching

Summer Class 2:  Developing

When does vacation start?

And what did I forget?

Screenshot 2018-07-17 at 6.02.11 AM.pngTreading Water . . .

Hanging On . . .

Typical Summertime Fun!

What does your summer fun look like?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




I totally forgot it was Tuesday and Slice of Life!  This was my 10 minute flash draft this morning.

Because

10 minutes

No more room in the schedule

The clock is ticking

On my summer work vacation!!!

#CyberPD: Being the Change


To read.

Surface Learning

To absorb and think about applying.

Deep Learning

To really consider the impact of my own words and the power of my actions, thoughts, and words.

Transfer Learning

We have a phrase in Iowa. It’s “Iowa Nice.”  When are we “too nice” and when do we need to stop and consider the impact of our words?  When do we need to step out of our comfort zone?  Some issues seem easier to advocate for?  Is that my background?  Or just my comfort level?

I wrote about this book just two short months ago before the #G2Great chat with author Sara Ahmed.  It feels like more than two months.   So many changes . . . locally, nationally, and internationally.

Screenshot 2018-04-30 at 8.21.54 AM

I’m rereading it now for #cyberPD . . . just one of several book clubs that I am currently in.  As I thought about “What” to write, it dawned on me.

I read it.

But I didn’t really think it was “about me”.

Being the Change!

I acknowledged my background

And checked it off my list.


Back to the drawing board.

Rereading.

Digging deeper.

Not just doing.

But thinking.

And reading.

And writing.

And determining what actions I need to take.

How will others know this is important to me?

What does it mean to “see the humanity”  and to “activate your empathy”? 

How do I remove the “us” and “them” from my vocabulary?

Screenshot 2018-04-30 at 8.57.39 AM

Paying lip service is not good enough. 

Nodding my head is not good enough. 

I must do better. It requires change.

Mea Culpa!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: “psst . . . I’m reading . . .”


2018 is the year of books!

These are just some of the books that I have read (and blogged about) during the last school year.  I’ve left out Ellin Keene’s Engaging Children, Tom Marshall’s Reclaiming the Principalship, and Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz’s Kids 1st From Day One. So much to continue to learn.  So much to continue to read and write about.  So much to continue to be curious about.

And then another new book emerges  . . .

This week’s #G2Great chat will be about this new book from Stenhouse by Kari Yates and Christina Nosek.  And I’ve been waiting

and waiting

and waiting.

Conferring is still an area where I need to improve.  Where I need to listen more and talk less.  Where I need to grow.  And conferring about reading!

Screenshot 2018-06-04 at 6.50.14 AM.png

The title is captivating:  “to know and nurture a reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy”.  I love the conventions, and their use in the title.  I love “confidence and joy”.

Have you checked out the resources?

Book

Website

Help! My students want to choose books I’m afraid are too hard!

How can I support readers who pick the same types of books over and over again?

How can I use conferring to connect with students who are very new to English?

Some of my students just hop from book to book! What can I do to support them?

Why Confer with Readers? 10 Compelling Reasons

I have two chapters left to read and then I will be ready for the chat Thursday night.  I can’t wait to spend more time practicing and improving my conferring skills with students and teachers. The videos, the tips, and all the problem solving has thus far been on target.

What are you reading? 

What are your working on? 

How will we know?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: Planning


planning

Do you love to plan? 

Do you hate to plan? 

Planning can take many forms.  Planning to write in the form of creating an outline and then following it point by point . . . just the thought of it, makes me nauseous.  In the vernacular of “slicers”, then am I a “pantser” meaning I plan by the seat of my pants . . . in the moment?  Actually not.  I’m somewhere in between.

It all depends . . .

What’s your process for planning in your personal life? 

It’s time for a weekend get away or a family vacation.  Do you investigate possibilities on line via “The Google”? When and where do you plan?  As you are packing? Or in advance so you can make sure that everything fits?  That might necessitate packing that “carry on” bag in advance to make sure everything fits.  That might mean “lists” depending on the length of the stay.  That might mean a careful assessment of “technology needs” in order to be prepared.

What’s your process for planning in your work life?

As the school year winds down are you preserving those notes?  More of “x”. Less of “y”.  Scrap a, b, and c. How do you make those decisions?  That might mean lists of “If . . . , then . . .”, T charts of pros and cons that precede the inner debate, or even basic boxes and bullets.

Lists of lists???

Again, it all depends . . .

If you are a secondary teacher (grades 6-12), then you need to immediately order this book and join one of the many book studies that are planned for this summer. (Note that I did not say, if you are a secondary ELA teacher, because I believe there is merit in the principles and ideas in this book for social studies teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and curriculum directors.)

180 days book

The hashtag for this book is #180Days.  But I want to draw your attention to the subtitle:  “Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.”

And in case you missed it, the full title is 180 Days:  Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents. 

Let’s face it.

A “How to” book with QUEST, ENGAGE, and EMPOWER in the title.

There are probably days when you scratch your head and wonder, “WHY?  Why am I doing this to myself?”  Other days in moments of honestly, your first period class really sucked, second period was better, and third period rocked.  WHY?

That opportunity to practice.

That opportunity to tweak the lesson.

A different beginning.

A different ending.

That opportunity to re-vision the lesson.

Some teachers have the opportunity to adjust and discuss situations as they occur with collaborative teaching partners.  But in this book you have the collective wisdom of Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle as they share how they planned, the basis for their decisions, their varied class periods (each day, Kelly and every other day – block schedule, Penny) as they taught and collaborated across the country, NH and CA.

Not sure if this is the book for you?  Resources that may help you decide are:

Book

Sample Chapter

Heinemann podcast 1

Heinemann podcast 2

Facebook page

Travis Crowder’s Review

Podcast part 1 – ReadAloud

And if that’s not enough, please join the #G2Great Twitter Chat this Thursday night.

180 days chat.PNG

Added – Literacy Lenses post about 180 Days #G2Great Chat  5.20.18

Do you “engage and empower” your adolescents on a regular basis? 

Do you worry about being responsive to life and also “fitting it all in”?

This book will show you how to make better decisions about your students  – based on the needs of your students – so that you can and do ENGAGE and EMPOWER them!

WHY does it matter?

180 quote.PNG

How will you be planning for next year?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: What to read?


Book Birthdays Abound; What should I read?

If you also wonder, “How do we create lifelong readers?”,  then this is the book for you because it all begins with books!  Yes, books!

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One book that’s hot this week is:  It’s All About the Books!  

Event 1:  Heinemann Publications is hosting a Facebook live session with Tammy and Clare today, Tuesday, April 3rd. Information here! *7:30 pm EST  (podcast link)

Event 2:  #Good2Great chat at 8:30 EST on Thursday, April 5 will have Tammy and Clare as guests hosts. (Literacy Lenses post with storify & Tweets from chat- Link)

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What’s the book about?

This book helps teachers figure out how to maximize their resources (classroom libraries and bookrooms) in order to have the most engaging books available for students when they need them. And you will soon know what Tammy and Clare’s signature quote is when asked how to get the money for more books!  It will make you laugh!

Resource 1:  Heinemann Web page

Resource 2:  Podcast with Tammy and Clare (Link Here)

Resource 3:  Sample chapter

Not YET convinced?

Tammy and Clare are donating their royalties to Penny Kittle’s Book Love Foundation in order to put additional books into the hands of elementary and middle school students.

And in Clare’s own words, the power of books:

Slice one – “A Reader Reminds Me”

Slice two – “The Power of a Book”

This book explains how to inventory, assess and reassemble your book collections so more books are in your students’ hands across the entire year.  This is the week to learn about books with several resources at your fingertips!

What professional books are you reading? 

What’s on your TBR stack?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this writing forum each Tuesday. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: March 25


My most popular blog post is “Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity CCSS.R.10” and it looks like this.  It’s almost five years old so it’s time to revisit and reflect on what we now know about “Text Complexity”.


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It’s not surprising that these three very different texts could have similar lexile levels.   Lexiles are all about the quantitative features of text complexity.

Here’s what a google search for “lexiles” turns up.


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Retrieved from google.com 3.24.18


1.7 million results

And the first one says ” matching readers with texts” . . .

Is that really the goal?

This ASCD publication, excerpted from A Close Look at Close Reading, asks you to rank these six elementary texts to determine their order.  What do you think? How would that ranking look?

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Volcanoes: Nature’s Incredible Fireworks
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Martin’s Big Words
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

What are you thinking? 

How would you rank these?

Which is #1? Which is #6?

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Volcanoes: Nature’s Incredible Fireworks
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Martin’s Big Words
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

A favorite source that I like to use to evaluate text complexity is TeachingBooks.net   Do you know it?  Have you used it?  There is no cost.  Not all titles are always found but they also accept teacher ratings in order to complete their data sets.

According to TeachingBooks.net, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has the highest lexile level. (Volanoes:  Nature’s Incredible Fireworks does not have a lexile level available.)  The actual rating from the site looks like this and places it between third and fifth grade.

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Would you say that Diary of a Wimpy Kid was the most complex text of the six listed?

Lexiles are only the quantitative measure – one of three measures of text complexity.  The other two are Qualitative Measures and the Reader and Task and all three are EQUAL by the definition.

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What resources are you using for text complexity? 

How are all three parts included? 

When does text complexity REALLY matter?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016


It’s really not about always working with HARD texts.  When we want to plan a series for instruction, we want a range of texts that students can work with that increases in complexity so that we know they can do that work.  We need to have our “best guesses” confirmed. And sometimes, we need to know that the emotional and content load of the passage is appropriate for the age/grade.  There’s no one single factor that makes text selection easy.  It’s a combination of many factors, including student choice, that needs to be part of the consideration when applying “text complexity” tools!

The results according to TeachingBooks.net

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Lexile.com suggests these grade levels . . .

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It’s complicated!

 

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Karen Gluskin

My Teaching Experiences and Qualifications

To Read To Write To Be

Thoughts on learning and teaching