Mrs. Love is extra. Happy.

Needed to take a moment and capture the first two weeks at my new school: I love teaching ELA/History again! Great and wonderful things: 8th-grade scholars (not students, scholars) who have been through the AVID and IB classes are incredibly prepared. It has been such a boon for teaching students content, and so many of them come prepared with best practices procedures. Their reading program comes with books for every student. Repeat: a book for every student. No chasing down resources or playing a dangerous bartering game to try to scratch together things. They do not use computers every day….

Summer Series of Saves: free-range reading

Buy this book, please. What do the middle years of teaching look like, because I am in the thick of it now? Do they come with a mix, much like the middle of a marriage or middle of life, where we know just enough to feel competent, still open to new ideas, and enough doubt to gnaw at our knowledge? Last week my new district offered two full days of new hire training. The training sessions offered overviews of their pillars, including a brief introduction to the IT department, ELL, ELA, and their prescriptive reading program, IRLA, or Independent Reading…

Summer Series of Saves: The Notebook

Note: all or most of these are WIPs: I continually update as I find new resources. You are welcome to make a copy and then rename to make them your own. Based on Kelly Gallagher’s and Penny Kittle’s work, 180 Days, Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents, I’m furiously working on trying to organize the new district, school, two preps, and other expectations. Writers and Readers: Craft Notes https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R1HCdlRzCr-HP20EamACRXYVjCZAZPRBIh-BKhOIP-4/edit?usp=sharing Text and Media Playlist: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1srYlGLpB-Xck57Uj8P4DDjh1wSSqVcFA6m8FTMsYUTk/edit?usp=sharing I purchase standard composition notebooks for all my students: these are the inserts I photocopy and have students place inside their notebooks. I’m trying…

Summer Series of Saves: The Cockroach (II)

New Yorker cartoons often remind me of the importance of prior knowledge. pic.twitter.com/2zpWXR1ZAk — Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) July 3, 2018 When Kelly Gallagher tweeted about prior knowledge, he hit on something critical in this idea: that prior knowledge is also culturally dependent. And this is key: culturally dependent also includes time, place, setting, generational, and fluid. Our cultures are not fixed, but change and shift over time, knowledge, growth, education, movement, context and emotions. We live in our own spaces, and those spaces and ideas are constantly shaped and tested by our times. So how do we help students acknowledge…

CCSS + Writing Instruction Reflection

If you read one article this summer, my mentor Holly might suggest this one: Are modern standards breeding a decline in cultural literacy? I highly recommend it, too. This post is getting messy. Filled with bits of type and text, like overcooked alphabet soup. Consider it a link festival, full of rabbit holes and mad hatter tea parties. The question presented is now that CCSS is established in many states, what have we lost or gained? Reminder to read and understand how to move forward with CCSS in ELA/SS: CCSS Back in 2013, Dr. Gentry published an article, “Will Common…

Inner voice logorrhea.

  Come on old brain, learn some new tricks! Is it possible to re-program a brain to think differently, not focus on the negative, but wash away shameful thoughts and quickly suture confidence? Hope so. Remember, there’s no such thing as overnight success, people! I have faith–I’m a writer, after all. Whatever that means. (Maybe I need Journalist Inner Voice, too?) The other day I had a gift of an opportunity to discuss ideas for next year: it was a good chance to listen to new directives and possibilities. My local professional circle is characterized by folks of immeasurable generosity, new connections and…

Night's Watch of Black Sheep

Oh, it is all so clear now. My brother-in-law (my husband’s brother) possesses a skill that fascinates me: he understands personality assessments better than anyone I know, and how to apply his knowledge adroitly. He is not some flash-in-the-pan self-titled self-help guru, nor does he pontificate unless the audience (me) is a willing listener and learner. He came out to visit recently, and over breakfast I shared some of my reflections about my past year of teaching, and some issues that were still causing me anxiety. After careful listening, he summed it up this way: “You’re the black sheep.” His findings derive from Stephen…