Start - Use - Do


START where you are!!

Nothing can begin until you do!

Every journey begins with just one step. When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, he said to the man, “stretch out your hand!” What would have happened if that man had said “What are you talking about – can’t you see it’s crippled? I can’t – I won’t do it!“.

Only YOU can make take that first step, plan your first activity! No one else can do it for you.

 Use what YOU HAVE! 

I only remember one cheer from my single semester as a cheerleader in high school,

What do we got?

We got a lot!

We’ve got a team that’s Red Hot!

Not great grammar, but so true! Most of us are incredibly blessed! So, how are you going to USE what you have? It is not necessary to go out and buy lots of new tools and toys to do HPR. Just look around and see what you already have. I started out using boards, fence posts and empty cat litter buckets (actually, I still use cat litter buckets LOL).

DO what you can!

In the iconic words of the famous commercial: “JUST DO IT“.

I’m quite sure you know much more than you give yourself credit for, and way more about Horse Powered Reading than your client. They don’t know (or need) all the things you still need/want to learn. It would only confuse them. Take whatever you DO know, and DO something with it! Make a difference in someone’s life!


YOU Have the POWER to give HOPE and HELP to struggling students!

 START where you are - USE what you have – DO what you can!!

"Pickled" Pennings


"Pickled" Pennings is a way for us to play with my name (Pickel rhymes with Michele – but most people can’t spell so they say “Pickle”), and to “iron” out (I know, very few people still iron their clothes much less their thoughts) scrambled, scrunched up thoughts and ideas.  This is also a place where we can play with divergent ideas and thoughts and pull them together to create a place of synergy for new innovations, ideas, creations, and solutions to gnarly problems! Perhaps I will also get to practice wrestling with Phenomenological Research ideas as I make observations and then process those observations through writing. Of course, you KNOW I will also share, exciting insights I hear from God during my devo/exercise times. When writing for work or publication, I feel compelled to use more traditional, accepted writing conventions, but HERE since it is MY blog – I can use all the CAPS, ( ), – - , “ “, and … that I want. Just think, if you follow Pickled Pennings, you will never miss a “Pickelism”

Where Did Horse Powered Reading Come From?

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“Where did Horse Powered Reading come from?”

GREAT question!  Answer: The same place pickles come from! Take a plain ordinary lumpy cucumber, clean, slice, ice, chill, pack in a sterilized container, mix & boil a dozen ingredients (pickling salt, 2 kinds of vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, celery seeds, cinnamon stick, allspice berries plus a pinch of allspice, whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves, turmeric), then process the filled jars in a hot water bath. 5 hours later you have my favorite- sweet bread and butter pickles.

In much the same way, a synergy of “ingredients” and hard work came together to create Horse Powered Reading!  All the pieces were already in existence, but at just the right time they merged into an idea, then with time, experimentation, and work, grew into HPR.  I simply followed the steps to creative problem solving.

According to Anita Woolfolk (Educational Psychology 2016 p.340), General problem-solving strategies usually include the steps of:

1.       Identifying the problem  [students struggling needlessly]

2.       Setting goals [use EAL to help them]

3.       Exploring possible solutions and consequences [experimenting with Cole and Caroline]

4.       Acting [Working on new activities with 12 kids over six months]

5.       Evaluating the outcome” [pre-post assessments and interviews 2012; SPED summer school 2016; Rocky Lane School 2017-18]