Category Archives: Uncategorized

#SOL21: Summer






That covers some possible goals.




A park.

A revisit to a favorite location.


Salt water.


My summers always include book clubs of some sort.

Usually multiple book clubs.

My favorite is BookLove Summer Book Club.

Here is the speaker line up

With access for an entire year.

46 speakers and counting.


YES, you

Control your schedule.

Participate at your convenience.

Book packages are sold out, but you can still join online.

Book Love Foundation


Because all the money raised from the Book Club funds classroom libraries.

What are your summer plans? A book club? Which one? What will you read? What will you write?


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: Self-evaluation

I had a plan to construct a 9 x 11 quilt out of 10 inch blocks (raw size 10.5 inches). I had a pattern. I had fabric. 35 different fabrics because I didn’t want a lot of repetition in some of the columns. Column 1 and 9 were organized as planned with just a few shifts to ensure that certain colors were not adjacent. Columns 3 and 7 used fabrics for the most part that were NOT included in columns 1 and 2. Column 5 in the middle was a blended mix of squares combined from column 1 and 3. (After all it’s the middle column!)

Fairly simple. I constructed the squares – each with 7 pieces of fabric. I laid them out on the pool table to check the patterns. I shifted and revised some: flipping end over end broke up a line that wasn’t meant to be or reversed the original pattern. Column 1, after all, consisted of 45 stripes. A veritable vertical feast of colors.

When you view the grid above, it becomes obvious that the placement of the blocks needed to be done in an orderly fashion to match the pattern. But which concerns should receive priority? Blocks with 2 seams, 3 seams, or 4 seams?

I quickly became adept at checking for two or three specific fabrics as my love for them caused them to be included at a higher frequency rate. I knew that checking in advance would keep the dreaded frog away . . .


Rip it!


Not my friend. Physically “revising” by ripping out fabric in a quilt.

Last Tuesday, I needed to make a decision. I knew that two blocks bothered me. How much? Enough to rip out? I couldn’t decide. But they did bother me ENOUGH that I decided to construct the quilt rows in two different pieces so I could manage the fabric more easily ( 90″ in width and 60 ” in length).

Here is what I was facing. Two fabric colors were too similar.

Should I replace them? If yes, with what color or pattern.

It wouldn’t be too obvious to anyone else without a fair amount of studying the pattern.

Here’s where the plan failed in execution.

I waged an internal debate.

Who would notice? Who would care? Would it really be that noticeable to others? Was it good ENOUGH as it was?

Would my nephew notice?

And I instantly thought of other times in my life.

Did I settle for good ENOUGH?

Was this about the final product? Or the process? OR both?

I’m not YET jammed for time, so should I do it “correctly” as defined in my planning?

OR should I “LET IT GO?”

PAUSE. Can you name a time when you have been faced with a similar quandary? What helped you make your decision? Did you have any regrets? How would you evaluate your own QUALITY of work?


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


Like Paul Harvey

“And now for the rest of the story . . .”

Have you predicted my response to my self-evaluation?

Yes, I spent 90 stinking minutes ripping out and replacing the four fabrics in the block that did not match. I could NOT leave it as it was.

My biggest project to date: Quilt number three, a 90″ by 110″ project.

#SOL21: Moving On!

April showers bring May flowers.

I could write about flowers, but I’m not.

April is national poetry writing month.

I could write about poetry or share some poems, but I’m not.

And the rain is back.

I could write about rain or the weather, but I’m not.

I’m moving on. It’s April and it’s time to focus on graduation presents.

Presents that will need to be sent in advance.

Presents that will take time to design, construct, and even admire.

One present in particular . . .

99 blocks, similar in color to this,

but not identical.

99 blocks, laid out in some randomness,

but not without care to avoid repetitions.

99 blocks, for a high school graduation gift,

but not able to attend.

99 blocks, YIKES!

Back to work on a gift for the 12th and final HS “grand” graduation!!

What graduations will you celebrate? What are some standard gifts? How will you prepare for graduation gift-giving?


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

#SOLSC21: A Dilemma

What to write?

Not a clue.

So many things swirling in my brain.

Lists of things to do.

I return to a question from weeks ago

Am I doing? Am I being? What’s the goal?

Where do I start?

More questions? Where will they lead me?

What if I return to review the original session?

Will it bring more questions? Or answers?

What if today if meant to be about the questions?

Do I have to immediately have the answers?

Is today’s rain contributing to my uncertainty?

More coffee.

A plan.

Check one item off my list and then back to wondering . . .

Maybe the first place is some of both . . . some doing and some being.

It’s a place to begin.

How and when do you make time “to be” rather than just “to do”? What is the difference?


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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOLSC21: So Ready

As I turned the corner, I could smell success.


I could see success.

The curved tops gently rising above the pans were clearly visible even under a towel.

I couldn’t wait. I had to examine success.

I peeled the towel back slowly. Yes, all three are rising nicely.

I decide to wait. They aren’t quite ready to bake. After all, it is only 7 am and dinner is not until 5 pm.

At 9, there is no more time to wait. The oven is preheated. The timer is set.

I smelled success.

I could smell it browning. I could envision the outside gently turning brown as the timer counted down.

The aroma filled the house.

I can envision the sights, smells and even words that will surround eating homemade bread with lasagna and the “spring break kids” later today.

Success in baking.

Success in family gathering.

It was easy to define success. The bread rose. The bread was baked. The bread was sliced. We enjoyed eating it. We laughed and talked all through our dinner.

No grade.

Real life.

When should school be more like LIFE? Joyous? Real expectations?


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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOLSC21: Point of View

Which did you embrace?

You can learn new technology.

Yah, without any PD.

You can work from home.

But my stuff isn’t all there!

You don’t have to pack your lunch.

You can grab your lunch from the frig.

You can give yourself grace.

You can worry about every little thing.

You can learn something new. I began quilting.

You can drop something old. Miles and miles on the road.

You can write letters and reconnect with friends/family.

You cannot go see them.

You can learn how to order and pick up groceries.

You miss grocery shoppingl

You can read and write more often.

Reading and writing are hard.

Time is gained when not wasted on daily travel,.

Time is wasted in endless scrolling,

Which views matched you?

What did you learn about this past year? What did you gain? What did you lose?


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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOLSC21: Palindromes

Some words just capture my mind and I have to admit that palindrome is one. I think my OCD brain loves the patterns that I see in so many places. In words, in numbers, and in life. I’ve written about them here, here, and here.

As a refresher, a palindrome is

“A word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards, e.g. madam or nurses run.” – Oxford Dictionary

With words and palindromes, there are so many choices.

Palindromes for readers, writers, and teachers:


nurses run

stressed desserts

A website dedicated to palindromes

Palindrome poems – shadow poemspoetry soup, and tips for palindrome poem writing

Yesterday’s palindrome was 80008 and that sent me into my blog archives as I remembered first posting about my mileage almost four years ago with my car. Then the mileage was 15851.

My odometer triggered a memory. I searched my blog posts to find another source and voila I was reflecting on writing from the past. Real reading, real writing, real life.

When do we provide the time and space for our students to sit silently and think? When do we provide the time and space for our students to reflect? When do we “sit” and “stay” with our own writing?

Reflective Source (aka – rolling around in my brain)

This week’s #TCRWP SupperClub had the phrases “sit” and “stay” via Shana Frazin attributed to Katie Wood Ray. Those two very small words took my thinking to palindromes.


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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOLSC21: Act 1

She called my name. I rose. Clicked my phone closed and went to the counter to collect my paperwork. Mission accomplished. On with my day.

And before that . . . Waiting for the timer to go off. Scrolling emails. Scrolling Twitter. Scrolling Facebook. No messages. Each minute passing by at an excruciatingly, obnoxiously slow pace. As I made a list and added it to the calendar, I checked the time again. Only 5 minutes had gone by. Now what? I checked my blog. Read it from my phone. Considered the way it looked on my phone since this post was published from my Chromebook. I began setting up a series for the next week. . . Still waiting.

And before that . . . I took a seat in the waiting area. I checked the time. With luck I would be out before my appointment time actually arrived. I looked around at the aisles and decided to put my enforced time to work. Something. Anything.

And before that . . . As I exited, I heard, “We’ll call your name after your mandatory 15 minutes and you can pick up your paperwork.”

And before that . . . I pushed my shirt sleeve up so my shoulder was exposed. I looked away as I felt a small stick. Two seconds later and, “You can take a seat.”

And before that . . . I went to the counter and handed over my signed form and was told to enter the door on my right. No waiting. Inside, a plain unadorned room with one table and a chair. Both empty. I sat in the chair.

And before that . . . I entered the store, scanning the building for my destination. Guessing that a label would tip me off. And yet the unfamiliarity didn’t slow me down. Obviously, my destination was NOT at the front. I had already passed the checkers. I kept walking as I knew the location would quickly be revealed.

How might you manipulate time in order to tell a story in a different order?

Narrative Format

This is the second installment in a story begun in last week’s post, Prelude.


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

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

#SOL21: Prelude




I navigate to the web site.


I’ve been down this road.

Log in.

Holding my breath on the password.


Confidence builds as boxes begin to have answers.

It’s the bottom of page 1 of the form.

I hit continue and I see red lines. I scroll back up to complete drop down items. Whoa. I didn’t even see these items with auto-fill. Maybe I shouldn’t complete this on my phone. Maybe I need a bigger screen. Maybe . . . My brain is buzzing with “could of, should of . . .” But there is no time to waste. Time is of the essence. This isn’t my first rodeo. This has become my life. The new normal.

Wait for a notification.

Rush to the site.

All too familiar.

This time I arrive at the upload portion. Upload two pictures. I click. No response. No choices. No browsing. No upload. I begin muttering as I start the process again. The whole thing. Autofill. Continue. Fill in the red sections. Upload. No response. No choices. No browsing. No upload. No spinning wheel. A silent, uncooperative screen.

I’m ready to toss my phone. Correction. I’m ready to throw my phone against something. Small pieces would make me happy. Why can I not complete such a simple task? Is it the phone? Internet? The program?

I look at the clock. It feels like hours but it has only been 15 minutes. 900 seconds. Time keeps ticking away. I pull out the chromebook and start again. Pounding the keys. No longer quiet.

The fourth time.

The form.


Drop down answers.


Upload pictures.

ARRRRRRRGGGGGH. The pictures that are on my phone that are NOT on my chromebook. Precious seconds, minutes as I email the pics and wait for them to arrive. Stuck in technological limbo.


The fourth time.

And yes, the final screen shouts success.

It does not matter that my first and second choices were no longer available. I’m in.

I start the process again for two more family members. No such luck. No slots left. No more magic today. It’s been almost two hours since the first notification. Too much wasted time. I have the email confirmation. Now I just need patience. Only one success today.

There has to be a better way. Hours and hours of searching. Hours and hours of frustration.

How are the elderly coping?

Is technology always a helpful tool?

When does technology become the source of frustration?

One Tier 1-B vaccination scheduled. Two more to go. So much frustration around the lack of a central registration system . . . especially for those who should be an even higher priority.


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: Remembering When


I claimed that I was my father’s favorite. How could it not be? I was born on Father’s Day and many years my birthday coincided with that holiday. Of course, I was his favorite (at least on my birthday)!

The smell of sawdust meant that Dad was busy in the workshop. Working on the house. Crafting. So many items. Jewelry boxes for all of us. A grandfather clock.

On holidays we would take pictures of Dad and the boys. Typically the hall closet would be in the background. Opposite the big picture window. A view of everyone growing. A view of everyone aging. Pictures that over time became Grandpa and the boys.

The smell of popcorn meant that it was Sunday. Sunday supper often included popcorn. Popcorn eaten by the handful. Unsalted popped popcorn in a bowl with sugar and milk as a cereal supper. A big Tupperware container of popcorn that would be the snack for the next few days.

The silence. The silence of disappointment. Waiting for “the talk” after less than appropriate behavior. The hangdog feeling that when I was on the edge of disapproval.

On February 9th, today, I am remembering Dad on his heavenly 92nd birthday. On 2/9 and his 92nd. A very short palindrome.

This morning. Sitting with my computer and remembering. My smiles and laughter as I remember Dad! Thinking of how I will honor him today, tomorrow, and all my days.

And yet, still missing him. The sights, the sounds, the smells that remind me of Dad. The memories. I remember.

Previous posts about Dad here (my favorite) and here. And on the learning side, What is Memory? (here)

What triggers memories, near and far in time? What events remind you of family members who no longer have an earthly presence? How are you creating memories that will linger after 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

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.

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


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


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson


All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis


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.