I've moved!

I'm still writing; you just won't find me here any longer. If you want to keep reading my writing, head over to mollyflinkman.com. I'll keep a cup of coffee warm for you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


word of the day: why \ˈhwī, ˈwī\ reason, cause

I finally understand what a hashtag is.  My ninth graders tried to teach me awhile back, but I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the concept.  I actually had to see one in practical use before I could grasp the purpose (how's that for a classroom parallel?).  

Thanks to my recent immersion into the world of Twitter, I'm seeing hashtags everywhere.  #assessment.  #lamemathjokes.  #lovemesomecomfortfood.  #edchat.  #leadership.

The one that really got me though? #whyiwrite

Today happens to be National Writing Day, and the going thread in hashtags is an answer to the question "Why do you write?"  Some common responses I've seen today are:
Because it's the little moments in which I find a little piece of my soul.
It saves me from doing useless things.

Because I know it's what I was meant to do.

Because I discover myself while doing it.

To tell stories, hear stories, see stories, to share the stories I see behind my eyes

Because it's cheaper than therapy.

I write to reflect, learn and grow both professional and personally.
It's hard for me to think of an answer to that question because the answer changes so often.  Some days I write because it's the only way to make sense of the listless thoughts spinning around in my head.  Some days I write because all I want to do is hear the rhythms that words can make when you put them together just right.  Some days I write because I feel like my voice is powerful.  Some days I write because it's easier than talking. Some days I write because it quiets my soul, eases my mind, and slows my pace.  Some days I write just because.

Looks like I just created a few more hashtags. #whyiwrite

In any case, I can't help but overlook the fact that words come with great power, and as a writer, I suppose I have willingly become a steward of that power.   When I think of the sphere of influence this blog has, I'm reminded that I have the ability to influence at least 22 people with even the slightest word.  Shoot, maybe even more when you take into account all the people who couldn't figure out how to become a member.  Here's to the 6 of you.  #justkidding.

While we're on the subject of writing (to roughly transition), in honor of National Writing Day (or not since I only found out about it today), I have officially submitted something to be published.  I ran across a children's story publishing contest via Twitter (the common theme here apparently) the other day and decided I didn't have anything to lose.  So, "Carter, Ty, and the Rainy Day" is officially "out there."  I could care less if it wins--I'm just thrilled to have taken a baby step.

To continue today's theme, I promised a writing think aloud and I'm going to make good on that.  So if there are any teachers reading this blog, this think aloud script may be of interest to you.  I'm thankful to have been taught the value of a composing think aloud.  After only one attempt, I'm no expert, but I'm definitely a believer.  One of those personal 'aha' teaching moments I guess.  The script is a rough version--it worked more authentically than it reads because it changed with every class as I typed straight through the projector.  I only wrote the script because I wanted to get a handle on what exactly I really was thinking.  

In closing (because everyone knows that's the best way to end a piece of writing), I'd like to wish you a happy National Day of Writing (or what's left of it at least).  I'd also like to know why you write.  Even if the only answer you can think of is because you don't want to forget your grocery list. #leaveacomment.

Friday, October 14, 2011


word of the day: skeleton \ˈske-lə-tən\ something shameful or kept secret

I have some skeletons to clean out of my closet. 

I have been eating more Ramen Noodles than I care to admit in the past month.    Now, I'm fully aware of the fact that the Ramen should still be in the hot pot of my college dorm room, but when you have hours of schoolwork ahead of you and a husband-less house, sometimes it's just the most obvious option.   

It feels good to get that out in the open.  

I spent the last two days learning professionally about the close connection between reading and writing.  I spent the last two days feeling like a sponge; you could have wrung me out multiple times with all the information I was trying to soak in.  If only I had cared this much in my undergraduate and during my reading endorsement studies.

Skeleton. Closet. Taking my recently saturated sponge to the dusty remains.

I can vividly remember sitting in my Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum class as a sophomore in college with my fellow education majors.  I happened to be the minority as an English emphasis and most of my friends were math majors.  We had our Vacca and Vacca (names I recognize as experts anymore) textbooks out in front of us and were talking about what a pointless class it was.  I shudder at the comment I remember one of them making: "I'm a math major; My students are never going to be reading in my class." 

Fast forward four years to my work towards a reading endorsement.  I was serving as a substitute teacher at the time and had no real classroom experience to cling to.  So, the classes became something I did to push me toward a teaching job rather than something I actively engaged in to be a more dynamic educator.  Great information.  Lack of passion.  Bad combination.

So, it would seem that I've been given another chance to make the most about the learning before me, and let me tell you, it's hard to leave an experience with Emily Calhoun less than invigorated (at least if you're a part of the educational world).  

The take away point? Writing and reading can't exist in isolation from one another, and both are primarily internal processes that must be modeled out loud in order for student growth to take place.  

In layman's terms?  Looks like I've got some 'splainin to do.

I did some reflecting on my own journey as a writer today though, too, and I was reminded of the fact that I have less to say in writing when I'm involving myself in less reading..  So, it's my new goal to reintroduce reading into my life as a priority that takes precedence over the newest episodes of "Modern Family" (although that recent discovery is a good one).  

And, if you're a lover of anything related to English, education, writing, or think alouds.  Stay tuned for my next blog post: I'm envisioning a written example of my own process as a writer.  

But before, I get to that, there's one more skeleton you need to know about.

I just want to clarify that this is not a Halloween decoration. Clearly there is no better place to store something like this than right inside your front door.    

Friday, October 7, 2011

radio song.

word of the day: radio song \ˈrā-dē-ˌˈsŋ\  the song you wish to hear every time you turn the radio on. 

 Everybody has a radio song, right?  It's the song that you don't own but hope to hear every time you flick that radio on.  I have two current radio songs: "Arms" by Cristina Perri and "All your Life" by The Band Perry.  My all time, never to be changed radio song?  "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts.  

They are the songs that you immediately stop on or that you feel a great sense of disappointment if you only catch the end chorus.  They are the songs that brighten our days and force us to drive that extra lap around the block so we don't have to cut the lyrics short.  They are the songs that we crank the volume to and sing with abandon because, let's face it, you've got to take advantage of their presence.   

I was about 3 minutes from school on Tuesday when "Mayberry" came on the radio.  Such a small thing, but such a day brightener.  Then, when I was driving home in the afternoon I had one of those radio-karma kind of days.  You know--where you never have to change the station because great songs keep on coming.  I'm always thankful for those kind of radio days; they don't happen ALL that often.

Then there are other days where you don't even feel like you can get a song to play on the radio.  Everybody's talking instead of playing music and the sound just sort of turns into white noise.  Those are the days that you only catch the end of the radio song because you forget that the radio is even on. 

Isn't life kind of the same way?  I've found lately that I have a lot of radio song kind of days where things go my way and I feel a sense of peace about where I'm at.  But then there are those white noise kind of days where you press forward in a daze because there's so much going on around you.  

But, the white noise days don't define me. If anything, they make me more thankful for the times my radio song plays with perfect timing or force me to turn the radio off and appreciate the quiet.  

It reminds me of an excerpt from Forgotten God by Francis Chan:
"...as I write, the Spirit of the living God is inside me.  I might wake up on a particular day feeling physically tired or stressed or impatient, and humanly speaking, those things would probably define my day.  But the reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  And because of this reality, stress and tiredness and impatience don't have to define my day.
If you have received by faith the promise of the Holy Spirit, you are also His temple.  As you drive your children to school.  As you go to work every day.  As you embark on a new, unknown season.  As you go to school.  As you face tragedy and pain.  As you buy groceries.  As you give of yourself in relationships.  As you walk the dog.  As you make decisions.  As you life your life, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you" (110-111). 
 I'm so thankful that the trajectory of my day isn't contingent upon the songs that play on the radio.  In the same way, I'm thankful for the constant reminder that stress doesn't have an power over me. 
I'm always interested in what other people choose as their radio songs.  Think about it...which song do you always hope to hear when you turn your car on?  I'd like to know.  Comment box is open :-)