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Showing posts from October, 2015

Random First Line Generator

Last summer I went to a workshop about freelance writing. I met a fantastic woman there who is going to be forever my writing check in partner. She is smart and funny and so humble about her writing and her life. We check in as much as we can about our writing and we are there for each other when we need it. We are lucky indeed to have made such a connection.
Joan sent me this cool random first line generator site to use for prompts. I highly recommend it, particularly during times when you can't think of anything to write about. I don't like to write fiction, but I am going to use it as a way to fit it into the non-fiction stuff I write.

My line this morning was:

"The urge to interrupt him before he had finished was overwhelming."

And so I'll begin:

The urge to interrupt him before he had finished was overwhelming. I sat listening to a teacher tell me about how important it is that children have homework even if that homework is just busy work. "It's the p…

Time to Breath

"How do you fit it all in? Do you ever sleep?"

These are some of the things I heard every day...and recently I realized that these kinds of comments had become kind of addictive to me. I liked being the woman who could do everything. Mother, wife, writer, teacher, book club organizer, writing club organizer, breakfast duty every day, etc, etc.

The truth was, though, that I was starting to run out of steam. I missed sleep. I was arguing with my husband more. When my children had homework issues, I had less patience. I suddenly didn't want to be the go to person at work. "Leave me alone," I thought. And it surprised me because I liked being that person who has a million and one ideas, that one who can stop what she's doing and do your work instead.

But, I missed doing my work. And I really missed doing my work well. Smart people have been telling me for years that I should stop doing everything and get really good at one or two things. I pooh-poohed them bec…

My Daily Write

This morning over coffee, I read my friend Kevin's blog post Compelled to Write (Every Day). His post made me laugh because just this morning as I was getting dressed I thought of two writing ideas and I kept thinking, 'this is why people use writing notebooks, Kimberley! You will forget these ideas.' And, I might, but for some reason I don't stop to write them down. I wait until I am at my blog which is my first point of writing down ideas. I think about my writing all day long. I think as I read about how that author writes what he/she writes. I think about writing in the shower, as I cook, when I am in my car.

I must write every day. I write before everyone in my house (two children and a husband) get up and start placing demands on me until we go off to school together. I write when I have 15 minutes at work and should be copying or tidying up. I write after school when my kids take time to play before homework. I write while I make dinner--really, I cook with my l…

SOL: My Twin Brother

Five Years Old: 1974, New York City, NY Lying in the unfamiliar hospital bed feels strange and sad. My hernia was operated on just hours before; was born with it they say but it lay undetected for a few years. It was the first time ever spending a night without my beloved twin brother Matthew. Though now I was missing him and feeling lonely, it was he who was usually the needy one. In fact, I worried that though he was at home, he would not be okay without me. We slept in a red wooden bunk bed. I in the top bunk because that bed made him nervous. He liked me to flip my head over so he could play with my hair as he fell asleep. We talked and laughed for at least a half hour each night. My mother hadn’t wanted us to share a room because, “You are a girl and he is a boy!” We looked at her blankly when listening to that argument. We watched her set up a pretty room with small pink tulip wallpaper and a white bed. We followed down the hall as she set up a handsome room with red and cream ti…

Haiku Deck Scamper

I love participating with Margaret Simon for #DigiLitSunday. I'm in just under the wire this evening.
I'm taking two graduate courses in teaching gifted and talented students. One of them is about teaching creativity. In that one, I was asked to use a strategy called Scamper. It's a strategy developed to help kids think about one item in many different ways. I loved thinking about it. I used Haiku Deck to share my thinking.

SCAMPER - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires


Whenever my babies cried, I put them in the tub. It transformed them into happy laughing children. It gave me a moment to have a glass of wine and remember their joy.

On warm days when my kids used to come home from school in Scarborough, we didn't tell each other about our day until we were down at the beach. We rolled up our pant legs and walked in the wet sand. Then we shared our good times and bad while we were away from each other.
Now that we've moved, when my children are restless and bored, I take them to the pool in Orono. Instantly they are leaping into the pool and playing like the best of friends. Better than that. They know each other better than friends. They are brother and sister who know every button to push for joy or insanity.
On Sunday nights when every one is low, I go upstairs, close the shades, turn on lights, and run the shower hot. Then I call my babies up to take long hot showers while they chat with me. I breath in the steam and prop my feet up on th…

Reflecting on my OLW

Today's Two Writing Teachers post by Betsy Hubbard reminded me that I haven't reflected on my One Little Word in a while. My OLW this year was iWrite. It's a bit of a made up word to be sure, but it worked for me. For the first time ever I actually used my OLW all year long.

I've made writing my priority.
I've written and published several articles this year.
I've taught writing and been invited to new venues to teach more.
I've written every single day without fail.

iWrite for sure. Now I'm dying to see what I'll choose next year. I think I'll make a bracelet or something with that OLW so I can look at it each day and keep it with me.

Theme Based vs Book Based

I've always taught, more or less, to a book. I find amazing books to read aloud or book talk for independent reading and then I teach mini-lessons around the themes or sign posts in each book. I am a reader, this makes sense. I believe I am who I am in huge part because of the massive amounts of reading I have done.

But my teaching has shifted recently. I am now teaching gifted and talented students in grades 2-5. I am also taking a couple of graduate GT courses to complete my GT certification. I am motivated to change by what I am learning. I am working on developing a core curriculum for gifted and talented in our school. We only have the kids for three (sometimes two) brief 30 minute sessions per week. My colleague and I have decided that this is no longer appropriate or effective for our students. We have decided to create more of a seminar or workshop curriculum based on one hour and a half session per week instead.

I am basing my new structure around global themes. The firs…

DigiLit Sunday: Community

On Sundays I try to join my friend Margaret to share interesting digital things I've been doing.

I'm building community in ways I hadn't really intended. Recently I remembered the Global Read Aloud created by Pernille Ripp.

I ordered Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and prepared to read it with my grades 3-5 gifted and talented students.
As I was googling ideas for enriching the book, I saw that some of my online friends were having a Voxer group about the reading of the book.
I was intrigued because I had not been a part of a Voxer group before. So I asked to join. As the teachers and students started adding their voice to the reading, I found myself waiting impatiently for the next Voxer to pop up. The ideas that other teachers shared about how they front loaded information and got their kids digitally involved inspired me. My students are so motivated to read this book because there is a new audience in town. They are writing on their Kidblogs, talking on Voxer, an…

The Right Path?

Every Tuesday, I participate in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. It helps me create, evaluate, review, reflect, and revise.
Writing helps you understand the world, and find your place in it. (Katherine Applegate)

My son is struggling to find his place in the world. I wasn't going to share it here, but I do my best thinking on my blog. 

My boy is extraordinary. He is brilliant, but sensitive and empathetic in a way that might make Ghandi stop and take notes. I've had to push him to be willing to read books where sad things happen because he feels it so intensely and so he avoids that explosion of emotion. I pushed him because, well think about it, is there any book worth reading that doesn't have something sad happen? Sadness makes us understand motive and purpose. It is no coincidence that in the movie Inside Out, Sadness is the most critical component of human emotion.

As parents, we have struggled to help my son through his school experience and lack of social…

DigiLit Sunday: Blendspace

I haven't joined up with my good friend Margaret for a while now, but today I just have to share my new discovery
I've been working on choice boards for teachers to use when they have kids who complete the regular work and need independent work. I usually create something more like this (something my colleague created for the GT kids) But, at our school the classrooms have access to iPads and laptops, so I thought it would be great if I could make something more interactive. I was surfing the net for something I could use to do this when I came upon It seemed like just the thing. It has a bit of a learning curve, but I think I could create something more like this instead. I'll keep you posted!