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I’m Going to the Show!

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Well, not really a show. A conference. Two of them actually, back to back.

I’m going to St. Louis to the National Writing Project Conference, followed by the National Council of Teachers of English Conference. NWP and NCTE, for short.

Am I excited? You bet!

Am I nervous? Ditto!

You see, I’m supposed to present a round table discussion at NWP. I’ve never done this before. Not successfully, anyway. I’ve never even been to a big conference before. I have done a breakout session at our state conference, but only one person wandered in. By mistake. She thought I was someone else. To my shame, I didn’t graciously let her go. I forged ahead with my presentation anyway, no doubt wasting her time. You see, I was an elementary level presenter at a conference full of high school educators. Maybe not the best fit.5124Osj9s0L.jpg

At NWP however, my topic extends into middle school, and there’s a much larger audience. Maybe more than one person will stray my way. Maybe even some people who are actually interested in my topic. It could happen.

The flip side is that I’ll get the chance to be a starry-eyed kid for the rest of the time, tracking down some of my literacy idols and gathering up pearls of knowledge. I’m especially geeked to hear from Jacqueline Woodson and Rick Riordan, both authors that my students and I adore.

I’m excited for November to come rolling around so I can finally get to St. Louis.

 


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Online Learning and Procrastination

51zS47EOayL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMy son and I are both taking online courses at the moment. His is an intense, college level math course. Mine is a self-paced book study for professional development credits. We both tend to be procrastinators. Here’s what’s happening.

My course was supposed to start during my Spring Break, back in March, but the questions weren’t ready. I thought I would read the book, answer a few questions, and be done. Not so.

I read the book (The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion), and frankly enjoyed it, but still the questions weren’t available. I read it as a digital library loan, and others were waiting for it, so naturally I had to return it. Well, then the questions were posted. By this time I was back to school, and my time was far more limited. Still, I read through the questions and was shocked to find that there were 22 of them! Oh, and some of the questions required additional reading. Hey, wait a minute… nobody said anything about that at the beginning of the book study!

I ordered a copy of the book because there was no way I could answer the questions without a paper copy of it in front of me for reference. I got the book, put it in an easily noticeable spot, and carried on with my life, forgetting all about the book study.

Fortunately for me, the moderator sent out an email not too long ago reminding everyone that the book study was wrapping up at the end of May. Yikes!

Okay, I told myself, you have the last week of May off. School is out and summer work hasn’t begun. You can do this!

Well, so far so good. Last night I stayed up until almost 3 am answering questions that I could easily recall and find support for in the text. Those requiring more careful rereading and reading additional texts are still awaiting my responses. I’m about a third of the way done, and I’m sure I’ll complete it in time. At least that’s what I say now.

Deep down, however, I know I’m a procrastinator. I know that I’ll probably get down to the wire on this one. And I’ll probably scold myself for it, too.  Sad, but true.

Anyway, I’m a fan of online learning for the flexibility it allows, but it worries me because it allows you to put off your work until you’re in a position where it’s do or die. Those deadlines come and go, and if your work isn’t submitted, too bad.

My son, fortunately, seems to have figured this out more quickly than I have. He’s really surprised me. Every day he takes over my desk with his computer and his math book and he does his work. I sometimes wonder if this is really the same kid who never seemed to do homework in high school (but really, he did, I swear it). I can’t complain, whatever he’s doing is working, so I should probably change my ways and try to be more like him.

It seems that the student has become the teacher. I’m okay with that, I really am.


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Welcome to the Tiniest Month Challenge

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February is so short it seems like it begins and ends in a flash.

What better month for a challenge, then?

So here’s my challenge to myself, and by extension to all of you:

Pick something and stick with it. Every. Day.

At least for this tiny month of February.

Some ideas that have rattled around my brain:

  • hit my Fitbit steps goal everyday
  • take time to read for pleasure
  • eat vegetables
  • mindfully give a compliment
  • write
  • avoid social media
  • stay out of Starbucks
  • call Mom

We all have things that we “should” do that we neglect. Since this is such a short month why not pick one and stick to it? It’s only 28 days, after all.

In an ideal world I would do ALL of the things on my above list everyday, but I don’t. I’m going to pick ONE and stick with it, but what to pick?

I see my ideas in roughly 3 categories: mental health, physical health, and social connectedness (which, really, is a part of staying mentally healthy I suppose). For me, physical health is the most urgent of those needs at the moment. To that end I choose the first goal: to reach my steps goal each day.

I would love to have company on my tiniest month challenge. If you’re interested please comment with your tiny month goal, and don’t worry if the month has already begun, you can start anytime you want!