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This is my first post since 2011.  I have been writing since that amazing summer during the Lake Michigan Writing Project, but in private, on my own, not on this blog.  It was abandoned.  It was only created for the specific purpose of the LMWP so why continue it?  I mean really who cares about what I am thinking?  Do I even have enough “important” thoughts to write down in a blog post?  Will I even get any followers?

Eh, probably not.  But here I am again, four years later.  This past school year has been a huge change for me.  I left the charter school I had been comfortably teaching at for 13 years and began teaching in a completely new district.  I even had to google where in the world this district was located when I found the job posting online.

I am now the Reading Specialist at a rural middle school.   I am in a new county, a new demographic of students, a public school (I’ve only worked in a charter school), I now have a much longer commute, and even the program I am teaching is brand new to the school, never been done before.  It was scary and a bit overwhelming at times, but so rewarding, refreshing, and something I needed.

So, here I am refreshing my old blog just like I refreshed my teaching career this past fall.  I am in search of becoming the best Reading Specialist I can be.  In fact, I would like to give my new job title a nice definition that I feel comfortable with.  I hope to  search out some great ideas, reflect on my teaching practices, give my new role some definition, and keep myself writing (so I may just have to throw in some other genres here and there).

Maybe one day, with my little blog, I will feel worthy enough to stand next to the giants of the teaching world, those that have inspired and helped me throughout my new adventure.

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Payday Bars

Base:

yellow cake mix

1/3 c. butter

1 egg

3 c. mini marshmallows

Topping:

2/3 c. light corn syrup

1/4 c. butter

2 tsp vanilla

1-10oz bag peanut butter chips

2 c. rice crispies

2 c. salted peanuts

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

Base:  mix cake mix, butter, and egg until crumbly.  Press into sprayed 13×9 pan & bake for 15 minutes.  Remove & immediately press marshmallows into base & bake for 1-2 minutes until puffy.

Topping:  In sauce pan heat all ingredients except nuts & rice crispies.  Melt to smooth.  Remove from heat, add nuts/cereal.  Mix & pour over base.  Cool and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

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Demo reflection

Whooo hooo!  I am finished!  Relief spread over me as I clicked my last slide and the rest of the group began their reflections.

So, how did it go?  Well, good I guess.  Doing this was difficult for me because I don’t feel like I am a master of anything.  Ten years later, and I am still learning.  I then decided to take the perspective that I am simply sharing a practice that I enjoy and believe in.  Am I doing it perfectly in my classroom?  Hecks no! as my students would say.  But, I think if anything I am exposing my students to texts that will get them thinking.  We have great discussions, and these discussions will lead to some fabulous writing.  That is my dream anyway.

Speaking of discussions, boy did we get a good one going during my demo about the phrasing of a question.  I loved it!  It opened my eyes to how other people read these types of critical questions.  Everyone is coming from a different place, and something as simple as the world ‘the’ changes the whole meaning of a question.  What a great discussion.  I learned a lot during my own demo (where wasn’t I supposed be the ‘expert’?), and it was awesome.  I will definitely take that back with me as I continue my quest of critical literacy in my class next school year.

I felt bad for having such a monstrous packet, and I wish I would’ve taken the time to figure out how to make the student work more digital so as to not kill so many trees.  I had a difficult time choosing which pieces to include and which to exclude, so the packet just kept on growing.  I know we as teachers get so much by looking at a piece of student writing, and although they were my students and not everyone else’s, I was hoping the pieces would offer something to the group nonetheless.  Even as I was finalizing my packet and going through the student work once again, I was learning so much.  It made me think of things I need to do differently next school year, and it made me wish I would have praised and pushed my more skilled writers more.  I think it is important we use our student’s work to truly drive our instruction, and I know that sometimes we as teachers get so bogged down with the paper load.  I’m still trying to find that balance.

Oops getting side-tracked, back to my demo reflection.  The group seemed engaged, willing to share, and seemed to truly enjoy the picture books.  In hindsight, I wonder if the group would’ve gotten more out of looking at all of the picture books instead of the poetry.  I just enjoy poetry so much; I like to think critically about it and let it consume my thoughts for awhile, so I thought it’d be a good reflection piece.  However, not everyone is comfortable with poetry.  Something to think about if I ever present again I suppose.  Let’s hope that I don’t actually ever have to make that decision though.  One teacher demonstration was good enough for me.

My biggest concern was presenting something that everyone already knew, and that they wouldn’t gain anything from my demo.  But, I think I can say with a bit of confidence, that if nothing else the group was exposed to some more texts that they can incorporate into their classrooms in some way.  And that is good enough for me to feel satisfied with my demo.  *sigh of relief*

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