• It helps me process
  • It helps me remember
  • It helps me identify the “gems” hiding in my day
  • It helps me reflect
  • It helps me confer authentically with kids
  • Because my favorite seven-year-old asked me to join her writing club


My favorite writing space.


Seeing the Sights

Traveling around the state offers me the opportunity to see many places I don’t see every day. Traveling the state with Google as my map planner ensures that I will only travel on small, two-lane roads through the back country of Missouri–not my customary choice when traveling the state.

On Tuesday, I drove around and over and around and over parts of Mark Twain Lake. I decided to take a break, stretch my legs, and see the sights as I’d never been there before.

I stepped out of the car and felt my shoulders relax and my lungs take a deep belly breath. I heard the birds overhead. I felt myself destress. I walked, breathed, and soaked up the peace.

These pictures don’t do it justice.


Who knows, maybe I will suffer the two-lane road again just so I can stop and do some more “peace soaking”.


Why do schools ask teachers to write curriculum for new standards but provide the teachers with no time or training to do so?

Why do states allow people who do not teach children to write curriculum for people who do teach children?

Why are the students who are behind and need to be in our classrooms the most there the least?

Why is everything in a classroom decided by one end of the year assessment instead of by the children who live in that classroom?

Why is a teacher’s effectiveness defined by the scores of her students on the one end of the year assessment instead of on how well they loved and learned together? On how compassionate they became? On how motivated they were to own their learning? On how many books they laughed and cried over together?

Why must low-level comprehension tests and nonsense words dictate everything a student reads and writes? Why can’t students have some choice in the matter based on what they are interested in and have a purpose for reading?

Why do teachers have to beg for supplies and materials to teach society’s children?

When will we ever get it right?





Invitations can be exciting. When I was little, they were proof that I was accepted, had friends, welcomed. I always loved bringing home a brightly colored envelope from school for a party.

I remember when I was in 8th grade, I decided to have a Halloween party. My dad reserved the rec center, and I spent the day decorating it with my friend Bridget. I invited a lot of people from school. It was my first “big” party. I was so excited. Food, music, decorations. I had it all planned. I went home to get ready for the party and hurried back to greet my guests. Three people showed up. They were the same three people who lived on my compound. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

That party still lingers in my mind whenever I invite people over. Who will show? Will they come?


My Secret Problem

I want to share something about me that you might not know. I have a problem. I believecouch pouch every infomercial. Every! I can be suckered into believing everything they say about their product. Why would they lie? Of course they are telling the truth!

I bought a Couch Pouch. I couldn’t get the air inside. I went outside and tried. I still couldn’t get it full. I asked Sam to try. He tried. I asked Max to try. He tried. We put it back in the box. (If you know how to blow one up, I would love your expertise!)

I have bought kitchen supplies, health products, and products for the house. There is nothing more dangerous than those nights when I can’t sleep, head out to the living room, and turn on the tv. There’s no telling what will catch my eye and wind up in my mailbox. 🙂


Text Message Joy

Several years ago I spent three years helping teachers put balanced literacy practices into place.  Our last year together was the 2015-16 school year. When you work with teachers over that length of time, you always wonder if what you taught stuck. You wonder what practices are they still doing? But without an invitation, going back was not an option.

Our office was contacted by the school for some additional help for the teachers in the district I had worked with. My schedule is full to the brim. There is no way I could go back. My director sent another trainer, LeAnn, to work with the teachers.

LeAnn and I saw each other Tuesday of this week at our fall staff meeting. We talked about the school, the work I had done there, and what she was planning on doing. She began to list several things I had not had the time bring to them. As she was talking, she mentioned she was going to talk with them about mentor sentences.

“Oh, I hope they remember we talked about mentor sentences. We spent an ENTIRE DAY looking at how to use Jeff Anderson’s Invitation progression, finding mentor sentences in books, and creating our own mentor sentences. They better remember mentor sentences! You’ll have to let me know if they do or not,” I begged.

This afternoon I received a text from LeAnn:

You will be happy to know that all grades had knowledge of and are using mentor sentences.

One simple sentence and my day was made!


Birthday Jammies

For as long as I can remember, my aunt gives me jammies for my birthday.  I LOVE my birthday jammies. Every year, I look forward to my birthday jammies. In fact, if you look in my jammy drawer, most of my jammies are birthday jammies. My aunt doesn’t buy regular jammies. She buys fancy jammies. Jammies that “when you wear them and people come over, you aren’t embarrassed to be caught in your jammies” jammies. Since I am in Springfield for staff meeting tomorrow, she and my uncle brought my birthday jammies over tonight. This year’s jammies are black and oh, so soft.  They are very sophisticated looking. Elegant even. I love my birthday jammies and the aunt who spoils me with them!