Saturday, August 13, 2016

How Watching Game of Thrones Helped Me Appreciate Rereading

Yes, I finished my month-long binge watching of all 6 seasons (60 episodes...about 60 hours) of Game of Thrones last night. Incredible series with such deep character development and plot twists.

Funny thing is I rewatched episode 1 of the first season this morning, and discovered so much I never caught the first time around. Lots of foreshadowing and little character quirks I didn't notice upon first viewing.

Made me think about books, of course. There's something wonderful about rereading a book once, twice, or multiple times. You get something new out of each read. You notice things you didn't notice that first time.

So, if my students want to read the same book a few times, or pick up a book they have already read, I won't tell them they have to read a new book, or tell them that book doesn't count. I'll revel in their enjoyment and their joyful discovery of all that they didn't notice the first time.

With all of the new books coming out every day/week, it was hard to justify reading a book again. Now, I won't feel guilty reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Winger by Andrew Smith or the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman. I'm sure I'll discover something new. There's lots of value in doing that.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Connectating (credit goes to Chuck Taft) at Summer Spark, 2016

Whew...another fabulous Summer Spark is in the books.

How did that happen?

It seems like I was just driving the 5 1/2 hours to Milwaukee and posting selfies to indicate how many hours until my arrival.

It seems like only yesterday that I saw my good friend Heidi Jones at Applebees and met pirate educators Shelley Burgess @burgess_shelley , Quinn Rollins @jedikermit, Julie Smith @julnilsmith , Don Wettrick @DonWettrick , and Lori London @SciTeach7Davis .

So great to give head #ditchbooker Matt Miller a big hug. We met for the first time last year at Spark.

Just like anything you look forward to, it always seems like it's over in the blink of an eye. So before the memories become a little less vivid and time takes me further from June 13-14, 2016 on the calendar, here's my reflection on this incredible experience.


The first day of Spark started with a delicious buffet breakfast in the USM (University School of Milwaukee) gym. It's always fun to connect with friends: some I had met last year, and others I was meeting for the first time. So fun to see Ku Yau-Jau @yaujauku and Brian Durst @RESP3CTtheGAME , and to chat with Christine Hodges @Christineah88, Lori London and Julie Smith.

Then, it was time for the incredible keynote from Innovator's Mindset author George Couros @gcouros . Such an invigorating message of moving beyond a growth mindset. My morning sessions included Gamification with Tisha Redmond @tishrich . I had only connected with Tisha during our weekly Wednesday #xplap chats. She shared some amazing ways she has gamified her culinary arts class. I can't wait to adapt Chopped and The Amazing Race for my ELA classes.
Next, I had the opportunity to learn about leading like a pirate from the fabulous Shelley Burgess, I also got to hang out with Ku, as we used items in our purse/bag for an extreme hook challenge. After a delicious lunch, I learned from the gamification guru himself, Michael Matera @mrmatera. He shared lots of ways to add items/badges/currency to my existing ELA gamification. His ideas made me so excited for a full year of gamification next year. My final session on day one was a session on Media Literacy by the Queen BS Detector, Julie Smith. She reinforced the importance of teaching our students to look at all media with a critical lens. I know I won't look at media the same way again.

That night, I had the opportunity to have dinner with many participants, including Ben Brazeau @Braz74 who moderates #sstlap on Thursday nights. Then, I headed over to the Chancery for a live tweetup of #tlap. Led by Shelley Burgess, and attended by many fabulous pirate educators and authors like Andrea @andreakornowski and Sean @polonerd , it was quite an invigorating experience. 

Day 2 started with a quick breakfast and meet/greet after coming in to USM through pouring rain. Our keynote was given by none other than Pure Genius author Don Wettrick. He is simply amazing and inspired all in the theater to practice the "Six Traits" of Innovation. That which is: Collaborative, Task-Oriented, Daring, Relevant, Reflective and Ongoing. He shared some work his students have done...simply mind-blowing! It's amazing what the right teacher and freedom to innovate can do. Thanks for all you do, Don!

I attended a few unconference (edcamp) sessions about social deduction games and gamification in the elementary classroom, Then, I chatted over lunch with friends following a BreakoutEdu session led by Rebecca Gauthier @GauthierRebecca. So glad I had the chance to experience a Breakout, and I can't wait to add this component to my Gamification. I had fun getting my pirate books signed by these fine authors.

Then I had the opportunity to attend another session on social media, debunking Facebook, with Julie Smith. She really knows her stuff. We learned about some great resources and tools to help our students better analyze what they see on social media. Such an important skill.

Finally, it was time for my session on teaching argument and persuasion. Although it was a small group, those in attendance learned how to build and develop argument and reasoning skills with their students, that can lead to effective persuasion. Two attendees received copies of Erik Palmer's @erik_palmer new book, Good Thinking. Thanks to Erik for donating them.

Now I look toward another amazing year teaching middle school English, standing on the shoulders of these amazing educators, their inspiring books, and the plethora of creative ideas. Thanks to Chuck Taft @Chucktaft , Pam Nosbusch @PamelaNosbusch  and Will Piper @wdpiper for igniting my SPARK once again. Already planning for June 12-13, 2017.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Real-World Writing Connection...Using House Hunters



 On Friday, I shared pictures of my students engaged in a writing activity using a House Hunters episode. Many asked for more information, so I thought I'd write about it in a post.

I like to teach Kelly Gallagher's Six Real-World Writing Purposes, and have used this activity for the past few years when we get to Evaluate and Judge. For this activity, I choose a House Hunters episode (one of my favorites is Jed and Alisa & Coco)  to use as our data (and evidence).

Our first step is to watch the episode and take notes (here is our form) about the couple, their budget, and their wish list (both separate and together). Then, we view more of the episode, continuing to take notes on the pros/cons of all three houses the couple toured.

After the first two houses, students practice speaking skills (PVLEGS) by standing up and verbalizing the differences and similarities between them. This evaluation step is important so students can talk out their ideas before writing. In addition, the other students are able to hear others' perspectives. We have had some interesting discussions about what's a "deal breaker." Does the fact that a house didn't have a fireplace trump a poor location? If all three houses had updated kitchens and were all over budget, could those criteria be considered in the final decision? What were minor fixes and what would require some serious cash and time? These are all questions my students may need to ask when they look for a house or apartment some day. The real world aspect increases student engagement.

Finally, each student chooses which house is the best for the couple in the House Hunters episode, and write 1-2 paragraphs as Part One (using this form in Notability). They need to include specific details as evidence to support their choice, and they are expected to add some comparing/contrasting to the houses they did not choose. As an extension, I encourage the inclusion of a syllogism as they discuss the different criteria and options that led to their choice. We learned about syllogisms earlier in the year. I remind the students to avoid focusing on their own favorite; instead, to refer back to the couple's wish lists to determine the best choice.

The next day, we watch the reveal portion of the House Hunters episode, where the couple will make their decision. Part Two of this activity is where the students judge the couple's decision. Do they understand and agree with their reasoning? How do the students feel about their own choice after hearing what the couple decided. Does the couple's decision change their mind? Why or why not? Do the students think the couple made the best decision for them? They write down their thoughts.

Part Three is where the students get to choose the house they would like best, and write about how it would work for their family. Since no house is perfect right away, students include what they need to do in order to make this house better for their family. They enjoy this part, since all along-they have been focused on which house they would pick anyways.

I have used this activity over the past few years, and each year I add something new and improved. This year, the actual writing was done on Notability and shared back through our Schoology course. I'm also adding a flipgrid speaking component. I love this tool and haven't used it nearly enough recently. Students will prepare (utilizing Erik Palmer's ACOVA) and practice their (2 minutes or less) evaluation in Part One or Part Three. Once a student is happy with their recording, they'll give the OK to share their flipgrid with the class. I'm gamifying my classroom this spring (following Michael Matera's XPLap model), so I'm excited to include a side quest for XP points. Students can research and share details about a house they'd consider purchasing (in our area or an area they would like to live), relating their choice to their own wishes and needs.This is an optional extension, but those students who identified as Achievers on our Bartle Test will likely do it to get a higher ranking on our Leaderboard.

In the words of Dave Burgess, I didn't just create a writing/speaking/listening lesson. I created an experience that my students will remember.

Watching House Hunters in the classroom as a teaching tool? Who knew?

Give it a try.

Monday, February 29, 2016

World Read Aloud, World Read Aloud WEEK!

My 5th grade students and I had a phenomenal World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) last year. Many staff came in to read books to us, we Skyped with a few classes to read to each other, and Erik Palmer Skyped in to read aloud from The Princess Bride. (He was incredible, and it was unfortunate that he was unavailable this year due to his spreading PVLEGS love to teachers in Saudi Arabia.)

Of course I wanted to celebrate WRAD again this year...with my 6th middle school...with five different classes. 

Planning started early.

I knew I wanted to keep the class read aloud portion, so I connected with many of my teacher friends from other states, setting up our read alouds for the day before WRAD (on February 23). I'm thankful to Scott Akerson, Angela Rutschke, Paul Solarz, Heidi Jones, Laura Wagenman, Cara Cahill, Jess Lifshitz, and new friend Laura Frank. My students loved reading to their students, and loved being read to by them. 

I also wanted to reach out to more authors. Since I loved her books and hoped she would Skype with my class, I reached out to author Gae Polisner. Not only did she volunteer to read aloud to two of my classes, but she connected me with her author friends Amy Fellner Dominey, Carole Estby Dagg and Phil Bildner. All three were on board right away. 

Then, I took a day to contact many of the authors on Kate Messner's webpage. I hoped that a few could Skype with us, and was overwhelmed when all of them said yes! 

Well now I had a different "problem." I didn't have enough spots on February 24th. any creative thinker, I added another day. Now, I had a packed schedule of read alouds for February 23-25. 

That wasn't of the authors with an upcoming new release (Sticks & Stones, out on July 19) is local and lives in St. Paul, MN. Abby Cooper offered to visit and read aloud in TWO of my classes. I was over the moon. It would be one of her first school visits, and our first author visit. It was meant to be.

Here was our schedule for those three days.
Author name
Book titles
Feb 24
Scott Akerson (MO)
Read to each class
Feb 24
Gae Polisner
Summer of Letting Go, The Pull of Gravity, Memory of Things (ARC)
Feb 24
Lee Gjertsen Malone
The Last Boy at St. Edith's (new)
Feb 24
Phil Bildner
A Whole New Ballgame, Rookie of the Year, Marvelous Cornelius
Feb 24
Tamara Ellis Smith
Another Kind of Hurricane (July, 2015)
Feb 24
Amy Fellner Dominy
A Matter of Heart, Audition & Subtraction, OyMG
Feb 24
Joanne Levy (Toronto)
Small Medium at Large (new book out this December)
Feb 24
Carole Estby Dagg
The Year We Were Famous, Sweet Home Alaska (Feb 2, 2016)
Feb 24
Gae Polisner
Summer of Letting Go, The Pull of Gravity, Memory of Things (ARC)

Feb 25
Sarah Darer Littman
Backlash, Life After, Purge, Want to go Private?, Confessions of a Closet Catholic
Feb 25
Gretchen Kelley (Abu Dhabi)
Superheroes Don't Eat Veggies (new)
Feb 25
Melanie Conklin
Counting Thyme (April 12, 2016)
Feb 25
Greg Armamentos
Feb 25
Sarah Jamila Stevenson
The Latte Rebellion, Underneath, The a Truth Against the World
Feb 25
Abby Cooper visit
Sticks and Stones (July 19, 2016)

Well, if you're wondering how WRAD ended up extending over five days, listen to this. Author Gretchen Kelley lives in Abu Dhabi, and had to reschedule her read aloud Skype for Feb 23rd. Then, Mr. Akerson's school had a snow day and rescheduled for February 26th, and Mrs. Rutschke needed to reschedule for Feb 26 due to a class ski trip.

So, yes...that's how this pirate teacher created a World Read Aloud EXPERIENCE for her students.

I can't wait to do it all again next year... 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Warning: Distracted Teacher!

Does this sound like you?

Because this is, admittedly all too often, me.

I try to tackle one thing at a time and focus on my task. However, when I plan, it's more like..."Squirrel!"

Whenever I try to get some school work done, I end up in a never ending spiral of random tasks. Don't get me wrong, many of them lead to the most creative ideas and collaborations, but my thinking is definitely not linear.

Like I mentioned before, maybe you'll see yourself in this breakdown of my latest attempts at commenting on student blogs. (Not even all 140 of them. I just wanted to get ONE class of 38 done).

*Note...I did manage to finish them all at some point that evening. It should also be noted that in the midst of my randomness, I started a running list for this post, which I find rather ironic.

Without further ado, here's a peek into my distracted brain...

   I started to comment on my students' book blogs on our Kidblog site.
   I read and commented on a few before deciding that my writing groups were too large (and might be the reason my students' peer comments were not as deep and helpful as they could be). So...I created a writing buddy list for that class.
   Then, I joined one of my favorite Twitter chats- #sstlap and read some tweets, said hello to a few educators.
   Back to commenting on a few blog posts.
   I got to thinking that I should make a writing buddy list for the other morning class as well, so I did.
   Once again, I went back to commenting on a few more posts
   Well, after #sstlap comes #ditchbook chat, where I ended up in a conversation about an upcoming student-created videos chat topic. I feel strongly about this subject, so a teacher friend and I planned to co-moderate a future chat in March.
   While on Twitter, I was reminded that I need to tweak my Global School Play Day (GSPD) post for Oliver Schinkten. I took a look at it, made some revisions, and then sent it to him.
   Ok, back to a few of my student blog comments...
   Oops, I realized I hadn't posted in my fitness FB group, so I checked some other daily posts before responded to a few. Then, I posted my eating and workout for the day.
   It was at this point that I had an "a-ha" moment about my distracted behavior making an interesting blog post, so I jotted down what I had accomplished (or what had distracted me) so far that night.
   Back to some more blog comments...
   I looked over at my book stack, and decided to read a little from the one on top-feeling justified that I needed a break. Read about 50 pages, and then found a good place to stop and went...
   Back to commenting on a few posts.
   A tweet in the latter part of the #ditchbook chat gave me a great idea for a short story activity, and I spent a little time creating it.
   Then, I got thinking about the next short story I planned to read with my group. I read through it and came up with a fun way to introduce it and provide some context.
   You got it...back to the blog comments.
   Reading more comments, and looking at my students' goals, I reviewed their portfolio self-assessments. I got an idea for how to help them be more reflective. I made changes to their response sheet.
   Then, since I was already in the tweaking mindset, I pondered how I could improve students' self-assessment during Socratic seminars. Since my professional growth goal is student self-assessment and I had an observation the next week, I worked on deepening the self-reflection piece for my next seminar.
   Finally, I finished those blog comments...3 hours later.

Although it took much longer than I anticipated, I had accomplished more than just blog comments.

Yes, I have a distracted brain.

Doesn't everyone?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Global School Play Day in Middle School

I witnessed sheer joy in my classroom last Wednesday.


My 6th grade students-middle schoolers- were playing games.
Social games.
No-tech games.
Board games.
Games that requiring reading directions.
Games that necessitated taking turns.
Games needing clarification and compromise.
Games requiring setup and clean up.
Games of chance.
Games of strategy.
Games of skill.
Games for two people and games for many more.
Active games.
Fun games.
Choice games.

All of this during the school day, in place of regularly scheduled core classes.

Yes, I have English standards to teach.
Many, in fact.
However, I don't teach standards; I teach students.

In addition to standards, my students need to know how to socialize: how to talk to each other. They need strategies that help them compromise and problem solve peer disputes. My students need practice asking for clarification and explaining their creative thinking. While socializing with friends, my students need empathy for those seemingly left out, and a desire to include everyone.

Being allowed to play without teacher control or interference, my students learned more about kindness and collaboration than I could have imagined.

I saw this quote on Facebook today from Herding Kate in Kindergarten, and it echoes what I witnessed on Wednesday's Global School Play Day.

"You can discover more about a child in an hour of play than in a year of standardized tests."

I sure learned a lot about my students by observing them through play, by talking to them as they played, and in some cases, playing along with them. I learned more than from data generated by bubbling in answers on a multiple choice test.

On the Global School Play Day, I deepened connections with my students and discovered something new about each one.

My students and I participated last year, and I plan to do it again for many years to come.

There's something so refreshing about breaking from the ordinary and providing an experience.

It's one they won't soon forget.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Connected Educator Lunch Break

At lunch yesterday, one of my colleagues asked me what I was doing on my phone.
So, I explained.

  • I reviewed my work emails to see if there were any that needed a response before the end of the day (which would be my next break).
  • I reviewed photos taken during our morning Skype with Jess Lifshitz' class in Chicago, where we discussed our Mock Caldecott winners. I had just started a PicCollage to share later.
  • I responded to a Twitter message from Matt Miller about his Monday Skype with my last two classes. He's going to help my students improve their sketch noting skills, and we were discussing how the 30 minutes would be best used.
  • I read a direct Twitter message from author Gae Polisner, responding that she would be able to read aloud to my students on World Read Aloud Day (Feb 24). So excited!
  • I was reading a group tweet among Chuck Taft, Erik Palmer and myself, regarding my June Summer Spark presentation. I found out that Erik was donating copies of his upcoming book (about teaching argument and reasoning) to give away to participants. So excited.
  • I checked in with my healthy eating/exercise Facebook group and responded to a few FB messages.
  • I listened to/read messages from members of my various Voxer groups, and left a short voice Vox in response to a specific question.
  • I sent a Remind message to parents about our upcoming field trip to the University of Minnesota.
  • I read the day's Nerdy Book Club Blog post, and then opened my Amazon app to put two of the suggested books on my expanding wish list.
  • I looked over my Twitter notifications, responding to a few.
  • I scanned my personal email messages and took care of those.

My colleague was surprised at what I did with these 20 minutes during lunch, all the while participating in conversation with our other colleagues where appropriate.

He commented about my large circle of connections outside our building.

That's what being a connected educator means.
I chat with other educators all over the country/world so that I can learn and grow.
I look for opportunities to connect my students with other students who have different experiences and surroundings.
I seek unexpected and incredible experiences for my students, like Global Read Aloud, Mock Caldecott, Global School Play Day (Feb 3), World Read Aloud Day, March Book Madness Battles, etc. These experiences help get kids excited to come to school.

I'm not content staying inside the box (the walls of my classroom/school/district). Outside the box is much more interesting.

Well, I left lunch a few minutes early to get set up for a GHO with Ms Lifshitz' afternoon class and Ms Picone's class from Long Island. Then, there would be one more Skype to wrap up our celebration of possible award-winning picture books. Before leaving for the day, I finished that PicCollage to post on our class Twitter page and Instagram account. It's how I tell our story.

Just another productive day at lunch for this connected educator.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How/Why I Read 21 Books Over Winter Break

Strange things happen in classrooms the day before a long, two week winter break.

In my ELA classroom, during the last class of the day, I declared to my 38 students that my reading goal was 16 books in 16 days (which was the length of our winter break).

Once I'd declared it, I knew I had to do it.

I knew that I could do it. (An almost every one of them believed I would do it.)

It became my personal mission. Not a bad way to spend my time off work, right?

My "to read" pile has taken over my dining room, my office and even my bedroom. I have over 240 books on my Amazon wish list. I have books on hold at the public library. My 3M app can't accept any more borrowed books because I've reached my limit. I even have a few books en route that I ordered after reading reviews from fellow teachers on Facebook. (And it continues to grow with each Nerdy Book Club winner list.)

Yes, I certainly had enough reading material to choose from.

I started first thing on Saturday morning, December 19th: the first full day of break. I read every chance I got. I read on my iPad, in my recliner chair, at the kitchen table, in bed, in the car (including audiobooks), and on the treadmill (which makes my workout time just fly by).

And I completely loved every word, page, chapter...every minute of it.

I discovered some new authors and read new books from "old" favorites. I took the opportunity to read from the piles of books laying around my house, but also checked out and borrowed books recommended by fellow teachers. I read award winners and some of those books I'd always meant to read...but just hadn't.  I read books that inspired me to read others in the series or others by the same author.

Wonderfully, when I started sharing my reads on Twitter and Facebook, other readers shared their favorites with me. I read many of them during my winter break challenge, while others are now stacked on one of the many piles "to be read" soon.

It's a wonderful thing...being part of a community of readers.

I'm proud of my accomplishment...even reading well past my goal.

Currently, I'm reading my 21st book called Everybody Sees the Ants. By A. S. King. Because of how wonderful Ask the Passengers was.

Here is the list of the books I read over the past 16 days.
What an amazing adventure, getting lost in these incredible stories.
I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. Spring Break can't get here fast enough!

1. I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
2. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
3. The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
4. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
5. I Am the Traitor by Allen Zadoff
6. Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler
7. Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera
8.  Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
9. The List by Siobhan Vivian
10. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
11. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
12. Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
13. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
14. Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
15. Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
16. The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
17. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
18. Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith
19. Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
20. I Survived Collection #1 by Lauren Tarshis
*My current read:

21. Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King

**If you want to see my short posts celebrating each one, check out my Facebook page.

Here are the books on my "to be read" list right now. Guess you know what I'll be doing.

Happy reading!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Top 12 Going Against the Grain Posts From 2015

Here are my top 12 posts from the past 12 months, based on views.
They show my thinking, my struggles, my joys.
My journey as an educator.
I love this profession.

1. 53 Precious Minutes 8/16/15 (1,024 views)

    This post evolved as I tried to wrap my head around teaching all of the ELA standards in 53 minutes each day (which is actually 50 minutes when you remove passing time). I wanted to focus on all of the experiences that I knew would keep my students excited about reading, writing, speaking and listening.

 2. Reading Freedom 8/29/15 (953 views)
    This post was inspired by my reading of The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner. I was thoroughly enjoying the book, and was struck by how frustrating it must be when students are assigned books (lacking choice) and are asked to complete worksheets or answer questions about their books. I knew i wouldn't want my pleasure reading ruined in this way, and wanted to reflect on how I could create the same pleasurable reading experiences for my students.

3. I'm Not in Kansas Anymore 9/12/15 (822 views)
     This post was my response to a conversation I had with my instructional coach one morning. I was trying to be the same teacher I was in elementary (with 120 minutes each day for ELA and 55 students) as in middle school (with 50 minutes each day for ELA and 130 students). He helped me realize I would go crazy that way. I needed to find a way to be me in this new place.

4. Owning My Teacher Failures 9/20/15 (603 views)
     This post grew from the realization that although I encourage my students to learn from their failures, I wasn't owning mine. As I thought back on my first few weeks as a middle school teacher, I felt it was important to acknowledge my failures in an attempt to better my teaching. Now that I think about it, I have failed so many more times since this post.

5. I Say Yes to the Desk 8/23/15 (582 views)
     After reading so many articles about getting rid of teacher desks, I felt strongly about keeping mine. I wanted to be brave and share my thoughts. This post inspired many who felt similarly, as well as those who disagreed with me. That's ok. We can agree to disagree. Just do what feels right for you.

6. My Twitter Chat Menu 8/13/15 (572 views)
     This post was inspired by a Twitter chat, hosted by the amazing Michael Matera. I was a learner in that chat, having nothing much to share with others on the topic of gamification (where Michael is the expert). It inspired me to think about the different purposes for joining chats. Sometimes I share, sometimes I discuss, sometimes I lurk and learn, and other times I stretch. 

7. Multiple Personalities 8/2/15 (553 views)
Writing this post was cathartic. I had been unsuccessfully to clone myself into all of my teacher heroes. I say unsuccessfully because I was never going to be as good as each one of my mentors. Luckily, I don't have to be. I just need to take the best parts of them and incorporate it into my teaching. It's me, but better.

8. The Little #stu2stuchat That Could! 2/27/15 (470 views)
I wrote this post when my #stu2stuchat was on a roll. Wanting to reflect on its origins and marvel at how a little idea, with effort and belief, can become something bigger than you imagined. So proud!

9. I'm a Bookaholic 8/8/15 (468 views)
This post was a way to reflect on my reading life. The way I approached pleasure reading. The sheer magnitude of choosing reading material from the vast array of incredible books. I realized that I was addicted to reading, hence the title of this post.

10. The Power of a PLN 9/5/15 (361 views)
I wrote this post to honor my PLN. Having just had yet another amazing discussion with one of my Voxer groups, I thought about how fortunate I have been to know and access the collective wisdom of so many educators outside my building. These connections have made me a much better teacher. For that, I am so grateful. I hope to inspire them in the same ways.

11. My PD Stack 7/31/15 (317 views)
The sheer number of PD books in my stack inspired this post. I needed some way to process the importance of reading and learning from PD books. The power of choice and utilizing my time to push myself as an educator. My stack has meaning to me. I hope yours does as well.

12. Who I Read For 8/5/15 (308 views)
As I was reading a plethora of books last summer, I got to thinking about the students I was reading for. Even though i read for pleasure, I always read with students in mind. Who might connect with this book? Who might like this book after reading another? Who might see themselves in this book? Who might understand someone else after reading this book? Over winter break, my goal was to read 16 books in 16 days. I met my goal, and realized I read for many of my students. I can't wait to share these books with them.

Happy New Year everyone!
Thanks for reading posts from Going Against the Grain in 2015. There's much more to come...