Five For Friday

I’m linking up over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five For Friday linky!!


1. I’m an official graduate of the JSU National Writing Project!! YAY! This was the most empowering and invigorating PD experience EVER! 🙂 I’ve written up a blog post about ALL 16 days if you want to browse around on my blog for some great ideas AND some AWESOME apps/websites!



2. I am writing for the first time ever with Teachers Write 2013.



Check this out on the fabulous Kate Messner’s site if you’re interested!

3. I very rarely get a picture of my husband so I need to post this one as EVIDENCE that he does exist! LOL! This was after I ran my 1st half marathon back in February at Disney World-The Princess Half. It almost killed me. 🙂



4. And since I LIKE to punish myself……I’m running another one in August in Chicago!!

The Zooma Women’s Half Marathong. Lots of prayers would be great. 🙂



5. And since I’m in a hurry to go camping and canoeing with my family and friends this weekend, and of course I still have errands to run and things to do, I’ll end this post with one of my favorite quotes ever:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Have an awesomely happy funlicious weekend. 🙂

National Writing Project- Day 16

The end. It seems impossible. That 4 weeks have flown by at the rate they have.

We graduated today. It was definitely bittersweet. So happy to be finished with a HUGE sense of accomplishment, yet so sad to know that it’s over.

I’ve learned a lot during this time with the National Writing Project. I’ve learned:

that everyone has questions

that researching what you wantt is invigorating

that no task is insurmountable

that being a teacher means being a lifelong learner

that driving 150 miles a day might cause bedsores

that eating wonderfully prepared food EVERYDAY will cause you to gain weight

that I can do anything I set my mind to doing

So- farewell teacher fellows. I hope to meet up again. 🙂








National Writing Project- Day 15

Sniff-Sniff. Tomorrow is the last day of NWP. I can’t believe it’s almost over.



One door closes and another door opens. I will be leaving the NWP (even though it will remain in my heart and mind forever) and beginning a new journey with Teachers Write 2013.

I’m not sure where this path will take me. I’ve never considered myself a writer really. But I’ve noticed that the more I talk about writing and think about writing the more I want to WRITE. 🙂

I’ve got to start with baby steps though. As in SENTENCE LEVEL. Or even PHRASES. FRAGMENTS. SNATCHES OF THOUGHTS. SNIPPETS OF IDEAS.

I sectioned my writer’s notebook with 2 major sections: MY WRITING and COLLECTIONS

My first thought was that of course since I’m not a writer the COLLECTIONS section will be much larger than MY WRITING section.

One day into it, and I have proved myself wrong. My fleeting thoughts that MUST be put on paper before I lose them have spread to page #2. That’s right. Page 2. 🙂

And I’ve noticed that these word whispers come to me best when I’m driving. Uh-oh. 🙂 So today I just pulled out my iphone, tapped on the super cool app-Dragon Dictation- and the rest is history. I was able to “catch” my thoughts by recording them and emailing them to myself. Neat.

I know that others involved in Teachers Write are writing stories, novels even. Maybe one day. But for now I’ll just be content with these quiet murmurs that come to me softly like a breath of fresh air.


National Writing Project- Day 14

One of the greatest things about participating in the National Writing Project is the FOOD!!!!!!!!! 🙂


Our celebration picnic was today. Lots of conversation and laughter. I’m gonna miss these girls.


Most of our time this week (since it’s our last) has been spent catching up on assignments and working on the anthology which will hold all of our creations.

I finished up Jeff Anderson’s Mechanically Inclined just in time to add it to my collection of annotated bibliographies. If you’re interested in reading about the teaching of grammar within writing then his books are for you! I’ve read Everyday Editing and now this one. Next up is 10 Things Every Writer Should Know, which he recommended when I asked him about the CCSS and informational/argumentative writing. Have I mentioned that HEART twitter?

Everyday EditingMechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's WorkshopTen Things Every Writer Needs to Know

Our Round Table discussion was giving feedback to students and peer editing. I’m definitely incorporating response groups into my classroom for peer editing/feedback purposes. Of course, I asked the question that had been burning in my mind-How is it effective for students to let other students edit their work if the other students don’t know any more than them? 🙂

SOLUTION-give students a checklist as a guide-preferably one they helped to create (ownership)

One of the teacher fellows described her procedures for her response groups:

1. Each response group would get a folder with papers in it. These papers would be from the students in ANOTHER response group. This frees them up to be honest in their feedback instead of being scared of hurting someone’s feelings in THEIR group.

2. Each student would have 3 sticky notes to put on each paper for feedback. So when a student got THEIR paper back it might have 12 sticky notes full of feedback!! Genius!


Also, might want to keep a checklist on each student throughout the grading period. Like a plus/minus checklist. All of these go toward final grade. Writing should be about the process, the improvement, the progress. NOT labeling someone as a C writer or A writer from the very beginning. Makes sense doesn’t it?  Still trying to muddle through that for my classroom.

We are on a 6 week grading period. Progress reports (number grades) go out during 3rd week. We have to have 6 total grades by end for each subject. Hmm….

Should my students be publishing 1 piece each 6 weeks? 2? Lots to think about.

Two things that were discussed heavily and have been throughout this NWP are:

1. The use of model/mentor texts. Close reading of them. Read like a writer. Reading and writing go hand in hand.

2. Students need to write ALL THE TIME. Don’t let the “teaching’ of writing interfere with the writing.

I hope I have given you lots to think about. I want your brain to be sizzling and popping just like mine. 🙂

What are your thoughts on giving feedback to student writers?






Teachers Write 2013

It’s HERE! This will be my 1st time participating in Teachers Write. Its’ being held June 24th-August 12th so if you’re interested in WRITING then sign up for Teachers Write 2013 at Kate’s blog: Kate Messner

Other sponsors are:

Gae Polisner

Jo Knowles

and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts

There are lots more authors that will be peeping in from time to time.

I’ve got my writer’s notebook, and I’m ready to rock-n-roll with my writing. So excited to see where this writing journey takes me!



For Monday’s Warm Up you can visit Jo HERE.

My goal this summer is to immerse myself into the wonderful world of writing just as I want my students to do this upcoming year. Walk the walk so to speak.

With the National Writing Project almost under my belt (2 more days) I feel like I have learned so much and grown ten fold. A swirling of ideas are constantly in motion inside my head. To the point that I can’t STOP thinking. Which leads to writing. 🙂

Come join me in this journey of words.


National Writing Project- Day 13

This is the last week of my #NWP. Boooooo…..

Today’s daily journals were Lynda and myself! She took Rachel’s Earth Science lesson to heart and sectioned her journal with the layers of the earth. VERY cool. 🙂



I used Xtranormal to create a video for my journal. It might not be too funny to you, but if you had been with us last Thursday….well, you would know ALL about it!

My Video

The teacher demonstration for the day was-yep, you guessed it. ME. Boy was I nervous. I mean it’s one thing to teach kids, but to get up in front of your peers! #bitingnails #sicktostomach

My lesson was on writing haiku poems. Here’s a picture of our published haikus:



And in case you have nothing else to do-here is an outline for my lesson.

Teacher Demonstration Lesson Plan Outline

During our Reading, Researching, and Writing time I continued to read Jeff Anderson’s book-Mechanically Inclined.

Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop

He’s got such great and authentic ideas about weaving grammar into writing!!! Definitely a must read!

For our round table discussion we talked a little about AP classes and Dual Enrollment classes. In my opinion, because you asked :), if I was a high school student contemplating which one to do, I would go with Dual Enrollment. Here’s why. For the AP class you have to pass the test. The ONE test. If you don’t you don’t get credit. With Dual Enrollment you have to make a C or above. YOU do the math. 🙂

And on that note, or this note, I just had to take a picture of the secretary’s office for the Writing Dept at JSU. She had her day ALL PLANNED OUT AND ORGANIZED!


She is a godsend!! 🙂

Good night!


National Writing Project- Day 12

Sorry about all of these posts, but I’m trying to get caught up!!! This is the last one on the NWP until this upcoming week. Notice I didn’t say the last POST! I still need to do one for the IMWAYR meme AND Teachers Write which starts tomorrow. I’m SO sorry! I’ve been so behind! 🙂

For the daily journal Rachel made a CUTE little graphic novel using the Photo Comic App.

Rachel also had her teacher demonstration which was an Earth Science lesson titled “The Changing Earth-Layers, Plates, and Quakes”. She introduced it with a power point. She gave us starbursts (yes, adding food to ANY lesson will automatically increase the effectiveness of it!! :)). We stacked them on top of each other and used our hands (and the heat from our hands) to compress them just like the earth’s core is always shifting and changing. Of course, then we got to eat them. BONUS! 🙂


We watched a video on Kids Geo on plate movement. There’s a Seismo App that gives you information on earthquakes.

We worked in groups to make a foldable on the layers of the earth.


We had some reading, research, and writing time in the afternoon. I can’t wait to write a post about all of the AWESOME PD books I have been reading. Well, I can wait to write that post but you get my drift. 🙂

We met with our response groups to talk about our 4th piece of writing-one of the professional ones. I wrote about the Power of Twitter and our Notice and Note book chat!! 🙂

The Power of Twitter

Our round table discussion was on the effects of technology on writing. We had LOTS to discuss so here are the short hand notes I took!!

A pen IS technology.
Kids text all the time so when they write they don’t even know they have made mistakes. It looks correct to them. Abbreviations and punctuation and spelling.
Technology changes WHO can be a writer. Self-publishing.
Students need to understand the importance of writing for different audiences!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We speak differently, too, depending on who we are around. Husband’s favorite saying – I am not one of your students!
Writing differently even within one type of genre like blogging. Personal blogging vs. professional blogging. Have students write in many different modes.
Email addresses hot booty Hahahahahaha Rodney walked in!!
Formal/informal texts, emails, job applications
Technology has changed the way we interact or don’t with each other. Social skills. People eat together and don’t talk to each other.
Students are at least writing because of texting and blogging.
We as teachers MUST talk about audience even though this is a difficult aspect to teach. Have discussions about it. But if we ask them to pretend they are writing to…… But it never leaves the classroom what’s the point? They still see it as being false.
Letters of recommendation, students need to be careful of who they ask and how they acted/performed while being your student.
Social media- we need to teach kids about digital footprint and using it professionally with networking. Be careful of what you post out there. It stays forever. It follows you. Never to leave you.
The right kind of practice makes perfect, otherwise practice just makes permanent.
Study of musicians- best musicians do deliberate practice and then immediately work on one thing they need to improve. Focusing in be be thing. Same with basketball, etc. differentiated practice is what we need to do.
Give overview of things to work on, then students work on what they need to.
Form expert groups and have them teach a mini lesson on the concept/skill.
So there you have it. Sorry for the information overload, but just want EVERYONE else to feel what I’m feeling. Just kidding. Not really. 😉