Thursday, March 31, 2016

Year Five in the Virtual Books

Building habits! Reaching goals! Practicing when you don't feel it! Pushing through the tough days. Any of these phrases could describe what it takes to grow as a reader, a runner, or anything else for which you strive in life. For me, this month, it's my growth as a writer. I have always embraced the idea that you need to be a reader to be a teacher of reading.  I have share in the past that I don't embrace the writing, but I know to be a teacher of writers you must write even if is routinely writing with your students. 

Looking back at this past month and the finish line,  I've moved beyond how I felt in Year 1 where I didn't know if I could finish and actually made it through 31 days.  It was tough. I didn't believe I could do it. Year 1 transformed,however, me for the better as a teacher of writing.  I learned the power of a responsive audience, the power of community and the toil of writing practice since I had mastered "school writing." It changed me professionally.   Upon completion I planned a slice unit for my students and we did our own. They too taught me about the power of writing outside the classroom.  I embedded blogging in my course for college students.  

Year 2  was different, I moved with the confidence and knowledge that I could meet the challenge, because I did it in year one. It was similar to the feeling I had at CG Games this summer. I knew I could complete the events because I had done them all at least once.  That confidence frees you since you know you won't fail.  I also blogged with other colleagues trying it out. I felt the same in Year 3 and  Year 4.   Between Year 3 and 4 I actually met fellow Slicers at NCTE in DC, a cool experience since I had only known these writers through our digital encounters.   I also actually provided tech support and was able to share my experience with other future Slicers.  I had the confidence that I could help others through the process too.  I am always have enough knowledge to be a little dangerous, which empowers me to take risks.   I read a little more about digital writing, Troy Hicks, being my favorite. I kept learning about the process.  

This year, Year 5, was a little different. I had a routine.  Just like I have a workout routine, I had a writing routine.  I posted topics that were routine and helped me build content. This was the first year that I was really able to have drafts so I didn't always have to write the day of.  I looked for content in my world.  Part of my growth this year was attending Florida Blog Con where I learned about the noneducational end of blogging.  This year I was also part of the welcome wagon where I had a small group of new Slices that I routinely commented upon.  They provided inspiration each day.   I did miss, however, reading the posts by Slicers such as Anita, and Stacey Shubitz as well as others.   I just found that although I could write every day, it still took time.  Just because it got easier, it still took time.  The toughness was the work itself not the doing of the work.  Little is really required of me to read each day I love it. It's not hard.  Writing each day is hard just like working out each day is hard. On days where I had open posts, I struggled with the open-ended-ness.  Still this experience continues to be one where I am able to push my practice and engage in self-centered professional learning.  I love it!

Next year I want to participate in one of the commenting challenges. I want to be a better member of the community throughout the entire year for the weekly post. Last year was my least prolific.  

That aside! I am eternally grateful to the Slice team, my fellow slicers, Lee Ann, and my other readers whose feedback both written and face-to-face help me grow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Eye-Spy: TBR Pile

If you have been in my house, you know that there is an obscene amount of space dedicated to books. Each inhabitant (3) has a bookshelf that was built and reflects the wingspan both vertically and horizontally.  Rather than post pictures from the wild tonight, since I posted many, many nature posts this past week, I decided to share my quick pics from To Be Read (TBR) pile.

My largest TBR pile is full of titles from different ya series, the genres such as sci fi, historical fiction, magical realism, and realistic fiction.  I have this issue about finishing what I start. Therefore I have to finish a series once I start it.  Some of these are book two and some are book three.  This pile doesn't account for the books that are in series that the next titles haven't been released yet. I love to immerse myself in a series. I then like to pass it on to the just right student.

My pile of adult reads are the nonfiction and fiction books that I have waiting for me that I might recommend to a friend.  This pile does not include the book that I have to read by Sunday for book club, Almost Anywhere:  Road Trip Ruminations on Love, Nature, National Parks and Nonsense by Krista Schyler. That book is part of my digital TBR pile.  Besides the paper TBR pile, I have my plastic TBR space. Besides digital books, I have a backlog of magazines and audio books as well.

My last group of TBR includes TBRRs aka To Be ReRead is my professional reads pile.  Some of them are new to me such as Chris Lehman's and Kate Roberts' Falling in Love with Close Reading. Some of them are titles I want to revisit such as Kelly Gallagher's In the Best Interest of Students.  I also have a couple of titles in the purchasing queue such as Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 by Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts.

Really I don't have a problem.  I don't hoard my books ya or adult books.  I like to put them out into the universe.  If you see a book you like, let me know!  I tag it just for you and send it to you when I am done!  I do, however, cling to my professional books.  I like to come back to them.  Still I am wondering what's on your TBR or TBRR list?  What do you recommend I add to my pile?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 29

I've made it this far so I think I can write for 3 more days.  The open post days have actually been the hardest for me.  I don't know if it is the timing of my open post days, Monday and Tuesday, or what. Monday and Tuesday afternoons are my work times for my Wednesday job.  I also make sure I work out on these days as well.  I have used my daughter's homework to inspire my writing as well as google searches for writing prompt. I read more blogs on these days too garnering inspiration for my fellow-slicees.  I know that the key is to just sit and write.  So that's my uninspired post for the day.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Countdown

We are a culture of counting and data.  Here are my counts for the week.

1 fantastical day of professional learning at UCF, the annual literacy symposium.

2 hours of working in the Starbucks on Friday night while waiting for my daughter during ballet. I actually get a lot of work done.

3 days of proctoring, 2 spent with the 101 seniors who still need to make the score for the reading graduation requirement, and 1 spent with the juniors, about 347, who have not made the score yet either.

4 CG workouts scheduled on my calendar this week.  It is interval week.  My favorite!  I feel the burn long after the workout is over.

4.5 cups of water each day as a minimum to keep my blood glucose in balance. Yes, I know I should drink more.

5 days of after school pick-up for my middle school girlie.  I like the middle school hours. I get to stay after school and work for a while in silence and then get to make it to the car line.

6 pairs of clean Balega's for the week. I buy the brightest color so I can spot them on my girlie's feet. It is just not right for her to wear my expensive socks!

7 cups of coffee for my week-flavored either Georgia Pecan or Cinnamon Hazelnet.  Coffee with cream is my daily indulgence.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Seven

A dip in Juniper Springs
7.  Weather over spring break.
6.  Curious students.
5. Time spent reading, bird-watching, and lingering.
4.  Watching my girlie laugh with her cousins.
3. My husband, a good sport.
2.  Napping, totally underrated.
1.  Camping with my family at Juniper Springs.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Food for Thought: Eggs

The Rapid Egg Cooker-
Worth the Counter-Space!
Happy Friday! How fortuitous that my planned writing for today is all about the incredible egg.  This isn't the first time that I have written about the breakfast.  In fact, I still stand by my breakfast recommendations.   Today, I am all about the egg.  It truly is one of the most versatile ingredients on the planet!  Eaten by itself or as an ingredient in a recipe, it is incredible.

I like to start my day with an egg. In the past, I relied on what I jokingly referred to as a fresh scramble made dutifully by my husband each day at 5:45 am.  Now I prefer poached eggs in the morning, medium please, but if someone is waking up to make you breakfast, you just say thank you.  My husband, however, made his morning much simpler for both us us by finding a superior Xmas gift for me this past December..  If I don't need my pants ironed, he can just stay in bed because he gifted me the one and only Rapid Egg Cooker for me. See if I am not paying attention, I burn things, the simple things such as the toast etc. Otherwise, when I am fully engaged in cooking, you would be surprised what I can pull off the stove and out of the oven.

The Eggstractor-
Not Worth the Counter-Space!
What is beautiful about this machine is that it is regulated by water on a hot plate.  You can make 6 "boiled" eggs (they are really steamed, but come out like boiled).  You can poach two eggs, make an omelet, and even scramble the eggs. It comes with a handy dandy water measure cup that really does turn out medium eggs when you fill to the medium line.  What I love most is you push the button, and then you wait for the obnoxious buzzer.  Eggs Done! It can't be ignored.   Not every egg gadget is worth the counter-space. If you have read my past food for thought post on ice cream, you know that I only keep gadgets that get used at least 12x a year. The Rapid Egg Cooker has passed that test while the EggStractor just couldn't. My husband picked it up at the thrift store.  I'll put this in the category of the white elephant gift.

 Many of you may be dying eggs this weekend. I will be devising a nighttime Easter egg hunt.  I might event try out this recipe,  Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs.  Whatever your egg preference is, I hope you have an incredible weekend!