A Lesson on Perseverance

“Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see and learn. Children may not obey, but children will listen. Children will look to you for which way to turn. To learn what to be. Careful before you say, ‘Listen to me’. Children will listen.” ~Steven Sondheim

Before her eleventh birthday, my daughter became obsessed with narwhals. Now, I have no idea why, but you could suddenly find them all over the place. As a recent discoverer of Pinterest, she found a narwhal cake that she just had to have for her birthday. Since I fancy myself a baker, we watched the video complete with step-by-step instructions on how to apply the fondant and decorate this cake. It looked do-able, so off we went to the craft store to buy the various colors of fondant (one thing I was not doing was coloring my own fondant and craft stores make it extremely easy to buy fondant in every color!).

We took our bag of fondant home, baked up a chocolate cake, let it cool, then set our sights on the fondant. Needless to say, the fondant wasn’t as easy to work with as the video portrayed. We rolled it out, kneaded it again, rolled it again, kneaded, repeat, repeat. No matter how we stretched, it just looked horrible! Instead of a smooth narwhal body, it was lumpy and obviously patched up.

Narwhal fail

There was no way I could serve this thing. The decorations wouldn’t cover all the patches. The worse part was it looked as if it was sliding off! You see, there’s a thin layer of frosting between the cake and the fondant, or there is supposed to be. My frosting layer wasn’t even, which was part of the problem, as we found out. The picture doesn’t do it justice—it was truly horrendous! I threw in the towel. Told my daughter there was just no way this narwhal cake was going to work. She would have to do with a regular cake, normally decorated. Besides, we ran out of fondant, it was late, and the fondant-carrying craft store was two towns over.

I could tell she was disappointed, but at that point, I was so frustrated and at my Witt’s-end, I didn’t care. Until I stopped and thought about it for a moment. What lesson am I teaching my daughter: When things get tough, it’s okay to quit? After telling her all school year long to persevere through the hard, I’m showing her it’s okay to quit.

The verses of Sondheim’s song went through my head. I knew that my daughter was watching and learning from my actions. I didn’t want her to learn the quitting lesson from me. So, I took off my apron, drove back to the craft store to get plenty of fondant—I wasn’t going to run out of fondant this time! When we arrived back home, we reflected on what went wrong the first time. We devised a plan together, to make sure we learned from our mistakes to make our next attempt a success.

We slowed ourselves down, perfecting each step and diligently followed the plan; we thought about what happened to make it fail the first time and ensured we problem-solved to fix it this time. Our finished product turned out much better. I’m not sure it was Pinterest-worthy, but we were both proud of our efforts and think it turned out quite cute, even if we were up until midnight the night before the party! I put the finishing touches on it the next morning. As it happens, the more you work with fondant, the easier it becomes.


The narwhal cake fiasco turned into a wonderful lesson for both my daughter and me. As we encountered tough situations throughout the year, we referred back to the narwhal cake—it became a code word for us, spurring us on to continue challenging ourselves. If we could conquer fondant, we could use the same strategies to conquer other obstacles in our way. It became a story I brought into the classroom, as well. I saw how it became a valuable lesson for my daughter and thought it could be beneficial to my students, as well. In fact, I brought in more stories of how I tried the first time, it didn’t work, so kept trying until it did. With my own stories of perseverance and celebrating students’ examples, perseverance became part of our classroom culture.

In addition to my own stories, there are some great resources to help scaffold perseverance lessons. First, there’s Angela Duckworth’s book on Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The new psychology of success which I think ignited the emphasis on the act of teaching perseverance, or growth mindset. These books are geared for adults. I recommend A Mindset for Learning by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz which helps to break it down for the classroom teacher. There are also some wonderful children’s books that have come out. I’ve read both Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, PhD and Sarah Ackerly and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein to my class to set up an ongoing discussion of perseverance and growth mindset. The site Class Dojo has some excellent short videos extolling the virtues of “The Power of Yet” and “Grow Your Brain” ideas which helps to break it down for elementary students using language that is easily incorporated for primary students. However, I don’t think anything supports these ideas better than your personal stories and highlighting examples of perseverance in your classroom starring your own students. Celebrating these acts will help create a classroom of students who won’t stop just because it’s hard and challenging. I hope you will find your own narwhal cake stories to share with your students and know that children are always listening and watching our actions!


Reflections on ISTE 2017

Late June in San Antonio is hot and humid, but the Riverwalk delightfully teamed with teachers during the days of ISTE (aka: International Society for Technology in Education). The Expo Hall overwhelmed like a state fair on steroids. Recognizable names like Microsoft, Google, Adobe flashed at visitors enticing them into their booths with the latest technology. Hand-outs and give-aways ran amok with the small price of a badge-scan. This was the scene of ISTE 2017.

San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio’s beautiful Riverwalk


As impressive as the EXPO hall and views from the hotel were, the learning and magic happened in the playgrounds, posters, and sessions. I know I only saw a fraction of what was offered, but a few things stood out to me or, perhaps, it was where I was drawn. One, students as young as Kindergarteners are actively using technology in their schools. Two, integrating technology takes intentionality, mindfulness, and careful planning.  And, three, the simple appreciation to be surrounded by dedicated, passionate educators from around the world with the lofty goal to improve schools on all levels!

But first, QR Codes! One of the first things I needed to do was re-install my QR app. Walking around ISTE, I scanned new QR codes left and right cultivating new information and ideas constantly. I think it will take me months to review all the information I scanned and left me wondering how I can incorporate QR Codes in my own teaching: Bulletin boards, parent communication, oh, my!

ISTE floor
A small glimpse of the ISTE 2017 Expo Hall


As our school is incorporating more technology, I hear concerns from primary parents are issues surrounding “screen time.” Since this is such a prevalent issue for me, I was surprised that in none of the sessions I attended this wasn’t even addressed! Instead, many classrooms were 1:1 (which I quickly learned meant every child had devices, not that every child had one-to-one instruction). With programs like SeeSaw and NearPod, students were posting their learning online throughout the day. Parents could see visually what their child was learning and how they were mastering skills. Rather than worksheets coming home or an email from the teacher, parents could log-on, hear their children speaking about field trips, “ah-ha” moments, recordings of reading, and evidence of mastery of skills any time of day. One of my favorite sessions was presented by Canadian teacher, Vickie Morgado (follow her blog) who initiated a “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) starting as young as second grade. Using programs such as SKYPE and NearPod, which can work on any platform, to take virtual field trips and create interactive lessons. Using these technology resources, teachers can enhance school experiences making it more meaningful to students, and their parents, at even the youngest ages. Rather than the worry of “too much screen time,” Morgado addresses the issue of distraction. To her, technology is a tool that both needs to be taught and one, if her lessons are engaging enough, students won’t be tempted to use for distraction.

I also loved hearing how other schools transitioned to incorporating more technology. In one of my favorite sessions, Will Richardson of Modern Learners proposed that technology shouldn’t “be the digital worksheet” of today; instead, technology should “amplify our learning” and we need to think bigger to make learning more productive. In this, Richardson was creating a global school overview what I witnessed the day prior at Morgado’s classroom session. As educators, we should ask ourselves how what we’re teaching serve our students today and tomorrow? My fifth grader memorized state capitals this past year; is this a skill that will serve her in her future when at a touch of a button she can find Topeka is the capital of Kansas? Richardson proposed that educators need to constantly be asking themselves this very question and adjust their teaching accordingly.

So, what are my take-aways from ISTE 2017? Simply, there are many technology tools to quickly enhance student learning and integrate with many programs already in place, as well as make the jobs of teachers easier. However, the real magic comes when schools can use technological advances to truly transform our teaching and schools to go beyond a “digital worksheet.” We need to gather with like-minded educators, create missions, and spread the word. In that, I was encouraged to continue with my blog. What are the ways have you transformed your teaching with technology? What are you next steps?

5-Step Reading Conferences: Maximizing Student Growth

I mentioned in a previous blog post that individual reading conferences are the bedrock of my literacy program. Knowing our students is the best way to be an effective teacher. If we know how our students learn, what their strengths are, where they need to grow, what they love, what they hate, we can tailor our instruction to more individually support our students and their growth. In order to accomplish this, we need quality assessments and ongoing teacher scaffolding through individual conferences.

In today’s changing education policies, one constant is differentiation. There seems to be a direct correlation: The more differentiated our instruction becomes the greater student growth results. As technology companies race to find solutions to more adaptive and personalized learning, the tried-and-true reading conference remains a steady rock to set all our other reading instruction upon.


“I can’t fit one more thing into my literacy block.”

I hear you—our time is limited. However, if I told you this is one of the best ways I found to increase my students’ reading progress, wouldn’t you at least want to try it?

The best times I found to confer with students is at either the beginning of their guided reading group or meeting with individual students during independent reading. I try to keep conferences to 5 minutes. Between these two times, I conference with every child at least once a week. To keep track, I often put my student notebooks in a small bin I keep next to me. Once I have conferenced with a student, I put their notebook at the back. I try to make sure I cycle through the students in the front of my bin first. If there is a student I want to make sure to conference with sooner, perhaps they need more support in one area or need some encouragement while trying a new skill, I simply put their journal at the front of my bin so I make sure I see them again. When I started, I traded some of my small group time for individual conferences. This allowed me the flexibility to try, fail, readjust until I found a system that worked for me. Often, you can individually conference with each child in your group in the same time as it would take to meet with the whole group. When you become more confident, you can add those small groups back in to your practice.

Where to Start

The first step to fully knowing our students as readers is to have a quality assessment through running records. There are many programs available. I currently prefer the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, though the DRA and even the QRI and Reading A-Z can assist you here, as well.  The true power of the assessment comes in analyzing the results. I gave my students the QRI the first year I was teaching, per district mandate, and dutifully recorded the scores. “Okay,” I thought, “Now what?”

I was missing the point of giving them a running record (those poor students! I hope they survived despite me!). There’s two parts to the magic of a running record. One, is sitting down next to your students and hearing them read. I keep track of miscues, repeated readings, and other typical running record notations so I can go back and remember how the learner read for my later analysis (notations are also useful to share the assessment with other professionals). In addition to these markings, I am also making notes to myself. What strategies are they using? Are they using picture clues? Are they tracking with their finger? What do they do when they come to an unknown word? These are just a few questions I may ask myself as a student reads.

While I am still with the student, I want to gauge their comprehension. Usually I start with “Tell me about what you just read” to see if there’s basic recall. Does the student recall the characters’ names, setting, problem solution? Is the retelling in sequence? Can she identify the big idea and some supporting details? How much support does the learner need to give a complete retelling? Then, I move into more of a conversation about the book, targeting questions that students might find within the text, may need to synthesize to draw conclusions, make connections and inferences, and finally more about the author’s craft. Fountas & Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment System does a wonderful job of encouraging authentic conversations in their assessments. I’ve learned a lot by using their system and watching the many online videos.

After the session is over (and this can be done at any time if you’ve made good notes), is the time to analyze the text and plan for the next instructional steps. This is where you may do the miscue analysis. Are his errors visual, syntax, or meaning oriented? Knowing this can help you sit alongside students or form groups and support their reading. Which words are they making errors on? Perhaps they don’t have enough of a sight word vocabulary to support their reading or strategies to decode unknown words. These are just a few ideas out of a long list.

If you need suggestions of what to look for in reading, look to your grade levels’ scope and sequence, standards such as the Common Core, or continuums like the one Foutnas & Pinnell published last year. I always like to know the grade levels surrounding my students so I have a clear vision of what skills students should have mastered from the previous year and where they are going for the following year. This allows me to fill in any gaps and to support those advanced learners.

So why did I spend so much time talking about running record assessment on my post about reading conferences? Each of my reading conferences starts with a mini running record. The more comfortable you feel completing and analyzing a running record, the smoother and more streamlined your conferences will become. Plus, having a good foundation of where each student is beginning will help you develop a starting point and further plan.

The 5-Step Conference

Conferring can be broken into five steps. I first modeled my conferences after a page I found in Regie Routman’s Invitations: Changing Teachers and Learners. Depending on the individual need of the student, I may adjust as necessary, but generally, I follow a similar arc for each student.

  1. To start, I always begin our conference by checking in with the progress my student is making independently. This includes looking at the books in his book box and what evidence does he have that he has been working on the goal we created together at our last meeting. I want to make sure, depending on the level of the reader and his independent goals, he has books in his book box to meet that goal. If he is reading a chapter book, I start by asking him what is happening so far in the story. I want to make sure there is good comprehension established (this can become a teaching point). If your class completes a reading response journal, I may also include teaching points to help the student dive deeper.
  2. Next, I complete a running record on the book she’s reading (this could be a “just-right” book, rereading the guided reading book from before, or perhaps even a poem). As she is reading, I’m taking notations in my conferring notebook (pictured above). I take special note of how they’re reading, what kind of errors they’re making and how they’re attacking unknown words. Are they using the strategies we have practiced?
  3. After the reading, I do a comprehension piece. Sometimes this is as simple as a “Tell me about what you just read?” for a retell. Other times, I’m checking in with how she’s incorporating our skills we’re targeting in class. This could be a story map, sequencing, compare/contrast to higher level thinking skills such as inferring and synthesizing information. Often, I will circle back to the lesson goals the class or small-groups may have learned to see how the student is incorporating these new skills or areas the student missed on their assessment.
  4. Then, we have a conversation about the strengths and growth opportunities I see in the student. I really want to find pieces of his reading or work we can celebrate. The conversation then turns to goals. I always think, “What is the next step this student needs to become a better reader?” and guide our conversation there.
  5. Finally, we make a goal. After our conversation about growth, I give the student a couple choices of a goal for them to work on. Perhaps she needs continued work on the current goal, slightly revise it or she is ready to graduate to a new one. I find it is important she embrace the goal so I know she will work on it for the week. Once we’ve agreed on a goal, I write it on a bookmark or sticky note as a reminder for her throughout the week.

A quick note about my conferring notebooks: I keep all my notes in individual notebooks for each student. I admit this is very “old school.” I am looking for a program that meets my needs that I can disseminate the information more quickly to other people who are working with the same student. A few of our students have at least three professionals working with them (classroom teacher, reading intervention, and special education/therapist). It is important to me that we are all supporting students in the same way so I send out weekly emails and try to touch-base as much as possible. As you can imagine, this is very time-consuming. As technology systems evolve, my hope is to move to writing on my Surface, or other device, and using apps, such as Confer, or LMS programs, such as Schoology, to have a more fluid interaction of information. In the meantime, I will keep my conferring notebooks as they’re a great record of student growth, goals, and can be easily grabbed to take to meetings for evidence of progress.

In conclusion, the day I decided to incorporate reading conferences into my literacy block is the day I become a better literacy teacher. By the nature of the conference, you know your students as learners. You can speak to every aspect of their growth as a reader. From these snippets, you gain knowledge that can drive your whole and small-group planning to take instruction to the next level. You get all the benefits of a hefty running record assessment in the fraction of the time.

If you don’t already incorporate reading conferences into your literacy block, I encourage you to try them for a week or two. Know, that they may be longer than mine before you find your rhythm. As you know your students more, the conferences will become more streamlined and focused. Let me know how it goes! For those of you who already incorporate conferences, how are yours different than mine? What tricks do you have to serve students?

Intervention Groups, Easy as 1-2-3…4

For the past years, one component of my job has been serving as a reading interventionist. I’d like to say these reading intervention groups are as easy a 1-2-3, but they’re not. There are a lot of components that go into a successful intervention beyond just identifying who to serve and when to serve them. Though those are valiant questions to be answered, I found my struggle was now that I have my list of students to serve, how do I make every minute of our group count in the “race” to get these students to standard? Through trial and error, I finally landed on a 4-step model that works as well with my youngest students as my older learners.

I break up my intervention time, which is about 30-minutes per group, into 4-chunks that mimics a short literacy block. First, I check-in with students’ independent reading. Next, we move on to word work or vocabulary. Then, we work on our target skill using small books, poetry or articles. Last, we have our exit activity which could include a written response or verbal reflection.



1-Reading Conferences

Throughout my reading and research, I kept coming back to the fact that the first battle of the reading war is getting kids to read. I knew that if I could find a way to increase the time my students spent actually engaged in reading, then their overall reading skills will improve. This is why I dedicate almost the first 10-minutes of group time to independent reading with conferences.

I made these mats (pictured above) for my younger readers to guide their reading. I find my primary students have trouble with stamina and the act of actual reading. My students have books from their classrooms, as well as from me, they keep in a book box that goes with them. As we start our group, they choose books to read and stack them in the “1” pile. After they read the books and finish the books, in the “2” phase, they then stack them in the “3” pile. If I’m still reading with other students in the group and they’ve gone through their whole pile of books, they then start going back through the “3” pile and move them back towards the “1”. They get a bonus “high-5” from me if they can make it through all their books twice. I know if they go faster than twice through the books, then we need to take another look at the books they’re reading to ensure they are just right for them. Kindergartners and first graders generally have more books than second and third graders. Upper grades are generally reading longer books and don’t need the mats to help guide them. I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but I came across it a while ago either on another teacher blog or Pinterest post. As teachers we gather ideas where we can find inspiration. I filed it away and found success with it months later. It creates structure for this initial group time so I can spend my time individually conferencing with others in the group.

While students are reading their books independently, I can select a student to conference with. I found that quality ongoing conferencing with students can make a dramatic shift in their reading. Knowing my students, I can pair them with books that will increase their excitement. I can also check-in with them to see how they’re using the strategies we practice in group. We make reading goals for together. From these conferences, I gain valuable insight for what our next steps should be. I can monitor progress and reteach, if necessary. I share conferring notes with all the teachers who work with the students in reading (including classroom, other specialists, and therapists) so we can all support the student on their goals. This consistency throughout our campus benefits students by making them more accountable in their reading learning.

2-Word Work

Based on student assessments and classroom work, I determine what word work skills students need to support their next steps. For some groups, I work supporting skills they haven’t mastered. Other groups, I’m support current classroom skills, coming alongside the students so they can find success in their classrooms. It is dependent on the goals of the individual child and the group as a whole, how I structure word work support.

Students who are working on phonemic awareness skills usually need targeted teaching. I often use poems for these. Many kids can automatically absorb and internalize these phonemic awareness and phonics skills. However, most students who need intervention, need a more explicit teaching of these skills. Teaching how these sounds can transfer to other words and to the written word is vital for student success. Highlighting rhymes and rhythm in text while still having the important enjoyment of reading can be one strategy. Other times, we build our phonics skills through programs like Making Words from Patricia Cunningham. I love magnetic letters as we build words, sort sounds, then transfer them to our writing, which I find one of the most important indicators of students fully understanding concepts.

Students who have mastered phonics and phonemic awareness basics can then graduate to secondary skills such as strategies to decode words, like chunking and how to divide into syllables. This is slightly more advanced work. Moving further, time can be spent here on grammar skills and other standards students need to find success. For my older learners, we spend time developing vocabulary strategies across curriculum.

I think it’s important to note that whatever form word work takes, I never give my students worksheets to support these skills. Our learning about words involves hands-on manipulating letters and phonemes, whiteboards, and deep conversations. We draw, we act, we build instead.

3-Group Work

Using assessments to find students’ instructional level, I then use this information to drive my group work instruction. This part of the intervention usually revolves around selected small books that can be read within a couple sessions. Depending on our specific goals, I also use poetry and articles here. Some good resources if your school doesn’t already have leveled books is the website ReadingA-Z for leveled books and Newsela for  leveled articles. I particularly like using Newsela for my older learners because we can tie in current events and other informational text genres.

For this section of learning, I select specific goals and strategies to teach. In this, I need to ensure the selected material supports this learning. I can also tie this learning back to their individual goals from their reading conference. To find goals, I can draw from a variety of sources. The obvious is the scope and sequence of the particular grade level as well as the standards you are working towards. I also like the Continuum from Fountas and Pinnell. I think if you have a good perception of where students need to be at each grade level, you have a better idea of the trajectory of the learner and where the next steps should take you.

I mentioned Fountas and Pinnell’s work which is a good place to start to streamlining your lessons. They have a revised edition of Guided Reading that just came out last year. I always go back to the question of how can I scaffold my students so they can reach the next level. My other “go-to” resources include Jennifer Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book and Jan Richardson’s The Next Step in Guided Reading. All three of these authors have additional books that are equally useful and helps answer  what strategies readers need at each level of intervention.

I must caution not to try to do too much during this time. Streamline your teaching so you teach the strategy well. Too often I get caught up in all the things my readers need in order to meet grade level standard. I continually remind myself with the mantra “next steps.” What this means to me is “what are the immediate steps this reader needs at this current instructional level to graduate to the next level?” The last thing I want is to overwhelm my students; our teaching should be meaningful and deep, not just skim across the top. More is not necessarily better here.


We conclude our daily groups with some kind of response. I truly believe in the reciprocity  properties of reading and writing. The better reader you are, the better writer you will be and vice versa. I want my students to write as I want them to read. In order to accomplish this, you must create time for it to happen and foster its growth.

Each of my students have a writing notebook. They use this notebook to respond to their reading. Sometimes it may be sticky notes that illustrates their thinking within the book and can be easily transferred to their writer’s notebook as evidence of their thinking. Other times it may be a graphic organizer to help organize their thinking for a greater response. For younger students or those who find writing difficult, we often use a verbal reflection response or picture response. These students will get their foundational writing practice in the word work section of our group, in addition to other classroom practice.

I think it’s important for students to reflect on their learning. This draws on being able to know what they did well and where they need support to grow. This time also supports accountability for their learning. My students know that they are expected to respond thoughtfully to our text. Having time to write and think about a response helps especially those children who need more think time before responding. Further, it gives student practice to communicate their thinking with me there to scaffold it for them. The added benefit is they are more ready to transfer these skills to their classroom work.


In conclusion, I’ve found success in breaking my groups into 4 instructional sections. The individual conferences, which I feel are the most important, I put at the beginning of our time together. This ensures that I make time each session for what I feel is the most important. The next part of group I use for teaching the skills and strategies students will need to be successful readers and increase their ability. These combined are the meat of the group. Last, we end with wrapping it up together. Bringing what I’ve learned from individual conferences, along with my teaching points to make goals as students go back to their classroom learning.

You will note in everything I do, I go back to student data. My observations from assessments, student work and our conferences drive my instruction. In this, I need a very clear understanding of what students are doing while they’re reading to scaffold their learning for growth.

We are always growing and working in groups. I ask my students what they’re doing well at and where they want to improve. This puts the “owness” of learning in the students’ hands. They are required to be active participants. Intervention groups aren’t easy. Each minute needs to be planned and utilized to get the most out of groups. So, even though groups are challenging, we can make them easier in 1, 2, 3…4! Happy Reading!



Ode to Regie

regie-quoteI was handed my first Regie Routman book, Invitations, during my Master’s program by my literacy professor, Chris Kline. She thought I might enjoy it as I was doing research for my thesis. This book still sits on a shelf behind my desk with all of my original sticky notes and highlights. I often look at it and remember that young, energetic teacher and think about how much more I know now. I’ve been a huge fan and voraciously devoured every new Regie Routman book which has joined that now tattered copy of Invitations on my bookshelf. Over the years, Regie Routman has become Regie to me.

I remember going to one of Regie’s conferences where she pulled out letters she wrote to companies that she used to model for her students her life as a writer. Today, she posts blogs about what she’s read recently and I always come away with a couple new titles to add to my own “wish to read” bookshelf. I think her desire to show our students glimpses of ourselves as readers and writers is something I’ve always taken to heart as a teacher. As I try to model my own literate life to my students, I always think back to that letter she wrote to Starbucks she modeled for us and have her voice in my head.

I bring in stacks of my own books and talk about my thought process in choosing books. Sometimes it’s because of an author I enjoy, a friend recommended it to me, or the cover and description piqued my interest. I also talk about different reasons and different genres I read. From the simple grocery lists I gathered from my favorite recipes to professional literature and articles which challenge my thinking as a teacher and a person. I may even read excerpts, in addition to read alouds, to model my thinking In recognition of that, I have a “Books I’ve Read” link on this blog. I can attribute my desire for my students, and especially my own children, to see me as a model of reading and reading thinking directly to Regie.

Cultivating a culture of readers and writers is always on of my first goals of the year. One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing. Although I’ll share with students items I’ve prewritten, much like Regie did with her letter, I always make sure I write in front of my students. I want them to see my successes and failures, which I find is a great way to review grammar and spelling work, what I think about as I write and how I go about editing my own work.

So now, as I am starting to ponder my own “what’s next?” in my career, it seemed natural to loop back to my initial educational inspiration. I bravely wrote a letter to my idol Regie. She wrote back the next morning (wow!). In addition to the above quote I pulled from her letter, she suggested a blog. Immediately, all these negative thoughts went through my head.

“I don’t have time for that.”

“I have no idea how to make a blog.”

“No one cares what I think.”

“I don’t know enough.”

And then, finally, “Why not?”

So this blog was born. All the doubts continue to swirl in my head as I write and post. This blog is a work in progress yet I have hope in the coming posts, I may inspire others as I’ve been inspired by Regie along with the many other educators and professionals I’ve encountered on my professional and personal journey. Thank you, Regie!