Happy New Year – 2013 Thoughts

Mr. Moses lived on the street where I grew up.  From as far back as I can remember, early on New Year’s Day each year my mother got up and dressed and let me get up with her so that we were ready and standing in the vestibule when Mr. Moses rang our doorbell.

He got up at dawn, dressed impeccably in a suit and vest and tie and overcoat and dress hat and started at one end of the block, going to each house and ringing the doorbell.  When greeted, he’d take off his hat and step across the threshold just enough so that he was inside. When invited in, he’d decline, saying that he had to keep going but wanted to be sure that the first person who entered our home in the new year brought good tidings and well wishes for all of us. He went to every house, then quietly turned around and walked the length of the long block back to his. It was many, many years later when I’d grown up and moved away that I wondered if there had ever been someone who came to his house to do that for him.

I wish you a year of good health, wholeheartedness, increased commitment, strengthening community, shared laughter, new adventures, continual reward, accelerated compassion, faith, and gratitude.

From a childhood story Mr. Moses by Marian SkottMyhre – As shared with me from my brother, @Rene.


Happy October to you!  For those of us in regions where the leaves change, here’s a beautiful quote for you:  “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”  Albert Camus, French Algerian author, philosopher, journalist; awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

Since I am new to living in an area where Autumn leaves are colorful and the air is crisp, this quote was particularly special to me, so I just had to share it with you.  Also, the fall was my father’s favorite season, and he loved the golds, reds, and oranges of the “leaf-flowers” and must have passed that on to me.    🙂

I had a great day of professional development with teachers, psychologists, administrators, and support personnel in Fredericksburg, VA this past week.  What a wonderful group of educators.  We shared RTI successes and effective tools for managing it all.  They are a brilliant group with top-notch leadership at their school.  I’m off to Sioux Falls, SD later on this week for more work with educators.  I am so fortunate to love my work.  I truly enjoy working alongside teachers, psychologists, speech/language pathologists, diagnosticians, curriculum coaches, paras, and administrators across the country.  We have so many similarities, concerns, and questions – it makes little difference which state or district we teach in, what size school or city/town, or the varied populations, our students must remain the priority, with a daily dose of taking care of ourselves in the process.

I have 3 things to share with you today:


I have spoken to some of you about pressing RTI issues you are having across the country in many different states.  One of the topics that comes up often is the big D word – DATA.  Yes, it is vitally important.  And, yes, it is difficult to manage it all.  But it is definitely possible to achieve and very effective.  In an effort to provide you some practical ideas, click on my recent paper, “Response to Intervention: Using Data to Really Influence Our Literacy Instruction in a Positive Way.”  And for my previous, current, and future students, if you want to reference it, I’ve done the APA reference for you at the end of the paper, right before the references.  I know… I know….

Check it out, using the SHOP tab, download at your convenience (it is free) – Thanks for letting me know what you wanted more of…  and let me know your future needs.


Oh boy, have I had requests!  For those of you in my previous classes, workshops, and consultation seminars and conferences, you can now order the desktop chimes we have come to love.

Custom made, by Design Scales – in black walnut and canary wood, with stainless steel chimes and aluminum side bars.  Perfect for getting the attention of your students in a positive manner.  Beautiful sounding chimes are more effective than lights off, clap three times, raising your voice, or give-me-five.  The first time you use them, your students (from pre-school to college) know exactly what you want! Very effective with adults in meetings, professional learning communities, or professional development sessions as well.

$90.00 each, plus s/h

Custom made by Design Scales.

Use the SHOP tab and I’ll get your beautiful desk-top chimes out to you right away.


I use these puzzle pieces for brainstorming in the classroom, professional development sessions, and conferences.  They are perfect for your classroom activities.  You and your students can write on them and post them on the wall or dry-erase board. Help your students see the big picture with puzzle pieces that enable them to see how the “little pieces” fit together to make a whole.

Can be used with literacy, math, science topics, social studies, music, and more.  Try it with vocabulary/word building – categorizing your word wall, brainstorming “words instead of…” or phonics – onset and rime puzzles or comprehension – use one for each question and write the answers right on the puzzle pieces, and our all-time favorite to engage our learners in oral discussion – brainstorming .  Set of 12. Each piece is approximately 9 ½ in x 9 ½ in, not counting the puzzle cutout, in large, colorful cardstock paper.

$ 11.00 plus s/h

Thanks for the positive feedback – I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Teaching!

Until next time…