Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

Hello Friends!  Surprise, surprise....I am here to write an actual post.
I know it has been a long time. Thanks to my faithful friends who continue to check in on me.  I am doing just fine, just too much to do and too little time.  Something has to give and  recently this little blog is one of those things.  Nothing inspires me more than networking with teachers so I will make the effort to get on here more often. 

Speaking of networking,  I had the awesome opportunity to go to Greenbrier Elementary in Charlottesville City to see the Book Buddies Reading Program in action this past week.  Book Buddies is the brain child of Francine Johnston and Marcia Invernizzi.  These two have contributed so much to the teaching of language arts.  They are the authors of  such books as Words Their Way and the creators of the PALS Program.  I got to hook up with Marcia this past week and observed her tutoring a first grader through the book buddies program. 

The Book Buddies program provides a framework for tutoring that enlists and trains volunteers to provide reading intervention to struggling first graders. Their book outlines the procedures of their framework. 

Front Cover

Greenbrier Elementary is a school with a diverse population of students, 25% of their students speak English as a second language. Yet Greenbrier consistently performs at high levels, having been named a Title 1 Distinguished School for nine consecutive years and has been recognized by the VDOE VIP Awards of Excellence.  

They have named themselves: "The Home of the Reading Stars" and even the secretary answers the phone that way.  They are proud of their accomplishments and should be.  
They set students' reading achievement as a goal over ten years ago and are getting it done. 

Book Buddies may very well be one key to their success.  They have designated a room just for this purpose and have a Book Buddies coordinator who runs the show. 
The volunteer tutors service about 15 first graders, providing one to one tutoring for 45 minutes twice a week.  I got to see it all in action.  

The coordinator is key. She trains the tutors and sets each one up with lesson plans each day. 

Each tutor has a place to work that has been set up with all she needs. 

This is a finely tuned program which focuses in on the individual needs of each student. 

The students who I watched were all engaged and seemed to really love the attention.  The lessons included lots of reading and coaching, word work and plenty of writing. 
 The one to one format is key to the success. 

Each reader has individual goals and is rewarded in different ways when progress is made. 
I was totally impressed with Marcia and her ongoing dedication to this program and to helping these young students become proficient and capable readers. 

"I define founding as having an idea, concept, or vision, taking intentional steps to implement that concept or vision, and working with it and tweaking it until that vision is realized. In this case the idea was that most children who are relatively behind in their early literacy development can catch up if they are identified early and if high quality instructional enhancements are also provided early."

Marcia Invernizzi 
My Sunday's Words for the Week: 
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Book Buddies Programs are being used as part of a reading plan in many schools across Virginia and the country.

Are you working at a Book Buddies school?
Would love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

It feels good to be lost in the right directionI
I hope everyone had a chance to step away from work and get lost.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…  He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me,  it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.      The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, c...

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…
He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and ego.

The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

The Elder simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I love this message and will focus on feeding the good wolf this week. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

My email inbox has been exploding with emails from teachers who are concerned about the climate crisis. We're not talking about weather here, but rather the school climate crisis. I'm sending words this
week from Ken Robinson.  His message made the Top Ten Ted Talks Education List.  I have followed him for years and so much of what he speaks of has been on my mind lately.  Sir Ken leaves us with a bit of hope as he points out that it CAN rain in Death Valley.

Take a listen.....

Thoughts and comments? ....would love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

And what a challenge it is...I am constantly battling my brain. 
 I took the time for an extra long paddle. 
The silence and stillness just does me a world of good. 

It was a beautiful fall weekend.  

Did you give your soul a chance to heal? 

Email me: 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

This post is dedicated to Kennedy who has been trying to get me to wake ever since my last post about napping.  Thanks for everyone's concern!  I think sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sleep!

 Good news..... Yes, I am back and am recharged and reinspired after our fall 3C Event. 
It was a great time of teachers helping teachers and many fabulous ideas were shared by all. 
Thanks to ALL who participated! 
I love the positive energy of this group and how focused everyone is on our mission. 


 It is easy to get consumed by all the distractions that are thrown at us.
 I needed this reminder from the group to get refocused on the real goal of teaching the children. 

SO,  some of the highlights this time for me were: The Walking Classroom....Wow, loved this idea and think it would be great  to design something similar for third graders. Anyone out there who wants to tackle this with me... you know, in all our free time??? 

I also loved the discussion centered around the 2x10 Strategy. 
I KNOW this strategy works and hope others will try it too. So simplistic-yet so life changing! 
You will be amazed by the result. 
Rick Smith wrote about it in Educational Leadership. 
  Teachers focus on their most difficult student. For two minutes each day, 10 days in a row, teachers have a personal conversation with the student about anything the student is interested in. Wlodkowski found an 85-percent improvement in that one student's behavior. In addition, he found that the behavior of all the other students in the class improved.
You can read the whole article here: 

Thanks for everyone's educated insights on this summer's  New York Times article: 
Why Americans Stink at Math.  I love that as a group we are open minded enough to confront our possible weaknesses and brainstorm solutions.  Look for more blog posts about it soon. 
In the meantime, you can read the whole article here:
It is lengthy-but interesting, and worth the read. 

So here are our group's Words for the Week: 
The number one inhibitor of Zen: #zen #emmamildon #elephantjournal

So this week we said we'd  let go of the junk that is dragging us down and set our eyes on what is really important-
the kids.
Keep your eyes on the prize and have a great week!

Thoughts about 3C or otherwise?  Email me: