Resilience: A ReMix of “Bent But Not Broken

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Resilience. For yourself. For your students.

My friend Susan Spellman-Cann created the HaikuDeck and a blogpost, “Bent But Not Broken” to guide us in resilience.

She says, ” We need to see students as they should be and help them to see what they are capable of becoming. We can help them in becoming more resilient by being that role model for them.”

It’s not easy, especially if you teach middle school, because they do know everything already. But we see their hearts, their unseen acts of kindness, and their ability to look to each other for support. We think our “role modeling” is for naught at the time, but through the course of the year with them, you’ll hear them remind you, “But you said…” as they repeat your self-talk modeling when you, the teacher, need it. They hear. So be a role model for resilience.

Here are more resources from Susan:

Resilience is hope, and something I’ve been thinking of for a while — how do I help students cope and learn, to be resilient in the face of so many obstacles. I am even adapting a BIE project on resilience that I call I Stand Eight, which I hope to implement next fall.

Thanks, Susan for adding to the conversation on helping students live learning.

What other strategies for teaching resilience are there?

Bookmark and Share

#napowrimo14 is what?

April is National Poetry Month

sponsored by the Academy of American Poets

What is poetry? What is a poem?

#napowrimo is National Poetry Writing Month!

started by poet Maureen Thorson

a challenge to write a poem a day

that’s write: 30 poems in 30 days 


Let it bloom !

Ready ? Set? Write !

Writer’s block?  Not sure what to do?

Try these:  Online Interactives from Read/Write/Think: Theme PoemsAcrostic PoemsDiamante Poems

or learn from poets how:

Instant Poetry Forms

Kinds of Poems by Kathi Mitchell

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids

Giggle Poetry How To

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?

Write it up !

Draft your poem on your Kidblog  and edit. Let us know:

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?



Read it up!

Not sure you want to write a poem every day? How about reading one every day. Find one you like. Link to it in your Kidblog and let us know:

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?

A Poem a Day by GottaBook

Children’s Poetry Archive – hear poets read 

What do you notice?

Help document: Stuck on the questions: Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?  review author craft in the help document.  Make two copies as directed and fill it out for a poem  your connect with.

Let’s discover:

What is poetry? What is a poem?


Teacher Resources

Bookmark and Share

Sunshine Blog Challenge


A Challenge

My fellow #etmooc -er Rhonda Jessen added another challenge for me: The Sunshine Blog Challenge for which I am honored to participate.  I’m smack dab in the middle of several projects, so I’ll be brief and add questions for my nominees that can also be responded to briefly. These are fun and help us —  global connected educators — get to know each other. Thanks again Rhonda!

How It Works

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)


 11 Facts

  1. I also choose dark chocolate and occasionally partake in those other types. But dark chocolate soothes the soul on surly days. It started when I was young and the corner grocery story sold candy bars for a nickel. Almond Joy: dark chocolate and coconut with almonds. Yum. Mom could afford a nickel for my brother and I to cheer us up.
  2. I usually carry both a cell phone and a mini-iPad; I use them when I want to– not when they notify me- when it doesn’t interrupt what I’m doing at the time.
  3. I love percussion. I played drums in the band in high school, and the beat of rock music brings great memories. No, I don’t play anymore, but I will sometimes grab a pair of sticks and beat out a cadence, much to the amazement of my students.
  4. I love to sing in the car, which is a good thing. I can’t sing; it’s why I played drums. I even tell my students: if I need to keep you in for recess, I will sing to you. [No! they laugh.]
  5. I do drive to work. It’s twenty miles north on a lovely and quiet drive through the sage brush, right up to the edge of the wooded hills. Pleasant. Thoughtful. Many NPR moments.
  6. I’m not much of a traveller, except online. I’m a hobbit who loves an adventure; my husband and I will hop in the car and let the road lead us.
  7. I’ve always had a furry creature around: cat, gerbil, dog. Currently we enjoy two cats and an a dog, whom we are nursing through old age as long as we can because she has brought us so much joy. Her kind eyes let us know what she needs, and we still walk her twice a day.
  8. Spring is my favorite season, with its budding hope of renewal.
  9. A Christmas tree with small colored lights is our calming evening light year ’round.
  10. I’ve written two novels for NaNoWriMo :)
  11. 11-1 are the number of my amazing, intelligent, and creative grandkids.

Questions from Rhonda

1. Winter or summer?

Summer: Winter teach; summer beach.  I love the gracious gift of warm weather — the heat of the sun beaming energy to everything, and the cool water of the lake refreshing us.


2. Favourite comfort food?

Dark Chocolate — and occasionally puffy Cheetos


3. Favourite food?

Reservations. And then it depends on the restaurant: Chicken Satay; Chicken Gorgonzola, or Chicken Panini. Hmmm. There’s a pattern there. And homemade soup.

4. What is the best way to support those who are new to open education and are overwhelmed by the possibilities?

Guide them in small steps and be there with feedback; collaborate with them on a project.

5. Who was the best teacher you ever had? Why?

The best teacher: Dr. Francis Kazemek at Eastern Washington University

Why? Seminar and Project-based courses that were student-centered and extremely rigorous

If he taught a class I was required to take, I’d wait until his turn to teach it to enroll.

6. Who was the worst teacher you ever had? Why?

I didn’t have a worst teacher. I learned from all of them, because “you get out of life what you give it.” I found the value.

7. What are you reading right now?

Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12 Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning George Hillocks Jr, Emeritus, University of Chicago

8. What are you learning right now?

Politics interferes with education.

9. What’s your favourite way to stay connected?

Twitter: Grammasheri

Google Plus: Grammasheri

10. Describe a great day at work.

A great day at work are the days my students have a great day — when drama and distractions don’t cause them stress. Then we all dive in and learn together. I’m a facilitator, a guide, offering suggestions and feedback that is accepted and reviewed.  Families stop in to see their student’s progress, and my colleagues find time to share and enjoy each other’s work.

11. Describe a great day off.

A great day off is spent with my family, often geeking out together, and definitely a delicious dinner with great conversation.

My Nominations

Tracy Watanabe from whom I learn every day; her blog is professional development !

Paula Neidlinger who is a leader in organizing collaborative blogging for teachers and students with her #teach2blog

Denise Krebs who chooses difficult journeys to help others

Joy Kirr who is everyone’s cheerleader as she leads us in implementing #geniushour  even in these “testing” times

JoAnn Jacobs whose strength through adversity shines through the beauty she finds everywhere

Erin Jackle who shares her amazing journey to enhance tech learning in her districts

Randy Norman who shares middle school teacher life, because it is our lives

Barbara McVeigh is a champion librarian whose posts share not just books but creative wisdom for her students and us

Valerie Lees is an amazing educator, always connecting and sharing to develop blended, authentic learning at her high school

Jill Grafton [ Jill Barnes ] is another middle school teacher whose focus is on language arts learning — and her students are through her lead as a connected educator

Rachel Tassler, another reading teacher who reflects on her own learning and applies it to her students.

My Questions

  1. City or Country? and Why?
  2. Inside or Outside? and Why?
  3. Mac, PC, or ? and Why?
  4. Cat or Dog? and Why?
  5. An item on your “Bucket List,” would be?
  6. Favorite education quote, and why?
  7. Education: your definition is?
  8. A suggestion for a new teacher would be?
  9. A Song that moves you - and Why?
  10. A Book that moved you — and Why?
  11. You: in a six word sentence

Bookmark and Share

#edcampspokane reflection


On Friday, February 28th, I attended the pre-event for #edcampspokane during which I met the most welcoming and excited organizers, all ready for the big day, March 1st. One of my peeps, Theresa Allen, suggested I attend ready with links and to participate as facilitator, not just a listener. So when asked to present with Krisha about Google Apps for Education, I said yes and created a blog post with a set of links that night as a reference and starting point. We’d be part of five sessions at the beginning so the organizers could set up the schedule based on the attendees’ sorted choices and votes (see image: image source: Twitter via Brent Howard ).

The organizers developed this format based on their first edcampspokane last year.

The finalized schedule provided fascinating and informative discussions by attendees on topics such as standards-based grading, libraries, Google Apps for Education, Digging Deeper into CCSS, Things That Suck, etc. Each link on the document connects to a notes document taken live during the session. Be sure to read the ones that interest you to find out what we learned.

One of my favorite new sites is this one: Google Gooru, which provides help and information, tutorials and training for anyone interested in Google Apps for Education. Also check out our session notes on GAFE.

A second can’t-do-without- site is NEWSLEA, a site with nonfiction texts on various reading levels. The site integrates with Google Apps login so teachers can assign and manage student text complexity and comprehension. Be sure to check it out.

A third site to mention is GooruLearning, which is another amazing site to gather resources, as teacher or student, (also integrates with Google Apps), and discover learning passions or course work that meets objectives. Truly amazing, it is similar to Khan Academy, but includes collections from all over the web, which you can adapt and choose to build your own collection.

As you can see, an EdCamp provides educators with the information they need right then. It’s not tech, it’s curriculum, strategies, resources, and solutions within a conversation facilitated by participants. Let me be more clear about the process:

  • Enter EdCamp to Meet and Greet
  • Write down your questions / interests, signed by you
  • Give your ideas to organizers who quickly sort/ categorize and place on wall (see image)
  • While organizers sort, go to facilitation / intro session to learn how to facilitate and what to expect
  • Return to vote on three categories
  • Go to first session
  • Organizers develop the Online Session Board based on participants questions / interests as voted on by participants
  • If your session / idea is chosen, you now know how to facilitate a session so they are interactive conversations and demonstrations as needed
  • Go to sessions; ask someone to take notes on the Google Doc linked to in the Online Session Board and now ready for YOU who could not attend to enjoy and learn from
  • Reflect
  • And: food and prizes were provided for the day long event. — and free clock hours!

I’d like to thank the welcoming and energetic organizers  for their preparation and excellent implementation as well as the sponsors for providing food and prizes and venue.

And if you want professional development on your terms as you need it, attend an EdCamp near you!

Bookmark and Share

#edcampspokane Links

Thanks to #educampspokane organizers and sponsors and Mobius Science Center for a pre-event evening!

Things to share:

Google Apps

Benefits of Google Apps

About Google Voice

Learn Google Apps  Lessons

Just Google It Presentation: Apps Based Classroom

Google Apps in the District: Our Websites and Collaboration – teacher  / student; process; example [ Cove Assignment student collaboration]

40 Ways to Start Using Google Apps in the Classroom by Becky Evans

Flubaroo Self-Grading

Google Docs BackChannel   Video 1

iTunes GAFE podcast

iTunes Video podcast

YouTube Training Videos

Google Apps Blog

Eric Curts work:  Google Plus for Schools  Apps User Group

Google Apps User Groups for NW USA

Google Hangouts on Air   Google Plus Hangout Community

Using Google Apps as a Free LMS (community)

Connected Classrooms, a Google Community

Learn Google Apps — for Students – Google Ninja

Google science fair – kids design science project, collect data, analyze, create website.

Google Keep – save, organize, notes

Google Apps Security

Google + email Trick  for other apps (Animoto, Voki, etc.)

Why Google (NSD)

Note: Many sites allow connection to Google for log in, such as Goorulearning:  Transform Learning. Inspire Students. Create and share collections of engaging web resources with your students. Browse courses in our K-12 Community Library to get started.

Tips from Google Apps Session with Tracy Sontrop, Session 3

Session 3 Notes

Lesson Plans for Google

Google Search Tips (Richard Byrne)

Better ReSearchers

Google Earth Walks

Google Earth Maps

Ask the Google Gooru

Google for Education


PBL:  Project / Problem Based Learning

Kathy Schrock’s Authentic Learning Resources

Buck Institute for Education and PBLU (to reopen April 2014)

Projects, Problems, or just projects? by Jackie Gerstein

Genius Hour:  Wiki and Community  Twitter Chat: First Thursday 9 PM Eastern #geniushour

 Add Our Genius: site that includes specific scaffolding for students who need it

Joy Kirr: LiveBinder and Blog

Genius Hour ePub for our district

I Stand Eight: under construction PBL

All Dots Matter and Blog


Build Your PLN

Edudemic’s Guide to Twitter

Edudemic / Shell Terrell Build Your PLN  Shell on Twitter

ASCD Will Richardson Build Your PLN

Edutopia’s Pinterest for PLN

Extend the Conversation and Blog (Two Friends — Denise Krebs ) and Site

Bookmark and Share

#etmooc #etmchat Anniversary

From Susan Spellman-Cann we continue the gift of #ETMOOC and will enjoy an anniversary event complete with chats and Google Hangouts. Join the Post ETMOOC community and the #etmchat .

What is ETMOOC… Here is Susan Spellman-Cann‘s explanation in HaikuDeck

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad
My HaikuDeck is One Slide about the effect of #ETMOOC

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


After ETMOOC, I reflected on the experience in a blog post –  Unfinal Reflection, because it truly has been the gift that keeps on giving.

This is my post — revised and updated for today’s anniversary. Revisions are bold and blue.

How do you plan on staying connected to the people and the ideas?

This unfinal post for #etmooc reviews the path I now take with others to continue the journey: #etmooc continues to drop it’s pebble of ideas into the ocean of possibilities, creating ripples of overlapping connections forever spreading and growing.

My own questions and final thoughts:

  • Given the access, technology, resources, and requirements available to me, how can I create a classroom world reflective of what my students need in the future that is theirs?
  • How do I need to adapt my pedagogy to create that classroom?
    • Of course I’m torn between what it seems students need and the reality of our school district’s focus on test success.
    • As I can, technology provides us with reflection and collaboration tools. It helps one class teach another. For instance my sixth grade students created cyber-safety and Google Apps lessons for grade five students. They also, while learning figurative language themselves are creating a resource for other students in our school by collaborating on a Google presentation.
    • In all our online work, we strive to leave positive footprints, practicing our digital footprints.
    • In one class, we are learning with Mozilla on how to code. Our first project was Six Word Memoirs. Code is the language of the future, and we’re beginning to learn to translate! It was a riot: “Change size of text on line 20,” one student would call out, then hop up to guide another students. The puzzle of code unravelled.
    • More and more I learn to share with students the overall goal of our requirements, and students choose the project and details that they require to learn: personalized learning
    • This is not easy to accomplish: the requirements of school’s today are not reflective of the reality of interactions, composition, and collaboration practiced by successful workers and thinkers.
    • Today, I work with a new crew of teacher bloggers who are blogging with their students; we are creating a community for our students to collaborate through blogs: #teach2blog twubs and Google Plus Community
  • How will like-minded teachers connect and collaborate to create connected spaces for themselves and with their students?
  • How will I, as a middle school teacher of language arts, connect with others to ponder these questions, create a space to act on them, and discover together ways to improve education in our own worlds.
    • As a result of #etmooc, not only have a Connect in the Middle Wiki for middle level educators, but several of us have joined in several different communities:
    • Ben Wilkoff started the Open Spokes Fellowship as a result of conversation in #etmooc. He invited a group of teachers who will weekly vlog on topics about education, forming a neighborhood of differences in order to discuss common ground and forge a future that benefits the students we teach. We are raising our voices from separate whispers to a chorus we hope will be heard, shared, discussed, and acted upon by others who likewise wish to move forward in this education transformation.  Thanks to Ben’s leadership and the amazing educators within this group, we continue to vlog!  We also have a Google Plus Reflective Vlog CommunityCheck them out.
    • The Connect in the Middle Wiki for middle level educators did not work out as planned; that’s how life works. Sometimes things take off and sometimes they don’t. For this wiki, the educators moved to their[ our ] passions: GeniusHour Wiki by Gallit, Joy, and Denise. Be sure to check it out.

I thank #etmooc for providing connections to inspiring people, whom I thank here:


I so enjoyed the recorded session with the participants of Jesse Strommel’s DigiWriting #etmooc, A Flurry of Cursors.

Some of us began an Adventure story. ( @mrsdkrebs)

During one session, Darren Kuropatwa asked participants to record and share 5 seconds of video with him viaDropitTOme and then compiled them into this “Beauty” short video. He invited others to Popcorn it !  Here is mine after an inspirational video remix by Rhonda Jessen.

A few of us gathered videos into which I popped this for the group: Where do you learn?

I thank Alec Couros for the #etmooc that reconnected me with Ben Wilkoff who created a Professional Learning Neighborhood in the Open Spokes Fellowship. Please stop by now and then, #etmooc’ers!


#etmooc lives on because:



So although everything has not grown, in everything that was started, we learned, and we shared with our next connections and projects. I’m so thankful for  Susan Spellman-Cann and Rhonda Jesson for keeping us connected. I can’t keep up with you two!
Thanks again  #ETMOOC and #etmchat! It’s all about: Connecting, Collaborating and Sharing  and Celebrating  !

If you didn’t participate in #ETMOOC, please join #etmchat and Post ETMOOC Community to engage with encouraging and creative people!



Bookmark and Share

The Sunshine Elevens

Happy New Year !

Eloquence. Contemplation. Whenever I read the work of Terry Elliot, those words describe how I feel, and I know I’m in for a time well spent on contemplating his ideas. And now he’s tagged me in the Sunshine Elevens Meme, so I feel like so many who follow, “His is a hard act to follow.”  I appreciate the tag and accept the challenge.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response.

Eleven Random Facts

  1. In my backyard is one of the tallest trees on our side of the river. It’s an American Plane tree, otherwise known as a sycamore. I know it is ancient, an ent from folklore, a giant guarding our community. Terry will appreciate that.
  2. And, to build imagination and wonder through folklore, our family creates our own myths from which to draw strength and imagine a better world, “What if…” We see dragons still swimming in their underworld, seen only in the rivers of our world.
  3. So my three Nanowrimo Novels are all based in both science and fantasy… imagine.
  4. I did not unschool my own kids, but I did ever-school them: I did give them the tools to be independent and critical thinkers. From the time they were small, I established wide boundaries filled with options and the freedom to create and imagine, while at the same time expecting them to learn from whoever or whatever is around them — in school or out.
  5. Two cats call our place home, and one even thinks our dog is her mom. Cats: because we are awed by tigers.
  6. Once, while attending a conference with my husband, I found myself eating breakfast next to Red Skelton [tribute, site] . Growing up with Gertrude and Heathcliff, I was honored when he offered to sit with me. He was charming, a gentle voice and kind eyes. Some of what I remember is that he wrote a love letter to his wife every day and practiced his show for four hours. Every day he wrote down something interesting, something humorous, something new, and four other things I’ve forgotten. Those were the fuel for his show. It was a blessing to have met him.
  7. I’m not an outdoors expert. I once got lost on an island in the middle of a lake. You know that rule, three points make a straight line — and follow three trees in a row? That’s what I did to find the shore again, and saw the cabins with huge bear claw marks on the outside just as the boat I had arrived in sputtered around the bend to find me.
  8. I collect rocks; there are stories in them. Grandfather Rock is the oldest storyteller. When we go on trips or visit grandkids, even the grandkids add to the collection.
  9. I can’t draw, but I like to draw.
  10. I can’t sing, but I like to sing.
  11. So even if you think you can’t, try.

Eleven Questions to Answer (your choice from the eighteen provided)

If you could remove one thing or idea from our world, what would it be and why?

I’ll stick to an education concept: standardization. While standards give us a goal, thinking that we could all be the same, or learn the same, within the same time frame is not something that is possible. We must accept the learner, the learner’s needs, and the learner’s interests for true learning to occur.

Where do you hope to be professionally in ten, twenty years and are you currently progressing toward that stage?

Professionally in ten years, I hope to be planting and tending a garden as well as creating an online forum for encouraging writers. Along with the garden, I hope to plant and tend a few books, of others and my own. I’ve already penned three drafts in the works for my own novels and a few blogs and fellow bloggers for the continuation of writing in my life.

What is one of the more significant trends in pedagogy right now and how do you foresee it progressing in the future?

Globally connected, interest driven education.

I envision a world of open communication, with pockets of community areas, resource centers, for face-to-face collaboration for local issues and learning with families and students choosing their learning paths.

Right now, platforms like Nings, blogging, Google Plus connect students for sharing and soon for collaboration. It’s a hope for a better world of understanding and acceptance, and a better education system whereby all students can be connected to learning areas that inspire them.

And in this learning resource center, Terry would be a learning concierge.

I envisioned it here.

What is a favorite quote of yours and can you please share your interpretation of it and why it is a favorite?

I’ve many favorite, but this one popped into my head now:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  ~ Henry Ford

I don’t give up. I don’t say I can’t. I keep hacking my way through until I’ve exhausted all possibilities. Because, if I think I can’t, then I won’t. But if I think I can, then I will. You’ld be right either way. I share this with my students — that what they put in their minds is exactly what their brain will do. And a sign says, “If I think I can’t, I’ll say, ‘I’ll try.’” I’m worth it. They are worth it, and they should never short-change the belief they have of themselves. And, we need to help each other succeed in our endeavors. We’re together in this world.

You are presented the opportunity to spend a full day doing whatever you want with any three people in the world. Who are the three people and what is the itinerary?

My first choice would be to spend the day in the early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with Scott and my sons, Greg and Jake sharing stories, asking questions, and discussing the answers to life, the universe, and everything [42].

Educationally, I’d love a conversation on education reform in that same early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with John Dewey, Haim Ginott, and Leo Buscaglia.

Is there evil in the human condition, in this world? Please explain.

I don’t think about it. I can’t put evil in my mind. I know that people can only act with the information they have, and if all they’ve been given is sadness and evil, what would we expect?

You can have any super power you want. What power and why?

I have a super power: I can learn.

Do you choose an iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, or old-school Nokia cellular phone and why?


It is not a phone; it is a communicator, and with that comes the very notion of a positive future, a positive humanity. It’s purpose was to create a user-friendly operating system, so the user chooses. And because we are all so different, its system is uniquely designed to fit differences. It allows me to choose from so many quality apps and layouts, that the tool is a communicator; it is my choice, just like I want for my students. Creativity and productivity within a connected and collaborative space based on personal passions.

What is the next item on your bucket list you aim to achieve?

There’s a hole in the bucket, Liza. I can just keep adding…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How?

The egg, and what cracked open surprised everyone.

Children are… (complete the sentence or paragraph).

Children are resilient, and they still need care, even past their teens.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Green salad with tangerines, nuts, and balsamic dressing

Dilled Pot Roast

What is your favorite game/sport to play? When did you discover it?

Fluxx: a card game the family plays, because, like life, your plans don’t always work, but it’s still enjoyable.

I discovered it years ago in Uncles, the toy store within Aunties Bookstore. I read the directions and bought decks for each family for Christmas. We’ve been playing ever since.


Desert island playlist or music (limit 10 pieces). Books (limit 10)?


Sounds from Tuesday Evening by Scott

Cosmos by Jordan

Imagine John Lennon

Mind Games John Lennon

In My Life John Lennon

Where My Heart Will Take Me Russell Watson

Blowin In the Wind Peter, Paul, and Mary

Oh He Oh Jim Boyd

Simple Gifts Raffi

To Live is to Fly Townes Van Zandt


Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Survivor’s Guide to Your Island

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy

The Hobbit

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

5 Blank Books (I’m sure I could invent pen and ink)


What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done? The result?

What: Stood up for myself.

Result: Grief and Relief.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your life? How did it work out?

I’m a worry wart, so I don’t take risks. But my husband and I have been married for twenty-seven years. That risk seems to have worked out.

What teacher had the biggest impact on your life? How did they impact you? Does this teacher know the impact they had on you?

Teacher: Dr. Francis Kazemek, an English professor at Eastern Washington University in the 1980′s.

His seminar, student project approach is much the direction of reformers today and was his model. As an over-achiever, I dove into projects and surrounded myself with the topics, creating learning that fit what I needed to learn so I could become a better teacher. I believe he knew the affect he had on his students; we kept in touch off and on for years.

What is your proudest moment as an educator?

Whenever my students engage, and my job is truly one of facilitation, then I smile. Pride comes in daily doses for students and teachers, because teaching and learning is daily.

These amazing educators I have tagged:

Brendan Murphy

Tracy Watanabe and response

JoAnn Jacobs and response

Theresa Allen and response

 Jackie Gerstein

Laura Gilchrist

Paula Neidlinger

Scott Hazeu and response

Bart Miller

 Susan Angel

Tara Smith

To answer these questions:

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a career? How did you discover that?
  2. What are your top three favorite books of all time?
  3. If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be?
  4. What advice do you have for educators today?
  5. What is on your bucket list?
  6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite quote?
  8. What song lyrics move you?
  9. If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?
  10. What are your five favorite verbs?
  11. What six words sum up your philosophy [of life or of education]?

Thanks for joining the Meme Homework and whatever you can do — I’ll be delighted to learn from you!

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response [They are sharing here].



Happy New Year !

Bookmark and Share

Sunshine Blog Meme Homework #openspokes

georgesantayanaspotsGetting Back

Jeremy’s right: sometimes we need to kickstart our blogging. And what better way to do that than to nudge your friends too. Thanks to Jeremy and Susan, I’ll stop watching mysteries on iTunes and NetFlix and get back into blogging. I’ll respond to both tags [from Jeremy and Susan] in this post.

I hope, if you’re tagged, that you’ll enjoy the nudge as much as I do.


  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 Random Facts About Myself

  1. Mysteries. I like to puzzle them out and guess the whodunit. I like to imagine the process of writing the mysteries.
  2. Trekkie: Star Trek is always a good choice for relaxing — series or movie. Live long and prosper!
  3. Music: Rock n Roll — My favorite song is In My Life [John Lennon / Beatles ]
  4. Drums: Yes, I was a percussionist. The beat is the heart of the music.
  5. Books: Things to use — bend the pages, tear out a chapter and take it with you, scribble in the margins — love them  in hand or digital.
  6. Places: Home. This hobbit’s favorite place is home, except for the occasional adventure.
  7. People: Scott. 10 grandkids — awesome, every one.
  8. Hidden: I’m extremely shy, except about education.
  9. Hobbies: Grandkids, Mysteries, Reading, Writing, Photography, Poetry, Geeking-Out, and Making [stamping cards]
  10. Hack: Find a way to make it work; life isn’t easy — make it happen.
  11. Adventures: I’ve interviewed Red Skelton and met Michael Jordan; During a trip to Washington, DC, I entered the National Gallery of Art and immediately told my husband, “This is where I’ll be — cancel the tours.” And I’d do it again.



What was your favourite class in university?

My favorite classes were language arts courses taught by Dr. Francis Kazemek, who taught through seminar and self-directed projects that met the goals of the course. I completed so much more in each class than if we had assigned work; each class resulted in projects and experiences I draw upon today.


If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be?

Today, it would be David Truss at pairadimesI learn so much about inquiry and collaboration that directly affects student learning.


If you could have your choice of career changes tomorrow, what would you choose? 



What is your favourite way to relax?

Star Trek or Mysteries


How do you burn off energy when needed?

Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk with the dog.


Who is your favourite author and book/series?

Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Dune Series by Frank Herbert

Julian May’s Science Fantasy Series

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy [all five] by Douglas Adams

Introvert or extrovert?



Mac, PC, or other?

Mac, there is no other.


Which is your favourite social media?

Twitter and Google Plus


Who is the most influential member of your PLN?

Jackie Gerstein Twitter / Blog

Always read Jackie’s tweets and blog for positive and energizing educational strategies and ideas.

Do you have any quirky habits?

I’m very focused; I will forget to eat.


Here are my Questions for you… from Susan

When did you know what you wanted to do for a Career? How did you discover that?

When I was in fifth grade (1960), as a girl, I had three choices: nurse, secretary, teacher. There was no way I was going to type all day and make other people coffee, so secretary was out. Then the experiment broke as we were leaving class; a piece of glass sliced the artery on my achilles tendon. Someone said, “You’re bleeding, Sheri.” I looked back and pulled my sock down — the blood spurted out. I immediately thought, “I am not going to be a nurse.”

So, from that day, I observed and learned and knew that when I grew up, I would be a teacher. My dad brought home old school desks from his school — the kind that held two or three desks together and the seats folded up. I received a blackboard for Christmas. So in the basement, at any time of year, I’d be the teacher to the neighbor kids and my little brother, who would not behave.

What are your top three favourite books of all time?

Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy [all five] by Douglas Adams

Teacher and Child by Hiam Ginott


What advice do you have on love?

Give love, always.

Kindness is a form of love.

What is on your bucket list?

Visit Independence Hall

Visit the Giant Sequois

What is the best advice you can give to your children?

Follow your dreams, and make them happen, knowing that, sometimes, our dreams change.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Visit Independence Hall

Visit the Giant Sequois

What are 3 things that matter to you?

Scott. Family. The Dog.

If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?

Scott: sensible, outgoing, knowledgeable, curious, humorous, plays guitar and sings

Greg: my son, he’ll giggle and add interesting solutions and stories

Jake: my son, he’ll pierce the conversation with either humor or truths

Leo Buscaglia: because love is the answer

Thomas Jefferson: because he was so curious and filled his home with books, and he said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” and  ”I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”


John Lennon: because love is the answer, and you know that, for sure [no matter the difficulties and our mistakes]; peace


What is your favorite quote?

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”  ~ George Eliot
How do you want to be remembered?

I have been blessed with that answer already from my granddaughter: “You two have been inspiration and amazing role models for me and all the cousins.” Scott and I have done what we could, and we continue to do so in our work and for our families: live and love and make life less difficult for each other…


Now it’s your Turn:

Brendan Murphy

Tracy Watanabe

JoAnn Jacobs

Theresa Allen

 Jackie Gerstein

Laura Gilchrist

Paula Neidlinger

Scott Hazeu

Bart Miller

 Susan Angel

Tara Smith

Questions for you:

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a career? How did you discover that?
  2. What are your top three favorite books of all time?
  3. If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be?
  4. What advice do you have for educators today?
  5. What is on your bucket list?
  6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite quote?
  8. What song lyrics move you?
  9. If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?
  10. What are your five favorite verbs?
  11. What six words sum up your philosophy [of life or of education]?

Thanks for joining the Meme Homework and whatever you can do — I’ll be delighted to learn from you!


  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Post back here with a link after you write whichever responses you can at this busy time.  Thank you!

Bookmark and Share

A Twitter Idea #clmooc #etmooc #edquery #ce13

questionmarkblue This month, I’ve asked a few questions on Twitter — used hashtags and asked PLN. I really needed more than a few responses, and I know the Twitter PLN is an awesome place for answers. I’m wondering if we need an Education Query hashtag: #edquery

An #edquery hashtag would work like #comments4kids. Twitter users tune in to the #comments4kids hashtag to discover student blogs on which to comment to encourage the practice of positive social learning and sharing. I created a #comments4kids widget for our class blog so students could comment on those blogs.

With an #edquery hashtag, educators could tune in each day to respond to a question or two or retweet the ones they also are interested in. The conversations of responses could be a wealth of ideas all could learn and use. It could be the one place / tag on Twitter to discover answers to specific questions or to get referrals for apps or tools that would solve a problem. It could refer people to bloggers that provide insights to their particular situations. It’s widget would provide constant fuel for suggestions and blogging.

Here are just two of my recent questions:

A colleague is just getting text savvy, and has one iPad in his classroom he’d like to connect and display with onto his SmartBoard. Thankfully I was referred to Splashtop, but I know there are other ideas and apps out there because technology is a tool, and the tool we choose is the one that fits that moment and need. And twitter users share what they know and use so the query responses are very helpful.

Today I’m wondering about vocabulary: what tech tools and apps can enhance vocabulary acquisition? I know about Spelling and Vocabulary via Spelling City, Engrade FlashCards,  and Quizlet. Again though, I’m looking for choices, because blended learning offers the options for differentiation — and developing a repertoire of resources from those using the tools would greatly help this query.

So, what do you think? Would  #edquery be a good addition to our education hashtag helpers?


Bookmark and Share

#TFotoFri Teacher Flickr Friday Photo Group: You’re Invited!




Are you an Educator with an eye for the perfect snapshot? Or not?  But you do notice! All educators notice the little things, and the big things, that make a difference in our daily lives.

Would you like to join a group of educators who have learned the joy of sharing those small things [or big things] through photos?

Don’t panic! It’s not 365 photos!  It’s a Friday Foto Group called TFotoFri, Teacher Photo Fridays!


Ways to Share

You can write about your photo in a blog post, upload your picture on Flickr, or do both. Other ways to share? Let us know!

Hashtag #TFotoFri (Short for Teacher’s Foto Friday Challenge)
Use the tag on your Flickr photos.
Tell others about your post by using the tag on Twitter.

Relax and enjoy the photo challenge. When it gets too challenging, when your week is too busy and you don’t get it done, don’t feel pressure or guilt. We are educators, for heaven’s sake, so we all understand how that will inevitably be part of the challenge!

This year, we’ve added an idea — and that’s all it is; we love all your photo ideas.  Here it is:

Texture, Mixture, and Me

#TFotoFri Crew: Time for an upgrade and renewal! Our photos are fantastic; we’ve shared important engagement, creativity, happiness, structure, metaphor, groups, and collaboration within our lives. How about a new twist? Basically, it’s the same with a new name: Texture, Mixture, and Me.

What are the textures of your lives: appearance, character, consistency, quality of elements. What are the mixtures that make things interesting: mixes of differences? What is the “Me” of you this year: your art, visuals, hobbies, interests, etc? As always, this is flexible; include your photos from other groups if it fits better.  And, Thank You for sharing!


History of #TFotoFri:

Inspired by a wonderful summer of photo sharing with #JJAProject, Denise and Sheri started this group for educators who are interested in sharing a photo each Friday. The photo you share can be personal or professional, taken anytime during the week and posted as close to Friday as you can. Here are the posts that inspired us to create this group: Denise and Sheri.

Please join us!   Join here:  TFotoFri, Teacher Photo Fridays!

Bookmark and Share

#nablopomo #nablopomoed Blog A Day 29 Recipe for Learning

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day 29 Recipe for Learning


Recipe for Learning


1+ ideas

5 cups motivation

2 cups inspiration

3 1/2 cups conversation

2 cups research

1/2 cup clarification

1/2 cup feedback

Pour in the motivation and inspiration. Add the conversation. Stir in the research. Check for clarification. Add another 1/2 cup feedback still needed. Remix. Research. Rehash. Replay.

When ready, display and share so someone else can add their ingredients to your idea(s).


Bookmark and Share

#nablopomo #nablopomoed #openspokes Day 28 Thankfulness


#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day 28 Thankfulness…


… Thankfulness. Today I’m thankful for time to spend with my family — almost out the door for a wonderful visit — and for time to thank my PLN (most can be found on twitter here ) and colleagues for a wonderful 2013.


I’d especially like to thank the Fellowship of Open Spokes for their inspiration this year. I’ve lacked the time to participate much this fall, but plan to jump in again now that our school focus and requirements have been fine-tuned.




Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Bookmark and Share

#nablopomo #nablopomoed Blog A Day 27 Singing

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day 27 Singing…



Singing heals.

Now that probably isn’t a proven fact, but there are people working on that. I discovered AIRS: Advancing Interdisciplinary Research into Singing, one of whose themes is singing and health. Music therapy helps patients restore their spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health, according to Laurel Young, one of the AIRS researchers.

Stacy Horn found studies showing singing decreases feelings of depression and loneliness.

And although meta-data analysis of many music related research studies found flaws in methodology, SLATE still reports that singing makes us happy.


I can’t sing, but I do. I love listening to those who can: how do they do that? And I know that singing makes me feel better.

So. As the holidays come and into the blues of winter, be sure to find time to sing: chase those blues away!



Hayes School of Music; Appalacian State University: Middle School

Sight Singing Originals (North Carolina)

Music Education Lessons from TeAchnology

Chaos Minute in Middle School by Dale Duncan

Tuesday Music Elementary Lessons

Peter Yarrow’s Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh At Me

Raffi on Pandora

Raffi: Tweet Me Right


Bookmark and Share