Saturday, June 29, 2013

52 Lists - List the People You Admire

My father - as a teacher who inspired and connected with his students and as a parent who gave me space to be myself
J. K. Rowling - She is masterful at plotting a story - a great writer
Joyce Meyer - I admire her wisdom and her attitude about life
Aaron Rodgers - He was gracious and showed a great work ethic in the transition from Favre's leadership to his.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Break Time!

I've got my 52 lists posts ready to roll on Saturdays for the next few weeks, but other than those, I am going to take a break for the next week or two to enjoy some summer activities with the fam. Be back soon!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

#bookaday update June 25th

I haven't quite kept to a book every day, but I'm keeping close. Those 29 picture books last week really help keep me on target when I miss a day! Here's the list for last week:

June 17 - Fatally Frosted
Fatally Frosted (Donut Shop Mystery Series #2)

June 18 - Sea Monster's First Day and Crankee Doodle
Sea Monster's First Day       Crankee Doodle

June 19 - nothing

June 20 - Don't Pigeonhole Me
Don't Pigeonhole Me!

June 21 - The Book Whisperer
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

June 22 - Sinister Sprinkles
Sinister Sprinkles (Donut Shop Mystery Series #3)

June 23 - Evil Eclairs
Evil Eclairs (Donut Shop Mystery Series #4)

I'll be blogging about most of these on my book blog in the next couple months. When you read a book every day or so, but only blog every three days, you start to get a surplus, which will be fantastic in August when I don't have time to read because school is starting up.

If you've been inspired to pick up your reading pace this summer, too, I'd love to hear what you are reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

52 Lists - List Your Favorite Books

Harry Potter series ~ J. K. Rowling
The Candymakers ~ Wendy Mass
The False Prince ~ Jennifer Nielsen
Alien Series ~ Gini Koch
Deadline ~ Randy Alcorn
The Amber Photograph ~ Penelope Stokes
The Blue Bottle Club ~ Penelope Stokes
The Amethyst Heart ~ Penelope Stokes
Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom ~ Christopher Healy
Read to Tiger ~ S. J. Fore
Can I Play, Too? ~ Mo Willems
Wild About Books ~ Judy Sierra
The Phantom Tollbooth ~ Norton Juster
The Westing Game ~ Ellen Raskin
That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown ~ Cressida Cowell
The Three Ninja Pigs ~ Corey Rosen Schwartz

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thank Twitter for My Tribe!

I'm not sure how it happened.... I've had a Twitter account for awhile, but in the last month or so I've been using it throughout the day and really getting into the swing of it.

While I can't remember what got it started, I do know what has kept it going - teacher talk! I have found a community of teachers and librarians who are on twitter talking about books and reading and teaching and students and authors and all the other things I adore. I have found tweetchats like #kidlitchat and #teachchat.
I have found reading challenges like #bookaday and #SummerThrowdown (I am SO excited about this one - teachers and librarians competing over reading. I can't wait to find out more!). I've been introduced to new authors, new books for my students and new professional development for me, both books and events.

One event starts next week and that is #TeachersWrite. It kicks off next Monday and will be several weeks of writing prompts, writing blog posts and writing encouragement for teachers/educators who want to put their money/time/effort where their mouths are and do the things they ask their students to do all school year long. I can't wait! You can find out more about it here.

After two years in our school library, I feel like I am still getting a feel for my role at school - a feel for what teachers are passionate about what parts of their jobs and what form that passion takes. I haven't found the readers yet on staff - the folks who are reading what the students are reading, and talking to students about the things they are reading and clicking with kids over books. I've seen hints, and I am getting to know the teachers who read often to their students. But I still haven't clicked with anyone on the same manic-book-loving level as I am in my building.

But I have found those people on Twitter. In fact, a lot of them make me look like an amateur. So I am learning a lot and trying to find my way and my place in the conversation. But it is encouraging to feel like part of a "tribe" of folks who are passionate about books and connecting students with stories and developing readers. I am eager to look back over this summer and see how I grow and how I am energized for a new school year by these folks and these activities.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

#Bookaday Update June 18th

I'm still working on the #Bookaday challenge issued by Donalyn Miller and the folks at the Nerdy Book Club.

This week was uber-productive because I read a lot of picture books and early readers for school. Actually, I recorded all the picture books, but didn't even bother with the early readers - it felt too cheat-ish.

Here are last week's books:

June 10 - five picture books
June 11 - 29 picture books
June 12 - nothing
June 13 - nothing
June 14 - The Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett Krosoczka
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked
June 15 - Galaxy Zack #1 and Amelia Bedelia (the new chapter books) #1
Hello, Nebulon! (Galaxy Zack Series #1)   Amelia Bedelia Means Business (Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book Series #1)
June 16 - The Good, the Bad and the Witchy by Heather Blake
The Good, the Bad and the Witchy (Wishcraft Mystery Series #3)

I find myself feeling guilty if I do too much reading on a week day when our house is a disaster area and needs so much attention. So those two days where I read nothing? I worked on the house. I did work on the other days, too, but I am trying to find some balance, like working during the normal school day hours and relaxing in the evenings. Hopefully I'll find a good rhythm soon so I can enjoy my summer and my reading with more joy and less guilt.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

52 Lists - Favorite Quotes

Isaiah 26:3 - You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on You because he loves You.

"If you can read in the 21st century, you own the world." ~ Stephen King

"I never look back, darling. It distracts from The Now." ~ Edna, The Incredibles

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive." ~ Howard Thurman

"... In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings." ~ Ann Landers

"... How much one actually achieves depends largely on: 1) Desire, 2) Faith, 3) Persistent Effort, and 4) Ability. But if you are lacking the first three factors, your ability will  not balance out the lack. So concentrate on the first three and the results will amaze you." ~ Norman Vincent Peale

"We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark." ~ Whoopi Goldberg

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you."
~ Maya Angelou

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world." ~ Mother Teresa

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#Bookaday update

By the time this posts, I hope to have the library closed down for the summer. When I left work on Thursday, the office was cleaned out and ready for business in August. The library itself, though, needed a few more projects done. Hopefully by now, Tuesday, it's all finished and I am officially on summer break.

Since I made good progress last week and had to go in for a meeting on Monday, I took Friday off and spent the whole day reading. So, I decided to kick my #bookaday (use this hashtag on Twitter to see what other folks are reading) challenge off a few days early. I know most of the teachers and librarians participating in this are reading kids books - either WITH their kids or for their work, but I was in the middle of a re-read of the Alien series by Gini Koch, so I kept working through those this weekend. I'm not sure what I'm going to read this week - I have so many choices I almost don't know where to start. So, here's my update through Sunday:

June 7 - day 1 - Alien Diplomacy  by Gini Koch
June 8 - day 2 - Alien vs. Alien by Gini Koch
June 9 - day 3 - Alien in the House by Gini Koch.

It's been nice reading grown-up books for awhile after the reading blitz I did during the final quarter of the school year (In a contest with other teachers, I earned 474 AR points from April 8th through May 17th.). I may stick with the adult titles for another week or so before digging into my kids lists. We'll see.

So, what are you reading this summer?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

52 Lists - List Your Childhood and Current Dream Jobs

As a child, I always thought I would be a teacher. By high school and when I started college I decided to be a high school music teacher. I wanted to have a strolling string group like I was in in high school.

Frankly, the job I have is my dream job! I get to be around kids and books - and talk to kids about books - every day. In addition to that, though, I'd love to be a children's book author, or a book agent/publisher (get to promote awesome books all the time), or some other sort of book "expert."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The End Is Here

School is done.

There were moments in March when I thought this day would never come. This was a hard year. For me, I think it was hard on one level because I manically plowed through my first year - this year I was trying to be more intentional and thoughtful about what I was doing (although I am still manically buying new books for the library). It made the year go more slowly, which in the long run will be good, but it made the year hard.

On top of that, we've gone through some leadership changes and there seemed to be a lot of things going on under the happy facade that had to be dealt with. And that has been difficult and, at times, divisive. I've asked some of the folks who have been there longer than I have, and they agree that this year has been especially hard. The students checked out earlier than usual (could be the difficulties we had with our standardized testing this spring), had more attitude, and made some crazy behavior choices.

But here we are. The year has ended. We are still transitioning to new leadership, but I am optimistic for the positive things that can come next year. I have the best of intentions to NOT work this summer. I am hoping to be finished with all my school tasks by tomorrow and then to disappear for the most part until August. (I think I will still try to bring home books to process for the library, but I don't know. We'll see.)

Anyway, I am reminded that time marches on - in the good or the bad, all I can do is just keep pressing forward and doing the best I can.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The 100: Count ONLY Sugar Calories and Lose Up to 18 Lbs. in 2 Weeks

I downloaded a sample of this book on my Nook a week or so ago, and after reading the sample, I downloaded the whole book and read it "cover to cover" so to speak. The research was very interesting (I'll be reviewing the book on my other blog in July). So, this past weekend I decided to give the whole thing a shot.

The idea is to limit carbohydrates to help your body's natural response to sugars re-set and not over work. So on Saturday and Sunday, I ate a lot of protein and green veggies and counted my carb calories (carb grams times 4). In some of the materials from the author's website, he talks about a modification for women over 40 (yes, that would be me) where you do a max of 100 sugar calories for 2 days and 500 for the next five days and then back to 100. Let me tell you, by Sunday afternoon I was waiting for the "freedom" of Monday - and some bread.

I was surprised by how much I craved sugar. I could just taste a piece of chocolate. I wanted to munch on bread. I even limited diet Pepsi and the flavored water I like because there are some questions about artificial sweeteners tricking the body into thinking it has ingested sugar and reacting accordingly. I had enough "calories" left Saturday night for ONE chocolate covered caramel by Skinny Cow (I LOVE these things - but they come in a pack of three and one full pack is 72 of my 100 carb calories.) - I ate it in the smallest bites imaginable so that it lasted.

I figure I will try eating like this for a few weeks and see how it feels. It definitely has me thinking about food and sugar differently.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

52 Lists - List Things You Want to Make

This was a fun list to make!

1-There's a cross stitch designer in Britain I love - Gorjuss. Well, technically I guess it's an artist whose pictures have been turned into cross stitch. Anyway, there is a picture of a girl standing on a stack of books that I would love to stitch. First, I have to find the pattern and get it here somehow (I wish it was a digital one I could download, but so far I haven't found that option). But I want to make it some day.

2-There are several other cross stitch patters that I do have that I want to stitch - a series of dress forms, one of Rupert Grint, and others

3-Awhile back I bought a tray that I want to paint or decorate with paper and then put Lego minifigs on it for display in the library. That is one project I want to do this summer.

4-I also bought small Project Life scrapbooks for the three of us to each do this summer - for my husband and I to record things about ourselves and our childhood and for my son to record a snapshot of his life at this age.