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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Teach it Forward


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]



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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

Meeting Caldecott award winning author, Dan Santat at the ILA Convention.

Summer School

by Maurna Rome The bumper sticker reads: “Three reasons to be a teacher; June, July and August.” This may be true for some, but it was never my mantra, at least until this summer. This summer I decided to participate in summer school and what a good decision that was! My class of “summer kids” […]


Ready for the World with Powerful Literacy Practices

by Maurna Rome I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of reading aloud daily to my students. On days I fail to meet this goal, I go home feeling like I’ve let the kids down. I recall the frenzy of Valentine’s Day with the excitement of school-wide bingo, special class projects and more than enough candy—but […]


Graphic Novels: A source of inspiration and mentor texts

by Maurna Rome Flashback to the first week of school … we were passing the microphone around our large circle of 29 third-graders. It was easy to see that many students were shy and nervous, but one young man was apparently looking for some shock value. He began with “My name is Michael” then nonchalantly […]

Keme booktalks with assistance from Austin.

Book Talk, Book Shop & Book Swap

by Maurna Rome As my students pass through our classroom door, the morning buzz begins. The kids are already reminding me… “It’s Friday, Mrs. Rome!” We all know what that means. It’s Friday Fun Day! It’s time for “Book Talk, Book Shop, and Book Swap.”  The kids in Room 132 do not seem to care […]