1. Platinum Fountain Pen
I love this pen! I write with it all day at school and am sad when I am not using it! https://www.amazon.com/Platinum-Fountain-PPQ-200-Cartridges-SPN-100A/dp/B019V0ELN6/ref=pd_yo_rr_bia_t_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=XEDMKPE3RMFVGSN0FT1S
http://storyaday.org/ This is my new favorite website. I came to it through a podcast episode from DIYMFA – I am in writing heaven! There is a podcast too!
3. The Librarian Is In Podcast
4. Reading Glasses Podcast
I love pizza! I could eat it everyday!
Our family is obsessed with American Ninja Warrior. We have watched it as a family for several years and this past weekend we transformed into participants with our at home version.
We set up a course in our house this past weekend on a budget. My husband used all the random items in the garage to make obstacles and it was super fun. The kids and I have talked about making obstacles in the backyard including a warp wall and a peg wall, but that is a project for next spring.
We set up “floating chairs” in the hallway, balance beams with an egg balance, a tape maze, a ring toss, a ball toss, a rope and elevated ladder they had to walk across, and a climbing wall. A bell was used as a buzzer at the end of the course.
Above you can see the tape maze that the kids had to navigate with an egg on the spoon. We lost about 3 eggs over the course of 2 days.
Above you can see the climbing wall and the ladder the kids walked across with the assistance of the rope tied to the beams. The ring toss in the foreground proved to be difficult and ate up a lot of time for several participants.
The kids went through the course and we timed them each heat. It occupied about 4 hours total over the weekend. There were several rounds of competition and then they decided to run it backwards. It was super fun the whole time.
For one run we taped a cell phone to their chest and recoreded from their perspective which was fun to watch. A much cheaper version of a Go PRO!
There were educational pieces as well discussing the timing, minutes, seconds, and tenths of seconds. We problem solved how to get a faster time and what factors contributed to slower or faster times.
This will definitely be a continuing practice at our house throughout the winter. The kids are already planning their own obstacles they would like to see in the next course. We also plan to incorporate some elements that resemble Survivor games as well. It makes for a good combination of skills and ideas that are not all physical.
I am reading Sourdough by Robin Sloan and am so excited and enamored with this book I could not wait to post about it. The author name may seem familiar because he is the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. (Another great read!)
Sourdough was my choice for September Book of the Month (BOTM) club. I had first heard about it from the All the Books Book Riot podcast and was intrigued about a book about bread – my favorite food!
The way this book is written can only be described as “happy”. It warms and comforts me like a hygge day! While reading it I can smell what my own house smells like when my husband is baking bread. The main character is interesting and not conventional. She is a tech person who has started to bake bread from a starter given to her by men who ran a restaurant out of their apartment. There is a quirkiness to the story that makes it fun to read and unusual, but also genuine.
It is a book that I keep coming back to and I do not want to read it too fast because then it will be over. While reading it, you may get hungry for a great piece of bread and you may also want to visit your local farmer’s market before it closes for the winter!
Reading this book reminds me why I love reading so much – I am captivated by a story about great people. I can feel the magic as the words enter my brain!
As part of Workshop Wednesday, I had everyone take the 16 personalities free quiz to find out their personality type. It turned out to be a very interesting experience that had a ripple effect I did not expect. The discussion around the talent finder list stopped after the session. The personality type test was vastly different. The conversation is still happening in the hallways. Spouses are taking the test and then making their friends take it. Conversations are happening over dinner. It has been fun for me to hear the stories. It has opened up professional conversations that would have not happened before either which is the part that makes me the happiest.
I am an INTJ. I am soooo an INTJ. I am a personality full of contradictions however especially for my job. I am truly an introvert, but have learned extrovert behaviors to be able to do my job well. My professional set of behaviors are quite different than my social behaviors.
I am constantly learning partly because I have to deliver new ideas to the people that I work with but I also find learning personally fulfilling. I want meaningful conversation to get the most out of my time, but hate small talk. I have to have a feeling of accomplishment.
According to my personality type, I need to be able to tackle interesting work pretty much on my own. I like to share and talk about ideas with other people, but I have to have formed an opinion and judgement first. I love to read, but there is a point that I want to share the ideas and connections with other people after I have processed in my head. I have learned to narrow some of my insights into small snippets and sound bites that are quickly shared because of the nature of my job. Time is of the essence and I cannot always have a long drawn out conversation. These longer conversations are usually scheduled if they occur. I find that I sometimes don’t think too much about it ahead of time though because I don’t want it to seem scripted.
I can be difficult in work relationships especially with people that possess the Observant and Feeling traits (which are a lot of the people in my building). I have a set of standards and code of conduct that are my expectations and if I see people doing just what is good enough or social then I can get irritated. I am extremely independent and I like freedom in my schedule. I do work for intrinsic motivational reasons not external ones. Things must be backed up with sound reason and deliver with competence. I get irritated when it is not. If my role is too tightly defined I don’t like it.
Titles mean little to nothing to me especially in the realm of trust and respect. Trust and respected is earned …not just given. If I am silent then it is usually a lack of respect.
I am also very private. I will deflect personal talk most times and have almost made it a game. I think this is why I love questions and always have one at the ready to ask if the questioning is getting too personal for me. I also test people and conduct social experiments to force people to read between the lines and make them deal alone with work that would have been easier if they would have taken my suggestions. One of the reasons I needed to get off Facebook was because my status updates tended to be cryptic. Most people didn’t understand what I was referring to…it made it frustrating for people.
I like to involve a few trusted colleagues in brainstorming sessions excluding those who get hung up on details or haven’t earned my respect. I usually will do it alone and will think while running or write it out. I love the benefits of solitude and victory – usually alone. I value innovation and effectiveness, but will put aside almost everything if I can be swayed by a rational argument. I promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace Office gossip and schmoozing get you no where with me. Bold competence is the way to my heart at work!
I have worked diligently to foster the relationships in my building since I started here and have learned from my past mistakes. I genuinely like the people I work with and they are such talented educators. I am blessed to be in a building that wants to work together and learn! It is even more exciting that the people want to learn more about their content and strategies and also about each other.
- Books I recently finished:
- SIP by: Brian Allen Carr
I liked this book for the idea of the story. The world in this book is constructed where people “drink” shadows as a drug. Halley’s comet is involved and an interesting cast of characters. The story has the hint of science fiction. The writing style was not as pleasing as I would have liked. I also wish the characters would have been more deeply developed. I enjoyed the book and the story, but it isn’t a favorite pick of the year.
2. The Changeling by Victor LaValle
This book was recommended by Liberty from All The Books. It was about a bookseller and a fantasy story about witches. The story is slightly off center in a fantastic way. The ending took a weird turn for me that seemed off. I kept coming back to the book and wanted to finish it. It was worth the time for sure.
2. I really wanted pancakes yesterday…but didn’t get them.
3. I love to go to the library. I live in a town that is close to where I grew up and still have a card at the library I essentially “grew up in”. Yesterday I went to pick up books on hold. Even though the library has been remodeled and doesn’t look anything like I remember, there is always a sense of comfort walking through the doors. Sometimes I wonder if it is because it is the library and I am comforted by books in general, or if it actually has to do with the fact that it is a familiar book and reading space. It represents so much of my reading life through my elementary, middle, and high school years.
4. After listening to the Book Riot Annotated Podcast this morning on my run the question of: “How do you feel about the Oxford comma?” was injected into several conversations throughout the day. If you haven’t checked it out – it is completely worth your time!
I am reflective and always have been, but most of the time I just refer to this trait as “over thinking”. I believe that being reflective professionally makes a better educator. Over the past three years in particular I have acutely evaluated what is truly important to me. I love quizzes, personality tests, and asking questions.
As I cleaned out the clutter of my Pinterest account yesterday I came across a pin of 20 questions that reveal your true self and thought today’s post would be a perfect place to answer 4 of these questions.
- What is your life motto?
I have two: READING IS THE GATEWAY and LOVE OVER FEAR.
I believe that reading is the gateway to learning and to pleasure. Stories make the world go ’round! Stories makes us more empathetic and help us cope. Books are my favorite things by far! They are a comfort to me. This motto sometimes comes out as, “I have a book for that!”
“LOVE OVER FEAR” came from Gabrielle Bernstein and I must say it changed some negative thinking to a more positive frame. I try to take action based on love rather than the fear of what will happen, or could happen. Motivation comes from passion or fear. I am intentionally choosing love over the fear. It has made a difference.
2. What is my favorite thing about myself?
My favorite thing about myself is that I am passionate. I am passionate about my job, my reading, my exercise and running, and my husband and kids. If it is something that I am interested in I will kill myself to learn it or get it done.
3. What did I want to be when I was a kid?
When I was young I always wanted to be a teacher. There was a short time I wanted to be a writer too, but it was always thought of as a secondary career. I am not sure why exactly. I have always written poems and stories since I can remember.
I loved to be in school and loved to cut out lamination. The idea of being in school as my job was an exciting prospect when I was little.
4. What is my biggest accomplishment? (professional)
There was a time period of roughly 2 years that I was involved in writing heavy grant and award paperwork. I was honored to be part of a school that won a National Blue Ribbon School Award, a Title I Distinguished School nomination, and the Indiana Exemplary Reading Program. It was great to be recognized for the work the staff was doing with students. I feel my entire career has been full of small and large accomplishments with individual students.
As part of Workshop Wednesday, I am utilizing personality tests so my staff can better learn how to collaborate and work together. The conversations after one session have been interesting. There are all new teams in my middle school so I hope this helps people to ease the transition into new working relationships.
I have moved rooms/offices 5 times in 2 years. This process has resulted in approximately 75% of materials and books being dispensed or discarded. Items were shared with students and teachers. I digitized many files and papers and saved on flash keys or Google drive. I have not found myself searching for documents that “I know I have somewhere.” I only seem to be missing student evidence that accompanied professional development sessions I had created.
I still seem to have an abundance of books and materials that are overwhelming my office space. The books are thrown into the bookcases haphazardly and I stack. I am constantly trying to create and tend to print papers and ideas in bulk. I am constantly thinking about multiple projects at once but need to find a method of being able to see it and not lose it in a file cabinet.
Part of my issue is a past experience. When I moved from teaching fourth grade to first grade I purged many materials I didn’t think I would use again. Then I moved into a reading specialist position and needed many of those materials since I worked with kindergarten through fifth grade. Since then, I am reluctant to get rid of much of anything.
I have used the Konmari method at home with success to clear clutter and purge. The idea of holding onto only what I love was freeing and worked. Professional resources seem more difficult for me.
These are the Konmari questions to use:
Does it spark joy?
Is it necessary?
Does it work?
Does it have a designated place to live?
I need to evaluate if a resource is necessary or if it was effective. I need to determine if it is a resource I would share, and if not then I need to get rid of it. If it is something to share, I need to formulate a plan of what type of PD it can be most effectively deployed.
A chart with a time frame for ideas may work for highlighting projects to work on, or list on a page in the bullet journal. Some projects get snippets of time and not Deep Work scheduled time slots which may push it down the priority list.
Finding the time for this process may also be challenging.
Have you found an effective method of purging your educational resources? If so, please share in the comments.
Last week I started running again in the morning. I have been setting the alarm for 4:55 am in order to get out the door. Running in the morning means that I have to run a shorter distance, but I run every morning. The consistency is better for my fitness and motivation.
I have found the running is easier in the morning. I am trying to figure out if it is the change in the schedule. It could be that my brain is still asleep. It could be that it is dark and my eyes and brain are confused as to just how far I am running.
The temperatures have been cool and comfortable. I am glad to have the run done before my day actually starts.
I am hoping the writing ideas flow. It will allow me to sort through the organization of the day especially when I am presenting.
What is something that you do consistently that makes a difference in the process?
Forest walking is a concept that was introduced to me in a research form from Jonathan Fields in his Good Life Project work.
As a new part of my job this year I am running a lunch “detention” that encompasses meditation, walking mediation, yoga, and calming exercises depending on the student. I have had students for 3 out of 4 days since we started school.
It has been amazing the change in attitude of these students from the beginning of the hour to the end with a simple walk in the wooded grounds. The canopy of trees along wood chipped trails is the environment we spend the bulk of our hour in. The conversation flows easier, the breathing is easier, and the self reflection flows. The conversation ranges from why they got in trouble, to what they want to be when they grow up, to what they could have done differently. The smiles have been abundant and some laughter has even broken through.
I feel like I have already cultivated better and stronger relationships with students compared to last year. I am hoping to interject some writing into the time. Book talks have already taken place which makes my heart happy. I am excited to see how this time evolves over the school year.