Category Archives: Writing

#SOL21: In Olden Days #TCRWP Saturday Reunion

In the olden days, we were taken to church

And now we peer intently at squares on screens

A first blog post about the 88th . . . Link

Now blogging about the 100th.

Announcements from Lucy Calkins while the pews are filling.

Time ticking down, waiting for attendees to log in.

Rushing from session to session, even sitting on the floors,

Exiting out of a session, clicking on a new link . . .

Packing a lunch so as not to miss a single precious moment

Quickly grabbing a snack and moving to keep the brain engaged.

Planned events with Slicers and friends,

Scheduling solo or partner “virtual watches”

Inspiring Keynotes

Inspiring Keynotes










Thank you,


Mo Willems and a Pigeon

Jason Reynolds and




Community of Learners

Community of Learners









Front row seat

Front row seat









What am I willing to do to increase the momentum? (No “Loss”; No “Acceleration”) Your Turn: What commonalities and differences did you find?

And so the 100th TCRWP Saturday Reunion began . . .


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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Formatting issues again . . .

#SOL21: Poetry Revisited

Who knew? Our 9th grade class published a student poetry anthology with a front cover, back cover and pages of ditto-copied poetry fading in between.

On page 5 my poem sits. My inked signature, scrawled across the words, lines barely discernible, requires repetition to be read with any accuracy, and even then does it make as much sense as when it was written. What’s my take on poetry? Remember these models: I Hate Poetry. I Love Poetry. (LINK)

To Wear or Not to Wear

(Formatted . . . )

  • – – – – – – – – – –

I do remember using this format in a high school writing class to pen the most eloquent . . .

To Write or Not to Write

I was a firm believer in imitation.

Poetry: I can take it or leave it (Link)

What’s your take on poetry?


A frill?

A Luxury?



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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Writing Relics

Covered in dust,

filled with manila envelopes

Folders of stapled work

Some identified by grade level

Some not.

Size 11 boot box.

Not mine.

But my name in cursive on the top of the box.

With a listing of some of the contents.

A science project.

An A+.

No idea of the criteria.

No idea of the grade level.

20 types of leaves.

All identified.

Was it a family project?

Those 20 trees were not all on our property.


A description

Saran Wrap and Tape

Holding the leaves for decades

And then some art work.

Screen print

Of the shape of the leaf.




Integrating writing into content areas,

Circa 1960s.

What do your examples of writing show as far as a pedagogical / curricular influence? What evidence guides your thinking?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Slicing Inspiration

Where do ideas come from?

It depends.

Do I already have an idea in my mind? Do I like that idea? Or is it my “I’ll settle for that idea if a burst of inspiration does not hit me before it’s time to push the publish button.

Today felt different.

I didn’t have an idea in mind. (I had many ideas circulating but no ONE idea.) I didn’t have a draft written before the “call to slicers” was posted. So the inspiration came from sleeping on/with this idea on my mind.

Writing . . .

Stepping back




And therefore, being most present.

Examples from this summer include these two volunteers in my sister’s garden. . .


Silently growing

And then blooming


Claiming space

Stretching, growing

Volunteering to create


In unexpected spaces.

Today a petunia and a sunflower are the same.


When have you been most present? How do you KNOW? What is your plan to be MORE present?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Books Make Me

On Thursday, July 22nd, Penny Kittle interviewed Kwame Alexander for BookLove. It was a feast of:



mutual admiration with

Penny reading poetry and

Kwame reading poetry.


One of the ideas shared was the community poems that Kwame has written/curated recently. You can hear “This is Our Dream” at this NPR link.

We were challenged to write our own lines to a prompt proposed by Ann Marie Stephens . . .

“Books Make Me”

Books make me

Soar high above the clouds

Drifting along, tugged by the wind, escaping gravity.

Books make me

Crawl into the shoes

And psyches of characters as they live in their stories.

Books make me

Respond. I might:

Cry, Scream, Laugh, Pound, Question, Wonder and Think.

Books make me

Rush to collect those “just published” ones

That entice me with the fresh ink and new learning!

Books make me

Yearn for conversations

With authors, readers, and writers to pick up on nuances contained.

Books make me reread

Slowing down

Savoring the ideas, thoughts, and words of the author, both spoken and unspoken.

Books make me curl up on rainy days

To maximize every second

Of freedom to read and relax with my choice of text.

Books make me travel to places

Near and far

In my imagination and other times and places.

Books make me swoon

A well-written phrase

A well-developed character or even an old friend who is captivating.

Books make me aware

Of just how much I don’t know

And encourage me to dig in and satisfy my curiosity.

But most of all,

Books make me . . . me!

What line(s) would you add? How could you use this format? What will your prompt look like?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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“Poetry is literature’s multivitamin . . . ”

#SOL21: Summer Learning

Reading. Wriing. Thinking.

So many great books out there.

What am I reading this summer?

Here are some of the professional books that I shared with the “BookLove” community last week!

What I am rereading . . .

RereadsThe Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K-5 : A Hands-on Guide to Child- Centered, Equitable Instruction by Corter, Kelsey Marie (9781071840641) |  BrownsBfS

New Reads . . .


Speakers that I am listening to . . .

What are you reading? writing? thinking? What are you listening to? How is your plan working? Are you working your plan?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#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:




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.

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#SOLSC21: Change

Collecting quotes and inspiration remains my constant.

“You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler.”

Magnifying Glass, 03.30.2021.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

Habits changed.

I wrote and commented every day during the month of March.

That’s a change that I have been a part of for eight years.

By the end of March, my fear of the “publish” button is lessened.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

My beliefs remain constant.

Teachers of writing must be writers.

Participating in the TWT March #SOL is one way for teachers to write in a community.

This graphic from Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum (The Responsive Writing Teacher) says so much!

But teachers of writing must also be readers and commenters, too.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

I am a writer.

What have you practiced for 31 days? Writing? Feedback Comments? Drafting More Mentor Texts? What’s your plan?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. The community is so supportive! Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: What is a Saturday Reunion?

This set of pictures popped up as a six year memory today and is quite worthy of attention.

The year 2015.

The location: Broadway and Millbank Chapel

A day of learning at the Saturday Reunion at #TCRWP.

My first post about the day is here.

What is a Saturday Reunion?

Approximately 4,000 educators from around the world

Descending on TCRWP

For hundreds of free sessions

From some of the smartest educators in the world!

Friends traveling miles.

The picture above includes

Friends from New Jersey, California and me, Iowa.

Friends learning together.

Checking the schedule and attending sessions together.

Friends chatting,

Meeting each other in real life.

Friends exchanging ideas,

And double checking our notes

As well as the ubiquitous “turn and talks.”

Friends meeting for dinner after,

Lingering for another word

Another minute of like-minded company!

What is a Saturday Reunion?

  • Challenging
  • Collaborative
  • Future-focused
  • Goal-oriented
  • Grounded in practice
  • Relevant
  • Sustained

And above all . . . A “choose your own pathway for learning and fun for the day.”

Saturdays . . .

Not just a day off

Not just a day to reflect

Because Saturday Reunions are endless days of possibilities!

When have you chosen to spend Saturdays learning with friends? What were the convincing arguments? What were the benefits?


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

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#SOLSC21: Depending on when you met me

I’ve returned to this invitation three times, so it literally is time to act. Leigh Ann Eck issued an invitation to a party with an ID required here and in Margaret’s post here. This is my fourth draft. I’m not ready to call it a final copy yet.

Depending on when you met me, I might have been: that kindergarten student hiding in the classroom during reading class as I devoured the books; that first grade student who read all the books on the single first grade shelf who wasn’t allowed to read books from other shelves; that first grade artist with a purple sky, red sun, and green and purple blooming flowers who watched her teacher tear up her paper, that third grade student who recopied her “When I Grow Up” story in red ink so the teacher could not red ink the page, that middle school reader who read Alcott, Hemingway, Henry James, and Tolstoy (to name a few) as I read my way alphabetically through the fiction stacks, that sophomore in high school who wrote “To Wear or Not to Wear” to question the school dress code; that college student who questioned authority and arbitrary rules; that special ed teacher who questioned rule exceptions that had 28 students in my resource room program (limit was 18); or that adult who continues to ask WHY?

Draft # 1 As I read it for at least the tenth time, I reflected again on the job roles that were a great portion of the list. I felt it lacked “interest” and any real coherence for the reader (Boring list) or the writer (icky list)!

Depending on when you met me I might have been: a middle child, a child with her nose in a book, an egg gatherer, a tree waterer, a bike rider, a knitter, a teacher of religion classes, a cousin, a bass player, an international traveler, a student desperately trying to fit in balancing school and work, and work, and work, a transfer student, a marching band afficiando, a teacher, a researcher, an inquisitive soul who craved deeper understanding, a cross stitcher, a professional development provider, a teacher, a college instructor, a mom a learner, a principal, a consultant, a speaker, a listener, a writer, a grandmother, and a quilter.

Which version did you prefer and why?

When and where do you share writing drafts and finished product? How do you model revisions for your students?

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