Got a Minute? One Sure Fire Way to Get Students to Read

Pernille Ripp

For the past 3 years I have avidly shared my reading life.  Students always know the book I am reading, they know the titles I am excited about it, I have shown them pictures of my ever growing TBR (to be read) pile at my house and every week I am lucky enough to bring in new books for my students.  I place them on the shelves, the ledges, the window sill.  I place them on their desks and I place them into their hands.  And yet, something was definitely missing.  Students were reading sure, I see them with the books in their hands, but for some reason my excitement was not carrying over.  Those books I had loved that were given 5 stars on my “Read” poster were still staring at me from the shelves.  Enter Nancy Atwell and her idea that is so simple, yet I had forgotten…

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How can educator engagement be measured?

peter spiegel

I’ve been spending the past few days thinking about Thursday’s #mschat on educator engagement. I was truly stunned by the participation. It feels like #mschat is starting to enter a ‘next level’ of chats on Twitter. More participants, more lurkers, more more more. The insights and contributions from around the country (and world) has been growing steadily over the past few months and as a result I have come to value the connections, new PLNs, and discourse that only connected educators can create.

The topic of educator engagement was one of the most difficult one for me personally to talk about. Moderator @blocht574 sent out an article to read pre-chat (which as a side note I thought was a great idea and maybe he could do that again this week but a day before the chat). My first tweet exemplified my difficulty coming up with a good opening response:


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PARCC Tests and Readability: About two grade levels above students’ grade and age

The other results show that the passages chosen are about two grade levels above the readability of the grade and age of the children by measures other than the Lexile level. The results of testing children on these passages will be quite predictable. Students will score lower on the tests than on previous tests. We have already seen this in New York where test scores plummeted when the new tests were given last year. English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities will be particularly hard hit because these tests will prove extraordinarily difficult to them.


Today, by Mary Oliver

Today and every day…


Whenever I admonish myself for not getting enough done, I think about Mary Oliver’s poem, “Today.” 


Today I’m flying low and I’m

not saying a word.

I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.


The world goes on as it must,

the bees in the garden rumbling a little,

the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.

And so forth.


But I’m taking the day off.

Quiet as a feather.

I hardly move though really I’m traveling

a terrific distance.


Stillness.  One of the doors

into the temple.

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‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver

I do believe that I’ve found my poem – just the poem I needed to get going on this beloved life of mine – just the poem I will use with my readers in my classroom… Will they too connect the way I have, or will they find their own little connection – a connection to their lives or to the lives of others…? Magical! Spiritual! Sensibility! Mysterious! Love! Anguish! #mrscimini #tcrwp #MaryOliver #Life #Rumi #poetry

A poem for every day

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could…

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