Saturday, March 21, 2015 K-8 Workshop

I went to one at a (EEEK! Says this Google/Apple Girl's Heart) Microsoft store today because I thought it looked interesting. And ... I totally missed that our district had Teri Lesesne coming. I do read the Friday Focus newsletters. Apparently not close enough. I even read her blog post about heading out for the drive to SA and didn't connect the dots until a colleague posted on FB. Anyway. Oops but OK oops.

Thought #1 I am (present tense, not past ... cause I refuse to think about how long ago it actually was!) an English major. This is my identity. Story person, through and through. I don't even really like writing (Slice of Life posts are AWESOME but the stress they would put me through. I still remember some kid's TV writing show we watched like every Monday back in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade? It ended with a story starter and our homework that night would be to finish the story. OH HOW I HATED THAT SO MUCH!). Let me read. That is my favorite.

Thought #2
Any love of tech I might have? Or ability? Really pretty recent.

Thought #3 makes it very easy.

Thought #4
The puzzles are fun.

Thought #5
Can barely imagine the skills the jobs our kiddos will be holding will turn out to need. Solid reading. Solid math. Solid PROBLEM SOLVING, COLLABORATION, and DESIGN of ALL SORTS skills. Whether it's computer programming or not ... this can only be a good foundation for them.

Thought #6
There has to be a way to make it successful during #makermornings. But when the computers are on all they ever want to do is play Coolmath. Not a fan of Coolmath. Many of them did Hour of Code but how can I get the message across to all of them there is so much more? The drop in model of #makermornings could still work ... if I had like maybe once to see all of them at the same time to introduce the specific idea of using Code Studio. But that would take a good portion of the time that is left this school year. Testing. You are the bane.

Look who I ran into at the coding workshop!

A photo posted by Susan Reeves (@susanfreeves) on

Friday, March 20, 2015

Finally Friday March 20

Happy birthday to my Dad!

If you are reading this in Feedly or Bloglovin' lick through for embedded pins. Then click through for the original sources!

I need to make this pizza.

This is something I still want to explore. I got a beginning set of activities on TPT but haven't actually done it yet. Purchased half the supplies myself and then got sidetracked by life. And much harder to deal with purchasing/reimbursement rules for school.

It's not really my thing but on a quick whim I threw out a couple patterns during one #makermorning and the kids do love it. So I must explore further.

Fabulous. He's older than my kiddos.

This lady is 90 years old and DESIGNING TECH. I want to be that cool when I am 90. (In the interest of full disclosure I am not normally an NPR listener. Random page I follow on FB shared it first. ;))

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gail Carriger's Finishing School

This one is YA so it was for me reading (ha! Do I fit that "category" anymore?) and not school collection development.

Are the covers not fabulous? I just finished number 2 & 3.

Mystery? Check!
Victorian London (alternate reality one but still)? Check!
Humor? Check!

Not even the best example but the only one I stopped to mark. It's from W&W (read an e-arc on a Kindle ... so all I know is location 2357 of 3394, 69% of the way through the book) ...

"There was a moment of terror, wondering if the train would stop to find out who they were and why there were running on a normally vacant track. But the other train sped by, showing no interest whatsoever and no inclination to stop. it was mostly second class and clearly had its own problems to worry about.
If anyone saw Monique, a well-dressed woman of quality, dangling form the doorway, they apparently assumed everyone had problems in life and moved on."

Slight spoiler there. Sorry.

I really need to get a hold of copies of her other books to see if I like them as much. There are just too many books in the world to read and not enough time. See the author's website here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#IMWAYR March 16

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

GREAT IDEA! Check out all of the What Are You Reading? participants for title ideas.

EEEK! It's been a month! Oops. My Spring Break is over. The first three days were super cold (for here) and rainy. Blah. Oh, well. There are two three day weekends in April. And bookfair is 90% completed. Still have paperwork but the hardest parts are done! The last couple years we've come back from SB to do that. This year? We got it done first. ;)

So ... because of the month this will be a long list. I think I shall break up and post some actual reviews here over the next week or two. The pics always link to the top of my Goodreads list. There were some great ones, some good ones, and some OK but not the best ever ones. I have a hard time abandoning books. I keep hoping they will get better. And they do, sometimes. The cost is dealing with some that don't.

2000th GR book posted was Devil in the White City.
Oh! And I haven't even put a couple in there. Think a British Greg Heffley. You'll hear more about him in a bit.

On deck coming up ...
I really must finish some of these. Not finishing them makes it seem like I didn't like them which is not necessarily true. I just got distracted by "I must finish some of my paperbacks so that I can donate them to the district PTA Used Book Sale" over spring break. I am crossing my fingers that some new books get delivered soon. Due to many shenanigans (both admin and my own) budgets didn't get opened up as early as usual so I am behind. All the orders are in ... but only two of them have been delivered. I feel very behind in picture books! It is so inconvenient to go to my public library and I just don't get nearly as many electronic ARCs for them.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Ends

I just spent some time on Etsy looking around for some bookends (I cleaned out some books to donate and now need a couple more to keep the shelves looking nice! Though if you were to look at my pre-order list you'd see not for long #donotneedtobuyallthebooks). I will refrain from making fun of the less attractive ones (but seriously ... go take a look because there are some primo contenders out there) and will just share three I truly liked.

Etsy Bookends 1

On sale when I took the screenshot. Tempting! It's actually a lamp but since I don't have a plug behind any of my shelves (NO WAIT! As I turned around to look ... I DO! But down lower than would make sense) I would just use them as bookends.

This one is sold alone. Which is actually fine ... I wish more were sold as just one. But it's on the pricey side. And still, where did my weird owl fixation come from? Some of you might find this one laughable. :P

Etsy Bookends 2

If these were sold separately it would be a no brainer. I'd for sure get one if with shipping it was $40-45 or so. In most cases I don't use bookends on the same shelf.

Etsy Bookends 3

Right now I have a sweet Star Wars (the words) set. They actually stay together on the shelf with the Origami Yoda series and Shakespearean Star Wars between them. Then a set of gargoyles that are separated. And a set of ... goodness. What was the name of the two big king statues in Lord of the Rings?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Finally ... Friday the 13th

Spring break is almost over! The first few days were cold and rainy (thank you, south TX, for ridiculous timing). Then it got pretty ... and my car wouldn't start. Wasn't anything big ... just needed to replace the battery. Should there not be some warning? Luckily I wasn't out!

Kind of a dull stay-cation but I have got a lot of reading in. So much the tingly pinkie fingers are back. #IMWAYR is going to be long next week. Well. Long in terms of lists. I never write super long reviews.

So I'm not super "girly" beyond loving Anne of Green Gables. Never went through a princess phase. Or was that not something my generation did, anyway? Pre-Disney mania? But I want to try these! Maybe ... Jedis kicking or holding a light saber instead of tutus?

Total irony that I pinned this within hours of the car incident. That I ended up having to get my Dad to help me with.

Photos. I love to read about taking them and when I go on trips I take more. Still working on the "day to day" type stuff.

This will still be attempted before Monday.


I should add this to the Makerspace page. And see if she sells prints in her Etsy shop.

#teacherspayteachers #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #makered #learning

A photo posted by Krissy Venosdale (@venspired) on

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Finally ... Saturday March 7

Didn't get to anything yesterday cause I went straight over to a family party after school. My brother and his wife and three kids recently moved back to town and it was sort of a housewarming/s-i-l birthday bash. Also we had homemade Cafe Rio style pork tacos and they were TASTY.

I am now on spring break. Colder than it's been in a while (IRONY) but oh well. SPRING BREAK! Reading to do! And cleaning. Click through for original sources.

LOVE THIS. Still debating ... the next grade for #makermornings after the break ... has repeatedly done the worst keeping things tidy the last time. Do I get out the Legos? That seems punitive but they were asked to be careful with a brand new set of specialized Lego pieces (giveaway from TCEA but still ... new and different and fun and now most of it is lost) but no luck. One tub mess. Still a learning curve on this maker thing. If they spend all their time looking for "one particular piece" they don't get to spend much time building! And they don't get to come enough to see the connection "if we didn't make such a mess we'd be able to find things more quickly." Still need more pieces for the number of kids we have. The campus decided to submit more ... traditional grants.

Loved this photo. I'm in the middle of The Devil in the White City (enjoying, even if it is a bit "odd" the way the two stories are being told together) and they are always talking about "out-Eiffeling Eiffel."

THIS COMBINES A LOVE FOR STAR WARS LEGOS AND PHOTOGRAPHY. Which I'm not any good at but I love to read about.

Amen. Amen. Amen. After a week where I have vowed never ever to "give" anything away at school again (many complaints and nothing was ever "enough") and even after being the only one on campus affected by a budget cut of 55% (let me rephrase that because the budget cut affected everyone ... the library was just the only place that TOOK a budget cut) an offer of a possible fund raiser was denied ... we do it for the kids.

Will see you on #IMWAYR both this week and next. Later!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bookfair ... Good for their Brains, Not as Much Ours

(One day last week ... Magnatiles and a Marbelous set come in in time for ONE #makermorning before bookfair. Big hit! Fifth graders who think they are too cool having fun.)

1) Only one volunteer signed up to help all week. Others have shown up unannounced (and we're super grateful! Just didn't know you were coming beforehand!), Super dead fair so ... what to have them do while they are here? When the shelves are covered by bookfair carts and stacked chairs?
2) Meetings on other campuses and dismissal (daycare from the library) and bookfair = trying to be in three places at once.
 3) Quote from Kinder actually skipping down the hall with book in hand "This is absolutely good for my life."
 4) Meetings on two other days that TOTALLY could have been emails.
 5) Way more district paperwork than Scholastic paperwork. Why?
 6) How do you handle when one student wins a random drawing (from those who answered math challenge questions correctly) and--with good intentions--a teacher asks if we can give it to a different student since said student had already purchased something from the fair? :/
 7) Ivan in paperback! I love Ivan. Still wish I had pics of going to visit him. Or, maybe not. #badlateeightiesearlyninetieshair
 8) Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase only $3! And Cosmic only $1!
 9) Losing my own credit card after purchases for nieces and nephews.
 10) Losing major front office financial paperwork. I used to be so organized. I cannot find a system that I can keep up with. Too many distractions! Less than before--thank you partial walls--but still a lot. I finally found it in "J" of the filing cabinet. ??? Distractions. Both outside of my brain and in. What works for you?
11) CrashCourse Kids and (soon) SciShow Kids debut! They've got a little ways to go to equal their more grown up counterparts but I'm hopeful!
12) BANGING MY HEAD on a sharp edge of a fair cart. All for combing the dumb pop star books. Many witnesses to said event. No untoward language got out (I don't go beyond "darn it" and "what the heck" anyway), luckily, but GOODNESS IT HURT. Still have a goose egg.
13) Genius district teased us all with a 5 AM "The roads have been deemed passable. Campuses will open as usual." 5 AM. Both staff and student homes. Guess what probably won't be happening again. ;) (Cause it was more than us complaining, that's for sure.)
14) Voters on the Seuss door ... it looks like they were kind of unsportsmanlike. I didn't lock it down and require a Google login because I wanted lots of families and friends to participate. But when MULTIPLE votes come in within seconds of each other for the same door ... multiple times ... it takes some fun out of it. Guess I will have to lock it down next time and not let classroom communities participate. Or just not have it. :(
15) Mega hits compared to usual on my first library S'more newsletter. I should have used that instead of other routes a long time ago. I've had a S'more account since before they were a paid service. But then it became a "thing" and I had to be contrary and refuse. For a couple months.
16) Students begged me to try spinning the BeanBoozled wheel. That was GROSS, my friends. Seriously. Can't get the taste out. They thought it was hilarious. That said if you go by Target they had a full sized Seussisms for only $5.
17) Didn't do anything besides the doors for Seuss. The doors and wear my Seuss converse.
18) Then there was this. I should have got the full size Seussisms. I should have. Cause the bitty gift book version is just so bitty. And it's too awesome!
A photo posted by Angie Oliverson (@msoreadsbooks) on

Spring break begins in somewhere around 21 hours.