My FIRST DAY JITTERS lesson plan

Over the years, teachers have frequently asked me if I read any of my books to my middle school students. The answer is yes. I started off, as everyone does on that first day of a new year, by introducing myself.  After briefly sharing stories about my family, about my past teaching experiences, and even what […]

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A Story for the Teacher

“The shortest distance between two people is a story.”   –Patti Digh     Before first period, Sandra told me about her embarrassing cheerleading accident. After second period, TJ described a movie he saw over the weekend. Kyle always had a story for me; one day it was about his new kitten, on another it was about […]

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Motivational Quotes

                  Who doesn’t love a great quote? Quotes are a quick way to not only motivate yourself to write, but the best ones seem to get to the truth in as few words as possible.  Below is a short list of some of my favorites: “The more […]

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Thank You Teachers! (Part 2)

“Something ancient and holy was unfolding all around me. It was what the wandering pilgrim-poet Basho called a ‘glimpse of the under-glimmer’ an experience of the deeply real that lurks everywhere beneath centuries of stereotypes and false images that prevent us from truly seeing other people.” The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau   When […]

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Thank You Teachers! (part 1)

On a good day, when there isn’t a pandemic, it’s hard to be a teacher. And yet, day-by-day, year-by-year, teachers bring their A-game, giving their all to their students. They use their own funds to buy books and supplies, spend their evenings creating engaging lessons and weekends grading assignments. They deal compassionately with children’s emotional […]

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Minilesson Monday: Mapping the Writing Process

I believe that one of the most valuable tools I use as a writer is understanding my own personal process of creating and revising.   Over the years, I have learned, through trial and error and lots of reflection, what writing strategies and approaches work best for me. As a writing teacher, I wanted my students […]

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Minilesson Monday: First Year Letters Reflection

  The book, First Year Letters, covers Mrs. Hartwell’s first year teaching at a new school. Through her student’s letters, we see their class grow through the year, complete with mistakes, mishaps, learning and growth. The end of the year is a perfect time to look back and reflect. For most of us, mistakes and […]

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Writing Teaches Life

It’s not pots we are forming, it’s ourselves.” –M.C. Richards   I love this quote from M.C. Richards. He is talking about the art of pottery, but it could as easily apply to writing as well. I know that it applies to my own writing. With fiction, as I write about how a character might […]

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