Thinking about the day #sol18

One of the formats that I love involves starting with what I’m currently doing and working back to describe the events of the day. I haven’t taken the time to do this for awhile and I always find it interesting to see the whole picture of the day.

I finally sat down to write my blog post for today. I hate waiting so late to slice and now that the conference is over and my sessions have been shared, I hope that I can get back to a routine that involves posting earlier in the day. Now I just need to read and comment on other posts. I was afraid if I did that first, I’d never actually take the time to write my own:)

Before that, I curled up in my grandfather’s recliner and read a book on my Kindle.

Before that, I took a nap. While I love conferences, I typically don’t get my usual amounts of sleep and when the lack of sleep finally catches up with me, I crash.

Before that, I grabbed a quick bite to eat even though I was almost too tired to eat.

Before that, I unloaded my car. I missed the nice bellman who loaded everything into my car at the hotel as I wrestled my suitcase, conference bags, a computer bag, a purse, my snack bag, and my soda.

Before that, I cruised down the interstate, mentally counting the miles and trying to stay awake.

Before that, I stopped at Chick-Fil-A to get something to drink that would give me a boost of energy. I was exhausted and I still had a good hour of driving ahead of me. Luckily, Interstate 64 was pretty calm, but I knew that I would have to be hyper-alert on Interstate 81.

Before that, I started my journey home. I listened to the first stage of the Xfinity race until the red flag for rain. Once again, I gave thanks for my subscription to satellite radio because the NASCAR channel was my absolute favorite.

Before that, the nice bellman at the hotel loaded my car and I plugged my phone into the USB port in my car because I was down to less than ten percent of my battery. I had to dig through a couple of bags before I found the cord.

Before that, I waited as my car was brought around from valet parking. I stood with a couple of friends who were also waiting for their cars and we chatted about the conference.

Before that, I followed the bellman down to the front door. I realized (yet again) that when I travel, I tend not only to overpack, but I also end up bringing so many additional things home by the end of a conference.

Before that, I made sure that I had packed and collected all of my belongings. A bellman came to help me transport my things down to my car.

Before that, I returned to my hotel room and prepared to depart.

Before that, I spent the final session of the conference listening to Mr. Schu. This was the first time that I’d ever been able to see Mr. Schu in person, although I’ve followed him on Twitter for a long time. I don’t think that I have the words to describe just how amazing and inspiring he is!

Before that, I was able to introduce Mr. Schu. It’s amazing how nerve-racking it is to meet someone who is like a literacy rock star. I stumbled through the introduction and retreated to my table. I really wish that I could have a do-over:)

Before that, I attended the State of VSRA breakfast. As I sat with other board members, I gave thanks for this group. Working with them has been such a privilege and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us!

Before that, I headed downstairs for the first event of the day. I even remembered to wear my VSRA shirt for our group picture!

Before that, I woke up and got ready for the day. I made sure that I had my phone and my iPad and my room key. While I was sad that it was already the last day of the conference, I knew that I had so many ideas and a wealth of information to take back to school with me.


Spell check, please? #sol18



I placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my hotel room door yesterday, and when I returned from my day of sessions, I discovered this new sign hanging from the doorknob.  I didn’t pay much attention to the sign at first as I was loaded down with my computer bag, my purse, my conference bag and I was attempting to swipe my key card.  It wasn’t until this morning, when I opened the door to leave for the first session of the day, that I really looked at the sign.  Although I was again loaded down with my purse and conference bag, I stopped suddenly to scrutinize the sign.  Once the message registered, I burst out laughing.  I actually stood in the doorway, with bags hanging from my arms, laughing.  I couldn’t believe that a nice hotel like this would hang a sign with such an error from any door in the establishment! I’m kind of glad that they did, though, because it was just what I needed for #sol18!

Ten Things Thursday #sol18


The past two days have been busy, but in a good way.  I’m in Richmond, Virginia, for the 51st Virginia State Reading Association annual conference, so I thought that I’d do a “Ten Things Thursday” post that focuses on the conference.

10. Today I met several people face-to-face after interacting with them online through Facebook and Twitter.  It’s always nice to match names and faces (even though many people have photos, it’s still nice to see them in person!

9. Tomorrow, I’ll have the privilege of introducing Jennifer Serravallo during one of her sessions.  I’m so excited to have the opportunity to learn from her during a featured session and a general session!

8. On Saturday, I’ll also have the privilege of introducing John Schumacher, a.k.a., “Mr. Schu” during one of his sessions.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to put together coherent sentences when I get to meet both of them!

7. Today, I received a grant to fund a Teachers as Readers group with the Shenandoah Valley Reading Council board of directors.  We’re going to use the grant to purchase copies of Pernille Ripp’s latest book, Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child.  We plan to share our experiences through a variety of methods that include social media so that our members can share in this learning opportunity.

6.   Today I also presented a session on dyslexia with two professors from Longwood University.  We had close to 200 educators who participated in a day of sessions focused solely on the topic of dyslexia.

5.  Today, I also had the opportunity to attend a session presented by my mentor, Dr. Marcia Invernizzi.   Marcia has been an amazing mentor and without her guidance and support, the dissertation process would have been a nightmare!

4.  I had dinner with an amazing group of educators.  Five members of the VSRA board were in attendance and I so appreciate and enjoy working with these folks.  They have become valued friends over the past two years.  We’ve shared so much laughter and I can’t imagine not having these folks in my life!

3. I’m pretty tired, so writing has been a challenge this evening, but it’s a good kind of tired.  My feet are sore, but my mind is invigorated.  While I usually don’t cut it this close to the midnight deadline (it’s 11:18 as I type these words), that’s okay because my slice is almost finished!

2. I’m thinking about the booths that I want to check out in the Exhibit Hall in the morning.  I saw a display of books recommended by Mr. Schu, so that’s probably where I’ll start.  So many books…

1. Next year, I’ll be the conference chair and I’m looking forward to that experience!  It’s going to be an exciting year as I work on the plans for the conference!

Currently #sol18



Since today has been a busy day, I thought that I’d write a “Currently” post.

Listening to…the tapping of computer keys.

Thinking about…the presentations that I’m giving tomorrow and Friday and what I have left to do to get them ready.

Wearing…my glasses, which I hate.

Eating…nothing at the moment, but there’s a bag full of snacks here in my hotel room!

Feeling…excited about the first day of the conference!

Reading…notes that I made about things to add to my presentation.

Dreaming about…the conference that I’ll chair next year.

Thankful for…the awesome folks that I’ve gotten to know as a member of the VSRA board of directors. This is such a great group of people who are passionate about literacy.

Words of Encouragement #sol18


This morning, when I checked my mailbox at school, I found a sweet note and chocolate from one of my colleagues.  Joan knew that I was juggling a lot of things this week, including two presentations at the Virginia State Literacy Association conference, and I appreciate her kind words of encouragement (and the chocolate was a great treat that hit the spot!), especially as I’m still trying to get my Friday presentation ready.  I might need to stick this note on my laptop for continued inspiration!

If you give a teacher a workday #sol18


If you give a teacher a workday…

She’ll create a long to-do list.

She’ll feel overwhelmed by that to-do list, so she’ll find other things to do that are not on the list.

To avoid that long to-do list, she’ll tackle the mess on her desk.

While tackling the mess on her desk, she’ll discover a candy stash that she’d forgotten.

As she munches the candy, she’ll find a stack of papers that need to be filed. She will decide to save those papers for another day and will stack everything into one big pile while polishing off the bag of candy.

Then, when she tries to scrub the chocolate from her face, one of her colleagues will stop by with a question about a student. They will begin to brainstorm ideas to help the student and an half-hour will pass by before she knows it.

She’ll look back at the to-do list, but since it’s already two o’clock, she will check her email instead. Her inbox will be full and when she clicks on each message, a little more time will pass until it’s the end of the day and another workday is over.

Watch for Pedestrians #sol18


Today has been one of those days when the words have not been flowing.  I started several posts, only to discard them after a few words.  I’ve been working on my to-do list today (two presentations for later this week, grading projects for the online class I’m teaching, lesson plans for the days when I’m at the VSRA conference this week) and when I took breaks throughout the afternoon and early evening, I tried writing a slice.  Finally, I realized that I’d write about a photo I snapped in the Hardee’s drive-thru.  I love Hardee’s biscuits, and they’re a morning treat that I always enjoy.  This morning, while waiting for my order, I had to laugh at this sight as I wondered if the birds were watching for pedestrians:) Maybe there needs to be another sign warning the pedestrians to watch out for the birds!