How Taylor Swift Made My Day…

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My work with Scholastic has been a fabulous experience, but the opportunities it has brought forward have really made my head spin (in the best possible way).  Today, we participated in a live webcast with Taylor Swift, who talked about her life as a reader and a writer.  Last week, we recorded a question in a third grade class at my school, and Taylor answered it today.  It was an experience that made the kids giggle and the adults get teary-eyed, and it was an experience that I know none of us will ever forget. The webcast has been archived, so I invite you to share in the experience.  My school pops up about the 19-minute mark, but the whole thing is a big bowl of happy.  Watch it all if you have time.  She even gives a mini-concert at the end! 🙂




*If you don’t have Flash, try going to

Top Teaching

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I know I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been busy with my latest project. I’m now a weekly blogger for Scholastic’s Top Teaching! The blog redesign hasn’t happened yet, but the posts are beginning to go up! I’m excited to be part of this fabulous team. Check it out!

Julie’s Top Teaching Posts


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Technically, my summer has been over for two weeks now, but I’m still in a bit of denial. We have a JumpStart Summer School program at my school, and I absolutely love it.  It started a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a great way for the invited kids (and us teachers) to get back in the swing of things! The teachers are all bravely fighting the battle of the “summer slide”, and I know we’ll have great results.

I also taught six workshops in the last two weeks (whew!) on assesing readers with a notebook.  I taught sessions for teachers of Kindergarten through 5th grade.  On my campus, we are going to try notebooks at every grade level this year, so I was excited to begin processing this work with some teachers from around my district. I added just a few charts from those workshops – you can check them out here. (My apologies for the quality of the poorly-lit iPhone pictures.)

I found several scripted minilessons that I’d forgotten about on my iPad, so I will add those soon.

Hope you are having a fabulous summer! I’m headed back to New York City tomorrow for a training with Scholastic – stay tuned for more info on that! 🙂


Crafting with Books

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I can’t be the only person who can’t manage to throw a book away. I have some that have been loved into oblivion – they are quite literally falling apart at the seams – but I just don’t have it in me to help them find their way to a recycle bin. Surely those starving children in Africa that my mother always told me about could use this book. Who am I to just throw it away?

Well, I saw some art on Pinterest that made me think outside of throwing away my tattered and torn picture books. Perhaps I could make them into art! (Check out Fabulously Flawed for the Cat in the Hat art that I pinned for inspiration.)

Now, most of my Dr. Seuss books are hardbacks, which means they handled my students with a little more grace over the years. I do, however, have a collection of very pitiful David Shannon paperbacks. I figured I’d start with the original, so I pulled No, David! from the stack and let it fall completely apart. (Seriously, this took very little effort on my part, which was good because destroying a book, even in the name of art, would have been a challenge.)

I picked out some of my favorite pages and cut, layered, and glued them to a canvas I needed to cover. A few coats of Mod Podge later, I had the wrinkly, crooked mess you see below. The perfectionist in me wishes it was straighter and less wrinkly, but I feel like it works with the content, so I’m letting it be.


Happy 4th of July! 🙂

Start Spreadin’ the News…

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Okay, so I’m not leaving today, but soon enough! Next week, I’ll be at Columbia University for the Summer Writing Institute hosted by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I’m so excited – this will be my sixth TC institute, and I have no doubt I will leave just as inspired as I have every time before.

Every single minute of the day will be packed with opportunities to refine my craft, and the evenings will be spent exploring the big city that has been calling my name since my very first visit.

I can’t put my finger on one specific reason my small-town heart longs to live in New York City….the brilliant minds, the bright lights, the Broadway shows – could be any of those. I do know, however, that next week will be an opportunity to grow in so many ways, and I can’t wait!


Moving Complete

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For the past few months, I’ve had my website up in two places.  MobileMe is officially going away at the end of this month, so I took down the older version of my site that was published through that service.  It was still getting lots of hits, so I know this will break some links and pins, but I hope everyone can find their way to the new page – that’s where all the updates are anyway! 🙂