Tag Archives: grace

#SOLSC20: Day 19

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I have this dream . . .

“Time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is . . .”  – Rolling Stones

The lyrics of this song bounced through my brain. Where or why it appeared is a mystery.  Perhaps a bit of anxiety . . . seven weeks. I’m making progress, but is it enough? Am I on target to meet my deadline?

It doesn’t look like much but two panels are sewn so I have navigated all the planning stages and moved into assembly. Probably 1/16th of the way. Making progress. Slowly. Assembly is not so much about sewing as it is about the ironing. Ironing before sewing. Ironing after sewing. Ironing out the previous fold marks.

This will be the last picture until the top is put together. These are just two of the four center squares framed once. JUST the first 10 pieces fitted together. About 37 more to go.

Screenshot 2020-03-19 at 12.25.55 AMMathematically speaking, does that mean four more days?

Nice trivia, but what’s the point?

Well, assembly of a quilt is complicated . . . if you have never made one before. When the learning is new and the learner is a novice, we often talk about the gradual release of responsibility. Some modeling or inquiry to check knowledge, eventually leading to practice and independence.

I used to, in another century, before my son, sew a lot. I made a lot of my clothes and many, many craft items as gifts as well. I mistakenly thought that sewing would be like riding a bike . . . a skill that I would quickly regain. But that was a different type of fabric, a different machine, and a time when I sewed regularly.

Which comes first:  competence or confidence?

Today I was confident that I could whip through quarter inch seams, pressing fabric, and assembling squares. But I was not competent.  Not. Even. Close.

I had many questions. I needed to mark a 1/4 inch line on the sewing machine so that I was not sewing 3/8 inch seams or 1/8 inch seams. I needed a coach to double check my measurements and give me feedback.  I needed to talk through my understanding of the written directions. I could look at the directions and the pictures but what did it mean? I have one page of directions for assembly. That page is more than adequate for a quilter; not so for a novice!


I asked a lot of questions. When in doubt, I ironed before stitching. I  ironed after stitching. I trimmed threads . . . and thread . . . and threads.  I slowed down to double check. And, of course, when trouble happened and the upper thread snapped in the first inch of the best sewn 16 inch strip, the air turned blue with the thoughts bouncing around in my brain. It was time to get a drink and get up and move in order to remove myself from the situation.

I had to give myself grace to make mistakes on a scrap of fabric.

I had to give myself space when it didn’t work as I expected.

I had to get some feedback.

I had to talk about my understanding of what I was going to do so my drafting matched my planning.

I had to give myself more time when I “anxioused” about the result.

Why does this matter?

Isn’t this the same respect that ALL of our students deserve every day?

What happens when “the dream” hits a pothole?

How do you get back on track?

How do you model your learning for your students?

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

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#SOL19: What Counts?

What do I read?

Mail, Blogs, Tweets, Chapters . . . and Books

I have always envied those who kept a list and reported out like Regie Routman here, here and here. Currently many are reporting out #BookADay now on Twitter or Facebook. For more information about #BookADay created by Jillian Heise in 2014 go here.

So during the winter break I decided one goal of mine was going to be to “celebrate” my reading in 2019.  And of course that would mean that I had to keep track of it somehow. So being ever mindful of this quote, I’m tracking my reading. (Note the key word: I)

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William Bruce Cameron


We aren’t quite to the midpoint of the year, but here is what my reading life looks like through most of May  . . .

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Search for a “balance” with NF labels a la Melissa Stewart

I’ve written about reading goals before here, but I found that round chart didn’t have enough spaces for my book count.  Holding on to one single list has not been helpful. I create stacks of the “done” books and record them every two, or three or four weeks. Based on my records thus far for 2019, I believe that I can confirm that I am a voracious reader.  But are there other ways to display the data as I think of students who want to make sense of their own reading lives.

So again this week, I saw a tweet that caught my eye about reading circle graphs and I replied. And then the learning began when Steve Peterson (@Steve1Peterson) replied with the fact that Excel and Google Sheets could make radar graphs.

And the same data above looks like this.  Fiction = 72, Nonfiction  = 52, Professional  = 50.

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This graph is quite interesting.  Having all professional books in one category quickly made it into an outlier in this format.  Five of the 10 remaining categories were in the 20-ish category with four in the single digits and only one category reporting a zero. (Radar chart)

No external pressure other than the public announcement.

No public accountability required.

No summative assessment.

Just recording a snippet from my life . . .

I am Wondering . . .

Is my reading varied enough?  

Varied enough? The good news is that I still have time to have a mid-course correction.  I will purposefully pick up some titles for those four single digit categories.  (And I am already plotting to combine some so that I will have fewer gaps – Yes, manipulating the categories.)

What does not show in this data?

What does concern me is that the data does not show my growth.  This year I have made a conscious effort to read more graphic novels, cartoons, and even narrative prose. Those books are represented in the totals for F and narrative NF but not as separate categories because they are not separate genres.   

What else?

The data also doesn’t share my frustration that tracking my books read over a year is cumbersome.  It’s easy to make a “pile” when reading at home.  But when I’m not there where and when do I record the data?  Do I really only have one list?  NOPE!  I have some post-its with some scribbles, some lists in my Kindle app, and who knows what else!

The lesson here was to give myself grace. My list does NOT have to be perfect.  The data is for me. It’s not a “controlled study” so error is fine.

So my final advice to myself . . .

Take a breath.

Take another breath.



Where, why, and when might giving yourself “grace” free up positive energy? 

When could you TRY something without trying it “forever”( so you have room to modify to match the needs)? 

When will you commit to JUST being the best that you can

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

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