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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Teach it Forward

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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 […]

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I Love to Read Month

“Why would we employ reading initiatives that derail internal reading motivation and divide kids into reading winners and losers?” —Donalyn Miller I’ve been thinking about this question from literacy guru Donalyn Miller ever since I read it last May. It struck a chord and made me challenge some of my past practices as a champion of […]

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One Word

by Maurna Rome This year I resolve to forgo the typical New Year’s resolutions. Truth is, they rarely make it past Dr. King’s birthday in mid-January. Beginning this year, I’m committing to a much simpler idea. It may seem trendy with a lot of recent hype, yet a quick Google search reveals a 2007 blog […]

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Creating a Curriculum and Culture of Kindness in the Classroom

by Maurna Rome “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” ― R.J. Palacio, Wonder Wouldn’t our classrooms be grand if students were given opportunities to learn about and experience what being kind looks like, sounds like and feels like on a daily basis? Wouldn’t life be grand if we could all simply choose […]

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The Book That Saved My Students and Me

by Maurna Rome A rough start to a new school year can be unsettling for rookie teachers. It can produce feelings of self-doubt and immense stress.  Inexperienced educators may question everything from the quality of their undergrad teacher training to whether or not education was a wise career choice. The lack of preparation for managing […]

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Creating a Classroom Community with 31 Letters

by Maurna Rome Long gone are the days of “Don’t do this or that or the other thing” lists of classroom rules. At least I hope they are long gone… The influence of “responsive classroom,” greater awareness of the power of being positive and much research on effective classroom management have ushered in a new […]