Recognizing Numbers 1-100

Here is a quick tip using a simple tool, the 100 grid. My grid size is one full page and then part of a second page cut and taped in the back. (I laminated.) It created an oversized grid, which I liked. There are tips for logistics, assessment, initial EXPLORATION (which is key), and scaffolding ideas. Difficult teen recognition is addressed and more importantly, it offers opportunities for students to explore patterns on the grid, which develops natural mathematical thinking. Each student needs a grid and transparent marker. This can be done with small group interventions or whole group. Go mathematicians!

Please Join Me As I Step Into a New Space

This small 10 X 12 bedroom has a rich 28-year history in my home. I can chronicle its colors by looking at spots inside the closet that I missed when painting. A nursery turned into a bedroom. Floors once covered in carpets, now have warm colored wooden boards. It has housed party guests and been a respite for women who have needed a place to live for a while. Now it is empty. I selfishly grieve that the years with little children living home are over. I walk around in it like a ghost from Christmas past. So, to battle this kind of thinking, I will set my mind on something creative.  I will transform this space once again, but into a new place. My place.  Somewhere to pray, work, write, read, goal set, create, journal, meditate, listen to music, or anything I want. I get an uneasy feeling putting my needs first. But there is a time to give and a time to receive. There is hope growing in my heart as I anticipate the next phase for this room. My Room. First I need to give My Room a name. Will you offer me some suggestions?

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SHAME is a five letter word.

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Shame. Yep, it’s a five letter word for me...far worse than any “four letter word.”  What’s my current trigger? If I am being honest, I feel shame while I am on this writing journey and not yet published. It’s sometimes a battle in my mind to pursue this dream. Can you relate? Have you ever pursued a goal and heard the shaming voice that says, “Who do you think you are to go for this?” Or maybe, “You don’t really believe you will achieve this, do you?”

These thoughts are “lies” that can be hard to battle. But they only have power over us when we are acting as if we believe the lies. One lie that many of us fall for is that success only happens when we land at our destination, and I know that is not truth! How do I know? Because I have experienced firsthand how people have blessed me throughout their journey to their dream destination.

For example, I am inspired when collaborating with a teacher to improve student learning or their own instruction. The end goal of student improvement isn’t the only satisfying achievement. For a teacher, everyday steps toward the end goal can be gratifying as well. I am encouraged by others starting a new garden, degree, house project, weight loss program, vacation plan, or anything! It’s your courage and bravery that is noteworthy. Will I toast and celebrate your “destination?” Of course! But I am motivated by your fortitude while you dream and struggle.

So, let’s all remember to resist listening to the shame filled voice that keeps us from our dreams and instead let’s encourage each other to listen to the voice that is leading us in love. What’s your loving voice asking you to do? Rest? Build? Create? Restore? I’d love to hear about it!

The Moment Someone Learns to Read!

There’s magic in the air when a child learns to read. Those of us who teach early literacy or are parents helping their child learn, all marvel when a child actually “cracks the code” and realizes the letter symbols become words. When it happens the child often looks up at you surprised and then you get to say it, finally, “Yes, you are reading. You are now a reader!”  It’s magical and of course there are tears in your eyes and chills down your arms.  That profound instant when those symbols are transformed into meaningful words never ceases to amaze me. The written word is astounding in every regard, not only to educate, enlighten, and entertain, but also in its incredible ability to transform us and offer the powerful opportunity to reason together. 

This blog will now be REFORGED (my word for the year, see my New Year’s blog entry) with a very strong early literacy focus.  I feel very right about this goal.  My books and my passion surround early literacy and quality instruction.  So…here’s to the next step in the journey. 

Would you share a magical moment when you were teaching a child to read or YOUR magical moment when you cracked the code?

Love you all…and I hope you enjoy the Reforged early literacy focus coming this year. 

NAME YOUR YEAR to aim your year!

Hello and Happy New Year Friends!

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I love the excitement that comes with the start of each new year: a blank page filled with promise.  For me, early mornings offer this same feeling of anticipation, much like the excitement before you jump off the low diving board. Well, New Year’s Eve is the high dive! Although I love the hope of New Year’s Eve, I don’t do resolutions.  Instead, for years I have selected a word to focus on for the coming year. There seems to be a growing trend of this practice, which I love. Some of my words have lasted for more than one year. The word wouldn’t release me.  Each word has had a positive impact on me, by bringing clarity to some area of my life. I focused on hope for two years when my circumstances were grim during my divorce.  As I have focused on a word, I have found myself reading literature through that lens and then journaling about it.  It has often led me to the next step in my journey. I share this with you in the hope that some of you might want to pause and consider selecting a word for yourself this year.  I recently asked a newcomer to my annual neighborhood New Year’s Eve party what his word could be for 2018.  I watched him pause, and then it seemed as if his word quite naturally floated to the surface, and he responded: “courage.” I saw in him, and have seen in many others, the same kind of response. It’s as if their hearts know deep down what is best for their minds to be exploring in the coming year.  This year my word is reforged. One reason for this focus is a desire to use what I have learned and to strengthen, rebuild and create something new.  So, dear friends, will you pause and listen to what your word could be? I would love to hear your word if you would like to share…   

Dare to dream with me...

 We all know someone who has a story about themselves or their parents and how they MISSED an opportunity to live out their dream.  Perhaps it was to invest in a stock, patent an idea, go for the girl, or open a car wash.  For them, the unlived dream came and went. For some who didn’t take the step, it might be filled with deep regret. Still others are ok with how things have landed. 

 For me, I feel compelled to dream and driven to pursue the same, but let me say it is not without cost.  Creating my Facebook page and sharing my dream of being an author left me feeling exposed and nervous. Even writing this post leaves me feeling vulnerable.  But maybe THIS transparency is the exact point of it all. Maybe I can encourage you to take a first step in your dream. This is a dreamer’s journey. But how could I be so bold as to post my dream for everyone to see? I mean some people knew, but now everyone knows. I put it on social media for heaven’s sake!  Who am I to say I am an author?  Am I a fake? So I looked for some honest answers. I asked other writers and artists and they told me they have had similar struggles.  I looked to my old, reliable red covered Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of author, and found the first definition: the writer of a book, article, etc.            

OK, according to Webster I am not a fake. So why this inner struggle? I mean, who am I to believe that my dream will become a reality?  So, after two sleepless nights and lots of prayers, I have found I am more grounded with some answers and am reminded that the very question of “Who am I, Lord?” has been asked before.  I am amongst a long list of people who believed they were doing something which they felt was bigger than they believed they could do.  Yes, God works through uneventful people.  But we are promised to be instructed and equipped until the work is complete.  So, who will listen to the dream seed that was placed in them and press on through the growing process and run the race set before themselves? Will you dare to dream with me? What’s your dream? Volunteering for a worthy cause? Creating the worthy cause? Opening a business?  Opening a restaurant? Attending the Olympics? Participating in the Olympics? Learning to golf? Hosting an event? Changing careers? Moving to a new location? Building a tree house? Going on a date? Post a dream if you dare…and expect a mental fight about why it is impossible; but be reminded, that He who began a work in you will carry it on until it is completed!  


WHACK! Have you ever been hit in the head and it hurts…a lot?  How about when it hits you in the heart?  It’s the kind of “hit” deep down inside that SHOUTS that this is something you need to do or think about.   You know it is somehow bigger than the actual thought itself.   Well, today I had a rather healthy dose of WHACK to my heart. I won’t go into the details, but am here to encourage us all.  If you have a thought that is whispering or whacking in your heart, it may be time to listen.  If this post resonates, you know you have something to add to your to do list.  Whack!

Happy Thanksgiving!