Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I began my blog in March, 2013 as part of a yearly Two Writing Teachers writing challenge.  Little did I know what an important journey would be unleashed through participating in this writing challenge.  My writing has taken me to poetry and to essays, to deeper knowledge about my craft and about how to teach writers and teachers about writing.  It has given me courage and has been a place for me to explore my interests—both professionally and personally.  It has been a venue for me to deepen my identity as a writer and as a poet.  My blog has deepened my understanding and embracing of play.  This writing place has been a joyful home for me.   Here I have ventured to show rather than tell my story.  To show my craft as I tell others through my profession as a teacher and staff developer how to teach writing and be writers.

This blog has also introduced me to a beautiful writing community.  I could thank countless people for supporting me with their words and their friendship as we connect through our words over the miles.  Two Writing Teachers has been a springboard for me to connect to other writers—both in this community and in other blog communities since.  What a wonderful place of connection!

Below are some things I have learned about myself as a writer through blogging and getting to know others through their blogs.   I invite you to comment on things you have learned about yourself through your writing and your blogging journey!

What I have learned about myself by writing my blog for the past year and three months:
           I have learned to show my life and to show my craft through writing.

 I have learned that I am a poet.  Poetry used to be something I loved but something I was afraid to do.  Through blogging this past year, I have seen that I speak like a poet and often write (even when I am not writing poetry) like a poet.       
          I have learned more about my identity as a writer through blogging.   I have discovered that I am an essayist who often writes about the everyday but ties that every day to something bigger within my words.
I have learned how to create a 20 minute post when necessary (especially in the later part of March).
 I have learned to not be surprised when I start out writing a blog entry that it goes in a totally different way than I anticipated when I began.

I have learned that I learn about life and about myself when I write.
I have learned to be disciplined and write every day even when I am not posting (and to be kind to myself when I don’t do this lovely practice .

I have learned to have fun with words.

I have learned to be playful with words and with life.

I have learned that everything we do can always tie into a bigger life lesson.

I have learned that meeting other bloggers in this and other writing communities is enriching and fun.

I have learned the importance of commenting on others’ work as I find so much joy in what others say about mine. 

I have learned the importance of feedback.

I have learned about technology and enhancements it offers to students and writers. 

 I have learned about other places as I read about the lives of other bloggers.
I have learned that March really has a wide range of weather across the United States and beyond.  Living in upstate NY I might be talking about a blizzard while watching jealously as pictures of flowers are posted by other bloggers in other parts of the US.

I have learned to be funny with my words and vulnerable with my words—and everything in between. 
I have learned that I can write through the good and the bad, the thick and the thin—that choosing to write despite circumstances balances my world and makes me better for it.

I have learned that words matter and no matter what, choosing to use words as a means of expression makes my world and our world a better place.

Thank you for sharing my writing space and allowing me to be a part of yours.

With much fondness as I celebrate 100,
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for sharing their writing space and allowing this writing community to flourish.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I am realizing that whenever I choose to write my celebrations for Ruth’s link, I put celebration and gratitude together.  What I celebrate is where I am grateful.  The two are inseparable for me when celebration is easy to name.  Although, when celebration is a bit more elusive, gratitude is even more present.

Reasons to celebrate have been harder for me to find lately.  The wedding of nearly a month ago looms close to my mind and celebrating my daughter’s new beginning is ever present.  Yet other family sadnesses ring more loudly right now than the celebratory marriage bells.  The sadness has flattened me and made getting up out of bed sometimes difficult.  Finding celebration here is difficult.  Finding gratitude…not so much.  I cling to the gratitude knowing that celebration is wrapped within.

Today I am grat­­­eful for friends ever present, buoying and supporting; for beginnings that can occur and reoccur as many times as is necessary; I am grateful for words that touch and move me; for my words that make a difference for me and for others; I am grateful for paradox; I am grateful for swimming and movement that keeps me planted in my body; I am grateful for work that gives me purpose and allows me to share my gifts; I am grateful for poetry that speaks to me with words that I wish I had created because they seem to be so close to what I experience; I am grateful for suffering (mine and others) that brings us to a new and unexpected place or back to the home of comfort and belonging; for creativity both as the created and the creator; I am grateful for the mindless and the mindful; I am grateful that all evolves and nothing is lost; I am grateful that the shadow of sadness is joy.

One thing that I know is this…a container of gratitude creates space for celebration.  Today I celebrate gratitude.

 Thank you to Ruth for sharing her space to allow us to share out celebrations.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Recently I visited a Kindergarten writers’ workshop.  The teacher was nervous about beginning an opinion writing unit, stating to me that many five year old children “don’t yet know what an opinion is.”  We talked about how engaging students in things that they want to help change is exactly how to teach students what an opinion is.  That day the teacher did an open-ended mini-lesson, asking students what they would like to see different in the school or in their classroom to make their school or classroom a better place.  The conversation that followed illustrated how strongly young children have opinions even when they might not be able to define "opinion".  Some of their responses included:

  • I want to have our classroom painted a brighter color.
  • We should have our classroom painted like a rainbow.
  •  Maybe we can raise money to get our classroom painted.
  • It is important that we all try to be friends.
  • Hockey is a good game for all students to know how to play.  We should learn it during PE. 
  • I wish people would stop wrecking the Legos because we worked hard on them.
  • We shouldn’t run or we might get hurt.
  • I want people to not yell so I can concentrate.

In the days that followed students branched out into complement letters stating complements to someone and saying “because” to give reasons for an opinion.   They have been busily writing opinion posters and letters since.  They have learned what an opinion is by stating what their opinions are.

Below is a sampling of their writing.

Give a student space to have an opinion.  Tell them their opinions matter.  And who knows.  They might just change the world.  I know a bunch of five year old children who are trying to do just that.