Now I Tag

I started my first blog back on July 13, 2011. At that time I began reading the blogs of  Staff Developers at TCRWP and thought if they could do it, so could I. I posted a total of 11 posts from July to December that year. I included writing related to my own reading and tips on teaching reading and writing. I included photos and hyperlinks. I added widgets to allow people to follow me, show blogs I follow and archive my posts. I used blogspot and was pretty proud of myself.

Now in 2018, I feel I have evolved as a blogger. I owe that in large part to the community I found here at TheTwoWriting Teachers. In March, 2014 I started a new blog to host my first ever Slice of Life posts. My first blog stayed as the blog where I post my learning at TCRWP and other PD related to Reading and Writing. This new blog’s purpose was to hold only the stories I can tell which became my blog’s title. It held my small moment slices and it served me well all of 2014. That first year, after writing for 31 days, I was done. I went back to occasionally adding to my other blog. I returned to my SOL blog in 2015 by adding my OLW thoughts and then March, 2015 another 31 days!

After year two, I felt comfortable enough as a writer to add a Tuesday Slice to my routine during the months not called March and I started adding 4ish slices during these months. And then daily in March. I followed this pattern through 2016.

Then I started noticing people “liking” my posts and I wanted to be able to “like” them back. By then, my daughter, Anne, was blogging (her insightful posts can be found HERE) and she helped me start a new blog using wordpress. WordPress allows me to easily like others. It allows me to easily reply to comments. I liked wordpress so much that since, then, I’ve started a blog to hold onto my thinking about teaching Middle School and another blog I use with a group of teachers doing Teacher Research. 

However, this weekend I wanted to be the kind of blogger who uses “tags”. I’ve seen this on other’s blog pages like this one on Fran McVeigh’s:

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One problem, my go-to tech support (AKA my daughter, Anne) is living and working in France until May. And I wanted to do this NOW. So I searched google “How to tag in a wordpress blog” and it indicated that there were only 8 million links to help me. When I clicked on VIDEO, now only 6 million links were available! So I picked one and watched. It indicated that this box can appear as I am drafting my post if I click on the wheel on the top right corner.

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Without clicking on the wheel, which was something I had never done before, my screen simply looked like this:

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Suddenly, I got it!! I went to my dashboard and clicked on BLOG POSTS and saw this total:

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 2.08.26 PMYikes…that meant I could revisit each of the 274 posts, click on the wheel and add a tag or two or three. I started with enthusiasm. Soon, my stomach was grumbling and I took a lunch break. Then I pushed on. I wanted to be a blogger who tagged and it only felt right if I tagged all that went before and then started tagging each in the making of a post going forward. After a dinner break, I finally finished! Now this can be seen on my blog:

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Before I publish, let me just add the tags for this post. What is it mostly about? I’m tagging it like this: tech, SOL, Blogs, friends, Anne.  

 I can’t wait for Fran to see this tomorrow when I post it as my SOL #5!

Are you a blogger who tags? Are you a blogger who uses another feature? Please share!

PS: I also discovered I can publish this right now to be scheduled to actually be published tomorrow…so sneaky!!

PSS: I still want to be the kind of slicer who includes the orange slice and how I’m blogging as part of the challenge. Maybe I’ll figure out how to add that next weekend!

DigiLit Sunday: Curves


This week’s DigiLit topic is CURVES.
Connect to Margaret Simon’s blog Reflections on the Tech to learn more.
To be perfectly honest, when I got a tweet yesterday sharing this word as an invite to join the Sunday conversation, I didn’t think I had anything to say about technology as related to the word CURVES.
In Virginia, there is a woman’s gym called CURVES and as I googled it just now, I see it is a franchise with locations all over. I personally have never been to a Curves gym but one thing I know about it is that you enter, workout in one station, then move to the next station. And once at the end, your workout has targeted all parts of your body.
When I reflected on this gym called CURVES, I do see connections to it and using technology. I personally made it a goal after returning from the Digital and Media Literacy Conference at TCRWP, that I would try ONE technology a week until the end of school. Last week, I tried Todays Meet with my students. This week I asked them to go to KIDDLE to research  science topic. It is a safe visual search engine for kids. Next week, I want to try the GREEN SCREEN at my school. They are going to stand in front of an image of the natural disaster they researched and share as if they are a newscaster on the scene reporting on this “breaking news”. Week by week, as if station by station, I am trying out something in the tech world with my students along for the ride. I guess I am curving my way along a tech path!!
I also think about CURVES as I recall how Colleen Cruz modeled how to teach kids to navigate a website. First, she had us PREVIEW the whole webpage. We saw a video, some text with hyperlinks, ads on the left side. After previewing, she reminded us that now we need to make decisions. Should I read the text first or watch the video? Should I click the hyperlink which takes me to another page to be previewed and then more decisions to be made? She described the inks as like wormholes. Do I click and CURVE my way down to the next page, next page, next page? Does each click help me to understand more about what I set out to learn today OR is the click and curve just a distractor? I’m starting to realize that I need to be an active digital reader who sets a purpose for my reading and then makes a plan to follow a path (sometimes CURVEY!) to reach my goal.
And finally, as I prepare to post my blog reflection as related to CURVES, I will be hitting “SHIFT-2” on my keyboard and a CURVEY a appears —> @ !!
And to think that at first glance, I saw no connection between tech and curves.
Thanks Margaret and the DigiLit community for getting me to think today!!

DitiLit – Function

This week’s DigiLit Sunday topic is “function”.
Connect to Margaret Simon’s blog Reflections On the Teche to read more.

Julieanne started her post this Sunday by stating: “I’m wondering, how are my students functioning with technology and how is technology functioning for them.” As I read this, I thought about how, by using technology, my students’ approximations look really good.

Last week I learned about Brian Cambourne’s research on the Conditions for Learning:

The idea is that the approximation step allows for the learner to be free to approximate a skill, as making mistakes is essential when learning.

This week my students used kidblog, iMovie trailers, and TodaysMeet as three tech tools, all functioning as a way to show their thinking. Because of the tech form being used, it allowed their approximations to look really good! Sure, mistakes were there but because kidblog allows for a photo to be easily added to enhance the words and iMovie adds the dramatic music to match the story line and TodaysMeet limits you to just 140 characters, all 3 tools allowed for sharing of thoughts in a form that makes all users look and sound smart.

I think it is a great time to be a digital native! So many tools are available, allowing each user to function and share their thinking to communicate with others. It is also a great (but very challenging time) to be the teacher of these digital natives. As the teacher, I will push myself to think about the function of each digital tool and help each user make wise choices so they can best share their thinking.

Celebrate – Using a new technology – TodaysMeet

Today I celebrate using new technology. I returned to school on Monday after being out last week Wed-Fri. Instead of teaching my students, I was a student myself at Teachers College. I attended their 2nd Annual Digital and Media Literacy Institute.

During the keynote by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, she suggested picking an app or a technology and trying it out for the week. In that spirit and because of the modeling of this website during the institute, I picked Todays Meet.

On Monday, I introduced it to my students through a read-aloud and called the “room” Readaloud212.

On Tuesday, a student asked if they could “say something” about their independent reading using Todays Meet. Duh! Of course!! So I set up the 2nd TodaysMeet room called IndepReading212. I set the room to stay opened for a month and for the rest of the week, reminded the students to “say something” about what they read that day during independent reading time in the IndepReading212 room.

On Wed, two girls picked the 2 copies of I Survived the Shark Attack and started reading it as a “club”. I asked if they wanted me to set us a TodaysMeet for them to jot down their thoughts to share with each other. They loved this idea so I set up a room called CarolineEllieBookClub.

On Thursday, it was library checkout time. I asked if anyone else wanted to form a book club. I suggested that they could find multiple copies of books while at the library. MANY wanted to, so I set up six more rooms to hold onto book club discussions.

On Friday, another class joined my room for a lesson that ended 10 minutes early. Whenever I have time like this, I like to fill it with a read-aloud. I quickly created another room on TodaysMeet called MadelineReadAloud and had all 44 kids access the link. And in honor of Ludwig Bemelmans’ birthday, I read aloud his book, Madeline. All in the room were engaged, enjoying an old favorite while using an iPad to jot their thoughts about the book on the TodaysMeet page!

I celebrate that I tried using TodaysMeet this week.

Form helps!

I awoke knowing I had to pack and head home. I’ve been in NYC all week attending the 2nd Annual Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Digital and Media Institute. My head is spinning and so ready to explode. The thing giving me comfort is that it is almost summer…a time for me to play and explore and try all the things I became aware of this week as the best literacy minds shared!

Then I read Margaret’s focus today on DigitLit: Form

The institute ended with a celebration involving an Ignite Session. Ignite was described in the Welcome email as:

Finally, during the last day of the institute, we will be offering an Ignite session. For those of you who are new to Ignite sessions, they are participant led presentations, which are very quick and packed with information. Like its older sister Pecha Kucha, Ignite is a presentation structure that has a strict time limit which forces the speaker to be precise and thoughtful about what to include and how to show it. It is completely voluntary. In an Ignite session, presenters will have 5 total minutes to present. They will have 20 slides, each slide automatically moving on after 15 seconds. We will offer a sign up for the Ignite session on site and will have a limited number of slots available.

You can prepare your presentation ahead of your arrival at the institute, or you can plan it based on what you learned during your week with us. If you are interested in learning more about Ignite, you might want to watch a sample. Here is a link to Penny Kittle’s Ignite session at NCTE 2013:‐GUaX2ow . Additionally, if you would like to learn how to create your own Ignite session, you might want to check out these tips:‐to‐give‐a‐great‐ignite‐talk/

As I read this in the email before arriving, I thought how I could share about blogging – my own experience, as well as, the story of my students’ experience with Kidblog since March. I had some ideas in my head so when once at the Institute, I signed up to give one.

Wednesday evening I started gathering ideas, photos, jots of why I love to blog and how amazed I was by my students’ blogging experience during the month of March (which I posted about on this blog a few times in March!).

After sitting in a day of workshops, I also thought I needed a structure to my Ignite presentation (all the wonderful staff developers had done this so well as they presented). On the first day, Colleen Cruz shared the research by Brian Cambourne on Conditions for Learning. This list seems the prefect lens to use to share my blogging story.

I was thinking of this list as the lens to see my story through but as I read Margaret’s DigiLit#24 post today, I realize it is also the FORM. I wholeheartedly agree, FORM matters, no matter the writing genre. Seeing my story through the conditions of learning allowed me to share my love of blogging across 20 slides in the 5 minute format.

I need to head to the bus station now and will plan to add MORE (like the link to my presentation!) to my post on Tuesday to the TwoWritingTeachers. But just had to celebrate now with Margaret, a day to celebrate FORM!!!

P.S. Despite being SO nervous to present, I included my favorite bloggers in my presentation. Having you along helped me to be brave and IGNITE!!

Two slides I shared:

All Aboard – Next Stop TCRWP Digital and Media Institute!!

I’m on the train!!

It’s taking me from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in NYC.

Then I’ll take the 1 Uptown and get off at 116th/Columbia University stop

Where I’ll head 5 blocks to TC’s Guest housing.

Wednesday I’m observing reading and writing workshop at PS158.

Then Thursday-Saturday from 9-3pm I will  happily learned from Colleen Cruz in a large group and Lindsay Mann in a small group and have an option to attend a closing workshop each day. I’m also being encouraged to try to present Ignite-style during Saturday’s closing.

I’m on the train!!

I’m excited to learn from the best all at the 2nd Annual TCRWP Digital and Media Institute!!

Be sure to check out my tweets (@sally.donnelly1)

and I promise to take good notes and share what I learn!!


Celebrating Poetry Writing using Online Poet Websites and Kidblog

Looking back on teaching writing last week in 3rd grade, I see it as a week with not enough time. We had a special science unit to share, led by a resource teacher, so something had to give. Instead of a good 45-60 minutes of Writing Workshop, only about 30 minutes happened. However, looking back, I can celebrate that with wonderful online poetry models and with the tool, Kidblog as a place to easily draft our poems, LOTS still got done during Writing Workshop!!!

First, I placed links to 6 poets in Google Classroom and each day held a 4-7 minute mini-lesson where I simply clicked on one poet’s website and shared one of their poems. Then I suggested that my students try either to draft their own poems now or continue to read more poems, searching for more inspiration. Then I sent all off to work as poets.

Our Google Classroom page looks like this:

For example, on Wed, I shared how Amy reads the Wonderopolis Wondering of the Day and then write and posts a poem related to the wondering (Thank you Educators Collaborative for sharing Amy last Saturday so I could learn about her and her The Poem Farm website!!)
Wednesday night,  I looked on my class Kidblog and saw that Lucas was inspired to write this after he noticed that Amy had written a 26 line poem about Compost, starting each line with the letters A-Z:
and a day later, Lucas’ poem inspired William to begin drafting this:
All because Amy showed us the ABCs of Composting inspired by What is Fertilizer?!!!

On another day, I shared J. Patrick Lewis’ page of POEMS/RIDDLES that looks like this:

Next thing I see on Madeline’s Kidblog page is this:


I also shared Kenn Nesbitt’s poem, Joe the Emoji!

My students already have been using emoji to tell their stories and I wrote about it  HERE. 
Now they are having fun writing poems and songs using lots of emoji. My class regularly takes movement breaks using GoNoodle as our guide. Now the songs we move to there are being written in emoji on Kidblog!! Here’s one example:

I recall one of the Poetry presenters during the Saturday Educator’s Collaboration Day say that when she hears teachers say they don’t have time for poetry, she will fire back, “Do you have 20 seconds to read aloud a poem?” Last week, I did not have the time to run a regular hour-long Poetry Writing Workshop. But my students proved to me that just being exposed to a poem, a riddle, or a song for a few minutes was all they needed to write some fun poetry!!

What poetry are YOU sharing TODAY during National Poetry Month?!!
Be sure to make the time! You’ll be amazed at what gets produced.

Celebrating – Connections to Smart Educators

Saturday, I celebrated connecting to smart educators by posting to Ruth Ayer’s Celebration blog. (If you are looking for another place/day to post your writing, I recommend this!!) Today I am posting my expanded revision of this same post! 

Maggie Beatty was my small group staff developer at TCRWP in 2010. I learned so much from her that summer and I stayed connected to her brilliance through #TCRWP and then when Kate and her began their Indent blog.

When they posted asking for real problems writing teachers experience, I thought why not. I’ll send them one or two.

How fun that this week, they posted their first video sharing a practical way to solve a problem by making and using a DIY (do-it-yourself) Literacy toolkit page with a small group or during a conference.

Why so fun?

Take a minute and watch their brilliance HERE!!

Immediately after watching the video, I sent it to many of my literacy teacher friends who wrote back, just as excited as I was!!


And then of course, this video inspired me to use my Michael’s coupon  on Sunday to purchase MY TOOLS.

My first page is written!!

Next update – my reflection on using it with students!

I continue to celebrate connecting to smart educators!!!
I can’t wait for the DIY Literacy book to come out.
You can pre-order it HERE

#28 I believe writing is both words and pictures!

At the beginning of the month, I was wondering about emoji. ( HERE and HERE).
A colleague didn’t think kids should use them when writing their kidblog posts. I listened and wondered.

This post that I read yesterday which was typed in ONLY emoji solidified my thinking. I believe writing is both words and pictures! Therefore,  think writing with emoji IS writing.

As I type this, I’m recalling how years ago, some librarians didn’t want graphic novels in their libraries. Again, I wondered. I took time to read one, Smile. I noticed as I read that not only was I enjoying a good story, I actually had to work harder to comprehend this story told mostly through pictures.

Yesterday I cooked a special birthday breakfast for my husband – German Apple Pancakes. I saw this recipe on facebook. It was want I call a video recipe. I had to watch and pause a few times to ensure I was including the right amount of each ingredient. But I loved watching how to combine the ingredients and how to cook it in the cast iron skillet in the oven. It turned out yummy! And I was able to cook it because I could read both words and pictures.

Next month, I am attended TCRWP 2nd Annual Digital and Media Institute. I’m not surprised at all that this literacy think tank now offers an institute devoted to figuring out ways to help teach reading and writing specific to our digital and media world.

From emoji to graphic novels to video recipes, as a reader and writer, I will continue to honor both words and pictures!! Because I believe writing is both words and pictures!

#15 – Reflecting at the half-way point!

Today in my 3rd grade classroom, I assigned this task for my students to complete using Google Classroom. I wanted them to reflect on their 15th of the March Writing Challenge.

Since they were reflecting, I thought I would, too, as my post today!

1. Go back and see what your writing goal was? How are you doing?
* My goal on Feb. 29 was to write ______. Today I have written _____ posts.

* My goal on Feb. 29 was to write 31 posts or one post each day in March. 
Today I have written 14 posts and as soon as I post this, 15. 
I feel confident I WILL reach my March Writing Goal!

2Is READING others’ post giving YOU ideas about what to write next?

* The post by _____ inspired me to write _____ because…
* The post by FRAN inspired me to write the poem called Since Last March because it was a poem format she modeled well and I could follow easily!
* The post by MICHELLE inspired me to to write Five Challenging Questions because she had honestly reflected on her struggles and achievements and it seemed an easy format to follow.
* The post by DEBORAH inspired me to write my MISSION STATEMENT because she shared her draft and it pushed me to try writing my own. 
3. Are COMMENTS encouraging you to write more?
* Comments by _______ keep me writing!
ALL my comments keep me writing!! It is truly amazing how getting a sentence or two about a story I have posted can lift my spirits, make me smile and keep me writing, day after day!! THANK YOU for leaving me comments!!
I am especially grateful for comments by FRAN, MARILYN, TARA, JULIEANNE, FRAN, and ANNE. These are all people I have met so when I read their comments, I see and hear their voice!
I was also SUPER excited that Kathleen linked MY post about my students using Kidblog to the Classroom SOLSC – A kind of comment that kept me writing!!
Maybe YOU might want to reflect, too!
I am super proud of my students 23 of them, who LOVE to blog and make comments.
Today, our dashboard (after only 15 days!) reads:

And these are their Google Classroom reflections:

Comments from “Peters ” comments because he always is the first one too comment.
I am inspired by Madeleines posts because they are very expanded.
My goal was 4 but I have 9.

My goal was to write 3 posts. Today I haven’t written any posts yet. Comments by Ellie kept me writing. Some of the posts by Elle kept me blogging so I wrote one about a roller coaster.

My goal was 2 I have 7 story’s . comments by Stella keep me writing. the post by Stella inspired me to write about dogs

My goal was 4 posts and i did 11😀. Mary Frances commented and it made me keep writing.The post by Caroline inspired me to right about roller coasters like she did.

My goal was 4 story’s I wrote 7. Comments from Caroline keep me writing. And a post from Caroline gave me Insperation.

My goal on February 29th was to write 3. Today I have written 8. Comments by Lauren keep me writing because she told me i described it really well. The post by Roland inspired me to write the big thunderstorm because Roland wrote a story on a thunderstorm.

Reading is giving my ideas.
Comments by Jackson keep me writing because there comments are very inspiring.
The post by Quinn inspired me to write Liberty skiing because he wrote a hockey story.

I’m doing good I have 2 posts which is what I wanted I love comments on my posts it inspires me to write more I was inspired to make a car wash story because I go in lot of them

My goal on February 29 was to write 4 post.Today I have written only 1 post but comments by Mary Frances keep me writing because she commented twice on my 1 story and on her second comment she wrote when I read it the second time I liked it better! That comment made me want to keep writing! And I had the idea on writing a sports story because everyone was writing one and I love sports so why not do one.

My goal on February 29 was to write 10 posts. Today I have written 4 posts. Comments by Jackson and Mary Frances keep me writing because the comments so make me want to write more.

My goal on February 29 was 4. Right now I have written 3 posts. Comments that say to keep writing really makes me want to keep on writing for my class. The post by Caroline of the mouse trap inspired me to write about a roller coaster because it had things that you can say like BOOM or DROP.

My goal on February 29 was to write 13 times. Today I have written 1post. Comments like jacksons keep me writing because they were positive and friendly. The posts by mr re inspired me to write because they are detailed.

Mary Frances:
Comments by Stella, Laney, and Ruby keep me writing because they make connections and compliment me on little things.The posts made by Ryan inspire me to write because he adds lots of things that I think that I could write about. My goal on Feb.29th was to write 3 posts. Today I have written 15 posts.

My goal on Feb. 29 was to write 25. Today I have written 9 posts.
Comments by Jackson keep me writing because he always says nice things about my writing!
My mom inspired me to write my Ireland story’s because she said that we would be going in a month so I thought why don’t I say what I will do there and so I did it on kidblog!

My goal on February 29 was to post 24 times, today I posted 4 posts. Comments by Roland,Owen and Lucas keep me writing because their comments make me feel special inside. The post by mr. Re going to wonder inspired me to write going to Hawaii.

My goal on February 29 was 11. Right now I have 13. Comments by William R and Jackson kept me writing. The post by Mrs. Donnelly inspired me to write poems because it was something fun to do if your bored.

My goal on Feb.29 was to write 19.Today I have written 8 posts.
Comments by William keep me writing because he tells me what is good about my story’s
The post by Owen inspire me to write more because it has good story’s and details

My goal on Feb.29 was to write 8. Today I have written 3 posts. Comments by Mary Frances keep me writing because in each comment she keeps a smile on my face. The post by Laney inspired me to write my “first Tournament of the season #1” because she wrote about sports.

My goal of March was to write a blog almost everyday! In March I have written 13 posts! Comments by tons of people like Mary Frances keep me writing! The poem post by Quinn gave me an idea to write my own poem because I really like that he used animals with words that sound alike!!

Comments by Destiny keep me writing because she says stuff like “can’t wait for more” and not just ” I like the details” but she says which details specifically. Destiny really inspires me. The post by Mr. Rey about “A Wacky Place to Read” inspired me to write because I really liked how he added a question at the end. And was also a very good story.

11 post
11 post this month
Quinn because it’s nice
Owen I was inspired to do parts because you can get more post

My goal was 3 story’s and I’ve written 1 post. Mary Frances keeps me writing because her comments are really good and nice.

William R:
My goal on Fed. 29 was to write 2 posts. Today I have written 8 posts. Comments that kept me going was Quinn because he does kind comments. The posts
by Peter and Quinn inspired me to write animal poems and from Peter a Christmas story.