Teresa Bunner

I am a mother of 4 boys, wife and teacher. In my 20 years in education, I have worked at the elementary, middle, high school and postgraduate levels. I am a passionate advocate for literacy. I read, read, read and want my students to do the same. 
I hold a BA in English and an MA in Education (Language and Literacy) from California State University, Sacramento. I have been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, curriculum coach, professional development coordinator/presenter and department chair. This coming school year I will serve as the Academic Support Specialist for the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate Program in the Chapel Hill- Carborro City Schools. This wonderful program serves African-American, Latino, and other underrepresented students through mentoring, advocacy, leadership development and academic support. It is a program with a focus close to my heart.
There are many titles and professional awards and accomplishments I could list, but none is greater than the honor and privilege of being called teacher. I am constantly amazed and awed by the young people who enter my classroom each year.

Expressive Writing

Castles and Gardens- Animoto

Traveling through Scotland and England, I have visited many castles. I love the beautiful gardens associated with each. Why is it that we are so intrigued with castles? While stories of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress exist, we know that, really, castles were not romantic places. They were drafty, smelly, loud microcosms of humanity.
Yet, when one stands next to stones that are thousands of years old, one can't help but be intrigued by the history contained within.

A Room of Dreams

Room Writing   July 26, 2011

The room is not yet finished, a hope, a dream, a wish in the process of being fulfilled. It is filled with ghosts yet to come. Windows provide a 180 degree panoramic view of acres of green trees where busy squirrels scamper from trunk to trunk and limb to limb. Graceful, shy deer meander through the open green grassy area to the safety of the trees that shelter them. A majestic hawk swoops down to make a meal of the snakes, baby possums and rabbits residing outside these walls.

Full size fans gently stir the air. The wood floor is cool beneath feet. The tap-tap, click-click of puppy paws announce the arrival of four legged friends looking for a sunny spot available for a midmorning nap. It is a room that welcomes all, not for raucous play or connecting with technology, but for quiet contemplation, napping, reading or writing.

Yellow walls frame windows. But not an irritatingly bright yellow, the yellow of the sun mid morning before it becomes the blinding noonday sun. The windowpanes and accent moldings in linen white contrast with the yellow. The combination of the colors creates a clean, sunny atmosphere, just begging to be enjoyed by curling up with a book in the big comfy reading chair situated by the bay window. The current chair is a placeholder, a piece of unused lawn furniture in need of a purpose. It is a ghost of the chair that will one day sit there- a large overstuffed chair of undetermined color with an ottoman-a beckoning, welcoming oasis perfect for just a mom or perhaps shared with a loving little boy.

The ghosts of bookshelves occupy two walls from floor to ceiling. Piles of books wait patiently in another room for shelves perfectly designed as their resting place. There they will sit as reminders of adventures taken and adventures yet to be taken- from the shores of Dover to the bustle of the city. This is a room for daydreaming and exploring from the safety and comfort of a cushiony armchair. A room for gathering or for being alone. A room for communing with nature while sipping the perfect cup of coffee. It is a dream room, a dream almost fulfilled.

A Day in the Life of a Bedraggled Traveler

Get on the bus. Drive. Arrive. Then try to get 10 people to agree to go in the same direction.

Winchester. A town filled with history. Busy streets. Quiet avenues. An adventurer striking out on her own.

For me, both of these snapshots describe the day in Winchester my favorite spot to visit. The day provided not just beautiful sights, but a valuable lesson about myself as I began to feel panicky trying to acquiesce to the wishes of the large group with whom I traveled. Not that they are not lovely people, but I found myself wanting to go left when others wanted to go right. After diligently traipsing around the awe inspiring Winchester Cathedral and soaking up more history the compulsion to follow my own path became too much and I disengaged myself.

Once on my own, I became more attuned to all that was around me. Busy streets provided the voices of street vendors hawking their wares. The lilting music of live musicians filled the air.  Manchester United or Chelsea? The local sports store retailer convinced me of the error of my ways in choosing Chelsea and happily sold me a bright red Manchester soccer shirt to take home to my son. Mushrooms, melted cheese and a sampling of spices wrapped in a perfectly cooked pastry shell- a portable lunch from Cornwall Pasty Co. allowed this enthralled adventurer to continue on my way.

Busy streets and shops gave way to quiet avenues in a quest to find the final home of Jane Austen. I had not realized how much I needed quiet until it was there surrounding me like a well loved blanket. Like quests will, unexpected, but welcomed side trips arose. As I tried to follow the map to 8 Winchester Street to find the mustard-colored building with the blue plaque where Jane breathed her last breath, I came upon the Knights Bridge which indicated the entrance to the village long ago. I followed the road through the gate and meandered several blocks. What a surprise to find an old hospital. And an even further surprise to find this was the very hospital that housed the doctor Jane had come to Winchester to find.

A few more blocks and I almost missed the unobtrusive yellowy building. A beautiful little green park area across the way provided a glimpse of what might have drawn Jane to this location. A short walk from Jane’s house revealed Wolvesly Castle, the abode of the Bishop of Winchester. Once one of the most important diocese in the church, the building and the grounds provided an unexpected treat. The rambling creek bubbled nearby and drew many people to its’ banks.

As I followed the creek, it led me back to the hustle and bustle of the city streets and the end of the day’s visit as it was time to board the buses again. The bedraggled traveler morphed into the wonder-filled adventurer who happily rejoined the larger group of travelers to venture on to the next spot.

Expressive Writing Reflection

Expressive writing is the mode that lends itself to the sharing of personal experiences and reflections. It is that "show-not-tell" writing that we ask our students to write. It is one of the forms of writing, I believe, that lends itself nicely to the use of technology as an alternative to a fully produced writing piece. Taking the writing and expressing it in visual form challenged me as a thinker to choose the visual images wisely, much like pondering the correct word choice.
Expressive writing asks us as writers to "be in the moment" and to recreate that for our reader. I find that often I remember generalized details, but struggle to narrow the writing down to the finer details. Like baking bread, I have to take the memory out and stretch it and punch it  and let it sit for a while before I get a final product I feel is worthy.
Another issue I have with expressive writing is that it reveals much about ourselves. And when forced to share that with people we don't know well, it can produce more anxiety about the process than already exists. I don't share about myself unless I want to. And I don't like sharing with people I don't know well. I blog, but I know that most of the people who go to my blog know me or our paths have crossed via social media. And I don't put anything in my blog that I wouldn't say in a room full of people (and often already have!). In a class setting, being assigned expressive writing, I often censor what it is I will write about. There is some writing that is not meant to be shared, nor do I have any desire to share with an unwanted audience. And that impacts what I write.

Poetic Writing

Poem- My Boy

Six Word Story

Wordle: Adventurer

Colin (Character Bio Poem)

Based on the beautifully written YA novel by Patrick Ness A Monster Calls (from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd).

Available in the US in September 2011.


Son of a dying mother and an absent father

Stubborn, struggling, strong adolescent

Lover of his mother who has raised him on her own

Who believes in hope and monsters and the power of a yew tree

Who desperately wants a cure for cancer and to be seen

Who uses his anger to destroy things and drive those who care away

Who gives his grandmother a hard time and is given a hard time by Harry and his cronies

Who finally learns to speak the truth




I always like the Scottish Highlands
you can hike through green pastures
and over hills
and by a loch
and through old ruins
and down city streets
and into pubs
and through history
in the cities and villages
and listen to
a castle
on a road
paved with cobblestones
and meet friendly people
proud of their history
who will share a story
and a ride
and a drink

Poetic Writing Reflection

Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement.  ~Christopher Fry

I don't consider myself a poet. Should you ask me what I like to write, poetry would not be at the top of the list. Why? Because when I read poetry and I am surrounded by poetry afficianados, poetry comes across as nebulous and deep and profound. I so much better like the poetry of the likes of Dorothy Parker- writing with a snarky edge and a focus on reality. I don't deal well with hidden ideas and double edged meanings. I say what I mean and mean what I say.

When I write poetry, it is rooted deeply in the immediate world around me. It is a reflection on the reality around me, my amazement at the gifts of life like motherhood. I once had a writing professor who told me I wrote "nice, cute little writings". I don't think he meant it as a compliment. My reaction? If you don't like what I write, stop forcing me to write it to meet your predetermined criteria. I think too often we take ourselves way too seriously in this world. I don't need mixed metaphors and symbolic language to express my love for my children or my life. It is what it is. Should you not like it, feel free to visit the library and check out a volume of Keats.

Expository Writing

My Blog- A Teacher on the Edge

I have spent the last two weeks blogging about my travel adventures and the implications I see for classroom teaching. Stop by!

Book Review- A Monster Calls

I was asked by a book rep to write a 140 character book review of the new YA novel by Patrick Ness that is out in the UK, but will be available in the US in September. This was difficult! How to capture the essence of a book in 140 characters? Here is what I finally settled on...

Fairytale & reality woven together in the beautifully crafted story of Colin dealing with a dying mother,absent father,distant 

A more extensive review of the book can be found on my Goodreads page

Expository Writing Reflection

When you mention expository, this can be the daunting. This is the academic writing that many of us dread. But we've come to a different understanding of this mode. Expository is sharing information, but doesn't have to be written in the stilted academic formal language generally associated with it.

I enjoyed the opportunity to write about Charlotte Bronte from the perspective of social media. I had much more buy in to the topic. I think this is valuable to remember as I go into the classroom. When a writing assignment seems exciting or interesting, it is a lot less painful to write. 

I have been attempting to blog anyway, so the need to write expository text pushed me to keep up with my blog which will continue after this adventure is over. One of the things I most enjoy about blogging is that it is academic, but not as formal a setting. The chance to explore that as part of this class helped cement for me that I am on the right track.