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?