What I'm Thinking

Aug
14
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The following posts and interviews about literacy, leadership, school culture, and joyful learning have appeared over the past year on various sites. As all are related to improving and sustaining student learning across the curriculum, I share them together with hopes of inspiring your ongoing professional learning an…
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Feb
23
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I’m still having trouble reconciling all the hoopla and public misery over the Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss for my hometown, Seattle. The fact is that our team played a great game and had a wonderful season. I’m reminded of our national obsession of winning at all costs, not just in sports but also in education. The prize…
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May
12
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I’ve been writing books for educators for twenty-five years, so you might think the process gets easier and faster with time and experience. Not so. Every time I start a new book, I am a bit terrified. Can I say something that will matter to readers? Will I be able to actually do it? Can I complete it within the requir…
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Aug
24
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My husband Frank and I have a favorite luncheon spot in Seattle. Chinooks is a large, popular, family-style, seafood restaurant that overlooks Fisherman’s Bay with a great panorama of the water and working fishing boats.  We’ve been frequenting the place for many years and have never been disappointed. We know some of …
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Mar
18
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I've been making fruit tarts for about two decades, and it's taken me that long to become masterful, that is, able to turn out an excellent fruit tart just about every time. I don't say that to brag. I've had lots of failures over the years—tarts that had too much sugar, fruit that got mushy, crusts that weren't fully …
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Aug
22
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My husband Frank and I spend a lot of time in our garden trying to create and sustain beauty, balance, and peacefulness. Lately, I've been thinking about gardening as a metaphor for living and teaching. We never quite get the balance right, or if we do, those moments of "rightness" and beauty are fleeting. No matter ho…
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Jan
17
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My husband Frank and I strive to make our living environment as pleasing as we can, for ourselves and for those we welcome into our home. We want our guests to feel cherished and appreciated. We attempt to create spaces that are beautiful, whether it be a vase of fresh flowers or a carefully set table for dining. We co…
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Jun
14
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My dad died a few months ago at the age of 93. I don't think one is ever prepared for the death of a parent even when it's expected. While my dad had become increasingly frail over the last two years, his death seemed a bit surreal to me. I was relieved his struggle was over, but I missed the dad I'd known most of my l…
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Aug
23
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I met Kathy during a weeklong residency where I was demonstrating effective teaching of reading in a high challenge school. Like many of the students in the school, fifth-grader Kathy was a bilingual learner who was struggling as a reader. While her teachers told me she was reading on a second-grade level, a one-on-one…
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Aug
11
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Uncle Harry is my dad's cousin, twice removed. (That is to say, he is a cousin through marriage to a cousin.) Uncle Harry is 98 years old, has a girlfriend, drives at night, lives independently, and enjoys his life. He has not been to a doctor in ten years. ("What I don't know won't kill me!") But the best thing about …
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Feb
28
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It is late fall in a first-grade classroom where I am teaching students to tell, write, and publish important stories from their lives. I am having a public writing conference with Marco. He has written some random letters on his paper, and his teachers believe that is the best he can do. We soon learn that he is capab…
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Aug
20
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As I pen these words, it's late August and I'm thinking about blackberries. We have a blackberry field next to our house, and my husband Frank and I have been picking those luscious berries for the past few weeks. Those blackberries have topped our morning pancakes, provided us delicious desserts, and given us a frozen…
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