#nablopomo #nablopomoed Blog A Day 23 Time for

2013-Participant-Square-Button#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  23 Time for…

…writing. It’s 3:42 PM. I’ve been working on my novel since noon, and should have started at 9:00 am.  I’m behind, but not really. I’m 39,455 words into the 50,000 required by November 30th for National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo. Really, I’ve already met my count for the day, but weekends are my main writing times, since teaching demands so much time and energy. For those of you not in education, a teacher’s day does not end at 3:00 PM.  So on the weekends I’m building a world, I’m writing it into existence. It wasn’t here before, and now it is. Each letter, each word adds another dimension to my character, the setting, the action, the mystery. It just flows out and meets with what was written before and lays the path towards the future. It fits. That’s the creative process in action. I would have thought before my first NaNoWriMo that I needed an outline, a draft of a play, some prewriting, but that isn’t true. A kernel of an idea, a what if or perhaps a sentence from your imagination begins the journey. If you believe in it, your kernel, your nugget of a sentence, then your world will pop out and expand into a connected and deep story. If you believe it, and place yourself into your new world, all you need to do is start to tell it, to show in words what your mind envisions, one word, one incident, one character at a time until the story is told. Next November, try it. You will never teach writing the same again.

… a movie.  My husband will arrive home later this evening; he’s already warned me that a movie break is in order. Hopefully we can find something we like. A drama with suspense and mystery. That’s my preference.

What do you have time for today?


#nablopomo #nablopomoed Day 22

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  22 A celebration for today…

...is that our nation moved forward with the vision of John F Kennedy…


in his words

From Wikiquote

Civil Rights

This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.


World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor—it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.

Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process—a way of solving problems.


Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. Our requirements for world leadership, our hopes for economic growth, and the demands of citizenship itself in an era such as this all require the maximum development of every young American’s capacity. The human mind is our fundamental resource.


There will be, as there always are, pressures in this country to do less in this area as in so many others, and temptations to do something else that is perhaps easier. But this research here must go on. This space effort must go on. The conquest of space must and will go ahead. That much we know. That much we can say with confidence and conviction.

From Ready Reference at JFKLibrary

Native Americans (American Indians)

“For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, motion pictures, and television, American Indians remain probably the least understood and most misunderstood Americans of us all.” 

–“Introduction,” The American Heritage Book of Indians, 3rd ed., Alvin M. Josephy, ed. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1961 (page 7).

And for today, we are reminded…

Responsibility, Collective

“Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

–“Loyola College Alumni Banquet, Baltimore, Maryland, February 18, 1958,” box 899, Senate Speech Files, John F. Kennedy Papers, Pre-Presidential Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library


I was 13 years old in Home Economics class at Hughes Junior High in Bismarck, North Dakota. It was cold, and felt colder. My friend and I didn’t believe it. I remember feeling like something was missing and worrying, “What would happen in America without the President?”

As a country, we have a ways to go. That’s natural. But thankfully, we have come a long way as well, and that we should remember and celebrate.

Where were you? What do you see to remember and to celebrate?

#nablopomo #nablopomoed Day 21 Learning Strategy

targetclip#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  21 A great strategy for encouraging learning is…

collaborative groups.  There is one thing I like about the Common Core State Standards. That is that they expect students to work collaboratively to build understanding, share concepts, and use those ideas to develop their own responses. I’ve always thought it sad that with our old standards and their tests, that the students weren’t allowed to discuss and converse about the possibilities and content. Now, it’s supposedly built into the testing format. I don’t have all the details, but this is a good thing.

My students sit in groups [or can quickly arrange themselves so] and have learned about possible roles [ reader, recorder, task master, morale manager, statistician, etc. ] [an old list here ]. Each student has their own writing journal, graphic organizer, or other note manager for their own ideas about the essential question for the reading. Students then share and discuss their individual responses in their groups, and a recorder writes the team’s response to a group question, prompt, or activity on a different organizer. The group sheet / organizer requires a synthesis of the individual responses of the team.

For example, while reading a book as a class, each individual student answered questions for a chapter or group of chapters. Students then discussed and shared their responses. They then determined the key ideas of each question, which the recorder wrote on a different organizer. Finally, the team pulled out the recurring patterns of ideas as “theme topics,” which we later used to develop the theme of the book.

Individuals chose one of the “theme topic” words from the above activity and wrote events and character behaviors that supported that theme topic. As a group, the students discussed their evidence and helped each other write theme statements, with the recorder indicating which theme topics had been covered.

Students now had plenty of vocabulary and content to create their “brosters” [brief posters] with images, evidence, and theme statement. We then placed those brosters into keynote and recorded additional information in text or audio for a theme video. And here’s our theme video.

I’ve mentioned graphic organizers, so I’d like to thank Jim Burke for his amazing resources. Here’s a link to some of those he shares on his blog. My favorites, always available, are the Target and Conversation Roundtable. You’ll see a list of his books on the left — all worth their weight in gold. And do join the English Companion Ning and follow Jim on Twitter. [I really don’t know him to personally call him Jim, but he has truly influenced my teaching and my students’ learning — his work is always there for me to learn more.]

So, a great learning strategy is the use of collaborative groups to understand text, develop content, and create demonstrations of understanding as groups use various graphic organizers to dig into the essential learning together.

What is a learning strategy that helps you or your students?


#nablopomo #nablopomoed Curiosity

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  20  What I like to learn about…

… is anything. I’m curious. My husband is curious. We love our iPhones and iPads because whenever anything pops up we don’t know, or don’t know well, we Google It. If we drive by a field of wheat, we look up the history of wheat. If we’re discussing the politics of the day, we look up the issue and the history. In the middle of a movie, we will pause and look up the historical facts before finishing the movie.

And science! Something new happens on Mars, and we’re on that page in an instant. Watching Star Trek — Look up black holes, antimatter, etc.

We immerse ourselves in learning about the world.

And tonight, during our first #teach2blog chat [2nd Wednesdays, 8:00 PM Eastern ],  @KiplingEric mentioned his students will be blogging their “Reading Ladders,” which I immediately Googled and found this marvelous wiki: Reading Ladders. Eric shared his Reading Ladder Doc. I’ve just solved one lesson issue for reading and writing.

Yep: my (our) motto: Reflect curiosity and wonder…

What I like to learn about…  is everything. How about you?

reflectlogosre copy

#nablopomo #nablopomoed Day 19

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  19 My family knows that…

I care about my students and my work. They know I will keep working on projects for my class at any spare moment. Today on Teachers First I answered a poll that asked “What are your plans for YOUR Thanksgiving break?” The choices were: Do NO schoolwork at all, Do schoolwork only on Sunday night, or Fit in schoolwork around family and fun. Eighty-two per cent reported the latter: “Fit in schoolwork around family and fun.”

My family knows that.



#nablopomo #nablopomoed Best Part

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  18 The best part of teaching is…


…seeing not just the light bulb turn on, but watching the students twist it in and turn it on themselves. The best part is when the students initiate a project or idea to show their learning, when they ask such things as, “Could I create a comic of characters from the story and how they treated each other to show a theme?”

Oh yes! Show what know and are able to do in your way.


And then, when they say, “Could I create a comic of how we should care for each other, and what to do when we meet some one with disabilities?”

Oh yes! Extend the learning, share it with others, and show others how you did it — the creation and the thinking.

If only our days allowed us the privilege of extensions and of creative learning.

So the best part of teaching, is inspiring.

How do you inspire?


#nablopomo #nablopomoed Sundays…

#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  17 On Sundays…

On Sundays, I wish there were sunny days. The clouds should dissipate and blue skies shine. Then, of course, life happens. I just read a sign that said, “Sundays are the day of rest, when we get the rest of the stuff done.”

That’s pretty much true, isn’t it? Here’s a list of the rest:

  • Thank the day
  • Enjoy the morning with Scott
  • Rest of the laundry
  • Rest of the school work
  • Rest
  • Walk the dog
  • Rest of the bills
  • Rest of the reading
  • Connect in some way with family afar

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