Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 2, 2015

Crest 2013, Gretchen Bernabei, TABE with Berenice

I met a wonderful student of mine!  I taught her in my Dual Language Bilingual class some years ago.  I will be posting way more on this event and what impact meeting her has brought me.  I cried on the way home as I was recounting with my daughter what fantastic gift God had blessed me with today.  You know sometimes you get down for whatever reason and there's always seems to be something or someone to bring me back.  Meeting Berenice today has provided me with enough optimism and energy for a long, long time!  My daughter said, "See Mom!  When you get down about things, just remember this!"  My daughter always seems to know the right things to say, at the right time, sort of like Berenice.  I wanted to share a video from today.  She came to my presentation and said she really liked it.  She loved the student writing that I shared and those little stories that mean the world to us.  Without the little stories of days gone by, then I guess it wouldn't be worth all the hard work, sweat and tears that we put in.  Thanks Berenice!  You made my day, week, month and year!

Monday, October 7, 2013


I have left a link to an article that was tweeted to me today about how we do our best thinking in the shower.  It is by Lucas Reilly.  I find that the supposition that we think more creatively in the shower.  Lots of ideas flood my mind.  When I exercise, I get a clear mind and think so much.  When I clean the house or do some automatic pilot type of activities including driving back and forth to work everyday, I love to chill and think.  I think some of by best ideas come in these circumstances.  It is because my brain is relaxed and thinking creatively the most.  In fact, according to the article, my brain works more in these times then when I am hyperfocused.  There are lots of other implications for my life and how we can think in the synthesis domain.  This is a great read.  Click on the article below titled BEST THINKING.


A Delicious Alternative

I wanted to share with you the photo of my low carb double cheese burger from Whataburger. It was quite filling and delicious. Today I added avocado. So as I watch Monday Night Football, I feel a poem coming my way.

What A

What a diet I am on
Few bad carbs if any
Toss the white bread
enriched and full of evil
No more muffins, fries or
Raisin bread or buttered toast

But one thing I must boast
Whataburger double cheese
Topping endless and onion raw
never roast
-ed but fine
Pickles chips
Ice Burg Lettuce
Is A'ight
Melted cheese
More avacado please!
I'll have some more

What an alternative
Get my big burger fix
in' all over the place
Give me a salad bowl
Knife and fork and a napkin
or two
Gotta love this salad burger
Tasty, tasty tasty

Noon lunch time
Alternative to carbs?
Just Whataburger for me
On my way
Don't forget my large
Iced Tea
Unsweetened for now
'til I get my 5 packs
packs of Truvia
Wash it all down
What a lunch
for real!

Don't Miss Out This Saturday!

This highly engaging workshop you truly don't want to miss. All are invited from SBISD.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Writing Kind of Day

I wanted to share some photos of some writing samples during some writing workshops.  We were exploring and unpacking some stories. Some wanted to share their writing transformations using revision.  We tracked the movement of our mind using different colors as we replaced, added, deleted and even reordered some of our previous writing.  We wanted to move our writing to a better place, not necessarily a finished place but a better place.  The idea of revising and breaking it down the process by using an acronym called RADAR.  Kelly Gallagher and Jeff Anderson worked on this idea in Kelly Gallagher's book Write Like This. We explored this idea that was presented to me at a TCTELA conference a couple of years ago in Galveston.  It has evolved with the use of color.  I didn't take a snap of my coding.  I will have to do that soon.  Here the pics of some of the work.

Down Draft

First Revision-Only Small Portion

Closer View of Revision with Different Color To Track the Movement of the Mind

Under Construction-First Revision

Under Construction-First Revision

First Revision-Under Construction

Under Construction-First Revision


I went to a church parking lot to take my daughter driving tonight.  We went around dusk.  There were a few parked cars here and there.  The traffic was very light and right for some driver's education course a la mama.  We hadn't been driving for a little while.  It seems that IB has taken over all of my daughter's attention. She has much more homework than in previous years. The work load with International Baccalaureate seems to be very demanding.  So since my daughter started on her homework earlier in the weekend, we had time to drive in a safe place.  As she was driving along I noticed the beautiful clouds and great sunset.  I thought, "I wish I had my camera!" So at the ideal time, we stopped to switch drivers and I retrieved my camera from the trunk.  Here are the photos below.  I hope you enjoy them.  They will serve as a stimulus or trigger for writing and thought in the future. You just never know.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CREST Victoria Young PPT

Victoria Young
I attended CREST yesterday.  My head is still spinning.  I will post some epiphanies from the Victoria Young presentation.  I couldn't write or snap photos with my phone fast enough!  Not to worry.  The PowerPoint was released today on CREST's website.  Just scroll down to the bottom.  Here is my BOX link to get to the PPT.  Enjoy!

FALL CREST 2013 Victoria Young PowerPoint

Here is a link to the CREST Website: CREST Website Link

Victoria Young 

Small town look
Small town outside of Austin on my way home.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Egg and I.....Ay, Yay, Yay!

Egg and I and Some More

I have discovered a great breakfast place.  I like to take my daughter with me to eat breakfast on either a Saturday or Sunday.  I was way busy yesterday, so I wasn't able to take her on Saturday.  Today was different.  I woke up early on a Sunday, at least early for me.  I knew that I was going to go to CREST sometime in the evening. Our plans changed because of that.  I thought, "Let's get our day started right!" So I coaxed my daughter, from her Sunday slumber, to join me for breakfast at my favorite breakfast place.

We went to eat at the Egg and I around 9ish.  I wasn't for sure if it would be jammed packed like IHOP usually is on Sundays. If that would be the case, I was prepared to practice some patience.  When we arrived, I didn't see the cars that I thought that I would.  So we didn't have to wait to be seated.  I enjoyed that.

Since I am on the 17 Day Diet, I decided to eat an omelette with veggies.  It came with salsa and fruit.  I find the Egg and I has many, many choices for my diet.  My daughter ordered her usual scrambled eggs, bacon, wheat toast and those delicious-to-die-for home fries.  They are so delicious.  Elizabeth swears by them and so do I.  Unfortunately, they aren't on my diet!

One of the things I like best about the Egg and I is the drinks.  I always get iced tea and water.  No big deal, right?  Well I don't have to wait for refills because they bring an extra carafe filled to the brim.  I love this. I don't have to wait for my waiter/waitress to do this.  

They have such great breakfast choices for my diet too.  Their omelets are varied.  I like the Denver and Wisconsin Omelette.  Even thought I love their toast, which are big slices of wheat bread with oats on the the crust, I am not on the third phase of my diet.  I can't wait until I am on the third phase of my diet so that I can eat some whole wheat toast.  They also serve English Muffins and Raisin Toast.  They have tons of jellies and jams to choose from, including sugar free jelly.  Yummy!

If you like egg whites with your breakfast, they have this dish that is called the Vera Cruz Egg White Omlette.  I highly recommend it.  It is an egg white omelette with bits of chicken and green chile inside and topped with  melted Monterrey Jack Cheese, along with three slices of fresh avocado.  They serve it up with a side of fresh chunky salsa and a mixed cup of fresh fruit.  It is so delicious!

If you are looking for a great breakfast place, then you might want to try The Egg and I.  It is quite the place with great service, great selection and endless drinks.  Give it a try!  You might just become a loyal customer just like me.  Maybe I will see you one Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More Authentic Writing Advice-A Great Read!

I have a Twitter account and I have people that I follow on Twitter.  Most of people that I follow have interests and posts about writing, reading, education and sports.  I love sports- sports writing and sports commentary.  So one day, this article was Tweeted.  Before I started to work that day, I decided to take some time to read it.  I find when I take the the time to read and write something, every morning before I start my work, that I am calm and collected.  I need to practice this everyday.  So I now I practice this with you, on a beautiful Sunday morning, on the first day of Autumn.  This wonderful morning has brought some crisp air  and inspiration to my fingertips.  I wanted to share an article with you for some time.  Today I actually remember it and since I favorited it on Twitter, it was easy to find.  Here is what I copied and pasted from the article, Writing Well vs Writing Correctly.  This comes from the blog called From the Mixed up Files of Middle School Authors. I will include the link below called Writing Well.

5. Proficiency comes from volume of writing. Spelling Punctuation and Grammar are the enemy of productivity because your student gets so wrapped up in finding the right answer that they lose the flow of the idea. Better your students write 3 messy paragraphs that communicate what they intended to say than 3 perfect sentences that don’t mean anything. Keeping that in mind it might be worthwhile to encourage students to differentiate between private writing and public writing Private writing need only be readable by the writer. Public writing should be polished. The more private writing your students do the more polished their public writing will become.
Again this might not be practical, but what if your students had a daily journal in which the feedback was only positive? It could be a very powerful experience for them. Or what if you just committed to highlighting 3 strengths in every assignment you grade. Please don’t underestimate the power of this. My editor is at his most effective when he shows me my strongest plot elements and my clearest iteration of the character’s voice. This gives me something to build on and grow toward, which tends to lead to stronger and more confident writing on my part.
6. Spelling is arbitrary and it changes. Show your student’s how to use a dictionary efficiently. And
 discourage them from relying on spell checking software. Consider the following sentence. If the t is missing in a key word I have not spelled anything wrong and yet the sentence is very, very very incorrect!

I chased the rabbit out of my garden with a big stick and a lot of yelling.
7. Many writers have a hard time seeing mistakes, but what is not visible may be audible. Give your students time and space to read their work out loud. I read every word of every draft aloud before I send it to my editor. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the prose. (This will be less true for students who are writing in their second language but it’s still a worth while practice for English language learners because it trains the ear in the new language.)
8. Be honest about your own mistakes. Encourage students to look for errors when you write on the board. Make a few on purpose so that they learn by your example how to handle that failure graciously. this will also help them gain an eye for proofreading.
It took me a very long time to think of myself as a writer because I mistook correct writing for good writing. I think with some sensitivity and some practical changes to how we manage writing assignments, we can have even struggling students thinking of themselves as proficient writers. Even better we can move them in the direction of being stronger writers more quickly.

 The more private writing your students do the more polished their public writing will become. That is so true.  Our students need lots time and opportunity to write, write and write some more.  That is true for me as a writer and I should model that with my students.  Modeling through think alouds my processing pays dividends.

Again this might not be practical, but what if your students had a daily journal in which the feedback was only positive? It could be a very powerful experience for them. Or what if you just committed to highlighting 3 strengths in every assignment you grade. Please don’t underestimate the power of this. My editor is at his most effective when he shows me my strongest plot elements and my clearest iteration of the character’s voice. This gives me something to build on and grow toward, which tends to lead to stronger and more confident writing on my part. Hmmmm....that sounds like a great peer conference strategy called Pointing from Dr. Joyce Carroll's and Edward Wilson's book called Act of Teaching.  I do agree with this.  

I loved this article.  It just confirms what I believe as a writer and a mentor.  I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment