Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I listened to The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez.  This audiobook was a part of the 16 week free audiobooks by Audiosync.  It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book but once I did it was great!  Some parents in Cuba had to make the hard decision to send their two children to America in the 1960s to escape Castro's control.  The story takes us through the heart breaking decision to the children's new life in American and everything in between.

I also listened to The Souls of Black Folks by W. E. B. Du Bois.  It's a non-fiction, historical book that studies the lives of black people at the turn of the 20th century.

This week I'm listening to The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff.

I just finished The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language That Help Children Learn by Paula Denton.  I had NO IDEA how many things I said wrong to my students!  This book has REALLY helped me rephrase my directions, redirections, praise and consequences.  I find myself thinking "how can I phrase this?"  Or rephrasing sentences I've said.  THIS BOOK WORKS!

I'm also reading Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  It's on the Texas Bluebonnet list.  I wanted to read this book because it's about September 11th.

Five for Friday

1.  We had Vacation Bible School at church.  Our theme was "My BIG God and me."  My bestie and my topic was "God Created Me."  We centered our lesson on Psa 139:14-I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  We teach the same lesson all week in the same room but our students change everyday.  I really like teaching this way!  We only have to study one lesson.  We usually write a two lessons, one for the older kids and one for younger kids.

2.  Reagan went to an over night, week long religious camp.  It's the same one I went to when I was a kid.  Then she went to a 2 day basketball camp at the local college.  She's going to be on the high school this coming school year!

3.  Basketball practice started this week.  It's weird and exciting and sad to see her on the high school team!

4. My BFF and her 3 boys are came in town yesterday.  We are taking her oldest two and Reagan to a three day Bible study at a church in a town close by.

5. Summer School is OVER!!  I had a lot of fun doing lessons with such small groups of students.  But I'm past ready for a little break!

The Things We Choose and the Things That Choose Us

I was reading one of the Nerdy Book Club blogs  a few weeks ago and this sentence jumped out at me "I was pondering all the things people choose, and all the things that choose us."  My OLW for 2017 is "choose".

I've thought about all the things I can choose but I never stopped and thought about the things that choose me.

My first thought to this was that I could choose how I react to the things that choose me.  Which is a complete and total truth.  But at the same time that's not the same thing as things in life choosing us.  We don't always have a choice.  

In the blog, Laura Ruby talks about getting breast cancer.  The cancer chose her.  She'll have to cancel signings, slow up on her future works for a while, etc all taken from her because of cancer.  Which was not her choice. 

How many things in my life happen to me that I don't choose.  Like yesterday, Jay's truck wouldn't start. The battery was dead.  I did not want to end my day jumping his truck.  Taking it to get a new battery only for the place to be closing soon.  To me having to jump the truck again before I left for work so he could get a battery before he went to work that morning.  Luckily he has a very flexible work schedule and can do these kinds of things.

There seem to be a lot of car wrecks happening to people I know on Facebook.  They certainly did choose that.




So much of life is us making chooses.  But so much of it isn't.  And we have to learn to roll with that.

Wordless Wednesday-Camp Pick Up

We picked Reagan up from camp...
in these shirts! 😂😂😂

It's Been a Busy Summer!

I didn't mean to leave my blog unattended for most of the month of June!

It just happened.

I've been keeping my library open for summer school.  We go from 7:30-2:30 so that's kept me busy. I still want to do all the fun things that come with summer after summer school.  It's not tiring, just busy.

My role in my district is changing.  It won't be official until July 31 so I haven't posted much about on social media. But I'm still doing the work that comes with that job.  It's a learning curve!  My brain's having to work a little differently.  Ha!  That's kept me busy.

Basketball practice started back up for Reagan this week.  She's on the high school team now.  So that adds to our week.

I've been doing an online PD book study through my district.  I LOVE the book!  We are working through The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton, EdD.  I'm glad I'm reading it and doing summer school at the same time.  I've been able to practice, refine, analyze, and try again what I'm learning. I'm planning a blog post on it!

Yesterday it hit me how much I've been missing writing.  The writing bug has bit me!  So I'm back!  I hope not to miss any days in July!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I started last year... I think... to look back over the school year and reflect on that school year.  I'm not much of a reflector but I'm trying to learn.

2016-2017 School Year:

*Only one teacher participated in my Texas 2x2 program.  I need to revamp how I do this program.  I need to make it easier on teachers.

*We had 2 author Skypes.  It was better with smaller groups.  I'm going to remember that for next school year.

*We had 1 author visit.  When an author tells me that their program really isn't for a lower grade... I'm going to listen next time.  Ha!

*I started a (Half) Hour of Code club.  My students LOVED it.  I had a huge interest.  I need to find a way to include more students even though I don't have more technology.  Maybe do two different days a week?

*I had 20,626 items circulated this year.  I had a drop in magazines so I need promote those better.

*eBooks.  I need to promote eBooks better.  Maybe add posters in the library and in the front office for parents to see.  They just don't get used.

*The Little Free Library is a success.  I occasionally have to fill it with new books.

*My Book Clubs read 7 books total this year.  I loved adding 2nd grade in mid year.  I want to add them at the beginning of the 2017-2018 year.

*LEGO Club is always a hit.  I wish I had a bigger wall so I could add more students.  They all want to be in LEGO Club.

*I really want to gentrify but the amount of work it takes is keeping me from doing it.  I just need to do it and stop thinking about it.

*I want to add more makerspaces in the library.  I need to work on funding and what kind of makerspaces to add.  I need help running them and keeping them maintained.  I also need to decide if they'll be a station in the library or a club that meets once month or more.  Or maybe a combination of that.

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I Could Pee on This Too: And More Poems by More Cats by Francesco Marciuliano is a hilarious book of poems from different cats perspective.  I'm not a cat person (I prefer dogs) but I loved this book of poems!  The poems were just so... cat. Ha! Does that sentence sense? Cats are so aloof and each poem depicted that so well.  I laughed out loud many times and made my family stop and listen to ones that really tickled me.  I don't normally read poems but since it was on my reading challenge I thought I'd get that box checked off.  I'm glad I did.  I think I'm going to start reading more poetry.

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede is a free audiobook from the Audiofile Sync summer program.  I finished listening to it last week.  It's about a world where some of the people have a power called Psi.  They can move and manipulate objects with their mind.  An incident happens that causes Taemon to loose his Psi and has to be sent away to the "Dud" farm.  Taemon accidentally leaks some of their secrets that causes some... problems.

Boys by Anna Ziegler is also a free audiobook from the Audiofile Sync summer program.  This book is based on a true story that took place in the 1960s.  An infant boy was in an accident that cause a doctor to encourage his parents to raise him as a girl.  The book explores the complexities of sexual identity, love, and family.  It's a very moving story. I can't image what the people in this story went threw.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a POWERFUL book.  I know it's a fiction book but it really helped me understand the Black Lives Matter movement and helped me understand poverty in ways I hadn't understood before.  I highly recommend this book!

I listened Of Beast and Beauty and Beast, both fractured fairy tales.  I'm not a fan of fairy tales or fractured fairy tales so I hate to really say anything about these novels.  I will say my dad loved them so I'm sure they are a perfect fit for fairy tale lovers out there but just aren't my cup of tea.

For school:

I was assigned to read two novels on the Bluebonnet List and write 20-25 questions.

Best Man by Richard Peck is the journey of a boy from 1st grade through 6th grade.  We begin and end with a wedding.  Archer is a kid who doesn't pick up on life around him.  He needs things spelled out for him to "get" things.  His best friend and uncle are always there too help.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  We pick up Reagan from camp tomorrow.

2.  We are so glad to see her and hear all the stories she has to tell us from the week.

3.  We take Maggie with us cuz she misses Reagan too and Reagan misses her.

4.  There's a certain... smell... to after camp clothes and suitcases.

5.  Reagan usually sleeps for a long time after she gets back!

The Beginning of the Year vs The End of the Year

Thursday I ended my 14th year in education.  As I stood on the sidewalk that morning for my morning duty watching the students walk (well, run until I told them to walk) in I thought how different the beginning of the school year is verses the end of the school year.

The beginning of the school year is filled with such hope and newness and fresh beginnings.  It's a new year in a new grade with new students or a new teacher.  The posters we stuck on our the walls are straight and untorn.  Our markers all have caps that match the color of the actual pen.  The pencils are sharp and have full erasers.  The colors are sharp and clean.   The glue bottles are clean and unsticky.  The binders close right and are fresh and clean.  The students uniforms still have buttons, no stains and the zippers work.  The teachers might have a couple of new outfits not yet ruined by dirty hands. Everything, our hopes, our dreams, our exceptions, our rooms, our supplies, are clothes are fresh, clean,  and hopeful.

But the end of the year.  Oh the end of the year.


*  The posters are ripped.  And hanging sideways.


*  The markers are dried out and the lids don't match the colors.


* The pencil is barely able to fit in our hands cuz they're so short and the eraser... what eraser?


* The zipper on the uniform pants won't budge.  Just pin it with a safety pin or two.


* This new shirt has a stain on it.  Whatever.  I got kindergarten lunch duty anyway.  Nothing I own is safe anyway.


* Glue this down... What?  The glue is dry.  Ok... tape it down.  Wait.  I'm out of tape.  Whatever.  This was just a filler activity anyway.


It's amazing the different between day 1 and day 187.  I always wonder what day is it specifically that we give up on.  Or maybe it's not a specific day.  Maybe it's an accumulation of events that makes up throw our hands in the air and say whatever.

But then the summer passes and we show up in August with fresh hopes, new, clean clothes, new supplies and we are ready to do it all over again.  Because we love our jobs.  We love our students. We love to learn.  We love to teach.  And thankfully we have forgotten that "whatever" feeling... until it shows back up at the end of the year.