Mmmmm, I must have started this a dozen times.
I tried being witty, but didn’t think it was very funny.
I tried being profound, but thought it sounded trite.
So, I’m going to start with the basics, and as you read the posts and follow, I think you’ll learn all “about me.”
I’m married to a great guy (you’ll learn more about him), have two great kids (you know how moms love to talk about their kids!), enjoy my great friends (you’ll meet them), and am constantly working toward a great career.
I am a Reading Specialist at a large urban high school. I develop, create, model and coach teachers in the creation of balanced literacy lessons in their respective content areas. I am always looking for ways to support teachers and in turn, support our kids. You will often hear me refer to students as “our” kids because they are. Even though I may not have an assigned classroom or roster of my own, I am in classrooms all day guiding my “academic family.”
Mmmmm, a pause about my academic family.
After nearly 23 years of teaching, and 10 years of working with developing readers, I’ve learned to do whatever it takes to make kids feel secure and confident. Sometimes it’s bringing a delicious baked treat; sometimes it’s bringing in a bag of trail mix. Whatever, it is and whatever works for you, don’t forget that a little something can do wonders for creating a classroom of community – even a handwritten note goes a long way with our kids.
Mmmmm, now the final pause about my aspirations and where I hope to eventually be.
In February of 2015, I introduced Sam Bennett at the WSRA Convention. I invited Sam to lunch and began to pick her brain about starting that elusive book. Sam gave me some great tips and offered to read a draft.
I continued working on my blog getting some traffic, but not nearly as much as I wanted. By April of 2015, I had written, Life Lessons from an Instructional Coach. The book recommended 10 Life Lessons that every Instructional Coach needed to be successful. I finished it and emailed it to Sam. Within a week she gave me critical feedback. I edited and rewrote chapters, searching for that balance of clarity and confidence. I also began writing another book; The Soft Skills Curriculum Workbook: Supporting Our Students Inside and Out. The Curriculum Workbook aligned the soft skills (leadership, resilience, and compromise to name a few) to adolescent literacy lessons.
For six months I sent both books to various publishers. I was rejected without reason.
Since I was getting nowhere, I decided to try something different. I began sending my unpublished blog posts to ASCD, ILA (“Literacy Daily”) and Edutopia. In November of 2015, Edutopia published two of my pieces on their “Community” site. Seeing my name on a website that I didn’t create was a rush!
I had also written an essay entitled, “Little Orphan Ani” about our daughter, Ani. Ani is autistic and intellectually disabled. My friend, Dr. Patricia Luebke, recommended I send the essay to Exceptional Parent, e-magazine. They accepted it and the essay was prominently featured on their front page.
In the meantime, however, my own blog site suffered. I learned that ASCD, ILA and Edutopia will only publish original works. Therefore, they will not publish an essay that appeared on my site first. As a result, I was sending all of my original work to them while my site sat idle.
I spoke to my friend, Kathy Galvin, former president of WSRA, who suggested I focus on my speaking engagements and submit proposals to national conferences. In that way, my name and reputation will help direct readers to read my work – on professional blogs and on my own site.
Finally, I called Dave Stuart, Jr., a high school English teacher who has created a website that gives teachers what they need to be successful. He’s an author, blogger, consultant, and speaker. Dave encouraged me to drop the name “Butter and Love” and switch to “Peg Grafwallner.com.” In addition, he suggested I refrain from sending my original work to other sites and concentrate on building my website.
As a result, things have changed:
- First, my books have been reconfigured. I am hoping what was Life Lessons from an Instructional Coach will be available Spring of 2017 under a new title. Stay tuned.
- Second, as an Instructional Coach, I have created, developed and implemented researched-based lessons in all classroom disciplines. Please check out the “Calendar” page for my speaking/teaching engagements and “Areas of Expertise” for resources.
- Third, under “Areas of Expertise” I am focusing on three main concepts: Engagement, Motivation and Interventions. I would be happy to create a personalized workshop specifically for your audience. Let me know what you need and we can make it happen
Finally, feedback is critical to our success. Let me know how I’m doing and how to continually improve.
Thank you and I look forward to partnering with you for the sake of our kids!
I’ve updated my website to show a progression; a growth, not only in my own learning as a blogger but in my own learning as a literacy coach. As I had asked of you in 2013, “I’m asking that you stay with me, that we learn from each other and do the work we were meant to do!”, I ask again. Stay with me, let’s learn together and let’s do what’s right for our kids!