Saturday, August 26, 2017


In an effort to welcome both students and parents, I created a photo booth of sorts this year. It was simple to make and hung with tape from my ceiling. It was a hit. I think the parents probably enjoyed it slightly more than the first graders, and that's okay with me. I'm not just inheriting 23 learners. I'm also inheriting 23 families.

I published a book for teachers this summer. I'd love to share it with you. Check it out here

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Freakish Handwriting Opinion

I'm a bit of an oddity when it comes to handwriting. It's typical to hear, "Did you type that?" "No," I reply. "That's my handwriting. I'm kind of a freak of nature." So as one can imagine, there's a place for handwriting in my classroom, and I happen to have some opinions about it (go figure) which is why this post exists.

I've argued with myself about whether to share my point of view for some time now. My issue is something so many teachers do, maybe even you. I hate for anyone to think I'm critically watching and judging and noting. I'm not. Honestly, maybe the point I'm about to make is one only I would consider, because remember, I'm a freak of handwriting nature. And truthfully, in the big scheme of things, my opinion here is really not all that earth shatteringly important, but I'm still going to share it. :)

So without further ado...

I don't believe in asking my students to write on paper with more than the single, bottom line unless I'm expecting them to use all the lines appropriately. Those extra lines serve a purpose. If not used appropriately, they're simply in the way and possibly even complicating the writing process, especially for our struggling writers. Expecting students to write with all lines but allowing them to ignore them, also provides students opportunities to form bad habits. What then happens when it really is time to use those lines correctly? I believe this could create some confusion for students as to purpose and teacher expectations. What are these lines really for? When do I pay attention to them and when don't I?  

Most of the time when my writers write, I'm much more interested in their ideas than how they use the lines on the paper, so I only provide them with the bottom line only. (See picture below.) Why muddy the waters? 

There is a time and place to know how to write with more than one line, and then and only then, will my kids see extra lines on their papers and be required to use them and use them correctly. (As you see below.) Otherwise, I'm a one-line teacher and my kids are one-line writers.

Agree or disagree, the question goes back to this: Why do we do what we do? Even the little things require intentionality. 

Thank you for letting me share my freakish handwriting opinions with you today. I hope they were worth your while.

P.S. If you're interested in my recently published book for teachers, look here for information about how to purchase it. I'd love to share it with you!

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday Sayings: The Face of Education

If there's a fear of returning merchandise, I have it. 

This week I reluctantly returned my car to a local bodyshop where it had been worked on earlier in the summer. There was a small, overlooked issue that if left as is had the potential to create a problem. 

I took a friend, an advocate who understands cars and was the one who noticed the issue in the first place, and meekly entered the bodyshop office. About 30 minutes later, I exited with an appointment to fix the issue and a fair amount of guilt and frustration. All it takes is a defensive and argumentative employee to remind me why returning merchandise is downright painful. 

My teacher inclinations have been highly sensitive since that experience. I want to help this employee learn, not pay. I wish he knew that he is the face of the bodyshop the minute a customer walks through the doors of the office. He has the power to affect the customer's opinion of the business for good or bad without hardly trying. That is a huge responsibility, and the bodyshop is counting on him to help convince people like me that I should come back for more and encourage my friends to do the same. Yet I'm not so sure I want to. 

Oh but how many times has something similar happened in our schools and classrooms? When patrons, parents, and students walk through the doors of my school, I am the face of education. I have the same power to affect customer opinion as does the employee who belittled my concerns. 

As I'm looking forward to a new year in the classroom, I feel responsible to keep the memory of this experience close to my heart and mind. I have a huge responsibility to represent my profession with excellence in all interactions with my "customers" but especially when they approach me with concerns. Whether they do so with meekness or agitation is immaterial. Regardless, I'm the face of education, and the way I react and treat them will shape their views of school, maybe forever. I'd better do all I can to convince them to come back for more. 

P.S. If you're interested in my recently published book for teachers, look here for information about how to purchase it. I'd love to share it with you!

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