August is coming to an end as I reflect (which was my 2012 OLW) I realize that my Choice Literacy writing retreat has once again helped me learn more about myself than I even realized. Having the experience of trying something "out of my box" has helped me grow as an educator. I think differently about writing now. I learned the importance of a community of writers. A group of people who support each other and are willing to say not only compliments but also criticisms that help you strengthen a skill. These experiences have allowed me to think differently about this group of fifth graders. I understand again what it feels like to be scared when you're not quite sure of an answer and several people are waiting for your response. When you can't find your verbal voice, but you are willing to write your response down in a notebook first to bring security to your words. To literally not know the answer or know the "lead" you have been thinking about for what seems like hours. Until I was allowed the chance to have these experiences, I had forgotten what it was like to be nervous or not have the courage to speak up. I feel gratitude for Brenda for inviting me to the retreat along with our writing group that has now formed and meets on a monthly basis. Gratitude from one writer to the next writer.