Monday, January 1, 2018

Passionate Readers #readingidentity

I'm reading Pernille Ripp's Passionate Readers and am just finishing up the first chapter focused on teacher reading identity. I love that THIS is where the book begins, and am reminded of how important it is for us to live as readers and share our reading lives with students. Just seven pages in, Pernille poses these questions for reflecting on our own reading identity. They definitely gave me a lot to think about!

Are you a reader? Yes!

What types of books do you reach for when you are relaxing? All kinds! Inspirational professional books, historical fiction, and mystery are probably my favorites.

What types of books do you abandon? This question was interesting, I don't think I have ever officially abandoned a book- that feels a bit like quitting. But there are definitely books that I have stopped reading and they live in my to read pile. Some I may never go back to. I think about Daring Greatly, a book I loved. I started it and just couldn't get into it, and about a year later I went back to it and read it in a few days. I think sometimes it's just not the right time for a book. Or maybe I need to get better at actually abandoning books. Why do I feel bad about breaking up with a book? I have issues.

How quickly do you abandon a book? See above.

How do you share what you have read with others? I share in person, on Voxer, at book club, in Facebook groups, on Goodreads, and on Twitter. And I blog. I used to share more with students when I was in the classroom. I want to get better at this as a principal.

Whom do you share it with? Friends, family,  and colleagues in my school and district and across the country.

What would you like to do when you have finished a book? Put it on my Goodreads list. Because goals. 

How do you do in book discussions? I like to listen and talk.

What are your book gaps, meaning what do you not read? Ew to science fiction. I have tried and tried. I just can't get into that genre. My book club even did a gap challenge as a theme one time and I still had a hard time.  Dystopian is as close as I can get. I also don't love classics. But I do like mostly everything else!

Would you consider yourself a bad, average, or good reader? Good.
What type of reading experience would you like your students to have? I want them to love reading and to feel like they are readers!

My most recent book stack. I did finish The BFG and The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and have added a few new books since this picture was taken. So many books!

Create. Capture. Share. #oneword

I have a love/hate relationship with goals. I love setting them and having something to strive for. I hate not meeting them. Most goals are easy to measure-- like my Goodreads goal to read 40 books-- you either meet it or you don't. Choosing one word to inspire me all year feels a little like having a goal, but it's SO hard to measure. My word last year was joy, (and the years before that less and more) and I can say without a doubt that joy, my one word, was on my mind all year, even when I didn't feel joyful. That word powered everything from what I wore (what made me feel happy and beautiful) to how I chose to spend my time. I said no to things that did not bring me joy, and said yes to a new job in a new school and district that is filled with joy! Even my no-freeway commute across Folsom Lake brings me joy.

And so, maybe the point of choosing one word isn't really about 'making' a goal, but rather being mindful of that word in my personal and professional life all year. 

On choosing MY word...
My one word for 2018 has been knocking gently on my door the last few months, whispering in my ear, "here I am!" It feels like both a gift and a challenge. To create. To capture. To share. 

This year, I'm looking forward to creating moments in my personal life and in my work. Personally, I can't wait for more date nights and quality time with my husband. My oldest daughter's wedding in July, and the college graduation of my youngest daughter in May. I can't wait for more walks to take in some sunshine or to see a beautiful view. At work, I'm excited to create moments for students and our staff. Even little moments matter-- I was reminded of this by a first grader on our last day before break. She said, "My mom said today we're having a dance party!" and I realized that it was in fact Friday and I had forgotten to bring out the disco ball speaker like I do every Friday. Although I had forgotten, she hadn't. From that very first Friday lunch dance party in September when she drew me a picture and gave it to me, that moment which seemed small wasn't at all. 

In 2018, we are working hard as a school to think about how we can create moments for our students, everything from learning experiences to field trips to transforming classrooms. I have loved trying this out as a school leader by trying to create moments in staff meetings -- like the one meeting I tried transforming our meeting into a VIP lounge including jazz music and student bouncers checking in our teachers at the door. 

I also tried creating little moments in December (this can seem like the longest month of the year!) with an elf scavenger hunt and 12 days of cheer, and I found that even the planning and organizing the little moments made me happy!

Capture and Share.
I always have my phone with me and I love taking pictures to capture moments! Everything from a beautiful view, to my dogs, to the stack of books I want to read, I take pictures all the time! I do a decent job of capturing moments, and I need to do a MUCH better job of sharing. I'm always amazed at what I find in my camera roll at the end of the week and this year I want to share more of the moments I capture through blogging and tweeting. For some reason I have gotten behind on both fronts and I look forward to sharing more this year. 

Happy New Year! I wish you a year filled with moments and a year you will never forget!

This 2018 #oneword inspired by:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Picture Books on New Year's Eve #readallthebooks #goals

Every year it sneaks up on me... my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I've been setting goals since 2013 and some years I've met my goals (usually just barely) and most years I haven't (Read my previous reading goal failure posts here), like 2013---I was not even close! That was the year I was inspired by Donalyn Miller to read a book a day, and I probably could have--the first half of that year I was still teaching first grade and read a picture book or two almost every school day. And then in May, I found out I would be a principal starting in July, my life got busy, and I didn't even come close to meeting that goal. Although I read some AMAZING books that year!

Since then, I've changed (lowered) my goals- in 2015 my goal was 52, a book a week rather than a book a day and I met that one.
Last year, I missed it by two books.

In 2015, I know I met my goal by reading picture books at the finish line-- truly stopping at Barnes and Noble on the way to my parent's annual New Year's Eve Party and power reading them in the children's section. Cheating some might say.

This morning, December 31st was here AGAIN and that 40 book challenge was looming. I'd read 36 books and was prepared for the same result as last year-- missing it by just a few. I got up and finished All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda... 37--check. What next? Onto the halfway finished BFG, now finished-- 38...check! The end was in sight, but I knew I would not read two more novels, even though I have quite a few partly read books in my stack.

And I decided that if needed I would head to Barnes and Noble to meet my goal. I needed to run some errands today anyways.

Why was I feeling so guilty about reading picture books? I headed over to Pernille Ripp's blog for some picture book inspiration and found 38-- THIRTY EIGHT posts on her blog about picture books. And she teaches middle school. Check out her posts here: I love this quote from her most recent picture book post:

"We live a rich life of picture books. Surrounded by stacks of amazing text that makes us wonder, that makes us laugh, and that makes us ponder our even stories; Picture books are one of the most important components of our reading lives both at home and at school."

Clearly, I don't read enough picture books, and I should! I decided that I might have stumbled on a fun new New Year's Eve tradition-- heading to the bookstore to meet my reading goal! I prepared to head out.

And then I started thinking about two picture books I knew I had read this year-- We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio, and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by  Drew DeWalt. I checked my Goodreads, and I hadn't logged them yet. And just like that, I met my goal. 

And... I did go to Barnes and Noble read 
(and I bought a few new books!) 

Happy New Year!

My 40 books from 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

P is for Popcorn. And other things. #decemberiknowyou

I wrote this blog post for our incredible staff, and the "P is for Popcorn" title came from one of our 12 Days of Stoneridge Cheer that we are celebrating throughout December. Sprits are high, but if you are in education you know that December can feel like a month of Fridays. Hang in there! I hope this post resonates with you. If you don't know what some of it means, just insert any [new initiative/learning/inspiration] happening in your school or district! 

First things first. P is for popcorn and tomorrow there will be popcorn in the staff lounge for you. Enjoy! Our staff is poppin'! Delicious things are happening all around school! Enjoy! 

Related to popcorn, tonight I'm thinking about the letter P and all of you after a long after-school walk and quiet drive home. It hasn't happened in awhile, but often walking or a drive will get my wheels turning and somewhere in the mess of my mind a blog post emerges. And so, after my pizza dinner, (keeping with the P theme lol) I'm sitting down to ponder my letter P thoughts.

December, I know you. P is for parties and presents and pounds of things I shouldn't eat but do. P is for panic for all of the things on my to do list that can not possibly get done. 

P is for pressure. The year is half over and there is so much left to accomplish. P is for our personal lives. Families and changes and houses on the market. P for me is for patch-- $30 at Home Depot Sunday to patch our 1987 roof in hopes we can make it til summer. 

P is for PD - so much learning, even if I love it it seems like too much on my P is for plate. (Can you relate?) 

December, I know you. I love this season and the lights and merry and sparkle and Santa and yet this time of year wipes us out.

And yet, with all of this, I feel happy and full of hope. Our school feels magical in spite of it all, and although in our hearts we may be counting down the days til break, I know you are making every day count. Thank you.

With this, I'd like to share some other thoughts on P that I'm hoping you know I feel about you and our work.

P is for patience. If you are feeling like so much is new this year, it's true. New learning at PD cycles, PD days, Personalized PD, books and blogs, VIPs, Houses, Essentials, and even ME your new P is for Principal. It's a lot.

P is for patience because this is a year of planting seeds and pulling weeds. We cannot do it all even if we want to, and so let's find the few ideas that we want to help grow, and weed out things that take time and energy from the things that do not. And know that we will not be able do it all this year. Breathe.

P is for path.  We are on an amazing one and the future looks bright even if we aren't sure exactly where we are headed. We are moving forward. Not at the same pace. Not in the same way or at the same time. On our staff we have ALL kinds of people. Some can learn something today and implement tomorrow, pioneers who move forward with no fear. We need you and yet we can't all be you. Some need more time to ponder and plan. We need you, too! And I want you to know that where ever you are on your path is right where you should be as long as you are moving forward. If you are feeling like others are moving faster or you can't keep up, take a deep breath and know that you are right where you should be. We will get there. 

P is or positivity. I love the smiles, the hugs, and appreciations around our campus. This may be the hardest and easiest thing to do when it feels like everything is just TOO much. Thank you for staying positive.

P is not for police. What? If this sounds weird, here's what I mean. I think sometimes with all of the new initiatives and learning that it can feel like at some point someone will be coming around to check to see if you are doing all of the THINGS. 

That is not me. I know that everyone is at a different place with learning and change. I'm not expecting small groups and math talks and standing on chairs and chants and anything else that feels like too much this year... all at once. 

Which leads me to my next P... prioritize. Choose one thing, maybe two. That's all. And put the rest on a list of things to try next. OR next year. We can't do it all. Today, I finally updated the 2017-18 handbook. Today. The year is half over. So just choose a thing or two to try first and see how it goes. 
And for my final P... be present. Some days the best we can give is to just show up. That's my plan :)

In spite of the busy that December brings, I am so excited for our break and I am even more excited about 2018! If you are wondering about the January 8th PD day I can share with you that the Area 3 Writing Project PD is going to be epic! Some of my favorite teachers EVER are presenting and I am so excited to learn with you on that day! P is for prepare... prepare to be inspired! And p is for permission to just listen and take a small piece back, even if it's just to think about until next year.

P is for peace. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2018 Book Club Picks #soexcited

It's that time of year again and our book club picks for the year are here! Every December we choose our books for the entire year-- like a draft night for books! And we get a little excited...

Most months have two (you can choose one or both, yay!), and a theme...-ish :) We are taking July off this year. Here is THE LIST!


At the movies

Click below to see what's coming!

Light reading!
Any books by Nora Roberts AKA JD Robb
Nora Roberts is an American bestselling author of more than 213 romance novels. She writes as J. D. Robb for the in Death series, and has also written under the pseudonyms Jill March and for publications in the U.K. as Sarah Hardesty.



Ccchhh changes

Take a little road trip!
Summer vacation :)
This setting sounds familiar!


Short Stories
Try this one on Audible-- Tom Hanks is narrating!



Happy reading!