Saturday, January 30, 2016


Discover. Play. Build.
Join me in sharing celebrations this week over at Ruth's blog!

This week I celebrate writing...MY writing. The fact that I AM WRITING again. 

You've seen the hashtag #EDtime2wrt, haven't you.  I don't know why I first clicked on it to see what it was, but I did.

I don't know why this hashtag has motivated me to write again. But it did.

I believe with my whole being that if you are going to be a teacher of writers, you have to be a teacher who writes. So I am.

This week I have written along with my students... 
  • 6 word memoirs: Indecision is my new middle name
  • Twitter stories: (Oops. Wrote this on my white board and don't have it to share)
  • Writing Prompts: My favorite was 10 Best Things About a 2 Hour Late Start
I have also written blog posts--this is my 3rd of the week. I was feeling bad about neglecting my blog.  I'd have ideas for posts but just didn't write them.  The thing is, I require my Creative Writing 2 students to write three posts a week. Why wasn't I?  

This quote, lifted from the writing autobiography of one of my favorite students (and not just because she brings me chocolate) has kept me going this week. The quote isn't hers, but I can't find anyone to attribute it to.  

"Real writers don't write to be rich or famous. 
Real writers write because otherwise their heads would explode."

I'm feeling like that this week. I just keep writing everything down because I certainly don't want my head to explode.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

You Should Read This

The books pass hand to hand, never making it to the return basket or the shelf where they belong. Sometimes, they don't even make it back to my room. The book pass, a silent recommendation.

You should read this.

The library cards in the box tell only part of the book's life story. Because, sometimes, the names of the readers aren't written there, but instead on the pages of their soul.

You should read this.

Short days become reading days and talking about books. At least once a week a plea is heard, "Can we please read all hour? I'm almost done with my book, and...."
"Are you done with that book yet? I'm ready for it."

You should read this.

Ten minutes of reading guaranteed every day. Any book you want.   NOTHING, interferes.  NOTHING. Come in. Sit down. And read. Pages and pages.

The books pass hand to hand, never making it to the return basket or the shelf where they belong. Sometimes, they don't even make it back to my room. The book pass, a silent recommendation.

You should read this.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Guilty Slice

I am failing my own Creative Writing class. I require my kids to write every day. And those Creative Writing 2 kids, they have to write a blog post three times a week.

But I don't.

And those tweets, #EDtime2wrt, make me feel guilty.

Because I do believe that if you teach reading and writing, then you ought to be a reader and a writer.

I'm doing great on the reading. Every day I carve out time to read (and I've read some amazing books this year), but the writing just hasn't happened. I keep making these promises to my blog that I will write more,

but I lie.

And I don't write.

Soon I will turn the calendar page and realize that it's almost March. A time I love to write. But my writing muscles are weak, pathetic really. I need to start exercising them if I plan on writing every day for a month.  I need to write. Daily. Blog more. Reflect more. Write more.

They say if you publicly make a promise, you are more likely to follow through.

We'll see.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Celebrating 2015

Discover. Play. Build.

15 Celebrations for 2015

1.  My sister beat cancer!  It was such a scary year for all of us. From the time we heard about it in February through her surgery in June and the final rounds of chemo that ended in mid-November, she has battled and come out stronger.  Although she thinks she was a baby through the whole thing, I think she is the strongest woman I know.

2. Adoption Day.  Our oldest son brought the most amazing young woman into our lives back in the mid 2000's (I don't remember the exact year, maybe 2007 or 2008). She was a single mom with young twins--a boy and a girl.  Greg and I loved them all from the first time we met.  On November 30, those twins forever became Days.  The tears rolled when I got a call on my cell that day as each of them shared their name with me.  My husband still has the message on his phone.  November 30 will always be #WearetheDays Day in our family.

3. NCTE I have always wanted to attend NCTE, but it was always too expensive, too far away, not the right time.  Something always stood in the way. Until this year.  I was fortunate that NCTE was held in Minneapolis, only a two and half hour drive, and that my district paid for my registration and hotel. I sat and absorbed the wisdom of so many fantastic English teachers and authors. My brain was full every day. NCTE, of course, also led to ....
4. MEETING RUTH!  I know you all understand my thrill that we finally met face to face. I wrote in my notebook that it was like meeting a rock star....everyone knows Ruth and she knows everyone.  Such a fun time.

5. I attended my 40th class reunion in July. 40 years out of high school....WOW.  Maybe it's because I teach high school, but it sure doesn't seem like I've been out that long.  It was wonderful to connect again with people I haven't seen since graduation day.  So fun to reminisce with everyone.  Our class Facebook page is more fun now that we have all reconnected.  There was talk of a 60th birthday reunion since we will all be hitting that big 6-0 and I hope it happens.

Elementary school buddies!
6. Summer Trips:  We took several of them last summer and had a blast.  The only downside to these trips is wishing I was retired already so we could take off and explore more! We visited Door County, Wisconsin in June, and now I am addicted to Door County Coffee . We traipsed up and down the county, visiting lighthouses, wineries, and beautiful county parks.  A great getaway with our favorite traveling companions.

7. July found us in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Another quick little long weekend getaway. The highlight of this trip was a dinner cruise on the Mississippi. A beautiful night.

8. In August, Greg and I, along with Chloe, took a road trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park. I just love our trips when we take off driving and don't really have any plans, just a final destination. We did plan ahead on motel rooms. Taking Chloe means we have to find pet friendly places, but that hasn't been too hard to do.  Chloe loves to travel with us and really likes all the people she meets.

9. I did a little "work" this summer also, and presented at the  TIC conference in Dubuque, Iowa.  The TIC conference is a tech in the classroom conference set up by our local education agencies.  Friends and I presented on setting up flipped classrooms. We didn't think we would have many people attend, but it ended up standing room only and we had to adjust our plans on the fly.  Just like in our real classrooms :)

10. At the end of October our Sandbar Beach friends traveled to our side of the state and we all met on the Mississippi for a weekend of fun. When we planned it, we didn't know how important it was for us to get together, but it was a time for us to not only have fun, but support friends who needed us more than ever.

And the final five?
11.  Iowa Hawkeye football season
12. Marshall Tucker Band with Mitch and Rainy
13. Girls Day at the lake
14. Storm at Sandbar
15. Concerts in the park
+1 Ribfest and times with friends

3/17 I'm So Lucky

  I'm so lucky to have a birthday on St. Patrick's Day☘️ Everyone likes to celebrate my birthday (even if they don't like green ...