I Am From Summer

For the unknown-th August in a row, I am reminded of Where I’m From: I come from a summer Like none other before. From two puppies on the first day Before June even started. Yes, Ethan and Ellie quickly became  Bitey and Mighty, Tiny and Whiny, Ethie-E and Ellie-Belly, Who slept on the floor, then the couch,…

At Last

It’s time to write my slice… Write after I eat dinner watch The Voice on DVR shop for dresses join a Twitter chat (#ReadingScience) shop for sandals unload the dishwasher try to register for a spring kickball league convince Cam to take a shower read last night’s comments answer to the cry for “Mommmmm…” diagnose the newest…

Nothing.

Nothing. For some, this response to the “What do you want to write about?” question might bring about signs of sympathy.  I’ve seen it time and time again:  a tilted head, a furrowed brow, a slump of the shoulders.  An assumption that this unfortunate soul sitting in front of me hasn’t had many experiences to write…

THE dream!

I had it.  THE dream.  Every teacher knows the one: the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL dream. Like a scene out of Oz, YOU were there: The Coach.  This was your classroom before mine, and though you’ve rearranged a few of your things to make room for me, I look to you, scared,  unsure of where my…

Not Every Text is a Mentor

When I first started teaching about mentor texts, it was for an audience of teachers whose biggest questions was, “What’s a mentor text?”  Now, almost ten years later, every text is a mentor.  We use mentor texts in read aloud and shared reading, for writing mini-lessons, and within and across content-area instruction.  This is a good…

Why Use a Thousand Words…

…when just a few will do? I tend to use more words–and in many cases, words strung together in sentences as long and as tangled as a string of Christmas lights–than are necessary to say what I mean.  And looking back at that last sentence, I can only say, “Ugh!  See what I mean?” Often it…

No Better Place

It starts with a word from Mary Pope Osborne printed on the back of an old Scholastic Book Club catalog cover: Before I know it, the door swings open to the courtyard and I am caught up in a stream of 4th graders rushing into the fresh August air. “Stop,” I say before the few stragglers can make…

Off to the Gym

One of the things I’ve realized about my own writing process is that–sometimes like working out–the hardest part is getting started. If that is the case, then the warmup–the entry point into the daily exercise–is even more critical than we ever thought.  The warmup is what gets the ideas–the writer’s blood–flowing.  Even when the movement…

Wonders of My World

What do I wonder? There is rarely a wonder that goes un”Googled” in our house.  I scrolled through my history and here were the most recent few queries. (And no, I haven’t yet asked Siri what zero divided by zero is.) I wonder… If the guy on Covert Affairs is really blind.  (The answer is no,…

A Multi-Genre Approach to the “Typical Day” Question

It’s interviewing season and whenever we have an opening in our department (and we’ve had at least one every year),the number one question people seem to ask is:  What is a typical day in your job like? I have to laugh because But I can tell you about my day today. I wasn’t surprised when I got…