Celebrating: My Social Media Bubble

Social media can be many things. Perhaps it’s a function of where you look.
I’ve managed, unwittingly,  to craft a social media bubble around people who nurture. Around those who celebrate simple things, who notice and wonder; around poets and teachers; around readers and writers. Around people who spend their energies engaged in lifting up the world, looking closely, and caring. And because of this we continue and grow, even in the darkest times. My wish for 2017 is that we hold tight to each other and our beliefs through the storms and joys.

I’ve found beautiful souls through communities who uphold an unspoken belief system. One of acceptance and support. One that lifts. This week I celebrate the lifters. The people who have changed me as a teacher, a reader, and a writer. The people and communities who lift me a bit higher every day.

Ruth Ayers and thecelebrate link up community who celebrate are my weekly ending and starting place. I end the week with joy, and I launch the week with that spirit.


11454297503_e27946e4ff_hTwo Writing Teachers Slice of Life’s community calls me to write. The concept of “slicing” breaks down the overwhelming and often intimidating act of writing to an almost neighborly task. Each post is welcomed with abundant and supportive feedback.


poetry-friday-1-1Poetry Friday folks are new connections for me. I’ve lurked in their world for years. Intimidated because I wasn’t really sure about poetry.  Now, with a little push from my friend Margaret Simon, actually link up with real poets. And in small ways, write poetry with Mary Lee Hahn’s #haikuforhealing and Catherine Flynn’s #commonplacemarvels.
There are blogs communities. These go to blogs include Vicki Vinton’s To Make a Prairie, Nerdy Book Club, and Two Writing Teachers. These blogs attract thoughtful educators worth reading.

Twitter, the origin of much of my social community,  continues to lift and support me. #TCRWP and #G2Great, lead with the tremendous love and generosity of Dr. Mary Howard, are my go to spots. The people who connect here teachers in the truest sense.

Face-to-face meetings at conferences as well as the “I am going to be in your town on… ” meet ups have created loving friendships that continue throughout the year on Voxer and other cyber sources.

This week, my heart goes out to you, my social media bubble. I celebrate you this week for lifting me up daily with your posts, your tweets, your voices.  This week I celebrate the promise to lift up, to hold on through the storms, and to be there to celebrate the big and small. This week I celebrate you and all you lift up.

Poetry Friday: Lifting the Veil

After reading Jan Burkins’ post about her One Little Word, Open, I happened on to a poem by  Mary Oliver that seemed to fit perfectly. I sent a picture via tweet. Her reply has me on a hunt for my “OLP” for 2017. One that might keep my eyes lifted towards my OLW and the world.
A quick google search of “lift and poetry” found this quote and the original source, Shelley’s essay A Defense of Poetry. I was not an English major, so this manifesto written in 1821 is new to me. The twenty-plus pages are worthy of study. There are many lines to be lifted.

For today, this line lifts me. And reminds me of the haiku a day challenge Mary Lee Hahn started in December.

Lift  Percy Shelley.png

Poetry does this and more. Looking closely and attempting to articulate what I see, lifts the veil; helping me find words and new ideas each day.

Sun streaks down the chair
infiltrating the bedroom
Wayward clouds linger

Thank you, Linda, for hosting Poetry Friday. Read more poetry thoughts, here, at Teacher Dance.poetry-friday-1-1


Slice of Life: New Year, New Goals, Now What?


I love the beginning of the year in school. It’s a new beginning. We start with a clean slate. New notebook. New pens. Clean spaces. Renewed focus. New goals. But the new doesn’t stay new for long. To be successful, we need accountability tools.

The thing is, accountability doesn’t work unless it is supported and wanted.

For some, the support needs to be social. I have a friend who is embarking on a weight loss program that requires checking in on Facebook. She understands there is no way she will do the work unless she has social pressure.

I’ve imposed accountability measures on myself with writing. Blogging and a writing group provide support.  If I didn’t have those constructs, I would not write. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or that I don’t hem and haw. That I don’t disappoint or, fall short of my goals, but I do it to some degree. The support of other bloggers and writing friends help me show up.

But all the support in the world would not matter if I didn’t want to do the work. The work is too hard, and the distractors are too great to be just about the support. I have to want it. The want has to come first. Then the support sustains. But I have to want it. And we have to humble ourselves. We have to say we’re not strong enough on our own. We have to accept someone else in our business.  Someone who can see us fail.

You think you get something, but then, you realize, maybe not so much. Recently, my son asked me to support him accomplish something. I was his accountability tool. But, everything came from him. It has to start there.

Funny. We teachers use the word “accountability” all the time. But do we think of it as a means to reach a wanted goal?  Accountability is not “got you.”  It is about defining what you want and who or what will help you through the ups and downs of accomplishment.

Goal making and accountability in the classroom is often one-sided. It starts and ends with the teacher. That right there is a problem. As the new year starts, all bright, shiny, and hopeful, I’m thinking about how to engineer the rest of the school year filled with goals students want to reach.

If you haven’t seen NED’s Great 8, check it out.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.



One Little Word 2017

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are
small matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

All around the blogosphere people are selecting their one little words. Like magic, the words have descended. I’ve watched and tried to listen, look, notice, wonder about what mine might be.

2016 was the first year I faced with a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop fear. This year, those concerns still hover; those fears and new ones. I learned last year that anticipating the inevitable was a waste of energy. The shoe will drop and unexpected flowers will bloom. The good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow will always be. But, I can’t control or soften the blow of eventuality by pondering it. So thinking about my OLW for this year, I thought of words that would move actions toward the light even in dark moments.

I thought seriously about the word, notice. So much of what I need to do more of is simply to notice. Notice is the simpler idea around the word present. For a while, notice was on the top of my possible list that was long and rambling. Nothing was falling in my lap that felt right.

Last night, I thought of my dad, who at 96, is the bravest person I know. Someone I want to emulate. Someone who is so full of heart. And, I thought seriously about the word heart. I want to be that person who has tremendous heart. Some days I am that person. But I worried about the days I’m not. Days when my heart could not handle the task, and I set the word heart aside.

I wanted a word that could be small or a big. A word that did not require heroic moves every day.  A word that could grow little by little. A word, if there were purpose and energy to sustain it, could get big.  I thought about small actions. Smiling. An act that transforms. Just by lifting the sides of the mouth, everything gets a tiny bit better. Just lifting.

Lift. Could it work?

Lift (verb)
move or bring upward from the ground or other support to a higher position
to raise or direct upward
to remove or rescind by an official act, as a ban, curfew, or taxes.
to hold up or display on high
to raise in rank, condition, estimation, etc.; elevate or exalt
to make audible or louder, as the voice or something voiced

Lift student voices to be heard and honored.
Lift student burdens and barriers so they can take next step.
Lift students to see their possible.

Lift my eyes from the screen, my worries, myself to see, to notice.
Lift my hands to reach toward another who needs help.
Lift my voice to say what needs to be heard.
Lift my heart to help those who are hurting or fearful.
Lift the corners of my mouth to smile.

Small and big acts of lifting.

Welcome OLW 2017.