DigiLit Sunday

Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge, I have a way to meet my new blogging goals, as I’ve explained here. Margaret also writes for Kidblog, and in her post, “Author’s Comments offer Fame to Students,” she shared some of her reasons for starting to blog:

“When I started writing on a blog, I wanted to share my writing with a wider audience. I wanted to feel like an expert. I was probably looking for fame. I admit it. But as I began connecting with other bloggers, mostly teachers, I actually received much more than fame. I received a connection. These connections fed my confidence more than superficial fame could.”

Writing does build our confidence, and when shared with others who reciprocate with their ideas on similar topics, we all gain confidence and expertise. I remember when I started blogging, it was not because I was an expert, but because I could share how strategies in education, which others had shared, worked for me and those may help others, thereby extending the reach of those ideas. I was but a part of a larger idea.

Margaret’s experiences shared on her blog help other teachers and students learn. The same blog post explains how her students’ blogs about their reading and when tweeted to authors brought them comments and therefore connections to the authors and their stories. Talk about confidence building! And the experience of learning from and becoming experts on their topics. Please read her post about this and other posts to see how blogging with students enhances learning that will live on throughout a student’s life.

Blogging, because it’s writing, has served to guide me when I was a teacher, and now continues to guide my thoughts and ideas as I slip into the elder years in my life. This blog will now serve for many kinds of thoughts: from cooking to art to politics to education. I’m moving on from a focus on education after two sad moments in my life. My son passed on suddenly and I miss him as do his children. And of course the loss of a great country, which once accepted diversity and supported liberty for all. Those things still exist, and part of my role in these senior years will be to support those ideals. The blogging challenges will help me get started. That’s my plan: to be inspired by those challenges to meet the challenges I need to overcome and support. Not as an expert, but as one with experience and knowledge, which together, when shared, can build those ideals again. It’s like the veteran in The Postman, “I know stuff.” I don’t know everything, but I do know stuff, or have the wherewithal to find out. 

And bloggers connect with each other. Like Margaret says in her post, “Cherishing Celebrations,”

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

The tweets and blogging newsletters brought me back to keep going, grounded me in what is important. Margaret’s blog led me to Julianne’s “Celebrating: My Social Media Bubble.” Her words express exactly how I feel about those I follow and connect with on Twitter, in blogs, on Google Plus: they uplift the world.  Julianne says, 

Social media can be many things. Perhaps it’s a function of where you look. I’ve managed, unwittingly, to craft a social media bubble around people who nurture. Around those who celebrate simple things, who notice and wonder; around poets and teachers; around readers and writers. Around people who spend their energies engaged in lifting up the world, looking closely, and caring. And because of this we continue and grow, even in the darkest times. My wish for 2017 is that we hold tight to each other and our beliefs through the storms and joys.

So you can see why these are “dark times.” When the entire country and the newly elected government has so many examples of the opposite of nurturing and lifting of opportunities, then Julianne is right, we must “hold tight to each other and our beliefs.” We’ve got to share them.

But the ideas must be both online and face2face. We’ve got to have conversations. We’ve got to listen.  Michael Buist in his post “Have you #Eduheard” suggests that in education, we should

Let’s start our own movement. A movement of listening, of truly hearing and reflecting on what happens around us every day.

I think we need to do this for the ideas that matter to us — share yours, share those of others and how you understand them. Get a conversation started to lift us towards acceptance and understanding of our human condition, of our dreams and hopes. For education, it’s #eduheard.  For America, it’s #usaheard. I’m really not suggesting a hashtag, because these ideas are bigger than that. The educational ideas of anti-bullying, of opportunity, of equity, of tolerance and acceptance– these are ideas of the great America. So, for me, I’ve got to talk about them, and understand them in my neighbor’s terms, whether that neighbor is next door or on the next blog or tweet. One connection at a time; one share, one conversation. It’s a way to keep the ideas and ideals alive.

Drew Frank, who started BlogaMonth, wrote a post “Good Trouble” about a presentation from his family friend, Congressman John Lewis, who said in his presentation at Drew’s school:

  1. We all have an obligation to leave this little piece of real estate a little cleaner, a little greener and a little more peaceful!
  2. Get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble!

That’s what is important. That’s a plan. For my grandchildren, it’s a necessary plan. I hope to see you in the conversation for the great America that strives for those  ideals. 

Are you in the conversation


Image: Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge

#DigiLitSunday #Blogamonth 9/11


So many tragedies and controversies occur and then opinions are blasted in small blurbs in tweets, on Facebook, and supposed news bites. How do we help the children cope with the incidents and resulting burst of opinions?

Kevin Hodgson suggests this in his post “#DigiLitSunday: Filters, Floodgates, and Us“:

“The best we can do with our children and our students is try to be one of the trusted adults they can talk to, and ask questions of, and to be the ones whom they can turn to when the world turns upside down on them — in small ways and in larger ways.” ~Kevin Hodgson

We can listen and ask about their feelings. We can share our own. We must emphasize that the world goes on, and we strive to make the world better.

Sometimes our own words need support. Here are some resources for 9/11:

The Fred Rogers Company, Mr. Rogers: Tragic Events

Common Sense Media book suggestions

Common Sense Media books suggestions for teaching empathy

Commons Sense Media “Explaining News to Kids” This post talks about what Kevin suggests, that we filter the news as much as possible for the youngest children.

Teachers First: Age-rated and reviewed resources for teaching 9/11

Center for Civic Education: 9/11 Lessons

Scholastic Lessons

PBS Parents: Talking With Kids About News

“Learn how to calm kids’ fears, stimulate their minds, and encourage them to think about their place in today’s world.” ~PBS Parents

American School Counselor Association: Helping Kids During Crisis:

• Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
• Limit exposure to television and the news.
• Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
• Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
• Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
• Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
• Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.

~American School Counselor Association

As teachers, parents, loved ones, we help our children “look for the helpers.”

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DigiLit Sunday sponsored by

Margaret Simon

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Blogamonth sponsored by

Drew Frank


#blogamonth So many “news”


A new year…
A new group of students…
New curriculum…
New colleagues…
New mandates…
How do we begin anew? How do we begin anew with all the “news” we encounter?

Yes, so much to do.


Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can. ~Lowell Thomas

At the end of the day before leaving work or finishing up at home, I ask myself, “What must be ready to be successful tomorrow?” I organize for that, keeping in mind the larger goals as well. I consider broad goals and small steps; my lessons and projects have essential questions, and I know a path for myself and the possible path for the students. Daily lessons are not needed in advance; they develop based on our progress and goals we set to respond to our questions and to our feedback to each other. Of course, for all the requirements for committees, I guide my work with the big goal, the big question to answer, and keep a running set of tasks, collaborations, reflections, documentation, to stay focused and responsive with colleagues. Google Apps keeps all this shared, ready, and organized.


I strive to do the best I can, yet I keep in mind that we are not perfect and mistakes will occur. I check things over, but know when to stop; I am professional, but not a perfectionist; I know I can do better tomorrow. We are all still learning; we’re human.

So, I go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness, encouraging those I work with, students and staff, to build community, to grow better together.









I know, for myself, my students, and my colleagues, that life happens.




These two ideas are key: life happens; mistakes happen. But there is no problem so great that we cannot fix, solve, or cope. These are lessons learned and ideas discussed frequently — until the students begin to share and encourage each other.

This flag hung in my classrooms for thurry-one years: a story for myself and my students. A first grade student brought his flag to me in tears because he had colored one fat red stripe at the top. “I ruined it,” he stuttered. I grabbed a white piece of paper and held it in my hands, asking him, “What could we do to fix that?” The sobs and a head shake, “ I don’t know.” I smiled, gently moving the white paper in front of me while looking at the red stripe. “I wonder how we could fix this?” I asked again. I waited. After a few tearful moments, the young boy said, “I could cut a white stripe and tape it there!” And that’s what he did. We support each other in solving problems, not to do for others, but to guide them to their own solutions.



Life is a journey — live to enjoy the struggle and make the world better. And then, all the “news” are welcome.

We have a lot of “news,” and our attitude and our relationships move us forward.




A new year… welcome!

A new group of students… I’m glad you’re here.

New curriculum… Let’s see what we can make of this together.

New colleagues… Welcome; let me know if I can help.

New mandates… Bring ‘em on! We’ll do more and better!
How do we begin anew? Focus forward. I can. You can. We can. And Thank you.

Image Credits:

All images by Sheri  Edwards  on Flickr