All Hands on Deck

Writing Teachers: Think You Don’t Matter?

Think again. Because our students are not only listening, they’re living as writers, for reasons both professional and personal. Last weekend, I attended a WordPress meetup called “Bogging for Professional Development.” Dozens of people showed up at a co-working space on a Saturday afternoon t o hear a panel of young professionals talk about the ins and outs of blogging. Yes, they talked about blogging […]

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“You are not the boss of me:” Talking Back to The Technologies In Our Lives

There’s a time in the lives of young children when they toss their heads, place their hands on their hips, jut out their little chins, and announce, “You are not the boss of me.” It usually happens when a parent is trying to get out the door, or wants the toys in the living room put anywhere but in the middle of the floor before […]

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When An Hour Lasts Forever

Along the edges of the room sat five or six kids who didn’t look up the entire time, or had their hoodies so tightly cinched around their faces only their eyes showed. Another knot of kids chatted loudly as they draped themselves across seats in the back corner of the room. A table to one side held a kid I’d talked to on an earlier […]

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When Theory Breaks Your Heart

I recently spent time in the classroom of a newish Language Arts teacher. He works in a high school school in one of the poorest parts of the city. Every life story of every student is hard to hear. The day I visited, fewer than half his students were present; he says that’s typical. This teacher finished school to earn his teaching credential less than […]

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If A Tree Falls In The Woods, Will Robert Frost Be Surprised?

I. We promise magic, we teachers of writing. A kind of electromagnetism that will connect writer and reader; a moment when words, ideas, and intentions collide and BAM: meaning explodes. Once upon a time, we teachers asked kids to write on paper, pass it in, then we would hand it back. Then we asked kids to write for more than just the grownups. We asked […]

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Do As I Say or As I Do? Making Blogging Matter

I’m reflecting on this thing we call blogging. Why do I do it– what do I expect to get out of it? What am I writing about? Does it matter? To whom? What do I want this blog to look like– how does it represent me? (If you can think of any, please add them in the comments.) I’m thinking about this because I’d been thinking about […]

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The Cat Who Needed Glasses: On Caring in the Classroom

I told my husband, “I want a cat and I will name him Bob.”  Six weeks later, a note appeared on an online neighborhood discussion board. Help Robert Find His Forever Home. I went to meet him and the next day, I brought him home. He was a skinny guy; you could feel his tail bones when you stroked him. This is not normal, but it was […]

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#SOL18 On the Cusp of February

For approximately 4 hours this morning, the sun came out and the sky was blue. I pushed everything to one side of my desk, tossed my schedule out the window, and my cardio training goals (and gym plans) out the window. I was going for a walk, dammit. In winter in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), this seems to happen a lot. The sun comes out […]

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#SOL18 An Earthquake Can Ruin Your Whole Day

There was an earthquake east of Kodiak Island Alaska overnight that’s got me changing my plans. You see, I live in a place where we joke about “The Big One.” Portland, OR lies smack dab in the action of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is subducting, or moving under, the North American tectonic plate. Badness, big badness, can occur at any […]

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