Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why I (heart) Evernote!

Ok, so I've been promising for several months now that I would write about how I use Evernote and why I'm now convinced I wouldn't be able to function without it.  (Thanks to those of you who have kept reminding me that you'd like to hear more about it.  Today is finally your day!) 

So, I love Evernote because...

Evernote helps me capture, organize, and save blog posts I find with ideas I want to try out!  (And it does so in a way that I can actually find them when I want to!)  This is probably the most important and frequent way I use Evernote.
the Firefox web clipper
  • My favorite feature for this is the web clipper, which allows me to basically save a complete image (but more than an image, because it remains edit-able and interactive, with all links live) of the page or article I want.  Once installed for whatever browser you use (I use it in both Firefox and Chrome), it's just a little button on your toolbar that you can push when you find something you want to save!  You can even choose between saving the whole webpage, the article on the page, a selection you've highlighted, or just the url.   I love using the web clipper because then I can actually see the whole articles and pages I saved right inside Evernote, without having to open the page on a browser.  (But the web clipper saves the url with the clip, so if I want to open up the webpage, I can -- like if I want to link to it on a blog post!)
Looking in my "Lesson activities" folder at a note (on the right) created with the web clipper.
my folders!
  • Folders (called "Notebooks" in Evernote) help me keep my ideas organized.  I use fairly broad folder categories to help myself browse through my notes -- "Lesson Activities", "Student Project Ideas", and "Student Resources" are my most-frequently used folders.  These are mostly useful if I just want to scroll through my notes to see what's there, not if I'm looking for something really specific.

    some of my tags
  • For me, the life-saving feature of Evernote when it comes to saving teaching ideas from blogs is tagging.  Whenever I add a new note, I put it in the appropriate folder, but I also I tag it with every attribute of the idea that I might possibly want to find later.  Depending on the browser you're using, you can even add the tags you want and choose which folder you want to save your new "note" in right from the web clipper!  Then when I'm planning and I think "ohhh, I read something about a web tool would be perfect for this project...", I just click on my "web tools" tag and I can find that note easily!  (There's also a search feature where I can search all my notes in case I didn't tag it like I thought, which happens only rarely.)

I can create other types of notes too!  Evernote has pretty much replaced my multitude of sticky notes, emails to myself, and little notebooks in my purses.  My life is now way easier because of:
  • Travel plans: I have a "travel" folder with links to hotels, activities, restaurants, lists of things I want to do, and even reservation/purchase confirmations I've clipped with the web clipper.
  • Lists:  I'm a list-maker, and now my lists can go anywhere.  I can keep and easily add to my lists of blog ideas, materials I need to buy for school, gift ideas for family members, and various random thoughts I need to remember.  Having them in Evernote is a bonus because it means I can include webpage links, pictures, etc. of the things in my list, or even attach files.   (Although for real to-do lists, I use the very-cool Orchestra iOS app and webpage instead.)
  • Quotations: I LOVE collecting quotations.  I used to keep several Word documents of my favorite quotations, but I kept having to email them to myself to add to them or view them when I needed them.  Now I just save them in Evernote and I always have them!

I can access my notes from anywhere!  Obviously, this is what makes all the other features truly amazing.  I can edit and view all of those wonderful things I just discussed from my school laptop, my home computer, my iPod Touch, some random computer at a library or a friend's house... anywhere!
  • Evernote has a pretty good iOS app that I use frequently on my iPod touch. I can view all my notes and create new notes.  Unfortunately, there's nothing like a web clipper to actually save whole articles or pages, so I always end up just copying & pasting the url of articles I read on my iPod.
  • Evernote has great Mac and PC software that make it easy to use on any computer.  (Our district uses Macs but our home computer is a PC, and both versions are excellent and sync with each other perfectly.)  It doesn't matter where I made a note, it's always fine when I view it from any Evernote version!
  • There's even a web version to use just by signing in to the Evernote website, in case I'm on a computer at the library or somewhere else that's not "mine" and doesn't have the software installed.
For more information about using Evernote, check out Richard Byrne's excellent post about to how use Evernote.  You can also find more information on the Evernote Blog.

(All these opinions are my own, and I didn't receive any compensation for writing about Evernote.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Year-End Reflection (2011-12)

As I discussed earlier today, I'm finally ready to write my end-of-the-year reflection, using Ruth's prompts to focus my thinking.  2011-12 was a difficult school year: our levy failed, bringing my 6th and 7th grade programs to an end, we were involved in challenging professional development initiatives about student growth data, and controversial politics in our state hung like a dark cloud over educators. But there was plenty of sunshine too, including excitement about increasing student learning, collaboration with colleagues, ever-emerging new technology, and the simple joy of sharing something I love with wonderful students.  Anyway...

I learned:
  • My ideas are worth sharing!
  • Embracing the reader and writer within me makes me a better teacher.
  • I CAN make time for reading (books, not just blogs!) and writing every day!
  • I LOVE teaching. Period.  Teaching students AND teaching my colleagues.
  • Building relationships and sharing ideas with colleagues in my building(s) is one of the most valuable ways I can spend my time.
  • Support from colleagues matters.
  • You can never take for granted what you think students know.
  • Allowing students to see you in a different light (such as on the DC trip) can do wonders for how they respond to you. 
  • Building relationships with parents reminds you that every STUDENT in your class is a lovable PERSON in a family.
  • There are plenty of things that are bigger than school.
  • My family is awesome!  (Well, I already knew this... but it's good to have reminders!)
I was stretched by:
  • Having to go re-learn my "cart-ninja" skills after having my own room for the first two trimesters.
  • Balancing my time to incorporate blogging.
  • Being sent to Washington, DC with the 8th graders while having to leave my 6th & 7th grade classes behind.
  • Figuring out how to draw out enthusiasm from reluctant students.
  • Trying (and mostly failing) to start working out more often.
  • Incorporating new web tools into my classroom (and deciding which ones I wanted to try!)
  • Supporting my colleagues in their use of technology and teaching them how to use Moodle, their webpages, SMARTboards, and RSS readers.
  • Jumping more deeply into ESL by co-teaching the Welcome Center class at School #3.
  • Learning to document and track my students' growth in more concrete ways.
  • Taking on a leadership role within the Alumni Band.
I'm excited about:
  • Continuing to CONNECT with my colleagues and friends I've met through blogging!
  • Sharing more of my ideas with colleagues in my district!
  • My big leap into High School ELL!
  • Sharing reading and writing with students, and helping them love it too!
  • Diving back into math, science, and social studies as I help my ELLs with them.  (I always loved all subjects in school!)
I'm beginning to realize:
  • There will NEVER be enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to pick and choose and make time for the most important things.
  • Sometimes, I have to choose the not-so-important things too.  Because they're also important, just in a different way.
  • Reading and writing are part of who I am.  A big part.
  • Never focus so hard on the STUDENT that you lose sight of the PERSON that a learner is.  Those personal connections mean everything, and every person is valuable in their own way.
  • Teaching is NOT going to get any easier, ever.  I will always feel like I have so much to learn... but that's a good thing, because I never want to stop learning.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

at Two Writing Teachers!
During the last week of school, Ruth posted a wonderful end-of-year reflection with thoughtful guiding statements that encouraged the rest of us to do the same.  I read it.  I connected with so many of her thoughts.

Now, I'm typically extremely reflective (as I'm sure you can tell from my blog!), but it's more of an ongoing, informal, day-of-the-lesson reflection process.  A final, cumulative look back at the year sounded like a great idea, and something that might give me some new insights. I saved Ruth's post in Evernote (which, by the way, I PROMISE to write about someday!) with plans to create my own year-end reflection.

But there were grades to post, Jarritos to buy, lots of stuff to pack, a year-end outing to attend with teachers I might never see again, and lots to think about for next year!  Oh, and the Memorial Tournament was going on, a family tradition since I was little.  And did I mention I had to get ready for summer school?  The reflection idea completely slipped out of my mind.  (Which, after all, is why I use Evernote!)

In the coming weeks, I read some posts by slicers who wrote their reflections.  Linda even reflected on her reflection, which was really cool!  Oh yeah!  I wanted to write follow Ruth's sentence starters to write a reflection!  But I didn't really feel like it.  

There was summer school... 
and a big pile of books to read...
and TeachersWrite... 
plans to finalize for our vacation to Spain...
it was so sunny out...
I wanted to meet my husband for lunch...
so much to think about to get ready for next year...
all these Spanish lessons I'll never do again that I want to blog about...


It's funny how time just slips by, sometimes slinking quietly like a gentle stream and sometimes charging through like a rushing river after a flood.  Suddenly, it's the last week of summer school, when it seems that just a few days ago I was planning our Olympics unit!  And yet, on the other hand, the school year seems to have floated away, a tiny speck in the distance behind me.

It's just like looking in the rearview mirror: I can barely see what's right behind me, because it's sitting in my blind spot.  I can only see the closest things if I turn and look on purpose, and then my view is focused on that one thing.  This is the kind of reflection I do during the school year.
photo credit: gustaffo89 via photo pin cc

To really look back at the wide view, I have to be far enough away for it to show up in my mirror.  This is the real reason I couldn't write my reflection right when the year ended.  I was still in the midst of it all!  It was still in my blind spot!  Now that I can see it, I'm ready to write.  After all, it's not as far away as it seems.  Just far enough away that I can see it.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Are we gonna play that game?"

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Velcro grammar activity I made up for my 7th graders.  That actually came out of another hands-on grammar activity that I want to share today.

Adjective agreement is always a difficult concept for students since it's something completely unfamiliar.  While it helps that we learn it after they've developed a solid understanding of indefinite articles, adjective agreement is still tricky for many students since it's more complicated.  It really helps them to be able to physically move around the adjective endings (and review indefinite articles), especially if they have to argue their ending choice to a partner!

For both 6th and 7th graders, I created sets of cut-out words (indefinite articles, nouns, color words with no o's, and little o/a/os/as/s/es endings) that they use with a partner to create descriptions of objects (stuffed animals for 6th grade, clothing for 7th grade) on their tables.
learning in action!
 As the pairs created their descriptions, I was able to circulate through the room, checking their work, answering questions, and spending time with students who needed more help with the concept.  I loved hearing their conversations as they struggled together, explained concepts to each other, and deepened their understanding.

I expected lots of learning.  What I didn't expect was how much FUN the students would have!  We did this activity on the first day of learning adjective agreement, after a listening activity to expose the students to the structure and a mini-lesson on the SMARTboard where they guessed the rules.  The next day, we did it again as a warm-up (they got to choose different animals/clothing to describe) and my 6th graders reacted in a totally unexpected way:

         "OOOOH!"  Squeals of delight as they saw the bags of words and stuffed
          animals back on the table.
         "Are we going to play that game again?"
          "What game?"  We didn't play a game yesterday.  Games are Go Fish, Memory, 
           Bingo, Around the World...
          "With the animals and the words!"  Oh wow, they think this is a game!  I 
           thought it was a better version of a grammar worksheet!

Well, they are an enthusiastic class.  I grinned and brushed it off... until it happened again the next trimester... and the next trimester!  Invariably, across different classes and different schools, some kids would walk into class that second lesson and ask if we were "playing that game again".  Whoa.  Magic!  Throw in some stuffed animals, collaboration, and cut-up word cards, and grammar practice is a game! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Words Matter

at Two Writing Teachers!
Today, as they have done in several other summers, our district ELL coordinators brought in some teachers who were participating in a PD session about ELLs.  (And today... surprise! The deputy superintendent showed up as well, as if a gaggle of teachers wasn't enough!)  This always makes me proud but nervous, since I know they are trying to show the teachers what good ELL teaching looks like.  It's a compliment and something-to-live-up-to at the same time!

I laminated it to keep on my desk!
A couple of years ago, they came in for the first time during only my second summer teaching summer school.  (Thus, only my second little experience teaching ELLs!)  The ELL coordinator had stopped by the previous day to bring supplies or something and caught me busy making faces, oohing and ahhing and pointing at the pictures in the book,with the kids huddled around me as we were captivated by Pete Seeger's audio performance of his retelling of the South African folk tale Abiyoyo. She ducked back out without talking to me, but when I went back to my desk, she had left two sticky notes. One said "You are a pleasure to watch teach." The other asked if the PD class could come observe me the next day.  Observe me?  I don't even know if I know what I'm doing! 

But they came, and they ooh'ed and aah'ed and pointed at the activities and decorations and materials I'd made for our thematic unit.  They watched my students learning, they took my extra copies of my handouts, they asked me questions, and they pointed out all the things I was doing that were "just like" what they were learning in their PD session.  Of course I knew all the theories I was putting into practice, and I knew my students were learning... but suddenly it was more real once it was validated by other people: I was a real ESL teacher, one worth watching and learning from!

This year, thanks mostly to budget cuts, we have a new format: 28 K-5 students in an elementary school library with me and the librarian for a two-hour, two-day-a-week "Summer Book Club" through the month of June.  (Previously, it was just me with about 10-15 students for about 2.5 hours every day for two and a half weeks.)  The jump back down to elementary from middle school (wooo, those K's are little and wiggly!) has taken some readjusting on my part, and the Tues/Thurs schedule is nice for making it feel like a real summer but makes it hard to get into a rhythm.  Since there are so many kids, we've been splitting them and doing stations, but that makes me feel even more discombobulated.  (What a fun word! I love words that feel like the idea they express!)

Besides, I didn't feel like we were doing anything super "great" today... the kids were using pictures that I took of them last week to write about the show and tell they did about a special object from their home countries, they were adding Olympics-related words to the word wall, the librarian was doing a read-aloud, and I was doing a content-knowledge-building activity about Olympic sports on the SMARTboard, where the kids would drag pictures of sports into "Winter Olympics", "Summer Olympics", or "Not in the Olympics" categories. Nothing spectacular.

So I was feeling just as unsure about being observed as I was that first summer... but my feelings were just as unfounded.  The teachers were fascinated, the ELL coordinators complimented me on the country activity and the SMARTboard activity, and one whispered in my ear that the deputy superintendent was "very impressed".  On top of all that, one of the coordinators texted me this afternoon, just to say "Great lesson!"

Really, I wish teachers had more chances to observe each other and be observed.  Having the chance to talk about my activities encourages reflection and helps me articulate what I believe about teaching and learning, and I would certainly learn so much more if I could watch other teachers and discuss their lessons with them more often!  Besides, there's nothing more powerful than words of praise and encouragement, especially from people you admire and respect.  Just as I've come to know through slicing, words mean so much.  They can push you, challenge you, lift you up, and keep you going.

You (yes, you, slicing friend!) are a pleasure to exchange words with.  While I can't possibly tape them all on my desk, I carry them in my heart.

Fun with Themes!

Year 4 (for me) of ELL Summer School is in full swing.  I love summer school because it's been my chance to play around with teaching ESL, to implement my teaching philosophies with no strings attached, to create finely crafted, meaningful language use opportunities in contextualized thematic units while engaging students with interesting academic content.

I've taken K-5 students into the ocean, complete with blue cellophane over the lights, windows, and tables, paper scuba masks, and a touch table with real shark teeth and seashells!
grab your snokel and dive in!  :-)
Middle school students went to South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, where they performed Reader's Theater skits of traditional South African folktales and followed the soccer action with daily game reports:
best of all, Spain won it all!  :-)
Last year, more middle schoolers braved the icy cold of Antarctica by making our own pemmican (just like the first explorers!), modeling topographic maps out of sugar cookie dough, and creating Antarctic adventure board games!
brrrrr!  :-)
This year, it's back to K-5 students, and toned down because of a new format.  Nonetheless, we're having a great time learning about the upcoming Summer Olympics!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

¡Vamos de compras!

Since my 6th & 7th grade programs are eliminated and I won't even be teaching Spanish anymore, I'm going to try to share a whole bunch of my favorite activities from those programs over the summer.

A favorite activity that I've done with several different topics (food and school supplies, and I can also see it being done easily with clothing, although I never got around to it!) is shopping / the marketplace.  It's just what it sounds like -- our classroom becomes a live marketplace or store where the kids buy and sell plastic realia (and pictures of items when I don't have enough!).  For money, I invested in a lovely set of fake-but-authentic-looking euros and the kids LOVED using them!  In addition to authentic money, there are several opportunities to weave culture into this activity, such as markets / small shops, cultural icon stores like El Corte Ingl├ęs, how to say prices, and even exchange rates.
two 7th-graders interacting at a "school supply shop"
Some students volunteer to be "shop owners" -- responsible for setting up their "store", handing items to the "customers" when they ask for them (listening), telling customers the cost of their items (speaking), and making change (life skill!).  To create several stations, I categorized the items into several specialty "shops" (bakery, fresh fruits & vegetables, butcher shop, dessert shop, etc.), giving each "shop" a big bag with their items to sell, signs, and money to make change. (Small shops are a cultural element common in Spanish-speaking countries anyway, but you could make specialized areas of a large store, depending on your situation.) Many of "shop owners" get into their role so enthusiastically that they'll "advertise" for their store, yelling our items and prices in the TL to attract more "customers"!

The other students are "customers", who have to make a shopping list on a budget (writing & life skill!), ask for the items they want (speaking), and pay the correct amount of money when asked (listening).  If they're interested, I try to let the shop owners swap with a customer partway through, so they can experience both roles.

While this activity tends to be SO engaging that some kids will try to slip into English more than usual at first, it's awesome once everyone gets going in the TL (like always, close monitoring is the key!).  The best part is when those super-enthusiastic students dive thoroughly into their role and start telling the "English-sneaking" kids "I don't speak English"!

I love it because it creates a completely authentic way to use language, plus the chance to "experience" some of those cultural elements!  As for the kids, they rush around with sparkling eyes and always list it as one of their favorite activities.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Diving into Reading

at Two Writing Teachers!
Last week I made a writing plan, thanks to the TeachersWrite 2012!  It was exciting, invigorating... and I haven't exactly followed it very much... yet.  (I hope to jump into it more this week now that I've settled into summer!)

Also last week, Ruth's post about her family's summer reading plan whispered and shouted and sweetly sung its way into my heart.  After all, summer is always the time I renew my roots as a reader.  But what if this summer, Husband and I could start a reading habit that could carry through during the school year too?  I was a little better this past school year, but my reading was still relegated to breaks, some weekends, and a few sporadic days.  What if I could make time to read, just like making time to write?

So far, it's working.  (Of course, so far, it's summer! Still, it has been a busy first week of summer!)  I've already come to treasure taking a half-hour or an hour to curl up beside Husband and dive into the worlds of our respective books. Together yet separate.  Serene yet with minds racing.

Using Goodreads is helping too.  My once-nebulous list of books to read is now easy to edit, easy to access, and ever-growing.  I can actually remember what I want to read next, instead of thinking "Now what was that one book that so-and-so mentioned?" or "Who was that one author that was one the Daily Show or the Colbert Report the other night?"  As soon as I hear or read about an interesting book, I just find it in Goodreads and mark it "to-read"!  Just the thought that there are 50+ books I really want to read makes me want to sit down and start plowing through them!   Moreover,  I love getting book ideas from my Goodreads friends because I trust that if they liked a book, I will too!

Hopefully, I will be able to carve out time and stay enthused about reading when the demands of the school year (especially in a completely new position!) kick in.  Really, my new ELL position should help, because I believe I just have to read and write in order to teach kids to read and write and have them be excited to do so!

For now, I'm feeling a tug from the bright sunshine.  The only debate: should I head out with my notebook or a book?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

¡Pesca!

One of my students' favorite games is Go Fish!  Because it's such a favorite, like Bingo, we play it in lots of units.  (I've made game sets for animals, family, school supplies, and clothing, and I'm getting ready to make a set with Olympic sports for my summer school ELL kids!)  It's really easy to create cards for any set of vocabulary -- just pick out 15-25 important words (remember, you'll have twice as many cards as the words you choose) and find a picture to represent each.  I've found that having about 40-50 cards makes a nice game that students can play in about 20 minutes.  As long as you use an image or other representation instead of the word/concept, the students really have to practice as they play because they have to know the word to ask for it and to figure out if they have the card that someone's asking for.  (They are always allowed to have out their vocabulary for reference if needed.)

I envision this being easily applicable to other subject areas as well -- you could make decks with pictures, diagrams, definitions, etc. for just about any key vocabulary or concepts.  (I'm already plotting how I could still use this with my high school ELL's next year... maybe literary terms, academic vocabulary, core subject concepts...)

To make my cards, I just create a few pages of evenly spaced 3 cell x 3 cell tables in Microsoft Word (9 cards per page -- this makes them a pretty good card size) and drag one image into each cell of the table.  Then copy & paste the whole set so you have two of each card.
screenshot of one page of my animal card set
 Print in color to make the game engaging, then just cut out the cards, chop up some construction paper into 3"x4" cards, glue the paper cards on the construction paper backing, and laminate.  (That's the tedious part, which is where my husband comes in!  Takes forever but then you can use them again and again.)  I make enough sets so the kids can play in groups of 4 or 5.
a set of animal cards from our 6th grade animal unit (a pair is at the bottom)
Before we play, I always review the basic Go Fish! rules -- a lot of times I'll have a kid explain and then interject as necessary.  Be sure to tell them they're playing for pairs (not sets of 4 like a real card deck).  They have to play completely in the target language, so we go over phrases like "Do you have...?" and "Go Fish!"  After reading Megan and Kara's idea about teaching game language with games, I put up some game vocabulary ("It's my/your turn!", "Cheater!", "Liar", "I won!") on the projector while they played and I was delighted by how much they used it and even retained it!  (Maybe a little too much... my 6th graders were still calling each other "Cheater" on the last day of school!  But they remembered it and wanted to use it!)

One of my favorite sights in my classroom is to see my students clustered around the room in little groups, spouting out the target language with smiles on their faces and bursting into spontaneous eruptions of joy/anguish/yelling in the TL!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making a writing plan!

at Two Writing Teachers!
Yesterday, Kate Messner's first post for the Teachers Write! 2012 camp was about making time for writing.  Now, I've gotten a lot better this year about making time for writing... I even did it every day in March

However, the end of the school year brought its usual (and even some unusual!) craziness, and all of a sudden I didn't have as much time to write as I wanted to.  So I'm glad for Kate's camp and her suggestions to get me back into full ready-to-write mode. 

Ironically, I'm a day late posting about this... But I seriously spent ALL DAY yesterday -- and I mean nearly every waking minute that I wasn't eating -- preparing for ELL summer school, which started today!  However, that was an abnormality caused by a variety of factors, including no teacher workday at the end of the year, my cousins coming into town, and the Memorial Tournament.  (Anyway, summer school is off to a great start, although it's K-5 this year and elementary kids seem to be rather wigglier than I remembered!)

But really, I love the idea of making a writing plan.  In March, it was just sort of "I HAVE TO BLOG TODAY!!!" and I squeezed it in somewhere, although I often ended up posting at a similar time.  Like Kate, I learned not to wait for the mythical "perfect writing time" but to just WRITE! Squeezing it in somewhere worked for a month, but it was much too easy for other things to squeeeeeze the writing back out when the month (whew!) was over.  

with Kate Messner!
So here we go, my writing plan!  (Or at least, what I think is my writing plan, subject to change if I find that something else works better!)

1. Cut out / cut back on: TV, reading blogs, playing games on my iPod Touch.  Write during this time instead -- maybe not read all my blogs every day, and don't play my games so often.

2. When & how long: The big new commitment time will be evening after-dinner time: around 7:30pm, for 30 min to an hour.  If I have the chance some days, I'd like to add additional blogging-only time after school, before dinner, which is when I usually blog now (and thus why blogging gets pushed aside on busy schoolwork days!).  As for how long, my problem is that I'm kind of a long-drawn-out-writing-process person: I brainstorm, I play with ideas, I change them in my head before I put them on paper, and then I dive in deep when I start writing.  (For example, I've been thinking about this writing plan since yesterday and I've still already been in the process of this post for over an hour!)  To really try writing every day, I think I need to change how I think about writing -- I don't have to "WRITE" a polished, finished THING every day, I just have "DO writing"!  This could be brainstorming, outlining, editing, or even just "rough" writing that never gets polished.  I need to get a real Writer's Notebook (and maybe also form a digital one in Word for blog drafting?) to make this possible.

3. Where: On the couch with my laptop (and/or notebook) for the evening times, so I can still spend time with Husband.  In the afternoon, I'll opt for writing on the cozy bed with the drapes open to the greenness of our big tree (that's where I am now!), or outside on the back patio if it's nice weather!

4. Who I'll tell:  Husband, who is very sweet and encouraging and supportive about all this writing stuff, even though he's neither a writer nor a teacher... and obviously all of you, my wonderful blogging friends, who keep me going when I don't feel like it!  Also probably my parents because I may even have to write when we're over at their house sometimes, if I really jump into this completely!

If you have any tips about how YOU manage your writing time, please share!  :-)