Thursday, June 20, 2013


I've been so busy enjoying summer and all the learning (and relaxing) opportunities that I haven't posted my daily gifts pictures in a while.  For now, here's a collage of the latest gifts of summer.  Some photos were taken during the school year but they directly connect to the blessings I've received this summer.  Can't wait to share about this past week. I'm off to learn and plan our first writing study with my new fourth grade team, but for now, here's a peek of the beauty of summer in photographs!
Ann Marie

Monday, June 10, 2013

#1000giftsofsummer Gifts from Workshop Preparation

I've been at the computer and at my kitchen table for days going through student work, reading, and preparing for upcoming summer workshops.  The gifts that were hidden in piles of paperwork, shoved in dusty files, and nestled in the middle of a professional book or two have made the work feel more like a joyful trip down memory lane.  
To the children of Birmingham, AL I've had the privilege of teaching and learning alongside these past few years...thank you all!
Take a look at the photos below.  I've been reminded of what's important in our teaching and learning lives these past several days by children from second to sixth grade.
Ann Marie

Friday, June 7, 2013

#1000giftsofsummer Day 4 and 5 and an Important Side Note

First, the side note.  I will continue to blog about my teaching and thinking about teaching, but for now, I'm enjoying this 1000 gifts photo project.  I'm sure it will somehow evolve into something I can or will use in my teaching or in our 4th grade classroom this year, and it may even end up as a blog post itself at summer's end. But for now...Day 4 and 5 of #1000giftsofsummer.

June 6, 2013:  My Man and Meningitis

Christian, my six year old nephew, also known as “My Man”, is the June 6th gift for #1000giftsofsummer. He  is one of the five nephew and niece gifts I have in my life . Christian was at the beach with his family this week, but spent a good part of the vacation in the hospital with meningitis. Thankfully, it’s the less severe kind and he’s going to be better soon!

My First Letter From Christian
My First Book From Christian, with the brilliant title, AUNT REE’S
Hospitals Are No Fun!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My 1000 Gifts of Summer Project

I think what has kept me from blogging regularly is that I think anything I write and post has to be really good and teach something really big or have a really big meaning.  What I've realized is that I need to take more time to stop and celebrate the little, daily accomplishments in my teaching, learning, and life and not worry so much about how important or thought provoking or brainy my blogs are. 
Sims, one of my sweet second graders, gave me the book, One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voscamp as an end of year present.  I’m still reading it, and I love it….but as I was reading the other night, I thought it might be fun to capture the daily gifts in my life this summer as photographs. This post includes my first three days of #1000giftsofsummerproject.  (technically it's the #198giftsofsummerproject...not exactly enough days for 1000 photos before I go back to school.)
This post includes the first three days of my project.
DAY 1:  Funny Gifts
 All three of these gifts came from my friend, Jeff, who loves to make people laugh.  
1. A bear stick for protection (in case I go bear hunting in my Homewood, AL neighborhood)
2. A "house warming" and 40th birthday present (This guy has a twin and both statues still sit on either side of my fireplace because they make me laugh.)
3. An original piece of art to hang in my classroom....that he painted himself, while painting with his granddaughter one afternoon.  

DAY 2: The Gift of Time for Summer Projects
I’m thankful for the gift of having time to pursue summer projects, and the happiness that will come from completing these three projects.
1. A Year’s Worth of Video Footage Project….Seeing what footage I actually have…really watching the footage…sorting and categorizing the footage…editing the footage…showcasing the amazing thinking and work of the Corgill kids in the footage…maybe even talking to a documentary filmmaker about the footage…
The Video Project

2. Organizing the Jewelry Drawers Project….So I don’t have to untangle necklaces and find the matching earring that goes with the lonely single one I want to wear.
Organizing the Jewelry Drawers Project

3.  Repainting the Bird House For My Patio Project….so it’s not faded from the sun anymore or a memory of a wedding gift from a bad marriage.... and is a happy and bright red, with a brown roof instead of the ugly, faded, washed out, too many hours in the rainy weather look it has now.
Repainting the Birdhouse Project

DAY 3: Three Things That Make Me Smile and Clap!
Greatest Billboard Ever
My Next Summer Reading Stack!
Quote I Love From Venspired on Facebook!

I like to end my posts the same way my friend and former principal, Phyllis Faust, ended her daily emails to our school the possibilities the possibilities and the gifts of tomorrow!
Ann Marie

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Global Twitter PLC and Inspiration to Blog Again

If you are reading this post, you are probably shocked that I'm actually blogging....since my last post was in November of 2012.  I don't know what happened, but I just quit blogging publicly. Just quit. Just like that. For no particular reason. Maybe from fear of not having enough important things to say....maybe I used time (or lack of it) as an excuse...or that I blogged with my students on our kidblog account so that was enough?  Who knows?!  But I'm least more than I was six months ago.
Why? Well..I was reading my Twitter feed this past week, I clicked on a link and read a post that really resonated with me. The post was from one of my #nevermetinpersonbutoneofmymanyawesometwittercolleagues.
Justin Stortz, @newfirewithin, thanks for reminding me that it is our passion for teaching and learning and children that keeps us doing the work that we do. Thanks for inspiring me to get back to writing because in order to be a great teacher of writing, I have to keep writing daily, good or bad, and get my voice out into the world. Blogging more frequently will allow me to live out that passionate writing life and show my fourth graders this upcoming year how to write with passion and get their voices out into the world too.  
Just in case you didn't know..... Twitter is one of the greatest gifts and opportunities for a global professional learning community and worldwide friendships.
Follow me @acorgill and follow @newfirewithin too.