Friday Follow: Blogs Edition #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 7.32.55 PMFriday Follow:  Blogs Edition #sol19

March 8, 2019

As a literacy coach,  I am often creating my own professional development on the fly based on what I think might be helpful to my learning community or things that I seek to make a closer connection to through deeper thinking.  However,  there are only so many hours in one day. Each day I take time out to read blogs even when it is not March. Instead of recommending blogs to you, here’s a few ways that blogs move my practice forward.

In all started with twitter, but that is a story for another day.  I will say that I find some blogs I follow because they are posted on twitter feeds.  I recommend you post your blog on twitter and also repost other blogs you find interesting and helpful on your twitter feed as well.  You can connect your twitter to your linkedin and twitter under the sharing bar.

Blogs are where I up my game.  I read a lot of literacy related blogs, both book reviews and professional practice content.  Many of our fellow slicers are published authors and their blogs are full of their amazing ideas.  I am sure you all follow Two Writing Teachers year round and soak up all their delicious ideas.  There are many other professionals through out our community that also blog about their practice, their latest reads, and other people they follow.

These blogs that I have followed either in my Word Press Reader or through email, also send me down the road of other bloggers.  Bloggers are generous folks and often give credit where it’s due when they find an interesting concept to expand upon or another blog that inspires them.

As I have said in many comments over the last week,  blogs are wonderful mentor texts.  Like all mentors, the more you read, the more you learn about them as a craft.  There are short tight ones like Brian Rozinsky’s, blogs that chronicle family time like Stacey’s slice or Jess’ or Darin’s.  There are amazing practiced slices by wordsmiths like Alice NinePoetry, photos, and now a cartoon.  Brilliant mentors who inspire me when I am uninspired and fill me full of ideas.

My radical suggestion is to read the entire list of blogs on the slice list one day.  Some you will just read through and offer a like. Some you will notice a sparkling turn of phrase, an interesting metaphor, a technique you haven’t tried.  Others will spark a memory of family, of childhood, of experiences past that will have you thinking for days.  You will find some blogs to follow.  Blogs that speak to you,  teach you, inspire you.  Just waiting to be read.

 

Thursday Reflection #OLW #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

unnamedThursday Reflection #OLW #sol19

March 7, 2019

I chose a word in January to guide some choices that I made throughout this year.  It’s the eight year that I have chosen a word.  This year’s word is reflection. Reflection.

I wrote a few days ago about a entry from my collaboration journal where I encouraged strongly two of my collaborative teachers to chuck the scripted assessment for the end of the Information Reading/Writing units (third grade) and take up slightly modified ideas that more closely aligned to the work they were doing in their classrooms.  You can read about my initial idea here.

The first idea was to use an information topic that individual students were working on in their genius hour projects to have the students do a flash draft in information writing. The plan for this assessment was to inform their genius hour progress and complete an end of unit assessment in informational writing.  In hindsight,  I should have coached into two things that we consistently do when writing.  The students should have had an opportunity to turn and share everything they were going to write with their writing partners.  We know how important the oral rehearsal is, especially with our school population.  The second reminder is also completely on me,  even though we wrote about something specific to the students, we should have introduced the task with the same assessment directions that we would have used in the writing progression work.

Please keep in mind that you’ll have only this one period to complete this, so you’ll need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting. Write in a way that shows all that you know about information writing.

“In your writing, make sure you: • Write an introduction. • Elaborate with a variety of information. • Organize your writing. • Use transition words. • Write a conclusion.”

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exemplar text from UOS

I hope the teachers were informed about many things in the students’ written essays, especially thinking about them in comparison to an exemplar.  I often think we are expecting too much of some things and not enough of others.  Few of the writers used parts or sections in their writing.  Many of them used transition words, expert words and had an introduction and conclusion.   Mostly success.

 

The second task we tried was more complex.  The teachers selected a text that they had read often and used as a mentor text.  Carter Reads the Newspaper for one class.  Harvesting Hope for the other.  Both of these texts are lengthy picture books with complex ideas new to all of the students.  We typed the text so it would be presented in  format similar to the testing protocol and other assessments. We considered presenting it through google classroom, but in the end used paper copies.  Through Newsela, we located an article at a third grade level that was related to the popularity of black history for Carter Reads the Newspaper, a book about Carter Woodson, the driving force behind Black History Month and an article about the continued plight of farmworkers in the United States to go with Harvesting Hope, a picture book biography of Cesar Chavez.  The first day the students summarized the informational article and the second day, the writers used cross-text synthesis to examine either black history or the condition of farm workers.

Perhaps the teachers would have gotten a cleaner assessment from the easier narrative nonfiction text provided in the unit paired with an equally easy informational article, but those articles were about roller coasters.  The students thought about the development and promotion of black history and what has contributed to the rise in popularity of civil rights sites and other related black history museums.  They thought about how little the conditions of farm workers whose products we eat has changed in the nearly sixty years since the Farm Workers March.  Their conclusions rang of so what and now what in a way that I don’t think writing about roller coaster would have.  They will walk away from these days with more than a thought that they wrote for two solid writing workshops.  Perhaps they will consider both of these topics for a long time to come.  I hear Lucy Calkins reminding me that we are raising citizens.  I know I’ll consider how we introduced a timely, important topic to them.

3/31 From My Notebook: Third Grade Assessments #sol19

img_1716-1For the month of March, I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.  

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 9.02.40 AMFrom My Notebook:  Third Grade Assessments in Literacy #sol19

Through my work as a literacy coach,  I have teachers that I meet and collaborate with throughout the week.  Usually these meetings are at 7:30 a.m. on a scheduled day of the week. I  meet with each teacher or team for 1/2 hour keeping notes of what we are working on.  Our school is an UOS of Study school following the work of Lucy Calkins and colleagues in this our first year of full implementation.  Most of our meetings are in their classrooms. Some teachers will come with questions, sometimes we plan out what we will work on the next week, sometimes I have a teaching technique or skill  I’ve noticed or a suggestion.  I keep a journal entry of each meeting to keep me thinking.  I am thankful to Tammy Mulligan, Teachers for Teachers, for assisting me in working on offering a menu of ideas during this coaching time.  This is still after years a work in progress.  

The Third Grade is ending their information reading and writing units and moving into character studies.  The Massachusetts’ state testing is looming large on the horizon.  Though I would like to not give it much importance, it’s there.  The ending of a unit and assessing  then beginning a unit and assessing is a process while beneficial in many ways  can seem to derail the learning process and give the teacher information that seems disconnected from their day to day work.  This week in my third grade collaborations I suggested combining the idea of flash drafts or quick writes, the narrative task (MCAS), and assessments.

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 9.02.00 AMThe four questions on the assessment are meant to be written in a 45 minute reading workshop using two text, an informational text and a related narrative nonfiction text.  I suggested that the teachers use a known narrative nonfiction perhaps one of their mentor texts for the narrative nonfiction sessions in bend 3 and then find another text that relates to that text that is an informational text.  In one classroom this might be the narrative nonfiction book,  Carter Reads a Newspaper, typed as a narrative and a newsela article, Interest in Black History Is Growing .  Day 1, the teacher pairs the narrative task to similar work the class has been doing, summarize the text Carter Reads a Newspaper and briefly write about one idea that you have grown from the text.

We had previously completed both whole class and small group work in part to whole using these two TCWRP resources.

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this is modified from a larger part to whole model

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The second text, the informational text can be read on another day with a summary of the informational text and then cross-text synthesis of both text.  This allows for two days practice in reading text online and flash drafting writing about reading.

For the post assessment in nonfiction writing,  two possibilities might be helpful.  Using a topic in science or social studies, or having students use their genius hour topic have students complete a nonfiction article about one of these topics.  This writing is completed during a standard writing workshop time. Using nonfiction writing checklist,  the information writing task from the Writing Pathways, and the nonfiction writing tips from the information writing task will be helpful for students along with a quick teach to their writing partner before they begin writing.

These gentle adjustment to the assessment tasks allow for the writing to feel more natural to students along with carrying a deeper connection to the work of the room.

March Warm Up #sol19

31-day-streak-with-borderMarch Warm Up #sol19

February 28, 2019

I sat down this morning to prewrite my blog for tomorrow, however traditionally our first blog of March is a kick off to introduce our blog to others or talk about our plan for our March writing.  I have a different plan for my Friday blogs during this month, so I thought I might write today about my plan.  It’s in the front of my mind and I can’t get my Friday blog out until I clear it out of the way.  (LOL)

This is my third year of the 31 day writing streak.  It seem extreme to say it is life-changing, but really it is.  Not only have a developed a real writing habit, but it’s change the way I see writing instruction and writing in general.  Perhaps predictably,  I never really saw myself as a writer.  Encouraged by a thoughtful mentor to write about my practice in a greater PLN,  I began blogging three years ago by jumping right into the month long challenge.  While the writing has been so helpful to my practice, allowing me to consider my OLW more carefully, examine practice, and definitely become more observant of my greater world,  the greatest gift I received was the companionship with my fellow slicers.  In a core group of 6-12 slicers who I feel I have a writing relationship with through our blogs,  I have discussed practice, next steps, tough times, and celebrated triumphs.  These core bloggers,  along with many other blogs I follow now,  have taught me about resources I wouldn’t have found, practices I might not have tried, perspectives I might not have consider, and endless lessons gently taught by caring writers with similar sensibilities.

I honestly am not sure about my methods from the last two years.  I know my first year I prewrote blogs and kept them in a folder in my google drive.  In both years, following a suggestion by many,  I keep a blog fodder journal, which is always filled with ideas I hope to write long about sometime in the near future.  This is a great way to try out a my blog journaltechnique I am often suggestion to students of keeping a place for writing ideas to forego the I don’t know what to write about.  That lesson alone has been so beneficial to me, both in giving me ideas to come back to and also to teach me to notice and consider many, many things that I might have noticed at the time and never given deep thought.  I show it to you now because it is an absolute mess filled with coffee stained notes I shoved into my handbag, notes quickly jotted in the car from something I read, stickies written during a chat or a show when a random thought occurred to me and… a few carefully constructed ideas.  Perhaps this is where I emphatically tell you that a) you can do a better job than me and b) if you don’t,  it doesn’t matter because this is a forgiving audience with a just go for it attitude.   My own darling chief welcome wagon encourager is still writing me a response each week even when my blogs are again a hot mess.  He is an amazing writer with tight well constructed thoughts whereas you can see I am a wordy rambler sometimes. most times

This year’s plan is to have a theme(like) for each day of the week, so that I know what type of writing I am going to do that day:  book reviews, follows, regular slices and a few other ideas.  If you new and reading this,  I suggest you read A LOT of blogs this week going back into archives of ones that resonate with you to see their style and subject matter.

To my long time writing friends,  I can’t wait to read what you write each day.  To myself,  you can do this!   See you in there.

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I am writing every day for the next 31!  Here’s to day 1.  Thanks to all of the Slicers and especially Stacey, Jcareyreads, ebgriffin, dmsherriff, Brian Rosinsky, Clare Landrigan, and many others for nuturing my writing and being my PLN away from home.

Reflect #sol19

0Reflect #sol19

January 1, 2019

My one little word from 2018 was notice.  I take this last look at what I noticed in 2018 and reflect on what I’ve taken away.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed in this last 365 days is the power of the struggle.  I read once that the broken places are where the light gets in and also that the person doing the work is the one doing the learning.  But honestly, when you get down to it, it’s always about giving power to individuals, allowing students, teachers, co-workers, and ourselves the room, the tools, and the time to figure it out.  It’s a fine line the struggle, but so often it results in break-through learning, self-reflection, and growth.  Letting others see their own strengths is where positive mindset really comes from. This idea is the strongest thing I took to my bones this past year.  I hope it’s the strongest coaching I did as well.

One of the reasons that this struggle resonated so fiercely with me is the commitment I made to read the Calkins Units of Study from cover to cover. The cover to cover approach strengthens the global view of the units and allows for flexibility to match student needs and experiences.   I haven’t made it through all of them yet, it’s my commitment for this school year.  Seeing the units vertically facilitates closing the gaps, strengthening outcomes, and envisioning the purpose.  Each one I read gives me a deeper understanding of the verticality of literacy skill development, the connections between the learning progressions, the reading and writing processes, and the logic of helping students see what is essential in reading and writing.

Some simpler things resonated this year when I took the time to notice.  Tools can be simple and flexible.  I can travel with some stickies, a composition book, my phone, and a few go-to books.  Along with tools, visuals can explain a lot!  I used so many drawing this year to show connections, steps, big ideas broken down, and planning.  Traveling lighter seems to facilitate flexibility in thinking on my part.

In human interactions, I noticed that partnering strengthens us.  When we reach out, listen, give great wait time, and talk regularly,  our work is stronger and more consistent.  Nothing takes the place of scheduled talk time or taking unscheduled time to talk.  While visuals and tools can be electronic,  I have found more than ever that emails are limited and limiting.  I’m still prone to using picture books, drawings, read-alouds and cookies to smooth, explain, and develop ideas.

The final reflections that I have for 2018 right now are that giving yourself some quiet time to think over problems, situations, and plans is essential.  Nothing replaces time in working things out.  I’ve written many a blog when I first wake up in the morning or sitting in the quiet literacy center before or after school.

Here’s to the partners that helped me learn those lessons this year.  Some were in books like Debbie Miller, Jennifer Serravallo, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan,  Ralph Fletcher.  Their books published this year were eye-opening and practice changing.  Here’s to the blog writing practitioners that encouraged me through difficulties in writing and practicing, my instagram troop, twitter pals, and facebook groups that shared so much of what works for them. Here’s to my morning partners, each day of the week I learn from you and with you.  Here’s to my day partners mostly under 10 who make me a better learner, explainer, and experimenter.  In 2019,  I’ll be reflecting on what you teach me.

 

Data Meetings: Planning for Growth

IMG_2586Data Meetings:  Planning for Growth

October 8, 2018

What comes to mind when I say data meeting?

Not looking for the benefit of data or meeting together.  Just thinking about when we sit at that table in that room together.  What are we trying to accomplish? Backward glance? Problem Solving? Correcting course?

Do you have a plan in mind?

Many meetings have identity problems.  Data Meetings are constructed with the principal, our grade level team, a specialist or two.  Data meetings have limited time. Educators arrive with varying amounts of data having spent varying amounts of time examining it.  Individuals think in divisions: students that are ‘on track’ and students that are ‘behind’. Cheers for how well they got it. Cheers for our teaching.

Data meetings are available three times a year.  In the fall, educators are getting to know new students and assessing summer loss.  In the winter, educators may review students acclimation to grade and their mid-year progress.  In the spring, educators may reflect on progress toward goals.

The developments from the meetings can varying.  When educators have clear indicators they are looking for in the data, they come to the meeting prepared to future plan, both for the immediate and the long term.  When indicators are less clear, either from the team or the leadership, meetings feel like show and tell. These meeting have potential. Potential to drive not just particular teachers, not just particular grade levels, but whole learning communities forward.  If we only ask,

What did we want to learn?  Did we learn it? How will we use this information to reflect, to move forward, to improve?  

Do we and can we finding meaning in this work,  the work of data meetings?

I know what you’re thinking,  sometimes these meetings are just a waste of time.  As a person who goes to a LOT of meetings, I’d say meetings are exactly what you make them. I’m sure in some places, people trot out their “data”, test scores, assessment levels, attendance even,  and praise each other for how far students have come. Educators race to complete assessments and hair on fire arrive at a meeting with the ink proverbially still drying. We rarely have time to think about what the data might be telling us beyond the scores.

But, we can do better.

When we began data meetings, we were just thinking in the meeting about what new assessment data was telling us.  We were learning about the assessments, considering interventions. Considering the data together. Even then, we thought about and discussed how timing affected students,  which students might need another go, how else we might assess these skills, what skills we were assessing and their importance. Even then, we were searching for solutions to whole class and individual student difficulties, thinking always about how we could assist each other. The data was drawing us to empathy and  to collaboration.

So here we are, eight years later.  What are we going to do with our data meetings?

Are they OUR data meetings?  We extend the time. We reduce the data.  We extend the discussion. We think more about the pedagogy.  We shift our thinking regarding intervention. Still stuffed to the breaking point, squeezing all the assessments in a small window and peeking in.  

And we still wonder what it is we see.

It all really goes back to those simple questions:  what do we want students to learn and how are we going to ‘teachfacilitate it.  Working through our backward design long before we collect the data, deciding together what we are looking for and how we will know it when we see it.  Planning for planning. Planning for talking. Taking those assessments out of the drawers and into the light. Considering the purpose for each assessment and consequently each lessons.  How can we reteach? What will we reteach? Does this data tell me what I need to know to make these decisions?

This seems like a lot of work,  time spent giving the assessments, time spent examining the assessments,  time spend aligning the assessment to the curriculum. It may be that the more time we spend on these elements, the less we will need quarterly meetings to discuss them.  The more growth we will see in students as the instruction becomes focused on need.

Yes,  we could eliminate a meeting.  But sometimes, it is beneficial to talk about how we’ve grown and what we will do next.  

 

The Promise of This Year #sol18o

The Promise of This Year #sol18

September 17, 2018

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Last week,  my very wise, mentor/cyber-colleague, posted this onto her twitter feed.

I responded with my gut, my instincts,  my heart…

“The Promise of This Year”

On August 30,  Colby Sharp retweet his own tweet from June 27, 2018

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I printed it out and hung it above my desk.

I am often chasing fixes.  Trying to solve all the problems within my purview.  That’s not what I coach folks to do.  I coach folks to think of one thing that they do sort of well and do it better and better.  I should take my own advice…

So I am declaring publicly that THIS YEAR,  I am going to think in that moment, with that teacher or that student, about what we are working on right then.  As Colby says, one read aloud at a time, one conference at a time.  One book talk at a time.  One mini-lesson at a time.  One small group at a time.  Every minute.

If it doesn’t work this minute, perhaps it will work in the next.  After all I am just planting seeds.  Planting seeds.  Casting them out and seeing what grows.

Last week,  I wrote down a meditation mantra from 10% Happier.  It was so simple, but it spoke volumes to me.  Right now,  it’s like this.  Right now it’s like this.  

Last week,  I met with the literacy team in my building. The internet didn’t work, the chromebooks wouldn’t all boot up.  One of them turned to me and told me a story about how she hadn’t planned a few weeks of her young sons’ summer days.  It seemed like everything was a little bit wonky.  She began to say, mostly to herself, I’m doing the best I can do.  I wrote than down on a white board and added… I’m doing the best I can do, right now.  

So perhaps tomorrow, a minilesson will flop or SOAR,  technology will glitch or work perfectly,  I’ll read a book that makes us laugh or smile or think.  And I’ll be thankful.  Thankful for Jessica Carey and Colby Sharp.  For the kids and their jokes.  For my colleagues that lift me up and the ones who keep me on my toes.

I’ll remember that it’s just this minilesson,  this strategy group,  this conference,  this read aloud.  I’ll notice a twinkle in someone’s eye,  a half smile, and an almost-there.  Because all I want is for everyone I work with,  kiddos and grown-ups to know,  I care about their success.  I’m still going to be here tomorrow and we can do it all again or something entirely different.

That’s where our strength lives.

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 8.32.28 AM I’m grateful to my social media giants who hold me up even when they don’t know it.  Read their amazing slices here at Two Writing Teachers.

Why I Write #sol18

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Why I Write #sol18

April 10, 2018

“I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to. But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I’ll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you’ll ever hear. Ever.”
― Patricia MacLachlan, Word After Word After Word

I, myself, write to change my perception.  I never considered myself a writer. I taught writing,  I had students write. I wrote. In my mind, I wasn’t a writer.  When I published my 100th blog, I added writer to my twitter bio.  Perhaps one hundred blogs doesn’t make me a writer, but now I’m a person who writes.  
I,  myself, write to share an idea.  Sometimes I write to share a passed-on idea.  Sometimes I write to share a synthesis of several ideas.  Sometimes I write to share a memory that sparked another idea.  I share ideas. 

 

I,  myself, write to live in community with other writers.  We know each other through our writing. We know the joy of words strung together.  We know the frustration of words that will not string together. We learn together how to write,  how to improve our writing, how to support each other as writers.

 

I, myself, write to rethink an experience. Occasionally they are wonderful experiences and I want to think about them again.  Other times, they are trying experiences and I want to think through them again. I experience  them more fully when I write them down.

 

I, myself, write to improve my teaching and coaching.  When I write about what I teach, I examine it more carefully.  When I write about my coaching, I examine that as well. In that examination, that noticing, I change.  I grow.

I , myself, write, to experience what the students experience. I think about structure, syntax, and grammar.  I think about word choice and voice.  My thoughts fill with mentor texts.  Sometimes, I even think about spelling. I am a student of writing. 
I, myself, write to solve a problem,  to answer a question, to make things turn out the way I want them to.

I, myself, write.  I am a writer.

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Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiration and encouragement and to TWO WRITING TEACHERS for creating this opportunity.  Read more amazing blogs and join the writing here.

 

Noticing #sol18

IMG_0967Noticing #sol18

March 31, 2018

Lily and I have the luxury of a walk this morning heading out to our woodsy trail.  We haven’t been this way in quite some time impeded by snow for so long. Today spring is breaking through.  Under foot wet soggy leaves make me hesitant, not Lily. She’s confident, leading the way. Twigs break under foot. My eyes  drawn to the the trees overhead, noticing their raw wounds from recent storms. Tiny islands of snow crop up here and there, spring will not be denied now. Lily’s keen nose and sharp eyes notice far more than mine stopping her to smell a branch or rock, look out into the woods that surrounds us. My eyes are drawn to the brilliant green and subtle difference of the moss on every rock. The moss senses the change. 

 I notice myself composing as I walk,  the silence opening up the words that flow across my consciousness. Small phrases worked over like smooth pebbles in a stream.  Not quite right yet. Composing, switching phrases, juggling imagery. Would I have done this before?  Would I have noticed like a wordsmith, like a chronicler, like a writer?

I am sharper, keener, more observant.  Noticing more around and thinking more deeply about how I express myself, not just in my print, but in my words everywhere.  Space for contemplation matters more and so I give it more generously. Thoughts have more space to grow, perhaps flourishing or lying in my notebook for other opportunities. Revising  more, thinking about sentences days later and returning to change word order, clarity, tense seems common place now. Changed as a writer. 

As I thinking more about writing, I consider more about teaching writing as well.  Talking first, rehearsing. We did this before but it feels differently now, more like a sharing, a collaboration, joyful.  Bringing what I’ve  noticed to the daily practice of writing. 

Last year,  I composed in documents, careful, hesitant, concerned.  Now my thoughts come and I begin to compose not caring if I discard them later.  More will come. Just then, clarity. What I’ve learned, just like spring,  more will come. 

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And just like that it’s over,  day 31 of 31. I am forever grateful to my writing mentors, encouragers, and fellow journeyers in this the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers and the amazingly talented writers that curate that site not just during March but throughout the year.  See for yourself at Two Writing Teachers.

What I Learn From Other Slicers #sol18

IMG_0944.jpgWhat I Learned From Other Slicers #sol18

March Year 2 Edition March 30, 2018

The intimacy of sharing a writing community and reading someone’s writing each day across time and place is profound.  Images and ideas stick with you long after you have left.

I have learned so much from so many bloggers this March. Last year I was so focused on just getting the writing done I didn’t allow myself enough space to just enjoy other writing and other perspectives.  This year I let go other reading to really read blogs consistently, reading between 20-25 blogs every day and sometime more than that.  Reading deeply in one genre gives you a stronger understanding of craft.  Here are 10 highlights from a month full of so many, tucked into my blog journal, my electronic folder, and my reading list. They will remain there for some time. 

From Alice Nine I learned about many different types of poetry, my favorite of which was golden shovels, My Daddy’s Golden Shovel.  In addition,  Alice has a wonderful way of weaving teaching techniques into her blog and respond to comments in a way that continues to teach.   To everyone else that wrote, explained, and taught me poetry techniques I am truly grateful.  Special recognition to Fran McVeigh, Lynne Dorfman and others.

From Lanny Ball and Stacey Shubitz, and others,   I learned true slicing,  those truthful everyday moments that hold so much meaning and sentiment.  Stacey let us into her little family and allowed me to peek at moments in young parenting that are long past for me. Last year, Stacey taught me how to make those watercolor illustration for my blog.

From humbleswede and Fran Haley, and others,  I learned that my dog could have a say which leaves the possibilities open for so many other things.  Lily still hasn’t gotten her say, but she has received honorable mention.

From Darin Johnston &  JCareyreads,  I learned that we can be PLN friends,  share ideas, and strengths, and hopes with each other.  Their honesty and thoughtful responses are the hallmark of what makes this challenge so meaningful.

From mbhmainepersistence and pedagogy,  and others,  I remembered about the variety of the slice techniques. So many of these techniques are squirreled away for a Tuesday.

From comments  like those from ureadiread and others, I was affirmed, supported, and taught.   5 star commenting from Brian Rozinsky for this whole solid year.  ( I have still yet to learn brevity from him)

From ebgriffin, saavyteacher and others,  I learned that we can talk over virtually what we are thinking, rehash what we wished, and have a virtual redo.

From mrspalmerponders and others,  I thought about the true depth of mentor texts.  Her How-To about blueberry picking will stick with me.

From my friend,  Clare Landrigan,  I continue to learn that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, that encouragement means everything, and you can know a person, but learn a lot more from their writing.

From my little welcome wagon tribe,  I learned that affirming someone else feels pretty great.

Bonus:  There were so many blogs that I truly enjoyed like this one from Anita,  Frog, Toad, and Vygotsky  I hope I told each of you when you wrote them.

This year blogging after school and posting in the AM worked for me as did reading  blogs throughout the day.  This technique was encourage by my welcome wagon crew being spread across the country posting at all different times. 

I learned a few things about myself too,  but I’ll save those for day 31.  

img_1405Day 30 of a 31 day challenge.  Writing with my writerly friends as part of the Slice of Life Challenge.  Read even more of their amazing blogs at Two Writing Teachers.  Thanks to Melanie, Stacey, and Lanny for coordinating so much for so many and encouraging me personally.