Come on In! Day in a Sentence

I would like to invite you to participate in the weekly Day in a Sentence feature. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s informative (uh-oh — that always turns off the kids). Just boil your day or week down into a concise sentence, use the comment feature at this post here to submit (they will sit in moderation for a day or so), and then on Sunday or Monday, I will compile them all and share with the world as another post. Please leave a blog address, too, if you have one to share, as we create virtual connections amongst us all.

I will be working with teachers at the Hudson Valley Writing Project tomorrow on a podcasting workshop and I will be having them do this activity and creating a group podcast, so we will have some other voices this week. But we still want you!

Day in Sentence Icon

Once again, I encourage folks to maybe try their hand at podcasting, either through the awfully-easy-to-use site PodcastPeople or create an MP3 file and ship it my way at dogtrax(at)gmail(dot)com and I will host your voice for you (for free!!).

Peace (in a few words),

Your Day/Week in A Sentence

Today marks the first official time I am in charge of the Day in the Sentence feature and I am happy to report that we have a lot of people submitting their words to our collective voice. My aim is to keep the feature running for now here at this site, but to eventually pass it off to the community of bloggers and have others guest-host the feature. I imagine our friend, The Reflective Teacher, would enjoy knowing that his idea can blossom into a community of teacher-writers who connect every week.

So here goes:

A new colleague, Cheryl Oaks (who led a great K12 Online presentation and has done some podcasting with me via a Ning site), writes, “My week in reflection: I’ve been blogging about web 2.0 tools, good ideas, ideas about how to get new people involved in 21st century tools, this week I blogged about a day in the life of a 7th grader with the 1-1 laptop, time to spread best practice in the classroom. Over and out , Cheryl Oakes”

Nancy is back in the classroom after a break and glad to be there, too, as she reports, “Back to work after a two-week sojourn and the kids are mighty happy to see me!”

Now, the holiday spirit can often bring up conflicting emotions, as the Mindful Teacher explains, “My room was filled with riotous costumes except for a couple of kids who didn’t participate — for one, it seemed to be a cultural issue; for the other, he couldn’t bear to be uncool even though he knew that being the only one out of a costume wasn’t cool either — besides wearing a bright orange shirt on Halloween is a giveaway that you think its important.”

Bud the Teacher may be missing the classroom a bit, as he writes, “I’m spending more time talking tech with administrators than teachers; I sure hope that is a good thing for teachers in the long run.”

My good friend, Lynn (with whom I am co-presenting a workshop at the upcoming National Writing Project), reminds us that chaos is always on the doorstep of the classroom. She reports, “As a writing teacher I want to be like my models—Nancy Atwell, for example—but, the best I was able to do this week was to dispose of 3 constantly disruptive students, and by sending them out, allowing a class a break from chaos and (what was for them) a descent into thirty minutes of writing.”

Bonnie, who is about to entire Conference Overload, writes, “This has been a peaceful week as I move into conference mode next week for two action-packed weeks that I will be sharing with great friends of collaboration but first I have to get rid of a head cold and get my guitar ready to go more public to get my hands to stop shaking when I play for the world beyond my safe walls of my home.”

Family is always important and Tim writes that he has been trying to keep hold of that center, writing, “The week unfolded with a reaffirmation of the things that truly matter in life- family and spouse–and I managed to keep my eye on that center throughout which I believe was reflected in my connections with my students.”

Mr. Murphy gives us just enough to wonder just what is going on in his classroom, as he reports, “Everything came crashing down, but in the meantime my students and I got to murder a man.”

The pranks of Halloween visit Cynthia this week, as she muses, “The week began as usual in Room 13–some arguments, some disruptions, but mostly cooperation and teaching and learning–then Wednesday morning came and brought with it an early Halloween prank (or perhaps an act of “revenge” from some disgruntled students)–a trashed room and a missing podium–making it rather difficult for my oral communication students and me to effectively deliver our speeches.”

The Big Game was on Delaine‘s mind. “Cross-town rivalry week kept the yearbook students and me busy with all the activities leading up to the big game tonight.”

We’d still like to know how your week went and so feel free to add your comments to this post and leave a blog address, too, as I try to create a web of contacts. And I hope you return next week with some more of your writing, and possibly podcasting your voice. Spread the word — build a community.

Peace (in reflection),

I am taking over Day/Week in Sentence feature

Some bad news came this week, as some of fans learned that The Reflective Teacher is taking a break from blogging. He has been incredibly generous with his time and resources and got many of us working each week on his Boil Your Week/Day Down to a Sentence. It’s an idea I have used many times.

In the past, I have guest-hosted the feature for him, and I told him I would continue to take the reins of the weekly venture, as best as I can, in his honor, until the day he returns to blogging.

So, if you would like to participate, here is how it works:

  • Reflect on your week
  • Write a sentence that captures the week
  • Use the comment feature on this post to write your post. I hold it in moderation until all of them are submitted.
  • I collect them all and then publish as a post over the weekend
  • If you want to podcast as well as write, please do (please?) One resource is PodcastPeople, which allows for easy, no hassle podcasts. Just create a show and provide the link in your post.

So, go ahead and give it a try. It’s yet another way to connect with teachers around the world.

Peace (in reflection),


PS — Here is my Week in a Sentence, as a sample.

I heard some news this week of two of my former students who have troubled pasts and difficult lives and the news wasn’t good — both are already labeled behavioral problems and both are on the edge of the world, about to drop — just as I predicted and just as I strongly warned about last year, to no avail.

Listen to the podcast

Or head to my PodcastPeople site

Week in a Sentence: The Reflective Dogtrax

As promised, I am sitting in for The Reflective Teacher (who may be off reflecting or something — not sure) and hosting his Week in a Sentence feature, which I have really come to love for narrowing my own week down and for reading the week of others. What a fantastic idea.

Anyway, I will start off with a podcast. This comes from a workshop I gave at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project this weekend on podcasting, and as a hands-on activity, we created a podcast version of their own Week in a Sentence — with great results.

Listen to the WMWP teachers

Next up is Karen, who is off to see the Red Sox play (did I mention I am a Yankees’ fan in a house full of Red Sox fans — doh), who writes:

Tickets to a Red Sox playoff game in my pocket – I SO did not want to teach this week anticipating my trip to Boston and my first playoff game ever! Go Red Sox!

Matt, who just interviewed me for a project he is doing on claymation and moviemaking in the classroom, writes about the act of teaching:

I modeled a writing lesson today where I tried to come up with writing ideas live in front of a audience of squirrelly second graders and it did effectively hold their interest.

My friend, Bonnie, is up in Vermont, enjoying the foliage season, and she writes:

What’s a week without Boil Down…Today it’ all about Al for me…BRAVO, the Nobel Peace Prize…how will this event impact on our political landscape…I’m hoping for an Al Gore for President….I know, pie in the sky…that’s okay…off to Vermont to take some photos…

Nancy has a wedding to get to! (open bar? I bet teaching is far from her mind right now)

So thankful for the 4-day week; and now it’s wedding time–see you in two weeks!

My colleague from the WMWP, Susan, writes about her travels in her role as a leader and inspiration in the writing project:

The power of and learning from collaboration has pulled me from Amherst, to Berkeley, to Billings and home again this week guiding my work forward.

2,000 teenagers in one room, screaming and shouting! Sounds fun! It was for our friend, Graycie in this extended-sentence entry (which is perfectly fine by me):

Fearing the worst, I was part of the faculty keep-them-from-fighting/escaping team during the very first pep rally in our new gym which meant that for the first time all 2,000 teenagers would be in a confined space being mightily pumped up by loud music, louder cheering, scantily-clad cheerleaders, popular sports dudes and a very loud microphone. I was wrong; they cheered and yelled and danced in the bleachers and sang and hollered for the teams and the cheerleaders weren’t raunchy and it was just: So. Much. Fun.

Jody was thinking of chickens this week. That’s right — chickens.

So … our school wide topic is ‘Things with Wings’ which brings me to having made endless phone calls (which led to other possible leads and yet more phone calls) in hope of finding some fertilized chicken eggs to hatch in class. I have the incubator, not eggs yet. Teaching – always taking me on a weird tangent or three throughout the week!

If you missed the opportunity, be sure to go to The Reflective Teacher next week and add your thoughts. We’d love to read (and hear!) you.

Peace (in connections),

Your Day in a Sentence

As promised, I jumped into the seat left warm by The Reflective Teacher to man his My Day in a Sentence feature. So here goes:

First, I have my own sentence.

“Emotions– from joy to sadness — came through in the voices of my students as they moved from written page to podcast on an assignment to write a narrative paragraph about an object that brings up strong memories for them.” — You can even listen to their voices, if you want.

Our regular host, The Reflective Teacher, may have been pressed for time and other commitments, but he still left us with his own sentence about how images can provide sparks for writing:

We one-upped each other with the stories behind famous photographs; who knew these kids could teach the teachers?” The Reflective Teacher

Nani, another friend from the National Writing Project, had a very busy week with both writing and literature.

Everyone was tired this week but my kids and I got a lot done…made a dent in Othello with my seniors, held my Juniors’ hands as they did a synthesis essay and finished a novel with my freshmen!” — Nani

Ms. Q just wants to stay home for a day and recuperate. Who can blame her, really? She probably deserves a nice quiet day for herself.

Monday-8:35 am-ready for the week, lesson plans set, bring em on! Monday 3:24 pm-Can I stay home tomorrow and not grade papers and not plan lessons and not read the novel we will be starting in a few weeks and play on the computer all day and watch all my Tivo’d shows and just be a kid again????? Huh, can I?”Ms. Q

Jody may not have meant to leave this as her sentence, but, well, here I go posting it anyway because, darn it, we all want to feel normal most days (but not every day).

“Oh the joy, day in a sentence is on … thank you … another week of reading others words, relating and feeling almost NORMAL!”Jody.

Happychyk (!) is finding the balance between home and school — between Mommy-time and Teacher-time — a bit precarious (sounds like me and Daddy-time) and so I am emailing off some friendly medication (strictly over the counter) and positive thoughts to get her through this rough patch and make her happy again:

“My day for the maximum dosage of Exedrin:

Trying to teach this quarter’s content while doing last minute test prep for the Big Important Test next week leaves me little time at my desk to give feedback on essays I collected 5 days ago, so you would think that I would dedicate time at home to catch up, but the remaining hours are required for mommy duties, including a visit to the health clinic so they can update their immunizations lest they be excluded from school starting Friday, so obviously I find no time to do anything well–and to top it off, an irate parent has the audacity to blame me and my colleagues because she trusted her teenage daughter and only RECENTLY started checking her grades online (our school considers that a direct line of communication between teachers and parents and has been using it for years), which we update weekly, only to discover that she was failing several classes, and although we did personally call and invite the mother to get involved in her daughter’s academics, she claims it wasn’t soon enough.” Happychyk

MrC is going through the March syndrome: the month lasts too long. (Not sure if he meant hyphy or hyper but I left it as it was).

It’s March: the kids are hyphy and I’m looking for a new job.” — MrC

And finally, my friend Bonnie, is contemplating the professional development work she does through her National Writing Project site.

Friday’s HVWP event ended this week and many others that have come before, and it was worth it all.” — Bonnie

So, you may be thinking — I should have left my sentence! OK, Ok, go ahead, and use the comment feature here and leave your own. And then make sure you hop over to The Reflective Teacher and participate in the feature each week that it is offered. Remember, this is a community we’re building here.

Thanks for reading and for submitting your words.

Peace (with partnerships),