Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Present Over Perfect"

I'm currently reading "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist.  This is a collection of essays about being who you truly are instead of who you present yourself to be.

Last night I read the title essay.  Seems fitting as I sit down to blog this morning where.... again.... I've missed weeks.

That's OK!  It's better to take a stab at this than to give up because of not being perfect.

This has been a year of change, and that is always difficult.  Gonna keep fighting the good fight & hanging in there!  Hope you'll do the same!

Happy learning,

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Invaluable Resource

Whoops... missed the 23rd, but I'm here today!  Yeah!!!

A resource I could not teach writing without is Laura Robb's Smart Writing handbooks.  I have a boxed set of these in a paper form.  However, much of what's in the books is available here.  If you're new to teaching writing, treat yourself to the boxed set.  It is worth every single penny!

By the way, I was not paid for this!  I just love it so much!

Happy learning,

Friday, October 12, 2018

Still Here...

I have let meetings and busyness get in the way of blogging.  That is not good.  Here's to a recommitment to my Tuesday blogging.

What IS faithfully happening are my daily #ShareThePositive tweets.  You can find me on Twitter @HooferHeniusHR.  

Since I've blogged last, students have finished personal narratives.  We've written to pen pals a few times.  Yesterday we followed the Pike Road to Research to start building background information for informative essays.

Learning and growing is a process.  I'm growing in my abilities to write and reflect regularly.  

See you again on the 23rd!

Happy learning,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Authenticity Breeds Excitement

A frustration I've had for a long time with teaching writing is that my students do not write to an authentic audience.  While I am a reader, in their eyes, I am "just" a teacher who has to read their writing.  

Real-world writing almost always involves an authentic audience.  There is a small percentage of the population which writes only for their own personal enjoyment.  However, the vast majority of people only write when there is a reason and a person on the other end of the message.

I knew I needed to bring that to writing class, but I just didn't know how.

I am a part of an excellent PLC on Facebook called 2ndaryELA.  This is a massively large group of English teachers from around the world.  Over the summer, someone posted about wanting electronic pen pals.  I knew this might solve the authenticity problem I was experiencing, but I wanted a paper-and-pencil relationship.  I posted in the comments that I was looking for "old fashioned" pen pals, and I left it at that.  

Mrs. Burrow from Texas was also looking for paper-and-pencil pen pals, and a match was made!

We have written to our new friends twice, and we have received mail once.  

"Mail Call!" day was ELECTRIC in my classroom!  A student said, "I didn't know an envelope could make me so happy."  

Putting myself out there and being a bit vulnerable has made a huge difference for my students!

Happy learning,

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Comfortable Place To Be

There are many things about school which are less than comfortable.  
           The uniform. 
                   The lunch. 
                          The schedule. 

I want my classroom to be a comfortable place to be, grow, and learn.  Let's be honest - I am in my classroom more than I am in my living room.  

In my core, I am a desk in rows kinda teacher.  My son calls me a "chop chop teacher," and he's not far from wrong in some ways.  However, I know desks in rows with uncomfortable brown plastic chairs are not inviting or comfortable.

Here's a peek into the space of Room 213....

Happy learning,

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It's the Little Things....

In the last 24 hours, I've been stopped in my tracks 3 different times over something I never would have given any attention.

Three different times, someone has stopped me to say "thank you."  They have gone on to explain the reasoning for the gratitude, which I appreciated because otherwise I would not have known why the "thanks."  All three were thanking me for something I did that I did not think was anything special.  I did the acts simply because it seemed to be the right thing to do.

My take away?  Am I saying "thank you" enough to those who do the little things I appreciate?  Do I pause to share my gratitude with those who make my life a little better?

Go say "thank you" to someone today!

Happy learning,

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Win-Win!

Yesterday we kicked off our pen pal writing!  The kids were super excited to be writing to and for someone.  "A real person" as a wise-student declared.

I've been yearning for an authentic, real-world writing experience for my students.  I hope this partnership creates just that.

Mrs. Burrow and I have not created many rules around this.... we are both just learning as we go.

The letters are currently headed to Texas!  

Stay tuned for progress updates on this real-world writing experiment!

Keep learning,