Category: Reading

Let’s take a StoryWalk

Teachers, if you do not know about StoryWalks, please take a look at the following article! I love it! As a 5th grade teacher, we did many different things to engage readers, but this is the best idea ever!

I can see how you can utilize this as a fun family night activity! So many things you can do. The author of the attached article “walks” you through creating, selecting, and organizing a StoryWalk. I can see the creation of mystery walks during fall. We can make a fun StoryWalk about our school, community, or state. How about science? A StoryWalk through a human cell?

I have worked with some very creative teachers and administrators who could, I know, do amazing things with StoryWalks. If you do one, please, please share with me. I would love it! Happy to share with others and brag on you! This seems so incredible to me.

I am looking forward to seeing your StoryWalks! If I can help you with ideas, send me an email at

Word walls-new words,language

We have power in our words! Language is beautiful, meaningful, and complete. Teaching vocabulary, in my professional opinion, is essential. My journey through life provided me with love for words as they make their way to blank pages revealing stories of truth, history, love, and worlds unknown.

“Today, we will be reading nursery rhymes by Mother Goose,” said the teacher. All of the children were excited as they called out names of poems. As I looked around at all of them, I wondered if they could see me.

“I know you are all excited. I am sure your parents read you these at home, maybe at bedtime.”

I looked around as kids shouted out yes. I realized I was maybe the only one that did not know Mother Goose. I was feeling nervous. My parents don’t read to me.

As a young child, I found myself unsure about reading, language, and school in general. My parents were older, and they had moved her from their home in Kentucky. They were from large farming families and did not receive formal education.

Teaching vocabulary and helping students increase their knowledge of words is a deep dive. We are going to dip our toes in first to get started. Giving students a vocabulary list with definitions to write is not the way.

The first step to helping children with vocabulary is to use it! Talk it, explain it, provide examples and keep adding to it. We do not talk enough with children. The keyword with! The next step is to see things from students’ perspectives. How do students see the words?

  • I have never seen this word before
  • I heard this word before but did not know what it means
  • If I see it in text, the content helps me understand it

Reading, reading, and more reading will help increase vocabulary. As we look at ways to continue to support growth, vocabulary is necessary for academic success.

Read to your children, no matter what age. Let children read to you! Challenge yourself to learn a new word each week. So fun to enjoy the beautiful words to create masterpieces large and small. Our children need these experiences.

Understanding language and being able to communicate effectively provides the tools needed in being the solution daily.

Compliance Mode, On or off?

If you are a Superintendent, Business Director, Human Resource Director, work in grants, or any area using data, complying is a crucial issue when officials come to check on your records. Is it enough to be compliant to have materials in order, student records in order, lesson plans ready, when is being compliant just not enough?

One of the Superintendents I worked for looked forward to our yearly opening meeting when the Regional Superintendent could proudly announce our district was compliant in all areas. He never wanted to have anything out of place; he had high standards for us to live up to each day. We would not be on a list showing we did not complete something.

In a previous blog, I mentioned a poem called “Pretty Good,” which reminds us that it is not always good to be okay. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a recipe for failure. Your school will get results only when you and your staff shift your collective mindset from “those poor kids” to “our gifted kids.” Stop thinking remediation and start thinking enrichment.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind p.g. 94.

We think about what our staff, families, and students have all went through during this global pandemic with variations in instruction delivery to students. These times have created what many are reporting as large gaps in learning and development for students. Many are worried about how to approach learning loss.

The approach always in education should be when our students have less, we provide more in whatever we do. In these terms, we look at all areas, including food, curriculum, activities, and all areas of need. When we keep our vision and mission statements at the center of our focus, we work to accomplish them.

Time is an element we can not get back or waste. Our students cannot afford to take a remediation approach. I understand there are foundational skills needed to master areas. It is essential to meet children where they are but let’s not start them where they are not. Enhancing the environment for all establishes high standards but not unattainable.

I want to ask you not to measure only the test scores you get as a success. Please include other areas to celebrate that will help impact each other. Examples are Attendance, Discipline, Teacher-Student interactions, Peer-Peer interactions, Volunteer projects, and others.

As we finish our SHARE school approach for Teaching with Poverty in Mind, we end with Enrichment Mindset. Establishing this for staff and students is the best approach to take. Various ways help support this mindset. Let me provide a few examples of a few things my team did to support enrichment.

Held an all-school reading day. Each student received a copy of the book that they could take home to add to their home library.

We completed 12 days of giving as a countdown to Christmas. Students met acts of kindness each day as we worked together. (Cards for Veterans, Kindness tags for grocery bags, Positive Placemats for Nursing homes, Bookmarks with compassion for libraries, and so much more)

College and Career days when staff shared their college information, relatives came in to talk about their careers (plumbers, construction, nursing, hairdresser, landscaping, many others)

They were encouraging staff to think outside the box to try different approaches like Flipped classrooms, changing grade levels, making classrooms operating rooms to teach “Order of Operations” as students dressed in scrubs, Having students create their classroom as a giant cell to give tours, Engaging students in hands-on projects and designs and much more.

After school programs, chess, music, drama, and many other activities. The staff and community help to keep enrichment alive in our school. We outperformed the other middle school with the drive we had to maintain this mindset. School Enrichment Mindset (SEM) sets the expectations, climate, and culture for success. Children need all of us to be at the top of our performance to help them reach theirs,


Begin to look at how your school will approach learning.

What programs do you have or can add to support enrichment? Do not lower expectations in programs or remove them. Change practices, instruction, and curriculum to meet the needs of all.

Review SHARE and begin your plan.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily!


Happy Birthday 🎉

March 2, 1904

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known under his pseudonym “Dr. Seuss,” was probably the best-loved and the best-selling children’s book writer of all time! My childhood, my daughters and my grandchildren, have enjoyed these beautiful books! As an educator I passed on my love for the gift of reading with Dr. Suess books and now my daughter does the same in her classroom! A celebration of his birthday on March 2nd each year kicks off a week-long Read Across America!

But wait ⛔ In the division of this nation, anger-filled individuals and everyone eager to find a reason to “cancel.” We find ourselves scratching our heads wondering what is going on.

The link below is one article regarding why Dr. Suess is cancelled in some US schools

Oh how I worry about the things they will do

What will my grandchildren, and those after go

To learn, appreciate, laugh, create, imagine and grow

Oh my oh my, do people who cancel really know

This type of thing is not the way, but maybe so…

Soon we will have no one left to say, No!

March 2 is National Read Across America Day, established by National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading. The day occurs each year on the birthday of beloved children’s book author Dr. Swiss. A perfect way to celebrate is to read one his famous tales, like One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, fix green eggs and ham for breakfast or take a virtual trip through the places you will go!

March into reading! It takes you anywhere you want to go! You learn about others, differences, cultures, animals, space, science, math and so much! Appreciate all, understand differences and grow! Enjoy Read Across America!

National Read Across America Day – March 2