Thanksgiving Writing Freebie!

Exciting news! We've just released a Thanksgiving themed freebie writing resource. This activity focuses on sentence-start practice with nouns and adverbs. Click the image above to access your FREE download :)


Conversations on Education // 9


In a recent staff meeting, with a group of wonderful teachers, I was privileged to watch a remarkable YouTube instruction by Rita F. Pierson. It was called Every Kid Needs a Champion. 

I hope that my teaching career is based entirely on the premise of this video.  It is one thing to teach; it is an entirely different thing to believe in the whole child. This requires the teacher to recognize that the faces in front of them each day are not just what they see.  These students have happiness and sadness, strengths and weaknesses, belief and doubts and all the emotions and challenges that we each face as we walk through life. We cannot see into their homes, their history or their hearts but we can remain ready to listen for "that instant" or commit to the process that will provide these students with their champion. We get to champion the causes of these human beings. We get to listen and truly hear. What a privilege. 

Here is the link. I encourage you to visit!

Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion


SCW Store Update

Hey everyone! We've got some exciiiiiiiting news to share...Our newest writing mega unit is finished and available through our store! We are so pumped about this one!! Argument writing and the argumentative essay are essential common core elements required throughout middle school and high school but like most in depth essay styles, it can be a bit daunting to know where to start on this one. Our goal in creating this comprehensive resource was to take the sequencing and handout/practice activity prep work largely off your plate. The resource is broken down into 12 information packed lessons, most of which could be expanded into two lessons if preferred. Each lesson includes teachers notes, instructional handouts and printable practice activities. Click the image below to for more details and a preview! 

Just in time for the Halloween and Thanksgiving season, we've also released our Pumpkin Fun: Varied Sentence Starts activity packet. This resource features 5 printable activities to help your students practice 5 different ways to vary their sentence starts. This skill set is fantastic for all writing forms and styles, not just essays. Click the image below for more details and a preview!

Finally, we've got two new literary essay practice resources available! One offers students the opportunity to practice their literary essay writing skills after reading the classic novel, 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. The other offers a similar practice opportunity but for a more spooky literature classic: The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Perfect for Halloween themed writing practice! Click images below for more information and previews. 


Conversations on Education // 8


I have lived my life rather focused on output and work and doing well at all that I endeavor.  This in and of itself is OK and even respectable. I get things done. However, as a result, I have often been unaware of my surroundings, and the beauty of singular moments. This was well represented to me at a recent teacher's in-service day where we as a group of ten teachers were required to move around from classroom to classroom to perform specific learning activities relative to new educational protocols.  At the end of this exercise we were to return to classroom five which some of the teachers in my group had affectionately called the monkey room. This did not register with me.

When I inquired why they had dubbed this room the "monkey room", they thought I was kidding.  Upon returning to the room, there were monkeys everywhere: in pictures, hanging from the ceiling as stuffed animals, on the bulletin boards etc. Need I say more? I missed an incredibly strong visual as a result of being so riveted on the task. In this situation, no harm, no foul.

My oldest son Chad came to me at the age of four and said, "I can read this book Mom".  We were at a skin specialist for dry skin on his elbows and knees. It was his first encounter with the book. He read it orally; with wonderful enunciation and flow. How had this happened without me knowing it? On another occasion he came to me at age five and presented me with a perfect cube made out of a piece of paper. I'm not a mathematician but this seemed unusual. In both cases I cheered and praised him for these accomplishments. I was, however, unaware of the process he had taken to get there. I recognized his mental acuity at a very, very young age, however I cannot say for sure if I was aware of his processing.  

Since that day, I have had a couple of illnesses: a brain tumor in 2001 and a large cancerous tumor in my right leg in 2009.  Chad, the same boy and 23 at the time of this incident, came with me to many of my appointments for the 2009 situation. We had met with the doctor to hear the verdict and the procedures of chemo, radiation and surgery.  We listened carefully, then he and I walked back to his truck and he opened my door for me. He stopped me before getting into the truck to take me by the hands and said, "I wasn't there for you for the brain tumor Mom, but I am here for you now.  Tears were coming from his eyes and an indelible mark registered on my heart. That was "My Moment" and it transformed my cancer journey. I knew I would make it. There were other moments with my other children that had the same impact but this is an example of when I finally caught the sincerity and revolutionary nature of one moment. 

As teachers, I truly believe every day has a moment that transforms. Some days may have many. We may be aware of their power, or blissfully unaware.  However, life is simply moments followed by moments that we partner in.  They may be indelible like my moment with my son or they may simply point a child in a right direction for that day. Whatever they are, one thing is for sure, they have incredible power.  Today's a great day to look at  each moment as an opportunity and to listen carefully to your intuitive nature. Thank goodness, "Every Day Has a Moment"!