Friday, November 30, 2012

CCS: Writing and technology

I'd love to be cute and start a long post with, "My name is Anita and I am FINALLY a writer;" however, I have more than a ZILLION student papers to read this weekend (and will be missing in action) and just want to share this link before I head off for Friday's festivities at school because this  link "made me think" this week.

The article talks about "blogging" as a means of making students feel and act like writers in the 21st Century.  It refers to technology as an important component of the Common Core.  Yes, yes, yes yes yes.......thanks to blogging, I FINALLY feel like a writer! 


Adaptive Assessments: Something to Think About

From Education Week....something to think about as this week ends.
Apparently, Delaware switched to computer-adaptive testing for its state assessments three years ago It made result available more quickly and students spent less time TAKING tests. 
According to this article, 
"Nationally, two coalitions have received federal funding to develop English/language arts and mathematics tests for the common standards. Both coalitions—the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC—have said their assessments will feature high-tech, interactive questions that incorporate video and graphics and are designed both to identify what students know and to be more engaging.
Both assessments will be given online, but Smarter Balanced will use adaptive testing, while PARCC will use what are known as fixed-form tests, which feature set questions that generally do not change."

So I wanted to know a bit more about adaptive assessments and how they work and this article went on to say,
" The range of proficiency among kids in a grade is huge,” says Jon Cohen, the executive vice president and director of assessment for the Washington-based American Institutes for Research, which is already delivering statewide adaptive tests in several states and has been selected by the Smarter Balanced consortium to do pilot and field testing and to create the adaptive-test algorithm.
“With a typical test, a kid who is struggling is not going to see many items they can get right, and a kid at the top is not going to see many items they’ll get wrong,” he says. “Kids on the ends get a less precise score.”.....
"Computer-adaptive assessments aren’t scored on the basis of how many right or wrong answers a student gets. A student’s score depends both on the number of items he or she got right and the difficulty of the items presented."

Some more sites to consider or at least places I explored!

AND BEFORE WE ALL JUMP ON THIS BANDWAGON....a little something from Diane R.
":My kid doesn’t like online adaptive assessments. She likes knowing there are 50 questions in 40 minutes. She hates tests that give you many more difficult questions when you answer correctly. The test seems to go on forever.
So, one time she decided to hit buttons randomly and get a bunch wrong. Then the computer spit out fewer, easier questions, and she was able to finish the test at last."


Thursday, November 29, 2012

technology and young children

Stacy @raisealithuman shared this link this morning on Twitter reminding again that I am thankful for the Twitter PLN part of my "new life"
YET, the link is to research about young children and technology - particularly screen technology.  This new debate about the role of technology is our lives and in our schools is huge and growing bigger every day.  I'm going to have to read this more closely, but then I'm going to back to write more on's probably a bigger impact on kids than we think, even today. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Never Say Never: Holiday Balloon Edition

I've never been a fan of those wanna-be-in-a-parade balloons that spring up in yards as turkeys are carved.  Bigger than life Santas, Snoopies, snowmen, and snow globes line up besides Kris Kringles and Kermits and intermingle with houselights during long December evenings.  Yet,, during the day, these giant deflated decorations lie in colorful heaps on brown lawns like spent party goers recovering from a hard day's night.

Late Saturday, however, I met an adorable reindeer who challenged my feelings about "blow ups"as I shopped in a (non-mall-type) store filled with antique pink-tinsel-trees and rarely-seen-anymore-trinkets (like the Sinclaire dinosaur). Perhaps it was the environment that dredged up memories of my youth, but this fellow was quite the crowd pleaser as he sat with a friendly smile in the shop window. He did not need to deflate until, as his box described, he went into hibernation to await the next season!  If I ever opened a "shop" and needed holiday decoration, I would skip the pink trees; however, "he" would be there!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tanished silverware and restored trains

"Let's go around the table and say what we are thankful for," he implored as we gathered.  I suspected he had already been thinking about his response; yet no one protested a public display of thanks.  I wondered silently, "How do you put in a few words so many things?"

We verbalized sincere but predictable thanks for our families and for acts of kindness.  We articulated thanks based on the storm including trees not falling on the house and trains finally being restored.   We acknowledged the paths we had traveled such as having food on the table and freedom from Black Friday stress.  I silently reflected as they laughed at the witty thanks and chided those who got mushy.

I was grateful that Aunt Lu's tarnished silverware and Grandma's threadbare napkins provided us with reminders of those who can no longer gather with us.  I thought about the fights to live longer and how those battles can change families.  I quietly gave thanks that my mom was strong enough to come for dinner.  I smiled as I wondered how long it would take before I took "heat" for skipping the mashed potatoes Uncle Jer would have expected.  I was grateful that the storms of life had left us battered and bruised but not broken.  I was filled with hope for the future as I gave thanks for the faces on the other side of the table.  I remembered God's promise of opening doors after closing windows. 

As they finished up their public displays of thanks, I suspect each person had their own prayers of thanks and hopes for the future swirling in their mind.  New faces, old smiles, laughs, tears, and quiet gratitude surrounded that old table; it was just the way it was supposed to be. 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Parent Teacher Conferences

I found this REPOST from a CNN article about Parent-teacher Conferences.  It already seems to be hidden on the CNN site (at least I have not found it yet).  BUt it's a good one - no matter what side of the dest you are on!

 5 Tips for a Better Parent-Teacher Conference

better parent teacher conferenceBy Carl Azuz at CNN, posted on October 18, 2012

(CNN) - For many parents and teachers, it’s the first opportunity of the school year to sit down face to face and discuss everything from curriculum to issues that arise in the classroom. Here are some tips from both sides of the desk on how to make the most of a parent-teacher conference.
Do your homework
Talking to your child before the conference to find out if he has any questions or concerns of his own can give you ideas of what to address with the teacher. A good next step: having a physical list of questions.
The National PTA says that the “questions you ask during the conference can help you express your hopes for the student’s success in class and for the teacher.”
It’s an idea echoed by Ryan Koczot, an award-winning middle school teacher in North Carolina. “Parents should come to the conference prepared (notepad, pen, list of questions)—just like teachers should be prepared (information on the child, progress report, questions for the parent).” This will help get everyone on the same page.
Join forces
Several teachers have told us that the best results follow when parents and teachers work together. According to Debbie Geiger of, “The goal of both the teacher and the parent should be the success of the student, but sometimes parents have a hard time discussing tough issues.”
Geiger suggests starting off by complimenting the teacher on something that he or she seems to be doing right—a piece of advice echoed by the National PTA. This can set a positive tone for the meeting and help foster cooperation later on.
If there’s a problem that has developed between your child and a particular subject or teacher, look for ways to address it together. “Be a team player,” suggests New Jersey middle school teacher Donna Spoto. “Let the teacher know that you are on his/her side.”
Open lines of communication
Divorce, remarriage, foreclosure, moving, a new baby: These are just a few of the personal issues that can affect a student’s behavior and work on campus.
A 7th grade social studies teacher in Tennessee said that one area where parents fall short is letting teachers know of problems in a student’s life outside of school. “When parents don’t tell us what’s happening, we can’t adjust accordingly.”
Spoto agrees that “stress and emotional issues definitely affect a student’s work.” By informing the teacher of possible causes, you will help the teacher better understand the child and be more equipped to appropriately instruct him.
Aim for action
Coming up with an action plan to address academic or behavioral concerns can benefit the parent, the teacher and the student long after the conference is over. The National PTA recommends establishing a series of steps that both you and the teacher agree on. A couple ideas to consider: what your short- and long-term plans are, and how you’ll measure progress.
One of the first actions you can take after the conference is going over key points and discussion topics with your child. “Depending on his age and maturity level, he may need help understanding what problems—and solutions—were covered. Most kids also want to have a clear idea of what’s expected of the teacher, the parent(s), and, most importantly, from [them],” writes Kristin Stanberry of
Keep in touch
Once an action plan is in place, try to determine how you’ll follow up with the teacher in the weeks and months ahead. Will it be through written notes, a phone call, or another conference? Koczot says that an email or phone contact at school can help the parent “check in on their child weekly or in a couple of weeks to see how they are doing.”
And it’s not a bad idea to inform your child that you’re keeping in touch with her school. “When a child knows parents and teachers are regularly working together, the child will see that education is a high priority requiring commitment and effort,” according to the National PTA.

CCS: We all need to know about it

For a while now, the words COMMON CORE STANDARDS have been sneaking into educational conversations.  "They're coming," whether or not we like it is the message I retained.  Yet, I want to know what they mean on all levels so that I can be sure I am advocating for students, teaching, and learning within the standards.  If we know what they mean, we can most effectively implement the changes in a proactive manner rather than just consuming programs and assessments because they say CCS on the package! I really have had to do a lot of research to figure out exactly what they mean for me and for the students and teachers I interact with every day. 

This article, on Edutopia, originally published earlier this month, has great links!

I suspect that ASCD will be an important place to follow the implementation of Common Core State thanks to a grant from the Gates Foundation as it has developed a Common Core resource page (11) with alot of information, and plans for ongoing meetings and study.  There is even a hash tag to follow on Twitter at #ASCDcore (13).

The Hunt Institute's YouTube channel (14) is another place to go.  . "Shaping rigorous, world-class education standards" (15) is one of the Hunt Institute's (16) most famous.

As you get ready for lesson plans and other "down to earth" planning, check out Share My Lesson (25) and Common Core State Standards information center (28).

There were a many other links suggested in this Edutopia article including:

Friday, November 23, 2012

CCS: What should students read?

"The Common Core dictates that by fourth grade, public school students devote half of their reading time in class to historical documents, scientific tracts, maps and other “informational texts” — like recipes and train schedules. Per the guidelines, 70 percent of the 12th grade curriculum will consist of nonfiction titles."
What schools really need isn’t more nonfiction but better nonfiction, especially that which provides good models for student writing. Most students could use greater familiarity with what newspaper, magazine and book editors call “narrative nonfiction”: writing that tells a factual story, sometimes even a personal one, but also makes an argument and conveys information in vivid, effective ways.
What Tom Wolfe once said about New Journalism could be applied to most student writing. It benefits from intense reporting, immersion in a subject, imaginative scene setting, dialogue and telling details.

In my opinion, students need to read quality nonfiction and fiction texts across a variety of genre including historical and narrative non fiction in order to learn how the genre works.  However, students need to be empowered to READ the genres they love in order to have to fluency, comprehension and confidence to take on any  text they are handed on a random Monday morning in the spring! 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today, I am giving thanks for the many blessings of my life.  I really do have a great family (even if they drive me batty at times.)  I have the best job(s) in the world (even if my work day is 15 hours long every day.)  I have dear friends and relatives for whom I would do and give anything (even if I see them rarely.)  My own children are finding their own unique paths in this world using their own gifts.  I have young children in my life to provide me with hope for the future and elderly people I see every day who remind me of my roots.

This year, especially, I am aware of how fragile our existence, families, homes, friends are when compared to the forces of our world. I will keep in my prayers those whose lives have been turned upside down while I hope on tightly to those I hold dear. 

This week, in preparation for this day of thanks, I spent a few days clarifying misconceptions about the roots of this holiday. 
  • Columbus did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims.  He did not come over with the Pilgrims. He never went to Massachusetts, ever.
  • The Pilgrims did not share the first Thanksgiving with Martin Luther King even though they were both seeking freedom.  The Pilgrims came for religious freedom.  Martin Luther King is remembered for his fight for freedom for all people to live and work together in our country. 
  • There were no stores around in those days and people had to make their own clothes and grow their own food.
  • They did not have belts to hold up their pants or elastic to hold up their socks, so they used strings and garters.
  • Boys wore dresses until the age of 6 or 7 and girls wore petticoats and dresses, every single day.
  • The first Thanksgiving table did not look like this!

I am grateful for this free site.  It's a great resource, even after Thanksgiving. It's a virtual field trip through time.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ed Week: Gratitude about Education

I did not expect this morning's Twitter feed to be full.  After all, it's a short week for teachers!  As they say, we have to work only HALF the week!  In truth, I'll be doing my "preobservation" lesson plan and lots of other work this "weekend" after the holiday; however, only those who live with teachers really know "the rest of the story!"
So as I head to the preThanksgiving is a link to an article my Michele Molnar that I'm THANKFUL to share.

Teaching an 'Attitude of Gratitude' about Education - K-12 Parents and the Public - Education Week

The spirit of Thanksgiving easily can be overshadowed by the frenzy of the holiday. The food frenzy. Football frenzy. Family frenzy. And who could forget the Black Friday shopping frenzy?
The "giving thanks" part might be relegated to a prayer, a toast, or a few comments between "pass the stuffing" and "where's the pumpkin pie?"
On the Eve of Thanksgiving, K-12 Parents and the Public offers a gentle reminder to model gratefulness, and appreciate the fact that our country offers a public education.
For those of us who are parents, we are our children's first teachers. As role models, how well do we demonstrate "an attitude of gratitude?" How frequently? How genuinely?
Nothing says "thank you" more, or better, than expressing it to the people we appreciate, for the actions we appreciate. Do your children know that you appreciate their teachers? Their principal? Their school counselors and custodians, the school nurse and bus drivers—any personnel who make their education possible?
By demonstrating to your children that you value the people who provide education, you are showing them that you value these people's dedication, and the work your children do at school.
Public education is a gift to all of us, whether or not we have children or are products of a public school system ourselves. Because of public education, our country's citizens are learning and growing, and experiencing a world beyond their homes.
Consider the gift of education, and what it means to you, as you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend. I will be very grateful if you do. the Public - Education Week

Monday, November 19, 2012

What is Important?

In preparation, my mother polished silver and moved furniture to assure all was ready for guests. She dried bread, ground berries, and made pies days in advance. I too have done a bit of "preparing" for Thanksgiving.

My objective: Clarify misconceptions
I put away porch cushions and thought about sunsets. 
I put away Easter plates and thought about holidays past.
 I dispersed Charlotte's great grandchildren and thought about future generations.
What will they remember me of me?  

I reflected on my family, strong, unique individuals, all.
I thought of the career I love, the joy of reading and writing,
I made a great wreath of memories from a bike ride.
Will they notice that Grandma's silver has a yellow tinge?

I made a list of pies to buy.
I gave thanks for Ruth, Stacey, and my online friends.
How did I ever get so lucky?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful for: Acts of Kindness

“The gift was not large as money goes, and my need was not great, but the spirit of the gift is beyond price and leaves me blessed and in debt.”  ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

I got a kind note from a grad student today as well as a thank you note from a parent.  Please know that those gifts are treasured and I am thankful I have the best job in the world (even if I am still rereading report cards on a Sunday night!) 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Opening Minds: It's NOT just for teachers


Peter Johnston's Opening Minds has been ON MY MIND.  It was a required text this semester; however, I am confident my students did not find it nearly as thought-provoking as I did!   Truth be told, this fall, I have thoughts of Peter sitting behind me with a notepad "critically" recording my conversations with kids! 

Perhaps the dichotomy grows from the slow pace of the book  I did wonder if Johnston took an "article" and stretched it!  It is also possible that differences grow from my own very critical view of my own professional and personal interactions! Admittedly, I usually reflect on what I could do better rather than on what went well in a lesson or even in a parent conference! 
Admittedly, I usually think about how I might have interacted more effectively with friends and family. 

I am reflecting on this book as someone whom interacts with lots of children and parents.  Even in a theoretical text, there are  "bumper sticker" quality messages for all of us who interact with people!

I’m proud of you can have the same effect as saying I’m disappointed in you.  
Our language choices have serious consequences for children's learning and who they become as individuals and as a community.  Clarify the reason for you praise by being specific and purposeful.  "I like the way you......."  Think before you talk.

Teaching is like jazz.  You are constantly improvising.
It appears to me, at this point in my life, that living well and adapting to the constant changes of life requires a good jazz set and the ability to make the best of what you have at that moment. 

What could be the answer?  
Rather than what is the answer! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Using your head and Thinking outside the box

This really neat story popped up in SLN (social learning network) this morning. It's a great story on so many levels that tie in with teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

First of all, we have to use our head to solve teaching and learning problems today.  Back in the day (long ago in the 20th Century) teachers often just "did" the curriculum or "taught" the syllabus" or "Went through" the lessons in the teachers manual.  That worked for most of the kids but certainly not all.  Today, we MUST reach and teach 100% of our students - no excuses - everybody must learn!  So, teachers have to assess, differentiate, assess, teach, reteach in creative ways, assess, engage, assess, think of different ways, assess, make it get the point.  You have to use your head to make an impact on learners and learning today.

Next, you also must think outside the box if you want to engage students and be an effective teacher.  This year, I chose to focus on helping my (often struggling readers and writers) reflect on and become more empowered as readers and writers.  Admittedly, my goal was "inspired" by my own desire to be evaluated as a "highly effective" teacher on the rubrics used for teacher evaluation; however, the goal has provided me with an opportunity (even at this point in my career) to think outside of my usual assessments and teaching and find ways to engage my students in their own learning. 

And last, but surely not least, it gets the ol' and youn' blood moving up to the brain so that we can do our best thinking (as I am reminded every morning on the #$%(&*#%%* treadmill!). It's not must reading, writing, and 'righmatic anymore.  There must be dialogue, discussion, thinking, reflecting, learning, and sports!   

Yikes!  I the analogies and connections between the worlds of "sports" and "learning" are many and strong!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

Today, we "celebrate / acknowledge / remember" the anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending World War I (November 11th, 1911).  I'm confident those who signed that agreement were hoping that it was an agreement that would end wars as a means of settling conflict.  Sadly, it was not.  So today, we "celebrate / acknowledge / remember" those who serve or who have served in the military.   We all know someone who has served or is serving today and this is a day to offer our prayers for them, and to pray for peaceful settling of conflicts between people.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Technology: Can be powerful

The other day, a teacher asked me a question about professional development and (while driving home on a snowly wintry night I was thinking) attending an "inperson" class / wokshop never came up in the conversation! 

This morning (while sniggled in my puffy bathrobe), I read Peter DeWitt's post this week is about the ongoing conversation about the role of technology in our education community.  You really should check out the whole conversation here, but several of his comments really struck really strong chords with me!

"Building Professional Learning Networks (PLN) through Twitter can be very powerful. It provides the ability to connect with people who can stretch your thinking. Yes, we have those people close to us as well but sometimes we are more open to it when it involves people that are not in our immediate lives."
That sure is true for me!  One of the best things I did last summer (other than my days at the beach) was to sign onto Twitter and start "following" some of the people I had "found" through blogging!  It has made me feel "connected" to a world that is bigger than my classroom and reminds me every day that I need to think deeply about what my students need and how I can provide for their needs in ways that will engage their 21st Century learning and thinking styles. 

"Technology is not going away. It has both positive and negative attributes, just like anything else we use. The reality is that we have kindergartners who can surf the web better than some adults and we need to learn from that. Those young students need to understand that technology is not the end all to be all and the adults need to understand it is a viable option that can engage students in different ways."

 So this is why I do this  and this  and will "attending" this and visiting this

It's thinking I need to share at the Teacher Center meeting this week! 


Friday, November 9, 2012

Teachers as Writers: Yes, Indeed

Today, I wrote a short piece about things for which I am grateful (my career choice).  I know the kids will be excited to see what I wrote, but the interest will be seconds rather than hours.  My writing, while meaningful to MY students, is not (yet) published.  Yet, there are those among us who are practicing what we preach and writing for a broader audience about timely topics. 

Beck McDowell is a teacher turned young adult author, whose This Is Not a Drill sounds absolutely scary and yet compelling at the same time! "It’s the story of two teens who must protect the first graders they tutor when a soldier, returned from Iraq and suffering from PTSD, opens fire in the classroom when not allowed to check out his son." She’s a former middle and high school AP English teacher who’s sponsored newspapers, literary magazines, Shakespeare festivals, medieval banquets, book fairs, art exhibits, and trips to museums, operas and plays."

While the topic is a bit intense for my K-3 students, I recognize the potential in her writing to spur thinking and discussion about controversial issues.  I'll be reading it. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Place At The Beach

I've long dreamed of having (retiring to) a "little place at the beach" where sand and blue skies would be the backdrop for book-filled days and peaceful guests.  In my mind, the "place" is furnished with comfy, sand colored sofas and accents reflecting the blue of the sky and the vibrant yellows of sunrise at the beach.  It's filled with unique shells, clean sheets, and comfy beach chairs.

The dream might be called foolish, specially after Megastorm Sandy wiped out homes, businesses, beach and shoreline communities.  Like those among us who have experienced unthinkable tragedies, the ocean and it's feeder rivers have been savagely beaten and horribly battered.  Homes have been lost, the beach-front has changed, miles of boardwalk have disappeared into the sea, and lives have been altered by forces of nature.

Yet, the promise of the ocean and its tributaries as sources of peace and renewal has not been shattered by the tidal swells that have swept the shores. I hope and pray that with help (, material, Red Cross, Army Corps of Engineer), our shores and the lives of those who seek livelihoods and peace there, will, slowly but strongly, be rebuilt.  The ocean is strong and resilient, I believe, like those who have "come back" after life altering events have changed the course of their lives. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting the Message: Sermons and Twitter

Yesterday's sermon focused on helping our neighbors and "using our gifts" in any way we can.  It was particularly poignant in light of the devastation from last week's storms; yet, it's a familiar refrain that permeated my classrooms back in the day when I was a Saturday morning CCD teacher!

Then this morning, Laura's heart string tugging tale of hankfulness and /Stacy's post about Cleaning out My “Basement Classroom” for a NYC School struck that familiar cord again.  I wish I could figure out how to do more I was thinking, and then I realized I was writing "Bravo for helping, Stacy."  I am sure we could pack up some boxes from my school in a heartbeat and I know how I can do more. 

The deeper message here is that we all have "gifts, talents, treasures, and stuff."  We can and should use them to help others.  It helps them, and it's good for us, too.

PS (Lots of people are getting this message, one way or the other!)


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Peer Feedback: Teachers Supporting Teachers

Sharing another piece of my PLN reading for the week.  This one is from Educational Leadership's November 2012 edition.

Terry Bramschreiber, of Colorado Springs, describes a model where twice a year, during designated Campus Crawl weeks, teachers use their planning time to visit other classrooms.  He shares that teachers offer really great feedback such as these:
"You did a really good job with modeling at the board and having the students come up in front of the class and do some problems. I think I'll try to incorporate more student work in my room as well. I also really liked your room setup with partners. I have been trying this lately, and it does work better than the group seating chart."
"Your grouping strategy seemed very intentional. Assigning the role of a Quality Controller to one student enhances that student's leadership skills. How can you encourage each group to set a goal and monitor its own progress toward that goal?"
What I like about all this is the message that everyone can be better and that they have a more open professional learning community. 

There was a school in Chicago that had IPads

It's been my PLN for a few months now! This early morning reading of my Twitter "friends" never fails to strengthen my resolve that today's teachers are a dynamic and powerful group whose creative uses of technology are strengthening teaching and learning everywhere. 
This morning, I read about how a teacher in Chicago shared the Hurricane Sandy experience through the eyes of one of her own students who happened to be in NYC at the time of last week's storm.  It's amazing to think that Twitter really is a powerful social media, but it has the potential to be far more than a way to keep track of the Kardashians!

noted in her reflection, "For the first time, students saw Twitter as a place to ask questions, conduct research and gather new information. Previously we had only used it to tell others about our learning. Now, students see Twitter as a tool for learning. I spend a lot of time in first grade teaching my students where they can go to find answers to their questions; now they can add school-supervised Twitter to their list of resources."

A student in the class certainly used Twitter as a tool for personally meaningful and "real purposeful" writing!

I believe the CCS refer to all this as using primary resources for reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's Digital Writing Month

I must admit, I miss lots of holidays (I never quite got cards out for Grandparent's Day?) and lots of special months slip by me (Did you know that November is a month of daily Thanksgiving?)
I am going to TRY to do some posts about aspects of my professional life for which I am grateful this month; however, Kevin, my virtual, technology mentor says, this morning, "It's Digital Writing Month," so I figure this one is worth at least sharing.  Check it out!

Home of DigiWriMo

How Does One DigiWriMo?

  1. First of all, if you haven’t registered, do that right away by filling out the form below.
  2. There are no discussion forums anywhere! Because digital writing takes place everywhere on the web, so will our discussions. Plan to join our Twitter chats using #digiwrimo, head over to our Facebook page, and post plenty of comments on any and all DigiWriMo-related blog posts (here and everywhere). Virality is the best form of dialogue!
  3. Not all digital writing has to be public. But, if you want to share your work with others, do so by posting it on our Facebook page, on Twitter using #digiwrimo, or tag your blog posts with “digiwrimo”. That way, you’ll have all the audience you deserve for your grueling hours of digital brilliance. We’ll be curating content created on the web via the #digiwrimo topic.
  4. Check the calendar! All the Digital Writing Month events (including not-to-be-missed guest blog posts) are posted there. We’ll have weekly discussions and writing exercises all month long.
    And be double sure to check out the Night of Writing Digitally!
  5. There are no secrets to doing DigiWriMo, no right way and no wrong way to do it. Some people may write a novel using their computer and call it a day; while others may write hundreds of Twitter haiku. The key to success is your imagination and your love of experimentation, exploration, and fun.
But first, register…

Thanks for the Memories

Today, I am thankful for my Uncle, a  generous and spirited soul who loved good food, wine and his family.  While his 90+ years were a good long run, he will be missed, that is for sure.  Thoughts of  my cousins, and him, flood my mind this day as I reflect on his legacy.  The French berets, the hand carved chests, trinkets from travels, will be part of his tangible legacy.  His loving reminder that we could always move to the beautiful West Coast (in spite of the risk it would sink into the sea) and his references to the ubiquitous, Herman, (a coping device so as to not worry about remembering names) will help us to remember his spirit. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Word: Hurrication (that's when a hurricaine causes a sort of vacation)


  1. A storm with a violent wind, in particular a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean.
  2. A wind of force 12 on the Beaufort scale (equal to or exceeding 64 knots or 74 mph).


  1. A storm caused time of vacating your normal premises and staying in a hotel or with people who have heat and of electricity and water.
  2. A time when some people take an unplanned vacation because their work is closed / flooded / without power and others work in different locations where there is Internet service.
  3. A somewhat stressful time for all involved can lead to stresses of force 12 (on a scale of 10)
  4. A time to move beds to the first floor of the house to make sleeping handicapped accessible for all guests.
  5. A time for sharing meals and stories,
  6. An opportunity to step out of our busy and consuming day to day lives and spend hours putting glitter on book fairy wings.
  7. Where daycare meets eldercare and soap operas are replaced by Violet the Piolet and Strega Nona stories.
  8. An opportunity for diverse generations to bond over frozen pizza, cutting out pictures and spreading glitter.

I vaguely remember reading an article about inter generation day care long ago. While theoretical, it stayed  with me. They talked of the value of stimulation and interaction. It was a very special storm vacation day for me today as I watched that happen to two families who would not likely have interacted today without Sandy, the hurricaine. I will put today down as one of the most memorable. This hurrication has had it's moments of glory along with it's hours of stress.  I am providing daycare, nightcare , and I know I will treasure the memories.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

little voices in your head

The other day, he told me he heard MY voice in his head and it impacted the series of events that ensued in a positive way.  Truth be told, I was not (am not) a perfect mother (wife, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, or friend).  I often regret or second guess decisions I make.  I often regret or second guess words I say.  I wonder if I could or should do more to help those around me.  I wonder, if in my drive fpr them to be strong and independent, if I pushed them away? When my kids were young, I restricted their activities and did not provide the latest sneakers.  I did not always arrived to pick them up from events on time.  I forget to send birthday cards and I miss many events. I do not socialize nor participate in as many events as my peers. I am far from perfect.  Yet, I am grateful that my voice, my thoughts and values, while imperfect, just might be my legacy.