Category Archives: Writing

#SOL20: What If?

What If?

What does it look like if/when students resume classes in school buildings?

China Link

Denmark Link

Maybe this?

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Or this?

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Or this?

What will school look like?

What will students look like?

How will everyone be safe? secure? and ready to learn?

Who makes those determinations?

From Sarah Gross and a superintendent in New Jersey: Link 91 questions.

What If?

It’s hard to plan for the future

So many uncertainties

So many possibilities

So many paths

Too early to choose

So many uncertainties.



Dream of “best case” solutions.

What is your plan?

What will you do in the interim while waiting for decisions?

What questions are swirling in your brain?

What if students, communities, and school staff planned collaboratively?

What do you envision?

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

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How many devices?

Daily writing withdrawals are real after 31 straight days of posting with #SOLSC20.  This morning I thought I would return to my pre-March schedule of early morning reading and writing. But my brain has been puzzled by an “off kilter feeling.” The last two days have felt disconcerting and uncomfortable as I navigated Zoom links, a Trail Guide and learning via distance media.

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WHY was it so difficult?

My standard process is to listen and absorb with my chromebook as my note taking device and my phone as a snapshot archivist and a tool for tweeting.  During this institute, my chromebook is my source of information – auditory and visual – as well as the navigation to move from session to session.

That moved my phone to note taking duties. Simple enough as my google doc was all set up with time frames,  speakers, and links.  Yet I was not prepared to enter all my notes on that teeny, tiny keyboard. Not. prepared. at. all. No tweeting during learning. Still in new learning management mode. Off kilter. Stressed.

What I missed most?

Saving seats for friends. Sitting in the front row. Checking in with a friend to make sure my notes were accurate.


Distance learning

Is not just a change in location

It’s a change in processing

It’s a change in responding

The new reality . . .

Safe learning is hard!

Change is hard!

How many devices do I need for a remote learning institute?

One for viewing that allows me to participate in break out rooms and see all the visuals.  A second device is needed for recording notes and thoughts as I process the information.  And the surprising third device in order to connect with attendees, tweet out words of wisdom, and look up additional resources. Bandwidth limitations that cause Zoom to freeze rule out the practicality of having three simultaneously connected devices, but that’s my dream. Learning. Sharing. Thinking. All from a Virtual Literacy Institute!

How has a virtual world impacted your learning as a facilitator or as a learner?  What words of wisdom can you share?


#SOLSC20: Day 31

The last day of March heralds the last day of required consecutive blogging. for my seventh year of slicing.  Blogging is a comfortable habit. Most days my blog posts are efficiently and effectively drafted, revised and posted. Most. days.  But then there are those days when technology reminds me who is really in charge.

So for the last day, an old but comfortable format.

Link 1 from 2017

Link 2 from 2016

Link 3 from 2015

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Waiting impatiently for my coffee to brew.

Rejoicing in the silence.

Peering into the zero dark thirty for an indication of the weather today.

Checking my links for today’s Zoom meetings.

Wondering how I lost the link to yesterday’s 5 pm Zoom session.

Mentally checking to see if my google doc is set up for my notes.

Counting off the number of Zoom sessions for today as well as my list to see if I REALLY have all my links.

Reviewing the  pages of photo album “scrap booked” for the great niece graduate.

Reading the next stack of “sorted” pictures to see if they are all alike.

Wishing I had the Trail Guide printed out so I didn’t have to jump from tab to tab (says the Queen of 101+ open tabs)!

Absorbing the heat from my coffee cup with both hands.

Checking my Flair pens to see what other colors work well on my blue paper.

Sifting mentally through ideas for today’s slice.

Bouncing from task to task to task.

Previewing my 801st blog post.

Rereading to see if the post makes sense!

Pushing the publish button for today.

What are you doing, currently? 

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 30

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So many ways to learn online . . .

This notice pops up on my FB timeline:

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These three notices were on Twitter.

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And I can read professional books.

These are just a few of the books that I am currently re-reading as I plan for this #G2Great learning opportunity this week.

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What is your learning plan for today? 

What is your learning plan for the week? 

Where do your ideas/information come from?

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 27

BUT . . .

I don’t know how to make a quilt. I have seen them in various stages.  I remember my hair being sewn into a quilt when I was five and playing under the quilt as the aunts and cousins quilted.  I know some of the processes and skills, but I lack the practical knowledge that comes from making a quilt. I can’t . . .  I don’t . . .

But do I have the requisite skills and knowledge?

But can I really do this _____?

Last week I sewed my first quilt top. I bought a piece of fabric that just absolutely screamed my grandson’s name. I consulted to see what form it might take. And then I took that hard first step. I bought more fabric and committed to a pattern. Luckily I turned to an expert for the cutting. Constantly checking the two pages of directions. . . Reading, rereading, re-calculating where I changed the pattern. (Gasp!) Was it brave or foolish to modify a pattern that I had never used?

BUT . . .  Such a little word, but so important as it often adds a caution and perhaps stops further study or action.

BUT . . . Maybe it will remove doubt. Or free your mind. Maybe it will be the source of inspiration, perspiration, or innovation . . .

Here is one example from page 15 of the free chapter.

Entry into Writing Workshop

Do I need to teach the steps of the writing process before beginning writing workshop?

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Not if it adds major stress to your current life.

BUT, what if writing workshop actually reduced screen time for you, your students, and/or your students’ families?  Support students with WHAT they need.  Don’t second guess. Have them show their writing. Begin where they are.

The style and format of this book puts authors Katherine Bomer and Corinne Arens by your side as your virtual teaching assistants to help you think about Time, Choice, and Response!

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Check out this free chapter from Heinemann here.

Check out the Wakelet from the #G2Great chat on 3/26/2020 here.

How can you use “But…?” to answer questions, clarify, and move to action? 

How can “But…?” become a source of power in your life?

Watch and listen to how you use “But…” in your life!

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 21


Right now,

I would be sitting in the front row.,

Reading the schedule,

Making my plan,

Saving seats for friends.

Right now,

I would be anticipating our welcome,

Words of wisdom

Designed to elevate our thinking

And bringing us together in solidarity.

Right now,

I would be awestruck

In the ambiance and grandeur

Of my surroundings in Riverside Church.

Right now,

I would be poised to learn,

With four thousand plus friends,

Instead I am reviewing notes and connecting with previous posts.

Right now,

I am finding my own learning path,

Focusing on joy,

Envisioning our future

With high expectations

Empowering students, families, and teachers . . .

In our new current reality imposed by COVID-19.

Right now,

Adding some humor . . .

Checking in with Mary Ehrenworth and

5 things you should NOT DO when filming a mini lesson (Adult Humor) – Link

           My Saturday Reunion “learning fix”.


Right now,

Call a friend,

Write a note,

Reach out and contact someone.

Strengthen your relationships and find a reason to laugh


What grounds you?

How are you staying connected?

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 20

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I pulled my chrome book out of its case and plugged it in.

Power?  Good.

Connection?  Good.

The scroll across the bottom of the TV caught my eye as a rumble filled the air.

Oh, yeah, severe storm alert today.


Tornado alert.

And my county.


I don’t have time for the internet to be interrupted.

I have a Twitter chat tonight and I need to change out two slides.

Pre-tweet moved.

Original tweet deleted.

Message to the team; “Not available for any task tonight.”

Thunder continued to rumble.

And then pound, pound, pound.

Down came the hail.

Bouncing up to a foot off the ground.

Solid balls of ice.

Chipped balls of ice.




Now, hailing!


Good thing I needed to be inside tonight.

Too bad I didn’t get out in the 63 degree weather earlier this afternoon.

It was a long night.

I put my chrome book back in the case.

It was a dark and stormy night.

When does the beginning of your story match the ending?

How does that make you (the reader) feel? 

Where might you try this craft move?

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 16

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 How do you define it?

Quickly, jot down your ideas or say them to yourself.  How do you define text?

The Ides of March #rrchat hosted by Aeriale Johnson did not disappoint.  It was packed with learning and stretched participants to dig deeply into their own practices and beliefs.




  • Hard cover, paper back, and e-books.
  • Picture books, graphic novels, chapter books, of all genres.
  • Poetry in various collections.


  • Magazines
  • Comics
  • Infographics
  • Text messages
  • Anything that has been “written”

Environmental print:

  • Signs
  • Ads
  • Maps


  • Art whether drawings, paintings, or murals.
  • Music whether written on paper or improvised on the fly.
  • Video whether documentary, personal or big dollar releases.
  • Texting whether print or filled with memes and emoticons.
  • Responses on social media whether texts, likes or retweets.
  • Conversations whether oral, F2F, or recorded in messages.

And then the grayer areas . . . the overlapping areas . . . and the questioning . . .

Is this text?  Why would this be text?

And then the light bulb moment . . . Are these only the “formats” for text.

In the bigger sense, what is the purpose or goal of text?

Here is what Aeriale proposed as a definition in the #rrchat.

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I commented in the chat that the notion of “materials” as text was new to me but yet thinking about plants, I realized that plants “can be read” as far as drooping = water? / don’t water? or repot? / don’t repot?.  Hmm.

Back to the beginning and your jotting or telling. What have you added to your thinking around “What are texts?”

Asking and answering questions are a critical skill. How can you use them to grow your knowledge base? 

What are texts? 

What did you add to your definition?

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

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#SOLSC20: Day 15

Beginning . . .

Parents and Caregivers

Where should I begin if I am a parent/caregiver and I am thinking about planning for activities with my children while they are on break from school?  Of course it will depend upon their ages, the amount of time to be spent, my goals, and the expectations from school. Here’s an example of a “Task Board” that I might share with parents of primary students. This task board only includes six sources (all hyperlinked if you use the link below the picture) to narrow the focus. If this board was an initial template, the caregivers could then consider the devices that their children would use and type of access:  QR code, link on home page, folder of activities for that child or even some form of a schedule/routine to be collaboratively constructed. And equity especially for access . . . Only one of these choices requires student access to technology and that is the drawing one which would be available on phones.

One idea for beginning conversations . . .

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Screenshot 2020-03-14 at 11.36.41 PMLink to download this Parent/Caregivers Elementary Task Board Here.

For additional ideas, you might go back to the resources listed here to add in different links/choices.

Criteria Considered for Students Aged 4-8 (PK-2)

1. Planning for activities at home:

  • Kristi Mraz and Dr. Nathan Lang-Read resources

2. Include choices in inside/outside activities and academic/nonacademic

  • At Home Learning

3. Include art / drawing

  • Draw Every Day (online)

4. Include reading/thinking

  • PBS – Molly of Denali

5. Include writing

  • Lynne Dorfman and TWT

What is your focus?

What criteria would you use to determine your needs at this time?

How will you match children’s needs and your goals?

What would you add to an “Intro” parent/caregiver Task Board? 


Wow, check out Clare Landrigan’s post today – Dear Parents (Link)

And visual family schedule from Katie Muhtaris (Link)

Jarrett Learner:  Finish the Comics (printer needed, (Link)

Mo Willems:  Lunch Doodles (Link)

Over 30 Virtual Field Trips (Link)

Homework – Karen  (Link)

Time for Kids Free Digital Library – Access (Link)

25 Ideas Non-Screen Activities At Home – (30 day trial)



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

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#SOLSC20: Day 14

Maybe your school has spring break. Maybe you have an extended break.  Maybe you are planning for some online delivery of instruction/contact with your students.  Here is a collection of resources for you to peruse.

If lists make you crazy because you have to make decisions, think about your needs first.  What do you want?  What do you need?  What supports are you looking for that will enable your students to engage with some academics and yet have a life?

Maybe then you need some “Author” resources, Drawing with Jarrett, and 1 professional resource?

Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris – Read the World  – April, 2019 (Links)

Kristi Mraz:  Setting up independent work at home (Link)

Olivia Van Ledtje:  Are you helping kids learn from home?  Liv’s LIst Coronavirus (Link)

Kate Messner:  Read, Wonder and Learn Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share (Link)

Authors Everywhere: YouTube (Link)

Yo Yo Ma:  Songs of Comfort (Link)

Kids Ask Authors (Link)


Pernille Ripp – Picture Books Read Alouds Blog Post (Link)

@TESPAtalk – 6:30 pm Monday – Friday Read Alouds Live on FB (Link)

Kids’ Corner – MGLit  (Link)

Draw Every Day with JJK (Jarrett J Krosoczka – YouTube (Link)

Museums Online:  Virtual Tours (Link)

Writing Resources:

Tammy  Mulligan – Daily Writing Camp with Hoppy and Ranger (Link)

Kate de Camillo – Writing  (Link)

Lynne Dorfman:  How to Help Young Writers- Suggestions for Parents  (Link)

SeeSaw:  Remote Learning for Teachers (Link)

Resources for Teaching OnLine (Link)

Jen Roberts:  Apps and Solutions Recommended for Distance Learning (Link)              *Parlay Ideas with an Online Round Table


Kylene Beers – Facebook Live Monday, March 16, from 3:00-3:30 ET, 2:00-2:30 CT (Link)Scott Bayer – Shifts in Your Practice – Blended Learning (50 min. video Link)

NCTE –  Resources: Virtual Instruction (Link)

CUNE – Distance Literacy Resources for Educators (Link)

Remote Learning with Flipgrid (Link)

Family Learning:  Flipgrid (Link)

NewsELA: Free for the remainder of the year (Link)

Scholastic:  Learn at Home (Link)

Common Sense (Link) –

  • Media recommendations for entertainment
  • Resources for at-home learning
  • Stress Management Resources

Nick Hoover Free Educational Resources – Spreadsheet (Link)

At home learning – Dr. Nathan Lang-Read

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Brave Writer: Free At home resources (Link)

Where will you begin?   

What are your most pressing needs?


(See Day 15 here for thinking about how this could go at home for parents/caregivers  and more resources)

(See this post for ideas on where to start as a teacher facing online instruction, “Four Strategies for Effective Online Instruction.” Thank you,  Matt Renwick.  Link)

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

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