Category Archives: Uncategorized

#SOL20: Patriotism

Basic Theme:  Red, White and Blue

Secondary Theme:  Stars

Thirty six squares beginning at 2.5 inches each form the basis.  Thirty six different designs with and without stars as well as a sashing of white on white stars and even starts stitched as a part of the quilting. Thousands of stars.

More importantly, my first patchwork design. Hours selecting. Hours laying out. Hours sewing and then the picture in my head did not match the final design. And then rinse and repeat times three.

A noble goal. A gift times three. Completed. Mailed. Ready for the holiday.  The red, white and blue of liberation.

Table runner – left half


Table runner – right half


Which was emphasized:  process or product?

Had you guessed from this post? Link     

How was this process like instruction?  Education?

How will you share your patriotism on July 4th?

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 17


Rules . . .

Serve a purpose.

Rules . . .

Need to be followed.

Rules . . .

Necessary evil.

30 day visitation ban to stop coronavirus . . .

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But in these days of technology, what about Facetime, Google Hangout, Zoom or even a phone call?

What about the patient advocate? The social worker?

Maybe the gentleman didn’t want help, because he had this solution figured out.  But did anyone ask? In 67 years, they had never been apart on an anniversary.

How can the community support EVERYONE? 

Where is the love?

Who can you support?

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

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Repeated Reading: A Cycle

This is Part 5 and the final in a series about Repeated Reading.  But it could be about any popular  research-based strategy.  It should be!

Student Learning is the Focus. All decisions about resources, including time and money, are based on the cycle of learning. Not just “buying stuff.”  Not just “here’s a PD day to fill.” Not just “what do we like?”

Beginning with student learning. Students at the center of the decisions.  Student Learning driving ALL decision-making!

“Core Beliefs:

o All students can learn.
o The purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement.
o Professional development should be collective learning by all teachers and administrators with an emphasis on improving instruction.”

What is the process?

I. Set a Goal

2. Selection of Content which includes Checking the Research (Part 1)

3. Design a Process for Professional Development/Learning (Part 4)

4. Teaching / Learning Opportunities – Checking in (Part 2) What do teachers                need to learn?  How will they learn it?  How can we set some measurable                targets?

5. Collaboration / Implementation

6.  Ongoing Data Collection including Listen to the Students (Part 3)

7. Program Evaluation – Going back to the teacher data in Part 4:  Has there been       growth? How do we know?

8. Collecting / Analyzing Student Data – Is the gap closing? Are students growing          more capable?  Are students more independent?

Always, Always, Always keeping students at the Center!

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Also blogged about here

What does the model say?

Participative decision-making

Not just one person making a decision

Not just one person buying a “box of something”

Not just one person saying, “go forth and use this”

The process would be to study the research, consider the needs and then make a decision based on resources, match to student population, cost to implement, and time frame needed for results. Consider the status quo, set up a plan for professional learning, and then get started while watching for checkpoints across the journey.

It looks and sounds easy. It’s not. It’s messy. Forward two steps and back one. People. Temperaments. Knowledge. All impact implementation plans.

But with STUDENT LEARNING (not achievement) at the center, the focus is on the right thing!

Are you focused on learning? 

Are you focused on achievement? 

Which one has life-long implications?

Which one no longer matters after students finally walk out the school doors?




#SOL19: Day 22 SOLSC

Katie Clement’s session at #TCRWP’s 96th Saturday Reunion was titled Teaching Literary Essay as a Vehicle for Teaching High-Level Opinion and Argument Writing Skills” and it was packed with gems of information.

What is the purpose of the writing?  

When students are thinking about the audience for their writing, they are also thinking through the lens of what will appeal to that audience.  Sounds easy.  But is it?  This may be the part that gets messy and then means that the essay may become a blend of other formats including packing in some information or a microstory.  Mining a story for ideas for a claim/thesis and then supporting that claim/thesis would allow students to practice  building compelling opinions and arguments beyond just listing their ideas.

What mentor text might you use?

I love Katherine Bomer’s The Journey is Everything found here. This text helped me grow my own knowledge of an essay.  Katie also suggested this resource.  Have you seen it?

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What are some qualities of essays? 38 Total Essays.  Sounds like fun inquiry that I need to dig into! (I’m waiting for the book to arrive.)

How have you studied essay? 

What do your own essays look like? 

What do “essays in the world” look like?

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

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#SOL19: Day 15 SOLSC

The View

Perspective . . .

What did I learn in geometry?

What is the role of a triangle?

So much glass

So many shapes

Is it to see in?

Is it to see out?

Everything open?

Everything closed?

How many are there?

How many should there be?

What is the strongest shape?

How high can it go?

What if one suffers from acrophobia?


Just a few wonderings from a small town resident . . .

What are you wondering today? 

What have you noticed that has you curious?

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

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#SOL19: Day 6 SOLSC

Since Last March

(A format I’ve used here in 2016 and here in 2018 and originally from Erin Baker here)

Since last March, I’ve been everywhere.

Everywhere for time with the kids in Iowa, Kentucky, holidays and Hawkeye football.

Everywhere for family events –  graduation, graduation, graduation and visiting cousins, kids football, volleyball, soccer, and traveling with the elders.

Everywhere for stretching and growing my mind.

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A few of the “Everywhere” locations

Since last March, the magic number is two.

Two grandsons as cute as can be,

Two boys growing and stretching,

Two months from four and four months from one.

celebrate balloons

Since last March, I’ve said good-bye.

Good-bye to relatives and friends,

Good-bye to old routines,

Good-bye to doubt and fear!

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Since last March, I’ve said hello.

Hello to friends who I’ve met face to face,

Hello to slicers, bloggers, and voxers from or at #tcrwp, #ncte18, #g2great, and #ccira19,

Hello to ILA – a Literacy Leadership Brief, hosting a chat, and planning for a conference institute,

Hello to friends, family, and.colleagues!

Hello, March.

It’s time to write!

How are you celebrating your year? 

What “goodbyes” and “hellos” have you found?

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

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#ILAchat: Independent Reading

The definition for Independent Reading from ILA

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What does that mean?

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How well does your independent reading align with the definition?

What have you changed or tweaked? 

How has that impacted student reading, especially student joy and passion for reading?


How can you capitalize on the “Power and the Promise of Independent Reading”?

Please join the chat to share your ideas!

#SOL19: Snow Day

The grocery aisles are empty again.  No bread. Little milk. Cleaned out as the storm warning map encompassed the entire state.

The Reality?

Excerpts from the 10 pm news on Monday night:

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Yes, the purple was ice deposited first as rain and then transitioning to ice hours later . . . about two inches thick on the sidewalk.

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The ticker at the bottom of the TV screen with school announcements in red and the metro schools circulating faster in blue.

What’s the verdict?

At 10 pm the night before:

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It’s still early.  5 am.  Not many changes.


Screenshot 2019-02-12 at 4.59.22 AM.pngTwo hour delay?


Why does it matter?

If schools are closed all around, it’s not a good travel day.  It’s probably not a good

“step outside the door day”

And the state road map (511org)

shows solid pink


Great work at home day.

Great work inside day.

Snow day 10 or 11 or 12.

What’s your snow day plan?

8 am update . . .

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

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#SOL19: Frustration

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It is just a simple thing.





Oh, NO!

I will admit to being “bleary-eyed” and not totally awake.  But measuring, checking the line, and then pouring.  Seemed like a piece of cake.

It’s running over.

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It’s early.

Maybe it is operator error!

Try again!

Oh, NO! This time it’s barely half full!

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It’s too early!

This is making me mental!

I have been using a liquid Pyrex measuring cup.

Maybe my eyes are still too tired!

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A simple solution

I quickly devised

After a month of stewing


Cleaning up messes . . .

I fill my coffee cup with water and then pour it into the Keurig.  No errors.  No mess. Perfect coffee every time.

A simple solution?

Often a simple answer is correct. That belief is courtesy of Occam’s Razor. Perhaps in our personal and professional lives we need to


take a deep breath,

and think of simple solutions.

Avoid the complications.

Avoid the perception from above that may cause you to under measure  or the perception that rounding it to that next line  while holding the measuring cup is good enough.  If the goal is the “right amount of coffee”, the water input does matter.

A different lens, a different view, a different solution.

When will one of those serve you well at school?

Considering the student view.

Asking for student input.

Stepping back so students can own the solution.

Closing your mouth so student input is prioritized.

What might you do differently the next time that you are frustrated?

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

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2018: In the Rear View Mirror

What a year!

What does the data say?

Looking back is something of a habit as the New Year dawns.  Here were my reflective posts from 2017,  2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.  It was fun to see where the emphasis has changed over time.

My Top 5 Most Viewed Blog Posts of all time are:

5. How do we know students are making progress in writing? (2014)

4.  Generative Writing as a Formative Assessment (2015)

3.  Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)

                 2. Close Reading in Kindergarten? Is it possible? (2013)

1. #TCRWP and a Teacher’s Toolkit for Writing (2014)

Data analysis is interesting.  Four of the five posts were in my top 5 all time last year.  #2 this year is a new addition to the top 5. It leapfrogged to #2 by passing up three previous “all time” posts.

I continue to wonder if my OLD writing is more popular than my newer writing with two posts from 2013 in the top 5. “Or does the popularity mean that these posts are STILL topics/issues that present day literacy teachers are struggling with?”  Maybe these are topics that I need to review during the course of the year. They are definitely already on my March Slicer “To Write About” list.

My Top 8 Posts (by the number of readers) out of the 109 posts that were written in 2018 were:

8. #SOL18: Lit Essentials – Regie Routman’s Literacy Essentials with an entire section dealing with Equity!

7. #TCRWP: 3 Tips – Patterns of Power (Jeff Anderson), Mentor Texts with Simone Frazier and Heart Maps with Georgia Heard

6. #SOL18:  Reading Research  – Is all reading research equal?

5. Bloom’s and Thinking – Reconceptualizing Bloom’s Taxonomy

4. #SOL18: March 25 – Updated Reprise of #3 above “Lexile Level is NOT Text     Complexity (2013)

3. #NCTE18:  Digging Deeper #1 – Kass Minor, Colleen Cruz & Cornelius Minor

2. #SOL18:  March 15 – Barriers to Learning, Allington’s Six T’s, Student           Progress

1.#SOL18:  March 11 – Increasing Writing Volume

And this – Reading Research from the end of October and both a November post about NCTE and a December post can make it into the “Most Read in 2018” list within 4 – 8 weeks of the end of the year.  So Interesting!

What patterns do you see? 

Which topics did you find most compelling? 

What work do you review annually or over even longer time frames?






Wrapping up Curious with a Focus on being Joyful for this first chance to CELEBRATE!


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