Three things:

1. I have piles of books – everywhere. They get read, eventually, but I don’t keep track. There is really no time table.

2. I keep reading in blogs how upping your book consumption can change your teaching practice.

3. Blogging and twitter challenges work.

Now add in the #MustReadin2014Challenge and voilà!

My #MustReadin2014 

Doll Bones,   Holly Black

The Boy on the Porch, Sharon Creech

Flora & Ulysses, Kate DiCamillo

The Truth of Me, Patricia MacLachlan

Small Medium at Large, Joanne Levy

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Chris Grabenstein

Double Dog Dare, Lisa Graff

Hokey Pokey, Jerry Spinelli

Greetings from Nowhere, Barbara O’Connor

Capture the Flag, Kate Messner

The Year of Shadows, Claire Legrand

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, Mo O’Hara

Fourteenth Goldfish, Jennifer Holm

Hold Fast, Blue Balliett

Pi in the Sky, Wendy Mass

Wild Delicate Seconds, Charles Finn

Dog Songs, Mary Oliver

Adult Lit

Andrew’s Brain, E.L. Doctrow

 Cooking a Natural Transformation, Michael Pollan

Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin

Professional Lit 

Reading in the Wild, Donalyn Miller

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction, Georgia Heard

Celebrations, Ruth Ayers

Thank you  Maria Selke from Maria’s Melange and Carrie Gelson from There’s a Book for That putting the challenge together.

Looking forward to blogging updates on April 1st, July 1st, October 1st

and a year end review.

Here’s to


Post Op Celebrations

Thank you Ruth Ayers for creating a place to share celebrations. I look forward to it every week.celebrate link up

Today, I have a post op celebrations.

The Road to Recovery: My daughter got through the first few days of knee reconstruction surgery. It’s been painful and frightening for her and me. We got through the first day all based on belief — belief that it would get better. The second day pain was tolerable; not ready to give up painkillers yet, but not crying. Day three, sleeping till the next pain medication was doable. Day four, she could play with her kitty, and I could be in the next room. Celebrations happen amid the set backs, and hope for more celebrations keep us going.

Nurses Are Angels: Day-in-day-out dealing with patients in pain is a God given gift. I was amazed at the kindness we encountered at the hospital. Every nurse from check in to post op, handled my daughter with care. Once home, I have become that care giver. I can do it for my child. I can be at her beck and call. But it is exhausting. And there are times when, I just don’t know what to do. Last night we called on our neighbor at 9PM for her nursing help. She came to the rescue: concerned, compassionate, competent and loving. I celebrate all the nurses including my beautiful neighbor who care for those in pain.

Being a mom to a teenage daughter is an exercise in patience and maintaining a respectful distance. Closeness recedes. But when trouble happens, things change. The relationship reverts. Amid the worry and the fatigue is the opportunity to care for her in a way I haven’t had to do in a long time. Not that I’d wish this situation on anyone, never. But this week I celebrate the fact that I can care for her overtly. I celebrate being a mom.

My One Little Word…And Where It Might Take Me

After much thought about all the possible words to be my one little word I’ve finally found one.  It needed to…

  • be actionable and visible
  • promote collaboration, questioning and creation
  • foster a love of reading and writing
  • strengthen the classroom community
  • ignite passionate and meaningful work

I choose wonder to be my one little word.

  •  because that’s what readers really do
  •  because it leads to exploration and learning
  •  because it can be seen as amazement or engagement
  •  because it gives permission to go places we otherwise might not go
  •  because that is the name of a book we love


Inquiry Work in Reading – I’ve just begun to look at how students process read aloud. I wonder can students identify their thinking processes during read aloud and then transfer some of that thinking towards independent work. I’m wondering what could bring the read aloud’s high level of engagement and deep level of thinking to their individual reading lives.

Poetry Connections –  Inspired by Mary Lee Hahn, Steve Peterson, and Vicki Vinton’s call for poetry, I am pushed to a place I’ve avoided. I wonder why I have overlooked poetry, particularly when I think about all of the potential it offerers in terms of language, craft and engagement.

But I’m working on it.  I’m looking for the those poems that resonate in my heart. Peeking at Poetry Friday posts and commenting on a few. My antennae are up. While I’m embarrassed to discover this hole in my literary world, I’m excited to learn alongside my students.

Deepening Student Blogging – I have learned so much from blogging and  I want my students to experience that same growth.  I’m wondering if we could connect student blogs out there for a student Tuesday slice in preparation for the March monthly challenge. Any takers for January and February?

Students Blog, Why Not Teachers – I’m wondering about blogging with my colleagues. Just to start, perhaps one day a week teachers could investigate one blog. We could gather around our laptops in room 5 and read a few blogs. Talk a bit and maybe a post a comment. I wonder if they’d catch the bug.

Wonder Across Grade Levels — As the new year starts, I wonder what is going on in other classrooms at my school. I wonder if my colleagues would want to enter my classroom and observe with wondering hearts and find at least one little thing to help to help me grow and one little thing that could help them grow. I’m wondering if I open up my classroom, inviting wonder, will others do the same.

Here’s to a year of wonder.



Sunshine Award Shines On

I was surprised and a little intimidated to be nominated of  for the Sunshine Awards, and I had planned to push this off till later. But the post I was planning is still brewing. I was stuck, so I decided that a little reflection might get me unstuck.

Vicki Vinton of To Make A Prairie honored me with this nomination. Her questions made me think, as usual. Thank you Vicki, this was a great fun and has helped get me get a bit unstuck!

2013-12-14 13.02.36

 first off here are the “rules” —

Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

Share 11 random facts about yourself.

Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!

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.)

eleven random facts about me…

1. I was a media buyer for Lexus when it was first launched in 1989. I recommended Lexus not advertise on the internet, who would look for a car there. In all fairness, it was 1990.

2. I love superheroes: Marvel comic superheroes over DC. Sorry Batman, I got over you in first grade.

3. My mom taught me to write by telling me to just write and not worry about what comes out. Best advise ever.

4. I’ve have relatives who fought in the American Revolution, Civil War and both World Wars.  Yep, I could be a member of the DAR.

5. My father is first generation. He went to kindergarten in Philadelphia speaking Yiddish.

6. I love routine, and as a consequence I haven’t travelled enough.

7. I am terrible at following directions, so don’t ask me to bake anything.

8. I would wear flip flops 100% of the time. Athletic requirements, weather conditions and social conventions stop me from attaining this goal.

9. I am a bit compulsive, exercise wise. I get up early, to swim or run…everyday.

10. I love radio theater/story – This American Life, The Moth, and Radio Lab from NPR are favorites.

11. I am a lapsed gardener. Indoor obsessions, like raising children, writing and reading, have taken over this past love.

now for Vicki’s questions…

  •  What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island? Pride and Prejudice. I love everything about this book. The dialogue, the characters, the sarcasm, the humor, and yes the love story! Jane Austen simply rocks.
  • What did you learn from your mother? So many things, but mostly how to mom. RIght now my daughter sleeps, recovering from knee surgery. It is painful and I have to be there for her every step. The other mom thing though is learning to step away when they don’t need you and do it with grace. After you’ve given everything within you, you step away with nothing owed. You step away because they are ready to fly without you, without any debt. My mom taught me that.
  • Where do you write? Anywhere I have quiet and space, but mostly at my dining room table. The table is big and two big windows flank me. I love this space, but it makes my husband crazy, probably because it is a public space. Agreed. I probably need a space of my own. Selfish me, but this is my favorite space.
  • Where do you find joy in your classroom or work? Reading student’s writing. It always makes me smile, sometimes laugh. It brings me closest to who they are willing to be and what they are willing to share. It aways fills me with purpose for the next steps.
  • What do you do to recharge? Write — but in all fairness this is linked to reading. The two feed each other.
  • What was your favorite book as a child and why did you love it? There are two, sorry I can’t narrow it down to one.  The Secret Garden was the first time I really was lost in a book, truly in the story. It created a benchmark that all other books were to be measured against. The second was a book on women athletes. Mind you this was prior to title nine. Women typically weren’t in sport. I loved this because I loved the consuming passion that athletes possess, and I wanted to be one.
  • If you could have dinner (or coffee or drinks) with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you want to ask him or her? My mom’s dad. He is a mystery to me. Based on her stories, he was creative, physical, a bit wild, Italian and passionate. From what I can tell he had dreams deferred by the depression. I’d ask him, what does he wish he had done in his life?
  • Do you have a quote that you keep (in your mind, a notebook, a pocket, your desk, etc.) that captures something that seems important to you? If so, what is it? Keep calm and carry on.
  • What are you afraid of?  Pain. Not just for myself but in others. It scares me because I feel like it could lead to chaos and oblivion. Nurses are in my mind the bravest of souls. True angels.
  • How do you feel about being the age you currently are? I want to stay this age for for a while. I like it. But that’s how I’ve felt for the past 30 years. Since I came into what I consider adulthood, I’ve always liked my age. Not to say there haven’t been bumps, but I can honestly say I’ve liked where I’m at. The only change now is that I feel like there is less of that in front of me, which makes choices more important. It’s noteworthy that 30 years marks the time I’ve been married this March. I’ve been extremely lucky to have found someone who allows me to be me. Lucky isn’t a great word, but blessed makes me feel like I was chosen. I think lucky is a little closer.
  • If you could go back to one moment in time, when & where would that be & why? When I was 20. I had just moved away and didn’t keep in contact with Mom and Dad.  I was so afraid of being held back, I pushed away too hard. I know now that it hurt and it wasn’t necessary. I’d like to go back and give a little kindness. They deserved that.

my nominees

Quite a few of these wonderful bloggers listed below have already been nominated. Hopefully this will seal the deal, and they will be compelled to write. Many are from the Slice of Life community that has opened up a world of blogging support. I nominated or re-nominated these thoughtful bloggers because I love their writing and they have added to my blogging/teaching life. in immeasurable ways. Don’t feel compelled to answer all or at all, only if you find something inspiring, interesting or fun.

Raise a Literate Human  — Stacey Shubitz

A Teaching Life  — Tara Smith

Resource-ful — Fran McVeigh

Inside the Dog — Steve Peterson

A Year of Reading — Mary Lee Hahn

Today is a Great Day for Learning — Hugh McDonald

Reading to the Core == Catherine Flynn

Teacher Dance — Linda Baie

A Day in the Life -= Leigh Ann Eck

Learning to Be Readers and Writers — Anita Ferrari

 Just for a Month — Terje Akke

and my questions…

1. What did you like about school?

2. Who was your hero growing up?

3. Name one guilty pleasure,

4. What is your favorite film and why?

5. What motivated you to start blogging?

6. What do you find exciting and challenging about growing up today? Why?

7. What are you most proud of?

8. What is your next challenge?

9. What technology has made your life better?

10. Why teaching?

11.  How have you grown in the last year? How do you know?

Enjoy the process if you so choose,and thanks so much for blogging!