5th Graders, Paying It Forward and Projects

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! I so love spring and am very excited to be getting the garden together while I “grow” a number of other projects!

A couple of weeks ago I had the joy of guest-teaching about Point-of-View to a friend’s 5th-grade class. I developed a very basic workshop several years ago, to present at a monthly Liberty States Fiction Writers, a wonderful group of pay-it-forward kind of folks. Took me about an hour to put together a simple PowerPoint, and now I have another workshop-with-slide-show to add to a growing resume!

The kids were phenomenal. Most looked interested (as in, only a few yawned), and many of them asked all kinds of great questions. A few even groaned when their teacher said we had about 10 minutes left before they had to break for lunch—how cool is that?

Aside: For those of you who don’t know this, I’m putting it out there: I want to talk to big groups of people on a regular basis. I have a variety of topics.

Workshops are: writing-related; educational/occupational therapy (including assistive technology, handwriting, sensory, etc); parenting. (That’s what happens when one’s interests are all over the place, lol.) Anyone who wants further detail, y’all can contact me here or message me on Facebook.

Glad I put fingers to the keys this morning to write about jeans! (I’ll work on putting that together as next week’s post. (Working hard to keep things short and sweet here. )

Here are links to a couple of things that caught my interest:

This one is for dolphin lovers—like myself. They are SUCH incredible creatures.

This post by Tammy Dennings Maggy spoke to me big-time. (Have a feeling it will to many of you as well.) Please take a moment and welcome her back to the blogosphere!

As always, please feel free to SHARE—not just my content, but any or both of the articles above as well. As the lovely Jane Porter once said in a workshop I attended, one can never underestimate how far-reaching what one says and/or does is, or who you’ll touch. (I paraphrased. Don’t remember where the notes are to that workshop.)

Have a wonderful week, folks, and a very Happy Mother’s Day to whomever the greeting applies!






Murphy’s Law in Full Swing

Hi all! Hope you enjoyed your weekend and are in full swing with whatever this week brings, ESPECIALLY if it’s good stuff.

This one should have been quicker but backstory and set-up slowed me down. I’m shooting for relatable instead.

Last year my supervisor at work offered me a 4-session-speaking gig: I was asked to familiarize a small group of regular and special education teachers with software my school district makes available to our students. Since one of my aspirations is to get paid to talk in front of folks, I jumped on the opportunity. (Oh, if I were paid by the word… I could be semi-retired… ;))

Gave my first workshop. Wasn’t as prepared as I might have liked, but I had a kick-butt handout loaded with links and how-to’s. The session went fairly well, considering the computer provided with the projector functioned okay on our school’s not-so-wonderful wireless network; and since the point of a workshop is to create a springboard for going deeper into the info on one’s own. And as the presenter, I’d learn what to improve upon for the next session.

Feeling okay about the overall outcome of session one, I ramped up the handout and practiced the presentation at home. Put enough time into it that I felt highly confident going in, about 3 weeks after the first session. I even decided to bring my laptop since I have Windows 7 and the school’s laptops are still running XP. (Let’s not go there…)

Holy, moly. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. The first application wouldn’t even open. (That was only the lead-in and foundation for the other three.) The school’s network was ridiculously uncooperative, even with the school’s computers employed by the teachers present. It was so bad, if two people left-clicked the same link, one got directed to one page and the other person to another. That led to people frequently raising hands to ask for help and totally disorganized my presentation of the material, even with my detailed handout—fully marked and highlighted with relevant points.

My bookmarked page, to an excerpt from one of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was blocked.


It was a horribly embarrassing experience, in front of the teachers who are not only my colleagues but taught (or will teach) my sons.

One bright spot: two years prior I’d helped a tech who’d been contracted to present a similar workshop. One of the teachers who’d attended remembered having similar problems, network-generated.

There are just some things one cannot control. Knowing that helped me get over how bad my presentation seemed and what my coworkers must have been thinking (and might still think). Also wondering how major a gaff it was to bring in my laptop–but I wasn’t all that thrilled with the district’s either. What say you about the next time I present?

Care to share one of your most mortifying disasters, professional or not? What happened? How did you deal? Open forum begins now!

Have a great day!