DigiLit Sunday: Voxer

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Voxer is my current favorite app on my phone. It’s like having a Walkie-Talkie to all your friends in your PLN. Last week, Kathleen Sokolowski from the Two Writing Teachers site posted about her use of Voxer. She then invited us to participate in a Voxer book club around Lisa Eickholdt’s book Learning from Classmates: Using Students’ Writing as Mentor Texts. My copy arrived yesterday. Kathleen is currently collecting participants, so if you’d like to join a lively bunch of writing teachers talking about classroom practices, email Kathleen at mrs.sokolowski at gmail.

Another Voxer group that I love is my Writing about Reading group. This week I had a triumph and a fail, and this group was there for me. I had a place to celebrate and a place to vent.

On Voxer, you can leave text messages or voice messages. The voice is a powerful tool. I’d like to explore this tool with my students. I am participating in Global Read Aloud reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. My kids can’t wait to get started. I would like to connect with a class through Voxer. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around how it would work, but my thinking as of now is this. We could pick one student each day to speak for the class. The message could be a notice or a wonder about the book. What do you think? Please email me if you would like to connect our kids through Voxer.

If you are blogging about Digital Literacy, please link up your post.

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

chalk button 14

Fall is in the air…Whew Hoo! Morning temperatures almost require a jacket. Yesterday morning one of my students exclaimed, “It’s freezing!” I laughed. Because after daily temps in the 90’s, the 60’s feel like freezing.

The sugarcane is at its tallest. I drive to school through walls of tall sugarcane. Soon it will be harvested and the fields burned and the scent of sweet smoke will make fall-scented wind.

sugarcane 1

My students love the end of the month Chalkabration time. We pulled out the colorful fall colors and chalked poems. We had been discussing imagery in writing, so I was pleased to see imagery in their writing.

Kielan fall chalk

Chalkabration group

Emily fall poem

Tobie chalking

My husband and I love to dance. Thursday night we actually skipped our dance lesson to go dancing. One of our favorite bands was playing. The night was perfect. The crowd was amazed by the young rubboard player. She was incredible, dancing and playing along in beat with the band.

Chubby Carrier

Chubby Carrier

A shout out to my blogging friend, Holly Mueller. She wrote about her students responding to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize speech with a hashtag. We watched the speech this week. My students were enthralled. They created hashtags and wrote passionately about her influence.

My hashtag is #inspirational because Malala gives the best advice in my point of view. Here are some of my tough questions and the answers to them. My first question is ”Why should girls go to school?” This is a question that Malala asked. I would say that the answer to this question is: girls should go to school because they should be and hopefully will be treated like every one else in humanity!!! Why do they even need a reason to go to school???? WE GIRLS MATTER!!! –Lani


“We have already taken many steps. Now, it is time to take a leap.” Malala believes that we have a done a lot to fight for children’s right to education. She believes that this should be the last time to fight for education. Every child deserves this because we are the next generation in the world and we can’t make it great if we can’t simply go to school to learn. –Vannisa

Where We’re From

Poetry Friday round-up with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Poetry Friday round-up with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

The beginning of the school year is becoming the middle of the school year. Days are passing quickly. October is already here. The promises of classroom connections are coming to life.

In order to welcome classroom connections, we created a Where I’m From poem modeled after the popular poem form by George Ella Lyon. Last week my students each wrote their own poems. This week we created a collaborative poem. I put it all together in an Animoto video.

If you are blogging with your elementary class using Kidblogs, you can connect to us here. Next week we will start blogging about Fish in a Tree, this year’s Global Read Aloud. We can’t wait! And Lynda Mullaly Hunt has promised a video a week. Read all about this event here.

Where are you from?

Where are you from?

Mother of the Bride

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

I will not be winning this year’s prize for the best Mother-of-the-Bride. I forgot to buy the book, and all of a sudden, I have a daughter getting married. I know that a mother with three daughters should be some sort of expert. I think I have a brain block or some other force at work keeping me from doing the right thing.

On Thursday, daughter number one, number two, and I rented a Ford Explorer in New Orleans and over two days drove to Chicago to pack up daughter number three and haul her back to South Louisiana. In early August, Katherine (daughter two) and Wayne became engaged. She pinned a designer dress and thought why not go try on wedding dresses while we are in Chicago. She made the appointment for 4:30 PM on Friday. So we had to leave Memphis in the early morning to make it.

What I didn’t know was we first had to check in at the hotel. We made it through crazy traffic (I was not driving, thank God.) The girls had to freshen up and change for the occasion. Maggie (daughter one) said, “Are you wearing THAT?” I was in my cropped jeans and a t-shirt. Proper traveling clothes, but apparently not proper shopping-for-a-wedding-dress clothes.

“What’s wrong? I didn’t know I was supposed to dress up.”

“Where have you been, Mom? They may serve us champagne!”

“Well, all I have are these hospital pants.” I call them my hospital pants because they are so comfortable that I wore them overnight in the hospital.

“That’s better than jeans.”

“How was I supposed to know this was a dress-up occasion?”

“Don’t you watch TV? Bridesmaids, duh!”

We head over in an Uber to the appointment and make it only 5 minutes late.

Another thing I forgot to read in The Idiot’s Guide to being the Mother of the Bride was how to properly respond to your daughter in a wedding gown. Apparently you are supposed to know which one is The One, and you are supposed to cry when you see it. I didn’t cry. In fact, I made a comment about lace. This first comment cannot be taken back. Over and over I have said, “If this is the one you want, you should get it.” But it doesn’t help. She cannot erase my first response.

For the record, I did tear up when she put on the veil. I properly held my hand over my mouth and exclaimed, “Oh my!”

In the end, we all had a good time. No champagne, but the other daughters got in on the fun and tried on dresses they loved. I texted a picture to my husband, and he responded, “Scary.” Scary, and crazy, and fun.

Martha and Maggie try on wedding gowns that they loved. (The actual bride to be is not pictured. That's a no no. I'm learning.)

Martha and Maggie try on wedding gowns that they loved. (The actual bride to be is not pictured. That’s a no no. I’m learning.)

Patience with the Artist

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Each day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little death.


When Holly tweeted out the theme for this week, patience, I was finishing my second art lesson. I have been trying to be an artist my whole life. My father is an artist, and I want to grow up to be like him. Art takes patience. And I am not sure I have what it takes.

During this second lesson, our instructor asked us to draw an image from a photograph. He wanted us to use shading to show form. He said the word form over and over again. I think he became frustrated with me, but you would never know it. He has a calm demeanor. Patience is so important to any kind of teaching.

I wasn’t quite sure how to start or how to proceed. I was stuck with what I knew before of contour drawing. I was not familiar with his method. So he took my tablet and drew, hatching and shading. The drawing that looked like a cartoon to me began to take shape and form. I was watching a miracle. I still have no idea how to make that happen when the pencil is in my own hand.

I have no patience with myself.
I want to be good now, but I avoid the practice that it takes.

In our limited human minds, we see bits and pieces of the whole. We see small miracles every day. God can see the whole. God knows the big picture. God is our artist.

In my impatience, I want to know now. I want to be good and right and perfect. Ah, me. That is not possible. The only real perfection is with God. In the meantime, I will continue to strive for the best, trying to remember that the Great Artist isn’t finished with me yet.

β€œDon’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Not my bird

Not my bird

The Memory String

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

making memory string
The Memory String

I was in the library looking for another Eve Bunting book and came across this one. I sat right down on the floor and read it. Then I had an idea. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I thought of all the buttons I had collected in a box in my closet. What did I need them all for?

One of my goals for my teaching this year is to bring in more picture books. I am reading one each week. In The Memory String, the character Laura has a string full of buttons. Her mother died three years before, and her stepmother is trying to win Laura’s heart. Laura’s memory string is her way of holding on to the memory of her mother.

I brought my cigar box of buttons into class and after reading the story, the students each selected 3-5 buttons. I told them they would be writing a memory for each button. We sewed the buttons on a string, and the students began writing. This was a great form to prompt writing.

Here are some student samples:

The fourth button is a blueish greenish color. It reminds me of the first time I swam in the ocean. It was 2011 and I was 7 years old. I was still living in Minnesota, and I had never even gone near the ocean. We were going on a road trip to Florida. The first time I swam in the ocean was in the Atlantic Ocean. It was a pretty beach with water that looked clear and bright. I loved it, but I never got to swim at a beach like that again. (Vannisa)

This is the story of the button that is gold and black. This button reminds me of my brother. This button reminds me of him because when we all brought him home from the hospital, it was cold and he was wearing a jacket that had a button that looked like this button. This button also reminds me of myself because that was the same jacket that I wore when I was brought home from the hospital. That was the story of the button that is gold and black. (Lani)

One button is absolutely clear, and its very small. It reminds me of how I feel when my dad is gone, and when he is usually gone for months. One time, he didn’t come back for half a year. I missed him very much, but when he came back, I was happy to see him.(Tobie)

Any one of these button memories could be a longer personal narrative (or Slice of Life) story. I hear the lament often, “I don’t know what to write about.” A picture book story and a box of buttons can open up a string of memories.

memory string emily

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

more love Erin

If you came by here in the last few days, you’ve seen that we celebrated Dot Day this week with younger students. We created a collaborative poem about our dots, and I made an Animoto video. The post is here.

In my Voxer conversation about Writing about Reading, someone (I think it was Phyllis Sutton, but I’m not sure) suggested trying out Sway as a presentation platform. Sway is new to me. I wanted to give it a try before telling my students (and you) about it.

The platform is similar to PowerPoint in that you add slides. The slide can contain a graphic and text. I saved my Dot Day pictures in Dropbox. It was easy to navigate back and forth using tabs. The end product looks like a board similar to Padlet. To navigate to each slide, you scroll.

I plan to introduce my students to this new app and add it to our ever-growing list of presentation apps.

Click on the picture to go to the Sway. Because of the private images, I set it so that only those with a link can view it. That’s yet another cool feature of Sway. Try it out. Let me know what you think.

Click here to see our Dot Day Sway.

Click here to see our Dot Day Sway.


Next week, there will be no Digital Literacy Sunday because I will be traveling.


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