Seattle Sky (and weather) by Maria Semple


I enjoyed reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple a few years ago, but knew that I’d really enjoy it now that I lived in Seattle, so I just re-read it. It is hilarious and wise. For those of you who think it is always gray/ raining in Seattle, ponder Semple’s description from Where’d You Go, Bernadette:

“The sky in Seattle is so low, it felt like God had lowered a silk parachute over us. Every feeling I ever knew was up in that sky.Twinkling joyous sunlight; airy, giggling cloud wisps; blinding columns of sun. Orbs of gold, pink, flesh, utterly cheesy in their luminosity. Gigantic puffy clouds, welcoming, forgiving, repeating infinitely across  the horizon as if between mirrors; and slices of rain, pounding wet misery in the distance now, but soon on us, and in another part of the sky, a black stain, rainless.
The sky, it came in patches, it came in layers, it came swirled together, and always on the move, churning, sometimes whizzing by. It was so low, some days I’d reach out for the flow, like you, Bee, at your first 3-D movie, so convinced was I that I could grab it, and then what– become it.
All those ninnies have it wrong. The best thing about Seattle is the weather.”



Seattle- First Month

We miss our family and friends in California!

Some photos from our first month in Seattle:

Gorgeous flowers this time of year. Here’s a sampling:

Beautiful Trails for bike riding or walking – Burke Gilman Trail


Cool restaurant State Burger and Saint Helen’s with access from Burke Gilman Trail (left) OR the street (right).


Golden Gardens Park:


Carkeek Park:

Discovery Park:






Although you may not agree with the particulars, you get the idea: Telling a Story Beyond Grades — The Principal of Change

“Grades do not tell the story of a child.” Most educators, parents, and human beings would agree with this statement. Yet how are we helping change this narrative, and encouraging and empowering students to tell their own story? The beautiful thing about this time in the world is that it is becoming so much easier…

via Telling a Story Beyond Grades — The Principal of Change

Who Knew? Podcasts

Three podcasts I enjoy listening to and learning from these days are Back Story, 99% Invisible, and Surprisingly Awesome.

Back Story takes on random, diverse American historical subjects such as money, Judaism, and the history of testing. Episodes are about 50 minutes. They change up the narrators, have music in-between, and generally make it very upbeat and energetic. They often feature a short conversation with a listener too! You can listen to some segments or the whole thing. Very entertaining!


99% Invisible is similar to BackStory in that they delve into topics such as Super Tall 101, Soul City, and The White Elephant of Tel Aviv, to name a few, that you probably don’t know anything about- and you always learn something. Episodes are about 22 minutes.

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. (


The last “Who Knew?” podcast is Surprisingly Awesome from Gimlet media. Topics that you thought were boring because you really didn’t know anything about them turn out to be “Surprisingly Awesome!” Tune in and learn about Frequent Flyer Miles, Circle of Fifths, Adhesives, Broccoli, and Concrete, to name a few. Episodes are around 30 minutes. (Their intro music is the best!)




The CoolCat Teacher Vicki Davis helps again!

and a Link to a Free Resource with More Tips From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter So many of these tools are new to me. It is amazing how I use them every single day. Here’s what I’m using all the time in my classroom right now. …

via 36 Edtech Tools I’m Using Right Now in My Classroom and Life — Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog

Let’s Empower Student Voice

Who can empower students’ voices? You can! Read the Entrsekt April 2016 article by Jennifer Snelling, “Empowering Student Voice: Students are now at the center of education transformation.” I truly believe this. As Glen Warren (Encinitas Union District Coordinator for Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries, VP of Government Relations for the California School Library Association, Chair of the Library Media Educator Network for CUE) says, “What matters to you (students) matters.”

At CUE in Palm Springs last month, I gave a talk as part of the CSLA Information Literacy Strand about students as social media content creators. ( The slide show is full of inspiring examples of students of all ages creating legitimate content on social media. We need to give students the opportunities to create content on social media, and we need to listen to students’ voices on social media and in real life.

Snelling credits ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) with doing a great job in listening to students.

Mentioned in the Snelling article:

#StuVoice on Twitter

TakingITGlobal (

Future Friendly Schools

Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter

Thank you Jennifer Snelling and entrsekt, for giving us some examples and inspiration on this vital issue.


OUCRL Vanderbilt photo from


Students and Social Media Content Creation

10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in Classroom When you try to think of the favorite activity of today’s students, you’ll most probably come up with the obvious answer: social media. It seems like students of all ages are obsessed by it. These social media channels have mesmerizing power, so they can often become…

via 10 Great Ways to Use Social Media in Classroom — Teachers With Apps

Castle gives practical, logical, easy suggestions to try with your students. These ideas can not only familiarize them with social media tools from a “professional” perspective, they’ll also learn digital citizenship, and begin developing a positive digital tattoo.  Castle’s blog post is a good complement to a workshop I led recently at #CUE16 in Palm Springs,”25 Examples of Students as Social Media Content Creators K – Adult”  In this slide show you’ll see examples of teachers implementing some of Castle’s suggestions. If you’re able to implement any of Castle’s ideas, you’ll see student engagement soar! Here’s an example with Dr. Brad Gustafson, “Pedagogy First”  

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The sweetest sound in the world: your name

Dear teachers who don’t even bother saying my name: TEACHER: Um, who is this? I can’t pronounce your name, umm Z-A-I-N-A-B…. ME: [Raises hand] Um, it’s Zain-ub. TEACHER: It’s too hard. I’ll just point to you from now on. This actually happened — a teacher refused to even try to say my name. The funny…

via Open Letters: An Open Letter to People Who Don’t Say My Name by Zainab Hussain — McSweeney’s