Gratitude Journal, Day 1

Week 2 of The Global Kind Project asks us to focus on gratitude. 5 minutes each day, we are creating a gratitude journal entry. I will post each day, with the final day to be a poetry entry on my creative writing blog.

  • The penguin I saw today
  • Coffee
  • The Magicians on Netflix
  • My wonderful students
  • A warm lapful of cat
  • Sunlight shining through my front window
  • The beauty of ice crystals forming on my windshield
  • Clean socks
  • Sleeping in
  • Listening to rain fall on the roof
  • Date nights
  • Having a steady job
  • Quiet, focused students

“Black-footed penguin” by SuperJew is shared under a CC by SA 3.0 license


Kindness Rock Project

My kindness rock project is going forward! I can’t wait.

The Global Kind Project is sponsored by The Education Collaborative, and this year, I was determined to put my school on the map as participating. It is a four week project that focuses on making the world a better place.

Week one focuses on kindness. For my sophomores, we discussed what their personal definition of kindness was and whether or not it was easy to be both kind and cool. Interestingly, they believe that kindness is easy for cool people, and it took some deeper discussions to get to the idea that cool people are often only kind to their friends. We also had a discussion board about how we showed kindness this week. They were troubled that others in the class were able to see what they wrote, and I explained I wanted them to inspire each other.  I’m interested in where they’ll go next week, as we discuss gratitude.

My juniors are the ones who are involved with the Rock Project. They painted rocks with motivational phrases or with phrases about kindness and blogged about what those phrases meant to them.  They marked their rocks with the URL of their blog about the rock. Here’s where it gets interesting: on Monday, we’re distributing the rocks to teachers and staff. We’re asking teachers to give the rocks to students that they feel might need some kindness and asking them to comment on where they found the rock. We’re hoping students will turn around and share their rocks with other students and write comments, too.  This post is one of their blogs: Kindness Rock Project.

I’m so glad my fellow staff are on board with my project. Woo Hoo!

“Kindness” by The Little Red School House is shared under a CC by 2.0.

NCTE Reflections

First of all, if you have never been to NCTE, it is overwhelming. An abundance of choices, voices, options, all of which push you to decide where you will spend your time. My first few choices were teacher-led sessions.

Session 1 was Empowering Student Voice, which fits in with my 2017 One Word Resolution.  I love writing workshop-style classes, but I don’t love a focus on grammar and punctuation. I liked some of the ideas, however, and can see incorporating some of their ideas into my Introduction to Literature course that starts in a few days.

Session 2 was Folger’s Macbeth. After some language play, we broke up into acting companies and tried out 15 minute Macbeth.  I can definitely use this strategy with my sophomores this spring. It sounds like a great start to reading the play. I also heard about Forsooth, a member only group that supports teachers. Needless to say, I joined. I’m not sure it’s worth it, yet.

Session 3 was the Global Kindness Project. I loved it. I definitely want to sign my sophomores up for 2018, beginning on January 15 and ending on Feb. 15. It should fit right into our research project. The steps of the project are:

  1. Kindness
  2. Gratitude
  3. Empathy
  4. Action

Session 4 was supposed to be gamification, mixed with #breakoutedu. The ideas were sound, but sound like you’d need professional actors to pull it off.  My big takeaway? To gamify deeply, you must have a storyline, to provide purpose.

Next, we had our presentation: Using Digital Tools to Level Up the 21st Century Writer. I joined three other teachers to talk about digital tools and how we use them to improve student writing. I use Goobric to track data and Screencastify to provide individual explanations as to their Goobric score on rough drafts, rather than “grading” those first drafts. When students wrote their final reflections, my feedback videos were the number 1 thing students mentioned as most helpful to them.

The last session I attended was Kylene Beers, Robert Probst, and Penny Kittle. I loved the rainstorm metaphor Kylene shared to parallel Notice and Note: as readers, we first see the clouds, then we use prior knowledge to determine it will rain, and then we act on that information by getting an umbrella. Notice, note, and so what? Perfect! And Bob’s slide, that explains why we might get pushback from society by teaching students to defend their ideas with evidence, was perfectly timed. I also loved Penny Kittle’s question, “So how are you getting started today?” I think this was the first time I understood what writing conferences are supposed to look like.

The biggest takeaway I have from NCTE 17-the people. Connecting with educators, with authors, with folks excited about teaching, really made my week. Every day, I ate with different people, dug into the teaching profession with others, wandered the vendor hall with more, and networked. I came back refreshed and ready to take on the world.

I highly recommend attending NCTE. I hope I get the chance to go again!

Great Picture Books to Use for Notice and Note – All Signposts |

I am reblogging this so I can find it next fall. Just when you wonder how you’re going to start the year…


Yesterday I posted my final picture book post for all of the signposts in the amazing book  Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  It has truly been aweso…

Source: Great Picture Books to Use for Notice and Note – All Signposts |