A New Book, Covid19, and Advice from a Friend

Powerful Writing Structures: Brain Pocket Strategies for ...

My new book, Powerful Writing Structures, published by Pembroke Publishing, was released this past February.  This book, like my previous ones, was a labour of love.  It is a culmination of everything I love about teaching writing:  writing joy, writing goals, mini lessons, brain pockets, writing structures, anchor books, responsive teaching, formative assessment.. it’s all there!  It is a book I wrote for my first-year teacher self; a book I wish I had had in my early teaching days when the only writing I remember doing with my students was “I’m Thankful For…” stuck onto a paper turkey in October and “Peace is…” stuck onto a paper poppy in November.

I presented my book officially at the Reading for the Love Of It conference in Toronto on February 20th, 2020.  My dear friend Cheryl (who is also a teacher) was there, as she always is, cheering me on from the front row.  The response from participants was overwhelming and I felt a surge of pride and excitement.  (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Teachers are going to LOVE this book!”)  The book sold out at the conference and, needless to say, my publisher was thrilled.  (Isn’t that right, Mary?)

This spring, I was scheduled to present workshops on my new book at many schools and districts across BC and at several larger conferences including ones in Banff, Whistler, Whitehorse, and Melbourne, Australia.  Among other events, I was invited to do a book talk at United Library Services in Burnaby in April for their spring book sale and my good friend Sue, a principal in Kelowna, was planning a district book launch for me in May.

Enter Covid19.  And just like that, everything stopped.  Literally stopped.  At a time of  year when my inbox is usually flooded with workshop requests for the following school year, it is overflowing with cancellations.  The boxes of my new book I had ordered to sell at these upcoming workshops sit unopened in my garage.  All workshops for the foreseeable future have, in fact, been cancelled and none are being booked.  Let’s face it – Pro. D. will certainly not be held again for months, if not years, and will most likely never look the same.  And so I am slowly coming to the realization that the profession I love as a literacy consultant, educational public speaker, and workshop presenter is no longer.  This is my new reality.  And, if I’m being honest with you, it kind of sucks.  Yes, there are ways to present virtually, I have been told.  Yes, I can learn to do webinars and Zoom workshops and online in-services. But nothing compares to the joy I feel standing in front of a group of educators (second only to students), sharing my passion, my lessons, and my stories.  And with just a few weeks into the online teaching experience, you know first hand that the reciprocal energy, laughter, and emotional connections that are ever present in person can never be replicated through a screen.

Now, the thing I’ve learned about a global pandemic is that it sucks the wind out of an ocean full of sails – artists, athletes, actors, public speakers, performers, chefs, shop keepers, servers, priests and pastors, beauticians and stylists, therapists and counselors – any sailboat where groups of people gather, large or small, has been forced to dock.  And many of the boats that have involuntarily and abruptly stopped sailing are far more important than mine and, in many cases, completely life altering.  It’s also hard to wallow in self pity when so many are suffering.  So for some time, I have been keeping to myself about my disappointment that I am out of a job (hey, you’re not the only one), that I’m going to have to reinvent myself somehow (what the heck am I going to do now?) and nobody is buying my new book (seriously, Adrienne? no one cares about your book right now).   

Like you, I have done my best to adjust to the new normal:  I am amused by and participate in the constant stream of self-isolation and online teaching memes and posts (I am obsessed with pluto.living); I am enjoying this gift of time with my family; I’ve experienced my first Google Hangout Book Club meeting and taken part in several virtual happy hours; I have purchased a supply of not so effective root cover up; I listen to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s updates religiously every day and admire her shoes and her grace; I join my neighbours every night at 7 pm to honor the front line workers, ringing my dad’s old school bell from our front porch;  I cry at the thought of people not being able to hold the hand of a loved one and say their last goodbyes.  And so the excitement and pride I usually feel when a book is finally out of my head and out into the world has become so terribly insignificant in comparison to the disruption and devastation going on, it feels completely inappropriate to be even mentioning it.

But yesterday during my daily 6-feet-apart-run in the woods with Cheryl and our dogs (aka- my morning fix of friendship and forest), she gave me some advice.  She told me that I should NOT stay silent about my new book any longer.  It’s time, she said. Teachers will want to know about your new book and will want to read it.  And so, after some reflecting,  I have taken her advice because she is my oldest (not in age but in friendship years) and dearest, and that’s what friends do.  And also because I love my new book and I want you to love it, too.

This was her advice…

BLOG POST:  She said I should write a blog post about my new book so that at least people know that the book is out and that it’s available. (You are reading that post now)

BRAG:  She said I should not be shy to brag about the book.  Here is my brag:

My new book, Powerful Writing Structures:  Brain Pocket Strategies for Supporting a Year Long Reading Program, is a practical, user-friendly book that includes everything you need to know about teaching writing in elementary school.  It is an excellent professional resource.  I highly recommend it.  

BOOK TRAILER:  She said I should make a little video book trailer telling people about it.  But don’t make the video too long because people will lose interest.

I tried to make a short trailer – but this one is 16 min.


And then I tried to make a shorter one but this one’s even longer one… 23 minutes.


BUY THE BOOK:   She said I should add a link to the blog post so people could buy the book if they want.  But make sure to give a discount because everyone is giving discounts right now. 

Here is my link to buy my book.  Yes, there is a discount.


TESTIMONIAL:  She said I need some testimonials.  She offered to write one.  She may be a little bias, but here it is.

Powerful Writing Structures is an excellent combination of Adrienne Gear’s previous two books on writing; Writing Power and Writing Power Non- Fiction. Powerful Writing Structures is a teacher friendly total writing program. It is well organized, practical and easy to use. It is all you need to help your students develop their writing skills. I wish I had this resource when I began my teaching career. I will definitely be using this book in my classroom.​                                    – Cheryl Burian   (Gr. 1-2 teacher, SD 38-Richmond, B.C.)

MORE BLOGS: Finally, she said after this blog post about my new book,  I should really think about posting lesson ideas for online teaching because that is what teachers need most right now.  Stay tuned.

I know that the health and safety of all those you love and cherish is and should be at the forefront of your heart and mind during this time.  Many of you may also be struggling with the new reality of online teaching and the many challenges that brings, particularly if you have young children at home.  But if you have read to the end of this blog post, whether or not you are interested in my new book or not, I thank you for reading it.  I also thank you for all you are doing to support your children at home, your students, your family, your neighbours, and your pets during this strange and challenging time.  We are in this together and together I believe we will come through it a little wiser, more compassionate, and without a doubt, more grateful.  Be well, everyone.

And thank you, Cheryl.




This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Tania S.

    Just a quick question: Would you say your new book would be suitable for teaching grade 7’s? Always looking for great ideas!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Absolutely! There is a lot of great lessons for older students, especially in the nonfiction chapters, such as the five paragraph essay and “the diamond plan”. I believe all the writing technique mini lessons are applicable to older students as well – similes, personification, word choice, effective endings, sensory images, etc. I know many grade seven teachers who use the lessons from this book.

  2. Tracey

    Thank you for this post and sharing your thoughts during this time. I have been a fan for a while so have already purchased, and received, your book. I’ve only had the chance for a quick flick before the craziness happened, but it looks awesome. I love the brain pockets.
    I also love how much you love kid’s books and share recommendations for using them in mini lessons. So helpful.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thank you, Tracey! I love Brain Pockets, too! I am hoping you will find more lessons and anchor books you can use with your students. Stay safe! And thanks for all your support!

  3. Vincent Hart

    I am so happy there is another Adrienne Gear book to read! Thank you for your continued work.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thank you! Happy that you are finding my books helpful in your teaching practice. Stay safe!


    Great blog post Adrienne. Sounds like you have a wonderful friend and a wonderful book. I’m off to order it right now. Looking forward to reading it during the times that I am frustrated with my lack of skills in using technology (which is often!). All the best to you and your family.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Hi Michele,
      Thanks for your message! Yes, I have a great friend and I do think the book is going to be very helpful for teachers who are looking for a way to organize their writing programs. Lots of great anchor books and mini lessons! I had a wonderful response to my blog post with lots of book orders coming in so that made my week much brighter! I am sure your tech skills are much better than you give yourself credit for! I’m going to be starting to do more blog posts with simple ideas for online learning so stay tuned! Hoping you and your family are safe and healthy. Take care and thanks for reaching out!

  5. Linda O'Reilly

    Good morning Adrienne,
    I have sent out the information about your new book to my principals, whose schools I continue to work in, and those I have worked in over the past 5 years. I read your blog; it just about broke my heart to know that you will not be ‘out there’ working with teachers for the unforeseen future. So many teachers have grown under your guidance and expertise. More importantly, teachers know that you deeply care about them, their students and literacy learning. You may not remember this, as it happened many years ago, but I do – the day that you turned to me and said, “I want to be a teacher, just like you.” I felt like a million bucks, although ‘old’. Laugh out loud! I am sending you a big hug. Things will get better, only a different better. Love Linda – I have to run now, as I am ordering your book. I have some time to read at the moment.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Oh, Linda. Thank you so much for your kind words. I do remember saying that to you! You were a huge inspiration to me when I was first starting out. I loved how passionate and real you were (not to mention your great sense of style!) I will sign your book when the order comes in! Big hugs back to you. Thank you for all your support. Means the world to me. xo

  6. Linda O'Reilly

    Hello Adrienne,

    My books are on their way. I ordered one for myself and one for my daughter. I will happily take you up on your offer to sign my books. I lend the books from my professional library to my teachers. I have all of your books and they are often off my shelf and in the hands of teachers. I love it when they turn to me and say, “You know Adrienne Gear!”. And, I say, “Yes, I do!” You signed another book for me and it was such a lovely message. Take care, my friend. Love Linda

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thanks, Linda! Not only do you KNOW me but we are FRIENDS!!! Please buy the books directly from me next time you order! Thank you!

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