#SOL17 Loving Research

Today was the final workshop before the argumentative essay was due. Many of my students finished early and I let them start on the brainstorming research worksheet for the next paper. The multi genre research paper

I have taught two different research papers. The normal reaction is grunts and a whole lot of complaining.

This time was different. I watched as little wheels starts moving. 

I did not hear a single complaint. I only heard ideas and excitement. 

I am excited to see where this goes!


#SOL17 Rainy nights

I have always been found of rain. 

It always takes me back to my family. In my head I hear my father singing, “I love the rainy nights such a beautiful sight.” As we drive down the road. I turn to look at the water ballet on the window. With my finger I trace the pattern of the droplets as they trickle down.”

So today when a student burst into the library complaining about rain, I smiled.

#SOL17 Reflect and Change

This week was a new quarter and a new start for many of my students. In the long, long hours I sat during conferences last week I reflected on my students’ grades and how they grew as a writer.

I felt like many of my students grew and worked hard, but their work did not show this. I decided this quarter I would grade my writer’s workshop days.

I wanted my students to know that I value the process of their writing. Every day my students are required to fill out a log at the end of the day telling me what they were working on, what their next steps are, and any lingering questions.It is more structured it and it emphasizes reflection.

We are two days in and one class hates it and the other class loves it. However, as much as they complain… I am seeing results.

My quiet and soft spoken students are finding their voices. When they have designated time to think out problems or questions they produce the most meaningful question asked all year.

I have started to reward fantastic questions with stickers from the sticker bus. I am really excited to see how this goes.



Yesterday while roaming through YouTube, I ran across a video by Jena Marbles called “Google Deep Dive”. Jena and her significant other sat together and searched various ideas that popped into their heads. They would take the information from the search and use it to fuel their next question.

Jena was engaged laughing and enjoying researching and learning. I thought to myself, this is what researching should look like. 

Researching has been on my mind all year. I wasn’t happy with how I taught the research paper last semester to my juniors. I focused so much on the product, that I forgot the process is more important. 

We as teachers cannot teach our students everything in the world. We can however, teach them to learn and their own learning process.
In one of my master’s courses I have been looking at the Guided Inquiry process. The Guided Inquiry process flips the narrative of how we teach research papers. 

It is easy when we introduce a large paper to focus on the rubric and how many book sources they will need before they start.

This causes more anxiety in students than it helps. I want to spend more time on how to come up with ideas and questions. By the time we get to formalities of the paper, my students will already have a firm foundation.

Jena Marbles will be my inspiration for our multi genre research papers next week as we start the “open stage”.
The first lesson will include children’s books, virtual museums, YouTube videos, and much more. 

I can’t wait to share! šŸ™‚

#SOL17 New BeginningsĀ 

About an hour away from home, realty hit. Tomorrow is Monday and I have school. 

I normally don’t dread Monday until halfway through the day. I am normally pretty peppy or at least coffee makes me peppy. 

But, there it is. 

I want another day to kick back. To hang out with my husband. To cuddle with my nephew. To laugh with my siblings. 

I found myself I starting to seek my motivation.

Upon entering my house I am greeted by my puppy and a clean kitchen. 

My father-in-law saw we had a few things out and cleaned up for us so we didn’t have a mess to come home to.

I found a package of workout clothes on the table. It is cute enough that I will be motivated to workout soon. Or maybe get the registration for the gym downtown finished and workout there. 

My bus of stickers is ready to go for grading papers tomorrow. New pens and stickers always motivates me. And who doesn’t love stickers?

I check my email and there is a student looking for extra feedback on her essay.

Mondays kinda suck. Mondays after vacations really suck. 

Yet, somehow I know tomorrow won’t suck. šŸ™‚

#SOL17 Thift hunting

The past two days my husband and I have been staying in an urban loft in Dutchtown St. Louis. 

The neighborhood is gritty and tough around the edges, but beautiful.

The architecture is phenomenal. Exquisite brick buildings with enough character to go around. 

Across from our loft there is a series of thift stores. 

Each store is a quaint. There is barely room to move, but it isn’t needed. It is filled with wonderful finds everywhere. 

Today I left with a lime green horse lamp, trays, wire baskets, a rustic mirror.

We would have left with more, but we took my husband car.

I have always love thift shops. It is what I grow up on. I think it is the grit of it. I love digging through messes and finding treasure.

#SOL17 Weekend EscapeĀ 

Friday evening in St. Louis

I breathe in the dirty and warm city air as my husband and I walk hand in hand.

The hustle and bustle and laughter of pedestrians comforts us. 

We use our noses to sniff out BBQ. 

The neons on SugarFire shine like a beacon. 

Smooth jazz surrounds us.

It is nice to escape from Iowa.