Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tech 'n Time

My laptop swallows me whole! I will set out to quickly check my e-mail and I disappear. It begins by following a link and becoming absorbed... Well, let me tell you about this morning.
I had only a few e-mails, all commercial, but one was from "One More Story: A Children's Literature Website." I could not resist: I ventured in. I learned more about the use of SmartBoard technology in elementary and secondary schools across the country - even found a showcase school that I could visit to see it in action.
I then went on to take a peek at my e-mail from BlogBoard (A Teacher's Magazine Blogboard) and got lost! I read about and thought about why and how we assign summer reading. I read and thought about virtual book clubs and trading books online. I also read about, and understood completely, the increase in teachers' blogs.

Now my head is spinning with ideas!! I need a walk to think and incorporate. See you later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Matter of Priorities

Last week I was chatting with some parents about how the schools' PTO's are struggling to fund the programs that the students love and families have come to expect. I learned that donations were down. The same number of folks were contributing, but the amount they gave was about only about half of that given previously.

Today, I was talking to an educator about what he would need to help improve student learning in his school. At the top of his list was an after-school homework club that would help those students and families that just can't devote the necessary time at home. It wouldn't take much to make this happen... just a few thousand dollars to pay for supervision. Of course, where would he get the money for such a project in the current tight economy... without taking it from another important program?

I was thinking about this as I went through my e-mail and checked the news. When I saw the piece If Schools Were on Wall Street, I was reminded of a T-shirt that I had in my youth that asked, "What would it be like if the schools had all of the money they needed and the government had to hold bake sales to finance weapons and wars?" It's a matter of priorities.... still. Please take a look... If Schools Were on Wall Street

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Teaching Writing

While catching up on my mail after a visit to my step-son, a teacher in Vermont, I found tucked within an e-mail a short video clip of Ralph Fletcher working with a boys' writing club. Viewing it, my excitement about his approach to teaching writing returned.

I had heard Ralph Fletcher speak several years ago and was impressed with the simplicity and efficacy of his message. I procured a few copies of his book, Craft lessons: Teaching Writing K-8 and introduced it to our staff (a very dedicated group of elementary teachers). Several teachers tried out the ideas in the book and, pleased with the results, incorporated them into their writing instruction. Of course, when Nonfiction Craft Lessons: Teaching Information Writing K-8 came out, we added it to our writing resources for teachers.

I had been retired for about a year when Fletcher's book Boy Writers was published and I suggested to a few former colleagues that they take a look at it. Viewing a clip from Dude, Listen to This! I became excited again about the possibilities of stimulating students to write, of creating a writers' club before or after school, or more ideally, within the school day!!

What do you think?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I have just returned home from a visit to family in Florida. (I had a great time!!) On the flight home I was able to read a bit of a book my brother gave me, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, and watch the Republican Convention. Both had a unusual impact on me. I, who have never become active in politics, am now ready to do so! I want to find out just how I can help get those I support elected and keep those whose views I oppose out of significant power ... other than by sending money!
I shall begin my journey.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Today I am learning to use Facebook. I understand from my younger friends and relatives that Facebook is used more frequently than e-mail by the younger generation. So I am giving it a try.
My daughter, who is coaching me, has suggested that I take a break. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks; it just takes time and frequent breaks!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


My sister-in-law sent me an article about bullying that echoed my thinking about the topic. Basically the writer says that we can help control bullying by teaching the targeted person how to respond appropriately. Here's the article.
There is also an accompanying website:

Trying Again

I haven't written in some time but I going to try it again. This time I have a great teacher by my side (my daughter) who will guide me through the process of updating my blog.

I am going to add a photo of me in Juneau taken on our trip to Alaska last summer.