Blogs / Life

First Year of Teaching: Inspiring the Next Generation of Writers

When I was in high school, I was always asked the cliche question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The answer was immediate, “An author! But I’ll probably teach too.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the idea of teaching, but it always came secondary to my desire to write. I started teaching college classes in the Spring of 2018, after I received my Master’s degree in English Literature, and realized that I not only enjoyed teaching, I loved it. There was nothing better than helping college students realize that they did not have to hate English even if they had hated it their entire high school experience. In fact, they could even, Heaven forbid, LIKE it!

Then, in the Fall of 2019, I got my wish. I was hired as a full-time Middle School English teacher at a private Christian School where I could help students become better readers and better writers while sharing my love of Christ. This past year, as crazy as it was, taught me that teaching no longer comes second to my desire to write.

I learned that my dreams of becoming a well-established author and my focus on inspiring the next generation to love writing and reading could work together hand-in-hand.

In my English class this year, I shared with my students the process of writing Agency in the Hunger Games, the revision process, the publishing process, and I even got to bring a copy of my book to show my class. I taught them about perserverance and endurance. I told them that at their age, I had sat in that very same classroom, in those VERY same desks, writing in one of my dozens of notebooks while people around me told me that I was wasting my time. I would never be published. The field was too hard to break through. I told them that I had not listened to those voices, but that I had followed my dream and I had worked hard for it. I told them that the dreams they had now did not have to be impossiblilities.

I never realized how much my words meant to them until about a month ago.

A month after online learning ended, one of my students emailed me to let me know that my personal story had inspired him. He had always wanted to write, but never felt good enough being so young and so inexperienced. This summer, he was challenging himself to write his first full-length novel and it was all because I had encouraged him to do so. He told me that he was writing his book in honor of me. It was a simple email, only a few lines long, but it meant the world to me.

I realized then that as an author and as a teacher, it is my duty to inspire the next generation of writers and educators.

What good is experience if we are not willing to share it with others? What good is failure if we can not use it to better ourselves? What use is success if we do not share that success with others to inspire them to follow after their dreams as well?

As both an author and a teacher, I have a new dream of what to be when I grow up. I hope to be the inspiration that the next generation needs.

Blogs / Life, teacher life

First Year of Teaching: The Day It All Changed

We had mentioned it in passing.

We had discussed it in hypotheticals.

We had never imagined it would turn out the way it did.

March 13th.

In the days and weeks leading up to March 13th, teachers and students alike were talking about COVID. Was it as bad as people said? Would it come to California? Would it come to our school? Would we have to shut down? We were so sure for so long that it would never come to that, but that whole week, it seemed like there was something in the atmosphere building to this day. The whole week it rained, and any teachers out there known that rainy days make for interesting school days. When there are rainy days back-to-back, tensions rise, we begin to feel couped up (teachers and students). It was the perfect preface for what was to come.

That Friday my phone continued to light up, but as I was teaching, I could not check it. At passing period, I would briefly look at my notifications: Disney announces closure, school district announces closure . . . Pandemic sweeps through the United States . . . COVID infection rising . . .

Between the rain, the notifications, the confusion amongst our own staff, (and oh ya, I was releasing the production cast list that day!) and the questions from the students, I just needed two minutes. Two minutes to gather myself, to prepare myself for another round of questions from my students: What is COVID? Will we die if we get it? Is this the end? Are we safe?

But it was rainy day, which meant that I did not have two minutes. My doors needed to be opened for students to come inside. I’ll never forget that I had a partner teacher who just happened to walk in randomly when I needed her most. She shut my door, told me that I was human, that I could take the two minutes I needed, that she would watch my kiddos so that I could catch my breath and regain my game face. I cannot say what her generosity and simple kindness meant to me.

I opened my door and the day resumed. Then, at 2:30pm, 15 minutes before the end of the school day, 15 minutes before I was to post my production cast, 15 minutes before the end of a very long, hard week, our principle came on the announcement system.

Due to COVID, we would not be returning to school the next week. We would break for Spring Break and we would most likely be back in a couple of weeks. Students were instructed to take all of their books home for online instruction.

During the entire announcement, students were whispering amongst themselves. When the announcement ended, some cheered and others burst into tears. Some thought it would be an extended Spring Break and others thought it signaled the end of the world.

We ended that day in prayer. We prayed for our nation, we prayed for each other and we prayed for wisdom. Looking back now, I am so grateful that that is the last memory my students will have of my “physical classroom.” Although we would continue to meet online, I am glad that we ended our classroom experience in prayer.

What was your #COVIDMOMENT ?

Let me know in the comments below!

Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

GIVEWAY! Working Toward 3,000 WordPress Followers!

You still have a chance to enter the Agency in the Hunger Games FREE Giveaway! Do you love the Hunger Games? Do you know someone who does? Do you simply love receiving new books in the mail?

Make sure to reblog the original GiveAway (click here!)

img_3302

Rememeber, you can earn extra entries by sharing my Giveaway on WordPress, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just hastag #AgencyintheHungerGames

Every time that you share, I will award you a new entry (that means you can literally have countless entries by sharing and re-sharing!)

Thank you to everyone who have already shared; you guys are amazing!

See all the rules by clicking the link:

*Almost 3,000 WordPress Followers GIVEAWAY “Agency in the Hunger Games”

Blogs / Life

Summer Blog Party! #writingcommunity

Hey Everyone! It’s been WAAAAAAY too long since I have hosted a Blog Party!

Related image

For those of you who are not aware what a blog party is let me break it down. Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another. On Twitter, something similar is referred to as a #writerslift but it’s meant to be a bit more social than that

Here are some simple steps you can take:

Like. Comment. Engage. Reblog

  1. LIKE: You do not need to be following my blog to participate, but I always appreciate a like if you’re enjoying the Blog Party!
  2. COMMENT: Tell us your name, leave us a blurb about your blog, and THEN attach your link!
    1. Please do not just drop a link (my blog is set up where it will see it as spam)
  3. ENGAGE: Blog Parties are not about simply promoting your blog/work. Engagement is where the party begins. Please visit AT LEAST two other blogs and leave them genuine feedback on their comments below.
  4. REBLOG: Spread the fun by encouraging your own followers to join in the party! The best way to meet and interact new bloggers is by spreading the word so that we can meet people outside our normal “sphere of bloggers.”

 

Blog Party Manners:

  1. You never have to follow anyone just because they follow you. However, it is good manners to always return a page visit for a page visit.
    • Did someone stop by your blog, like a post, or leave a comment? Do the same for them! (It only takes a minute.)
  2. Please do not comment “I just followed your blog, please follow back!” or anything similar. You will be booted from the party.
    • Follow the blogs you are honestly interested in; don’t play the “follow game.”

 

This Blog Party will be held and moderated exclusively July 1st – July 3rd so don’t miss out!

Think I should host a Blog Party monthly? Let me know in the comments! I can’t wait to meet new bloggers, instagrammers, Twitterers, facebookers, etc.!

img_1335

Invite your friends, reblog, and share with your blogging community!

80,000 Word Challenge, Blogs / Life

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (2)

It’s Time for Update #2!

Alright, so it has been one full month since I posted the start to my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge! (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) Today, I am here again keeping myself accountable!

After four weeks of writing every day, my goal word count was 32,000 words. I have a grand total of . . .

32,595 Words

Update 2

To be more precise, I am at the beginning of Chapter 8. I have 107 pages and 32595 ,words.

good GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

Throughout this writing challenge, I have held to my technique of stopping after a certain point, even when I REALLY wanted to keep writing (which is why I am so close to my target goal). I really believe that this is part of the reason why I have been successful so far. I avoid burnout and block all at the same time! (You can read about how to do that HERE).

I have six weeks left of my writing challenge and I am feeling confident in reaching my goal. Part of that is because of my techniques and dedication, sure, but another part of that is the support I get in person and online! Thank you for joining me and supporting me in this challenge.

I would love to hear more about YOUR projects so that I can support you in return! In the comments below let me know what you’re working on or drop me a link to your latest project!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

*Almost 3,000 WordPress Followers & GIVEAWAY “Agency in the Hunger Games”

Hello and Welcome to my Author Blog!

As I was going over some of my stats recently (something I don’t do often because it’s too easy to become obsessed with stats and not the blog itself), I realized something.

I started this blog in October 2017 and as of today, I have reached 2,830 WordPress followers!

I know that others have more (someone always will) but I think this is pretty dang fantastic and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

As I get closer to hitting that 3,000 goal mark, I want to host another GIVEAWAY as my way to say thank you to all of you awesome bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, and facebookers out there!

Grand Giveaway Prize:

  • As you may well know, I recently released my first published book in February 2020Agency in the Hunger Games Desire, Intent, and Action in the Novels analyzes our favorite characters in brand new ways!

  • The Winner of this GiveAway will receive their own copy of Agency in the Hunger Games

  • For 21st century young adults struggling for autonomy in a society that often demands compliance, the best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games remains palpably relevant despite its futuristic setting. For Suzanne Collin’s’ characters, personal agency involves not only the physical battle of controlling one’s body but also one’s response to such influences as morality, trauma, power, and hope. The author (that’s me!) explores personal agency through in-depth examinations of the lives of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Primrose, and others, and through an analysis of themes like overabundance and bodily imagery, social expectations in the Capitol, and problem parental figures. Readers will discover their own “dandelion of hope” through the examples set out by Collins’ characters, who prove over and over that human agency is always attainable.

img_3302

Rules:

  • In order to be entered into this giveaway, you must follow a couple of simple rules.You must be following my Blog to be considered for the drawing. Not subscribed yet? Not to worry, go to my home screen and click the lovely button that says FOLLOW 🙂You must live in the United States of America (sorry my international friends, I just can’t afford international shipping costs, but if you still want to share so your followers can enter, I would be so appreciative!)
    • You must also reblog this Giveaway on your own blog and leave it up for the remainder of the Giveaway for an extra entry!
    • Want more entries?! Every time you reblog, repost, or share this Giveaway on any social media (WordPress, Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook) using #AgencyintheHungerGames you will earn an additional entry! That means you could earn up to four entries! 

The Giveaway ends with the 3,000th Follower and the Winner will be announced shortly after! Thank you in advance to everyone who reblogs, retweets, regrams, etc.!

Please help me spread the word! Make sure to use the hashtag (#AgencyintheHungerGames) so that I can find your entries.

Thank you again so much for your support (especially to those of you who have been with me since the beginning), it means the world to me!

Image result for may the odds be ever in your favor gif

Blogs / Life

Happy Anniversary, my Love

How can I adequately describe what love is?

Is it the way that my heart still beats faster when you come home

Is it the way my mind goes straight to you when I have something to share

How can I possibly demonstrate how love acts?

Is it the way we make dinners together, sharing in the work and the fun

Is it the way we choose each other every day over anyone else

How could I satisfactorily explain what love endures?

Is it the way you hold me at night when the crying won’t stop

Or is it the way we hold on to each other when the world falls apart

How can I abundantly illustrate the way in which I love you?

I could write a thousand words, edit, erase, re-write as I have today

It still would never be enough.

 

Happy One Year of Marriage, my love. I love you.

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

Can We Support Both?

Let me begin today’s post by stating upfront: I absolutely condemn the actions taken against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbey, and many more members of the African American community. These actions taken by evil men cannot go ignored. As a world, we have come face-to-face with the reality that evil, sin, still exist in our world today. Violence against any person due to their race is evil. The protests that we are seeing lately is the world’s response to try and fight that evil.

I, myself, am proud of the protest in my home town that happened two days ago. Protestors took to the streets in thousands, police officers took a knee with the protestors, and once the curfew time had past, officers asked the protestors to move along. MOST did. An hour past curfew, the police officers and remaining mix of honest protestors and dishonest instigators had a couple of tense moments, but then everyone dispursed in an orderly manner. Only a couple of stores had attempted looting. This was a win for our city and for the movement!

However, as we have seen on the news, this is not the case everywhere. I did not post this yesterday because it was # blackouttuesday and I did not want to deter from the focus on the African American community on any of my social platforms. However, I want to elaborate on my stance today.

I support the protests. However, I also condemn the violent actions that have increased against police officers and innocent bystanders (of all races) in the last week alone. Police officers and store owners, who had no immediate connection to these injustices done against the African American community, are being beaten bloody, dragged through the streets, ran over with cars, and shot. A retired African American Police Captain, David Dorn, was murdered by a rioter/looter as Dorn tried to protect a store front. Dorn was shot and left to bleed out on the concrete. This is not equality.

Do all protestors act this way? Definitely not! Not even the majority! There is a huge difference between most protestors and rioters/instigators. That is why I do not blame the protestors as a whole for these actions, I condemn the rioters and the violent instigators as individuals and hope that they alone will face justice for their actions. I also hope that the nation will not judge the majority of the protestors based on the actions of violent individuals.

But in the same train of thought. Do all police officers act as Derek Chauvin do? Definitely not! Not even the majority. That is why I cannot understand when people hold up the “f*** All Police!” signs at protests. I do not blame the police department as a whole, but I DO condemn the individual officers for their actions and hope that they will face justice. I also hope that the nation will not judge the majority of police officers based on the actions of racist individuals.

There are evil police officers and there are evil rioters, both of whom who seek control and destruction. Neither are okay. However, there are also good police officers and good protestors, both of whom strive toward the same goal. It seems that all the good protestors/police members are being looked over because they do not get as many views as the bad.

As a white person, I know that I am not in a place to understand what an African American person feels on a daily basis. I do not pretend otherwise. I can only do my best to listen to the dialogue that is going on around me. My heart hurts for those who live in fear. It is not right. It should not be this way.

The biggest question on my heart is this:

Can we be allies to both African American people and good police officers?

Black lives do matter. Something needs to change where African American people can feel safe in all communities. 

Police Officers matter. The whole should not be condemned because of evil individuals. 

In our desire to gain justice and equality for the African American community, can we not also be careful to not tear down another group based on their outside perception? Just because they wear “blue” does not make them all the same. I condemn racism in all its forms. So, I will continue to condemn and protest publically against the discrimination the African American community faces. I will also condemn the violent actions taken against police officers and bystanders of all races who are being assaulted during the riots.

I stand against evil. I stand for equality.

To all the protestors out there, I pray that you stay safe. I pray that your work brings about awareness and a better world where both African Americans and police officers view each other as allies in the fight against racism.

Police officers kneel to pray with George Floyd protesters ...

Demonstrators fill downtown Riverside - Los Angeles Times

Police officers are joining protesters for prayers and hugs in ...

John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Blogs / Life

It’s Been Awhile; Let’s Catch Up!

Hey Everyone,

It has been a long time since I have accessed WordPress and I really miss this interaction. You all know that I had been slowing down my online presence since January as I began to get overwhelmed by trying to release my first book, finish my first year of teaching, and be a present wife during my first year of marriage (lots of firsts).

Then came COVID . . . Teaching went online which meant that I went from working 10 hour days to 14 hour days as I strove to create online content for my students that mirrored the exact education they would have been receiving without COVID.

All that to say, something had to give and unfortunately that something was my blogging, which really sucked, if I’m being honest.

Now, with school ending in just nine days, I can see the glimmer of hope that summer brings teachers. I plan on diving back into blogging and reconnecting with old friends. So if you’re still there and reading my blogs, please send me your most recent blog post link in the comments! I’m craving some awesome blogging content!

C5652DC3-7EC3-46EA-927F-8BF9272B4E8D

I’m Back!

Blogmas 2019

Blogmas Contest Winner

Before I announce the winner I would just like to say thank you to everyone who participated. You guys really did what I asked and engaged with one another in the comment section. So thank you for being a part of this Blogmas community this December!

Image result for you guys are awesome gif

Now, to the contest!

There were many great submissions but my top three included:

Third Place:

The Ultimate Secret Santa Gift Guide by A Teen Called Tara: Looking for some great gifts for the loved ones (and not so loved ones) in your life? Secret Santa should no longer be difficult with these gift ideas from Tara! Check her out!

Second Place:

How to Survive (the family) Holidays – 13 Joyful Hacks – by A Fish Named Karen: While I am blessed to get along really well (with the majority) of my family, I know that this is not the same for everyone. Struggling to get through the holidays? Take a read, Karen’s got some great tips!

That mean the First Place Winner is . . .

Do You Believe? Written by the wonderful Eugenia

“Santa’s sleigh topsy-turvy

leaving a swath

of holiday drama.

Splendid gifts wrapped with care

lost in a quilt of clouds

for evah and evah!

But, wait! Elves to the rescue

and every gift retrieved!

Hey, li’l children

gather around coz

’tis no fallacy the

miracle on 34th street

is to be believed.”

Thank you again folks to everyone who participated! I hope that you all had wonderful Christmases.

Image result for see you in the new year