When I was a little girl I wanted to be an airline stewardess so I could travel all over the world. As it turned out, I became an elementary teacher with travel limited to summers and books, where I can let my imagination take me away. I’ve had incredible trips to England, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Costa Rica, The Netherlands, Canada and Mexico. My husband was stationed in Turkey during his time in the Air Force. He still longs to return. I have a former student in Germany and it’s on my bucket list to surprise her one day. I love learning about cultures and customs. I especially love meeting people who take the time to talk about their life. I have had serendipitous moments like the time that my husband and I were in an airport and saw a former student, or the time we were in a cafe and the waitress overheard me tell my husband that I had never eaten fried green tomatoes. She told the cook and he brought out a platter of them for me to try. In France my husband wanted to surf and the owner of a surf shop loaned him a brand new surfboard for the day. The world is filled with friends I haven’t met yet.


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This year I decided to join my daughter’s family in Wales for Christmas. Yes, during a pandemic, with a new variant waiting for its next host. I am triple dosed with the vaccine, have a pile of masks and will do may best to avoid crowds (in an airport?) I decided to reframe my thinking, kick my fears to the curb, and join in a joyous celebration with my granddaughters. My daughter really gets into the holiday spirit. She sent me pictures of the snow falling on her yard. I can’t wait to tromp around in the snow with my fun-loving granddaughters. The girls have a love of books that I like to think they inherited from me. The journey will be long so I have saved books on my phone as well as a book of puzzles.

Wales is a magical place that stole my heart on my first visit. Mind you, I ended up in Zurich overnight due to a snowstorm. Even that detour was filled with adventure. So I have made my Mind Map of the journey and I am counting down the “sleeps” until I leave.

Had to switch month to December due to covid

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Active Engagement Strategy

Use Think-Pair-Share at any point in the lesson to structure meaningful conversation:

•Before introducing new material to tap into prior knowledge

•After watching a film clip to gauge a reaction

•After reading a short text to begin a discussion

•Before students begin an assignment, such as an essay or a set of word problems, to gather ideas or formalize procedures

Ask a question. Be aware that open-ended questions are more likely to generate more discussion and higher order thinking. A think-pair-share can take as little as three minutes or can be longer, depending on the question or task and the class size.

Teacher can pre-select pairs.


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Hang In There

Some holidays are difficult. Especially now that my kids are grown and off living their lives. The house is quiet, too quiet, and there doesn’t seem to be any point in cooking a big feast, or even a little one. It’s those times when thoughts of the past seem to hold me in a vacuum. Thoughts of my grandmother’s kitchen remind me of the smells of freshly made tortillas and lentil soup bubbling on the stove. With my eyes closed I can see her wiping her hands on her apron while she makes sure everyone has a full plate. Then I think of people in line to receive food from a food bank, hopeful there will be enough to last a few days. I have a stocked kitchen. I can hear my grandmother saying it’s time to take that turkey breast out and make a meal. Gratitude covers me like an old quilt. As my grandmother would say, “Cuega ahi, mijita.” Hang in there.


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Rote memorization is not an effective way to learn and remember.   How many kids forget their spelling words as soon as they finish the test?


We need to give kids an active role.

Just a handful of kids’ needs are met when the entire class has the same word list!     

         NOT FAIR                                             NOT GOOD TEACHING

There is another way– Use WORDS THEIR WAY

●Use of multi-sensory learning
●Students are actively engaged
●Students learn word patterns 
●It’s fun

The Primary Spelling Inventory, or PSI, can be used in kindergarten through third gradeThe Upper-Level Spelling Inventory, or USI, can be used in upper elementary, middle school, high school, and postsecondary classrooms. If a school system wants to use the same inventory across all elementary grades, they can use the Elementary Spelling Inventory, or ESI. 

ASSESS First, then FORM GROUPS based on needs, TEACH needed skills, ASSESS

Stages of Spelling Development

Pre-Phonetic (Before a child learns letter/sound combination they will try to write letters they have seen)

Phonetic (child is learning letter/sound and will try to sound out words).

Making Learning new spelling words FUN and MULTI-SENSORY

Remember that the fun activities are NOT in place of direct instruction of a skill. They are meant to make the learning enjoyable  so it is stored in longterm memory.

**We learn through experiences

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Slow Your Roll

I need to remind myself that I don’t need to take on more than I can handle. I see stress on the faces of people everywhere. Rushing here and there to get things done. Always haunted by a mental list of what they must do to be whole. To be satisfied.

Worry lines seep into skin and leave a reminder of their power. I tell myself to enjoy every moment, but to do that means to actively pause what I have deemed the do or die tasks that wait for me. I choose to replace thoughts of procrastination with thoughts of peace. I will enjoy a peaceful day and get to my task list tomorrow. Ahh, it feels better already.

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