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Teach it Forward

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My Word for the New Year 

As in past years, in lieu of a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion, I’ve cho­sen a sin­gle word to frame the year ahead. There are numer­ous web­sites and blogs that cel­e­brate this idea. This is my favorite. The fol­low­ing sen­ti­ment from the site real­ly sums it up beau­ti­ful­ly; My One Word replaces bro­ken promis­es with a vision for real change. When

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I love that you always find a bookstore!” 

After post­ing pho­tos on Face­book of a recent trip to Chica­go, my friend Joanne post­ed the above com­ment. My heart soared a bit, know­ing that my pas­sion for books and book­stores gar­nered such a love­ly, pos­i­tive obser­va­tion. It’s no secret that just about any­time I find myself traips­ing through a new town, I am eager to check out the local bookstore.

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Read-Alouds from Room 212 

Inspi­ra­tion. Sat­is­fac­tion. Sad­ness. Tri­umph. Long­ing. All of these emo­tions might describe what read­ers feel when reach­ing the end of a great sto­ry. Room 212 just wrapped up anoth­er read-aloud and the over­whelm­ing con­sen­sus was that Out of My Mind by Sharon Drap­er gave us lots of mixed emo­tions to sort out and just as much to

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Pass the Ps Please – an Evening with Dav Pilkey 

Pos­i­tiv­i­ty, prac­tice and per­sis­tence… a pow­er­ful approach to over­com­ing a mul­ti­tude of chal­lenges and unbe­liev­ably bad school expe­ri­ences. The one and only, Dav Pilkey, shared sev­er­al heart­felt sto­ries to inspire kids (and adults) dur­ing his recent stop in St. Paul as part of his “Dog Man, Do Good Tour.” With humor and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, Dav explained that as a kid

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Ask Me About … My Amazing Students! 

New year. New grade lev­el. Same class­room filled with same amaz­ing kids from last year (along with sev­er­al love­ly new addi­tions). Just wrapped up the sev­enth day of school and the same ques­tion keeps run­ning through my mind… how did I get so lucky? “Loop­ing” (mov­ing up a grade lev­el) with a class that you absolute­ly adore from

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Successful 

Suc­cess. Thesaurus.com offers more than fifty syn­onyms for the word “suc­cess”… accom­plish­ment, fame, hap­pi­ness, progress, tri­umph, and vic­to­ry all have a place on the list. With test­ing hys­te­ria mak­ing the rounds in schools and class­rooms every­where, the def­i­n­i­tion of suc­cess as it relates to read­ing, has like­ly weighed heav­i­ly on the minds and hearts of many

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Teaching Is an Art 

I recent­ly received a mes­sage from my friend, Amir: “Mau­r­na, I want­ed to get your feed­back on this arti­cle. I taught Eng­lish for 8+ years and my final M.Ed. project was on read­ing, so this is a pas­sion of mine. When I used to pre­pare NYC pub­lic school teach­ers for their licens­ing exams, they would like­ly do bet­ter on the

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Book Memories 

My first mem­o­ry of falling in love with books takes me way back to the ten­der age of five. The lit­tle “Gold­en Book Gold­en Hours Library Clock House” that I received for Christ­mas that year helped me become the pas­sion­ate read­er I am today. I cher­ished the col­lec­tion of twelve lit­tle books and one in par­tic­u­lar was extra

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Serendipity 

I love the word “serendip­i­ty.” I also love when I actu­al­ly expe­ri­ence the feel­ing of serendip­i­ty. It shows up unex­pect­ed­ly in moments when I feel a sur­pris­ing con­nec­tion or hap­py coin­ci­dence between two seem­ing­ly sep­a­rate things. It makes me believe in the pow­er of the uni­verse and often leaves me ques­tion­ing whether these occur­rences are more than a fluke. I especially

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It’s the Little Things That Lift Us Up
When the Big Things Bring Us Down 

Recent­ly I had “one of those days” in room 212. A day that brought me to tears and had my heart aching. Dri­ving away from school on a Fri­day after­noon I knew my fun week­end plans would be inter­rupt­ed now and again by thoughts of my kids and some of the tough stuff going on. The same kind of

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A Match Made in Heaven 

A lit­tle more than two years ago I shared a Teach it For­ward col­umn enti­tled “Books for my Grand­ba­by and Me.” As I cel­e­brat­ed the arrival of my first grand­child and mar­veled at the joy of becom­ing a first-time grand­ma, I embraced the chance to share my love of read­ing with this most pre­cious future book lover. It was a match

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The Beauty of Joy Writing 

If you dropped into Room 212 for a vis­it between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. you might won­der what kind of “Writer’s Work­shop” was under­way. It’s not that you wouldn’t find evi­dence of writ­ing … the ques­tions raised might cen­ter on the gen­res of writ­ing you would be hard pressed to detect. No per­sua­sive essays. Not

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The Beauty of Imperfection 

As I reflect on the start of my 27th year of teach­ing, I am struck by what an unusu­al first week of school it was. Room 212 was filled with a sense of calm that doesn’t usu­al­ly accom­pa­ny my first few days of a new school year. The fact that our school build­ing was closed all sum­mer due to

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Read-Alouds That Leave a Lasting Imprint 

The gift of a favorite teacher read­ing aloud an unfor­get­table book is an expe­ri­ence like­ly to leave a last­ing imprint on a student’s heart. For me, it was Ramona the Pest, intro­duced by my sec­ond-grade teacher. I’ll always remem­ber Tam­my Burns, the girl in my class who had beau­ti­ful ringlets just like Ramona’s class­mate Susan. And just like

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The Gift of Books:
Terrific Titles for the Classroom Library 

As teach­ers across the coun­try take to the streets to push for ade­quate com­pen­sa­tion and work con­di­tions, it’s a won­der we still have young peo­ple enter­ing this noble pro­fes­sion. And yet, at col­lege and uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies every­where, new teach­ers will be receiv­ing their cre­den­tials as they embark on what will like­ly be one of the

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