Days in a Sentence: The Great Sharing Out

In a week of expressing thanks (here in America, anyway), I want to shower all of the contributors to the weekly Day in a Sentence with praise for sharing their words. I am always heartened to see what comes into my blog bin when I put out a call for sentences. So, thank you – each and every one of you, whether you contribute each week or just when time permits.

And now, on to this week’s sentences:

First, Ken gets double-duty. He was the only one to contribute a sentences two weeks ago and I decided to hold onto his poem for this week. And then, he sent forth another sentence for this week, and both are wonderful (as usual):

a week on reports
hammered words into shape for
deserving learners

(and then)

Could you believe it –
from the millions on the Net,
just one sentence – mine?

(Yes, Ken, yours …)

David, who sometimes gets stuck inside my spam filter (which used to happen to me when Day in the Sentence was hosted over at The Reflective Teacher years ago), was engaged in a bit of digital clean-up that had me looking over my system, too. I asked, but he could not come here to help me out.

Added an extra 250 gigabytes of hard drive to my laptop, imagine how spacious that feels, give me a couple of months and it’ll be cluttered up and almost full though…

Both of The Two Writing Teachers (Stacey and Ruth) posted their own Days over at their terrific blog and so, since they are such a team and close partners, it only seems right to share their sentences here, together, as writers.

Stacey: I’ve come to realize that I’m truly blessed to have a friend and a colleague who pushes my thinking and makes me a better teacher of writing.

Ruth: I’m thankful that my very favorite holiday season is upon us.

Bonnie made the attempt to use Vacaroo but the platform didn’t work out so well for her, so maybe it’s not such a hot application after all. But, as always, she took the plunge, gave it a try, gave it a second try, and pushed herself forward. This week, a sentence was not enough and time was a crunch.

Just got home from San Antonio last night. I’m unpacked and happy to be back at the Hudson.
I did have my computer with me for the week of course, but in the world of NWP and vacation, there was no time to Boil Down the Week, barely enough time to chat with friends, but, last night I enjoyed reading through Tech Friends on ning to begin my own conference debriefing. Good to be home and experimenting with yet a new tech tool, thanks Kevin.

(You are welcome, always, Bonnie)

Nancy has some traveling in her bones as teeth move into the mouth of her adorable daughter. Ouch.

Putting some miles on the car last weekend and this, while Alice gains some miles of her own, rolling to and fro, between bouts of teething discomfort.

Conferences over, Liza reflects on things she is thankful for. I am sure the parents are thankful for her as their children’s teacher.

Focused on gratitude this week, I am aware of how grateful I am to be a teacher but also how grateful I am to be finished with Family-Teacher conferences!

Breathing is … good. And having a time to catch your breath … even better. Delaine also tried Vocaroo and came up empty. Methinks I sent forth a bad application to test. I apologize.

Good morning from rainy California. I am so thankful to have a week off to spend with family and friends and to take a moment to breathe.

Deb explains about her Thanksgiving tradition, which  is to tell what people are thankful for at the table. She writes, “I appreciate the tradition. I love hearing the three year-old saying what she is saying, but also what the quiet brother in-laws.”

I am THANKFUL for time with 17 relatives at my Thanksgiving table who will say, ‘I am thankful for…’.

Twelve hours of sleep! My gosh … just look at Karen McM’s list and you’ll understand. I wonder what she dreamed about?

My week as a list (if you don’t mind): report cards; internet safety presentation; Giver project presentations; disaster drill planning; clueless parents; wonderful parents; happy students; cranky students; overachieving students; underperforming students; chatty students; rude students; downright (oohhh…vocab word) disrespectful students; why do I do this job?; God, how I love my job!; a day off from school, slept for 12 hours = priceless!

Nina reminds us to remain grounded in the real world and to not take anything for granted.

In this time of global financial crisis, I am so very thankful to have a job, and one that (despite my frequent complaints) I enjoy doing!

My friend, Ben, whom I wish I could have seen in San Antonio (why didn’t we connect, Ben?) found his thoughts in between two places.

While I feasted on National Writing Project presentations, my students devoured Night, by Wiesel, and Copper Sun, by Draper. (This would be my second sentence if I could have two: I am glad to be part of Kevin’s tribe, but I am sad that I didn’t get to hang out with him there at NWP.)

Anne M. went out and connected. And she returned renewed with ideas. Isn’t that the best part of going to a conference of substance and meaning? (Of course, nothing is worse than the opposite — returning home from a conference that was meaningless).

My week was a thought provoking one as I attended three days of conferences – giving me many wonderful ideas, challenges and the best of all, new and existing connections with some wonderful educators.

The heart of what is important is the center of Sheryl‘s thoughts this week.

Talking of food, friends and family together on Thanksgiving made light work of the weekly chores, duties and responsibilities leading to the day.

Thanks, Art, for reminding me that being in a roomful of hundreds of other teachers who care about writing, and share a similar philosophy, is not an isolating act but one that connects us with others.

Being around the other concerned interested teachers at NWP made me feel more normal than I usually do.

sara looks around and sees a possible ending to passing the buck and she hopes, it will be the students who gain from this change of heart.

it is infinitely satisfying to see my teaching team step up this year and really hold the students accountable, instead of just saying “oh well, it’s easier not to deal with it,” thus saving my stomach from more potential ulcers. : )

Cheryl is thinking downhill (or is it cross-country) with winter and cold weather now upon us but friends and family to keep us warm.

Relaxing with family and friends over a day of skiing and an evening of good food, thankful for these moments.

Pig roast! Not just a pig roast, but a Barbarian Pig Roast! Angie fills us in.

Our second annual Barbarian pig roast at the Texas RenFest with over 30 of our friends followed by Thanksgiving with our son and our close family friends made this past week busy but absolute fun!

Tina also had food on her mind (not pig, but shellfish) and the break in the action that comes with Thanksgiving.

The blackened scallops I ate last night (at the Gill Tavern) were, so far, the highlight of what has been a perfectly pleasureable four-and-a-half-day vacation.

And finally, Amy can breathe a sigh of relief and give some true thanks that the health care system worked for her and her family, and I send out our collective thoughts of support her way, too.

This year we gave thanks for Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO of Illinois. Why? Because we just received word that they will cover the ENTIRE cost of a computer/communication device for our autistic 10 year-old.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a sentence this week. I am truly thankful for your words.

Peace (in sharing),

Day in a Sentence: seeking writers

If you are wondering what happened to last week’s Days in a Sentence, well, I was away to the National Writing Project conference and I think many others were at either NWP or the NCTE conference, because I received only one reply to my call for sentences — from Ken (thanks!). although Gail P. did try out Vocaroo (she is ever so brave).

So, I am hoping everyone got home safe and sound, and now has a rich sentence to share.

Please considering boiling your week or your days down into a sentence, then use the comment link on this post to submit your sentence. I will gather them up all and release them as a collective post sometime this weekend.

Here is mine:

Sitting in a room with 1,000 other teachers from the National Writing Project is like being part of a tribe that learns and shares and grows together.

With Vocaroo:

And if you are in the US, have a nice and relazing Thanksgiving break.

Peace (in stuffing),


Off to San Antonio but first …

Along with many other folks, I am off to San Antonio tomorrow for the annual meeting of the National Writing Project. It’s going to be a bit of a whirlwind, as on Thursday, I have to go to a dinner celebration that honors a book project that I was part of, in which three of us from the Western Massachusetts Writing Project wrote about how an organization can prepare for unexpected change in leadership and be ready for the unexpected. Our monograph book — The Challenge of Change — was just published and the dinner is a nice way to gather writers and editors together after two years of work.

Then, on Friday, along with sitting in on at least one workshop, I am co-presenting a session on the Writing Processes of Digital Storytelling in which a NWP colleague and I will talk through ways to get kids writing as they begin planning a movie project. This session comes out of some work that we did as a partnership between NWP and Pearson. The website resource is still under development, but you can see some of the work that I did around the concept of claymation in the classroom.

And then, I fly back home on Saturday (after a dinner with some NWP tech friends on Friday night). Phew.

But first, how about Day in a Sentence? Boil down your week or your day into a single sentence and then use the comment link on this post to share out. I will do my best to gather all of the words and release them on Sunday, but it may be Monday or so before you see them.

Here is mine (I tinkered with an audio site called Vocaroo to podcast — you can try it, too — if you podcast your sentence, just include the Vocaroo link with your words):

I feel a bit like a mouse in the maze this week, as I help students working on stop-motion movies, Google maps, and other technology-related projects that have fully engaged them and given them hands-on creative work. (direct link to podcast)

Peace (in days),

You Days in a Haiku

Some wonderful syllables came my way this week as we transformed Days in a Sentence into Days in a Haiku. Thanks to everyone who took the plunge. And here is a gift for all of you: a GeoGreeting, which spells out words based on images from Google Earth.

And now — your haikus:

Paul is seeking some company.

Found a hotel room
To NECC and DC I go
Split the cost with me?

Wow. sara actually had a student wonder about what is it like to teach (actually, I have a group of students planning a teach the teacher day(s) event and it has been interesting to listen to them talking about how a kid takes over the room).

twelve-year-old students…
“what’s it like to teach 6th grade?”
“like herding kittens.”

Ken gives us the gift of imagery. I imagine he thinks in poetic thoughts.

sun high in the blue
water sparks and squints past green
fields this is our land

Liza needs some respite. So do I. How come I doubt neither of us will be getting it anytime soon?

Crisp and cool fall air
Insane deadlines and too much work
I long for a break

Crazy busy people … all of us, right? Anne captures that in her haiku.

My week was crazily busy,
Simulating and fun,
Yet wearying and energy zapping.

Ahhh. Report card time? (We moved from trimesters to twice-year report cards, but I remember this time of filling out report cards all too well). Good luck, James.

Forever marking
Never finishing the job
Report card time’s hard

I love the sounds here in Eric’s poem.

Pitter, patter, rain
Overcast shrinking daylight.
Winter is coming.

Stacey feels as if she has gone overboard, but hey … it’s for the kids.

After school I went
to Attleboro and bought
too much for my kids.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Peace (in syllables),

Days in Haikus

I’ve been thinking in syllables this week (maybe some residual sickness?) and so it seemed natural to return Days in a Sentence to a former version of itself, known as Day in a Haiku. I invite you to boil down your week or a day in your week into a haiku (traditional structure: 5-7-5 or non-traditional) and share it out with us here at Day in a Sentence.

Use the comment link on this post to submit your words. I will keep them in a moderation bin until this weekend, when I will publish them all.

Here is mine (as podcast):

Macs for podcasting
then,  PCs for stopmotion;
Maps, too. We’re busy.

Peace (in verse),

Days Gone By, Days Ahead


I was greeted almost every day with some new sentence and thought for the Day in the Sentence activity and there was a mix of messages, too. Some of us are looking ahead to the United States presidential election and others are looking at the moments of our lives, both in the classroom and in the home. That’s what I love about Day in a Sentence — the variety.

So, thank you to all who contributed.

Here are your Days in a Sentence for this week:

Gail P. and I teach in the same school and this week, we were both immersed in parent-teacher conferences, but not before we had dinner with some friends from online communities (Liz and Maureen). And now, Gail is on Twitter, ready for another adventure. This week, she writes: This week has been full of important and interesting conversations with family, friends, students, and their parents.

Liz is new to Day in a Sentence, but she went at it in great style. If you head over to her blog, you can see how she made her entire thinking and editing process transparent as she moved from a long piece of writing to the very concise: My mind jumps, I wonder, am I learning less than I would if it were still, is ADD another word for the 21st century brain?

Janice took a step back and listened to the voice of her mom. Perhaps that is something we should all be doing more regularly, don’t you think? (Maybe the world would be a more peaceful place). Anyway, Janice realized a lesson in perspective. This week provided several examples of what my mother often said when I was complaining about my state of affairs; there’s always someone worse off than you.

Chaos? Yep, we know about chaos. And when Lynn J. finds the right tool to rein it in, she will share it with us. Right, Lynn? Lynn? Can you hear me? (hey, pipe down, you there, in the back of the room …) Lynn writes, Chaos reigns at the middle school again this week, and as I look for what will calm and engage my students, I wonder whether we will ever get our footing this year. (Good luck, Lynn)

Michaele has voted and hoping for the results. Me, too. It took a week to hit me, but the delayed surprise was still intense when I realized that I had signed, sealed, and hand-delivered my absentee ballot to the post office with as much care, determination, and HOPE as I did with each of my letters to my husband when he was last depolyed overseas to Iraq.

Yeah for reading! Sara, who is new to Day in a Sentence (I believe — welcome), shares this wonderful moment when the light goes on for a child. And when it is your own child, all the better. This evening I proudly listened to my six and half year old daughter read Ten Apples Up On Top! BY Theo. LeSieg for the first time ever.

Lynn C. (my other Californian Lynn) worked on the Day of the Dead this week and found a couple of cute C words to capture her thoughts (I added a few C words of my own). Comics, calacas, and can’t think of another “c”-word to describe prep for Day of the Dead this week. (Yeah, comics!)

sara p. had some venting this week, so I will just step out of the way and let her go: mike had back surgery on tuesday. it’s wednesday morning now. i slept on the floor last night, my emotional tolerance is, um, low. so here’s my sentence –
note to the nurses of the world: trying to catheterize my husband without a numbing agent makes me want to punch you in the face. don’t ever do it again.

Delaine has gone, and come back, and now contemplates the work on her desk. I think I know that feeling. After taking 34 seniors to visit University of California, Merced, on Tuesday, I returned to a pile of yearbook proofs to check.

Perhaps Liza needs a breather. You have our permission, Liza. There is stress all through her words this week. Feeling overloaded is starting to feel normal and I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing.

Lori (also new to Day? I think, so welcome) had one of those weeks where the pieces don’t always seem to fit in place. But I hope it turned out all right for her in the end. Here I sit my school’s media center, surrounded by books, overwhelmed by it all, attempting to puzzle out what to do with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this fragmented, out of order, falling behind week.

I love the poetry of Lisa’s sentence this week. I’ll leave it at that. Normal days only exist in my imagination.

Bonnie is all in with the election, making calls this weekend (hey, don’t hang up on her) for her candidate and excited about the possibilities. We are coming to the end of a very long presidential campaign and I am holding my breath, hoping for the best and looking forward to next Wednesday, the morning after. Life goes on of course, but I think we need someone like Barack Obama to take the reigns away from Bushwacker. Here’s a great polling site: for updates.And for bit of diversion, here’s yet another writing challenge, the National Novel Writing Month that begins on Friday. Write a novel in the month of November:

Cheryl engaged them, with complaints. Now, how in the world did she do that? (through wonderful mentoring, I am sure). I spent an afternoon in a training with educators about using the online reading resources we have available to us. With purpose, there wasn’t one complaint about using technology.

Stacey needs a new light. Now, this could be metaphorically, I suppose. Or not.  I’m sitting in darkness because my desk lamp, which has had the same fluorescent bulb for the past five years, just blew out.

Joe (another new friend here) made some discoveries just below the surface that has him thinking of many possibilities. Way to go! This half-term week I’ve leapt far further into the future of teaching than I thought possible, discovering that what I have been imagining is actually happening and all in between digging the garden!

I want to get on an airplane and head to Anne M.’s classroom. She describes a possible project that would have engaged me to no end as a kid. Where were all the musicians when I was in school? Had a meeting with a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra member who wants our school to be involved in a music classroom that will be a virtual one, next year, term one where our students work with two other schools and will be taught how to make compositions of their own and save them for digital use, with the orchestra providing any sounds or effects that they need.

Nancy read a book! (which is not so easy to do when juggling an newborn child). I wonder what she read. Nancy?  This week was all about trying to get back into my pre-mommy groove by reading an actual book; so far, so good!

Nina did the impossible: she beat the clock and got things done earlier than usual. I hope she relaxed a bit. Instead of staying at work until 7 pm on Friday as I usually do, I managed to plan next week’s lessons by 11 a.m. today, so why can’t I do this every week???

Gail D. had a well-deserved respite and found a way to rejuvenate herself in the hills. I had the week off – and savored every moment of the last days of October in the Sierra foothills.

Amy has a sentence and a request (which I just did for her): I thought I was crazy to try to do anything academic on Halloween. I decided to have the kids create their first blog posts on our brand new classroom blog. They got out the laptops and you could’ve heard a pin drop in my room. They were engaged and focused, even in full costume! Click here to visit our 3rd grade page. The kids would love to have adult and student comments on their work.

Thanks to everyone for sharing out this week.

Peace (in words),

Come on in to Day in a Sentence

I’d like to invite you all to participate in this week’s Day in a Sentence. No strange twists of the concept this week — just simple: Reflect on your week or a day in your week, boil it down to a single sentence, and share it out here through the comment link of this post. (If you podcast it, that would be cool — just give me a link and I will include it in the final post).

I will gather up all of the comments and repost them as one community post over the weekend.

I look forward to your reflective insights and, if you are new, please give it a whirl. It’s a wonderful community of writers, educators and others, sharing out some words and thoughts.

Here is my sentence:

I had my first Tweet-Meet-Up this week and finally put faces to two “friends” from the online world (and one friend from my daily world) over Mexican food.

And thanks to everyone who added their voices to the NotK12 Conference VoiceThread that we used last week for Day in a Sentence. It’s not too late to join that party. The K12 Conference remains in full bloom, with new presentations every day, and the VoiceThread I set up is for reflections on what you are experiencing and learning.

Peace (in days),

Day (and K12Conference) in a Threaded Sentence

I am hoping you will join me this week (and beyond) in adding your Day in a Sentence to a VoiceThread that I have set up as an offshoot of the K12 Online Conference. Bud Hunt is leading the NOTK12Conference, which is another way to reflect and expand upon the learning from the wonderful K12 Online event (which has really launched in full force this week).

I set up a K12 Conference in a Sentence as a VoiceThread, asking folks to reflect on their experiences with the material in a sentence. And then, I tacked on a Day in a Sentence page, too. So, I figured, why not just make this week’s Day in a Sentence right in that VoiceThread.

Haven’t used VoiceThread? You should give it a try. It’s a great platform for pictures and audio and is quite easy to use. You will need to have an account with VoiceThread to post your comment (which can also be posted as a written comment).

So, please consider heading to the VoiceThread directly, or use the embedded Thread down below (they are one and the same).

Peace (in days),

Days in a Sentence: the musical, part 2

As anyone trying to blog with Edublogs knows, last week was a difficult time. The entire network was in the midst of change to a new server system and it was difficult at times to get to a blog to comment. Although there was grumbling in the forums, I still think Edublogs is a powerful network and that the push for upgrades shows foresight by James Farmer and company. I know I don’t want to be part of a network that just stands still.

So I asked Amy, who hosted last week’s Day in a Sentence (see the results here), to consider doing it again this week and she graciously agreed. Amy continues with her theme from last week, which is to boil down your week or a day in your week, with music and lyrics in mind.

We hope you consider joining us over at Amy’s place for this week’s Day in a Sentence.

Here is my submission:

My Sentence: I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to be a stock broker these days, wandering the wreckage of the economy.

Reflection: And this reminds me of a song that I wrote a few years ago with my older band. The song is called: The Stockbroker’s Blues.

Listen to the song


I got the stocks
I got the bonds
I’ve got the whiskey
to tie one on
I’ve got the money
I’ve got the gold
I’ve got companies down on their knees
being sold

You know it’s funny
these games we play
All of that money
Bound to drive a man insane

I’ve got the mansions
I’ve got the cars
I’m laughing and smoking
Cuban cigars
Living the high life
Making the calls
Hoping and praying the market
doesn’t fall

You know it’s funny
these games we play
All of that money
Bound to drive a man insane

Now I’ve got nothing
I lost it so fast
One day I’m up
and the next day I’ve crashed
Five-cent deposits
Thunderbird wine
That’s how I spend my days,
killing time

You know it’s funny
these games we play
All of that money
Bound to drive a man insane

Peace (in days),