Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Bloodline (Star Wars) So I know this won't be for everyone. You do kind of have to be a Star Wars fan. And it's not one I'd get for an elementary library by a long shot. Not even sure I would for an middle school unless I knew I had a lot of rabid SW fans. High school, yes.

So even though it's not a kidlit book (more SW kidlit posts to come) it WAS really good so I thought I'd elaborate just a bit.

One ... Leia is awesome! Girl power. Like way more than she got even in The Force Awakens. Plus the whole First Order beginnings are explained much better in this book. From the movie alone it's sort of like "how on earth did this happen again?"

Two ... I thought the politics were pretty interesting. In different ways mirrored today's (both US and European) and early US. Everyone has some right ideas but can't seem to get along long enough (or trust "the other side" enough) to work together for a common good.

Three ... more Han and Leia. They're old now but I still love them.
(Like the "stuff" in the background? Experienced or patient enough bookstagrammer I am not. Plus e-readers aren't quite as pretty as the hard copy books anyway.)

Four ... supporting characters. There are some great ones in here.

These are quotes I got from Goodreads because I was so engrossed in the story I didn't stop to highlight!

“When the people with authority don’t have to answer to citizens of the galaxy, the result is tyranny.” 

“She realized, then, something she had never fully understood before. She'd always wondered what had led her father to turn to the dark side, to become Darth Vader. She'd imagined it came from ambition, greed, or some other venal weakness. Never had she considered that the turn might begin in a better place, out of the desire to save someone or to avenge a great wrong. Even if it led to evil, that first impulse might be born out of loyalty, a sense of justice, or even love.” 

“But, Princess Leia!” C-3PO’s voice rose in alarm. “You can’t! The mission sounds terribly dangerous.” “Threepio, in the quarter century you’ve served me, have you ever known me to run away from danger?” “Well. No.” The droid considered this a moment before adding hopefully, “Yet you might eventually develop a stronger instinct for survival.” Leia couldn’t help laughing. “Don’t count on it.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

140 Twitter Tips Summer PD Reading

I recently got a new Kindle Paperwhite (I already had a Fire but I am testing to see if less blue light helps me sleep better. :P) and decided to try the Kindle Unlimited trial. Terrible fiction selection but noticed the non-fic actually had some interesting titles. Doubt I'll keep it past the summer but for now it's handy.

140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network, and Reinvigorate Your Career140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network, and Reinvigorate Your Career by Brad Currie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For beginners to Twitter four stars or maybe even higher. Though would they be reading a book? Don't get me wrong ... I mean three as a compliment. I really liked the middle section (for those familiar with Twitter) and the first half or so of the last section (looking to become a Twitter "rock star"). This will take repeated references to get the full advantage.

My notes were taken from the Kindle version so I don't have page numbers. Just Locations.

Location 439     #21 Turn Motivational Tweets into Images
Hmmm. Had already been thinking about creating some book quotes for our hallway monitor so I will get on that. Just tweeted it out (already had it on Instagram). In the 10 seconds since realized two things. One ... I already had it on IG. Could have just tweeted the link at the same time. And Two ... I didn't watermark the image. I just made it on WordSwag. Going to take a while until my "edits" are good enough that people might want to borrow but it's a good habit to get into all the same.

Location 469     #24 Tweet Daily
I go in waves. Still WAAAAAAAAAAY more lurking because I don't always have something to say. And sometimes I feel like Twitter gets a bit ridiculous with all the "You're so awesome" "No, you are." (Do I sound rude?) I've been on Twitter for a long time. Since before my blog, in fact. That's why the username doesn't match. When I first joined Twitter it was to follow like Hollywood people (lame, I know). Then that got boring but more authors/illustrators were on Twitter. Then it because this amazing place to learn from like minded edu-peeps. I could try to rebuild everything but getting people to refollow ... annoying to them. And me to refollow everyone under a different name. So I don't "match."

Location 731     #52 Check out the #PersonalizedPD hashtag.
Haven't checked that out yet. Should start. Totally why I blog and Tweet and love EdCamp style stuff. So much of the other just doesn't apply.

Location 808     #61 Build Twitter Stamina
Part of that for me is not feeling bad when someone doesn't answer a tweet. We can't all keep up with everything! It's not usually personal and even if it is ... so what? The authors talked about that as well though I think it was under a different tip.

Location 837     #63 Create a Classroom Twitter Handle
Sometimes I wonder about starting a new one specifically for my school. Right now the only place I do that is FB. Everywhere else is entirely "me."

Location 892     #69 Listen to Student Voice (#stuvoice)
Would love to see that. Sort of tried a couple years back with paper tweets but didn't stick with it and not enough teachers "got" it. Most actually still don't seem to. I need to be more patient and understanding and consistent. And remember #61.

Location 933     #70 Tell Your School's Story
Super important because we HAVE TO. Sometime in the next week or so I'll write up a bit of what I thought of this one. Pretty awesome.

Location 1065      #84 Start a Hashtag for your book (#140EduTips)
I don't have a book but I'm sort of lurking on a hashtag two schools in my district are doing with their teachers and summer reading. It's pretty awesome, actually. I debated putting the hashtag for this book  in my post title. Maybe I should have.

Location 1153      #91 Collaborate with Someone.
Talked to people but haven't actually done any sort of project. Anyone game?

Location 1255     #102 Display Your Twitter Stream
In order for that to be useful you have to tweet pretty regularly. I suppose I could have my Twitter feed to the side on my blog. Necessary? I don't know. A specifically SCHOOL feed would be good to have displayed prominently.

Location 1281     #105 Manage Your Social Media Accounts with Hootsuite
There's another tool I've actually known about for years but know I don't use to its greatest extent. For a while I was ahead enough on blog post ideas that I used it to schedule things. Last couple years not so much.

Location 1323     #111 Vine for Education
I've seen this done so well ... just need to get more in the habit of taking pictures/short clips. Would this be easier than IG?

Location 1350     #115 Create a Twitter Recipe with If This Then That app
Ha! I totally turned my blog post Tweet IFTTT recipe off a couple months ago. I was testing something. Realized the other day I still hadn't turned it back on! I use Networked Blogs to auto-post to FB but I know that brings it down in the algorithms. I wonder if IFTTT does the same?

Way too much work thinking right now. Later. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

(PS Also debating the Scholastic Reading Summit in SA. Worth it? Having to choose between it and more BOOKS or Star Wars (personal or the Really Good Stuff classroom set!) or Harry Potter stuff. Or CONVERSE or maybe even girly TIEKS.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Coming home with a cold makes it less interesting to unpack and clean (wait, when was that ever interesting?). Why not sit on the couch (not still in my PJs, at least) and explore some of the people and topics I can get to online? I am jealous of all the peeps at ISTE and at ALA (because all that good stuff AND Orlando/Mickey/HP?) ...

This is the badge I made up. Nothing mind boggling unless you are also taking cold medication. :P

Been poking around the Augmented Reality and Green Screen stuff mostly. On to Maker stuff after some reading. And if I stop sneezing to somewhere to get a green backdrop. Only I look like Rudolph right now so that can wait.

At least next year I should be able to go. It's in town!

On a side note are any of you going to KidLitCon? Thinking about it. Just thinking right now but it's fairly accessible.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#IMWAYR June 27

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. 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.

Just home from a lovely family reunion in the mountains with lots of time with 5 siblings (and 3 of 4 in laws), my parents, and 11 nieces and nephews. Came home with a cold so relaxing time sounds nice. Even though there are Things To Do. Got some reading done in the car but no mobile blogging! Some of these were read the week before, just didn't get a post last week. If you ever poke around IG you got a couple pics.

My favorite was Kids Deserve It. Your School Rocks was also good. Need to go back and look at my electronic highlights. I'll do another post on them later because they are worth it!

City of Thirst took me a while to get through which is odd because it's so good!

Library Olympics was fun but I liked the first one best.

I didn't actually read the Enemy books all that carefully. I find them a bit gooky. Even for zombie apocalypse books! Oddly, though, the characters keep me wanting to know more.

I've been listening to The Wild Robot audiobook (I know, I'm missing the pictures!).
Also reading these (combo of purchased and Kindle Lending Library. And I signed up for the 30 day Unlimited trial when I noticed they had quite a few teaching books that looked interesting. Their fiction selection is pretty much rubbish but I'm poking around the PD!).
And should finish Kiersten White's And I Darken.

We'll see what else!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kohls Cares Salina Yoon and Leo Lionni

Haven't checked in a while ... look! How adorable! If we were still allowed to have stuffed animals around our books I would be all over this. Check it out at Kohls.

Later. Niece and nephews are here while their parents run some errands.

Monday, June 13, 2016

#IMWAYR June 13

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. 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.
Read Summer 1

I still had some classes last week so it wasn't quite #bookaday yet.
I really liked the Gordon Parks picture book bio. Already added it to a first order for next year. I hear that some feel Thunder Boy, Jr. is too general. I can understand that ... I don't think he ever even mentions a tribe and they all have different traditions. That said, the author is Native American so if he's OK with it then I'm not going to point fingers. 
I didn't love Raymie. Minority, I know. So beautifully written and yet just not my favorite story.
Still catching up on all the Rick Riordan's that I've owned like since the week they were released!
Tyranny of Petticoats was ... uneven. At least for me. That's the beauty of anthologies, though ... if a couple stories don't "do" it for you then there are lots of other choices! I did really enjoy the story featuring Bessie Coleman and "Tony" (the fictional part). And the two Garrett sisters on the Alaskan frontier (no surprise I loved that one, though, because YS Lee wrote it and I love her stuff!).

This week there will be more RR. Plus Mr. Lemoncello's Olympics and the Treasure Hunters Secret of the Forbidden City (the only James Patterson I'll read anymore). Should probably finish City of Thirst, too (I SO loved the Map to Everywhere ... timing has just made this one go pretty slow for me!). 

A photo posted by Angie Oliverson (@msoreadsbooks) on

I got three professional books that I hope will sort of reignite some fire. Last year I got very ... tired. I don't like to say that out loud but you could probably tell. Exhausted, not particularly inspired with cool ideas, plagued with bad headaches, and just treading water and not able to swim upstream against some of the campus' negative currents. Summer is about reinvigoration because I want to do what's best for both me AND the kids and staff.

Monday, June 6, 2016

#IMWAYR SO CLOSE to summer #bookaday. Really pretty much there.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. 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.

Spent some time at B&N today so there are lots of late to the party picture books added. FUN late to the party. If only my consideration list wasn't already longer than next year's budget. :P

So my favorite novel of the bunch was Bloodlines (Claudia Gray). Awesome Star Wars storytelling there. This Steve Berry was WAY better than the last one.
The SW graphic novel missed some parts of the movies that I like but on the whole it was good.
I'm catching up on Rick Riordan cause I've had all of them for so long and NOT gotten them read ... but I promised them to my nephew so before he gets them I need to get them read. I liked Lost Hero better than Apollo. And I already have books two, three, and four!

I don't ever write long reviews but there is a little more detail on Goodreads. Click on the screenshot to go to my shelf.

This coming week? More Rick Riordan. I need to pick up the new Kate DiCamillo at the public library. Justin Cronin's Passage #3. We shall see!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Finally Friday ... Wait It's Saturday June 4

Our students' last day was Thursday. I spent most of Friday cleaning and organizing (because who can ever do that when kiddos need books? Or even after school when every meeting under the sun or even the after school care group can just suddenly appear w/o notice? I am the last to know). Will continue to do so several mornings of next week, with some PD in the afternoons. Then I'll be done.

We also had a PTA luncheon yesterday. And a quick meeting for "service awards." This made me feel old. Three years as a HS Spanish teacher. A couple years break for my master's. Then at the same school the rest of it. Which has some wonderful students and parents and staff. As much as a change would be interesting it's never worked out. Anyway. I appreciate the thought but what on earth am I supposed to do with it? Same with the stack of books statuette for the Trinity nomination or whatever it is I'm supposed to pick up at Central Office for missing the reception?

Years of Service Award

But when I got home yesterday I got distracted by a grown up #bookaday. So I missed getting a post done. Oops.

So this was cute. Only how would I get across the idea that it was not to sit and color and then want a "prize" before ever leaving the library? We hand out spirit sticks for making reading a habit for a month. This year I did away with separate reading logs (waste of paper and waste of the time to fill out a second one) and thought I'd use the teachers. Then teachers never sent kids or reading logs to me. I asked once a month for the first semester and then gave up. I didn't mean to add to the teacher's load. Admin said (during my evaluation) they wanted me to reinstate separate logs next year (I could point out I was also asked why with I was using so much paper to copy summer reading fliers from the local public library as well as like B&N, Half Price,etc. Because I want them to READ? And get free books?). I don't really like reading logs but I can't conference with every single kiddo on the campus. So I don't know what to do. Will worry about it later. Just thinking about coloring at the moment. Summer brain already.

I would rather do something like this. Would that fit with the seven habits "lighthouse" goals apparently we will really be working on next year?

Personal coloring. Because I like simple more than the elaborate designs in many "adult" coloring books. Made my hand tired even before I broke my finger. (Oh, wait. There it is again. Old.) She also does some pretty cute planner stickers. One of the places I actually buy from. Most of the time I just use all the clip art I already have.

I like the colors on this one.

We won't talk about how many books were still out. They are getting read and loved. They are getting read and reread and loved. They are not under a bed or behind a couch. :/