Today/Tomorrow at the VSRA conference #sol19



This post was inspired by fellow slicers Leigh Anne Eck and Elisabeth Ellington.  I’m at the Virginia State Reading Association’s annual conference and thought that this format would be a great way to think about my experiences.

Today is the second day of the Virginia State Reading Association’s annual conference.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and I’m not ready for it to end.

Today I had the opportunity to meet Josh Funk, Kate Messner, Phil Bildner, Greg Neri, Lamar Giles, Jordan Sonnenblick, Sarah Darer Littman, Jacqueline Jules, Natalie Dias Lorenzi, and Kim Norman.  I was reminded again of how kind and generous authors are and how willing they are to connect with their audience.  The memories that I’m making this week and the inspiring presentations have empowered me as a teacher and a person.

Tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to meet Katherine Applegate, Jess Keating, and Penny Kittle.  Today I wore shoes that made my feet hurt after a while.

Tomorrow, I will wear more comfortable shoes.

Today I enjoyed the conference with colleagues from school.

Tomorrow, they will leave to return home and even though I’ll see them on Monday, I’ll miss them!

Today I enjoyed cruising through the exhibit hall and discovered so many books that I need to have on my bookshelves.

Tomorrow, the exhibit hall will be closed, so my wallet will be able to rest.




#VSRA19 Day 1 #sol19


I just returned to my hotel room after the first day of the VSRA conference.  It’s been an amazing day with speakers including Pernille Ripp, Kylene Beers, and Bob Probst during our General Sessions.  I saw my dissertation work cited for the first time in a session led by my mentor, Dr. Marcia Invernizzi.  I met Stacey Shubitz after following her blog and Two Writing Teachers for several years (Stacey is awesome! I loved the opportunity to chat with her!).  I painted a picture with Caldecott honoree Gregory Christie during Paint Night and I met so many wonderful people from around the state.  It was an exhilarating day and it’s just the beginning! Tomorrow, Kate Messner and Donald Bear will headline our General Sessions.  Josh Funk will be featured during our Primary Breakfast.  We’ll go speed-dating with authors and have the chance to collect autographs in the Exhibit Hall.  

Serving as the conference chair for this conference has been an experience that I will never forget and I feel so blessed for this opportunity!

The night before #VSRA19-A “Currently” post #sol19


It’s the night before the first day of the VSRA conference, so I’m going to rely on a favorite prompt this evening.  It’s been a busy day with finalizing details for the conference and I am so excited for the first day!

Currently, I am…

thinking about… the next three days and all of the opportunities for learning.

hoping that… I haven’t forgotten something important.

feeling… grateful for all of the people who have helped with #VSRA19.

worried about…absolutely nothing.

wearing… contacts for the first time in weeks.

reading…my notes from today and checking things off my to-do list.

eating…nothing, but thinking of a snack.

listening to…nothing but the sound of my fingers on the keyboard.

ready for…the start of #VSRA19!


Not An Inch To Spare #sol19


I journeyed to Norfolk, Virginia, today to get ready for the Virginia State Reading Association’s annual conference.  I’m the conference chair, so I had a lot of “stuff” to cart to Norfolk.  Since Norfolk is several hours from home, I needed to make sure that I had everything that I needed before heading out this morning.  I had table decorations for the annual banquet and several other meal functions, gift baskets for raffles, a huge treasure chest with three mermaids representing my conference theme (“Unlocking the Treasures of Literacy”), two floral arrangements made by my Mom for the stage at the General Sessions, snacks for the author “green room,” my computer bag, purse, and of course, my luggage.  This is what my Equinox looked like when I was finished.  There was not a spare inch of room anywhere in the car.  I felt like the Beverly Hillbillies as I headed down the interstate and all I needed was Granny Clampett sitting in her rocker on the roof racks!


A Good Problem To Have #sol19


This afternoon, while finishing my sub plans before getting ready to head to Norfolk for #VSRA19, I saw an email alert indicating that an e-book on hold at the library was now available.  I had several books on hold and three of them became available within the past couple of days.

At one point recently, when I had more free time, I was desperate for something to read and couldn’t find anything that engaged me.  This week, I’ll be involved with the conference, so my reading time will be limited.  While I know that I have 14 days to enjoy the books, those 14 days will go by quickly.  Where were these books a couple of weeks ago when I experienced a book drought? At least, though, the books are now on my Kindle and I know that when I have some free moments, I’m prepared with not just one but three good books!


10 Days and 10 Professional Books #sol19


In honor of Day 10, I thought that I’d post about 10 of my favorite professional books.  These are books that I refer to on a regular basis and have a special place on my physical and virtual bookshelves.  However, since I did have trouble narrowing this list down to 10, I should have saved this for a post later in the month when I could have included more titles:)

  1. Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction by Donald Bear, Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, and Francine Johnston
  2. Preventing Misguided Reading by Jan Burkins and Melody Croft.
  3. Early Intervention for Reading Difficulties: The Interactive Strategies Approach by Donna Scanlon, Kimberly Anderson, and Joan Sweeney
  4. Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers Into the Conventions of Language, Grades 1-5 by Jeff Anderson and Whitney LaRocca
  5. Ink and Ideas: Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking by Tanny McGregor
  6. Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems by Darrell Morris
  7. Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers by Ruth Ayres
  8. 59 Reasons to Write: Mini-Lessons, Prompts, and Inspiration for Teachers by Kate Messner
  9. Heart Maps by Georgia Heard
  10. Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck,  Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan


This list filled up quickly and there were so many books that aren’t included here, but that I rely on regularly.  What would you include on a list of 10 beloved professional books?

Stumble #sol19


I used the Word of the Day from Jennifer Laffin at Teach Write (you can check out Teach Write here and on Twitter @TeachWriteEdu and #TeachWrite #DWHabit).  Today’s word is “stumble” and it reminded me of times when I stumbled as a teacher-writer.  Too often, I assumed that the times when I stumbled defined me, particularly as a writer.  However, I’ve since realized (thanks Jen Laffin!) that those stumbles do not define me, but instead can be used to make me stronger.  I also discovered that it’s important to give myself grace when I stumble on this journey as a teacher who writes.  I had to accept that every day will not going to be a perfect writing day, but that I will stumble and some times my words will be awkward and many even inadequate for what I’m trying to say. Sometimes the words aren’t perfect and that’s okay.  As Jen has reminded me, it’s about “progress, not perfection.”

When we stumble, we need to remember that tomorrow is another day.  We need to pick ourselves up, shake off the dust from the past day, and move on.  Our stumbles are just that—a stumble, and as a result, they’re not permanent.