Saturday, January 24, 2015

Celebrating Love, Kevin love

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for the Celebration Link Up
at her blog, Discover Play Build
Head over there and link up your Celebration too!

Love, love, is all you need!  The Beatles

Celebrating Love this Week
The song popped into my head after my conversation with Nattie during our drive home from daycare.  Her words were so sweet that I had to capture them...

"Kevin love!"

"Yes, Nat's!  He's a player on our Cleveland Cavaliers!"

"Yes, Mommy!  But we have another Kevin love in our family!"

"We do...and who is that?

"It's Daddy!  He's our Kevin and we love him!"

-love is all you need...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Invitd-Girls Movie Night & Delicious Food

Join the Community at Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life each week!

Invited?  Girls Night In?  A Movie?  Food?  Just Moms-no hubs, no kids?

I could hardly wait to let my friend know that I was able to attend the Girls Night In!  And then, the dilemma came-what food should I bring?  Indian?  French?  I am no Martha Stewart in the kitchen so this would be a challenge...I lamented for days...

Finally, I told Anna-"Just please assign me something-I have no idea what to make!"

She suggested, "Bring a side!"

I thought-ok, this can work.  I trekked out to our new Giant Eagle Market District!  What an experience.  It is definitely not the normal grocery story excursion.  I had pinned and googled French side dishes all day.  I finally came up with this potato recipe from Williams Sonoma-everyone liked them so I decided to share them with you too...

The food, fun and fellowship along with watching the good movie (which I found out is based on a book that I now have to read) made for quite an evening "in".  Our evening ended with a perfect slice of dessert! Eclair cake!   Here is that recipe:

Happy future eating and movie watching...I hope you can find joy in the cooking.  I know the dessert for sure is a three star experience!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Full of Joy and Blessings

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for the Celebration Link Up
at her blog, Discover Play Build
Head over there and link up your Celebration too!

So many blessings to celebrate this week...I'm giddy with happiness as I write today's celebration.  

Snow Day-A surprise snow day due to icy conditions on the roads.  The temperature hovered around freezing at just the right time to make the roads slippery and dangerous.  Since I was able to stay home, Nat and I suited up in our snow clothes and hurried out to play in the snow.  You can read more about our adventures here.

Football-The Ohio State Buckeyes went 2/2!  Not only do they have the best damn band in the land, they have the best damn football team in the land-as they won the National Championship Title by beating the Oregon Ducks!  We are so proud that an Ohio sports team finally has something to celebrate.  My big take away from this win and watching the Buckeyes this season is coming together as a team and can help over-come just about anything.  We won with a third string quarterback and a virtually unknown running back (at the start of the season).

Book Birthday-Celebrated book birtdhay with Kate Messner and the launch of #59reasons!  You can read more about her book launch here and here.  Besides the idea that this book could be an awesome tool for professional development and teachers learning to write, I am also excited because Kate included my reflection from the Teachers Write Summer Camp in Chapter 12 Time to Reflect.  I feel so honored.  Thanks Kate and Stenhouse for deciding to include my reflection letter!

Slicing-Writing my slice and having time to read others' blog posts was great fun.  It was great to catch up on what everyone in the slicing community has been up to over the past few months.

A Day off!  -What could be better?  A day off for inservicing 6 hour options in the Fall.  I felt  relaxed and played on twitter and blogs!  I also took Nat to see Disney's Frozen on Ice.  She loved every minute of it!

Movie Night-Besides the joy of being here to celebrate writing with you,  I get to go to the "Girls Night In" for dinner and a movie with girl friends!

What an awesome much to be thankful for...What are your blessings this week?

My Reflection Letter in Kate Messners' 59 reasons to write

Dear Amy,
You have seen an invitation to participate in this special opportunity called Teachers Write, Virtual Summer Writing Camp. You don’t know it yet, but you are going to learn so much about writing and the things writers do to inspire their work, finding inspiration in the everyday, progressing through research, revising, setting goals and sharing your work in an on-line community of others who will be supportive to a newbie-writer just like you. An opportunity like this will help nudge you to fulfill your goal of someday becoming a published children’s literature author. Here are some of all the great mentors you’ll be connected with, Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jen Vincent, Jo Knowles, Pam Bachorz, Margo Sorenson, Sara Lewis Holmes, Miriam Foster, Barb Rosenstock, and Jody Feldman just to name a few…You’ll also connect with other camper-writers along the way and be inspired by them too (Margaret, Jayme, Andy, Diane)…
Here is some advice as you prepare for camp:
1. Prepare to write everyday-but make your program work for you-you know that having your 7 year old and 19 month old children will put demands on your time that may pull you away from your writing work, but get back to it when you can. ;)
2. Share what you are doing with others.
3. Learn all you can from this community of experts- authors, teachers, and librarians.
4. Don’t be afraid to take risks, like the motto on your blog-“a ship in port is safe but that’s not what ships are for”.
5. At some point, work up enough self-confidence to join a critique group (if you don’t get to this point, it’s ok-just keep working at it).
6. Remember, the best writers are also avid readers (make time to read too)-you may have to give up watching TV-take something off your plate to get all of this done-the effort you put into it will pay-off someday.
7. Write every day.
8. Write every day.
9. Write every day.
10. And write every day-even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
You may not always be able to all 10 things on your list, but try. Oh, and if you do nothing else, write every day! So, you’re off and away to camp real soon, enjoy the learning you “virtual teachers write camper” you!
On your mark, get set, write!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Snow Day Play-A Winter Whisperings Gallery Contribution

Contribution to the Winter Whisperings Gallery
thanks to Carol Varsalona for the invitation to contribute

Created by Amy Rudd, Akron, Ohio

Snow Day Play!

Join the Community at Two Writing Teachers

A Tuesday Slice of Snow Play...

Today, snowy, cold, blustery-an unexpected gift of retreat from the job that is non-stop.  We were called off for a snow day due to a mixture of snow and freezing rain that hit the roads at just the right time.  So, we could play, play, play in the frozen white stuff!

Priority 1-suiting up in appropriate snow attire-hat, gloves, winter coat and boots!

Priority 2-"Do you wanta' build a snowman?"  Yes, let's build a snowman named Kuku!

Priority 3 and up-just pure fun!  Sled riding, running, making snow angels, and a snowball fight too-all just a ball-so much fun for me and for you!

Pic Collage on the ipad -to create the snowy scene

A perfect way to spend our day-enjoying our time together...sometimes even though it's bad I'm thankful for nasty weather!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#Believe-my OLW for 2015

One. Little. Word.  I have been searching desperately for you.  I have searched my heart and soul and even my were still missing...and then-

I found you!

I reflected on my #OLW from previous years:  balance and listen.  Those words served me well.  I started thinking that I needed a word that would lead into me being more confident in myself.  I needed you to guide me this year as I work at being more confident and trusting in my abilities and what I know I am capable of in my heart through all aspects of my life.

Luckily, two of my friends helped me to find you.  I told them I was searching and considering and they know me so well that I trusted them and revealed my weakness.  I am a chicken.  I am scared and afraid and not a risk-taker at all.  You will help me get there.  I did a word map from visual thesaurus and here is how you looked from there:

I found you in some lyrics too that captured what I need from you...thanks to Josh Groban for putting these words together-from the movie Polar Express...

Believe in what your heart is saying,
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste!
There's so much to celebrate...
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need

So, thank you, One. Little. Word.!  for finally appearing for me.  I will keep you in my heart all year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Scribe

for the Tuesday Slice of Life
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Beth, Betsy and Dana 
for hosting the Slice of Life each week!

The holidays are an exciting time around our home!  We spruced things up with our traditional decorations-stockings, lights and the tree!  If you already know about our house, you won't be surprised to hear that our elves have returned.  If you're new to our house, then you need to know the background on our elves.  Our elves are just like the elves on the shelf-except they have their own mischievous ways...they take to writing notes, leaving messages, reading and playing all sorts of games beginning the day after Thanksgiving.


Our elves returned in a surprising fashion by entering the house via the chimney and playing with the ABC blocks.  They left us messages each night since they have arrived.  We are trying to figure out their pattern and what they will be up to next.  Jingle and Christina have suggested books and reading so far...but tonight when we got home from school and work, the kids noticed the elves were hanging out under the tree with the Operation game.  Kameron was in the process of writing a note to Jingle and Nat decided that she wanted to join in the fun too.  Kevin was reviewing Kameron's school work and I was busy getting supper.

Natalie asked me to write the note to her elf and then, "The Scribe" stepped up and offered!  Kameron diligently recorded Nat's little note for her elf.  From the "Dear Christina" to the "I love you" and the gentle suggestion from Kam to add a line about something done at school today-really making me smile!

Feeling blessed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Food-ation" Celebration

That time of year...

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for the Celebration Link up
at her blog, Discover Play Build
Head over there and link up your Celebration too!

This week, I am celebrating "That time of year"...Even though there is preparation, planning and work involved I don't mind digging in and getting my hands "dirty".

The big event to reflect on this past week was hosting Thanksgiving.  Since I had school work up until Wednesday, I decided to keep the menu simple.  Simple worked for everyone else too.  Turkey, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, bread, yams, and pie for dessert was all there was to eat.  My celebration is about my three favorite pieces of the meal...

Turkey-turkey-little turkey...I am by no means a chef so I researched the best ways to cook the bird.  I didn't buy a whole bird-mainly the breast-because no one in the family likes the dark meat.  I had it thawing in the refrigerator since Sunday.  Wednesday called for the time to brine.  The mixture was a little white wine, salt, pepper, and apple juice.  I played around with what to put in the mix but these ingredients worked out well as the turkey was so sweet and juicy...YUM!

Stuff in the stuffing...I love, love, love the way my mom always made the stuffing on Turkey day and so I followed how she put it together.  First, I sauteed lots of onion and celery together in butter.  Then I poured in one can of chicken stock.  After that boiled, I added just one box of stove top stuffing mix-then added bread that was cut up and dried.  I mixed it all together and baked it for 45 minutes at 350.  It turned out so tasty...there was only a tiny sliver left (I'll be eating that leftover).

Marshmallow Yams...Yams have grown on me over the years-I despised them when I was younger.  I really like how they taste now.  I'm not sure what changed but I'll go with it.  I put them in the baking pan and added a few pats of butter, sprinkled on some brown sugar and baked them.  At the last 5 minutes, I added two handfuls of mini-marshmallows to the top!  They came out toasty brown (just like when you cook them over the campfire) on top of the yams.  I really could have eaten the whole pan.  They tasted that good.

Now the problem is how to work around the 3 pound weight gain!  Hope your Thanksgiving was bloated with yummy food and fun times with family and/or friends!

Any tasty morsels to celebrate this week?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferris Fun-IMWAYR

Head over to their blogs and add your link too!

Of course, today is Monday~what I'm reading is Mr. Ferris and His Wheel.  I've had this book on my TBR pile for awhile!  I just had to get to it.  Since I stayed home from work with Nattie (she has some flu bug) I had nothing better to do than read books and blog about them of course.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel is an exciting title about George Ferris and the amazing invention of the Ferris Wheel for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.  It almost wasn't called a Ferris Wheel.  There was competition from another inventor...but maybe that's another story.  

When I think of his invention, I think of carnivals, amusement parks, and giggles and laughter!  I'm thrilled that Ferris stuck with the idea of creating such a wonderful ride that millions of people have enjoyed since then. The author organized the text with the main story about the invention of the Ferris Wheel and also included little factoids about the development.  My favorite one is:
"The Chicago Fair, or the 'White City' inspired two more magical places-The Emerald City in the classic children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Disneyland.  Walt Disney's father was a construction worker on the fair.  He told his son stories about the dreamlike city he had helped build, and young Walt grew up to build famous amusement parks that stay open all year round."
The artwork of the book has a cartoonish sort of look to it which adds to the dreaminess of how the ferris wheel must have appeared to those that were able to see it.  The views from the gondolas must have been spectacular.  I was surprised to read that one round-trip on the wheel could be purchased for the low, low cost of 50 cents a ride no matter who you were.  AMAZING!  What an incredible story of tenacity, perseverance and almost wasn't.

Thank you to author Kathryn Davis and illustrator Gilbert Ford for this unique glimpse of the back story on the Ferris Wheel.  I feel so excited to share the book with other teachers and students.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#NCTE14 and Storify "From the Sidelines"

Last year, I attended the NCTE Conference for the first time.  The trip was great fun and I still look back at those memories fondly!  This year, I viewed #NCTE14 from the sidelines.  Via Twitter, I watched the plays and players interacting.  I made my first ever "Storify" of the tweets I favorited throughout the weekend.

Enjoy this story from the sidelines!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Opportunities to Celebrate Writing

Special thanks this week, to Ruth Ayers
for hosting the #celebratelu
be sure to head over to her blog and 
link up your celebrations

“If through your workshop, they (students) come to believe in themselves as writers, you have given them a gift that will sustain them for years to come.” 
~Fletcher and Portalupi, 2001

     This week, I celebrate the opportunities to profess the importance of writing...writing with students, every. single. day.  writing to walk in writer's shoes...I felt giddy with excitement over the opportunities to share with teachers what I know to be true as a writer!

1.  Writing is hard work.  Commit to growing as a writer by being a writer.  You can't get better by watching from the sidelines.  You've got to get in the game too!  Write, Write! write...

2.  Writing can surprise you.  I look back through some of my blog posts and feel so much joy inside when I re-read my thinking on paper.  Sometimes as you go back through what you have written, you may wonder...and ponder and feel compelled to write even more.

3.  Writing is for an audience.  Publishing pieces for an audience and thinking about how they might react to your work drives you to be better at it.  Writing can improve with grows and glows!  Feedback sustains more writing.  It's another key to success.

     I cherish the time I had to share with the professional learning communities in APS! Implementing the writer's workshop is truly a new venture for our district this year and I want to make sure we get it right. write. right?

I made suggestions on resources and people to follow...I celebrate the opportunity to link up with many writers here.

I also shared some of my favorite children's book titles about writing too...

You are authors!

You all have a story to tell!

So look closely at the world and notice the details...

I celebrate being thankful for teachers who are teaching kiddos how to write!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebrating Celebrating!

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for hosting the Weekly-#Celebratelu at Ruth Ayers Writes

Happy Minion
click the link "Happy Minion" to play 24 hours of Happy by Pharrell

I'm happy!
I'm happy because I have been doing a lot of celebrating this week!  Thus, my post title-
"Celebrating Celebrating"!

A big celebration of this week is that my hubby found a new position with a great company just down the block from where I work.  He sadly said "good-bye" and "good luck" to his colleagues that are moving on to Pennsylvania with PPG but gladly knowing that we wouldn't have to worry about commuting or even moving long PPG, hello new company!  He starts at his new place of employment on Monday!

Another celebration this week was being a part of the Lebron James coming home to Akron Welcome Home Event.  Last Saturday, I helped out with renovation of one of the ten yards of his Family Foundation picked to revive.  It was amazing how the yard transformed in such a small amount of time.  The family was so excited and thankful to be a part of the event.  I hope Kennedy loves her new backyard!  The big event was last night and since I was able to help I got tickets to be on the field with all the kids of Wheels for Education.  It was amazing!  I am blown-away by how generous Lebron James has been with the Akron Community.  Kameron was able to be on the field with me and I know this is a special event he will always remember.

I am also celebrating 18 years of marriage this week with my wonderful hubby Kev.  We got to go out on Thursday to celebrate our anniversary!  We ate at the Burntwood Grille which was delicious!  We then went to hear a jazz band at the Akron Art Museum and finally went for dessert at Crave!  We enjoyed the whole evening outside as it was a gorgeous night with perfect weather!

I am also celebrating my little guy turning 10!  Ten years ago, I was in labor at this moment-praying and hoping that the delivery of my first born would all go smoothly...he was finally born at 10pm that night.  So here's to my little man-growing up much too fast right before my eyes...Happy Birthday Kam!

And, last but not least, I'm celebrating over a week of re-joining the Rec and heading out to exercise-mostly fitness walking (almost jogging) 5 of the last 9 days.  Exercising is making me feel's been great!  I need to get it into a more routine process but I'm sure that will come with returning to work next week.  Yes, my summer vacation is officially ending's ok because I've been celebrating celebrating!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ready for the Rec

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” 

I giggled to myself when I found this quote about exercising!  In first grade, I was Winnie-the-Pooh in the class play.  I sang "Up, Down and Touch the Ground".  I was feeling a lot like Pooh lately, tubby and overstuffed.  So, I decided to re-join the rec center and take on the task of exercising there.

The rec center makes it easy for moms to find time because...they have a babysitting service.  Yes, that's right!  They will watch a little person for a mom who wants to exercise.  Thankfully, my little person loves it there.  She practically begs me every day now saying, "I'm ready for the rec Mom!"

As a matter of fact, she's calling to go exercise!  Up, down, touch the more feeling like Pooh!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Time to Be

Allowed to run!
Allowed to play! 
Allowed to shoot...
at the basketball hoop
ball in hand-alley oop! with my friends

Wanting to shout--
Allowed to laugh out--
Wanting to echoooooo
from the top of the hill down to Basswood
goods in hand from the trading post!

Learning to chat...
Learning to waiter and wait...
Learning to eat and try tasty new foods...
Learning to sing new, silly songs playing fun games (gizmo)
in the dining hall, cleaning up making things neat-leave no trace
breakfast, lunch and dinner with friends!

Hunting for critters...or sticks for a fire!
Learning to explore with the guys out in the woods... 
Identifying parts of the beauty of nature!
Being there rain and shine
finding the treasures at Manatoc!

Dressing in uniforms...
Learning to salute!
Loving retreat, closing the day 
on the parade field, flags flying
marching-left, left, left right left gather...entering the trail to Eagle
Sitting down to listen...
Learning to reflect...
at the Manatoc Council Circle
thinking in silence
to be
just me...
away at Webelo Residence Camp!

The idea for writing this post came after thinking about all of the unique experiences that went on during Webelos Residence Camp with my son Kam.  I want to thank the leaders who attended the camp this week for offering encouraging pieces of advice to my son and the other boys there as they work toward becoming a Boy Scout.  Thank you to Shaun Grayson, Scott Kline (& Zack), Matt Roeser, Jason Ehrhardt, Steve Smith (& Robert), and Ammie Brigger.  Thank you for being such great role models for the boys this week.  Your kindness, generosity of spirit and friendship are amazing points of light for the boys as they continue to learn and grow to be our future Boy Scouts.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friends Make It...

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the weekly Slice of Life!  I'm writing via my phone from  Webelos Residence Camp.  My son is a camper here this week...we are camping for the first time, together.  I've been here since Sunday afternoon.  I have seen so many neat things (people helping each other, boys learning responsibilities for setting up and cleaning up, and vespers)...
I'm definitely soaking in the idea of listening since it's my OLW this year.  I thought deeply about this as I listened to the sounds of the snap, crackle, pop of the raindrops on the tent last night-

Even though the weather has been atrocious-cold, windy, monsoon-like-it hasn't been so bad because of the friendships that are being fostered!  Friends make everything better!  And that's my slice live from camp!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Basketball A-ha

Slice of Life-Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers Blog for 
hosting the weekly Slice of Life! Every Tuesday

"Momma, is Kameron going to walk the yellow brick road?"

I giggled, thinking of how Nattie remembered this concept from two weeks ago when Kameron was at Basketball Camp.  "You know what?  You're right.  He was late last night.  Maybe he should walk the yellow brick road!"

"Yes, Momma, I think he should!".

So, I thought about Basketball Camp for my slice.  I reflected on the things that Kam and even Nattie learned from the coach in just a short amount of time.  It was a four day camp from 9-3 each day.  The campers lived and breathed basketball and the skills that are part of the game-including life skills.  I want to share these key ideas.

1.  Don't be late.  If you're late, you have to skip on the yellow brick road.  The coach demanded this expectation from day 1.  If you're late, you had to skip on the yellow brick road.  This was embarassing as the boys who showed up late, even parents had to skip through the road of boys and sing the munchkin song.  It motivated Kameron, Nattie and me to get moving in the morning so we were early almost every day.  It was a fun topic of conversation too.  The boys (about 200 of them) made two lines, creating a road down the middle of the gym.  The friends who were late had to skip down the road and sing whatever the coach made them sing.  (All in good fun of course-but it sure motivated a lot of boys to hustle and be on time!)

2.  Basketball takes practice (skills are part of that).  The coach taught the boys skills that they could practice daily to improve their game.  I thought of this in terms of writing, reading-anything that a person would want to get better at...takes. practice. daily.

3.  There is no "I" in team.  Kam shared with me that the coaches were encouraging the boys to work together and get to know their teammates and play to each other's strengths making the whole team better.  Surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in your work will result in greater success for all.

And last but not least of the key ideas-
4.  Just do it.  Our game is not improved by sitting on the sidelines watching somebody else play.  We have to get in on the action to really get better.

I think all of these apply to life skills that anyone wants to improve...hopefully you can see the connection to your own life.

Which one is your favorite?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Revised Frog

Today's Teachers Write Blog post is courtesy of Kate Messner and David Lubar about fixing inevitable mistakes.  

Dear Amy,
I think that you need to consider your audience and structure of your original piece.  Maybe it would be more appropriate to change the format into a chapter sort of book.  This might make your book more appealing to a more sophisticated audience.  Good luck with your changes.  Although I originally like how you wrote me, I think it could be better the new way.

Hopping yours,
Your frog 

Hello friends.  I am Fred the frog...I am green and a bit slimy and walk or hop on four legs.  A funny thing about my legs, they've stretched and grown since I was a tadpole.  Soon after I hatched from my egg, I had a tail and no legs and I got to swim through the water like a fish.  My back legs continued to grow. Before I knew it, I had front legs too and could hop onto the land nearby instead of only living in Carol Pond.  On top of all this growing excitement, I also lost my tail!  Who knew?

My Hangouts!  
Now, my favorite place to hang out is around the lady’s flower pot.  I slowly creep out on hot summer evenings to hunt for my dinner of bugs.  I don't like sharing my flower pot with anyone else, I love to keep all the bugs for me so I can eat, eat, eat!

News about my family!  
When I was first born, I had lots of brothers and sisters.  We all hung out as small black eggs together in the water connected to the roots of the lily pads in Carol Pond.  After we hatched, I got to spend lots of time swimming with the family in the water of the pond.  Sadly, some of my siblings (my brothers and sisters) were eaten by Koi which are a kind of fish or Blue Heron, which are a type of bird or hawks.  I don't see my family much now that we've all left the pond.  We went our separate ways.

My Favorite Part!
I'm going to tell you about my favorite part of me-my tongue!  I love how I can stretch it out and use it to catch my prey, like beetles, flies and ants.  I want to fill my belly with good things to eat.  The least favorite thing about me is my skin.  People stare at my skin and comment about its ugliness when they see me.  That makes me feel sad sometimes.

Pet Peeve!  
There is a myth that people always blurt when they see me and try to pick me up- “Don’t pick it up, it will pee on your hand and give you warts!”  This is completely untrue!  I think that mommies made this up so their kids wouldn't pick up frogs.  However, I do have warts on my skin that can pass along bad bacteria to people-so you might not want to touch me after all.

Scaredy Things! 
I am most afraid of birds.  I don't like birds for two reasons.  One reason is they can be big enough to swoop down out of the sky and eat me!  The other reason I don't like them is because the smaller birds swoop into my garden and eat the bugs I was spying on for dinner.  You can see why I wouldn’t want to be friends with a bird!

All About You!  So now that you know a little bit about me, what could you tell about you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wild Reading, #CyberPD part 2

Thanks to Laura Komos for hosting part 2 of #cyberpd2014 at her blog Ruminate and Invigorate this week.

Response to Chapter 3 and 4- Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
Confession:  I have been wanting to finish reading Reading in the Wild for a number of weeks.  I am making the claim that although I hungered to read the book as soon as I purchased it, my life just keeps throwing curve ball after curve ball and I don't seem to have the right bats to hit them with lately...that said, I am now finishing up reading the book as we celebrate the Cyber PD event.

Reaction and Reflection:  I read the book with such enthusiasm and excitement pumping through me and kept thinking about my own wild reading habits.  I thought about the ebb and flow of my reading life.  I feel a strong sense of growth on nutritious professional reads, picture books, tweets and blogs.  The area of nutritional deficiency for me is the YA fiction for grades 3 and up.  It seems like I start these books but I can't commit to finishing them and so I want to get stronger in this area.

Connection:  There were many strong points to be savored and shared as I reflect on my own reading habits.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Cultivate growth for our wild readers by building relationships and a strong community that supports social and emotional safety for students.  This made me think of the book Mrs Spitzer's Garden, cultivating reading habits based on individual needs that last beyond the school year with students.

  • Broaden the wild reading habits with parents and other community stakeholders about the importance of creating lifelong readers.  I like the idea of having "I'm currently reading..." signs outside each classroom door.  I also like the idea of a graffiti wall of favorite quotes from books as a sales pitch for a next read.  Both of these ideas spark interest in the community for reading to continue. 
I made this graffiti wall via padlet
And Padlet automatically creates a QR code for easy scan access for students to get to it and also includes multiple additional ways to share it with others via social media.

  • Confer to build relationships with wild readers and determine the next steps needed in continuing to cultivate their growth.  Start the process all over again once everyone has met..and find a record keeping system that works to track conversations with wild readers all year long.
  • Connect with people or places that continue to influence growing my wild reading habits (some of these include Tweet chats, Pinterest, and friends).  Use blog posts, tweets, and pins to plan and track ideas for future books to read.  I also try to share my a favorite read aloud each time I open a p.d. session with teachers...
  • Set reading goals and reflect on the progress in reaching them. Encourage wild readers to develop their own reading plans-no plans are needed when someone else does the planning for you...So true Donalyn!  Also, look for ways to add challenge.  An additional key idea that I found important was setting goals for the calendar year rather than the semester-carrying our plans across summer rather than ending with the school year could cultivate wild reading habits all year.
 After reading through chapter 4, I really feel like there is so much more that could be done to cultivate wild reading.  Thank you, Donalyn, for being such an igniter of the flame to inspire all of us to do better.  We can do this.  I plan to share this book and my plans with as many teachers as possible.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Thanks to Ruth Ayers for hosting the #celebratelu each Ruth Ayers Writes! 

This week I am celebrating being Connected! 

Family Reunion- I had a chance to re-connect with many family members from the Papp family last Saturday at the Family Reunion.  It was great to see family, celebrate over good food, and remember those we loved. I made Texas Sheet Cake to share (everyone brings a favorite dish).  It turned out great!  The highlight of our event was the White Elephant Ticket give-away...We won a basket of Italian dinner items-pastas, sauces, bread, cheese, and spreads.  As a result, I made chicken alfredo last Sunday.  I also shared some of our dinner with our priest-so it ended up being a pay it forward share with others!

Children-I have enjoyed spending time re-connecting and playing with my children.  This I believe is a special part of having the summer off.  We played and did fun things together all week.  We read books, played in the water table (which Natalie tried to treat as a swimming pool :) heheheh).  We trekked out to the Great Lakes Science Center and also the Akron Zoo...

Twitter-Time to re-connect with other Twitter Tweeters and have a little fun as well as learn from the amazing PLN there.  Thanks to all for the favorites, retweets and learning this week.

Mom-I had the chance to re-connect with my mom.  We had an appointment with the Geriatrician this week and got an update on where my mom is with her dementia...she's currently in the mild to moderate stage.  The challenge is going to be trying to get her to commit to going to adult day care so that my dad can get a bit of a break as the primary care-giver.  It's so hard to see this happening.  The day went well though...she was in good spirits as we ate lunch together, shopped and went to the doctor.

The Educator Collaborative-A new website started this week by Super Star Educator Chris Lehman!  The site launched on Wednesday.  Anyone can join as a member and become connected to other educators with like interests.  I hope you'll consider joining as well.  This will be an incredible source for professional growth and learning.  I've already learned about using the "My Library" option on Google to create a record of books read.  Thanks Brian Sweeney!

Hubby!  We got to connect during "date night" last night.  We enjoyed delicious dinner out (just the two of us) and listening to a salsa band at the Galaxy...good times and good fun. 

You can see why my theme had to be "connected" this week!  As I reflect on the week, I am happy with the connections.  Things that I wanted to do and am still working on are participating in the #cyberpd2014 and writing with #teacherswrite.  I am behind on my reading, writing and posting...but it will come.

What connections have you made new or old this week?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fortune and Teachers Write

This week, the start of something personally meaningful is beginning!

I participated in Teachers Write two years ago and only a little last summer.  And so, I reflected on what has prompted me to get fired up about this writing adventure-- the opportunity to learn more about myself as a writer and what I hope to accomplish in the future as a writer...

Today, Jen, at Teach Mentor Text posed this question "Why are you writing?"

I have been thinking a lot about writing lately-because I haven't been and should be...and then a few weeks ago, I got this fortune cookie on date night at PF Chang's!

I opened it...not always one who believes in the power, timing or predicting of fortunes...

and got this good fortune...

You are lover of words,
someday you should write a book.
Karma.  Karma.  KARMA!  The chance of me grabbing and getting the message in the cookie was devine intervention I think.  Then, I was browsing Twitter and saw a tweet about Teachers Write starting up again soon...and then Thursday, July 4th, there was this awesome post by  Cynthia Lord on Kate Messner's blog (thanks for this message Cynthia/Kate-I definitely needed it) about making time to write...I just need to do this for myself.   I can do this.  I can make time to write daily and be inspired by the words and work of other teachers around this community to build my thinking and learning about a dream I've had since I was young...becoming an author of a children's book!

So I will dive in once again and work at making my dream a reality...this makes me think of the old Dr. Pepper commercial and the little jingle about being a pepper fan...only in terms of writing-She's a writer, He's a writer, We are writers, wouldn't you like to be a writer too?  Will you join the Teachers Write Community this year?