Category Archives: #OLW

#SOL21: Good Enough?


I’ve heard this phrase for years, decades even.

But I’ve been wondering lately what a person is to do if the quality of the lemonade is dubious, not up to expectations, or perhaps not even fit for consumption.

Do we politely sip it anyway?

Do we question the source to attempt to determine why the quality seems to have slipped?

Do we just say, “Oh, it’s for a good cause. Suck it up! It’s good enough!”

Colleen Cruz offers us much wisdom in her book, Risk. Fail. Rise.

What are mistakes? Are they “missed takes”?

During our #G2Great chat in February of 2021, Colleen defined mistakes for us.

Surprise! We thought it was going to go one way. But it went another!

And I was ready to talk about tons of mistakes.

Two real-life examples

Gravy too thin? A secret ingredient for quick thickening might be two tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes.

In quilting: A narrow seam might “fix” a seam that is pulled too tightly.

But the subtitle of Colleen’s book is:
“A Teacher’s Guide to Learning from Mistakes”

Recounting mistakes is not the end goal. My list could probably be a mile or two long.

Learning from Mistakes.

Where does the learning come from?

I liked the element that Jill added:

The learning begins with reflection and knowing a bit more about the types of mistakes that occur.

Getting beyond mistakes are “good” or “bad” takes some work or study. Not all mistakes are equal. Four kinds of mistakes include: stretch mistakes, aha moment mistakes, sloppy mistakes, and high-stakes mistakes.

McVeigh, https://literacylenses.com/2021/02/risk-fail-rise-a-teachers-guide-to-learning-from-mistakes/

The life mistakes with gravy and quilting were/are not earth shattering. Annoying? Yes. Easily rectified? Yes.

But they do require an awareness of the end product. A road map of our destination. An expectation or approximation of that end goal/ success criteria!

Who decides what is good enough? What if we set the bar too low> What if “any lemonade” becomes our goal and the quality drops off? Will we continue to make lemonade? Are we willing to adjust/adapt to maintain a certain criteria of excellence? Who determines the criteria?

Do give yourself grace.

It’s going to be another wild year.

But continue to have high expectations. Your life will be richer for all that you maintain high expectations. It will be up to you to determine where and how many mistakes you want to share. (Many folks won’t notice them. Others will notice and name many.)

The key is being willing (#OLW) to reflect on the “fails” in order to learn and grow your own list of accomplishments.

You get to set the criteria! Go for the Olympic Gold! Set some worthy characteristics!

Be flexible. Grow and learn. Don’t settle for making lemonade. Make the best lemonade possible!

When is “Good Enough” really Good Enough?

—————————————————————————————————————

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: A Simple Plan


A simple plan: A six store drive through south central Iowa.

Up. An early departure.

Obstacle 1: First shop closed today.

Keep moving. Five more to go. A simple plan.

One day of shopping. No major needs. But my first AISH. AISH is the All Iowa Shop Hop that consists of 86 stops. 86 stops in a two month period – June 1 to July 31st.

Truth be told. I’m not a shopper. Never have been. Book stores? Yes. Lumber/fix up stores – Menards, Home Depot? Yes. Otherwise, not so much.

I’m not planning on all 86 stores. I was thinking of starting small. The 17 shops in southeast Iowa. This has been my corner of the state all my life. There are some shops I have not yet visited since this quilting bug bit me last year. (Sound interesting? Link) Visiting all the shops in one region makes one eligible for a regional grand prize. One small goal.

It won’t be easy. Some shops are rural. One in my region has this posted under updates:

DIRECTIONS: Our address is 1949 110th St, Salem, IA 52649, but we are not in the town of Salem, we are about 5 miles from the town and about ‘ONE country mile’ off the 27/ 218 four lane Highway.
From Mt. Pleasant, where Quilters Paradise is on the square; Take Hwy. 27/218 South for about 12 miles, to 110th Street, just across the Henry/Lee county line. The street numbers go from 330th street in Henry county, Instantly to 110th street in Lee county. (Look for the “QUILT” signs.)

The first road in Lee county is 110th Street & is our road. Turn to the Left or East, we are about a ‘Country mile’ down the road and at the top of the hill on the Left or North just before the crossroad, Pilot Grove Road.

If you miss 110th street, the next highway crossroad is the Junction of Hwy 16 & 27/218, which is about a mile farther. If you get to the Junction of 16 & 27/218 you can make a U-turn, or turn Left or East onto Highway 16 and go to the first gravel crossroad, which is Pilot Grove Road and turn Left onto gravel headed North. Go a ‘Country mile, ‘ at the stop sign, we are on the corner. You can see the driveway where to park to the Left, the ‘RED’ door is on the WEST SIDE of the building is the Shop door. If you go through the STOP SIGN, the road is a Dead End and coming back we are on the corner.

If ALL Else FAILS… Call our phone number, 319-850-0524, and we will get you to us from wherever you have gotten lost.

It will be interesting to see if GPS and Google Maps play nice on those directions. Surely one will be close . . .

So back to the simple plan for today. Drive approximately 30 miles, shop, 30 miles, shop, 1 hour, shop, 10 miles, shop, 15 miles, shop and return home with “free stuff” from AISH as well as any purchases along the way.

There was a surprise at the first town. A collection of farm equipment at the fairgrounds and then these signs along the road.

The fairgrounds was packed.

Lawn chairs lining the sidewalks. Vehicles in the shade facing the parade route. Pickup trucks with tailgates down at the corners of rock roads. These folks KNEW there was going to be a tractor parade. And they were prepared for the sun with hats, umbrellas, sun shades, and awnings.

“A few tractors. A few miles. No big deal.”

We were traveling at 10 mph. Ten miles per hour. If the tractors stayed on this road, we would share it for 30 miles.

How long would 30 miles take?

Your answer?

And then for the reality . . .

Exactly how long would you travel at 10 mph or less? Willing? Able? Settling for?

Highway 92 is a state highway. Two lanes. Asphalt. Two lanes. With no passing zones every mile due to hills. Hills that meant slower uphill travel.

Google Maps told me there would only be a 6 minute delay.

(I saw that major eye roll.)

To believe or not to believe . . .

The good news was that we followed for 10 miles before the tractor parade left Highway 92.

Revising and changing plans.

When have you had to adjust your daily plan? What variables mattered? What variables were completely beyond your control? When were you willing to go “with the flow”?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: Tiger, Tiger


Animals exist on so many planes. Which ones are your favorites?

William Blake in his poem says

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake The poetryfoundation.org

You may know Daniel the Tiger, a PBS American/Canadian character with Mr. Roger characteristics, who headlines a show for preschoolers with 30 minute segments.

Where in the world are the most Tigers found? Of course, it is India. Who ranks second?

You may be surprised to find out it’s Texas with approximately 2,900 tigers. Source And then there was the tiger India, a Houston star on the loose in Texas just last week. Source

Two weeks ago I spent some time in the National Quilt Museum at Paducah, KY. It’s worth the time and energy to study the artistic and workmanship qualities of quilts.

There were hundreds of colors, patterns and designs that captured my attention but I returned to this one multiple times. Was it the fact that some of the fabric extended beyond the quilt? Was it the visual characteristics? Was it the fact that it made me think?

See the paw that sticks out beyond the border as the tiger springs through the window!

Every creation has information about the designer/creator/craftmanship.

Was it the challenge that drew me back?

The illusions?

What did I notice?

What catches your eye when you are in a museum? What causes you to return to the same item time after time? What are you willing to spend time on? Where does your curiosity take you?

__________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: Willing to Celebrate


It’s birthday season. The next four months each have birthdays in my son’s family. It’s easy to celebrate. The grandkids love all sorts of things. As do the big kids. Sometimes there is a list. Sometimes not.

It’s not as though a Grandma would spoil the boys.

What other birthdays do we celebrate?

In my family (the siblings), it really varies. If they are on to grandkids themselves the siblings are SOL unless it’s one of those big numbers. This is a year for a big number for Mom. Her last big number 10 years ago involved a cruise of the Meditterranean with the youngest daughter.

How do we celebrate?

Well, it depends. (Not that answer again!) But it does.

So how do you celebrate when two second cousins have their 104th and 105th birthday?

The answer:

A birthday parade.

Led by a sherriff’s car.

Four firetrucks

Cars decorated in birthday trimmings.

Trucks

ATVs

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

And a squad of Harleys.

Just a Saturday afternoon birthday parade

In Hills, Iowa.

Need a bit of a “Good News Happy Celebration”?

Article Link with video

Celebrating 209 total trips around the sun

Two cousins

In small town Iowa

Friends and relatives

Willing to celebrate safely

On a Saturday afternoon.

How do you celebrate birthdays? Whose birthdays do you celebrate? What are you willing to celebrate?

____________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: Habits


Tulips in Iowa – April 19, 2021

Will they survive? Will they flourish?

Three nights of freeze warnings and this view in the daytime.

It’s spring. A time of growth. A time for blooming. And yet, a time for snow and freezing temperatures.

Do we let Mother Nature take her course? Do we try to mitigate the results? Plants, flowers, pleasing to the eye. What’s our response?

In our schools, it’s the season of standardized tests. Tests in the midst of the pandemic that continues on. A year+ like no other. What are the options?

What’s the cost? Check out Tim Wheeler’s blog.

What are our goals? What are the habits that we want students to develop.

Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum have this gorgeous new book. We featured it on our #G2Great chat March 25th and Val Kimmel’s blog post is here. It was featured on TWT here.

One of my favorite resources in this book is Chart 1.9. It speaks to me of reasons why I write daily. It speaks to me of why students need to write daily. And it speaks to me of things that are not so easily counted. Not so easily measured. But habits that I want all students to have. In their writerly lives. In their daily lives. In their student lives. In their adult lives.

To name just a few habits:

Perseverance

Empathy

Resilience

What habits in life are you willing to identify today? What habits will you nurture today? What habits do you actively support? How do you do that?

____________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: #OLW


This year’s pace seemed lethargic. Too many words. Too much time. Too many choices. Inability to make a decision created angst. Worrying. Fretting. Reviewing previous words to ensure duplications did not occur by chance. Acceptable on purpose but not by chance!

A Review of Previous Words:

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015    Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave
  • 2018    Curious
  • 2019 Celebrate
  • 2020 Envision

Not sure about the goal or purpose of #OLW? Here’s a video to check out more information about #OneLittleWord. If you know/understand the basic premise, keep reading or you can enter #OLW in the search box to see other blog posts I have written about #OLW since 2014.

This in my Twitter feed meant a lot this week as I was narrowing down my words.

My sister already tweeted out her #OLW for this year. And I love that she said it’s “part compass, part motivator, and part mirror.”

Nouns. Verbs. Adjectives. Words that can be more than one part of speech. Does it matter? Trying out the word. Does it fit? How well does it fit?

A final check of quotes and this one sealed my word.

“When you are willing, you don’t need to confront anything. It’s you that puts the resistance and unwillingness there. Put willingness there and resistance melts away.”

― Meir Ezra

So for this year . . .

I anticipate this will be a phrase that will include many actions . . .

Willing to . . .

Willing to listen

Willing to think

Willing to learn

Willing to take time

Willing to make time

Willing to take action

Willing!

What is your #OLW?

What are you willing to set as your 2021 goal(s}?

___________________________________________________________________ 

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL20: Riddles


Riddles abound.

Some in stealth.

Some in plain sight.

Ready to pounce

Perhaps high

Perhaps low.

In math.

In science.

In literacy.

Everywhere!!!

What are the characteristics of a riddle? Link

Why might one work with riddles?  What value is there in working with riddles?

Language practice. Practice writing a description. Practice going from a very broad description to a more narrow, focused description. , Practice revealing an item one characteristic at a time. Practice determining the most defining feature of any object.  To add a bit of fun, joy, levity to the day. To connect with an interest or a passion.

Try this one  . . .

I hold valuables.

In the beginning I was made of leather.

I may be a decoration.

I may be useful.

I have one hole.

When I have two holes, I am useless.

I’m a visible container.

Often empty.

Often waiting.

Under-utilized,

Under appreciated.

I’m a small bag

Attached to an article of clothing.

What am I?

When did you know the answer?   

How many “clues” did it take?

Who does the thinking work when solving or writing riddles?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

Answer:

You may see the answer more commonly as this:

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 6.18.07 AM

But I created this:

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 6.30.47 AM

Which sent me on a quest to learn more about . . .

a pocket. (The answer to the riddle above.)

#SOLSC20: Day 5


ah, today

Time hop:  Day 5 Idea from 2016 #SOLSC (link)

today:  i breathe and find joy in this life of mine

today:  is a day scheduled with two webinars and a #G2Great chat with Shana & Katy

want to be:  outside enjoying the nice weather

blessings:  my two grandsons, my daughter-in-law, and son (and the rest of the sibs & kids)

thinking:  what new ideas can I add to this format?

planning:  for a big “5” birthday in two months

writing:  daily, taking risks with new formats and loving this habit!

Loving:   time to spend reading, writing, and thinking

grateful:  for my health, my blessings, and my many friends!

and today {again}: i breathe and find joy in this life of mine!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-04 at 10.06.06 PMWhat previous blog posts are you revisiting? 

How do you make that decision? 

How do you ENVISION your writing will go?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Kindness


“Here, have this seat.”

“Please, go in front of me.”

“Is that the announcement you were waiting for?”

“We’ll share this plugin with you since yours isn’t working.”

Celebrating kindness.

It was an airport delay.

It could have resulted in

frustration,

anger,

hurt feelings,

unkindness.

Choosing to look for kindness.

Choosing to search for  signs of thoughtfulness.

Choosing the positive.

Celebrating kindness!

Screenshot 2019-08-20 at 12.48.34 AM.png

What will you choose?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL19: Writing Matters


Screenshot 2019-06-17 at 6.04.46 PM

Writing:

A connectedness

A relationship

An opportunity

A process

A product

Two sides of a coin.

Can be used to learn or

Can be used to demonstrate learning.

Is thinking out loud

Typically on paper.

Thoughts

Sometimes painfully etched

Sometimes spewing out voluminously

Faster than any ability to capture.

Can be long

Or short,

Traditional

Or creative,

Personal

Or public,

With form

Matching the purpose,

Reveling in the need

To create,

To rise like a phoenix,

To leave shadows,

Whispers in the wind,

Songs in the air.

Writing . . .

a compulsion

a living/breathing requirement

a necessary component of life

What purposes do writing serve?

Consider these:

  • The Magna Carta
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights

What do they stand for? 

Why were they written? 

Why do they matter?

A survey of Americans resulted in a list of these Top 10 Milestones in US history.  Do you agree?

Screenshot 2019-06-17 at 6.34.52 PM.png

Writing Matters.

In.So.Many.Ways

I am missing the #TCRWP Writing Institute. It’s hard to not have #TCRWPEnvy so I revisited some notes from last year’s Writing Institute to consider for my own writing this summer.

In last year’s keynote, Lucy Calkins addressed levels of writing workshop.  Link 

Where are you?

“Level 1:  Start and Stop.  Do a few days of minilessons.  Do a few worksheets to ‘master the skill’, and then back to some stale writing. No investment. It feels like pulling teeth.”

“Level 2:  The Good Student Writing Workshop filled with compliance. Open any notebook and you will find that students are doing the work. Safe work. They respond to all school assignments, but they never take any risks and share themselves.”

“Level 3: Passion and intensity flow through the notebook, drafts and published writing. There are notebook entries that do not come from a response to day to day instruction.  Students want to write. It’s an ALL IN Writing Workshop.”

What level was your 2018-19 workshop? 

What is your goal for 2019-20 workshop? 

Where will you begin?

(And don’t forget to follow #TCRWP this week for highlights from 1200+ Writing Institute participants!)

(#cyberPD – Welcome to Writing Workshop by Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman)

Celebrate that your journey has begun and focus on Learning!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

 

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Thirty-One Educators Connecting Students and Books

Educator *Speaker *Author*coach

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them. www.carlambrown.com

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.

doctorsam7

Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.