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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Teach it Forward

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From Gridlock to Road Trip

If you were stuck in bumper to bumper gridlock, heading south on Hwy 100 last week, you may have noticed a woman laughing all alone in her car as she waited patiently (with eyes on the road) for things to start moving again. The very next day you might have caught a glimpse of that […]

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Food for Thought

As the first month of a new school year comes to a close, I offer some food for thought about nourishing our teachers. Literally and figuratively. Years ago when I was working on my administrator’s license I discovered a gem of a book called If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students! Guide […]

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Describe 10 Things in Your Perfect World

Money that grows on trees. Free houses, free cars, free food, and free phones. More books, more pets and more medicine for sick people. Clean water. Parents who don’t fight. These are the wishes of JD, a sincere and striving eleven-year-old reader I am tutoring this summer. The prompt that produced his wish list (which […]

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Capitulate vs Conquer

As I eagerly gathered up my ideas and insights for a follow-up article about last month’s “Mystery Reader” topic, I found myself trying to negotiate two seemingly incompatible schools of thought regarding effective literacy teaching and learning. I am a huge proponent of student choice and voice (instead of teacher- or curriculum-dictated text selections), teacher […]

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Mystery Readers

In this column, I’m pleased to share a brief overview of “Nurturing the Development of Reflective Readers,” a session I attended at “Echoes of Learning,” the literacy conference at Zaharis Elementary in Mesa, AZ. Kris-Ann Florence and Megan Kypke, second and fourth grade teachers, shared how they promote reflection and enhance comprehension by using a […]

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Spring Break 2017

I’m still relishing the memory of spring break. Surrounded by mountains and plenty of sunshine, I stumbled upon a literacy oasis that up until then, I had only visited in my dreams. Almost a month later, I am still intrigued and inspired by what I experienced. I knew instantly that this magical place would be […]

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Isn’t It Time to Listen to the Teachers?

Recent headlines are sounding the alarm: More Minnesota teachers leaving jobs, new state report shows One-fourth of new teachers leave within first three years, according to a new state report.  The statewide teacher shortage described as an “epidemic” has Minnesota school districts searching for strategies that will increase teacher retention. A February, 2017, Star Tribune […]

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Do Over

The notion of a “do-over” is alive and well on school playgrounds across the country. Ask any recess supervisor and they will confirm this. You hear it being requested on four-square courts, under basketball hoops, and on football fields… “Awwww, that should be a do-over!” Kids know that sometimes you just need another chance to […]

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Windows, Mirrors, Sliding Glass Doors, and Maps

“There seems little chance of developing the humility so urgently needed for world cooperation, instead of world conflict, as long as our children are brought up on gentle doses of racism through their books.” —Nancy Larrick “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative […]

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Books for My Grandbaby and Me

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of books and reading. I am actually an even bigger fan of babies. I am instantly smitten. I can think of nothing better than cuddling an infant, blanketed by that new baby smell, reading to an audience of one. You can imagine how thrilled I am […]

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Choice and Voice

In several past articles I’ve written about the frustration I’ve felt concerning my district’s decision to adopt a new reading curriculum. In recent weeks I have had to reflect and dig deeply to understand my uneasiness and fear related to “an innovative and modern way to teach the gamut of elementary literacy skills” (quote from […]

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No, Thank You

“Thank” “You Jason.” Three simple words on a cake … an analogy for one of my greatest inner conflicts as an educator. One morning in March I stopped at Sam’s Club on my way to school to pick up a cake. A celebration honoring a colleague was taking place that day. I quickly found a […]

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Words of Wisdom

I may never be asked to give the commencement speech at my alma mater—or yours for that matter. However, just in case the opportunity presents itself, I am ready. After considerable reflection on my 25 years as an educator, I can sum up my message for aspiring teachers who are about to embark on a […]

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March Madness

Ask any 3rd-8th-grade teacher about “March Madness” and there is a good chance you won’t hear much about basketball. You may, however, get an earful about a topic that is about as near and dear to our hearts as standing outside for 25 minutes of recess in bone-chilling, zero-degree weather. In Minnesota, the acronym is […]

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Juxtaposition

jux·ta·po·si·tion | jəkstəpəˈziSH(ə)n/ | noun the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. Example: “the juxtaposition of these two images” Juxtaposition.  The word has been swimming around my head for several weeks. The best month of my entire career filled with some of my proudest moments as an educator happening at the […]