Monday, February 17, 2014

50 Books in a Year Book #6: Differentiated Assessment

You know you're a teacher find an education book that has a title that sings to your soul, you buy said book, read and mark up said book (as so much of it gels with your thinking...) and can't wait to get to school to talk about the strategies with your friends...

Gosh, I'm an edu-nerd (that's a word, look it up!)

I don't know if I've ever talked to you about my teaching philosophy. Here are my core beliefs:

1] "Fair isn't always equal".
2] Data (hard and soft) should drive all decisions.
3] Students need to read, write and think every class period.
4] 21st century skills are essential.
5] Relationships are key.

The one thing I have a hang-up with is differentiated assessment,which puts a real kink in #1, 2 and in some ways #3, so when I saw this book at the used bookstore I had to buy it.

This book is an easy and fast read and has loads of useful information.

There are even aspects of the book that can be put into practice immediately.

Such as the following holistic model, which has been modified to assess vocabulary.

Things in the book that gel with my thinking:

1] Feedback: It needs to be prompt and helpful, and it should go both ways. Discuss questions that many missed and why the answer was wrong, and carefully consider the validity of any student complaints about a test.

Put feedback questions on the final page of a test. Example: "I can (circle: well/somewhat/not at all) do [learning objective]" or "I still need more help with ____________"

2] Outcome fairness: Tell students how they will be graded, from the very beginning of the class (or unit). Provide rubrics or checklists so students can self-evaluate as well. Base students' grades only on his/her individual contribution to group work.

3] Teacher assigned projects
Students have a choice of content not product or of product not content.

Things I'm working on:

1] Multiple assessments

2] Student designed formative assessments
Send a Problem

3] The use of logs to show evidence of learning
Content Area Logs
Reading Response logs
Dialog journals
Narrative logs

4] Student choice projects
Compacting: students may select an activity to do while others do more a more traditional unit of study
Students who have a strong interest in a particular subject may wish to work with you [the teacher] or a community mentor to design an independent study of an area of interest.
These projects must engage the students in something that is challenging, must be involved in a real-world task or application, must be learning through doing, must be created in such a way that the student can tell what needs to be completed next and the student must be able to communicate his or her learning.

In the end, she has a 12 step process for incorporating differentiated assessment into your classroom. I like #12 the best. After finding a type of assessment that works for and after using this type of your assessment in your classroom with feedback from students, it says, "Keep trying this form of summative assessment until you feel comfortable with it. Then try another, and another."

I think I'm well on my way.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Day of MRI (Missouri Reading Initiative)

What is MRI?
The foundation of the Missouri Reading Initiative is based on the principles of effective and research-based literacy strategies, including the most current findings by the National Reading Panel. The process and delivery of the Missouri Reading Initiative training is grounded in the National Staff Development Council's recommendations for professional development programs. The on-site, long-term, comprehensive program allows trainers to be invested as partners with individual school sites in promoting improved literacy achievement for each student.

Here's a day in the life of one of our meetings...

Opening: What Have you been reading?
More can be found in the book Text and Lessons for Teaching Literature

Megan: Farewell to Manzanar
Matt: I Read It But I Don't Get It, TKAM
Me: Just finished August: Osage County WOW, powerful stuff, love it!

T&T: Why is this important?
  • so our kids will talk
  • reading is a social activity
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
  • are not taught in isolation; put as many together as you can (example: #10 Text Complexity)
  • you have to do more than one with everything that you do while incorporating Speaking and Listening
MENTAL NOTE: Update my MRI binder of awesome!

Enhancing on-task conversations
  • interesting readings
  • explicit instructions
  • highly structured kid-kid meeting
  • begin with socially incremental design (pairs, small groups etc.); in pairs two people HAVE to work
  • start with the whole class (modeling, instruction, mini-lesson)
  • ALWAYS finish in a whole-class discussion, shared debrief time
Hold kids accountable for their performance within the group
Chapter 2/How to Use This Book

One-Minute Write
Listen to "The Limited", a short poem by Sherman Alexie. We will take a minute and jot down our responses and reactions to the poem.

Let's write. Wherever it takes you, whatever it makes you see or think or wonder, what it reminds you of, why you think Alexie wrote it. Keep writing for the entire time.

"The Life You Save May Be Your Own" Flannery O'Connor...not really thinking about the dog so much as I'm thinking about how it's true that you can only save your life and how tragic that fact is. We can only save our own lives. I mean just think about it. We have to know where we're going and how we are going to get there before we can talk to people about it and even then that 'hitchhiker' isn't going to appreciate it.

Listen again--Why did Alexie write this poem? Wha tis the theme or message? What word choices make this powerful? Structure?

Poets really can change the world.

Theme or message
You aren't truly apathetic if you share your experiences with others

Word Choices
"quick mutt"
"God, I thought..."
"He didn't care."
"Come on tough guy/What are you going to do?"
"Why do poets think/They can change the world?"

one piece of dialogue
8 short stanzas

One-minute write to focus on author's craft and purpose.

CCSS: R.2; R.5; SL.1; L.3; L.5

Tweet the Text: "The Sweet Perfume of Good-Bye" ME Kerr
T&T: What are some odors, good and bad, that you can almost automatically imagine smelling?

Every time you see a star you are going to stop and Tweet.

Farfire resembles Earth, but nothing has an odor on this planet except for death. People smell intoxicating just before they die. #Odd

Farfire not like Earth. We take advantage of our odors, all have meaning, all have purpose. How do they survive w/o scent? #questionoftheday

On Farfire death smells exquisite. There is something refreshing in being free to love to cherish "for as long as intended". #sweetsmell

Dr. Orr is dead, how do I get home? How can I live here without caring about smell, about home, about living and dying W/o- there is #nohope

Use Tweets to write summaries-brutally concise.

  • In future dystopia, chosen teens battle to death in a government reality show that distracts citizens from their suffering and exploitation.
  • Redneck boy and runaway slave float down the Mississippi, encountering humanity's follies on shore, and each others' souls of their raft.

Try it with a text you are reading or will read soon!

CCSS: R.2; R.5; SL.1; L.3; L.5

Rereading Prose
Read Like A Detective: "The Father" by Raymond Carver from Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

  • Read like a detective-examine the crime scene.
  • Read "The Father" and take notes on setting clues.
  • Pair share--share out whole class
  • Reread text and take notes on Character Details
  • Reread text and take notes on Plot Events
  • What is the secret between the father and his mother that is so tension filled that it appears they won't speak of it? Do you think his wife knows? Why or why not?

Rereading Poetry
Read Like A Detective: "Ducks" by Michael Salinger
  • Form a group of 3
  • Using Poetry Discussion Notes; choose one or two to following (group negotiates responsibilities)
    • Discussion Questions
    • Important Lines (at least three per poem)
      • "It is the outliers that he eyes"
      • "Dreaming of pastures not within the constrictions/Of this day's curriculum"
      • "How can he help but admire/Those who push at the edges..."
    • Words (at least three per poem)
      • "sinewy hand"
      • "good tender of flock"
      • "make him work"
    • Circle them in the text
    • Poet's Craft
    • Connections (at least one or tow per poem)
    • Title
    • Drawing (at least one per poem)
  • Individuals prepare (see mine in italics)
  • Group discuss "Duck"
  • Share out
Find an Expert
  • Find a partner by waving your paper while you are standing on the 'dance floor'
  • Leave the 'dance floor' and interview your partner about the topic
  • Greet by name and see what we are experts on
  • Ask questions about the topic and jot down notes
  • Sign your partner's paper legibly and return to the 'dance floor'
CCSS: R.1; R.2; R.3; SL.1

Using a Text Set

  • Text on Text: Silent conversation about a poem ("Labels" Sara Holbrook)
  • Gallery Walk
  • Read aloud before each group starts responding
  • Read "Sure You Can Ask Me a Personal Question". Mark lines you think make connections with the painting.
  • Discuss: What feelings or messages does the art work and the poem share. Jot notes in the middle of the Venn Diagram.
  • Read the speech of a student in fear of being deported. Speech at the US Capitol, Mandeep Chahal, 2011.
  • Read the speech a second time and underline the words and phrases you would emphasize if you were giving the speech as well as the places you would pause to give the audience time for the message to sink in.
  • Share your interpretation with a partner.
  • Listen to the speech delivered by Mandeep Chahal.
  • Compare your notes to Chahal's delivery.
  • Read and annotate "On Making Him a Good Man by Calling Him a Good Man" David Eggers
  • Guiding question: Can we influence those around us by the way we label them?
  • Written conversation: Pulling from all these texts, do you think a community can help its members become better people by viewing each other and speaking about each other more positively?
CCSS: R.5; R.6; R.7; R.9; R.10; SL.1

  • Finding non-fiction, informational texts
  • Responding to literature handout
  • Class discussions/activities based on Reading
  • Argument Writing article from Six Trait Gurus
  • Teaching Channel video

Monday, February 10, 2014

50 Books in a Year Book #5: Hemingway Lives! Why Reading Ernest Hemingway Matters Today

I think I may have a little crush on Ernest Hemingway. And, not just because he was so incredibly good-looking, although he was incredibly good-looking (I mean look at the cover of this book!) and, even at 60, he had that rugged man thing going on. I'm sure he would have been fun to talk to while guzzling daiquiris in Cuba. The crush comes more from the life of the man who wrote one of my favorite books of all time.

I wish I would have learned all about Hemingway, the man, earlier in my life. I would have read more of his books/read more about his personal life/mourned his passing appropriately...

Anyway, it would seem that there are only two kinds of people who talk about Hemingway, those who love him (I think it's those people who 'get' that he was more than this animal killing/Castro loving caricature that's been built up over the years) and those who loathe him (I think you can count all his ex-wives in this category and anyone who only sees Hemingway as a thump your chest, club your women man's man).

Clancy Sigal is all about some deep Hemingway love. He's felt this way since the young age of 15 when he stole a copy of A Farewell to Arms and loved it. Read this book...fall in love with Hemingway the writer and the man, and, if you are like me at all you'll become a little bit obsessed and will then try to make up for lost time by reading all the Hemingway you hadn't yet. By the end of Sigal's book I had hopped on the Hemingway love bus as well.

It was easy.

First Sigal tells you that to understand why Hemingway matters today we must first understand the man, Ernest Hemingway. We have to understand his foundation.


Read the right books:
King Solomon's Mines H. Rider Haggard
The Four Feathers AEW Mason
Just So Stories and The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain
Westward Ho and Hereward the Wake by Charles Kingsley
Tom Brown's School Days Thomas Hughes
Ernest Hemingway on Writing Larry Phillips

Watch all the movies:

  • Even the Hemingway big screen productions...even though he didn't really like the adaptions and neither does Sigal, concerning A Farewell to Arms he says, "With luck Hollywood won't remake the first two films of this wonderful novel again." He goes on to talk about how Hemingway viewed the whole business, "Hemingway famously said that the best way for a writer to deal with the movie business was to arrange a quick meeting at the California state line: 'You throw them your book, they throw you the money. Then you jump into your car and drive like hell back the way you came'" (138).
  • Charlie Chan
  • Four Feathers (I think he's talking about the old version, but I'm sure the latest one would do)
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Hemingway and Gellhorn
Try to...
Be Teddy Roosevelt
Be white
Be upper middle class
Be able to fish and hunt and survive in the wilderness
Be a devout follower of 'muscular Christianity' 
Be courageous and brave
Be unwavering; practice what you preach
Be on the side that fights for the rights of the individual
Be a journalist
Be an alcoholic
Be the best man
Be a good father

and, above all...

Be a contradiction to those who don't bother to understand you, and don't care if they don't try. I think I believe and emulate this trait most of all.

Then we must understand Hemingway the person who became the writer.

When you...

  • marry, no matter how many times you marry, marry for love. Don't be afraid to cut ties when you realize that 'maybe' it wasn't love after all.
  • write, write simply, "short words, brief paragraphs, few or no adverbs" (62) and honestly about what you know and ignore the critics. Or, should I say try to ignore the critics.
  • love, love all living creatures and love life. These are not contradictions to how Hemingway lived and died. Sigal talks about how each of the women in Hemingway's life, in turn, became a muse for his books and stories. Sigal even used Hemingway's characters as role models for his own foray into adulthood and romance.
  • play, play hard. Hemingway lived his life well and that could be shown by his large amount of injuries and slashes and gashes and aches and pains.
  • speak, speak what you believe is truth and stick by what you say. Hemingway loved his father, hated his mother (more on that in Chapter 6: The Women in His Life) and he made no bones about either.

Finally, we must understand the writer.

So, why does reading Ernest Hemingway matter today?

  • He is one of the pillars of Modern America. Against his will, as Sigal notes, "If Hemingway had known as a young man that his fate would be as a classroom Assigned Great Writer he'd probably have shot himself long before he did in real life" (17).
  • Just typing and retyping his stories help writers get into the flow of his style. Just ask Joan Didion, Salinger, Vonnegut, Gore Vidal, Garcia Marquez, Ann Beatty, Charles Johnson, Terry Tempest Williams, Gordimer, Mailer, Elmore Leonard, Proulx, Russell Banks, Walter Mosley and I'm sure we could find more.

In each of his books, stories and essays we can find a person to emulate, to adhor, to immortalize. And, in true contradictory fashion, I'm just sad that his fourth wife loved him so much that she allowed him to have and be himself to his own peril. Sigal creatively constructs a book that delves into the man, by showing us the people around him and then showing us how those people created the writings that we still cherish and revere to this day. If you need proof read Chapter 7: It's Not Only Men Who are Victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-The Sun Also Rises and get into this "thinly disguised autobiographical travelogue" (110). 

Sigal has such a love for Hemingway that it shows in the way he writes about every aspect of the man.

Friday, February 7, 2014

SoleHope 2014

That's my first ever class of freshmen and their BRIDGES mentors after a successful Jacket Time tracing patterns for shoes. The smaller pictures are students, Mr. Starnes, me and more students helping, helping, helping.

So, during Jacket Time last week the freshmen students cut out and created patterns for SoleHope.

What is SoleHope?


How did our students help?

In Class:

During Jacket Time:

What can you do?

  1. Plan a SoleHope party.
  2. Collect jeans for the cause.
  3. Have an awesome teacher who corrals and coordinates 400+ freshmen (see the above smiling lady, she deserves 5 Gold stars) into cutting and tracing categories. We were cafeteria (tracing), but there were also freshmen who cut the patterns out of the jeans.

She even designed a t-shirt...see 5 GOLD STARS!!!

Here is our coordinator from SoleHope, go to the website and contact yours for more information.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

World Book Night 2014: Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

This year I applied to be a World Book Night Giver a wee bit late, like the last day...after they extended the deadline date and I just figured that I wouldn't get it. But, yesterday I received the loveliest of emails. Seriously, no matter how many times I get to do this I will always feel excited by these words:

Dear Stephanie,

Congratulations! You will be a 2014 World Book Night giver.

The book I get the pleasure of giving is Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim.

From this review:

"Same Difference is the story of Korean-American 20-something slackers in San Francisco who wrestle with the stereotypes and ambitions that they feel guide their lives. It has the feel of vintage Douglas Coupland, a drifting ennui shot through with moments of human warmth and connection. And though it's a quick read, it leaves a lasting emotional coal smouldering in its wake."

I can't wait to sell the idea of reading this book to the world!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Amazon's Top 100

My friend Sara knows that I am fond of lists, all lists, but especially reading lists. She found this list and posted it on my FB page and then she posted how many she'd read. I, of course, had to do the same. Thanks, Sara! 

Read red (54)
*Recommend (46)
Want to read blue (28)
Will never read green (4)
Not read normal (46)

  1. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  2. Dune by Frank Herbert*
  3. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  5. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  6. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  8. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  9. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien*
  10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  11. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  13. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  14. The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion
  15. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
  16. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien*
  17. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens*
  18. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  19. Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
  20. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
  21. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  22. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared M. Diamond
  23. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
  24. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry*
  25. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson*
  26. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll*
  27. Alice Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro*
  28. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak*
  29. The Shining by Stephen King*
  30. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  31. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
  32. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  33. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  34. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald*
  35. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  36. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  37. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  38. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  39. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  40. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  41. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley*
  42. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl*
  43. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton*
  44. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  45. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen*
  46. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder*
  47. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney
  48. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster*
  49. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood*
  50. Beloved by Toni Morrison*
  51. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  52. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
  53. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison*
  54. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle*
  55. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
  56. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury*
  57. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  58. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
  59. 1984 by George Orwell*
  60. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote*
  61. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
  62. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  63. The Color of Water by James McBride
  64. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White*
  65. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle*
  66. The Stranger by Albert Camus*
  67. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen*
  68. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown*
  69. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  70. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris*
  71. All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
  72. A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket
  73. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  74. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  75. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  76. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt*
  77. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain*
  78. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  79. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein*
  80. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  81. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
  82. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  83. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  84. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  85. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  86. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger*
  87. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  88. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  89. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway*
  90. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  91. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  92. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen*
  93. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi*
  94. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  95. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  96. The Liars' Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr
  97. The Giver by Lois Lowry*
  98. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  99. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dantica
  100. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov*

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who Am I Really???

So, there have been a lot of quizzes going around FB, because I've got a lot of things to do, I've taken the bulk of them.

Here's what I've learned about myself:

I belong in Portland. At first, I was really upset about this, as I feel I belong in London, but then I read the description. "You are a free spirit, but not in the LA way, in the 'you’re probably more cultured than most of your friends' way. You’re up-to-date on all the latest coffee brewing techniques, have a long list of local blogs you love to read, and can taste the organic goodness in every bite you eat. Move to Portland already, you sexy smarty pants." I am a sexy smarty pants and I do love to eat organic while reading blogs, Portland it is.

I should be a professor. "You are a thinker, in constant search of knowledge and answers to life’s most illusive questions. You love to analyze everything, testing out theories and pushing mental boundaries. Basically you’re an Einstein, but then again you you already knew that." Well, yes, yes, I did, didn't I? Hahahahahaha...

I'm so smart that I don't relate to others well and I'm going to be the leader of a new race of cyborg-humans. I'm torn about whether that's going to be Battlestar Galactica Cylon style or Dr. Who Cypermen style...I suppose since I'm Sheldon it should be Cylons.

While I'd date and kiss myself some Gale, I loved Peeta from day one. Frankly, I think Peeta deserves better than Katniss, although they complete each other. Because I like Peeta so much it would only make sense that I'd be him if quizzes determined our personalities. And, I am quite the lover...of art and culture and people.

Because of this quiz I learned that I am full of sage advice, but I also have an ambitious dark side. Oh and I'm also smart and I believe in the power of love. This all seems fair and plausible. Thank goodness they didn't mention that I'm old and so on and so on...

Ok, ok, I get it, I'm loving, so much so, that sometimes witches poison me and make me fall asleep. That's OK, how else am I supposed to get the Prince.

And, while I was going for Princess Lela and Han Solo (I know, I know, I need Freud to decode that one), I am in total agreement with being Ben Kenobi. I am wise, I'm more than what I seem to be, I am sage with zen-like calm (too bad they don't know how much I work at that) and that I should be a teacher who wants communication.

I'm smart and trusting and I see the good in everyone. I'm strong and independent, but should stand up for myself more. I like this one because it waxes on and on and on about how I love to read.

I AM A LEADER! Jealous?! Fearful of the future?! Sense of Adventure?! Hmmm...I do believe life is a big adventure, I put others before myself and I am Andy's favorite.

YESSSSSSS!!! I am Spock. When I was a kid I thought I liked Captain Kirk better, I also thought Luke was a much better choice than Han Solo (dont' judge, I was young). I value internal struggles, I am self-reflective! Awesome sauce on a piece of awesome steak.

Feeling a little lost? Don't know who you are? Find these quizzes interesting? Want to waste some time doing something not so valuable? Go to Zimbio or Buzzfeed, excellent time-wasters and constant work diversions.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Women Stop Slamming Other Women to Get Your Point Across. The End.

Of course, I was raised by and have grown up
with some pretty powerful and strong women
who have done it all without complaint.
Ok, so I first read this very long list of articles when I saw the link on Yahoo ("Um, yes, Yahoo is where I get my news," she says sheepishly). I was not shocked by anything that Amy Glass says in her article, frankly, I still think some of those things after having a husband and a kid. I am tired of people accepting and making me do less because I have a family at home. Having a family should not be an excuse for not doing your job at the best of your ability, having a family does not take away my drive or ambition. I am not anything less than the person I already am. I just have a kid that gets 100% of my time, but not all the time. I loved this quote from The Awakening before I got pregnant and I love it even more now that my kid is four years old.
"I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn't give myself." 
And, truly "myself" belongs to me.

But, I digress.

Here's a link to the original post, some of it can be quite harsh, but, as she suggest in her follow up post (Is The Point of Having Kids Just to Not Be Lonely?) and as your preacher suggest every Sunday morning, if there's something that makes you feel guilt/upset/unhappiness/anger think about why it does. So, here's the link and the most controversial of the quotes with my two cents. I mean quotes not counting the already quite controversial and scathing title. Then after this are some responses with my two cents. Enjoy!?

I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I'm Not Sorry

Me and my sisters
  • Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit. I think it is about every choice a woman makes, but I understand what she is saying as there are women who blindly commit to what they feel is right without taking into account their own happiness. That has been the plight of women all along. The problem is that there are women who feel that women are incomplete UNTIL they get married and have kids, as if that's our only purpose (even God says otherwise) and there are some women that feel they have done something horrible if they SUCCUMB to marriage and kids. They feel their lives are meant for something more. There is no more, but there also is no less. If we are doing what we know to be right and we are not acting like martyrs about that fact. We are being strong females.
  • Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? "Equal footing" Yes. Better than? No. Less than? No.
  • Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average? Frankly, I said this very thing while I was pregnant, "Please don't make me have a Shower, anyone can get pregnant, let's not celebrate it." I know you might this ironic, but I'm actually a very private person. I don't need my personal accomplishments blasted all over for them to be accomplishments. I know they are and that's all that matters. I mean I got married in Vegas for pete sakes and am not upset that only a handful of people came. I didn't get married for people. I got married for me. Were the
    Showers fun? Sure. But, I hate that now because of it there are people who think "Wow, Stephanie has a softer side/cries/has feelings." I always had those feelings, I don't have to show them for them to exist. I don't have to have a kid for you to know that I work hard, am caring, thoughtful, value my time with my friends and my family. 
    Average? I know that in the USA we seem to only think of things in black and white and if a woman is a successful person she must hate kids and family and if she's a stay at home mom (SAHM) she must not have any drive or life goals. Why can't we have both? I think the main thing is 'settling' I hope that no woman settles into having a career if she wants to be a SAHM and I hope that women are SAHMs by choice. Honestly, some women are so bitter or so pontificating in how happy they must be that I wonder. Don't forget 'choice' means you can change your mind.
  • I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. Single Women Showers happen all the time. Women buy their own diamonds all the time. Throw a shower for your friend for any of these things. Ask me to plan it and I'll say "No." Ask me to attend and I probably won't, but my married friends can attest, I barely make it to weddings, showers et cetera ( I barely made it to my own--but that's a different story or two)'s all equal in my eyes.
  • You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids. Not true, it just means you never sleep. I miss sleep. However, I have chosen this life. To quote a former student and younger sister to a dear friend, "I do what I want." That means that sometimes I start writing a blog post at 5am or I read a book while the husband entertains (sometimes is forced to entertain) the kid in the living room. It means there are weeks when I'm not home because I have to get the magazine put to bed or I have to go to a conference. It means that most of the time the husband cooks dinner if he wants it before 7.30p (which is when I'd have it). It means that Saturday Work days with the journalism kids means I bring my kid. It means that when I work on Sunday afternoons I usually bring the kid. (Of course, all that means is that the husband 'gets' more free time than me, but I'm not hating, I would like it to be reciprocal, but at the same time I LOVE being around my kid, she's funny and smart and great to talk to). It's not selfish. We both have a kid. We both must be equally responsible about that. Equally. We both must give up some of our personal time as a sacrifice sometimes to the other and sometimes to the kid. It is a sacrifice. I don't have to be a martyr about it. It's what good parents (stay at home or otherwise) do. It's what I want to do. It's not only mothers who have this duality though. Single women play dual roles (I remember thinking I spent too much time at work and so on...), and so do, I've never asked the husband if he wants me to take the kid everywhere I go, I just do because I want to because I'd miss her. Maybe he doesn't want to work on the car/drink beer/watch TV as much as I think he does. Maybe he misses her too.
  • I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.
    Me and the person I would give my life for.
    Hmmm...maybe this is the reason I never talk about it, maybe this is the reason I sometimes resent those that do and I sometimes resent those who think I work too hard because I should be a 'mother' more. Managing a household is hard, my mother did it without a husband, but she had lovely sisters and parents to help her more than I realized at the time. I go back to the black and white thing. We don't have to bash women who manage a household to raise up those who do not. We can have it both ways. I do think there are women out there who like to show you their martyrdom no matter if it's at work or at home. It's not because they think they are doing less, it's not because they lack real accomplishments, it's because they are whiny. Um, there are whiny men too! Duh! God gave you a job, now do it!
  • Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. Women will be equal with men when we value our work regardless of what it is. When we understand that we each have different roles and different ways we play out those roles. Candace Cameron Bure isn't entirely off her rocker. I'm a firm believer that when a man is fulfilling his role, than a woman can fulfill hers. When we work together to raise one another up, when we stop creating our own dividing line we can be a unified whole. Women are not less than when they are married or have kids. Women are not less than when they aren't in control of everything and men aren't less than when they listen to and understand and are sensitive to women. Neither are women.

Dear Feminazi Amy Glass

This one has some wonderful points You see, there should never be a comparison of a woman who decides to devote herself to her family and the importance of a sound structured home life to a woman who devotes herself to her work and taking care of herself.  Both are equally respectable choices for an individual to make. Your mistake, in my opinion, is deciding that one should be better than the other.

True... Ms. Glass, some women choose to stay at home to raise a family because they feel their sacrifice to do so is important to them, not you. 

True... Have you ever considered that for some women their “dream job” as you called in your blog is to raise a family? Who are you Ms. Glass to suggest that she is wrong to feel that way?

What??? I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest you are a liberal. I say this because some liberal females (not all) suggest this type of “feminism” to the extreme as if the many possibilities of a woman’s choice don’t exist.  

Back to some loveliness... 
You know Ms. Glass, I have a friend who chose to remain single and owns her own business as a career, but her focus is not whether or not she remains single or decides to marry and start a family, but simply to do her best each day for herself and those who are important.

OK, fine... It’s called having mutual respect. You might want to try that philosophy sometime; it may just get you further in life.
Surround yourself with
strong women. That's what
I always say...
And, the bite is back! P.S.  My apologies if you are actually a world renowned scientist who has found a cure for cancer and just writes a pithy blog on her spare time criticizing random people whose choices have nothing to do with you.

I Look Down On Women Who Troll Women with Husbands and Kids and I'm Not Sorry

Again, I agree, but do we have to cut one woman (or, women who think like her) to elevate our point? Amy gets an A for writing some rage-bait, and an F for her opinion.
Saying that women who choose to be moms and wives rather than being a doctor or an engineer are not as important as women who do choose those paths isn’t a new notion, it’s something that women contemplate and struggle with and face everyday. 
Why the dis at the end? We hear you Amy, but it’s not like we haven’t heard it a gazillion times before, by writers a lot more eloquent than you.
Why the dis at the end? I love me some ragey click bait. ...And I think every woman should be allowed to have her opinion, no matter how “wrong” and misguided I feel their opinion is.
Really? It’s fine that this writer doesn’t see raising a family as being valuable. As someone raising a family I feel differently. But I just can’t muster the energy to care about fighting this notion when I have laundry to do.
Um, do you? To me that’s a lot more important that arguing with someone bloviating on the internet.

I Feel Sorry for Amy Glass and I'm Not Ashamed

And, this one, why so hateful? At the end of it, I want to apologize to Amy Glass. Heck! I want to apologize to every woman I know... First of all, getting married and having kids ARE milestones. Not everyone can do either, even fewer can do both. Well ok, let’s compromise. Pretty much anyone can GET married. It’s STAYING married that takes commitment and the ability to put someone else’s needs above your own. Clearly divorce rates show that this is not as easily achieved as one might think.
As for having babies, roughly half of the worlds population lacks the actual biological components, and those who do have the correct parts are not guaranteed an ability to produce a child. Add in the fact that a growing number of women abort their children and your total number of women who can successfully bring a baby to term has been significantly decreased.
Ok, we get it without having to go here... Based on your article I will assume you have been unable to do either, so maybe it’s not as easy as you think.
Or, here...ouch, really, ouch. Shorter version is, tomorrow I could become a writer and replace you. It might take an hour or two to learn about what you do, but the fact is you are easily replaceable. I am not. You could not replace me. You don’t have the skills. And when the Zombie apocalypse hits and skills other than ‘writing‘ are necessary, you’re getting left outside the fence. Try not to get eaten. 

Society Still Needs Family Women

Starts off so much in my head and then...Many mothers today have a career, and there is nothing wrong with that. A strong woman will be able to balance taking their child to soccer practice with all of the other aspects of life that are thrown at her on a daily basis. 
Not we really need to compare? Aren't they both just being the best versions of themselves? A woman who decides to stay at home to take care of the home, to take care of the children, and to take care of everyone’s needs is stronger than any CEO of any large company in this world. 
Who wants to deny this kid that she can do it all???
And, I loathe the proliferation of stereotypes to prove a point...the role of men has changed. It has changed and is still trying to adapt to this 'modern woman'... The women who have raised children know what I am talking about. They have witnessed and experienced life in ways that men cannot even dream. Men are conditioned to get a job, take care of the family, come home, and do it against the next day. They are the protectors of the family from outside forces that may be too much for the women and children to handle on their own. This is what society sees the male in a relationship as. That has not really changed much with time, but the role of the woman has and has grown to be the person who stays at home to cook and clean to the person who cooks, cleans, buys clothes, buys food, works for her own money, and helps when the bills come in the mail...
Really? I'm not sure why somebody needs to experience it to understand it. I think we need to talk about the joys of both more. The woman who can juggle work outside the home with everything else in the home may just be the true master of the castle, so to speak. The woman who puts down other women for wanting a family does not see the joy that those women get because that woman has yet to experience it. She has not experienced the love of someone else, the joy of giving birth to a child, or raising a family like many women today still do. 
Really? Those children grow up to be parents themselves, and who is the first person they think back to when they are trying to figure out how to raise their own child or how to juggle all of life’s responsibilities at one time?
Their mother!

I Think People Without Kids Have Empty Lives and I'm Not Sorry About It

Um, who says? I never thought of myself as the kind of person who judges other people’s choices. But after spending enough of my life with kids and without, I can’t deny what I really feel: It’s a perfectly fine choice to never become a parent, but there is absolutely no chance that your life will be as full or meaningful, or that you will learn as many essential truths about existence, as you would if you had kids.

True, but you can have empathy, and don't we all need a little more of that?! (and, let's add "until you've" become a teacher, doctor, lawyer, policemen, person of the opposite sex, different race, different religion and so on...) There are certain truths about life that you literally cannot know until you’ve become a parent. 

You are not less a person because you cannot do the are not more of a person if you can... Watching a new life come to exist and seeing your child discover everything for the first time, from their nose to snow to seeing Terminator for the first time, and develop language and social skills and the first time they feel an emotion for the first time and you see all of that and a million other thing happen organically…when you get to see first hand what feelings and thoughts and personality traits occur naturally, what we’re born with versus what we are taught…literally every moment of being a parent, if you’re thoughtful and observant, is a mind-blowing opportunity to learn the most basic things about what it means to be human. There is not a single other thing you can do in your life that gives you access to that. 

Why? I don’t think people are somehow bad or wrong for not having kids – I just think it’s really, deeply sad. I feel tremendously sad for them.

Judging Other People Does Not Make You Exceptional: An Open Letter to Amy Glass

And, just, well, just ouch. If you keep this up, the only real impact you will have on the world when you die is the grass, if any, that chooses to grow on your grave. And instead of having “Loving Friend, Wife, and Mother” written on your gravestone, it will just be your name. And every person who passes by your grave will never remember your accomplishments, because you were too busy judging everyone else to make a real difference. 

Me and some of the non-judgmental women in my life.

So to sum it all up: Seriously, I think Amy Glass and I could be friends, we'd have lots to argue about and, um, she'd keep me on my toes and, hopefully that would be reciprocal.  I'm not sure how I feel about the women who've written their responses...I'm not sure that fighting fire with fire is the answer here, or ever really. Let's be honest with ourselves, Amy Glass wrote this post so those that are the opposite of her would bite and bite they did. 

After reading all of those articles I just felt overwhelmed and a little sad for the state of womanhood today. I think we could all use a good dose of empathy. Maybe Amy Glass just needs more friends who have families who don't make their families seem like a sacrifice they and only they alone against the world can make, maybe we need to spend less time talking down to her and her view points and more time examining our own because, wow, all I'm feeling is so far is a lot of woman on woman hate, and that includes you Amy Glass! Honestly, women, let's stop bashing other women to get our point across. Let's hang out more. Let's talk to one another about our lives, our successes, our failures, our children, our love lives more. Let's put the 'shoe on the other foot' and stop hating. Let's be the most successful versions of ourselves and let's push other women to do the same. 


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