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Articles by: Joan Wink

Slide and Glide (or, Loud and Proud)

Slide and Glide (or, Loud and Proud)

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

If you are a reader of WinkWorld, you know a majority of my work relates to languages and literacies with a heavy dose of Prairie Pedagogy in the last 10 to 15 years. But I always try to write about what interests me. Lately, I have been more interested in Slide and Glide or Loud and Proud. We made up those terms to describe the exercises which are very much the antithesis of what my body wants to do naturally.

As some of you know, I have a hereditary condition called Essential Tremors. I have known for years that I would get it. It does not change my life much. However, this winter I was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At that time, my movements had become very stiff, slow, and rigid. Then I learned about these very strange and even funky exercises which are designed primarily for Parkinson’s patients. I absolutely love doing them, and I am honestly somewhat of a convert.

I have two vices: reading and walking.

However this winter, I was not able to get out to walk. I felt like a caged lion. Now, I am up to 2 miles again. I find these exercises amazingly effective. If only one other person benefits from this post, it is worth it for me.

In this WinkWorld, I want to share some of what I have learned. I will primarily focus on the exercise websites that have been beneficial for me. So far, I have learned that I have much to learn about all of this. I know I am just at the beginning of my learning curve.

The reason I use the terms, Slide and Glide or Loud and Proud is because I do not want to infringe on any other websites’ trademark name. All of these exercises focus on large movements, not small; and fast movements, not slow; and smooth movements, not rigid; and loud voice exercises, not quiet; The exercises make my body do the opposite of what it wants to do.

Before you glance at these exercises, you might want to read this very short story from my last post on WinkWorld.

On to 100

Exercise Websites

Of course, the gold standard for all information about Parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox.

Another very good site which I use is….

Move and Shout: Power for Parkinson’s

A third site which I often use comes from Power for Parkinson’s. I find it very helpful.


Aerobic Exercises for Parkinson’s

A fourth site that I use is Aerobic Exercises for Parkinson’s.


Hand Exercises for Parkinson’s

A fifth site I use is specifically for hands, which become very rigid with Parkinson’s.

A final interesting concept I learned is the VILIM ball. It is an electronic ball that you hold in your hand to reduce the tremors.  I have two, and I love them.  I have also heard about vibrating wrist bracelets.

Dear WinkWorld Readers, I do not plan to write more about Parkinson’s. I will continue to write about what is lying around on my desk and on my computer desktop.

How do I do WinkWorld if I have Parkinson’s? Very slowly, and with the help of a dictation program and two friends: Susan Henley Spreitzer and Annie Hlavka. Thank you to both of them. How much longer can I publish WinkWorld? I don’t know.


June 21, 2024Read More
On to 100

On to 100

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

A very short and personal blog post follows.

In church recently I had a very interesting conversation with a five-year-old, who was seated in the pew directly behind me. We were nose-to-nose as we whispered. He looked at me and said, “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” I replied.
“How old are you?” he seriously asked.
“80,” I quietly replied. “How old are you?”
“Five,” he told me. That was the end of the conversation, until after the church service when he came up to me again.
“You are a bunch older than I am,” he explained matter-of-factly.
“Yes,” I said.
“You are 75 years older than I am,” he clarified for me.

Remember, he is 5-years-old and not yet in kindergarten.

After church was over, he walked with me down the stairs of the basement to have cookies and treats. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, he looked up at me and said, “I think you will live until 100.”

I tell the story for two reasons: first, it is a precious story, and I want to maintain the memory. Second, I want to use it as a springboard for thanking so many of you who wrote to me and shared specific memories for my 80th birthday. You have no idea how much I enjoyed each and every memory. It took me about two months to get my thank you notes and texts written, because I focused on each of you and our shared time together. This required a lot of time, staring out the window and shedding quiet tears of happiness.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And thank you, Dawn, for collecting and organizing so much of this. It was the perfect gift.

And, now: On to 100.

I found this photo on the web. It is not the little guy in the story. It’s just meant to give you a smile.

May 21, 2024Read More
I Should Have Been a Teacher

I Should Have Been a Teacher

I should have been a teacher…she said with tongue firmly planted in her cheek…. However, dear WinkWorld Readers, this is exactly how  I felt when leaving another wonderful visit to Atall School on a stormy, windy, wet May  5. 

The sky as I was leaving Atall.

The purpose of my trip was to help the students celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Of course, I used my Spanish and tried to make it interesting and fun for the students. Missy, the classroom teacher, and I shared stories about the geography, history, and language of Cinco de Mayo. For those of you who may be new to WinkWorld, and there are a handful of you this month, Atall is a tiny school on the very isolated prairies of South Dakota. I have been documenting my experiences there for many years, and these blog posts are all available to you by using the search bar (over on the left of my homepage) and typing in Prairie Pedagogy or Atall School.

A highlight of this day for me happened when I was putting on my jacket and preparing to leave. I felt a little hand tugging on my shirt. A little guy said to me, “You said you didn’t have to leave until 11:30, and look at the clock, it is only 11:20.”  Only one thing to do in that case: I took off my jacket and stayed 10 more minutes. Happily.

 The following photo is the entire school/K8, the teacher, Missy, and all the students with me at the table. Oh, how I love these kids.

 Each of the students had to take turns trying on the sombrero and a poncho as we celebrated.





In this photo, the boys are explaining to me one of their science projects: how to make concrete. It was fascinating.

Wouldn’t we love to hear what these two girls are sharing? However, I actually think they were talking about germinating different types of seeds, another science projects.


As most of you know, my blog is primarily focused on language acquisition and literacy ideas for teachers to take and use in their own context. My only purpose is to share materials. However, I have noticed that I’ve begun to expand my sharing on WinkWorld. I think this is what happens when one turns 80. I notice in my queue of upcoming blogs, I have draft on mentoring/Bobcats, another on a pedagogy box (I am madly searching for a former CSU teacher education student, named Heidi), and a third draft on Loud and Proud.






May 11, 2024Read More
Gig ’em, Aggies!

Gig ’em, Aggies!

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

I have been creating documents for WinkWorld for over 20 years.  First, it was a static newsletter, and then it turned into an interactive blog. All of this is available free of charge for anyone. Just go to WinkWorld News on the left or way down at the bottom on my first webpage and look for the Archive, or any of the other links which you might want. in the past I have focused on the needs of classroom teachers and teacher educators, family/community members, and most of all on what I see as the needs of students. Throughout all of this, I have tried to tell good stories about my ways of understanding teaching and learning.

However, this post is written specifically for Texas A&M former students.  At A&M, we are not alumnus/a, we are all Former Students.  This post may make no sense to others of you. However, keep in mind that the traditions of this university are rich and deep.

One of the traditions is that each graduating student buys an Aggie ring. I graduated in 1991 with my PhD, and there was so much going on for our family at that time that I just didn’t get around to getting my ring. We moved from Texas to California, and I soon became consumed with my life as a professor, a wife, a mom, and a grammie. Years passed, and I still didn’t buy the ring, even though I so wanted one.

Great news! I finally have my Aggie ring. It was an 80th birthday gift, and I am thrilled.

This is a photo of me waiting for the FedEx truck to arrive.

We, Aggies, tend to find each other in public places by this ring, and we immediately engage in a new friendship. So now, my wish is that I will be in a public place, and some stranger will come up to me and say, ”Gig ‘em, Aggie.” I know, you really have to be an Aggie to understand how much pleasure this will give me.


April 18, 2024Read More
Sister Bourne: Small Desert Schools to Tiny Prairie School

Sister Bourne: Small Desert Schools to Tiny Prairie School

Dear WinkWorld readers, 

I love the Arizona Highways magazine, and I love education, and I love education taking place in tiny schools.  Prairie pedagogy fascinates me.  We are fortune to have 4 teeny tiny schools (10 to 20 students) still operating with passion in our geographically  huge and very isolated area of the prairies of South Dakota. I was initially drawn to this area of interest by the legacy of Sister Bourne of Arizona when I learned of her during the late 70s when I was teaching at a small school in AZ. Therefore, I was very interested to read in a recent Arizona Highways the article, Reading, Writing,. . .Ranching by Kathy Montgomery, February 2024.  Such a disappointment to see that Sister Eulalia Bourne was omitted.

Sister Eulalia Bourne
ATPEFK Author Sister Eulalia Bourne Eulalia Sister Bourne 1897 1984 a legendary Southern Arizona schoolteacher

For me, Sister Bourne is the epitome of what it means to be a rancher and teacher simultaneously.  When I first saw her book, Ranch Schoolteacher, I thought it had been written just for me. I discovered myself as an educator in her book. From there I went right onto read her book, Nine Months Make a Year, and I learned that she had a lived my life in schools, well before I did. We always hear that kids need to find themselves in the books they read–me too. I found myself in Bourne’s book, Woman in Levis.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Sister Bourne, but I know she has many  former students on the desert, as I have met a few of them. The University of Arizona Library Special Collection section now honors her legacy by maintaining her artifacts. I’ve had the pleasure of searching through these treasures.

Coyote School News to Prairie School Post

Long before, I knew about the importance of encouraging children to write and become authors, Sister Borne and her students were creating the Coyotes School News..  The students became proud authors. Years later Atall School students on the South Dakota prairies discovered the Coyote School News and were inspired to create their own newsletter, Prairie School Post. More student authors were born.The story is posted below.

Joan Sandin, author/illustrator

No one captures of the magic of dear Sister’s work quite the way Joan Sandin does. See below to enjoy what she has put together as part of Sister’s legacy.

Joan Sandin and I in the photo.

March 29, 2024Read More
Tucson Festival of Books, 2024

Tucson Festival of Books, 2024

Hi WinkWorld Readers,

It is that time of year again when more than 100,000 of my very best friends and I gather at the University of Arizona to celebrate literacy: kids, families, books, music, science projects, writers, artists, scholars on the grass mall and in many buildings. It is very much a highlight of my year.

Posted below are a few highlights from this year, and also a few links of previous years at the very bottom. We begin with a little prairie reader, as I couldn’t resist.

Highlights for me from 2024

Kate DiCamillo – she opened the world of fantasy books to me  about 10 years ago.  Until then, I just did not “get it,” although I always pretended like I did for my grands.

Abraham Vergese – The Covenant of Water and Cutting for Stone – I have not read the former, and it is time to re-read the latter.

LeUyen Pham, author and illustrator, and new for me.  I was so impressed that I bought and will read her graphic novels, which have never interested me.  We had a dinner with her at our table of 10 friends.  She sketched an image of each of us.  At her storytime the next day, she even drew the face of EACH child there. Here is the image she drew of me in about a minute.

Here LeUyen is telling a story to the children and then drawing each of their faces as her gift.








Sarah Cooper– I am still laughing. Because of her, I also learned of two other new young artists: Patti Lin and Aparna Nancheria. We will hear more about these three, for sure! This year I focused on new young writers and artists:  It was thrilling.

Of course, I always love the novels by William Kent Krueger (his latest is The River We Remember) and Luís Alberto Urrea (his latest is Good Night, Irene).  Both of these novels are on my bedside table now.

Orbus Pictus (in Latin, the visible world, thank you, Mrs. Johnson of MHS, circa 1960) Award Books for 2024

Caryl Crowell and colleagues shared several of the winners and recommended.  I have already ordered some of these amazing books, but their website went down today.  If you are interested, I am sure that the website will be back up soon.

Previous posts  on Tucson Festival of Books

We conclude with a photo of one of my  many new books, because I just couldn’t resist.

Thank you, Annie Hlavka and Susan Henley Spreitzer!

March 12, 2024Read More
Prairie Pedagogy: Congratulations, Missy!

Prairie Pedagogy: Congratulations, Missy!

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

If you have followed our prairie pedagogy series, you will know that Missy Urbaniak is the stellar and beloved teacher at Atall (K-8) school. She just received a great award.

I hope you enjoy this short video of Missy.

Missy Urbaniak

Thank you to Anna Hamelin of News Center 1, 2/29/24.

February 29, 2024Read More


Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Recently, a dear colleague/friend of many years called me spontaneously and asked if I had anything she could use about story. We had a 15 minute conversation about the value of story telling, and I shared some links with her. I thought some of you might find this information about storytelling useful also.

“Joan, why do we use stories?,” she started.

I responded: I more and more think that stories are simply a part of our DNA. We all create our own identity with stories, and others find themselves in our stories and create their own identity. We all make meaning with stories. As time marches on, we hopefully each become a story in another’s life.  For example, when I am gone, I hope I become a story in my family’s and friends’ and former students’ lives.

Stories are our way of making sense of the world. If we can’t make up a story about something we encounter or experience, we can’t make sense of it. . . E = MC2 makes no sense to me. I have no idea what a C is, let alone a square one.

(Frank Smith, The Power of Story, p. 55)

“Why stories, Joan?”  she asked next.

Next my friend asked about theory. I responded the theory can be embedded in story and history.

My friend continued and asked about how she should get her recipients reflecting. I responded with the following story.

I almost always use the reflective cycle or socratic circle. Here is one way to visualize it.  (Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real  World, 4th edition,  p. 173)

I have lots of reflective cycle materials posted on my webpages. Use the search bar on the left of first page of to see more examples.

Reflective Cycle

Some of my favorite stories which I mentioned with my colleague/friend.

Storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.

(Carmine Gallo, 2016, in The Power of Story, p. 43)

Credit:  All stories and images are in The Power of Story (2018) originally published by Libraries Unlimited, which morphed into ABC-CLIO. Presently, Bloomsbury Publishing has purchased ABC-CLIO.
February 27, 2024Read More
Another Home Run Story: “Meadowlark” by Dawn Wink

Another Home Run Story: “Meadowlark” by Dawn Wink

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

If you are a reader of WinkWorld, you know that I love it when someone discovers their own home run reading book. This is what recently happened. In this WinkWorld, I will share three previous examples of home run reading, and I will add a new example.

What is a home run reading book?

A home run reading book is that particular book that opened up the joy of reading to you. It is the book that made you want to read another book. The idea is that none of us are readers until we find our own home run reading book. We parents, teachers, and caregivers just keep sharing books with the hope that someone else will discover their home run reading book. Thank you, Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus for sharing this idea with us.

A Personal Example

Some of you are aware that my home run reading book was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This happened when my own two children, Dawn and Bo, didn’t want to hear me read it one more time. I remember how sad I felt. It was at this moment that I decided to read it just for myself. Eureka!  Up until that time, I read every assignment any teacher and/or prof told me to read, but I was not a reader.*

However, after The Secret Garden, all of that changed. From The Secret Garden, I went straight to a decade of reading all of Hemingway and Michener. Bo, our son, immediately went on to motor bike magazines, and from there he jumped to Stephen King. Dawn, our daughter, went on to read chapter books by the tens and tens.

A Second Example from Deb Harrison, a teacher in WY

I loved it when one of my teacher graduate students discovered her home run reading book was actually a book written by Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading. I remember how she struggled with me so much as a professor, and I just kept handing her books to read.  After she discovered that book, she was on fire in class. Since that time, she has written and published about her home run reading.


A Third Example: Junk Literacy and Henry

I can never forget little pre-K Henry whose Mom worried that he was only reading junk. Dear little Henry developed his own literacy by reading all of that junk mail that came to them daily. For him, it was compelling.

A New Fourth Example: Emmahleigh and Meadowlark

Emmahleigh is an undergrad student. She was never a reader until she grabbed Dawn Wink’s novel, Meadowlark, about my grandmother.

Missy Urbaniak captures the experience she recently had with Emmahleigh.

Recently, a friend of mine reached out with some questions about Meadowlark. Her name is Sandy, and she had given the book to her daughter, Emmahleigh, a college sophomore at Northern State University in Aberdeen. It turns out Emmahleigh is NOT a reader, and never has been, even though mom is an avid reader and dad (Pat) is a middle-school teacher. But after reading Meadowlark, Emmahleigh texted her mom, telling her she couldn’t put the book down and that it might be the best story she’s ever read. Mom then texted me, as I had gifted her the book, and said, “She has follow-up questions.” The questions included, “How is the author related to the main character?” and, “What area did the story actually take place in?” I shared that Grace is Dawn’s great-grandmother, and that the story took place near Howes, south of Faith, SD. I added that Dawn’s parents, Dean and Joan Wink, live in Grace’s house.

Since reading Meadowlark, Emmahleigh has asked to borrow more books from Sandy, and is seeking out books similar to her home run book, Meadowlark.

Thank you, Missy, and to Annie Hlavka for their help in creating this WinkWorld.

*Fortunately, I am no longer such a compliant reader. Now, I make sure I read all the banned books and any other book I want to read….

February 15, 2024Read More
Prairie Pedagogy: The End Is the Beginning?

Prairie Pedagogy: The End Is the Beginning?


Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Readers of WinkWorld know that I have been writing about prairie pedagogy because it fascinates me to see the powerful teaching and learning (a.k.a., pedagogy) that is going on in these tiny, tiny schools on the prairies. In addition, I want to help maintain the history of these schools. Missy, the teacher, is my second cousin, and I find her exceptional as a teacher. She pays no attention to me when I’m in the classroom which I love.

I am crazy in love with the students of this school.

However, let me be honest: The reason I am particularly motivated to finish this document is because I feared that the enrollment (seven students) was just too small, and the district might have to close the school. However, at the beginning of January 2024 we had a population explosion with five new students being enrolled.

Dare I hope? Perhaps what I feared will not happen; perhaps, the end is just a new beginning?              

In this issue of WinkWorld, I will share several news items which interest me. First, I will share two short stories of the first week of school when five new students joined the previous seven students. Next, I will share about an international teacher literacy book club. In addition, I plan to update my photo on my web page. Finally, I will share a bit of health news.

Two Short Stories about the First Week of School in January 2024

Winter day playground
Winter day basketball hoop

It has been cold and frosty on the kids’  playground.

During the first week of class the reading lesson was on inferences. Suddenly, one of the new students had an a-ha moment. In their family’s chicken coop, he found some broken eggs, and he inferred that they had a skunk in the area.

Two of the new students and one of the previous students were studying the American Revolution by making invisible ink quotes like the spies used during the American Revolution.

The students and I each have an amaryllis plant. We share pictures every day or two as our flowers begin to open. Missy said that when the students entered the classroom on January 3rd after a long two eek break, there were audible gasps as they saw what the amaryllis had done in their absence.

Winter amaryliss
Winter amaryliss
Winter amaryliss

A Story about an International Teacher Literacy Book Club in Montenegro

Out of the blue I received a message from Marina Avvakumova, one of my treasured Masters’ students from years ago in Mallorca, Spain. She had a very specific question: What should be the first book which they use in an international literacy teachers book club? I have considered this question in other occasions, and I knew immediately what my answer would be.

The Power of Reading

by Stephen Krashen

I believe it relates equally well to first language acquisition and also to second, third, etc. language acquisition. Experienced and novice teachers will find it meaningful and compelling. Teachers in this group represent the following countries: US, UK, Turkey, Russia, and South Africa.

Here are a few links about this Krashen book

Deb Harrison, a teacher in WY, wrote this article telling about her experience with The Power of Reading when she was a grad student in one of my classes.

The post below is a fun Powtoons created by Deb, also.

Marina now lives and teaches in Montenegro. Where in the world is Montenegro?

Meet dear Marina

Time Marches On: A New Photo

Turns out, I no longer look exactly the way I did about 10 years ago when that previous photo was taken.

A word about health

This is the first WinkWorld I have done totally on a dictation program. The reason for this is that I have been diagnosed with essential tremors in my hands. I always sort of knew I was going to get this as it is hereditary, and I have watched several in my family who had it. It has taken my script away from me and much of my ability on the computer keyboard. This is a real bummer, but the good news is that there are no negative cognitive consequences that come with essential tremors.

Thank you to Missy Urbaniak, Marina Avvakumova, Stephen Fleming, Deb Harrison, and Dawn Wink.



January 17, 2024Read More