Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Sunday Seven

Celebrating the goodness of the week!

7. Clean clothes for the week ahead, all folded and hung up. Really- we had a "cold snap" last week and my clothes were a mess. I had to get out my winter clothes aka long sleeves from the boxes that I had packed away during spring break. It's all been organized and sorted again, which is a good start to the week. I won't be wading in the shoes and socks.

6. Living in a great city with all kinds of delicious local food options.  This weekend I enjoyed lunch at Pom Pom's Teahouse.  It's been a local favorite for a long time, but I hadn't stopped. I enjoyed the blueberry team. 

5. No more gray and a sassy short haircut.  I have been with my hair dresser since 2000ish. I trust him to do what makes sense. I always have said, "Don't tell me how to teach and I won't tell you how to do my hair."  He's a master. I trust him. I feel great.

4. The luxury of time to celebrate with friends. I don't think I do that often enough. It was a colleagues birthday. It was fun.

3. My team for being open to learning and stretching their practice.  I was reminded of this several times this week including during our DPLC training, our summer reading discussions during our PLC time and reading lesson in which we consider the difference between paper, digital and web-based reading (inspired by my reading of Jago's new book, The Book in Question.)

2. My mom and aunt making time in their week to drive to central Florida to watch Hope play water polo.  She loved that!

1.The Slice of Life Story Challenge.  This is the time in 7 years that I didn't post every day in March. I missed Friday and Saturday this week and that's ok. The team at Two Writing Teachers makes this possible. Next month aka tomorrow, they start the classroom challenge. I love reading other teachers blogs.  It's a been another great month practice writing and learning from the participants.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Water Polo from A to Z

The most exciting part of my life in the past two months is watching my daughter's water polo games.  She doesn't always play in the big games, but her coach does an incredible job of working players into the rotation for the games where we are sure to win.  There is only one team.

I love watching the games regardless of whether my kid plays. I've played soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, track, flag football, and ultimate frisbee. I've coached volleyball, cheerleading, track, ultimate frisbee and girls' flag football I've watched many many sports live and on TV. I used to think that men's volleyball was my favorite sport, but my new most favorite spectator sport is water polo.   It's a whole new vocabulary. Here's what I've learned so far.Obviously, I'm still filling in the blanks.

Attire for referees- all white shirt, shoes & pants
Brutality is a violent foul where the intent is to harm and the player is thrown out of the game.
Counter attack- like a fast break in basketball.
Dribble the ball not like basketball at all.
Eggbeater kicks
Fouls- Ordinary, Exclusion & Penalty
Goal Throw
High neck zip up suits are what female players wear.
Lob shot
Man to man defense
Neutral Throw
Overtime- a tie game will lead to this.
Possession clock like the shot clock on basketball.
Quarters per match-4
Releases- three finger, two finger, top-spin, side arm & index.
USA Water Polo is the governing body.
Wet pass
Yellow balls with grippy textured materials that are smaller for the women's game.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What's the Cognitive Task?

I love writing on my "prescriptive days."  On my open days, I struggle often with what to write. I love learning and I love the challenges of learning.  I have been more often than not reminded of the challenges for learners as I watch my daughter play water polo this spring.  For example, tonight when my daughter threw the ball, someone in the stands questioned why she didn't throw it harder.  I realize she is fifteen, but technically she's never been learned how to catch and throw balls on land much less water until November.  Aka context matters.  Feedback as you are learning matters.

As I watch her, I am reminded that as teachers we need to ALWAYS remember to ask ourselves, "What is the cognitive task for the learners? "  and that each learner brings different experiences to the table. Honestly, I still haven't figure out how to sweep the floor or load the dishwasher properly, but I think that's my fault.  I have been, however, faced with several cognitive tasks in 2019 that keep me focused on scaffolding learning.

How to run my new pump  has been my biggest on-going cognitive task in March.  I went to a 2 hour training last Friday morning in order to be able to begin to use my pump. I received a series of directions from the instructor that needed to be completed. She was shocked when I showed up having completed all of them. She says most people don't do that and even show up with the box unopened.

Ten years ago when I had my first pump I might have been one of those people, totally lost. Since I have been using a pump for ten years, many of the components were similar so I was able to figure out what to do by reading and following the instructions.  She only had to make a few adjustments and was able to give me more advanced instruction.  I was even able to ask questions that a novice pump user wouldn't know to ask.

As a learner, I also made deliberate strategic moves to master the pump before my training. First I made sure I changed pumps over during spring break so I had ample time and no distractions in my learning environment. I have been lurking in my T1 Facebook group reading over every question asked by Tandem users.  I mastered one component of the system the week before and made a choice to not change the type of infusion set so it would be one less new action for me to learn.  Therefore I was able to limit the number of true cognitive tasks to be able to learn what I needed to learn. Mastery matters because extreme errors can lead to death.  My most challenging task, changing the cartridge which I had to do at 1 am on the first night of returning to school, I accomplished. #SUCCESS  (As soon as I finish this post, I will attempt to do it for my second time because its time and the alarm will keep ringing until I do it.)

It also reminded me about the luxury I have to just focus on learning how to use my pump. I've allocated more time in my day to this learning.  Students may not have this luxury. In fact, they aren't just learning in your class aka one thing in isolation.  While I've been navigating learning about my insulin pump. I have also been learning water polo as a new to me sport as an observer. As my daughter plays this, I've been able to apply principles from other sports to help me understand the game, but I am still learning.  As I've developed my understanding, I've chosen more challenging tasks such as keeping the book to learn more about the game. Again, I've had the luxury of choosing my pace and choosing the rigor of the task. I've not kept the book at an extremely competitive match, in time, I will.

I just need to continue to stay open to the learning and to keep opening space for the learners in my community to develop mastery as well.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Celebrating Literacy

I have two favorite days of the year at school where we all come together around celebrating reading.  The first is Family Literacy Night and the second is the Million Minute Reading Marathon.  These are the days where the readers come out of the woodwork and we celebrate our literate lives and invite others to join us.

I can't remember how many years it has been since our first Family Literacy Night, but what helped me envision it was my daughter's elementary school long, long ago.  What I loved besides the different stations and workshops is that each student left with a book. That become one of my missions.  I've been able to fulfill this mission for several years now thanks to donations and my work on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden committee.  Teens are so excited and surprised that they get to choose a book and take one home.  Our first family literacy night long, long ago was small, probably more staff than students, but it has evolved into an event.  We start with Pizza on the Patio, a track for younger siblings and different sessions run by teachers and students. We've had the support of the Orange County Public Library.  I have to thank my principals who have generously provided the food each year. Yes, that's one of the draws, but once you get students and families, there, the fun ensues.

It's a time when students share their talents and its been a time where teachers who aren't feeling it, especially in November that sometimes long slog before the holidays are reinvigorated by the energy from the night.  Yes, so we are a little exhausted the next morning, I do try to leave the building clean with my helpers by no later than 8pm.

Monday, March 25, 2019

What R U Reading?

Do you ever find yourself in a reading slump? I like to ask kids
what they are reading.  I also liek to check in with colleagues to pick up titles. I don't always bother people to see what they are reading, I like to to stay abreast of new titles reads by doing the following things...

3. Downloading two free books weekly during the summer from the Audiobooks YA Sync summer program. Beginning Thursday, April 25th, two audiobooks that have been paired thematically will be released and available for download for exactly one week. The next Thursday, two more books are released.  Titles are yours to keep once you have downloaded them by using the Overdrive app, but they are only available to download for a seven day period.  This is one way to build a library of audiobooks to listen to during the summer and beyond.  I am really looking forward to this year's titles.

2. Membership and yearly attendance at the ALAN conference in November.  Officially know as the is Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE, ALAN is my teacher splurge each year. The membership fee is part of the workshop fee so renewal feels easy. It's not cheaper than free like YA Sync, but its the best bargain in town.  Each quarter, the ALAN journal comes full of titles to check out and use.  Weekly on the Facebook page, book titles are shared.  My favorite part is the conference where you leave with a box of books and many many new titles that have been shared by the panels that have been put together with new and known authors.  Then there is also the company that you keep, you will become part of a sharing community which is accessible on Twitter and Facebook to help feed you titles.

1.  The New York Time Book Review. I subscribe to the New York Times and one of the benefits is Sunday's weekly NYT Book Review.  Sometimes you will find a young adult author reviewing other titles and that is always fun to share with students, but I like the lists and the review found their each week.  I also like the titles that are features from all genres and all readers as you will encounter the range of readers in your classroom.

What do you do to stay current with hot reads?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Seven

Celebrating the goodness of the week!

7.  Afternoon naps.

6. Purging aka spring cleaning.

5. Return of cool weather. There was a time when we could get away with no AC until the end of May. We already turned it on, but a cold front allowed us to open the windows and enjoy the air. I had to dig my cool weather clothes back out.

4.  My husband, ala my driver.  He takes me places and I magically wake up there. Never underestimate the power of car naps.

3. Gorgeous spring weather.  Got to enjoy the sun at Ft. DeSoto and lunches outside.

2. Out with the old and in with the new. I've had an Animas insulim pump for approxiamately ten
years.  I've shifted to a new pump with auto shuttoff and jumped from the G4 to the G6. No more fingerpricks. Ultimately this leads to better numbers and better outcomes. Looking for good data in the months to come.

1. Time with family. Got to hang out with my mom, my aunt, my sis and nephews. Makes a good ending to my spring break week.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spring into Saturday: The City Edition

I am sandwiched between family in central Florida. They are at opposite ends of I-4. I reside in the middle, Orlando.  In the northeast corner where I grew up, my mom has a place in Cresecent Beach.  My sister and aunt reside near the southwest end of I-4 in St. Petersburg ala The Burg. If I am not spring hopping, you can find me at the beach at one of the ends of I-4. This last weekend of spring break finds me in St. Pete where the day will end with a convergence of the wicked sisters, my mom and my aunt, and my sister and I, for a family dinner celebrating my mom’s birthday. Rather than battle the spring break traffic on I-4, we headed southwest late at night. Therefore I was up early for some city adventures before heading to Ft. DeSoto this afternoon.

A great place to start your morning is at Mazzaro’s Italian Market, especially if you like Italian anything, but especially coffee and pastries. You can pretty much stock up for your entire day if needed and avoid making a thing. Get there early, even arriving at 9 when it opened, we found the coffee bar full and the bakery patrons up to number 42. I shared a pistachio cannoli with my husband knowing we had other morning plans.

After that stop, we headed to the the Saturday morning market to pick up some of my favorite products as well as eat breakfast. St. Pete Ferments is the first place I look for in the aisle. My friend wants some of their kimchi and I want some sauerkraut. It gets sold out so I head there first and am not disappointed today.  We make a pit stop at the Urban Canning booth to pick up a jar of the smoked tomato jam that my other friend has been craving. Breakfast consists of empanadas, knishes, and crepes.  Though any food you crave can be found here. Enjoy a little music.

We ended our day at one of my favorite beaches, Ft. DeSoto.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Food for Thought: Lunch

This week it's spring break so I took myself on a lunch date to The Glass Knife.  This was just one of three lunch dates that I took myself on this week.  The first was introducing my friend to The Artisan's Table which is my go-to place for burgers and cocktails, especially before a show at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.  The second is Cilantros Taqueria, a new to the neighborhood taco place in the Hourglass district. I am in love with their corn soup.   I've been waiting to go to The Glass Knife for over a year after I first enjoyed their doughnuts at my friend's wedding.  I enjoyed their lemon meringue donuts.  Aside from doughnuts, they serve lunch and dinner as well as  other desserts.  The interior is slick and kind of cold looking, but they do have a lovely outdoor porch.  The catch here is that they don't take cash, but pets are welcome.

 I had the garden flatbread pizza with tomato confit, cremini mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, pine nuts and wilted spinach. It was topped with chunks of avocado after it was baked.  I don't normally choose a flat bread, but the veggies combo was intriguing to me. I sent a picture of the recipe data collection for my pizza making friends.  For dessert, I had the lemon tart. What made this unique was the layer of cherry jam under the lemon curd.  (Lemon is one of my favorite flavors and they do it well here.) It was gorgeous and delicious.  I can say that I enjoyed my lunch here and spend longer than 20 minutes, my usual lunch quota. I linger with a cup of coffee and determinedly drank the carafe of water they left behind.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


My daughter turned 15 last month and her freshman year and even her middle school and elementary years have all been about learned independence. I don't want to be a helicopter parent or even a "snowplow" parent as described in the New York Times last weekend. 

She now has friends who drive and I was really conflicted about letting her go to the beach today with her, but I let her go.  Only after I had imagined all the horrible things in my head and second guessed my decision to let her go. I do know that this is the age of letting go.  In fact, after your kid is born, it is the letting go and new experiences that help them grow.

In middle school I worried about her riding her bike home. She  began to cook on the stove by herself at age six.  I started leaving her home alone at age 10.  Note- there aren't any age rules in Florida related to leaving your child at home alone.  She's even taken care of other people's kids, alone,

Today I worried about her swimming at the beach unsupervised, rip tides.  Although she and her friend are both on the swim and water polo team, I know the ocean can be tricky. I worried about her friend texting and driving.  I worried about the other drivers on I-4.  Soon I will be worrying about her driving.  The mom angst.  That's why I have only one and have my hair dresser on retainer.  We survived today!  I know that her friend has parents who worry about their driver  and swimmer too, their daughter.  My kid had a happy day and in the end so did I.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Cleaning

     Over the past ten years, I have had the privilege of cleaning out classrooms of people who have retired, quit, or just moved on and I absolutely loathe cleaning.  That's why I live in a condo. I don't want to spend days cleaning. I want to be outdoors and enjoying life.   One of the most annoying things that I have had to do for teachers after they have flown the coop is clean up what they leave behind.  Some of you know that you are leaving. You might have known for months or just decided on a whim. No matter how or why you are leaving, don't leave your mess behind.
     I've changed schools twice, and moved rooms more than that.  When I knew I was moving schools, I started bringing home a box of books each day starting in April.  I carefully put these away in my closet until one day, I had nothing left in my classroom but the furniture that I started with.  For another move, I had to get a moving van and haul it all away in one day.  For that move I spent my my first day clearing out all the garbage of the 20 years of the former teacher's stuff that was left behind. There was so much garbage. No one wants to spend their first day doing that, especially brand new teachers who have all these visions of what they want their classrooms to look like.  And you know there is never enough time during preplanning to do all the things you want.  So it's a great pay it forward to leave your room as clean as possible.
     I'm not the only one who has had to do this. Other friends have had too and I've even enlisted my daughter on occasion.  What's been left behind is more trash than treasure.   People say I don't have to do this, but I would like you to imagine the next resident of your room as a new teacher.  They don't need your stuff, especially your files. They don't need all the copies that you think they might need.  I am good at finding a home for stuff and I am excellent purging and throwing things away.  I just don't need more practice at this. 
    When you leave angry at administration, they don't actually clean your room, your former colleagues do.  When you retire, there is no one who wants your purple mimeographed worksheets. In fact, some new teachers don't even know what they are.  They don't have fond memories of smelling freshly mimeographed copies like teachers my age do.   When you move on, we get it you are tired.  We are too. If you absolutely aren't going to take things away with you, try giving items to your students, they might like mementos. Recycle!  Hold a teacher giveaway. Enlist students to help you clean it since they might need community service hours. 
     Regardless whether you are moving or not,  you've heard of spring cleaning right? Spring is a great time to organize and purge. Think about tackling a drawer a day or a bookshelf a day.  Sooner than later it will be the end of the year and you won't have a big mess to pack away for summer or your big move.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Summer Reading Part III

For the past two Tuesdays, I shared our summer reading plan from last year, the research phase and the implementation. Here are the top ten things that I learned to make it better for next year.

1. Teacher-buy-in matters. The good thing about our plan is that all the teachers were on board.

2. Although access to books wasn't on kids minds based on our survey results, actually putting books into kids' hands reduced the obstacles for them.

3. Our library is too small to hold all three grade levels at the same time.  It would now make sense to host the discussions in our ELA classrooms and just fill up rooms with approximately 15-20 students.

4. Mixing grade levels and\or readers of book titles made for a rich conversation.

3. It refinforced my belief that peers sell books to each other.  Shark tanking the books was the most powerful part of the process for kids.  Many left with new titles to check out.

2.  Really think about a makeup plan. What is the best way to run makeups?  Should we have a sign-up or drop-int.

1. Use all tools- CANVAS, TWITTER, REMIND, FACEBOOK & CONNECT-ORANGE to push the discussions through out the summer. We are working now to refine the list and work out our promos for next year. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

What R U Reading?

What I've read!  I just want to shout out about all of Tamora Pierce's books. I came to fantasy late in the game and came to Pierce's books very late in my fantasy reading life. Many fantasy writers that I currently enjoy cite her work as inspiration for theirs.   I was wowed first with her latest release, the first in the Numair trilogy, and then discovered about tentire Tortall world. I spent much of  October residing there in my reading life.  There is an chronological order to the books that make them make sense, but I read them as the books became available from my library.

I started with Tempests & Slaughter, her latest release. I then started her Provost's Dog trilogy followed by the Protector of the Small quartet.  Next I read The Immortals quartet followed by the Daughter of the Lioness duology. My last reading was the series that spawned all the series, the Song of the Lioness quartet.  I would say to start here because there are interconnections that make the stories more rich perhaps if read in a more linear fashion than I took.  All of the series have strong female protagonists, who even from the first book, challenge modern female roles, especially when you look back and realize that the first book was published in 1983.  I wish I had happened upon them then at age 13, but have been happy to enjoy them now. I am now stuck at the point where I am waiting for the other two books in the Numair trilogy to come out.  Learn more about her work here.

What books are you reading or your students enjoying right now?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Seven

The Sunday Seven:  Taking time to celebrate the goodness of the week!

7.  Support from my friends and family.  My daughter has just started playing sports this year, swimming and water polo.  I love that my friends unprompted have come out to watch her play.  Kids always think their parents have to watch them play so  I appreciate the time that they have invested to come see her play.  It makes her feel good and she appreciates it more than she will say.

6. My health insurance.  I am in the process of upgrading to my new insulin pump and continueous glucose monitor with which the combo will help me live a better quality of life and less scary. It has the ability to suspend insulin delivery when I go low, which is especially helpful when you are sleeping.  As I have pushed thru the process for the past month with several phone calls (waiting 53 minutes one time to talk to someone), each support person has remarked how good our plan is.  I am thankful for that. I can sleep better, work out better and live better with this change.  My health insurance liberates me from worry.  I wish everyone in the United States were afforded this opportunity.

Jen K work  & accountability buddy
5. My work team. Regardless of the state of education, I love my work.  What makes my work loveable are the people that I work with, both students and staff.  I am incredibly lucky do enjoy both.  Some times we are given seemingly impossible tasks, but we rise to the challenge each day by doing more than just showing up.  Team makes the tough work better!

4. The Two Writing Teachers Team. I've completed this challenge every year since 2012.  OnM the daylight savings day, I missed linking up.  But I've kept writing.  I haven't been feeling it this week at all and have had two other days posting between 11 pm and midnight.  But the power of accountability has kept me in.  Thanks for being there.

3. Speaking of accoutability partner. I've often written about CG and that I workout most days and it doesn't feel like a slog, but one thing that makes me stay are my accountability partners.  My just show-up longtime camper, Chris L and Josh, my trainers, both old Doug, Ozzie, Adam and Chris and new, TK, my husband, my newly joined work peeps, Angela, Ben, and Cindy, as well the regular campers, I love laughing and sweating with you!  

2.  Dancing. My friend Krystin got married last night and there was dancing.  I alway joke that I married my husband because he dances.  I have always loved dancing and our daughter does too. It was fun to dance. There was also that community love when those songs came on, regardless of age, everyone sang along and danced without inhibitions.  That's the space where memories are made.  I loved dance with my 15 year old.  She knew all the songs and I loved watching her move and respond to the music.  All joy. 

1. Spring Break.  Although I am working over spring break, which has mostly been the case my entire life.  When I was younger, I worked in my parents' tax business ala busy season. When I first was teaching, we had track practice and meets.  Then later in my teaching life while adjunting at UCF, the OCPS spring break never coincided.  Now just a few hours at work to support students is a fine way to spend time.  I will, however, move at a slower pace and do some things that need to be done.  Most importantly hang out with my girlie.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spring into Saturday

1. Big Cat Rescue in Tampa- take a tour and learn about the big cats. There are some amazing stories to hear. There are some breeds that have been forced.  It’s great that there is such a beautiful property for these animals to live, but the conditions that got them there are downright scary.  It’s perfect to visit during this time of year. We celebrated my nephew’s birthday there. Learn more here

2. The Brevard Zoo- what makes this zoo cool besides hand feeding the giraffes is the kayak loop that you can do around the park. You get some unique perspectives that you don’t normally see from behind the typical walls. Again it’s the perfect time of year to go,since it’s nit toomhate and there is no shade in the kayak loop. Learn more Here

Friday, March 15, 2019

Food for Thought: Frozen Treats

The Orlandough Ice Cream Sandwich

I am a chip fiend, but my daughter has the ice cream gene. Before she was born ice cream would stay in our fridge for so long that it would go ice fur on it.  Now I hope the quart lasts for a week.  For a treat we have a few favorite spots. It was 86 degrees so it was certainly time for ice cream.

1.  Gelato Fiasco: New to Orlando, but the Maine transplant stands out with its unique combinations. Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp is my favorite. My daughter loves the Darrk Cocolate Caramel Sea Salt.  The Florida Citrus sorbet is quenching to your palate on a hot Florida day. They also provide local teams great fundraiser nights.

2. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream: A local shop with so many dynamic flavors. There’s one within walking distance of my daughter’s high school so I am pretty sure what she does with her lunch money. But the Orlandough Ice Sandwich Night is worth the splurge.

3.  And if you are at Disney the Dole Pineapple whip soft serve at The Polynesian.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Spring Break Plans

In a few hours it will be Spring Break 2019. I like to make lofty plans. No trips are planned due to work and water polo. We are also doing a big trip this summer so time to hunker down and enjoy spring in Florida, my favorite time of year here.

1. Read
2. Start my taxes
3. Drive my kid to practice
4. Workout
5. Hangout at the pool and beach
6. Spring day
7. Master my T-Slim
8.  Sleep-in
9. Binge watch - any suggestions???
10. Work
11. Hang with Fam
12. Yoga

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bucket List

Salt Springs, Florida
I'm not tired, just weary, which is a little different than tired for me. Tired, I can sleep off. My weary needs to be shaken off with joyful moments time spent in springs or sunshine or doing things on my bucket-list.  Some are might be doable next week during spring break.  That's right tomorrow is the end of the nine weeks and students's last day of the quarter.  I can make this!  I'll finish this post and watch Legally Blonde with my kid, which will make me tired tomorrow, but less weary.

Bucket List Draft

1. Camp at the Dry Tortugas.
2. Go Italy & Greece
3. Go to New Zealand
4. Go to the rest of the states that I haven't visited. 
5. Continue to stay fit!
6.  Bike coast to coast (on the Florida Sea to Sea Trail that isn't complete yet.)
7.  Get a paddleboard.
8.  Jump in all the springs in the state of Florida that are accessible.
9.  Drive to see sunrise and sunset from coast to coast in one day in Florida!
10. Buy a yurt to live on our 3.5 acres in Frostproof.
11.  Learn how to can fruits & vegetables.
12.  Make pate a choux.
13.  Learn how to make sauerkraut.
14. Take my daughter see a sea-turtle hatching.
15.  Read all the book in my TBR pile!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Summer Reading

Last Tuesday I wrote about the revamping of our summer reading program and today I'll share what we actually ended up with. To see other grade levels check out our school site. 

Students were asked to choose a book and then attend a book discussion. We did this for our sophomores and juniors too.  We tried to have a variety of books.  Then we asked students to join us for a discussion during the summer or during the first week of school. The most fun day that we had over the summer as freshmen English teachers was the day that students came on July 31st.  We had ice pops and an amazing discussion.

What I had first envisioned was that students would have small discussion groups based on reading the same books. What we found is that we could facilitate a rich discussion among the students who had a read a variety of the titles.  We asked universal questions and then at the end allowed some time to let students prepare to "Shark Tank" their book. 

During the school day it got a little tricky because we did have more students to manage.  We enlisted our reading teachers and other instructional staff and we found that we could actually mix the grade levels for the conversations. It worked well.  I continued to host lunch discussions as we whittled down the number of students who needed to participate.

The second was a free choice book with a project attached. Since students in ninth grade are not issued devices over the summer, we made it a paper based project while the 10th graders who kept their device did a digital project. 

Next week I will share what I learned from the process and what changes would make it better. Overall we had over 800 students participate in the facilitated discussions in the media center and during the summer.

Monday, March 11, 2019

What R U Reading? Fall Book Club Pix

We've had an incredible fall with our book club picks.  I've been in this book club since my daughter was born. She just turned 15 so we are in our 14th year.  Here are our fall reads.

1. Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley.  Do you like memoir?  Do you like quick reads?  If so this book is for you. I admit I am not the audience for these types of books. It was tolerable.  But that is what book club is partly for right?  Not just to see your friends, eat a great meal, laugh and talk, but too also read against your normal picks.  

2. Circe by Madeline Miller My favorite in the stack.I love Greek mythology. I love stories where the women find their power.   I've taught The Odyssey for years where CIRCE is this small character, but Miller blows that out of the water with this telling of Circe's long rich life.  Perhaps I am drawn to some of our original fantasies which is why I love stories related to myths of all cultures.  

3. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See  I loved how this book opened some windows into China and tea growing.  I learned about the different peoples that make up the Republic of China and how some of the groups have been homogenized as one group.  It is a beautiful story and it is tough at times to realize that the events that See documents have happened and are still occurring in China in my lifetime.

4.  The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict  I did love this story, but sadly Einstein himself is no longer a personal hero. His first wife, Maria, was a bad-ass mathematician too. This historical fiction novel examines their life together. It paints an ugly portrait of him. Perhaps humanizes this person we put on a poster pedestal during our modern times.  Basically he earned his Nobel Prize on the shoulders of his wife, who REALLY did receive monies from him related to the Nobel earnings as part of the divorce settlement.  

To check out our other reads, check out these blog posts