Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Lesson for the Teacher...

Well, loyal blog followers, I think the biggest lesson learned this past week was learned by ME.

First of all, I thank you all for staying tuned in to the things we do in our classroom. I truly do consider myself to be a 'reflective practitioner' - which is why I can't seem to ever catch up on doing all I want to do in our room. I get one idea, then think of another, then another, and I just can't stop until they all get done! On top of it, I like to document it on our blog so that we can all grow and learn together, but finding time to make it all happen in our room and on here is challenging! Regardless, I've been excited to share our learning experiences with those of you who are excited to read them.

Some of you may have noticed that LifeIn4B recently underwent a little 'content reduction'. Our blog is a lot skimpier than it used to be. A few of you have emailed me saying, "I went to look for your post about ____, but I couldn't find it. Help me!"

My response to those emailing friends went something like this:

The ______ blog post you're looking for DID come from our blog. Now, the reason you aren't able to find it is because... I deleted about 150 posts. :( Why would I do such a thing? Well, I emailed a publishing company to get their input as to many of the charts you see on our blog that I created to coincide with a popular teacher's guide I use. The charts are awesome because they inspire kids to WRITE about many of the literary features and skills I teach them. I have had tons of teachers ask for these charts as a result of seeing them on our blog because the charts help students think at deeper levels, and they are also a great way to assess students' thinking when it comes to literacy. I've heard from more teachers than I can even keep up with, so... since the charts seemed so popular, I thought maybe I could get the publishing company to jump on board and we could explore the possibilities. I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Well, instead of the publishing company thinking the charts were great, I got an email back from them saying they appreciated I was so conscientious and that I had even bothered to email them at all, but....the charts I created that were inspired by their teaching guide infringed on copyright laws, and they requested I delete everything from my blog that had to do with their teaching guide. They also told me any pictures of book covers I had on my blog broke copyright laws, too. :(

Needless to say, almost 75% of our blog is about literacy, the mentor texts we use and what we learn from them, the thinking we do together and individually, etc. I take pictures of everything because I like to share with parents AND teachers as to what we do so we can all grow and learn together. Aside from that, I'm a thinker, a talker, a problem-solver, and seeing what we do helps me grow as a professional.

My students and their learning was ALWAYS the focus when I created the charts this summer. I consider myself a very hard-working, honest, genuine person who always has good intentions, so the email I got from the publishing company last week made my heart race a mile a minute. For someone who works so hard to do everything RIGHT, I suddenly felt I had done everything wrong, even though I know it's what's best for kids.

Rather than going through every single post and taking out bits and pieces (which I had started to do but it was taking me forever to go through each post), I just decided to *hard swallow* delete most of my blog. It still makes me ill to think that in one simple click I deleted a year's worth of professional reflection and documentation of the learning we do in our room. Unfortunately, in addition to the charts, I ended up deleting everything else that was on each post - including things that WERE my own ideas. I'm allowed to use the charts in my own classroom but am not allowed to share them with other teachers. Total. Bummer.

With all that said, from now on I will be more conscientious with what I post; the last thing I need is a huge lawsuit simply because I care a ton about my kids learning and how empowering it is to network with other teachers. I still respect the publishing company that I emailed with and the author of the book I was/and still am so inspired by. It just seems twisted that what's best for our kids and for our profession is ... against the law. I mean, I get it, but .... I don't.

 Needless to say, I've taken a little 'break' from posting lately, just to wrap my brain around all of this and keep my head up. I immediately wrote back to the publishing company with my sincere apologies, and they responded that I shouldn't be too hard on myself - which, for those of you who know me, is almost impossible. I promise you I will continue to blog and share, but for now what I have to blog and share is that  I screwed up and wasn't aware of it until last week.

I tell my kids all the time that nobody's perfect and that everyone makes mistakes - it's just important that we learn from them. I'm definitely no exception. :)

On a warmer, fuzzier note, I feel THANKFUL to work at Barrie School!
Check out this video from our Thanksgiving Lunch two weeks ago.
Thanks for your ears, everyone.


  1. I am so sorry about what happened. You have the most thorough and in depth lessons to share with us lucky followers. I am so sad that the lessons are now gone. The photos of student work and your charts must have been painful to delete. We know you are totally for the kids so don't let this get you down. Thank you for all you do!

  2. Dear Leanne,
    I am so sorry to hear what happened! You are one of my inspirations as a teacher and I know your heart was in the right place. Actually I'm a little more inclined to be upset with the publishing company but no matter. What's most important is that you're able to use your amazing work with your students. Can you tell us the name of the teacher's guide so we can look into it ourselves and get ideas? (Don't worry, I won't send them hate mail.) I hope you're able to put it behind you soon. All the best!


  3. wow! I feel like I wrote that first paragraph of yours! I'm sorry you had to go through all of this with the publishing company. What a stink! I would've hated to delete all of my hard work. I was wondering what happened to your posts.... Take a deep breath and relax over the holidays. It will help recharge you!
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts again!

    Also, just wanted to stop by and share my new GIVEAWAY with you :)
    You can WIN a $20 Gift Card for Amazon and shop till you drop :)

    Come by & enter to WIN!

    Happy Holidays!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  4. I am really sorry that you are going through this. I am enjoying your posts and have tried many of your ideas. I also bought the book to which you are referring. The anchor charts are especially helpful to me to get the gist of what you are sharing with your kids. Bummer indeed. I suppose now I have to make a trip to Wisconsin and actually visit your classroom and take my own pictures! You are an awesome teacher. Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about this! Your blog has been my go to for helping me with my lesson plans. I've taught third grade for 6 years and just moved to fourth and looped with half of my class. I love your blog for new ideas. Keep your head up!

  6. Hi, friends! I definitely didn't mean to write my post as a pity party - I more just wanted to be honest about what happened since I'm pretty transparent with my life and blogging is a perfect place to have your voice 'heard' by those who actually care to hear it. :)

    Like I said, I promise you I'm not done posting. I'll be back in business soon with some great purposeful talk/literature discussion group 'stuff' and soon we'll be diving into our non-fiction animal reports in writing.

    This definitely isn't the end of me. Let's consider it a shiny, new beginning, eh? :)

  7. This just ticks me off!!! When we try to be honest we get stomped on-I'm beginning to think it's better to NOT be honest and forthright! If we really wanted to get on the bandwagon we could say that their ideas in their teaching guide are not "original" I'm sure!!!

    OK-off the soapbox now! Looking forward to reading more posts from you in the near future!


  8. Is it possible to get the name of the book you use?

  9. You blog people warm my heart. My inbox has been overflowing with kindness. Thank you for keeping me going! :)

    I've had many of you email me asking for the name of the book I got my chart ideas from. Because I still respect her as a brilliant author and she's inspired a lot of my own learning, the book is Interactive Read-Alouds (Grades 4-5) by Linda Hoyt. She has a K-1 and 2-3 manual, too. Buy it! It helped me have a path for my teaching in a big way! I always gave her name to those people who asked where my chart ideas came from... I never claimed to be the mastermind behind the mentor texts and the skills they taught... - I just wish I could get my foot in the door so I can continue to 'give back' to all those people who had helped me! Oh well,... maybe in another lifetime, huh? :)

  10. I love, love your blog!
    I have awarded you THe Sunshine Award.
    Learn with ME in Grade Three

  11. Thank you so much for all of your ideas - I am a young teacher and I have been inspired by so many of the things I see on your blog. I teach 4th grade for Milwaukee Public Schools, and I love seeing such amazing things from other Wisconsin teachers. As teachers we are constantly sharing ideas and resources, and I know I wouldn't have thought twice about sharing anchor charts! Please, please keep blogging! You have provided me with hope and sunshine that I take back into the craziness that is my district! Thank you!!!!

  12. Hmm, could you not write a little copyright thing at the bottom of your charts saying its from the book?? :D
    Thank you for the book title, I took inspiration from your posts and charts. I am a first year grade 4 teacher, and struggle with wording my charts (I don't want to teach them something totally wrong!!) and looking at your blog is super helpful! Thank you for posting and sharing! You have made my year easier!!

    I'm pretty new at blogging and am looking for tips!
    Any help would be great!!

  13. I am so going to miss all of those posts, and so are my colleagues who I have shared your blog with. Don't worry though we are still following you strong. You are such an inspiration.

  14. I really hate that! I love your blog and have really enjoyed revamping my writing program with all your awesome tools! My kids have loved writing this year. Do you mind sharing the book title? You are such a wonderful literacy teacher and a great mentor!

  15. Thanks again, everyone. :) I'll be back on board next week and am excited to share all we have been doing!

    Dana - See my comment about 6 comments up. It tells you the name of the book! :)