Research projects are enjoyable! #sol17


Writer’s block beckons

But it won’t prevail because

I’ll capture the words

Recently, I embarked on a research project with my mentor at UVa.  We’re working on expanding the study that was the basis of my doctoral research, which explored the dyslexia knowledge of elementary-level educators in order to determine their need for professional development.  During my defense last year, my committee members suggested that I continue the research and this summer I finally started working on the plans.  I was thrilled when my chair, who mentored me throughout the entire process, agreed to join the project.  We navigated the journey of IRB approval and started contacting division leaders about participating in our study.  While a number of divisions have already agreed to participate, many divisions requested that we submit formal proposals before conducting studies.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on these proposals and I’ve really enjoyed this process.  While completing a stack of proposals might not seem all that enjoyable, I’ve loved being able to write the project and to share the research plan with school leaders from all parts of the state.  I’ve enjoyed explaining the rationale for the study and describing the process and I love thinking about the possibilities for supporting educators’ as they serve dyslexic readers in their classrooms, schools, and divisions.  I cannot wait to see how we can use these results in the future and the possibilities for future research!



They know me well #sol17


I’ve written about my love for sweet tea.  I start many mornings with a big cup of tea.  Sometimes I stop at Hardee’s for tea, other times I visit McDonald’s for my daily dose of sweet caffeine.  While I used to stop regularly at Burger King, I often chose the other fast food restaurants in my town.

This morning, however, I was in a hurry and Burger King was the closest option.  I pulled up to the window and ordered a large sweet tea.  As I pulled around to the drive-thru window, I realized that I was at Burger King and I should have differentiated that I wanted the $1.00 sweet tea instead of the large one.  Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but I prefer the size of the $1.00 tea at Burger King.  It’s still a sizable drink and comes in a styrofoam cup that keeps the tea cooler for a longer period.  The large tea comes in a plastic cup and the ice melts quickly so that the tea ends up watery and disappointing.  Then, there’s the extra cost for the large tea (a little over $2.00 with tax).

I stopped at the window, money in hand.  Before I could do anything, the gentleman at the window asked, “Do you want the large or the one for a dollar?” I couldn’t say yes fast enough! As he changed my order, I heard a woman in the background say, “That’s a stupid question.”  The gentleman’s response almost made me laugh out loud.  He said, “Well, she usually gets the dollar tea.” These folks know me well, even when it’s been awhile since they’d seen me!

I took my dollar tea and placed it carefully in the cup holder.  I popped in the straw and took a sip before heading on to school.  It was going to be a great day!

Celebrating 100 Years #sol17


The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind at school as we worked on final preparations for the school’s 100th birthday celebration.  The birthday celebration was an experience that I will never forget.  Friends who hadn’t connected in a long time gathered in groups, sharing stories and laughter.   The whole celebration was like the best family reunion!

The celebration enabled students and families to experience our school’s rich history.   Students and families rode on a wagon and experienced how MVE students from a century ago traveled to school.


Classes also put together these displays that honored each decade in our school’s history in a gallery walk in our cafeteria/gym.  Former students and their families shared pictures and artifacts, transporting us all through the decades.



In addition to the journey back in time, we also had a variety of other activities for families and friends.  Vendors selling everything from jewelry and crafts to homemade apple butter set up tents.  Bouncy houses, face painting, and balloon animals also entertained the children.



At the end of the day, all of the faculty members gathered together for a group picture.  We were all pretty exhausted and sweaty, but we would not have missed this experience for anything!

faculty picture bday party


An old standby-#sol17


I’m relying on an old standby for today’s post:)

Currently I am…

listening to…my printer as it spits out a stack of pages related to a new project.

watching…a re-run of The Big Bang Theory.  I’m not really paying attention to the television, so I really should turn it off so that I can concentrate.

drinking…Coca-Cola because I’m out of sweet tea:(

eating…nothing, although I’m thinking about the cold pizza in the refrigerator:)

needing to…return several e-mails.

thinking about…taking a break to find a snack (that cold pizza keeps calling my name!).

wanting to…curl up with my Kindle.

feeling…like I’m coming down with a cold.

How many more miles? #sol17


Tonight, I had a reading council event in a town about seventy-five miles from my hometown.  I knew when I left school today that I should plan to stop for gas at some point during my journey.  I was in a hurry to get to the meeting and I had to pick up drinks, plates, napkins, and the door prizes at my house before I hopped on the interstate for the journey north.

One of the things that I love about my car is the display.  With the click of a button, I can see how many miles I’ve traveled, how much air is in my tires, my gas mileage, my oil level, and how far I can travel on the fuel that remains in my tank.  This last piece of information is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing because I don’t have to guesstimate how far I can travel before stopping at a gas station.  However, it’s also a curse because sometimes I rely too heavily on that number.  Tonight, I was so tired that the thought of stopping the car, getting out of the car, and pumping gas just seemed like too much.  So, as I started my journey home, I punched a button and saw how far I could still go on this tank of gas.  I did some quick calculations and figured that I could make it home with enough gas that I didn’t need to stop.  As I traveled down the interstate, I periodically checked the display to make sure that the number wasn’t in what I considered the “danger zone.”  I had to slow once for a work zone and admittedly got a little nervous as I slowed to a crawl and followed a long line of cars and trucks, but as I neared the exit for home, I started to relax.  Finally, I pulled into my driveway, shifted into park and took one last look at the gas display.  I made it with 52 miles to spare and I’ll have enough to get to and from school tomorrow, too!

fuel gauge


A Special Note #sol17


All day, I’ve thought that it was Monday and as a result, almost forgot to post a slice for this week.  I’m not really sure about what finally clicked for me, but I’m glad that I didn’t miss the opportunity to write!

One of my students popped into my classroom at the end of the day.  It wasn’t his usual time, so I was surprised to see him.  He held a brightly decorated piece of paper, which he handed to me, saying “This is for you.” He also explained that he’d made the envelope and to look inside.  I was really curious about the contents of the handmade envelope.  I gently removed another piece of paper and started to read.


Receiving notes like this one is one of the best parts about being a teacher.  However, this note was particularly special because this student has never given me such a note before.    While there are some students who routinely make notes and cards, this student is not typically one of them.  We have always had a good relationship and he has worked incredibly hard in my classroom, but I don’t know what prompted him to write this note on this particular day.  I do know, however, that his words warmed my heart and I will treasure his words.

Professional Book Spine Poetry #sol17


I love book spine poetry and spent some time day playing around with writing some of these poems.  Since many of my books are in an electronic format, I don’t have pictures of the books like a traditional book spine poem, but I still love manipulating the words in the titles to create something new.


Every Child a Super Reader

Who’s Doing the Work

Reading More, Reading Better


Nonfiction Matters

Write to Learn

The Reading Mind


Passionate Readers

Disrupting Thinking

Day by Day