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!