Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Reading


If I could insert a happy dance right there I would.

Every summer starts the same way, I have HUGE reading plans, but very little reading gets done.  This summer, I am not going to let that happen.

I do have some professional reading ready, but my pleasure reading is going to be #1 on my list.  My question is, what do I read?

I am starting with The Promise by Ann Wiesgarber.  This book was suggested to me by one of my librarian friends. I started it today. Crossing Borders by Sergio Tronsco is my next read.  This book of essays sounds fascinating.

I am still looking for at least one more suggestion.  What are you reading this summer?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunrise Sunday Summer Reading Goals

Don't you love alliteration?   

As I start planning for the summer, I'm taking a serious look at my summer reading.  I intend to use my iPAD's Kindle app for travel.  This allows me to pack tons of books and magazines without the bulk, but I have no idea what to read.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog.  How do I find the perfect summer reading material?  I'll be reading for work, so I have several white papers ready and waiting for me.  I'm not sure what my fun reading should be.

Any suggestions on a great series, or a secret guilty pleasure read?  The only thing on my Kindle for this summer is The Girl on the Train.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday's EdTech Musings

As summer is just around the corner, I'm focusing on my own professional learning.  Here are a couple of interesting articles I've found that I'm really liking right now.  If you are reading something amazing please share in the comments.

EdTech Supports Brain Drain - This EdSurge article my Matt McDonald focuses on Personal Learning and how it helps keep students from falling behind during the summer!

EdTech Focus on K-12 IT Blogs - So much information on some amazing blogs that I can not even start to tell you how amazing this is!  Check it out - it might take you all summer just to get through them all!

Finally - as we get close to summer, I know many teachers feel this way!    

Let me know what you think I should be reading this summer!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolve to Read

 As an educator, I recognize the importance of reading, not just for myself but for our children.  After all, studies have shown that reading builds both vocabulary and cognitive thinking skills. Also, children who are poor readers when they enter 3rd grade, are more likely to drop out of high school. (read more about that here)

Years ago, I made a resolution, not to make resolutions.  In 2014, I've decided to change that.  It's amazing how easy it is to sit down and share a book with a child, but how often we just can't find the extra few minutes to do it.

This year I ask everyone to take a few minutes to read to a child.

 For those of you who need other avenues to help promote literacy, check out Barbara Bush's Foundation for Family Literacy website.  You can also follow the Foundation's Twitter feed here.

Happy New Year!

The worst of all injustices is to fail to teach kids how to read.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Elf on the Shelf - Lesson Plan Ideas

 So I recently mentioned on Facebook that I wanted to buy my dog Carly an Elf on the Shelf.  I mean, these things didn't exist when I had kids, so now am I too late for the fun?

 Then, I found myself doing what I always do, planning class lessons that surround the Elf idea.  There are so many teachable moments.  For example, teaching voice with the elf would be a blast.  Expository writing from the Elf's point-of-view.  Would the elf be able to write a persuasive paper arguing the best holiday song of all time?   Or even, and this is what I REALLY would love, an online journal, kind of a newspaper-thing, with the elf's exploits as it moves around during the holiday.  The elf becomes a roving reporter using his/her voice to help explain happenings around a school or community.  The elf could interview other elves.  The elvish commentary would be a blast.

Wow possibilities are endless.

Teacher Friends - How many of you use an "Elf" in lesson plans?  The more I think of it, the more I'd love to write a few plans and see them in action.

And for those of you who think that using the elf is only for elementary school, try a research paper on popular cultural happenings that help young children grow their imagination.  What about the evolution of the Christmas Elf.  How Santa get his elves?

What about my math teacher friends - I mean can we develop a holiday shopping list for the elf to purchase gifts.  Have students do a virtual shopping trip.  This would help students learn addition, subtraction and budgeting.  Could the elf bowl with gum drops and peppermint sticks as a way to teach angles?

If students have tablets or Flip cameras, they could teach the Elf math.  (What a great flipped lesson!)

Social Studies - I personally love the history of Santa and his Elves, learning about the customs of other cultures, or how they celebrate is always quite an interesting study.  If I taught Psychology, we would have to look into why children need fantasy.  Have students make lessons that incorporate  Museum Box using the history of Santa and his elves, or even sightings of the elves.  You can track Santa over Norad and look at the route he takes around the world.

I can't help but wonder how Santa and the elves dress depending on the culture.  What a great compare contrast project.

Science - How many jumping jacks does an elf have to do to work off a SMORE?  Build a launch pad for Santa's Sleigh!  Calculate the calories that the average elf eats everyday.

ELA - the writing possibilities astound me.  I'd have an online elf blog for sure.  I'd use the elf to teach voice, mood and tone.  Of course, we could have the elves write about their adventures and tell stories.  Older students could write stories for younger students, and for those kids who don't celebrate Christmas, than they could pick another character and write from their perspective. For example,  if you prefer not to use an elf, many of these ideas would work with Flat Stanley.

If you use the Elf in your lessons, (or something like it) please share it in the comments or on Facebook.  I'm curious how many teachers are grabbing the teachable-moment of The Elf on the Shelf and running with it!

For now, I am off to purchase Carly an Elf.  Purely for professional reasons of course!

Nerdy Book Club:  Check out the Nerdy Book Clubs book finalist list.

I'd be remiss to say Happy Sunday to my fellow Sunday Saloners!  I also want to celebrate the end of hurricane season!  I've got to admit, living on the Gulf Coast makes this time of year a little nerve racking! It is always great to see the end of the hurricane season.

Have a wonderful week!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Books and More Books

Reading Rut Alert!   Have you ever done this to yourself?  I'm an avid reader, and I love reading for pleasure, but at times I realize I've been doing too much work reading and not enough fun reading.  Alas, this is my reading rut!

This week I realized I'd fallen into my reading rut when I check my Goodreads page to find my last 4 reads were all work related.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my work related reading materials, but it's not the same as getting caught in the world of fiction.

At midnight last night, Neal Shusterman's  book UnSouled came out. I have been super-excited to get this book.  So today I hope to get home from work, grab my Kindle and get to reading just for the fun of it!

Have any of you ever gotten into a reading rut?  If so, how to you get yourself out of it?

Friday, June 28, 2013

What should I read this summer?

Has this ever happened to you?  You read and read, and suddenly you become a picky reader.

I feel like I'm there.  I mean, I want something to read, just can't find anything that sounds appetizing.  

 My must-read for this summer was Dan Brown's Inferno.  I've read it twice now.  I admit it was great the first time, good the second.  I also had some professional reading that I had to take care.  Thankfully, that is now out of the way.  So, what's next?

I'm looking for suggestions, so if you've read something, or know of something coming out soon, please let me know.

Recent Reads:

Ask The Passengers by A.S. King

One of the reasons I knew I'd love this book is because I can relate to wondering about passengers in planes.  There were times when I would lay on my back and watch the planes overhead wondering where they were going.  I'd think about the passengers and make up little stories about where they were going.  

Astrid takes this a step further when she starts asking the passengers questions. Sending them her love and good will, many times the passengers seem to benefit from this unknown gesture.  For Astrid, the need to send her love is strong as she is hiding a secret.  She is gay.

Unable to seek the advice of a Type-A mother or a pot-smoking father, Astrid turns to her own methods to give her love to strangers who can accept it but not control it. 

This is a great book.  While this book is centered around a gay character, the book is more about accepting who you are and realizing how to help others love you unconditionally.  Astrid is a well rounded character with a depth of emotions and thoughts, I really felt like she was a person and not a black and write description on my E-reader.  I related with how Astrid wanted to share her good thoughts and love with strangers because of the fear of the unknown.  This is what makes this book outstanding.

Writing Projects:

Hopefully I can let you guys know soon about my most recent writing project.  Barbi (one of my besties and my cowriter) and I are focusing on getting representation right now.

Have an amazing 4th of July!