Category Archives: Uncategorized

#SOL22: #OneLittleWord

What a rich history of choosing a word to center myself. In order those words have been:

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave
  • 2018    Curious
  • 2019    Celebrate
  • 2020 Envision
  • 2021 Willing

Combinations of verbs, nouns, and so many uses of words as they have also served as the wallpaper on my blog. This year followed last year’s slow steady beat creeping into my consciousness and inserting itself into my daily life.

But the typical dithering at the final decision point:

Something to be?

Something to have?

Which would best suit my thinking for the year?

Be patient or have patience?

Study was required and grammarly came to the rescue. link

Be patient:

“… someone who is not hasty, who can bear things calmly, or who remains unwavering when faced with adversity …”


This quote solidified my decision.

” “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” —A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

. . . a small piece of fluff in his ear. That whimsical description was the selling point.


Be patient

What word will choose you? How will you know?


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#SOL21: Words Matter

As it often does it began with a dm, a response, and then a tweet . . .
And then a response . . . And another response . . . All relate to the IES Practice Guide for Foundational Skills, #3. But what if, what happens when there isn’t enough time for all the components. What if the emphasis is “misplaced” or “overused” on one of the recommendations to the point that others are ignored or barely used?
/ough/ is lesson 7 in the 20 spelling rules found here. link

Are these the “right rules”? How many rules do students need to know? Does the practice guide say rules are necessary? How will you proceed?

Where do you begin? This post began with inquiry. A question. Responses. And then grounded in the research. And then a broader look at possible rules. No High Stakes decisions yet. More thinking. More opportunities to gather information and data.

What process do you use? Is it the most effective process? How do you know?

#SOL21: Read for Fun

This post has been in my drafts for over a month. I’ve come back to it nine times (at least) according the revisions. I’m flummoxed.Then I’m angry. Frustrated. Disgusted.

“They can read for fun when their work is done.”

(Equity: Does everyone get time when they are done?)

“They can read for fun at home.”

(Equity: Do they have time at home? Access: Do they have books at home?)

“They can make the time if they really want to read.”

(Equity: Daily schedules are busy. If it’s valued as a necessity, why would there NOT be school time allocated for reading so scores go up?)

My emotions are my responsibility. Am I over reacting? Consider a different scenario . . .


Point of view: the high school basketball coach. We’re in the midst of games right now. That means that the kids have games two nights a week and practices on three days. On the surface, that sounds easy to allocate time. 2 nights = 40% of the time for games; 3 days of practice = 60% of the time.

But when I dig in a little deeper, the surface data doesn’t hold up. Let’s begin with games.

Some kids sit on the bench most of the games, so they have 0 playing time and may only be getting practice in holding the bench down. They may be learning from the play around them, but without specific feedback and/or playing time, their skills will not progress at the same rate as the players. Will their skills even maintain? (I continue to think about the effect for the unengaged, inactive players who sit on the bench.)

And then practices. That initial 60% of the time.

What does this consist of? How much time is spent in individual drills? How much time is spent in team drills? How much time is spent on scrimmages where players actually practice for game simulations? So many questions. Not so many answers! If half the time is drills and skills and the other half is scrimmage and real practice, then all players can be engaged and active for that time.

I have to add more math to this to make sense. Here’s my projection for a starting varsity player. (I made up the 2 hours for each day for a starting point.)

skills 1 hr.2 hours playingskills 1 hr.skills 1 hr.2 hours playing
scrimmage 1 hr.scrimmage 1 hr.scrimmage 1 hr.
playing 1playing 2playing 1playing 1playing 2
Projected time allocation for starting varsity basketball player

In this hypothetical 2 hours per day, the starting player has 7 hours of playing time or 70% and 3 hours of skills or 30%. The likelihood that this player is also spending their own time practicing is high. Motivation is high. Energy is high. Expectations are high! Keeping a “starting spot” is a high priority!

So this model is a rough model. #1) No game lasts 120 minutes. And yet in real time it certainly can. The starting player with their body in the game also has the mental mindset going during warm ups, game time, free throw shots, time outs, bench time, half time, etc. It’s a continuous loop. And the bench warmer person does get to shoot and run during pre-game warm ups and half- time warm up. That 10 minutes times two minus drill team performances and announcements equals maybe 15 minutes in comparison to the 120 + minutes for the starting players.

Let’s consider that a bit more. The non-starting, “put me in, please, coach!” player. What might that look like?

skills 1 hr.15 min. practiceskills 1 hr.skills 1 hr.15 min. practice
scrimmage 1 hr.0 playingscrimmage 1 hr.scrimmage 1 hr.0 playing
playing 1playing 0playing 1playing 1playing 0
Projected time allocation for bench-sitting varsity player

What opportunity does this player have to improve “playability” in order to move off the bench? Barring injuries, what is the likelihood that a player moves from bench-sitting to playing? Now out of 10 hours at work the player gets 3 hours for actually playing OUT OF 10 total for 30% playing and 35%+ practicing.

These numbers were just to make the issues more visible. They aren’t based on observation. They are “rounded off guesstimates.” What attributes does a player need in order to move from a player with minimal playing time to one with maximum playing time? Accuracy in shooting – free throws, 2 pointers, and 3 pointers. Ball handling – ability to inbound the ball and dribble down court. Ability to defend…

I did throw in jv games to consider another middle of the road option but that became even more convoluted. If jv games are on the same nights as varsity games, playing time might increase. If jv games are on different nights, playing time may increase for the top half of the team (remember they will then lose out on practice and scrimmage time on those practice days) so 50% might be playing time and 20% skills or practice time.

And then I thought about “learning something new:” How much time? What would be the balance of skills and transfer or even automaticity? And the rabbit hole I was in just kept getting bigger until there was a whole burrow of holes zigzagging underground.

Why does this matter?


It’s important.

It’s a gateway to many occupations and often considered necessary for success in life.

Broader … literacy.

Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking.

Literacy … what’s the difference between the game and practice? Many students have intensive practice with sounds and words. Is that the practice? When do they ever get to the game.

But the reality is that reading for fun is often not allowed at school. Students are given little or no choice in what they are to read as well as oftentimes, little time to read at all at school. Some experts suggest that the easiest way to “close gaps” is to provide scaffolds so students have more access to grade level texts during school hours.

Social media contains complaints about “practice time/ homework” and the debilitating effect for many students who don’t have access to the resources they need.

Does anyone get enough practice time? If coaches don’t feel that two hours/ per day are inadequate for a sport, then how can 45 minutes be enough time for reading every day. And let’s face it, all our kids deserve opportunities for reading at school, at home, and for the rest of their lives.

And then I circle back to that “A” student who failed the standardized test that measured school success. His reply to “Tell me what’s going on” was that the “remedial” course for students not successful on the test was the ONLY course in the entire school where students had any choice in what they read.

What are you thinking?


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#SOL21: Palindromes

Another one on the odometer.

How many do you think are a part of the December calendar?

Guess quickly!

Last Thursday was a special day. It seemed like a normal day until I wrote out the date. Format does matter! It was the second of December. It was a palindrome and an ambigram. It could be written several ways and the palindrome would still hold. Would the ambigram?


Also as 12.02.2021

Quick. Think about your “guess” and your need to revise it. Should you go up? Or down?




Last chance!

So, how many days in December are palindromes?










and now the tough ones . . .



Did you guess 11? Are there others?

When does a quick estimate give you a chance to reflect on your thinking?


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#SOL21: #NCTE21

Two persons per hose

Bodies bent

Controlling the direction of the water

Water under pressure

Water, attempting to be free

Water, a necessary solution

Two persons per fire hose.

Photo by Pixabay on

As a volunteer firefighter for a decade in our rural community, our equipment was a bit different. We had a tanker truck. Our rural community typically had more grass fires or equipment fires than building fires. Our weapons were gunnysacks that starved the oxygen fuel as we beat it out. Time and wind were our enemies. We would curse a wind shift that accelerated the fires advance through a hay field. We would cheer a wind shift that sent the tongues of fire back over acres already burnt black – seeking out tiny morsels to feed its appetite.

Fire hoses

Capable of carrying steady streams of life-saving water

Fire hoses

Requiring two trained firefighters to control their aim.

Fire hoses

Tools found in fire stations around the world.

Fire hoses

Conduits connecting harsh realities with an opportunity for redemption.

And yet yesterday I tweeted out:

Attending the #NCTE21 conference was like “drinking from a fire hose,”

Words, concepts, ideas, discussion and even “break out rooms a la Zoom”.



Under pressure

Zoom fatigue set in after a point. Trying to catch every word. Every resource. Forgetting to move during breaks. The rush to set up for the next session. The fear of sessions closing.

However, Zoom access is critical for the survival of face to face conferences with 300+ sessions that are all worthy of attendance and necessary for learning.

The program was extensive. Some webinars were “live”. Some webinars were pre-recorded. Time to attend. Time to listen and learn. Time to process. Time to plan to use that learning. Time and a new era of learning for thousands of educators. The program.

Where and how will you recharge? Extend your professional learning? Extend your collegial network? What does your future learning look like?

A summary of previous NCTE posts . . . link (NCTE19 – 3 posts) Learning is social. Learning is “writeable”.


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#SOL21: Professionalism

It’s time for some self-reflection. How am I doing with my #OLW “willing” and other work tasks. As I thought this, I chuckled to myself. “Work, yeah, right. That’s a short list as work has been slow. Almost non-existent slow. ‘Slower than molasses’ would be appropos!”

So many pressures right now. If your anxiety or stress level is already through the roof, please stop reading. Today’s post is not for you!

I’ve seen several tweets lately about “professionals” and “teachers as professionals” and wondered exactly what that meant. Here’s what the dictionary said!


1 : a person who does a job that requires special education or skill. 2 : a person who is paid to participate in a sport or activity. professional. adjective.

But what does that mean? I have a job that requires a special skill. Who says the skill is special? Who says I have the skill? When will I know? And then, what will I really know?

As I quizzed a couple of colleagues our conversation about “professional” really devolved into a discussion of “professionalism. This seemed to make more sense . . . “reliability, discretion, evenhandedness and fair price.” So what did our conversation produce?

More words, sentences and questions.

A jumble of ideas.

Here was the definition of professionalism that we were talking about.


The statusmethodscharacter or standards expected of a professional or of a professional organization, such as reliabilitydiscretionevenhandedness, and fair play. noun

I started a T chart. Professionalism is … Professionalism is not …

But it remained empty.

According to whom?


Social expectations?

Peer groups>

Twitter Know it ALLs?

Twitter Know Nothings?

We were talking in circles.

I called a “Time Out”. We each began to work on our own individual lists. We would reconvene our “group think” after we did the work individually.

My first draft:

Our next step before group discussion: Talk about this with peers and report back . . .

How do you define professionalism? What makes your “is” list? What makes your “is not list”?


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#SOL21: Transition

Merriam-Webster Link

Transitions abound.

Sunday was Halloween and a night filled with sugared costumed kids out on the town.

Monday was an even higher sugar buzz as kiddos snacked on those Halloween goodies before school.

Tuesday is the beginning of the downside of the sugar mountain.

And the rest of the week … The downward spiral continues.

Come Sunday … a new transition.

A loss of one hour.

Ushering in the dark morning travel

And returning home in the dark.

Fewer hours of daylight that are truly “free” of scheduled work or activities for many.

Morning folks may rejoice as the sunrise seems closer to the start of the day.

Night folks may rejoice as darkness seems to stretch out the nights.

Totally a transition . . . students will be cranky and out of sync.

Changing rhythms.




What transitions are impacting your life? Seasons? Weather temps? Family?


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#SOL21: Probability

What does it mean?

100% Probability was the label.



For the next hour?

For the next day?

A quick peek confirms.

100% now . . . for sure!

Driving on the interstate

100% probability that my windshield would fog over with the controls still on AC. Not cool.

100% probability that a semi would pass another below the speed limit.

100% probability that someone would slow down to 20 below the speed limit.

And then another “sporadic shower”


100% continuous!

What else in life is 100% probability?

100%; your fingers will be orange after eating nacho chips.

100%; you will need a napkin for buttery fingers after movie theater popcorn.

100% . . .

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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#SOL21: Gratitude

Thank you, teachers.

Thank you for your passion.

Thank you for your curiosity.

Thank you for your joy.

Thank you for your willingness to stretch and grow.

This quote is my current favorite. So many folks think it. It’s officially in the world.

All readers deserve instruction from a skilled teacher but this book is specific based on the needs of emergent readers. They need MORE connections and practices across the day and fewer 10 or 15 minutes of isolated, segmented drudgery. Teachers uplifting JOY as they work to provide the best learning environments possible. That’s the key to success,

Thank you, Carolyn and Susan! And Stenhouse.

Want to know more?

#G2Great chat archive Link

Literacy Lenses blog post by Dr. Mary Howard Link

“intentional” . . . current favorite word!

What are you thanking teachers for as they prepare to enter the third year of schooling disrupted with stress over COVID surges? What are your reading professionally? Where do you find your JOY?


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#SOL21: Milestones

Which one?

85158? The conundrum of a palindrome as the numbers keep adding up and up.

921 E. 2nd ? Home away from home. A landing spot.

1835 Orange Avenue

This post will be my 900th post. Never did I ever imagine that I would write 900 posts. Never did I imagine these posts would continue to be written on a weekly (or more) basis. More on this number next week!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

How did numbers impact my days?

A week’s worth of driving. Sorting, labeling, sifting through artifacts, dreams and days gone by. Rooms cleared. Boxes packed out. And still more rooms. Ad infinitum.

Numbers where I stayed. Numbers where I worked. Numbers while I drove. Numbers pounding away every day.

Until finally, an end in sight.

Binary choices?

  • Done? Not done? Where was “good enough”?
  • Making decisions. Not making decisions. Extremes in thoughts and actions.
  • Asking for advice. Some replies. Many texts and messages ignored.

Goal: Task completion

Closing the door on the empty family house of fifty years. Holding tight to memories. Letting go of stuff.

What “stuff” can you let go of? What memories shall you hold instead? How do we continue to move forward in the best possible ways? Beginnings? Endings? Cycles continue.


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