Do You Reread?

man reading book beside woman reading book
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There are few books I reread. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown comes back onto my radar usually after I have listened to Tsh Oxenreider from THE ART OF SIMPLE talk about it.

This book requires me to think about my actions and why I make the decisions I do especially when it comes to how I spend my time. There is often a gap between what my responsibilities are and what I want to do. There is also a category of the things I should do because someone expects me to. This is the area I am really looking at for the upcoming school year. I have made a big decision about doing what I deem essential and also managing my schedule and time differently.

I have a choice about how I spend my time. At school, I want to spend my time on the actions that I can get the most bang for my buck and make the most impact with my teachers. I cannot do everything even though my TYPE A personality whispers to me in quiet moments that I can.

I stopped celebrating just being busy for busy sake and my stress levels went down.

Over the next couple of days these questions from the book will be on my mind:

  1. What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  2. What am I particularly talented at?
  3. What meets a significant need in the world?

The next right thing for me and my time is on my mind. What are you thinking about for the fall?

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Mystery Blogger Award!

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Hi everyone! I am so honored to have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Books, Life, and Everything Nice! She’s an amazing blogger! Please check out her blog. A great big thank you for the nomination!

The award was created by Okoto Enigma. The explanation on her blog is as follows:

The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Myself:

  1. I want to retire in Minnesota.
  2. I cannot play the piano but can play the violin.
  3. I love ultra running but have no desire to do a triathlon.

My Questions:

  1. What’s the funniest experience you’ve had on vacation? When in Hawaii, I went to a ranch and learned to lasso!
  2. What’s your favorite reading snack? Coffee and bread!
  3. How do other people describe you? Intense and passionate
  4. Of which accomplishment from last year are you most proud? Writing 31 stories for STORYADAY MAY
  5. What 3 things would you tell your younger self? Don’t follow the status quo. Follow all the white rabbits you want to and don’t be afraid.

My Nominees

https://lifewithktkinnes.com/

https://cornishmaidblog.com/

https://lifetravelsoul.com/

https://exquisitely.me/

https://bekadaisies.com/

https://bitchininthekitchen.org/

https://artsychiccreations.wordpress.com/

 

My Questions for them:

1.What was something you used to believe, but you no longer do?

2.What were the components of your best day ever?

3.What are you working on you are excited about?

4.Once upon a time or It was a dark and stormy night?

5.What do you find fills your creative well the best?

 

My 3 Favorite Posts

One – Quick Dinner

Two – Emotional Bank Account

Three MAGIC!

ARC MEANT TO BE BROKEN REVIEW

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For this review, I received an advance copy of this wonderful book. My opinions are my own.

This book is categorized as a YA Romance…not usually my genre and I was not disappointed in this book at all. The characters are well developed and you care about them. I kept reading wanting to know what happened to each of them. There are romance tropes of course, a love triangle and some terrible decisions on the characters part but a great read. The love triangle isn’t introduced right away but there is a build up where you sense it is coming. It was the perfect book to read in my hammock in the summer shade.

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The book is a respectable 450+ pages but went fast. The only reason I didn’t read it two days was because it was so good I didn’t want it to end.

I have been focused on character names lately and the three main were perfectly named in this book. Rayne, Gage,  and Preston.

The banter between Gage and Rayne is super fun to read. The relationships are well written along with the plot.

There are even a few moments where I was surprised by the way the story turned! A few gaspers even! Just when you think you have these lives figured out another curve ball comes in at just the right time. It is a satisfying read and one I highly recommend if you are in the mood for a great book.

Some favorite quotes:

Like we’re stuck in some sort of time warp where everything’s paused, and when we do get a moment, someone’s always crashing it. p.94

He’s walking Prozac to her, the one medicine that religiously calms her anxiety. p. 211

Everytime I speak, Taryn stares at me as if I’m a jigsaw puzzle in pants, some experiment she can pick apart and dissect like the fetal pigs from her medical classes, then bandage up again like-new condition. p. 393

Check this book out! It is a summer read that will suck you in and stick with you after the last page.

Title: Meant To Be Broken

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Publication Date: July 2nd, 2018

Format:

Reviewers in the United States: Paperback

International Reviewers: eBook (format of choice)

Description:

Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?

#happyreading

Graffiti Boards

abc books chalk chalkboard
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I am continuing my series of fun stories from my teaching career. It has been fun to share these funnies and to remember these wonderful students who are so important to me.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Today’s story is more fun than funny.

Graffiti Boards

Let me start this story by saying I am that annoying teacher who puts writing and reading opportunities up in a school everywhere. I put jokes and poems on the backs of bathroom doors, over pencil sharpeners, in the hallways, in the teachers’ lounge, in the teachers’ bathroom, and whatever random place I can get kids to read and write. This causes students in the stalls to read knock-knock jokes to each other.

I don’t even remember where I heard about graffiti boards but I started posing a question on a large piece of butcher paper outside my room so students could stop and write their responses.

In the school I was in I was about midway down the length of the hallway. The concept took on a life of its own and would cause a traffic jam in the hallway in the morning and the afternoons at dismissal. Students also randomly asked to go to the bathroom so they could come and write their responses in peace in the middle of the school day.

The questions varied from silly to serious. Some examples:

Who is your favorite character in what you are reading?

What is your favorite food?

What are you looking forward to over spring break?

What color should Mrs. Breitweiser dye her hair?

Rainbow and pink I believe were the most popular answers to the last one.

I had teachers who were salty about this idea. They were afraid students would write something inappropriate. To be fair, it did happen twice that I can recall and it wasn’t that bad. There were no cuss words just something minorly insulting that a 5th grader would think is funny.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad. Any opportunity for reading and writing is a good thinig in my book!

Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

sols_6I am continuing the logging of some of my funny stories from my teaching career and am sharing one for Two Writing Teachers Blog Slice of Life.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

I love poetry. I love writing poetry. I love teaching poetry. I love reading and displaying the poetry my students write.

When I was a reading specialist I introduced Poem In Your Pocket Day. I use poems with reluctant readers because they are fun and because they seem to be less intimidating to students. We use them for reading and writing.

I was lucky in this particular job at the elementary level to push in to do full classroom writing lessons but also have small groups.

My classroom was right by the front doors and the office, but also right across from the bathrooms. I learned early that it was important to have reading materials outside my door and in the hallway so students could read while they were waiting in line for their turn to use the facilities.

I was standing in the hallway having a brief conference with a 5th grade teacher and her students were lined up. I noticed one boy kept patting his jeans pocket. It was that movement we have when we have something important in our pocket that we do not want to lose. We keep checking to make sure it hasn’t magically disappeared without our knowledge.

I asked him what he had in his pocket. I was intrigued. He looked at me shyly and said, “My poem”.

This was a student that was a little on the harder side. He was very guarded and would be likely to have a weapon in his pocket rather than a poem.

The look of surprise was evident in my face and he continued.

“You talked to us about poem in your pocket day so I thought I should put my own poem I am working on should be in my pocket then I always have it with me.”

I smiled at him with tears in my eyes. “I love it,” I told him.

He smiled and patted his pocket again.

I saw him several times during the day and every time he would smile at me like we shared a secret and pat his pocket to let me know his poem was still there. He extended poem in your pocket day for at least a week.

#happytuesday

Sunday Morning Coffee Talk

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Let’s take our cup out on the porch! The sun is shining and the weather is pleasant and not humid today!

Yesterday I meet with a friend and colleague to talk through the first two chapters of Onward Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar. I was introduced to this author and coach by my wonderful coach Lisa Vahey. Elena was recently on the Cult of Pedagogy podcast talking about the new book which sparked new interest.

On the way to work I was listening to the podcast. When I arrived at school my friend Erica had listened to the same podcast the same morning. We decided it was a sign to meet and go through the book together.

The program is designed to progress over the course of a year. As the coach, I plan on using elements of the books (text and workbook) in my PD’s,  but the deep work will be with Erica.

Cover art

 

The first chapter is “Know Yourself”.

I had the teachers do the 16 personalities quiz at the beginning of the school year which changed conversations for the rest of the year. You know something is effective and sticks when the personality letters keep getting brought up in casual conversation and people joke about it. It really started a ripple effect.

I am constantly trying to figure out how to make my coaching “sticky-er” as Vahey would say. Core values is an avenue I want to explore more with my teachers this coming school year and is part of the chapter. Danny “Sunshine” Bauer has a wonderful podcast called The Better Leaders Better Schools. He also has a “mini-podcast” that addresses snippets of great ideas called the School Leadership Series. He has stories attached to his core values. I want to incorporate this idea in my own practice. I will be writing more once the school year starts but you can check out the episodes “Rule 6” “the Big Dominio” and “Honey badger spirit” for the story examples.

Erica and I are old enough and have been teaching long enough to know ourselves pretty well. I am happy to say that there are elements in Auguliar’s book that were new which is always welcome. Sociopolitical identity groups was a new one. Erica and I talked about our personality type (we have almost all the same letters) and white advantage. We talked about how the groups we belong to and culture can affect how we deal with students.

The second chapter is “Understand Emotions”. The beginning paragraph really sums up how I feel about emotions. I take things personally about 4 days out of the year and I will cry because my feelings get hurt. I teach with someone who is the opposite so that is a big joke too.

Elena’s quote sums up this chapter for me and my feelings about emotions:

Whether in response to my own emotions or those I perceived in others, my mindset was, I see that you’re sad, and I’m sorry, but deal with it. Wipe off those tears. Get to work. It wasn’t that I lacked empathy, but I didn’t believe that there was a need to explore the emotions that adults had, or that it was my role. P. 45

I am looking forward to diving more into these books.

In other news…

I am reading an advanced copy of Meant to Be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow and I am so excited. It has started out fantastically and I am looking forward to sharing the review in all the places when I am done reading. Look for that soon!

I finally finished:

I enjoyed it. I would put it in a book flight with Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Novel by Robin Sloan and Rodrigo Corral.

Questions for us to consider and converse about today:

Do you know what your core values are? I really had to think about it in my conversation with Erica yesterday. I really pondered what situations really bend me out of shape and what I fundamentally have an issue with…Erica and I had a real conversation about the difference between integrity and honesty too. (integrity is one of my core values BTW)

Cannot wait to hear your thoughts to this idea or anything this beautiful Sunday! What do you want to talk about?

Happy Sunday!

The Black Notebook

20180707_103955.jpgI have a black leather notebook that I have gathered many notes, recipes, and starts of stories. There are lists and things that make me smile.

Take a peek:

Summer assignment based on an Italian teacher’s writing:

  1. Take a morning walk and think about the things you love most
  2. Use new words you learned
  3. Read as much as you can
  4. Avoid negative and empty people and things
  5. Feel how you feel
  6. Dance
  7. Watch the sunrise
  8. Play sports
  9. Find enchanting people and tell them
  10. Review notes from classes or learning or books
  11. Be happy as sunshine
  12. Don’t swear
  13. Watch films with powerful dialogue
  14. Dream about how your life could and should be
  15. Be good

I agree with almost everything on this list except #12. #15 is subject to interpretation! haha

These phrases are written down, but I don’t recall why.

Approach the year reading secretly

First grade is dead to us

Llama famous

I give myself permission – to what?

 

Chores I Actually Enjoy (inspired by Lydia Davis’s poem)

 

Cooking

Cleaning out

Sweeping.

 

The end.

 

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The avocado salsa recipe is divine!!!

Wait! She’s Trying to Remember the Rest!

abc books chalk chalkboard
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I am continuing my funny stories from my teaching career.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Wait! She’s Trying to Remember the Rest!

To quiet students, I use Harry Wong’s GIMME 5.

It is a nonverbal that if established can be effective.

When first introduced you say the 5 things – one for each finger. I believe I modified from the original 5 from Wong.

Stop moving.

Stop talking.

Look at me.

Listen.

Think.

When I was a reading specialist I convinced an old school teacher to let me in his room to teach writing. No one knew really why he let me in when he had let no one in previously. In his class, there was a student who was 6ft tall in 5th grade and sat in the center of the room in the back row. He was a leader in stature and culture.

While in the process of starting my lesson I had established the gimme 5 signal. I would go through each step until they complied and then move on. If they were still talking I wouldn’t move on.

One day I started with “Gimme 5, stop moving, stop talking…” I was waiting for them to stop talking when the larger than normal 5th grader said…Quiet! She’s trying to remember what the rest of them are!”

I remember saying, I didn’t forget and then started laughing.

 

My Brain Needs More Oxygen!

happy child fun boy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

My Brain Needs More Oxygen!

When I was teaching first grade many years ago I was honored to have a professional development coordinator in my district named Rita Brodnax. One of the many programs she brought to the district was Brain Compatible Teaching for Learning. One of the many practices I have adopted over the years is to share some of the learning with my students when I have attended a conference or workshop when I return.  I want the students to know that I am still learning and bringing it into the classroom for them and for me.

One concept I had talked to my students about was the need for the brain to have oxygen when thinking gets difficult. When we are learning new things our heads literally hurt because new dendrites are being formed. When this happens we need to sit up straight so out brain gets more oxygen to aid in the process.

I had a very unique class of cohesive learners that year and we were able to get to mastery levels with grade level material very quickly. They were sponges. We wrote and read every day. The kids were constantly making books. We had our family meetings in the mornings and then wrote a group chart. then the students wrote in their journals and we conferenced. The afternoons were filled with read alouds and math.

It was may and we had reached the end of the math book so I began material from the second grade standards to get them ready for the next grade. It was harder concepts, they knew it was second grade material but I was chunking it and things were going well.

This afternoon we were talking about borrowing in double digit subtraction and the students were working on a problem independently to check their thinking after the model part of the lesson. This was normal practice for our class.

Suddenly in the middle of silent work and productive struggle (there were lots of mumblings of process steps) my student Micah stood up abruptly.  It was so sudden it startled everyone. I asked him what was wrong.

(My name was Zack at the time)

Micah said “MS Zack, this is hard! My brain needs more oxygen” and with his missing tooth grin spread across his face his classmates and I laughed. I told him he could stand for as long as he needed to.

He stood for the rest of the lesson.

From then on, it became a thing for students to randomly stand. No one was alarmed when someone stood after Micah’s introduction to the concept in our room.