Monday, April 16, 2018

Title I Video Delayed Due to Dumpster Diving in Detroit



No, you didn't misread the title.
If you're subscribed to my Secret Newsletter, you were probably expecting to receive the free video link to my featured lecture at this year's 2018 Title I Conference in your email last weekend, as promised. I apologize for the delay, but have a very good reason...  an unexpected, four-hour long dumpster dive at the Detroit Convention Center last Sunday— which happened to be the only day I had between flights and my conference travels to edit and upload it. 
WHY was I dumpster diving in Detroit, you ask?  Was it for jewelry or cash....?  Nope.
It was to rescue my favorite 1st grade student writing sample pictured below.
Secret Stories® Phonics — 1st Grade Writing Sample
Katie's favorite first-grade student writing sample
For all those who have seen me at a conference, you've probably tripped over this particular piece of writing when walking in and out of my session, as it's usually draped over the giant doors and extending out several feet into the walkway. 
While it's the perfect example of learner skill automaticity, at just over 12 feet long and heavily laminated in thick plastic, it's always a challenge to get into my suitcase (especially along side the hundred "normal sized" writing samples) yet I love it and bring it almost everywhere I go (for speaking, that is, not regular vacations- lol) Even at my keynote sessions in fancy ballrooms, you are likely to see it thrown over one of the giant ballroom doors like a giant "Jed Clampett-style" welcome sign for teachers!
So you can imagine my horror when after doing sessions all morning, I looked up at the giant session doors and saw that it was GONE! I searched everywhere and questioned everyone.
Has anyone seen a first grade writing sample that's about 12 feet long? 
No one had.
I was especially suspicious of the "little-kid" cheerleaders (whose conference was happening at the same time) as they seemed like the most likely suspects. Not only were they everywhere, tumbling up and down the convention center hallways, but they were the only ones (aside from myself) who would have any use for a 12-foot long piece of plastic (the makings of a perfect "cheer-banner!")
As it turned out, it wasn't the cheerleaders. It was a custodian who spotted the giant, puddled-up, plastic mass of writing on the floor by the door, and decided to throw it away (or try to, as it apparently wouldn't fit in her garbage bag). Because the writing was so long and the heavy-duty laminating so inflexible and unwieldy, she had apparently had to hand-carry it from the 3rd floor, down the escalator, and to the main floor gondolas (a fancy word for rolling garbage bins) where it would then be taken to the building's main compacting dumpster on the outer deck.
My precious writing sample had been put into that giant compacter, where it was squished and squashed by an iron plate that pushed it further and further into the back recesses of the dumpster in order to make room for more cheerleader garbage. By the time I had finally figured out what happened, that damn dumpster had literally "eaten and swallowed" my 12 foot long, 1st grade writing sample! And to make matters worse, there was only one opening at its front, through which all of the garbage was pushed through. There were no top or side access doors, which meant that there was no way to tell just how deep down the "rabbit hole dumpster' my writing sample had fallen!
But that didn't stop me....or my new (and VERY kind) friend, Kevin, an off-duty custodian, who was willing to help me try and rescue my writing. So, with the circuit breakers turned off so we wouldn't be squished (Can't you just see the headlines— "Teacher Squished to Death While Trying to Save Writing Sample at the Michigan Reading Conference") Kevin and I donned matching garbage bags over our heads like ponchos and went in. (He went in because he knew what he was doing, and I went in because I was unable to accurately describe to Kevin what a 12 foot long, laminated 1st grade writing sample actually looks like.)
We were about three feet in and poking at random walls of garbage when I saw s0me of the writing pop out from behind some plastic cups. That Kinko's heavy-duty laminating would not be contained, just like a can of snakes, waiting to uncoil! It was like a giant plastic octopus, reaching out to me... as if it were running home to mommy (if mommy were standing in a dumpster). I actually had tears in my eyes, as I couldn't have imagined flying home and leaving it behind, no more than I could have imagined leaving behind the sweet student who wrote it! I'm sure that this is something that only a teacher would understand... as my husband certainly didn't when I tried to explain why I'd missed my earlier flight! Luckily though, Delta Airlines did understand (or they thought that I'd made up the most bizarre excuse ever for missing a flight) as they were kind enough to book me on a later flight. 
Michigan Reading Conferences's Best Custodian EVER!
Kevin, the bravest custodian EVER (and my personal hero!)
It is thanks to Kevin— the most patient and bravest custodian EVER, and to Kinkos—whose super expensive, plastic lamination is virtually indestructible, that my favorite 1st grade writing sample is back where it belongs, safe and sound....and ready for a trip to Montana on Monday (despite being "three times compacted" and having a little less spring in its step!) 
Plus, I got to experience two things that I never thought would: 
1. Go dumpster diving in Detroit; 
2. Take a shower with a 12-foot long writing sample (It was the only way to get us both cleaned-up in time to catch the plane! :-)
So now that I've provided you with what is probably WAY too much information, here is the link to my featured presentation at the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia, as promised!
Katie Garner Education Author and Keynote Speaker/ Literacy Consultant
Click here to view my featured presentation at the 2018 National Title I Conference
or watch the video, below.

And if a more "brief" overview is preferred, check out the highlights video from last year's presentation. (This year's highlights video should be posted in the next few weeks!)  
I also want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time to send me (or post on Instagram, FB or Twitter) pics and vids from their classrooms, as I can't tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing all of the awesome things your kiddos are doing with the Secrets! It's the reason that I dig through dumpsters— Lol!
With Warm Regards and Happy Spring Wishes!
Katie
And to all those in Montana, I'm looking forward to doing the morning keynote and several breakout sessions at your State Title I Conference later this month, and to hopefully seeing many of you there!  And Maryland-friends, I will be coming back again in May, so am looking forward to seeing many of you again soon, as well! (To view all upcoming conference and school/district PD dates, click here.)
And a note to all subscribers, be sure to add Katie@KatieGarner.com to your address book so that your spam folder doesn't "eat" my emails like the dumpster "ate" my writing— Lol! :-)
PS I am also including the download link (see below) to the Secret Stories® white paper which provides a great overview of the research that supports the topics covered in my presentation at Title I.  Additionally, you can download the PDF handout packet from my Title I lecture, here.
Secret Stories® Phonics White Paper Research Support
SECRET STORIES® White Paper Research Support
by Dr. Jill Buchan (author of the 2 Sisters "Daily CAFE/Daily 5" White Paper)
Dive deeper into the research behind Secret Stories® and how to target phonics instruction to the earlier developing "affective" social-emotional (feeling) domain for accelerated learner-access to the code!

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Secret Stories® Makes Phonics Make SENSE!
Secret Stories® Phonics Secrets
Try a "taste" of the Secrets with YOUR class 
and see the difference they make!
Click to Download the FREE Secret Stories® Mini-Sample Poster Pack!

Katie Garner Education Author and Keynote Speaker/ Literacy Consultant
For a list of upcoming conferences, or for information on scheduling a school or district professional development workshop, click here. 

Katie Garner Secret Stories Linkedin pageSecret Stories BlogSecret Stories Facebook PageSecret Stories Youtube PageSecret Stories TwitterSecret Stories PinterestSecret Stories Instagram

Secret Stories® Phonics Secrets
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Friday, April 13, 2018

"Kid-Created" Phonics Secrets!

Secret Stories Phonics Mommy E®—Making Phonics Make SENSE!

I received an email from the mom of an adorable little boy who had been diagnosed with high functioning autism. Her frustration and despair were heartfelt, and her words really struck a chord, both as a mom and as a teacher. With her permission, I wanted to share it.....

Hi Katie,
My son is in grade two and is not reading. He has a diagnosis of high functioning autism. When I asked my son’s doctor last week what I could do to help my son with reading, the doctor said, “He has autism, he might never read.” It feels that I am getting the same message from his school.

I struggled in school with a severe learning disability. The learning disability was not discovered until I was in grade 8. I spent many years, sitting in classrooms and not knowing what was going on. When I was diagnosed in grade 8, my parents were told I was "mentally retarded” and that I would never be able to succeed in the local public school.

My son told me that he sits in class and just looks at his worksheets for the entire class. I have spent many nights googling different ways to teach my son to read. I am a single mother and it seems hard sometimes not to have another person to share my worries with.
I just stumbled upon your method yesterday and I printed out some of your stories and read them to my son and showed him the pictures. He remembered the sounds right away.

I have been watching your videos on YouTube and they have been unbelievable. This is the first time in a long time that I have felt extremely hopeful.

About one month later...

Hi Katie,
I can't thank you enough for your book. My son has started reading!
He loves the Secret Stories. He thanked me last night for getting the Secret Stories for him.

Last night, I asked him to read the word "cookie" using what he learned from the Secret Stories. His first response was, "I can't read such a big word."

I told him to try.
He sounded out the word right away.
He then said, "Mommy, I read the word cookie! I can't believe I read such a big word!"

Katie, your program is unbelievable.
It really should be used in all schools to teach kids reading.

PS My son loves drawing in his sketchbook. He brought the Secret Stories with him to swimming and was drawing and practicing the stories before his class.  Here is a picture of him sketching the secrets in his sketchbook.

And here's a wonderful picture of this adorable little guy with his Secret sketchbook at swim practice!

Secret Stories® Phonics Secrets — Making Phonics Make SENSE!

Secret Stories® Phonics Secrets — ER, IR, UR
Secret Stories® Phonics Secret ER, IR & UR


Every teacher knows it doesn't get any better than this!

Although, these next notes from actual kiddos come close, beginning with this one from a SPED learner in South Carolina, sent to me by his wonderful literacy coach, Sheila Smith.
Secret Stories Phonics SPED Learner Writing
"I am thankful for (you) teaching me about words and Secret Stories
and words that don't follow the rules..."
In addition to that wonderful note, her students are also working on a book about their all-time favorite Secret Stories®......

Secret Stories® Phonics Secrets— KIDS FAVES
Our favorite Secret Stories®!

Secret Stories Phonics Mommy E®
Secret Stories Mommy E®

Secret Stories Sneaky Y® Secret Student Drawing &  Story
Secret Stories Sneaky Y®
Secret Stories Sneaky Y® Secret Student Drawing &  Story
Secret Stories Sneaky Y® Digital Supplement Pack
Secret Stories® Phonics Secret AU AW
Secret Stories Phonics Secrets AU AW
Secret Stories® AU & AW Phonics Secret
Secret Stories Phonics Secret EU EW
Secret Stories® Phonics Secret EU & EW
Secret Stories Phonics Secrets EU EW
FREE Secret Stories®  Phonics Secret ER IR UR
Secret Stories® ER, IR & UR
FREE Secret Stories®  Phonics Secret ER IR UR


FREE Secret Stories®  Phonics Student Secrets
And some creative Secret "Odds & Ends!"

And if you don't already have the Secrets, but would like to try sharing them with your students, you can download this mini-sampler poster pack FREE! 
FREE Secret Stories®  Phonics Mini-Poster Sample Pack
FREE Secret Stories® Phonics Mini-Poster Pack
Until Next Time,
Katie :-)

Never Miss a Secret! Subscribe to the Newsletter! 



Katie Garner Secret Stories LinkedIN pageSecret Stories BlogSecret Stories Facebook PageSecret Stories Youtube PageSecret Stories TwitterSecret Stories PinterestSecret Stories Instagram
Secret Stories Banner
Secret Stories® Makes Phonics Make SENSE!
Try a "taste" of the Secrets with YOUR class 
and see the difference they make!
Click to Download the FREE Secret Stories® Mini-Sample Poster Pack!

For a list of upcoming conferences, or for information on scheduling a school or district professional development workshop, click here. 

Katie Garner Secret Stories Linkedin pageSecret Stories BlogSecret Stories Facebook PageSecret Stories Youtube PageSecret Stories TwitterSecret Stories PinterestSecret Stories Instagram

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