Saturday, May 1, 2010


Yesterday was Meron's second birthday. She looked adorable in her pink and white summer dress. She was excited to see all the presents coming into her house and knowing they were all for her! When it came time to blow out the candles she was ready. Her mom had made a Sesame Street cake with all her favorite characters on it. When the candles were lit, her dad asked her how old she was. She continued to examine the cake and with a small unconcerned voice she replied, "Thirteen." Her dad said, "No, not thirteen. How old are you?" Continuing to check out the characters on the cake, she answered in a disgusted voice, "TWO!" What fun!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Today I got the chance to go and talk to a third grade boy about his writing. His teacher was concerned because after he wrote, he couldn't read it and neither could she. His handwriting was in bad shape and he had no idea what he had written. My job was to see how to help him become a better writer. He was a great reader and really wanted to improve on his writing.

The piece we were looking at right then was a prompt he had responded to for the quarterly assessment. I asked to see his writing folder or what he was currently working on in workshop. The teacher said they couldn't find anything. I decided to just start on another piece...ignoring the prompt writing.

The child and I talked for a few minutes about what the possibilities of his writing. He told me a story about him going to a water park with his grandpa. He said they went to the park and he climbed to the top of the slide. His grandpa was at the bottom holding his arms out to catch him. When he got to his grandpa, he caught him and then hugged him. Since he had trouble remembering what he wrote, and since he would not finish his piece that day, I had him sketch a picture at the top of the paper and label it.

Next, he began to write the story. It began like this: "One time I went to a water park with grandpa." That is as far as he got today. It was written with spaces and nicely formed letters. There were no lines on the paper, but it was all written in straight lines. No problem reading that.

When I asked him about giving the piece to his grandfather when he finished it, he said, "I can't, he's dead." We then talked about keeping memories alive and how important it was for him to capture those memories in stories. He had a very serious job to do in workshop. I asked him which paper he liked best: the prompt or the story he wrote today. Without hesitation he pointed to the story.

After he had gone back to class, I had the chance to talk to the teacher about the importance of meaning. This story had meaning for the child. It was full of meaning. She didn't have to have his eyes checked or just the right kind of writing paper, she just had to find something that held meaning for him.

Thanks, Carl Anderson, for all your lessons in Assessing Writers on meaning as a trait in writing!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Tonight was Dave's last Puppy Class. He wore his new scarf that was all balloons and confetti with his name on it. He even brought his trainers a present...DeBrand's. He had a great time, as usual. We got our picture taken with him and he even got a certificate. He can't wait for the next Obedience Class starting in May!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Our Spring Break was wonderful. We can't wait until next year when we can do it all over again. Then I thought about the one part of Spring Break that I forgot. DAVE! As everyone knows, he is a big part of our lives. Being just a puppy, we wanted to make sure we did the best thing we could for him concerning Spring Break. We had planned to let him go to Sarah's house like we always did with Murphy. However, Dave had not ever been to Sarah's house and she had a busy weekend with Easter. So, we began looking at lodgings. It was late when we started the process and we were very picky about where our baby would stay.

Finally, The Big D came up with the idea of having someone stay here with him. He had a few suggestions and made a call. It worked out great! Molly came to visit before actually agreeing to stay with our little monster. She was wonderful. She started correcting him right away, but showed him lots of attention. When we got ready to leave she was right here to go over last minute directions. Dave thought she was great. As you can see from the picture we took right before we left, he LOVES Molly!!!

Thanks, Molly, for making Dave's First Spring Break great for him!

Friday, April 16, 2010


We took many walks on the campus of ASU while we were in Tempe. My friend and professor there, Dr. Frank Serafini, had emailed me some great places to visit, but I just had to spend time on the campus where he works. We first walked on a silent campus on Easter afternoon. We did see a few students and even got some directions from one. It was just nice to be able to have the campus almost to ourselves. Then we came back on a beautiful spring morning and wandered around looking for the book store. The campus, that day, was loaded with bicycles, students and all kinds of activities. We were so glad we stayed close to the campus where we could enjoy the students and other sites.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We were able to stay at the Mission Palms Resort thanks to Andy. This is a place where he had been working and found it for us. It was just the perfect spot for everything we like to do. In the morning we would hike up the mountain that you can see in the the pool picture. Then we would walk over to Mill Street and have a hot chocolate and bagel while we watched the town wake up. In the afternoons we would sit by the pool, jump back into our jean shorts and t-shirts and head off to Mill Street again for lunch. Then it was back to the pool. In the late afternoons we would walk across the street and head over to Arizona State University. I will save those pictures for tomorrow's blog!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The best thing about our trip was to get to spend time with Emma and Adrian. We had so much fun playing with them, reading with them and just talking to them. Adrian is always coming up with the funniest things to say. When we had been on the plane from 8:00 in the morning AZ time to 6:00 in the evening IN time, we told them we were going to stop for supper. Adrian thought a minute and then said, "But I haven't had breakfast yet!" So glad we got to be with them AND Andy for Spring Break!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


On our second day in Arizona, we decided to take a road trip and go about two hours north to the area of the Red Rocks. We had many people suggest we go there. So, that morning after our mountain climb and breakfast at Starbucks on the corner, we headed north to Sedona.

We drove through the city and then into the desert. The whole drive was beautiful as the elevation kept getting higher and higher. It had been hot in Tempe the past day, so we wore our summer outfits of jean shorts, t-shirts and sandals. By the time we reached Sedona, the wind was whipping around at 50 mph. There were beautiful rock formations, but also a town full of sites, shops and tourists. It reminded us of Gatlinburg.

As we jumped out of the car, we realized we had made a big mistake. We were NOT dressed for this altitude or weather. I was freezing. We hurried into a restaurant, ate whatever they had that was hot, and took off to buy a sweatshirt. The wind was still ridiculous, so we rushed to take pictures and headed back to Tempe where it was WARM!! Maybe on another trip we will try it when it is better weather up in the mountains!

Monday, April 12, 2010


The highlight of our Spring Break trip to Tempe, Arizona was the mountain. Actually, it was called Hayden Butte Preserve. On Easter Sunday we got up early to watch the sunrise above it. We heard worshippers singing praise songs. We started up the mountain but I could only make it to 860'. We sat and watched the city wake up below us.

The next morning we tackled the mountain again. This time I was determined to make it to the top--1485'! The angles were steep, the height was frightening, still we climbed...slowly. We did make it. The third and last day we went again. This time was easier. We noticed tiny animals, flowers on ca cactus and new sites below.

At the end of our stay, that mountain seemed to take my focus. Since we could see it from our room, I constantly watched the activity on it. I was obsessed with it.

I feel it stood for all those mountains in my life right now. I felt if I could conquer that mountain, I could conquer all my fears. That mountain turned into my best friend in Arizona!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Since we are going to be gone for Easter, Dave got his Easter present this morning. He was so happy to get a huge gorilla named Monkey! Then we took off for Pokagon State Park. We want to make this an annual event for Good Friday. He loved the new smells, sounds and running without a leash on the trails. Then he saw the water!! He was scared at first and then just took off running in and out of it. I think we have a Water Dog!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Visited another wonderful school today. We were looking for data recording and other quality classroom data. Boy, did we find it!

Here we have a chart of what makes a Quality Friend. Then the students had written information pieces about their quality friends.

They also had written their own Mission Statements. This is what they want to see in their classrooms.

. .

Did I mention that all these classrooms were second grade?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Last day of Slice of Life...but now I am in the routine, I will keep with blogging. Maybe not every day, but I will keep my blog up-to-date. Today I had the chance to visit a second grade writer's workshop. The teacher had told my partner and me about things that were going on in her room and we just had to see for ourselves. So, we took a trip to visit that room. It was so much fun being in a second grade again and watching kids love to write. We got to conference with writing partners and watch how they helped each other with their pieces. One little girl showed me a book she had written. On the front was the title and by_____. She had illustrations, too, of course. So I asked her who the illustrator was. She immediately said, "ME!" So we looked through books her teacher had as mentor text and found the front of many with either, illustrated by or pictures by. She decided she wanted to add illustrated by to the front of her book. The picture I have attached to my blog today is a bulletin board outside their classroom. It not only has pictures of kids being writers, but also has exactly what they are doing AND the standards that are addressed. What a perfect way to spend a spring day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


My Slice of Life today has just got to be about my son and daughter-in-law. They are going through so much right now. First of all, they are expecting their first child together...a little boy due in August. We are all so happy about that, especially Kiann, who will be an older brother. He wanted a brother! They just sold their house a few weeks ago and were ready to purchase a lot to begin building their dream house. They had been waiting on the bank to give them the okay. They waited and waited and waited. Then all they needed was the former owners' signature. Those owners had divorced and moved away. The hunt began to find them. People were calling. People tried to find them. No luck. Then they found out they were on the run. So, the purchase of that lot which Todd and Beth had their heart set on, could not be bought.

Now they are looking again for another house. They have a couple that are not quite what they want plus they are much more than they want to pay. They want a house to bring that little boy home to when the time comes. Being sort of "homeless", expecting a baby, and stressed is not the best way to be. We are all praying for a miracle. They have worked so hard for this time in their lives. Hopefully, they will find the perfect house with the perfect price. We will put our faith in the One who holds the future!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Only three more days of school and then SPRING BREAK!! Then on Saturday we pick up the grand kids and head for Indy and the airport. After flying to Dallas and then on to Phoenix. We had everything planned for here at home, at least we thought we did. The neighbor was going to feed the cats and Sarah was going to take care of Dave.

That is until we got to thinking about Dave. He is a five-month old puppy....a LARGE five-month old puppy. This is Easter weekend and Sarah had lots of action going on that weekend. We decided not to make her go through the puppy stage especially when Dave had never even been to her home. We looked into lodging and pet care places. It had to be the best of the best for our Dave. The problem was...everything was full. Then DD had a great idea. He called a friend of his who is a young 20 year old working and going to school. He asked her if she was interested in staying here and taking care of Dave AND the cats. Her answer? "SURE, I'd love to!" My sidebar comment was..."She hasn't met Dave yet!"

She came over tonight to meet Dave and the cats. She still is willing to take on the challenge and stay for five days with the wild guy. We are so excited about our trip. We get to spend time with Emma and Adrian and see their dad in Phoenix.

We will be staying in a resort where Andy, our son, works as a chef. It is practically on the campus of Arizona State University. I remembered that is where Frank Serafini is a professor, so I wrote to him. I wanted to know if he could give us some tips for places to go. He wrote back this morning with several good ideas. We are so excited and can't wait to get in that sunshine!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010



1. Wipe off Dave after coming in from doing his "duty"

2. Read a professional book on the couch

3. Wipe off Dave after coming in from doing his "duty"

4. Clean the bedroom, including dusting the


5. Wipe off Dave after coming in from doing his


6. Read the Sunday paper

7. Wipe Dave off again

8. Take Dave for a walk

9. Watch the NCAA games

10. Wipe Dave off including muddy paws


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Barbie's Birthday

We had a great party tonight in Fort Wayne for our friend and co-worker, Barb...alias Barbie. Everyone was to dress like Barbie or in 60's attire. The party was a SURPRISE for Barb. Her son from our west was here to join his twin. All her friends from work, church and family joined her. She was really a great sport about the whole thing. They even had ordered a "Barbie" outfit for her to wear. She and Kerry and also their boys were in full Barbie-wear.
All the coaches I worked with last year were invited. We sat at a table at the back and had the best time. It isn't often that we get to spend time together just talking. That is what we did tonight. We talked and laughed and ate and just had a great time. What a wonderful evening. It is great to have such terrific, fun friends and then to also be able to work with them is a real treat!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Okay, my Slice of Life today has to be the great news I got this morning. Todd and Beth found out they are having a BOY!!! I really had thought it was going to be a girl...not sure why, just did. That's okay, I just want a grandbaby! I am so excited for them. They have waited so long and been through so much. What a lucky little boy! These next four months will seem like forever, but really will fly by. My love and prayers are with this new family!!! LOVE THEM ALL!!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


At the in-service tonight, we started off the section Memoir unit of study with a poem by George Ella Lyon called: "Where I'm From". We then had all of the participants write their own poem, using hers as a mentor text, and then share them. This is a way they could start off their Units of Study in their classrooms. Here is mine:

I am from cornfields, from Coca-Cola and graham crackers. I am from country roads. Homemade, plaid skirts; the sound of trains in the distance. I am from the peony bushes in Grandma's backyard growing tall in the Spring but cut down soon after they bloom. I'm from popcorn on Sunday night and "You've got to hold your mouth right", from Ida Mae and Jim. I'm from sharing my Lima beans with the dog under the table and playing badminton in the front yard. From "finish all your dinner before you leave the table" and "you have to tell your sister you're sorry". I'm from spending all day Sunday in church and Violet teaching us about Winky Bear in Jr. Church. I'm from Irish roots, From potato soup and red velvet cake. From the time Joanie spilled the "grunt" water when she spent the summer with Grandma. The hot pot pies Dale and I ate for lunch at Grandma's house.

I'm from all the family pictures spilling out of boxes under my bed waiting to be mounted into albums representing my family tree.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In the midst of all our cuts, surplussing and many changes we still must carry on with what we do for kids. Today I spent the morning going over the PD that my friend and I will be delivering to the 4th and 5th grade teachers in our district. Every quarter we go over the next quarter's writing units of study. We have been doing this for several years so now we are really bumping up what we are sharing. It is not just handing out the units with lessons, but more having the teachers brain storm and work together to make the units more rigorous for their students.

Tomorrow's session will be for Quarter 4. We are focusing on three units of study in our two hours with them. We will start out with Independent Writing. I like to give a basic unit so those kiddos who have not been bathed in workshop will have the support they need. Then we go deeper with the study. I am not sure where the second part of our session will go with this. It all depends on where the teachers take it.

The next unit of study is one of my favorites. It is the memoir session. Katie Ray says memoir can be a series of small moments. That is where we are going with the basic group. Then we are going to go deeper using Katherine Bomer's book on memoirs. Our last unit of study is called: The Writerly Life. That is all about reflections. We are going to have the teachers reflect over their year as well as show them how they can help their students to reflect.

That's about it. If you have any suggestions or ideas for us, let us know. We would love to share!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Last night the school board made a decision. It was to approve $15 million in budget cuts. It was not a pretty sight to watch. This included the closing of one high school and one elementary school. They are also eliminating 91 teaching positions, ending the summer school program and cutting 9 administrative positions and reducing central office expenses by more than $3 million.

How does this affect me? I am not sure yet. We have a meeting on Thursday morning and I am sure I will know more then. But today I had the chance to go to the elementary building being closed. Not exactly the best time frame. We were collaborating with the building coach and the principal. We were reluctant to ask about how everyone was today. However, the coach was very up beat and said the staff was handing this well. This school is one that is located away from the urban life, almost in a field with major roads running on both sides of it. The school is like none of the other buildings in that it is more of a country school than big city district. It is so sad to see it go. Even if we all know this is best for the district, it is sad to see it go. Fortunately, I get to work there with their teachers a couple more times this year. I know the last time I am there it is going to be with a heavy heart leaving. My heart goes out to these teachers, students and everyone who has been touched by this school.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Con't from 3/21:
Yesterday was prep day for my procedure of the colonoscopy. Actually, what I was preparing for was what they call in slang terms: Flexible Sieg. The prep for this procedure is not as rigid as the full blown colonoscopy. Still, it was not comfortable or fun. I finished that at midnight.

This morning I started with the no eating or drinking segment. There were a couple other things that I had to go through, but I don't want to get down and dirty with that. The hardest part, honestly, was the not being able to eat or drink this morning. We left for the hospital at 9:20 since we live close.

For the procedure a driver is required to stay for the entire time and then obviously drive you home. The Big D volunteered to take off work and do that. He is a great support throughout the time spent going through this procedure. We arrived at the hospital and checked in. A volunteer took us up to the right area. He was wonderful at making us feel comfortable and at ease. In no time at all, I was in bed with a blue wrap that had spots for them to hook up heaters to my gown.

After filling out paperwork from the bed, gettng an IV hooked up and an explanation of what would happen, I was ready to be wheeled into the room for the procedure. I think this was the fastest I was "out" in all the times I have gone through this. The next time I was alert, I was back in the room waking up.

A quick trip through the McDonald's drive-through and I was home on the couch. The Big D left for work and I snuggled with a couple blankets to sleep the day away. I woke up at 5:00 after not even moving. Since I had not really eaten for two days we treated ourselves to a pizza from Pizza Hut.

The doctor told The Big D that things looked great and I would be back for a full-blown colonoscopy next February. I have been doing these for about 10 years. I really believe it is because of them that I have never gotten colon cancer. I have had some pre-cancer polyps and my doctor has been diligent in being on top of the issue. So, if you have not had a colonoscopy yet, I recommend you check with your family doctor and check it out!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


My Slice of Life today has to be about what I am focusing on most today. Actually, it is not focusing on today, but what tomorrow will bring. I am taking the day off from school. Sounds like a pleasant thought, right? Not really. I just finished taking my medicine to be sure I was ready for my visit to our local hospital. Nothing serious. Well, medically serious anyway. It is time for my dreaded colonoscopy. The procedure is not bad at all. In fact, I sort of enjoy it. The doctor comes in the room and asks how I am feeling. Then the nurse begins to let the liquid flow into my veins from the previous set intravenous tube. I really like the warm feeling that soon takes over. Once I really tried to stay awake and watch the little screen that showed what was happening. That didn't work. I don't do that any more. I just close my eyes and go into a blissful sleep. When I wake up I usually ask all kinds of questions. The only problem with that is, I don't remember that I asked them and I don't remember the answer the doctor gave me. Therefore, I ask them over and over and over and over until the doctor tells me to quit! Well, I don't know what he gets so upset for, he is the one who gave me the medicine to cause me to forget!

Tomorrow at 10:30 I will be peacefully asleep. Right now though...well, we won't talk about that!!! Bet you can't wait to see what my blog will be tomorrow, can you?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


At 1:35 p.m. it was officially Spring...or close to that time anyway. With only two weeks to go until we go on Spring Break, it got me thinking about what all we had to do to get ready for it. We are again this year taking two of our grandchildren on a plane to Arizona to visit their dad, Andy. Last year we had such a good time with them that we promised we would do it again this year. Andy is going to school in Scottsdale to become a chef. He doesn't get back to Indiana enough, so we decided to go out there and see him. He already has our room ready for us at a hotel/resort where he is working as a "cook" getting ready to become a chef. It is near the University of Arizona so we are excited about being close to the school and everything that means.

To get ready for the trip we always buy and then fill a backpack for each of the kids. We purchased them last for Adrian and read for Emma. Adrian is in kindergarten and Emma is in second grade. We also bought a few small toys, some treats, an Easter bunny stuffed toy. Today we went to Barnes and Noble and found some books that were at their reading level and some math workbooks, too. We will fly out of Indy and make one stop in Dallas on the way out.

Getting ready to spend time with the kids and Andy along with just the excitement of being in Arizona again is helping me to get through the next two weeks. I am SO ready for SPRING!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


All the puppy books I have read say that at 5 months your puppy is equal to ten years old. He will then start to become a little different. Instead of being the obedient dog he has been, he will start to become more independent. Since Dave just turned five months old today, we haven't seen this behavior. Last night we did his Puppy Class homework. Yes, he has homework. He practiced heeling, sitting when we stopped walking, down and turning on heel. He did so well that we decided to try him on stay, then come and then go into heel position. He was almost perfect. I think we have the star of the class here. Of course, that doesn't mean he will do it in Puppy Class with all those other cute puppies to distract him. Hey, I sound like the parent who says: "But they could do it at home!" YIKES!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Cuts are happening all over the state. The governor has asked school districts to find ways to save money. He has even handed out suggestions. The district I work in has to make $15 million this year. Rumors are flying. Schools may be closed. Pink slips will be handed out to more teachers than I want to think. Teachers who are new to the district and some new to teaching, but excellent teachers.

Our school board and superintendent have made an effort to hold meetings where those affected by the possible closings could come and vent, ask questions, or give suggestions. Two of the meetings were held in schools that are considered being cut. The last meeting was held where the board always meets for their usual meetings. Tonight was that last meeting. All day there were people out front with signs marching. The meeting was emotional, enlightening and informative. I was able to watch it on Live Streaming, the first time for this to happen. I sat in front of my computer and watched the whole thing. What a great way to be involved in what is happening in our district. I was so impressed by how the board and superintendent handled the meeting. I was so impressed with the people who spoke. They gave those suggestions. They asked those questions. And they listened...along with the board. No matter what happens in the mess that we are going through, I am so thankful to have been a part of this school district for the past five years.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Does It Affect You?

The way things are changing with schools and districts all over Indiana is amazing. Tonight our union had the meeting to show the membership the master contract tentative agreement. Everyone pushed into Anthis Career Center and found a seat or standing room only. At 4:30 the contract was discussed. I could go over each and every part of it, but that is not what I want to blog about. The thing that stood out for me was a slide that was put up first. It said: "It is only fair if it doesn't affect you." How true that is. I had never thought of it in that way before. Should the cut the "steps/increment which would affect the younger teachers? Should they cut the insurance or make us pay more of it out of pocket which would affect everyone? That was the discussion. It all goes back to: "It is only fair if it doesn't affect you." Something to stop and think about!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Parents are always anxious and nervous when their children start school. Being a primary teacher, I have experienced this over the years. As we prepared Dave for his first evening of school, we felt the same way. We had treats packed since he could not eat supper until after class. We didn't want any accidents. We had poop-bags in case there was an accident anyway. We had his leash...two sizes depending on what kind of exercises he had to do tonight.

Just like parents getting their children ready for the first school experience, we had trained Dave to heel, sit and down. We thought he did very well for a five month old puppy. Then we took him to class. He was so excited to see so many puppy friends of all sizes. Daddy took him through the class tonight. They did many practice rounds and met a few of the new puppy friends. Then Della, the instructor came into the ring. She is the same instructor that Murphy had for puppy class. We felt Dave did the heel, sits, and downs very well. He didn't have much practice with about turns, so that is his homework for next week. Yes, homework. We are to work him every night during commercials. So, my baby is now in school and we are very proud of him!

Monday, March 15, 2010


It was a literacy sort of day. Spent the morning with the All Write!!! gang at East Noble for a coaches' meeting. As usual, learned lots, saw old friends and did our book study on The Book Whisperer. Then it was off to lunch at Si Senor, a favorite place to eat. Still talking literacy and school.

We went back to East Noble for work on our presentation for summer institute in Shipshewana in June. Julia and I are presenting on "must-have" professional books. We are excited about the books we will be discussing.

At 4:00, it was back to Si Senor for our Book Club. Amy joined us and we ordered and began talking about our book for this month: Outliers. We each told about our favorite chapter and why we liked that one...or why it stood out for us. If you have not read that one yet, it is another MUST READ!!

Perfect way to spend the day...friends, food and books!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Book Whisperer

I have been in a book study all year with a group from the All Write!!! coaches. The book group I chose to be in was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I chose that book group because I had the book but never seemed to finish it. I thought this would make me read it. It wasn't that the book was boring or not appropriate for me. I was just that something else always seemed to come along. Tomorrow we were to have our last chapters read, so I needed to get busy. That is what I did this afternoon, read!

For any teacher who has not read it, I would say it is a MUST read! Donalyn is a 6th grade teacher who says she turns every student into a reader. The book takes you through how she does that. I knew of Richard Alllington's findings from thirty years ago where he says that students weren't spending enough time actually reading during reading instruction, and they still aren't. Miller finds the way to turn her students into not only readers but passionate readers. This is one book that I know I will read over and over and recommend to others.