Posts Tagged ‘My travels’

A trip to Goliad

On a recent Sunday Tom and I took a little road trip to Goliad, TX. What a great, historic little town! We visited the “hanging tree” that was actually used for hangings. Across the street is the Hanging Tree Restaurant – who wouldn’t want to eat there? Check out the pictures we took:

The courthouse in Goliad

Tom sitting by the famous hanging tree

The Hanging Tree Restaurant

Historic plaque by the hanging tree

Inside the Mission

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My recent travels have taken me to Denver Public Schools where I’m working with CORE Matters teams. Educators there are so dedicated to improving instruction for their students. It is a delight to be a part of this project! Teachers have used my book, Spaces & Places, to set up their classrooms and are using literacy work stations and small group instruction.

Here are some photos from January 2010:

"I Can" lists help children remember exactly what to do at stations and independent reading. This one is in a classroom library.


"I Can" list for independent reading

First and 5th grade teachers wear something on their heads to remind students to work independently of them- It works!

A cowboy hat works too!

Dedicated educators from the Force Elementary CORE Matters team

Teams examine leveled books together for guided reading instruction

Teachers make comprehension anchor charts

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Fun finds in Lititz, PA

While I was in PA, I visited my family again. It’s always fun to go home, especially when you grew up in an idyllic little town. To get there, I took the train from Philly to Lancaster after NCTE, and my sister picked me up at the train station. We drove to Lititz, my hometown, and got to do a little shopping in the wonderful boutiques (that did NOT exist when I was growing up there).

One of my favorites is the Sassy Tassel, a unique gift shop at 35 E. Main St. My sister and I poked around finding Christmas gifts and interesting things that might be used in classrooms. Look at what we found! Love the Home Stickers  and Amy Butler fabrics. Wouldn’t these be fabulous in a classroom library?

While at my mom’s house, we went digging in the attic. I found a real treasure– a certificate awarded to my mom in the 1940’s for completing the Palmer Method of Handwriting. I’m going to hang it in my office.

Amy Butler fabrics are amazing. I love the laminate ones for the classroom!

Love this framed piece of fabric and Home Stickers for the wall.

My sister Sandy, holding giant wall stickers.

See how the stickers peel right off the sheet? A stencil is left behind!

My sister holds an old handwriting certificate we found in my mom's attic.

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One word for the teaching I saw in Cabot… WOW! What wonderful classrooms I visited. It was hard to tell the difference between the special education rooms and those that weren’t. The only difference was smaller class size and more adult support. It was an amazing visit! Photos below tell the story in some of the upper grade rooms I visited. More to come on primary classrooms later.

Guided reading group meets in special education classroom. Teacher uses tools on table for focused teaching.

Whole group teaching area in 4th grade. Note the use of dry erase boards hung on wall in the area.

Fourth grade has tables and stacking drawers at the end of them for organization

Wouldn't you love to curl up and read a good book in this 4th grade classroom library?

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Pictures from NCTE

I have lots to write about and catch up on from the past few days – and I will soon! Until then, here are two pictures from NCTE this past weekend. I was at the Stenhouse booth signing books and also ran into a couple of other authors.

Meeting teachers at conferences is always a lot of fun

Meeting teachers at conferences is always a lot of fun

Chatting with Jeff Anderson and Robin Turner, two other Stenhouse authors

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See you at NCTE!

I was at Arkansas Reading yesterday and I am heading to Philadelphia for the annual NCTE convention on Saturday. I will be presenting with Laura Robb and Carol Varsalona on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9:30 until 10:45. The title of our presentation is “Reading Matters: Strategies and Tools to Engage Young Readers and Teachings in the Art of Reading for Living in the 21st Century.”

I will be at the Stenhouse booth (#608) from noon on Saturday signing my books, so make sure you stop by to say hello!

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My week in Missouri

Last week I worked with hundreds of teachers in the fine state of Missouri in two great college towns—Fulton, home of Westminster College and Columbia, land of Mizzou!

My trip began at the Stoney Creek Inn, a fun place designed to resemble a lodge. When you drive up, you’re greeted by a life-size moose (felt like I was back in Maine!) standing in a pond filled with live koi. Quite the cool sight! When you enter your room, there is a large stuffed animal on your bed (that you can purchase and take home). I was so startled by the bear on my bed that I actually jumped!

I spoke for the RPDC and at the Primary Reading Conference. It was such fun meeting all the warm and welcoming K-6 educators here during the week! Pictured below are some of the teachers I met as well as some of the sights I saw.

Columbia, MO is a fabulous town to stay in. There are quite a few fine restaurants and cool shops, and I’m so glad I took some time to explore downtown. Many unique galleries and boutiques can be found, including my new favorites– Poppy (poppyarts.com) and Bluestem Missouri Crafts. I even started to do a little Christmas shopping!

Next stops… Arkansas and Philadelphia. On the road again!


Westminster College in Fulton, MO



Large moose greets you outside Stoney Creek Inn


Large bear greets you on your bed!


Met a group of wonderful mother and daughter(s) teachers: Vicki Hammack (Malden), Amy Schoemehl (New Madrid), and Mary Lynn Jones (Scott City)


One teacher had my article from Instructor Magazine with her (I spoke on Spaces & Places) which I signed

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