Reflection of my 2021-2022 school year

Last week, I read Juliette’s reflection and today, I follow her 5-4-3-2-1 structure.

5 Things that Made Me Smile
1. Planning and pulling off a successful Teacher Research conference for my district. I personally guided nine cohorts, helping 40 teachers choose a topic they were interested in researching. Then after a moving Keynote speech by Ellin Keene, 20 teachers shared their research story on the 2nd to the last Wednesday evening of the school year. Reflecting on ALL this smart works brings smile to my face!!
2. Guiding my entire staff and then guiding all 800+ students to create an Identity Web, a strategy I learned from Sarah Ahmed in her book, Being the Change. This action helped teachers and students to see all aspects of the people in our school. As an ELA teacher, it helped me connect books to students with the goal of the book acting as a mirror. All should see themselves in a book!
3. Seeing a passing score on the state test from the student who simply spent time in my classroom reading their choice book. This proved to me that we get better at reading by reading!
4. Planning and ending the year with author, Leah Henderson as I wrote about HERE. Her message to “Be open to the possiblilties” will serve me well as I start summer and then another school year in the fall!
5. Structuring my ELA department meetings each month to include a read-aloud and a quick-write. Since we teach reading and writing, I was proud of us for spending time doing what we teach.

4 Words to Describe my School Year
1. juggling. 2. leading. 3. learning. 4. rookie-year as an ELA Coach

3 Plans for my Summer
1. #SummerofNana – I will be helping my 87-year old mother move from 2-floor walkup, 2-bedroom condo to a 1-bedroom condo in a building with an elevator. Thankful for the gift of time this summer to help her!
2. #read&write – I plan to post every Tuesday, something. I plan to read LOTS!! HERE’s a photo of my stack. Just finished Loyalty by Avi – WOW!! Check it out!!
3. #Get Organized – I plan to organize my own clutter and also my finances. I just finished year 29 as a teacher. How many more to go? Maybe it is time to start making a plan, especially since my daughters will both be living in Europe. Maybe I should have a more flexible job so I can visit them? Time will tell!

2 Things I Learned this School Year
1. I learned that it REALLY is important to KNOW my students’ identities.
2. I learned to LISTEN to both staff and students before acting.

1 Goal for my Next School Year
1. I want to grow as a stronger antiracist teacher – I attended a book event with Ibram X. Kendi last Wed. I bought his books, How to Raise an Antiracist and GoodNight Racism. With lots of summer reflection and reading on this topic, I do want this to be my goal for the 2022-2023 school year. I still humbly have lots to learn and then use to inform my white woman actions.

Summer Reading Stacks

My last assignment of this 2022-2023 school year is planned.
Students will reflect on ALL they read this year and make a plan for what to read over the summer break. First, they will look through their Reading Log (a slideshow with four slides where they posted book covers of books read, one for each quarter).

I also gave them an organizer and asked them:

  • to notice the authors whose books they chose to read.
  • to notice the format they like to read (graphic, picture book, novel, audio, etc.)
  • to notice when they got hooked into a series
  • to notice the genres they read
  • to notice who recommended they read a book

Then I will have them completed this sentence: This year as a reader, I am proud of ___.

I will modeled by sharing what I am proud of as a reader:

  • I read 57 books during this school year.
  • I read books by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Jason Reynolds, Neal Schusterman, Pam Munos Ryan, R. J. Palaccio, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Leah Henderson.
  • I tended to read novels and picture books, some in a graphic format and some in verse format.
  • I did not get hooked into any series.
  • I tended to read realistic fiction, historical fiction, and nonfiction. But because I like Neal Shusternman and Pam Munos Ryan’s writing style, I will read their fantasy novels.
  • I noticed I get my book ideas from many organizations: Global Read-Aloud, NCTE, VSLA, Book Love Foundation. Also from when an author visits my school and when my friends recommend books.

The last step is to make a plan to read this summer. I have decided to read both for enjoyment and to read to grow professionally this summer. Here’s my plan in a photos:

Happy Summer of Reading!! What’s in your stack?

I Did It! Year 9!

I realize that I tend to spend the 31 day of this challenge
celebrating and reflecting, which I’ve done over the years HERE.
This year, 2022, my 9th year, I will do the same!

Hurrah for me!
I wrote and posted for 31 days, each morning around 6:30am.
I commented every day on exactly 3 others in the AM.
Always the two slicers who posted right before me and the one who posted right after.
This morning routine serves me well. And it always made my day
when fellow slicer, Erika or Fran, posted right below or above me which frequently happened.

Then I’d return most/some evenings to comment on my slicer friends.
I’d also try to read new slicers who found me and left me a comment.
I will admit, in years prior to Covid, I read and comment much more.
But I’m giving myself grace and just happy that on all days,
I at least commented on 3.
As I discovered during 2014, my first year, reading other slices is such a gift
and actually improves my writing because the slices all become mentor texts.

This 9th year, I am proud that I lived like a writer
and made a conscience effort to write about something from the current day.
Looking back, I notice I crafted:
10 school-related small moments
4 personal small moments
2 family-related slices
5 slices related to the war in Ukraine, very much on my mind this month
8 slices related to authors and books, two topics that take up much of my time
2 slices related to shows I am streaming
4 slices related to the PD I gave and the conferences I attended this month

This 9th year, I am proud of the craft moves I made.
Looking back, I notice I wrote:
1 letter, 9 poems, and 20 small moments.
I included flashbacks and dialogue
and am starting to feel more comfortable describing in verse.
I includedapplicable hyperlinks
and If linking to a book, I linked to an Indie bookstore.
I added photos as a featured image and at times as a tiered gallery.
I added tags when I remembered.
It’s taken me 9 years but I am starting to understand all that this blog can do!!

This 9th year, I checked the numbers.
Looking back, I notice I wrote:
10,217 words and received 252 comments.

This 9th year, I can’t thank this community enough.
I feel so suppoerted by so many who take time to read my slice and leave me a comment.
I feel so priviledge to be able to read gorgeous poetry, decriptive small moments
and stories that move me to tears.

This 9th year, a big THANK YOU goes to Stacey, Amy, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, and Melanie.
This seems a bit inadequete to all this March Writing Challenge gives me.
It is a safe place to share my stories.
It is a safe place to receive encouraging feedback.
It is a safe place to work my writing muscle.
I am so grateful this online writing community exists.
and it only exists because of the tireless devotion of Stacey, Amy, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, and Melanie.

This 9th year, also a big THANK YOU to my biggest fans:
Fran McCracken gave me the MOST comments (24)
Erika Victor came in 2nd (22)
Fran McVeigh came in 3rd (17) and spotlighted me on her blog on the 11th! (so kind!)
I look forward to thanks all three of your someday soon in person!

I also look forward to having a writing break now |
But I will be back on Tuesdays.
(But maybe not until May when I’ll have wedding stories to write and share!)
And I’ll definitely be back in 2023!
For now, 2022 is a wrap!!

I Did It! Year 8!

Yesterday, I packed a cooler of food and a suitcase of clothes and a backpack of books and drove three hours to our beach house in Chincoteague, VA. (famous for the ponies and setting of the 1948 Newbery Honor book, Misty of Chincoteague). Once I arrived, I spent the afternoon rereading my last 30 Slice of Life postings. I noticed the topics I wrote about and the craft moves I tried. Here’s what I discovered:

I wrote 11 school-related small moments.
I worte 11 personal-related small moments.
Three slices shared about PD I gave or participated in this month.
Two slices related to an earlier family memory.
One slice was how I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.
One was about how the loss of a friend’s mother triggered other losses for me.
One was a reflection on commenting as a slicer and it got a SHOUT OUT today by TwoWritingTeacher’s in their Be Inspired section (WOW!!! What an honor!!!Thank you!!)

And I did ALL this during a pandemic, a time when I notice my focus is more challenged. It makes sense that I stuck with what I know. A moment from my teaching day. A moment from a personal walk. Looking back, so often I kept it small. In a couple of instances, I told a small part and returned to it the next day and told the rest of the story. This may have started as my struggle to attend but I came to see these small pieces as being more powerful writing. By zooming in and saying less, I think I said more. A good lesson for me to learn.

This year, I actively tried to embrace more of the blog features as I created my posts. I learned how to add a Featured Image from Jennifer Gonzales’ Jump Start course (which I recommend as well as her Cult of Pedagogy podcast) and had fun picking just the right image to match the topic of my slice each day. Whenever I mentioned something that could be linked, I took time and addded the hyperlink. I noticed I included links to: videos, padlets, books (always now using a link to an Indie Bookstore website), author websites, a sound video and links to other slicers’ blog posts. Blogs are designed to be interactive and finally after eight years, I notice I have started to embrace a few of the many available features.

This year, I also noticed I actively included photos to show more to my readers. I figured out how to use the slideshow feature on WordPress. I figured out how to crop tweets and texts from my phone, airdrop them to my MacBook Air and include them as an image in my slice. I included images of slides I used as a teacher and student work samples, too. I found myself taking walks during the day and snapping photos thinking maybe I could use this image in a future slice. It seems that my camera gallery has become another kind of writing notebook!

I can’t thank the TwoWritingTeachers enough for providing this safe-space for me to grow as a writer and a blogger. The daily practice is paying off for me! I look forward to more writing and reading and commenting on Tuesdays throughout the whole year and then again in March, 2022. We become what we do. WIth confidence and because of this community, I happily end this slice proclaiming, “I am a writer. I am a blogger.”

Now off to take a walk on the beach. Yes, I’ll have my notebook and camera in my pocket. This community has trained me well.

My Percentages

Today is my last day of participating in the 2018 March Writing Challenge. I’m heading off to visit my daughter in France for Spring Break. I promise to write daily in my journal but I personally want to be disconnected from the internet as we travel. So today, I want to take time to offer my thanks as if it were March 31st:

Thank you to the TwoWritingTeacher who are really Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey. This is my fifth year and I so appreciate the space you have created and maintain so I can write and receive comments. I so appreciate the community you have harnessed. I trust this community and humbly I share my writing because of the trustworthy space you have created.

Thank you to all the writers participating in the 2018 March Challenge. I love all the reading I did  this March.  I am always amazed by how the reading of other’s writing shapes me as a writer.

Reflecting on my writing today, I took time to notice what I wrote about across the 20 days. In the spirit of percentages that Fran wrote about days ago, I have written a percentage poem. Click HERE to see my inspiration from Fran.

My posts this March
ended up being
15% about my house
20% about school
and 15% about the conference I attended
from March 8-10th.
15% were opinion pieces
only 1 or 5%, a poem.
10% reflections on my life
15% reflections about using technology
and 5% or 1 entry, as Top Ten piece
(maybe something Dave Letterman could enjoy!)
Now,  I’m off to France to play with the slicer,
also know as Present Perfect
but who I call “my Anne!”
I look forward to sharing my Parisian adventures
through slices on Tuesdays
in April and beyond.