Tag Archives: process

#SOL22: prep

It’s time.

What will I need? It depends. How do I envision this next task?

To prep for a workshop, I brainstorm ideas, collect pictures and write. First draft. Flash draft. Fast and furious. It’s about all the possibilities. Where does my mind go? I record them all. The easy. The hard. The simple. The complex. The more the better. Than back to the outcome. What do folks need to know and be able to do at the end of our time.

And then I cut.



Yes. No.

No maybes.

No indeciseness.

This process has stood me in good steed for many different types of work for many years. There’s a collecting/ gathering and then a cutting/winnowing. Back to the basics. And often because of the brainstorming . . .

there’s a new twist or focus.

It’s time.

By the time next week’s blog is posted, I’ll be winging it …

En route to …

A week’s worth of learning with colleagues and meeting new friends face to face

And non-stop chattering with lifelong friends.

It’s time.

First round of packing.

What will I take.

Even with carry on,

I’m always guilty of over packing.

No more talking.

It’s time.

1st round: Enough clothes for 11 days instead of six. Revision time. What process do you use over and over and over?


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

#SOL21: And Next . . .

“Five more minutes to finish this, and then two minutes to tidy up,

And then I am done for tonight.”

That’s my announcement. Great work session. Making progress. But it’s almost 11 pm and it’s time to shut down for the night.

‘Tis the season. Flurries twice. Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror. December arrives shortly. And . . .

I’m done with all my big Christmas presents. They are out of my hands. Some will still have some finishing touches, perhaps some embellishment. And ah, yes, some binding. But the initial creations are done.

Tonight I had a leisurely opportunity to work on some squares for my own quilt. My first quilt. My first real project for myself.

It began with a quilt in a shop. I snapped a picture. I was looking for a square to use for my KISS block at Quilt Club. The quilt grew on me. Not exactly as in the format in my picture but that basic plan.


Design the square.


Find coordinating fabrics

(And not those PASTELS in the original)

Three coordinating fabrics in each color.

(Took two shops!)

Organize the purple, blue, green, red, and yellows.

Revise the quilt square pattern.

Start sewing.

Two strips and then cut to a 3″ by 5.5″ rectangle.

Sew 2 rectangles together to form a square with black squares ascending.

Carefully trim.

Keeping the parts of the block square from the beginning is important!

Match each assembled block with a medium block in a coordinating color.

A partial look at the rows.

I did not see the original name. I consider the possibilities for a name for the quilt top. I called it stepping up as the black steps rise up into heaven. There will be alternating rows. Right now I’m leaning towards a 10 ” by 10″ pattern.

Approximately 100 squares. 50 plain and 50 of these sewn squares. No deadlines YET. 18 squares sewn! (36% of the sewn squares are already completed!)

My creative endeavor. Maybe it will be done in 2022 . . . or not! Here are the four squares just added.

When do you create something for yourself? What’s your process? How do you set goals?


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

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#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.

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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.

#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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#SOL20: Gifting

My purchase made, I was ready to exit the store. I sat on the bench at the front of the store and reflected on my purchases of yardage and fat quarters.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere. I studied the wall hanging with 35 different pumpkins. And then I spotted this piece.

After six months of sewing, this piece is my sister. Green is her favorite and is seen in the color of her house. But the fall colors ARE my sister’s frequent choices.

The next fabric that caught my eye was this panel of pumpkins. The pattern matched in basic colors and themes.

With a possible front and back for a project, I was ready to commit to a hand-crafted gift. I had an idea about a possible fabric already in my stash but I did need one more piece. A quick survey of the store turned up this interesting stripe.

This rich stripe was the ultimate coup d’grace. And like that I was back in the checkout lane for a second purchase.

Process:  A second look, a “re-read” of the initial fabric display.                                               A purpose.                                                                                                                       A targeted audience.                                                                                                     A generated idea.                                                                                                           Background knowledge.                                                                                               Clear intentions/expectations.                                                                                     Time.

Just a few of the precursors of a craft endeavor.  Similar to the writing process. Also existing in many creative processes.                 

And last night I gifted my sister with this completed quilted table runner. You may note that the gold was not in my purchase as it was an earlier find for other similar projects.

And the reversible back side looks like this.


The design and construction went fairly quickly as I have completed over a dozen table runners.

The gift was completed three days early. On her birthday this Thursday, my sister and her daughter will celebrate. I appreciate that I could complete the construction of this gift on Sunday and Monday. In advance. And in a timely manner.

What processes do you honor? 

When do you attempt idea generation? 

How do you continue to learn? 

How do you “name” your work?

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

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Repeated Reading: A Cycle

This is Part 5 and the final in a series about Repeated Reading.  But it could be about any popular  research-based strategy.  It should be!

Student Learning is the Focus. All decisions about resources, including time and money, are based on the cycle of learning. Not just “buying stuff.”  Not just “here’s a PD day to fill.” Not just “what do we like?”

Beginning with student learning. Students at the center of the decisions.  Student Learning driving ALL decision-making!

“Core Beliefs:

o All students can learn.
o The purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement.
o Professional development should be collective learning by all teachers and administrators with an emphasis on improving instruction.”

What is the process?

I. Set a Goal

2. Selection of Content which includes Checking the Research (Part 1)

3. Design a Process for Professional Development/Learning (Part 4)

4. Teaching / Learning Opportunities – Checking in (Part 2) What do teachers                need to learn?  How will they learn it?  How can we set some measurable                targets?

5. Collaboration / Implementation

6.  Ongoing Data Collection including Listen to the Students (Part 3)

7. Program Evaluation – Going back to the teacher data in Part 4:  Has there been       growth? How do we know?

8. Collecting / Analyzing Student Data – Is the gap closing? Are students growing          more capable?  Are students more independent?

Always, Always, Always keeping students at the Center!

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Also blogged about here

What does the model say?

Participative decision-making

Not just one person making a decision

Not just one person buying a “box of something”

Not just one person saying, “go forth and use this”

The process would be to study the research, consider the needs and then make a decision based on resources, match to student population, cost to implement, and time frame needed for results. Consider the status quo, set up a plan for professional learning, and then get started while watching for checkpoints across the journey.

It looks and sounds easy. It’s not. It’s messy. Forward two steps and back one. People. Temperaments. Knowledge. All impact implementation plans.

But with STUDENT LEARNING (not achievement) at the center, the focus is on the right thing!

Are you focused on learning? 

Are you focused on achievement? 

Which one has life-long implications?

Which one no longer matters after students finally walk out the school doors?




#SOL18: Assessment


What do we value?  Product? Process? Reflection?

It began with a conversation on Voxer.

How do we know?

My #OLW, Curious, led me on an interesting quest.

So how does this work in real life?

The first group began.  All brass. They blew a few sounds through their mouthpieces.  They were newcomers. Section by section. Each small group played. Then the entire brass group played two songs.

Same process for the woodwinds.  A few sounds. Section by section sound off.  Then the entire woodwind group played two songs.




The Premiere of THE 5th Grade Beginning Band (copied from the program) then played two songs.  Their first practice together – the brass and the woodwinds. Their first practice EVER. During a performance.  In front of a gym packed with family and friends. 

How would you assess this 5th grade group in their first public appearance?


The number of students that participated? 

How the three groups sounded?


How they have grown in the six weeks since 5th grade band began?

What comparisons would you make between assessing this instrumental group and other “assessments of 5th grade learners?”

I watched instrumental musicians last night representing grades 5-12 in the Central DeWitt school district.  This was my second consecutive year to attend the fall Parade of Bands. It’s a 90 minute extravaganza led by two directors that showcases the performance levels of students in October each year. This year that was a total of 325 band students in grades 5-12:  215 students in grades 5-8 (She is simply amazing!) and 115 students in high school.




A combination?

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What if . . .

What if all students had to take an identical screener in the fall, winter and spring?

What if the results of the screener was then used to determine which instrument students should play?

What if the students had to pass a “basic knowledge test” before they could choose an instrument?

Would there be 325 students in band if a general “proficiency test” was required of all students?

Again, how is success measured?

Is it measured by the “1 Superior” rating at state marching contest?

Is it measured by the new band uniforms provided by a community drive?

Is it measured by the audience that packed the gym?

Is it measured by the funds raised during the dinner before the Parade of Bands?

Is it measured by the applause of the audience?

Is it measured by the number of students who continue to participate in band year after year?

Is it measured by the distance that audience members travel to attend the concert? (195 miles one way for me)

Is it measured by the “JOY” of the students who continue to participate?

Product?  Process? Reflection? 

Is there any ONE measure that captures the essence of success?

The original conversation began with writing.  Is this a conversation that needs to be a part of every content area in every school building?  

What do we value?

What do we support?

How do we know?

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

        slice of life 2016

Full Disclosure: I’ve followed this band director for decades – to concerts and competitions, to the Alamo Bowl, and to the Orange Bowl so I’m a wee bit biased.  Band opened the doors for me to travel in the US and abroad. I attended this concert with his grandmother, mother, wife and daughter. I’ve known him and his work ethic for 40 years, and YET I also know that FUN and a passion for music is also a part of his agenda.  He’s my nephew!

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 8 – ABC’s of Me

And one more pattern writing to round out my first week of the March Challenge.  This pattern is old YET my most favorite of all, inspired by Ana’s slice at Life . . . One Thought at a Time. You can read the original here.

abcs of me.JPG



I had planned to write a  “Fortunately/Unfortunately” post that was on my list for the month to finish off my week of patterns.  Started but fizzled.  Went to yesterday’s slices to see what topics were repeated, intriguing, etc. where I found Ana’s slice.  An ABC format was often a teaching technique that I used at the end of content units.  I was ready to list out my ABC’s and get started.  I wrote my draft in my “running” March slicer document so format was an issue.  Word automatically capitalized every letter of the alphabet as I listed them down.  It was a major decision – Do I use a hyphen and repeat the letter?  Do I write it more like an acrostic and go ahead and use the letter as a part of the word?  I tried three letters each way before I made my decision – hyphens; yes!  And then I began randomly  writing phrases and words.  Frantic typing to record ideas.  And then I ran out. L, O, P, Q, V, X, and Z were left.  Stuck – how do I get unstuck?  I created the colorful alphabet border for the top and bottom.  Still “working” but not “writing” . . . back to brainstorming.  Listing random words for those final letters.  Back to Ana’s post, fearful that I had “stolen” her words that may have lingered in my brain. Double checking my spelling of my X words – real or made up? Copy, paste, tag, and preview. Lost my color and format did not hold. #!$@ (“rats“) Used my “snipping tool” to make a picture of the ABC part (OS-“screenshot”). Inserted picture. Finis. (ARGHHH – 2+ hours)


What would your “ABC’s of Me” look like?

Did you discover the secret to my letters and their descriptions? (What was the plan not shared in my process?  Hint: H and K are the exceptions.)


Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!

#SOL16: March Challenge Day 6 – Sounds

She sighs.  Her head is resting on the arm of the love seat and she faces me as I sit here working on my post for today. Her eyes are closed and yet she sighs AGAIN.  As the coffee pot stops gurgling, I leave the recliner for that first jolt of caffeine.  Her eyes follow me.  I hear one foot hit the carpet and then another while filling my mug.  I hear her stretch. And then another sigh. Today she sighs, “When will she be done? When will she pay attention to me?  When will it be my turn?”

It’s early morning.  I am not yet ready for conversation. Please, just one cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask?  Yes, I am a morning person.  But I am a peaceful, quiet morning person with rituals and routines that begin the day calmly and quietly and without any fuss and especially so on a Sunday!

Here I sit with my coffee and I’m rewarded with her sweet, gentle kiss.  And then she races to the door, tail wagging and snuffling – quietly letting me know that she is ready to head outside.  She is ready to begin the day with her first outside excursion.

What sounds does Mya make?

The answer seems so simple.  When she is in the house, she barks to herald arrivals. She barks and barks as a vehicle pulls into the driveway, as a driver exits the car, and until that knock on the door is answered.  When she is outside,  Mya barks to share her excitement with me when she finds something outside that I need to see.  She barks when another critter (but not the familiar deer) invades her space.  But she also hums when I rub her belly, or cries out when dreaming, or that bit of an attention-getting sigh when ignored too long.

However, this morning Mya quietly goes outside to check out the sunshine and someone who is not working on a computer.


Peak into Process:  

I read Dana’s “Be Inspired” and followed the link to inmanlilysaad’s “The Sound of Plates” (site is no longer available). I opened up my word document where I am drafting slices and put the title “Sounds” and then jotted 4 ideas:  Traffic, Mya, Early Morning Sounds, It’s the News but what does it sound like?  I sipped my coffee and considered each idea.  Thinking mode/no writing until that first cup of coffee was drained and refilled.  I picked up the laptop and began writing about Mya. I typed a draft that began with describing Mya’s barking.  I stopped and drank my second cup of coffee. And then I began to revise.  I began with her sighing because it was the first sound I heard TODAY from Mya. (Another day could definitely be different.)

Drafting/Revision, Process, Tagging, Previewing: 40 minutes from beginning to publication

Which is your focus?  Product / Process / or both?

When does the priority of your focus shift?  Or does it?

Check out Margaret’s comparison of writing to watercolor painting in her post “Technique” !

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts DigiLit Sunday and Slice of Life!


Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!


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