Hi again – 4 years later.

It’s been a minute. Looking at my last post – published in 2017 – I wonder where the years have gone. You may be wondering where I went, or at least I’d like to think you did! It feels like I’ve lived many lives since then.

Let me give you the CliffsNotes version. I left the classroom in 2015 and moved from Nashville to Washington DC, where I was working as a Consultant at a Management Consulting firm. Six years slipped by doing work in human capital analytics – from public health to COVID-19 legislative analysis. I loved it, learned a ton, and left burned out. Now (as of the pandemic), I’m at an equity tech startup – working on reinventing pay equity analysis and fairness at work.

When I stepped away from Middle School writer – albeit unintentionally, as months and years slipped by – I turned to my own writing. I’ve spent the last several years researching and writing about individual stories of service and sacrifice lost to time. I’ve been deep into WWII and the bomber boys who fought Hitler in the skies over Fortress Europe.

Since I left the classroom, I’ve been focused on what I used to preach there – becoming a better writer – by writing relentlessly and reading constantly. I’ve loved every minute.

Recently, I feel that pull back towards teaching – and who I was in the classroom. So here I am. And I’m excited to be back.

I have lots in the works for Middle School Writer – here and on TPT – thanks to new inspiration from all the places these last years have taken me.

Today, I’m beyond excited to share the first of those big updates: the launch of Storey & Co. Journals!

Storey & Co. Journals feels like the child of Middle School Writer + the writing I’ve done myself. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a small business focused on unique journals and notebooks that celebrate life’s milestones, talents, & treasures – and give writers a place to do just that.

The name is more than kitsch. In April, I celebrated one of life’s sweetest milestones, getting engaged to my longtime BF Joseph Storey. And since, the idea for Storey & Co. has been ruminating.

We’re slowly but surely building the business. It began with a B-24 Liberator aircraft journal, inspired by my writing and research about WWII. From there, it grew, and continues to today.

I hope you’ll check out Storey & Co. Journals. We have an Amazon storefront that makes order + delivery a breeze. I’m adding new journals every day – for the writers and teachers out there who need a place to put pen to paper.

Many teacher-inspired journals are on the way! Oh, and if there’s a journal you’ve always been on the hunt for, let me know. Our dream team of designers and get it done folks will make it happen.

It’s good to be back. Thanks for sticking by all these years.

-Mara

New Freebie: Be Specific Anchor Chart

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Freebie Alert!

The Be Specific Anchor Chart is now a free resource on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Do your students struggle to use specific word choice in their writing? The Be Specific Anchor Chart includes strategies and tips to make writing more specific. This is an increasingly important skill in the Common Core era, especially on the writing portion of the assessment. Hang this anchor chart in your room or print out and give to your students as a handout.