Jan 19, 2012

Zing! was SO stinkin’ fun yesterday. The hour before my class found me jumping up and down with excitement. Yes, literally jumping up and down. I couldn’t wait to get in there and share this passion of mine with children I love.

My students adore me (and many of them told me so!), which always does wonders for my motivation to produce fabulous lessons for them. Who wouldn’t want to teach a class full of eager learners who think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread?


I handed out our new class books and they loved them! Here are the topics I chose:

  • Heroes
  • My Invention and How It Will Change The World
  • Interviews with Super-Cool People
  • My Favorite Poem and Why I Love It
  • My Journey Across The Plains
  • If You Give A Boy A Sword…
  • If You Give A Girl A Kayak…

Each week seven children will take home a book, guard it with their very lives, write in it, and then bring it back the next week and seven other children will take one home. They will all get five opportunities during the semester to write in our books. They are totally pumped to make these books amazing. Miss Katherine came to my rescue and sewed book covers for them. I could never hand a plain notebook to a child and expect them to turn their creative juices on, which means, she literally saved my whole class from having to wither away in un-creative slime.


We are also having a Word of the Day and a Favorite Author paper. I cannot wait to see what these kids come up with! All day long I heard them talking about their plans for stories, which author they would choose to share with the rest of us, how excited they were to discover new words, and how much fun they had. Seriously? MUSIC TO MY EARS!

Yesterday, after talking and talking and talking about all the exciting things we are going to write and learn about this semester, each student rolled the dice in our set of Story Cubes and were given the ingredients for their story of the week. They can write about anything they want, but they have to include the items they rolled on the dice. Have you seen them? They are so cool and we are going to have a blast with them this semester.

The other little gift they received yesterday were Word-Epiphany Bookmarks. While they are reading, they will write down words that sound interesting to them, words they want to use in their writing, words that they want to figure out the meaning to, words they love, etc. When they finish that book, they bring in their bookmark and share their word epiphanies with me and then I will give them a new bookmark for their next book.

One little girl said she had never had such a fun writing class before…that in all her other writing classes she was told what to write about, how long to write about it, and was expected to have it perfect for it to be worth anything. She said she was so excited to learn about the difference between writing and editing and that she didn’t have to be perfect right from the get-go. MUSIC TO MY EARS!


If I can help these children see that their thoughts matter, their writing is powerful, that words can bring magic, healing, and inspiration to our lives, and that they don’t have to be perfect at writing in order to write, then I will have changed the world. Twenty-two children will be able to move forward with an altered perception of who they are and what they can accomplish. It is humbling and inspiring to me all at the same time. This is why I do what I do…to change lives and make the world a kinder, truer, more fabulous place to live in.

p.s. Thanks to Jessica for the darling illustrations in our Class Books and for making and printing our bookmarks when my printer shut down on Tuesday night!

p.p.s. Thanks also to Jessica for taking pictures for me! She insisted on me using the one of me even though it shows my crooked teeth!

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  1. Anne

    YOU look so DANG CUTE!!!!!!!!!

    • tracy

      Really? All I can see is crooked, yellow teeth, bags under my eyes, and my scar in between my eyebrows. I really hope that someday I will like a picture that is taken of me!

      • jessica

        *raspberry* I TOLD you not to say anything mean about yourself!

        • tracy

          Oh dear! You did say I couldn’t say anything mean! I tried hard not to when I posted it, but then that resolution flew out the window when mom posted her comment. I need picture-liking-therapy!

  2. Jan Cox Ford Ahern

    I knew your Mom from High school. My daughter in law, Erika Ahern is a home schooler so I read your blog. Good job and I love your ideas about writing.

    Also, your smile is so beautiful and your hair cut is amazing too. Love it. No trash talkin about yourself. :) God doesn’t make any junk.

    • tracy

      Hi Jan! Welcome to WOK! Thank you for the kind words…my husband liked that pic to, so I will try to quiet my mind about my flaws.

      Where does your daughter homeschool at?

  3. Anne

    Yes, stop that! And, if you will check out how much braces are, let’s look in to that . . . and some whitening.

    • tracy

      I think braces are pretty darn spendy.

      • jessica

        J’s were 1200 total. But what I want to know is when did it become bad for teeth to be tooth colored?

        • tracy

          But mine aren’t tooth colored…they are yellow! I hate looking them. I don’t want them to be fake white, just not yellow. And straight. Magical straightness would be lovely.

          • jessica

            Whitening is easy and cheap. I’m not very good at doing it regularly though. You get the sports guards from Walmart and a tube of whitener that lasts forever. Stick it in for 5 to 20 mins a day. It can make your teeth ache, so I skip days to let them recover. Works nicely though. I’ll do it whenever I notice my teeth start matching my cream colored sweaters. I use the stuff recommended here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqjPKja8VTk&feature=channel it’s super cheap at Walgreens.

          • tracy

            And it works?? I should try that!

        • tracy

          $1200 for braces? I thought they were more like $4000-$5000…but I’ve never checked into it, so I really have no idea. $1200 sounds great! I could save up for it for the next several years and then maybe have straight teeth by the time I am 45!

          • jessica

            Yes, maybe cause he’s a kid? He only had them on for a year, they look lovely. That was for everything – all the visits, the braces, the x-rays, and his retainer.

            We went to Dr. Phil Lowder in Rigby, who was in my same troop at Wood Badge. Nice guy. My sister in law is taking her daughter there now, same price and she’s older than J, 14 I think?

  4. Michelle Huelle

    I want to be in your class! I’m going to make a Word Epiphany book mark for myself. :)

  5. tracy

    Hi Michelle! Have we convinced you to move here yet?

    Yes, word-epiphany bookmarks are super fun! I like the bookmark Donna Goff created over on Mentoring Our Own – it is triple fold, double-sided bookmark with all sorts of categories of stuff to write down during a book-read.

  6. jessica

    It won’t let me reply up there, yes! It works!