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Monday, January 1, 2018

Ringing in the New Year with My All-Time Top 10 Favorite Confessions and the Lessons I've Learned

I have posted my top 10 favorite posts and the lessons I've learned. If you want to access the post, simply click the title.

10. Secrets from the Crypt

Henry (not his real name) was obsessed with Egyptian history. So when he purchased a Gregg Shorthand manual at Half-Priced books, I assumed Henry thought it was an instructional manual on how to read and write using hiergriphics. Needless to say, Henry got the last laugh!

I learned the importance of letting go of outdated methods of teaching and embracing new literacies.

9. The Butterfly Effect 

The Butterfly Effect was inspired by Stephen King's novel 11/22/63. I was brainstorming a story for my blog when I remembered the events of what was (at the time) the worst day in my teaching career.

I truly believe had it not been for a mommy mouse and a bag of Cheeze Its, I would not have grown as a leader and become a transitional coach and curriculum writer. The hilarious chain of events that resulted in mayhem breaking out in my social skills classroom, keep me laughing to this day.

I learned to fail forward.

 8. Lost in Translation 

What happens with a lesson plan goes very, very wrong? A jolly rancher, lesson plans gone awry and a tenacious student turned a literacy project on its head.

I learned the value of letting go of my perceived "perfect lesson", the crème de la crème literacy project, and focus on matters of the heart.


7. SpongeBob SquarePants to the Rescue!

The blogposts begins..."I'm standing outside the Pearly Gates confronted by parents of a student I once taught and I thought to myself, SpongeBob, you ruined me." To this day, this post evokes so many emotions inside of me.

I learned to guard my tongue until I've learned all the facts.

6. Alien Matters: Keychains, Bobble Heads, and Refrigerator Magnets

My creativity unleashed on this post. Sometimes I read this one and think, where on Earth did I get that idea from? It's fun to read and highlights the amazingness of Edcamps!

I learned....I'm not sure what I learned. I already knew Edcamps are out of this world!

5. The Future is Calling: Are We Listening?

A personality test inspired this post. It seems
 that "futuristic" is my top leadership attribute. While writing this post I explored my beliefs.

I learned the importance of advocating for today's generation of students.

4.  What's a Lugnut? (And of other Pertinent Questions)

What is a lugnut?

A. A powerful fictional character known as a Decepticon
B. A large, rounded nut that fits over a heavy bolt.
C. An object of scorn and ridicule
D. All of the above

The correct answer is all of the above.  It depends on your perspective!

I learned the importance of teaching vocabulary IN context and knowing our students.

3. To My Principal...I Must Confess 

Before posting, I called my principal and confessed to my lie thinking she would be mad. Instead, she started laughing!  I later republished with pictures April 2012. The orginal post was my first and I wasn't sure if anyone would even read it.  Boy, was I wrong!

I learned that I could never work for the CIA. I would break.


There is a tie for #2. I like them both equally.

2A. Summer Slide Is No Walk in the Park

This blogpost tugs at my heart like no other. Summer reading loss (or summer slide) is an epidemic in America. I had spent the summer working alongside a university professor conducting research to help a community center secure donations to keep their program alive.

I learned that there are children in my community who go to bed hungry. Until poverty is addressed in schools, the literacy gap will continue to widen.

2B. The Ghost Plant and other Potentially Fateful Tales

I fear we have created a generation of writers who believe a exemplary rating on a state assessment or perfect score on a rubric define good writing. As a result, creativity is stifled for fear of being wrong. This post exemplifies my experience as a writing teacher.

I learned to look at what a child does right.

And my favorite post of ALL TIME is.....

1. The Importance of Classroom Environment: Lessons from a Colt Named Carl

Carl (the colt) was a stuffed animal I purchased at a Goodwill for a whopping $3.50. But did you know it was a million dollar purchase? More than any pricey curriculum, technology gizmo or gadget, this purchase changed the learning environment of my classroom.

I learned that students learn and thrive when the classroom environment is safe.

Join me as we enter another year of growing and learning from reflection.

Happy New Year!

Tamra Dollar

Confession Reflection:

  • What are the benefits of teacher blogging?

  • Why is it important to reflect on lessons?

  • How can school districts validate the important of teacher blogging? (Credit for PD; documentation on teacher evaluation forms; make time for teachers to blog).


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