Saturday, April 7, 2018

Refllection #travelunplugged

In my previous post, I shared with anticipation my plans to take my Spring break vacation to the coast -- totally unplugged. You can read that post here. Truly, I couldn't wait. I had books to read, waves to see, and things to write. I needed time to just be, to rest, and to recharge. And I did just that. Here was the challenge from AFAR magazine:

"Commit to taking a trip between February and September and promise not to use your phone or computer. A trip of any duration to any destination, and the idea is truly to disconnect from technology. And then, when you reenter the digital realm, tell us about your experience via the hashtag #travelunplugged."

And so, as we left Petaluma, my last connection to the digital world was find ing my way to Bodega Road with my Google maps app after spending some time downtown Petalauma-- Sam visited a little comic book shop and I got a latte at a cool little non-Starbucks shop downtown.

Once we found Bodega Road, I switched my phone to airplane mode and planned to use it to take only pictures. I also had my journal in hand and really wanted to notice what changed, what I missed, and how I felt. A little experiment of sorts!

As we headed out to the ocean, passing farms and herds of baby sheep, I took a deep breath and enjoyed the ride. I knew the road would lead to Bodega Bay and we planned to grab a late lunch when we got there. A few hours later after an amazing cioppino we were on our way to Fort Ross.

I love Fort Ross, and it's a great place to unplug, There is no cell service, and the wifi in the lodge really doesn't reach to the room we stayed in, the one farthest from the main office and closest to the ocean. I didn't care, Sam would have liked a little wi-fi but he survived:)

As we drove in we wondered about finding tide pools and I said we could just ask in the lobby rather than googling it. Turns out the paper from the lobby had a list of tides, places to visit, places to eat, and more. It was fun going old school with just the paper!  During our trip we just meandered along highway 1 and discovered as we went along. It was the best!

I did try to take note of the things that I missed without being connected-- and it really wasn't much. Mostly I just found myself wanting to google stuff! I was missing the Naked Lady flowers that I normally see along highway 1, and I wanted to know when they bloomed.

So I wrote it in my notebook to google later. Late summer it turns out!

We ate scallops, and we talked about what the shell looked like. #googleitlater 

What about the underwater cable connecting California at Point Area to Hawaii? #googleitlater

We visited placed and it reminded me of people I know and love. Mendocino and the trips with my family each spring. The many bookshops and seeing The Art of War and Freakanomics and thinking of Jon Corippo.

I saw whales out the window of our room.

I read a big stack of books.

I took lots of pictures!

We raced to see the sunset each night as it dipped into the ocean.

Turns out, I didn't mis being connected at all, and was surprised how anxious I felt driving through Novato as I clicked my internet back on. 

Truly, it wasn't bad. Two messages from friends and one from a teacher wanting to know if the custodians were working over break.

Aaah, back to the real world. 

#travleunplugged I love you. Until we meet again. I can't wait!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Challenge accepted... #travelunplugged #afar

Messages come from unexpected places. This magazine comes to my house, addressed to my daughter Hope, who lives in New Jersey. I love magazines, and I read each issue that typically features travel to faraway exotic places with price tags I cannot afford. The photography is beautiful, and I flip through each issue thinking day.

And then the March issue arrived with this on the cover.

Tell. me. more.

Opening to the editor's note, I read the first paragraph where she shares about the time her daughter said, "Mama, you're not listening to my words," as she "mindlessly scrolled through news feeds on her phone". 

Guilty. I try to be present in conversations, but I definitely am tied to my tech. Too much.

And so, I accept the challenge. 

"Commit to taking a trip between February and September and promise not to use your phone or computer. A trip of any duration to any destination, and the idea is truly to disconnect from technology. And then, when you reenter the digital realm, tell us about your experience via the hashtag #travelunplugged."

Tomorrow we head to the coast for two nights, my destination a place with one store, zero cell service, weak wifi in the lodge, and a fabulous view of the ocean.

I can't wait. 

I've got a stack of books and my notebook calling my name.

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