In My Classroom I…

In my classroom, I encourage students to take risks.

In my design classroom, I challenge them to stop centering everything and explore the beauty of sans serif fonts (that aren’t Arial, Helvetica, or *gasp* Comic Sans). They take risks as they learn to use adjacent, analogous, and monochromatic color schemes.

In my Pop Culture classroom, I challenge their long-held beliefs about race and gender stereotypes as well as encourage them to think about the media they consume instead of just passively accepting what they see and hear.

In my Journalistic Writing classroom, I challenge my students to trust that with a bit of hard work and focus, they can write. They take risks as they interview people they might not know and they surrender their egos when I ask for another draft. And another. And sometimes, one more draft, so it’s publication-ready.

In my Newspaper classroom, I challenge my students to report stories that impact the community, not just the school building.

In my classroom, I don’t challenge myself often enough. So when I saw a daily blogging challenge pop up in my Twitter feed, I decided that if I constantly challenge my students, it’s unfair if I’m not also being challenged.

So this month, every day (I hope!), I will blog about various educational topics. This timing is apt, since April tends to test my patience on all fronts. Perhaps this challenge will keep me focused on why I am a teacher, and help me see all the good things that happen not only in my classroom, but also in my building.

And We’re Off…

My book, “Lies Jane Austen Told Me,” has been out for a week. I am overwhelmed at how many people are excited about it, are buying it, are reading it. If you’re one of those people, thank you. Thank you from the depths of my clichéd soul.

Thursday night, EAB Publishing hosted a multi-author reading at a swanky library in downtown Omaha. I couldn’t believe that I was included in the list of talented writers, and was once more reminded how cool Omaha can be. The literary talent alone is impressive.

In the 10 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve experienced times when I write less than others. I either don’t make time, or I’m only inspired to write about things I probably shouldn’t, or I feel like I have nothing to say.

This past week, a week when I probably should’ve been blogging every single day, I couldn’t bring myself to write. I couldn’t quite get the balance right between joy and humility. As Stueve and I often lament: our Puritan DNA doesn’t like us to be proud of what we do.

So I’ll just say this: I have loved every photo posted on Instagram or Facebook or sent to me via iMessage when people get my book in the mail. I am humbled by the kind reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I was overjoyed Thursday night to see so many kind and friendly faces–people I’ve known for years, current students, former students, some strangers–all sharing in my excitement.

And I’m silly excited to head to Utah later this week for a couple of author events. I never imagined any of this when EAB said they would publish my book. Sometimes not imagining the possibilities is a good thing: we can be filled with awe at what actually happens.


New Digs.

For two years, I’ve been wanting to move my blog over to WordPress, and I just always found other things to get in the way. But with the imminent release of my book and wanting to spruce up my digital footprint, I shirked all kinds of other duties tonight and spent close to three hours making the switch.

It’s still not complete, and there’s much work left to do, but I kinda like the new home.

The old blog will still be around, and I’ll have a link up to it later this week. (I tried to just import everything over, and none of the paragraph breaks transferred. I didn’t think coding in paragraph breaks on 1244 blog posts was a good use of my time.)

But one major change is that I will no longer maintain a personal blog and a professional blog. It will all be right here in one place.

So please be patient as I work out all the kinks, and please let me know what works and what doesn’t as I add different elements.

Oh, and be sure to click on the little folder–it has some pretty cool features there. Enjoy!