Since I began blogging last summer, I started paying more attention to what other bloggers wrote about, noticing their content, how their information was shared, and how I could emulate that. Long before I tried blogging I followed blogger and author Ruth Ayres, who I have admired as a writer for some time now. Ruth Ayres has a lovely, exquisite writing voice, and I am always eager to read what she notices and shares. I am especially grateful that she invites other bloggers to celebrate, providing a space to share blog link ups. Sharing my writing continues to be uncomfortable and scary. I continue to find myself in a bit of a frazzle each time I publish my writing in a blog post.
Last month Ruth wrote a post about creating a Heart Map reflecting on her month of January. Of course her post is incredibly inviting and I adored her idea of reflecting on a whole month using a format of a Heart Map. I have been Heart Mapping in my notebook for a while now, but it was almost always based on one idea or after one day. Before Ruth's post, I had not considered Heart Mapping based on the reflection of a whole month (or extended period). As I paged through my journal, I noticed so many things that were worthy of celebrating.This is what February’s Heart Map looked like for me:
|February Heart Map (apologies for the poor quality of this image)|
Based on my February Heart Map, there are two things that I wanted to especially celebrate this month:
1. Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) Convention 2018
I had the honor to present twice at the WSRA Convention this year. For one of the presentations I was invited to present with Dr. Cathy Compton-Lilly on some of the work that I have been doing with Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA) with a few of my high school students. Although I have presented at state and local conferences before, I was really intimidated to lead a presentation with Dr. Compton-Lilly, especially since it was a packed conference room. It was humbling to share what I’ve learned about RMA with over one hundred educators and answer questions.
|Our conference room sign|
I also presented with my dear friend and brilliant colleague, Abbie Blood. When I was in my role of a secondary district literacy coach in my district I worked with Abbie as often as I could. Abbie and I learned how to use effectively use mentor texts with high school juniors. Our presentation was a celebration of our process, our purpose, the excitement of the difference in quality of our student writers, and how this continues to be a journey of learning for us. Abbie and I presented to a small group of about thirty educators, but they were so engaged and eager to try some of the ideas that Abbie and I presented. After the presentation Abbie shared with me, “I felt so validated as a teacher. I love that there are other people who are interested in this kind of work.”
|Our first presentation slide|
Recently, I was working on goal setting with my ninth and tenth grade classes using a strategy called WOOP, a strategy used for teaching students to better use self-regulation skills. I invited each student to select one academic goal to work on for Quarter 3. Many of my students set goals such as, “I will complete all of my homework on time in Science” or “I will use my time wisely in math class.” Two weeks later I conferred with each student about his or her goal. One of my sophomores, Nathan (a pseudonym), created a goal about reading. As we were conferring, Nathan quietly said to me, “I heard that you help kids read. Do you think that you could help me read better?” This blew me away. I have never had a student ask me this before. The next week I scheduled a time to meet with him, and we started working on RMA together. I did not expect that using a goal setting strategy and conferring would provide this opening with Nathan.
As my daily writing practice usually includes a Haiku, here is a double Haiku about my February gratitude that I wrote after I completed my Heart Map :
Stuck in negative
Self-talk spooling in my mind,
Yet good surrounds me.
Celebrating joy -
A practice worthy of time
I must continue.