Friday, November 9, 2012

A picture of my day

#9 Today I am thankful for: my job
(and for Fridays, long weekends, and my cell phone).

It was a tough call, but I ultimately chose being thankful for my job first over being thankful for Fridays.

It seems many weeks that I am just counting the time between Fridays instead of just being fully present regardless of the day. How many times do we say "Thank goodness it's Monday!" Or Tuesday. Or even Thursday.

Truth is, I might not always like working, but I do love the work I do. I also love the people with whom I work--each of whom teaches me more than I teach them.

About five years ago, I left the classroom where I had worked as a high school English teacher to become part of a statewide team of content-specific coaches working in schools to provide additional support to increase student achievement.

What I didn't expect, perhaps, was how much this job would teach me--about myself, about curriculum, about relationships, about politics, about power and equity, about commitment, about the backroads and interstates that I travel daily.

One of the reasons I loved the classroom was that every day was different. As a coach, I can say that part hasn't changed.

I am always learning something new, and despite the challenges that I would guess go along with any job, I can say I am lucky to be doing work that I do.

Just today, I shared a new technology tool with a group of teachers and we had a great conversation brainstorming how to use it. I love the synergy that develops when you throw a tool in the middle of a group of educators and ask them how we can use it to help students.

Today, while discussing strategies for teaching vocabulary, I shared a site a friend recently shared with me: PicLit.

PicLit is "a creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture."

After selecting your image, you can drag pre-selected words from categories like, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, verbs onto the images or you can go "freestyle" and write your own.

After creating your "pic lit," you can save, email, and share.

Here's one I created in about 30 seconds.

PicLit from
See the full PicLit at

What a cool way to:
  • Jumpstart a creative writing piece.
  • Define a vocabulary word or concept.
  • Encourage students to write a variety of sentence types from simple to complex compound.
  • Begin a discussion on word choice or figurative language.
  • Inspire a journal entry or a blog post.
  • Support struggling students through use of images and word bank.
  • Investigate everyday examples of science and math in action.
  • Showcase what you know about a work of literature's tone, mood, or point of view by choosing an image that represents an aspect of the work.
  • Enjoy a little wordplay by creating captions for images.
  • Energize boring reviews of parts of speech.

    While not all of the images are toddler-appropriate, I do think it could even be used to prompt story telling, observation, and conversation with our younger learners. As I was scrolling the images and playing around with the site, Emily and Andrew had fun pointing and and asking, "What's dat?"

    PicLit from
    See the full PicLit at

    Have you used PicLit before? Have any idea to share? What new tools or sites are you loving right now?

    Nope, I don't have a side job working for PicLit. I just like the product. That's all!

    Tami said...

    This is COOL! I've never seen this before. I'm going to tell my husband about it (he is a high school history teacher). I'm sure he can use it in the classroom. Thanks Melissa!

    Tami said...

    I tried it. Here is my first PicLit

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