Before You Silence, Listen

Writing workshop used to be a “no talking” time in my classroom.  As soon as the classical music started, so did my reminders of “silent work.”  Conferences and small groups were interrupted by my need to shhhhh.  As voices spread across the classroom, it was my cue that stamina was up, and so we began our…

The Language of Command

Here’s an experiment for you, as a parent or teacher: Put 4 pieces of masking tape on your arms.  Spend an entire day with a pen in your hand and make a tally mark for every type of sentence you say to children.   Label the masking tape: Directive statements (Commands) Questions Social niceties (Hello,…

It’s all about the numbers

It’s been a month since school started.  A month since a school-free dream, worry-free Sunday, since my mind has been at rest.  It’s also been a month since I’ve written, the one essential aspect of my life I have yet to find balance for.   There’s a few ideas that have brewing up, restless in…

I Am a Writer

I was a reluctant writer — —Something I have never considered myself before.  In fact, I’ve always felt writing was a strength of mine. When it came to this type of writing, writing for the world (as I call it below), I froze. My intentions and desire for creating this blog started when I moved to NYC…

More on Soft Starts

I’m thrilled to see so many teachers trying soft starts or planning to try them.  There have been questions floating around that I am hoping to answer in this post.   Know that last year was my first year trying soft starts.  I have asked the same questions and am asking more of my own….

Please Stop the Morning Work

Today was a crappy day.   As educators, no matter what is going on in our personal lives, or with our health, we have to muster up everything we’ve got to give to our kids.   Realistically, we are all humans.  With relationships, families, friends, health, finances that aren’t always as picture perfect as our…

Growing Joyful, Authentic Partnerships in Reading and Writing Workshop

Partner time in reading and writing workshop was something I dreaded.  Year after year, I struggled with the same things:  forming what I could only hope to be successful pairs, off-task behaviors, absent partners, lack of engagement, and static partnerships because they were the only two kids at a certain level throughout the year (this…

Rethinking Daily Schedules

With time to finally think about myself, I am determined to accomplish long-abandoned personal goals in the summer days ahead.  After several drafts, I published my own summer goal chart. *Not written is my long-term goal of becoming a better chart illustrator. Enter panic-mode:  HOW WILL I FIT IT ALL IN?  (sound familiar??) Following my…

Big Picture, Small Steps

Close your eyes.  Picture your classroom.  Picture what a typical day looks like.  What are your kids doing?  What are you doing?  Where is the furniture?  What’s on the walls?  Now picture the classroom you want to have.  Are the two pictures the same?   I began my first year of teaching with a big…