My Top Ten Inspiring People


Most of us have pretty routine days, which is great because they allow the special days to really be special!  Most of my day today was pretty ordinary.  Around 4:30 this afternoon, I sat down at the computer to do some very typical schoolwork.  That’s when my relatively ordinary day turned into something special.  When I checked my email, I found a note from Dana Hankins, the movie producer of Under the Blood Red Sun.  Suddenly, my run-of-the-mill day was not so run-of-the-mill.  Through our blog, we have made a connection with a movie producer, actors, and the author and screenplay writer, Graham Salisbury.  These people are taking the time to email, Tweet, blog, and now Skype with us as we share our experiences learning, reading and writing.

How many kids do you think have the opportunity to talk with authors and movie producers about books?  Are we not fantastically lucky that people in Hawaii are interested in what we are learning here in Florida?  Not only are they interested, but they want to HELP us LEARN MORE!  How great is that?

Dana Hankins inspires me!  Thank you, Dana!  Thank you for turning what could have been an ordinary classroom experience of reading and discussing a novel into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and my kids.


And with that, I have to now list nine more people who inspire me in my work.  They make the ordinary extraordinary.

9. Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood Red Sun and commenter on our blog!

8. Priscilla Cummings, author of Red Kayakthe first author who visited our classroom, and with whom I got to eat dinner

7. Joan Hiatt Harlowe, author of Thunder from the Sea and a resident of our hometown, Venice

6. Liz Lantigua, author of Mission Libertad who visited our school and related the work involved in publishing her first novel for young people

5. Fern Schumer Chapman who wrote Is it Night or Day? about her mother’s escape to America during the Holocaust and who Skyped with us

4. . Anjna Chouhan and Lisa Peter, the curators of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust who Skyped with us during our celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday

3. Jan Smith, teacher extraordinaire and Huzzah! blogger

2. Sue Waters and Ronnie Burt, the Edublogs Support Team.  Without Sue and Ronnie, my kids and I would not be blogging because I would be lost in the technology.  Nobody does customer service like Edublogs.  Nobody.  Nowhere.

1. My KIDS!  Think of all the special times we share during our routine schooldays.  Last night I saw one of my former students at a New Year’s Eve party.  He said, “When I heard you were here, I had to come right over to see you.”  Now those were special words for a regular old language arts teacher to hear.   My kids inspire me every day.

Who or what inspires you?

What Do Teachers Do the Week Before School?

Hey Kids!

I bet this has happened to you numerous times in the past couple of weeks.  You are out somewhere with your family, and you bump into someone you know.  This person you know looks at you and says, “Getting ready for school?” with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Well, guess what?  Teachers get this same question all the time, too!

In reality, teachers spend a lot of the summer, not just the week before school starts, getting ready for the next academic year.   Some of us had to move to a different classroom, and just like when people move into a new home, getting organized and making it feel like your own takes time.   Some teachers become students over the summer, taking classes on-line or at colleges.  Lots of us spend lots of time on the computer, researching new educational trends or learning new technology.   We revamp old lessons and create new ones.  We shop for our classrooms.  We design our bulletin boards.  We READ.  Then when school arrives, we kick it up to high gear.

Here’s a photo essay of what we do to get ready for school:

After today, I am just about ready for our first official day of school tomorrow.  I’ll finish reviewing  Red Kayak so that we can play a game in class tomorrow.  Speaking of Red Kayak, did you know that its author, Priscilla Cummings, wrote a companion novel called The Journey Back?  It’s all about Digger’s escape from the juvenile detention facility where he was sent at the end of Red Kayak.  That might make a good book report book for some students.  

And speaking of students, it was great to see so many of you today at our Open House!  I hope you enjoyed getting reacquainted with your classmates and teachers.

What new changes did you learn about today?  How do you feel about those changes?  Do you see any changes in our classroom?

See you tomorrow!