Monday, December 30, 2013

Memory Lane: The Best of 2013

Flickr image credit quinnanya
So many of my blog posts are inspired by others- and this one is no different. I'm always looking for a great mentor text! This "best of 2013" post is inspired by Katherine Sokolowski and her recent "best of" post.

Best Books

Picture books: 

Chapter books:  

Best blog posts:
Katherine said, "Well, it’s hard to define “best” here. Most popular? My favorite that I wrote? How about one of each." That works for me!

My most popular post was: 
The Lone Nut and Moonshot Thinking: Lessons learned from #CUERockstar & #GAFEsummit  

My favorite that I wrote this year: 
My Rear View Mirror: 2013 Reflections post. I like it because it’s kind of poem-ish and not like anything else I wrote this year.

Best Professional Decision: 
After teaching K-5 students for 16 years, I left the classroom to become an administrator. I don’t love that title, I really see myself as a lead learner and am a teacher first. In my first year as an elementary principal, I learn every day. I am inspired! Natomas Charter School is an amazing place. I have waited my whole career to hear the kinds of things I hear all the time now. Teachers and students have access to technology- and innovation is celebrated. I loved my colleagues and students in my previous position, but I do not miss the constant battle to have things unblocked or explain why teachers and students should be able to Skype, blog, and tweet.

Best Purchase: Devices! 
This was the year of the devices for me. I once heard someone say that they needed to purchase books as research for their classrooms. I feel that way about digital devices. How could I possibly teach students and teachers about using the devices if I didn’t know myself? So, this year I did as much extra PD as I could and used that money to purchase different devices. Last year I bought a Chromebook when my laptop died-- and I LOVE it! This year I added an iPad an Mac Book Air. I also switched from my beloved Droid phone to an iPhone 5. I absolutely love the camera. Having different digital devices to explore has really helped me become a better teacher when it comes to tech.

Best Memories of 2013

Here are some of my favorite memories from this year. When I love something, I usually write about it, so I have included links to blog posts.

  • Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss Night
  • The ALA awards and my first graders cheering for Ivan winning the Newbery
  • Having lunch with Kirby Larson in Danville!
  • CUE Rockstar Tahoe-- connecting with so many awesome educators in a fabulous location!
  • Jeffrey, one of my first graders shouting, “Hey, someone in Asia is looking at our blog!” when our map lit up
  • The Area 3 Writing Project #letsgetdigital advanced institute and GHOs with Linda Yollis and Troy Hicks
  • My book club-- every month I am excited to get together and talk about books!
  • My daughter graduating from Willamette University with her Master’s Degree and teaching credential-- and Donalyn Miller as the graduation keynote speaker!
  • Our Natomas Charter Mock Caldecott blog
  • Buying myself two #nerdybookclub shirts for Christmas
  • I finally have a book door!
  • Reading so many great books!
  • Twitter- every day I find inspiration there!

I love looking back-- it's been a great trip down Memory Lane. Here's to a great new year! I'm excited to see what 2014 has in store for me!


  1. @ Jennifer,

    Thanks so much for including me in your 2013 reflection! Talking and sharing with you and your Writing Project group was a highlight for me as well.

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to a great 2014!

    Your friend,
    Linda Yollis

  2. What a great look back, Jennifer. You have had a terrific year!