I Support Public Education

It’s been a wild few weeks! Since my last post, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my career as a teacher. This resulted in a series of seven essays that I submitted as a candidate for my district’s teacher of the year. I’ve also spent a lot of time defending my profession as I tweeted my senators and various others to express my opposition to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. While both tasks were frustrating, one was far more rewarding.

I’ve seen this floating around on Facebook recently, so I thought I’d share my path through the public school system.

I am the product of public education. 

Longfellow Elementary School (Coffeyville, KS)

Roosevelt Junior High School (Coffeyville, KS)

Field Kindley High School (Coffeyville, KS)

Coffeyville Community College, AA (Coffeyville, KS)

Pittsburg State University, BSEd. in English (Pittsburg, KS)

I am a public educator and have been since 1999.

Field Kindley High School (Coffeyville, KS)

Hebron High School (Carrollton, TX)

Every teacher and professor I’ve met along the way has played a crucial role in my life. I wrote about many of them in the essays I mentioned before. Maybe I’ll turn those into blog posts!




8 Questions To Ask Any Story

So I was looking for inspiration for a lesson on “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, and I stumbled on this site: http://livinginbetweenthelines.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/an-occurrence-at-owl-creek-bridge-short-story-questions/

The questions she poses are so universal—they truly could be applied to any story. (And her answers are so thoughtful. I hope to get such great responses from my students!) I adapted a few of them to add some options.

I think these could be used in several capacities:

  • group discussions of lit circle novels
  • independent reading journal entries
  • end of novel assessment – choose 2 or 3 to respond to

1. What demands does the story make on its readers? What does the story assume or understand about its readers? How might one describe the ideal audience for the story?

2. What motivates the main characters? What do they fear, know, desire, believe?

3. Would the story have the same effect if the location of the setting were changed?

4. If the story is being told in the third person, is the narrator omniscient (all knowing and seeing) or limited to the thoughts of one character?

4a. If the story is told in the first person, is the narrator reliable, believable? What similarities are there between the narrator and the author?

5.  How does the author use metaphors (or imagery or another literary device)? Are they used as an elaborate device that supplies more detail? Are they used to extend meaning through the entire story?

6. Does the author use long complex sentences, short simple sentences, sentence fragments? How do these stylistic choices contribute to the overall meaning of the story?

7. Does this story reflect a particular society/time period/group of people?

8. Keeping all of the above in mind, what is the intention of this story—what is its main idea? What is it trying to tell us?


I’m one of two teachers representing my high school at our district’s xCamp this summer. The blurb from the invitation states, “xCamp is an innovative and engaging experience that will take teachers through an immersive [sic] experience that builds deep understanding of how students create, connect, share and collaborate in 1:X classrooms. This high-energy camp experience will give teachers from across the district an opportunity to build relationships while learning new ways to empower students through Strategic Design. Presented by national experts, xCamp will ignite instructional design and take your classroom to a whole new level!”

I’m excited for the opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries here throughout the summer and with my colleagues when we return to school in the fall.