Friday, July 29, 2016

Already Friday & TPT Card Giveaway

It's already Friday! I only have one more full week! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

HP #8 is coming out so soon! I am not attending anything midnight. Turned into such a homebody. But the closest store is 30 minutes away and the one that helps us at school is 45 so ... ugh that late at night. Last time I did something at midnight was the last movie when my youngest brother was home! Didn't even make it to a midnight showing of SW. Early the next morning. ;)

Don't love the font choices but oh yes!

Total rip-off for the price point but still cool.

We have walls now. But no windows. All fake light, all day.

And next Monday/Tuesday is the "big" Back to School Sale at TPT. They offered a promotion for us to give away a $10 card. To be honest I've thought about pulling back from TPT because I don't add much and sometimes it makes me feel guilty. But with limited time and energy sometimes I get sick of being on the computer. Other times I get an email from someone who is using the shelf labels and it has an adorable pic and I think "oh, wow, they liked something I made" and I don't. I feel so annoyed when I see blogs that are all ads for their stuff. Anyway. You can use the card for whatever you want. And while I should probably make winning it something more TPT related I am mostly going with STAR WARS. If you are not a personal fan there are still ways to enter. I hope I set this up to retrostart from this AM and go through Sunday night. I'll notify the winner on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 25, 2016

#IMWAYR The Fog Diver 1&2

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.


Summerlost is sad. In a good way ... I don't usually like the realistic "make you cry" books but it's beautifully written. I don't know why I keep skimming the Enemy books. I just want to know that the characters are OK! I'm tired of the boily pus covered sort of zombies! I'm not reading them carefully anymore, that's for sure. But the characters are so interesting. Never had a book series that I disliked and yet still liked so much at the same time.

Quiet Power is not one browsers would ever pick up but it's definitely one that could be helpful. I found it interesting reading myself (I've also read the adult version). School IS hard for introverts. To be honest myself included! It's loud and the constant need to be "on" along with the emphasis on speaking up and collaboration. There were some good suggestions for kids. It's not a bad thing to need think time and down time! And for the teacher to recognize needs in their students and make sure to provide other ways to respond. Not all the coping mechanisms would necessarily work for the introverted teacher but we'll see. At least some good ideas for decompressing when I get home!

Now. My favorite. The Fog Diver books. Book 3, when are you coming? (Book 2 is new so I doubt very soon :(.) The series is set in a world covered in nanite fog (tiny computers supposed to clear the air of pollution, but in reality have taken over and humans have been forced to floating airships and the very tops of mountains).

The mix of characters is a merry band. Each adds something different to the story.

Chess can be inside the fog longer than anyone else. Why? 
ALSO THE DRIFT SHARKS AND TICKTOCKS ARE JUST AWESOME. Mental movie was fun. I want a movie version on the screen!

And the drops of pop culture are awesome. I only wrote down one but there were several (Star Wars included! Why didn't I keep track of that?)

"There's a saying of the ancient spidermen: "With great power comes great responsibility." (pg 110)

So. The rest of this week, next week, and a couple days the week after that. Then back to work. It will be fun to see the kids. Not looking forward to the drive back and forth. Or the total lack of natural light. Or the week of less than useful meetings beforehand. But we do it all for the kids. They make it worth it. Plus I got all this cool Star Wars stuff for the library.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Your School Rocks Thoughts

Your School Rocks... So Tell People!: Passionately Pitch and Promote the Positives Happening on Your Campus
Again, originally read courtesy of the Kindle Unlimited trial that I ended up upgrading to a six month one with the Prime week specials (just for the PD books because you really have to search to find the good fiction. It's hidden).

Chapter One The Power to Connect / Location 142
"it was time to take back education and lead with our passion for kids and our belief that school should consist of learning and fun."
Learning and fun! Well that's pretty cool.

Chapter Two The Video Newsletter / Location 191 & 199
"educators must do a better job of engaging students' families."
"trading a paper newsletter for a video newsletter is the greatest shift schools can make."
Oh, heavens. Video. Hard. Out of comfort zone. #doIdare

Location 210
"Keep your video newsletter under three minutes. Any longer and you'll lose your audience's attention."
Short and sweet does make it easier.

Location 230
"If kids are telling their parents nothing special is happening at school, that is the parents' perception whether or not it is accurate."
Perception is perceived truth. So we work to change it.

Chapter Four iMovie Movies / Location 419 & 449
"We also use these video messages with our staff to generate excitement and to remind them of our philosophy to make school about learning and fun as we focus on the most important thing: our students."
"Meeting students and parents where they are requires flexibility on your part, the payoff is an engaged community."

Chapter Five Facebook / Location 489 & 504
"Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents--a large part of the audience schools need to reach--all appear to be flocking to it. If we are not targeting them with our communication, we certainly should be."
"My school's Facebook page currently has 584 likes, so I know when we share information, a photograph or a video, 584 people have that information in their Facebook newsfeed."
Now, that's not entirely true. The algorithms will only show it to a fraction of those people. Viewers have to do more than like the page to actually see all content ... they have to comment and like specific posts. But they all COULD find it if they went to the page. Which is easier to find if they've already liked it.

Chapter Six Twitter / Location 628
"Twitter exposed me to more than I had ever learned in a class or workshop--and created doors to educators, their ideas, and best practices, thereby increasing my personal, professional development in ways I had never thought possible."
Totally true. Why mine don't ... match. When I first joined I just used an old email address from my Spanish teaching days because it was mostly silly pop culture. Then it got much more interesting with authors, illustrators, and fellow educators. By then it was too late to change the handle!

Chapter Eight Instagram Photos / Location 720 & 739
"connecting with 20 percent of our students' families--10 percent of them every day."
"reach potentially one in five of our families by doing ten seconds worth of work, the decision was easy--yes, it is worth it!"
Taking decent pics takes practice, though. And just remembering to do it!

Chapter Eleven Instagram in the Classroom / Location 910
"educators can use Instagram to throw out a hook the night before to excite students about upcoming learning opportunities."
As an elem teacher librarian I'm not looking for student followers ... I know some of them have accounts but those are the exception. But I could see how this would be super powerful for middle and high school, especially with the "hooks" from location 913.

Chapter Fourteen The School Blog / Location 1074, 1097
"I routinely ask them to write blog posts."
"You don't have to be the one to write every post. Invite students, other teachers, even parents to be guest bloggers on your site."

Chapter Sixteen Bringing It All Together / Location 1229
"Just as there is power in a positive phone call or short written note, we are finding the power in positive messages sent through social media. The difference is that social media allows that message to be shared countless times."

Monday, July 11, 2016

#IMWAYR July 11

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.


My Lady Jane was surprisingly funny. My expensive summer obsession with subscription boxes needs to end soon but that one was a great surprise. My sis is getting the book for her birthday. Reuse, right? Is that terrible of me? Unhooked was good but I was a little ... I just thought it could have been MORE. Some really great parts that deserved more elaboration. The Wild Robot. There's a thinker for you. I so enjoyed it (the audio! I still need to see the pics!) but am just really curious as to what kids think of it. Jeff Mack is always funny. I liked the Hug one best but this one was also good. Octicorn was great for being accepting of others that might be a little different. Heaven knows after the past week we could all use more of that.

Still have some PD books to finish. And electronic ARCs. Will have nieces and nephew at the house this week so may not get far on he older stuff. But there will be picture books!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Already (almost) Friday? Random Stuff

I just noticed the other day when I went to look for the pics of my clipboards (Pete, Pigeon, and Bear (who wants his hat back!) that older pictures are gone. CURSES ON YOU, GOOGLE! Sure it was something to do with the G+ and Picasa changeover but still. I haven't figured out how to fix it. Sort of like decluttering. "I've spent so much time on this, it seems a waste to just toss it" but really, is the time spent in recovery worth it? I don't know. I can see an archive of some of them but not all and they'd all have to be reuploaded and linked. :/ CURSES, GOOGLE!

Anyone ever watch Expedition Unknown? Only discovered it a few days ago and am now obsessed.
(Long, annoying ad at the beginning ... but I won't embed an illegal YouTube version ... which there seem to be a lot of? I mean, yes, it's ridiculous. How does he deliver those lines with a straight face? But fascinating, all the same.)

I am starting a 21 Day Fix Challenge next week. Actually thought it was Tuesday but turns out it's next week (different interpretations of "after the 4th). I am ... worried. Silly thing to be worried about in this day and age. So much real pain and I just can't deal without chocolate? That's just crazy!

I am SUPER excited for the new Jason Bourne movie.

I went to this conference once several years ago (in fact ... it might have been the subject of one my first blog posts, now that I think about it). It was awesome! Wish I could go back! But I was just there. Too early for the conference but egads, not making that drive again anytime soon! This year Molly Idle, Douglas Florian, ELiizabeth Wein, Kristyn Crow, Steve Sheinken, and Ann Martin. It's held in an amazing old restored building. Philo Farnsworth did some research there.

I prefer to listen rather than watch because as a (let's be honest, former, cause I don't practice) violinist I am just so ... WHAT IS SHE DOING. But do listen. Cause it's beautiful. And if you like the dancing, hey, so do a lot of other people.

IG is fun but hard. Photo skills are still a work in progress. Been playing with WordSwag as that will help when school starts again ... I'll use these quotes on the display monitor in the hallway.

Oh and these!

Not Rick-rolling here ... I just genuinely needed the video/song today to get moving. One of those tunes that will do that.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Star Wars Books

Because, as you know, I LOVE THEM! These are not in chronological order or in order of how much I liked them. Truly just in order of where I copied/pasted them from my Goodreads list. :P

LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big GalaxyLEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy by Vesa Lehtimaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love the concept and most of the shots. I wish I 1)had that many SW Legos! And 2)could take decent pictures of them! I like his little asides giving some context to creating the shots. And they are interesting shots.

But I will say that it really seemed like a lot of the shots were barely lit. I mean, I'm all for "dark side ambience" and all but on a fair number of them you can hardly see any details. My personal thoughts, anyway.

Elementary students would look at the pictures for a bit but then lose interest. Middle and high school might be more interested in the behind the scenes explanations.

Star Wars: ABC-3POStar Wars: ABC-3PO by Calliope Glass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love, love, love the illustrations.
The rhymes ... some of them are quite good. Obi-Wan's, for example. Others seem super forced. And that is not a pun ... just not the best rhymes.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Rey's Survival GuideStar Wars: The Force Awakens: Rey's Survival Guide by Jason Fry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved getting a little more detail on Rey. Will have to think about getting it for school.
The downside is the handwritten script. For a journal it was necessary but it will
make it harder for kids to read.

The Star Wars Little Golden Book Library (Star Wars)The Star Wars Little Golden Book Library by Various
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazing literature? No. Fun adaptations of the movie stories? Yes. Super fun illustrations? Yes. A must have for geek fans. An additional purchase for school libraries.

Star Wars: Rolling with BB-8!Star Wars: Rolling with BB-8! by Benjamin Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The format of the book (with the spinning cover) is what makes this book fun. The attempt to boil down the high points of TFA into a board book ... well, they're OK. Not great but OK.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kids Deserve It

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional ThinkingHere are some thoughts after the first reading. Read on a Kindle so no page numbers ... just chapters and locations. This was a WOW book for me after a tough year. Like minded peeps! I wish some of my coworkers could read this! They were like me ... we got bogged down. But we all want to do better. The Kids Deserve It.

No cool personal creative pic for the post. Bad blogger. Just the embedded Goodreads book cover. I need to get on to implementation, not spend too long on blog formatting! :P

Chapter 1 Location 232
How can you "go big"?

Chapter 2 Location 309
"We live in a world where we can no longer claim ignorance -- only an unwillingness to learn."

Chapter 3 Location 334
"We can't expect our kids to be growing, learning, and pushing boundaries unless we're doing the same."

Location 345
"creativity is a learned skill that you develop by working at it --  continually."

Location 390
"Students need to be Tweeting as well!" (I sometimes Tweet quotes but I really should create a student account.)

Location 418
"When you choose to innovate and be unique, you will experience some failure. And sometimes it stings more than you'd like." (OOWWWWWWWWW! Why? I mean, I know. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. That's what we want the kids to do!)

Chapter 4 Location 499
"you're creating the right conditions for them to take root and grow up to be the best versions of themselves."

Chapter 6 Location 639
Seven Practices That Will Make You a Better Leader (Read the book to find these ... they are great!)

Chapter 11 Location 964
"That's why it's so important to be aware of the messages you're sending out with your body language, choices, and words." (This is something I have to work on. Last couple years = tired face/body.)

Chapter 15 Location 1169
"I want my students to be brave and bold and try new things. I want them never to be afraid to make mistakes, because their brave actions might inspire others to try new things. Their actions may show others it is okay to make mistakes; it is how we learn."

Chapter 16 Location 245
Recognize Awesomeness (How can I be more vocal about this?)

Chapter 18 Location 1333
"Our most important job is to love kids and convince them they are absolutely incredible and unique."

Chapter 21 Location 1417
"facilitating learning opportunities that empower kids to discover what's possible in this world."

Location 1454
"supporting the community and having fun!"  (This is where I decided I need a Star Wars costume. Rey, I think. No one would recognize Jocasta Nu. Plus that would be hot in TX. Rey's is better for hot.)

Location 1491
"How are you going to leave your mark?"

Location 1494
"if you have a random idea, try it out!"

Chapter 22 Location 1558
"Look Ahead, Be Relevant" (He's talking about sharing Google Voice Typing)

Chapter 24 Location 1631 & 1632
"because then we get to tell them about this great tool called Google, which is accessible to everyone. When you don't 'get' something ... Google it!" (I full on admit here I was like "SEE?" because I know several people who feel justified in not knowing tech. Well how on earth do you think the rest of us learned anything? It WAS hard. There were tears. But then it finally clicked and we got it and we moved on. Petty rant. Sorry.)

Location 1648
"Jim Collins: 'Good is the enemy of great.'"

Chapter 28 Location 1852
About Being a Reader (Another one to read in the book!)

Monday, July 4, 2016

#IMWAYR July 4

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.


Illuminae was super cool but go old school and read a hard copy. The electronic one ... old eyes but I could zoom in enough to properly read some of the more creatively formatted pages. Illustrations are the best part of ABC-3PO.

I will finish Sword in the Stacks (Ninja Librarians #2) ... maybe even today but for sure this week. As well as The Innovator's Mindset and Launch. Oh, and the audio to The Wild Robot. Then will I work on more of the Bluebonnet books? Visit my local library? Or read more ARCs? We'll see!

Happy Fourth of July, US people! Well, happy fourth for everyone but it's just the fourth like every month has outside of here.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Finally Friday EEEK JULY 1

This week went by SO FAST! Which makes no sense at all because I was in a car the first two days of it. Then felt awful (I feel better now ... just a rotten summer cold). Anyway. Here are some pins I thought were interesting. Click through for embedded content and original sources.

Anyone ever feel like this? I do love the colors, though. Greens and browns are a favorite (along with dark blues).

Anyone get to go? I've been once ... a few years ago when it was in DC. In fact FB reminded me the other day about the time there when I was "recognized" for being in the TX Bluebonnet award video. #thingsthatarewierd #sadlyitwasntwhenIwasinshape Anyway, this announcement is always interesting.

Thinking about doing this on the outside bulletin board we have. It's kind of a pain because it's in a spot where lots of classes stop and ... idle hands tend to tear things apart. So it's hard to keep it looking decent. This would be something that could stay up ALL YEAR. If I kept up with cutting all the book covers (which would be a pain but hopefully less so than the full bulletin board) would teachers fill them out? Would be awesome if I could just leave blanks and a stapler out there but the stapler would disappear in under a day. Or idle hands would remove all the staples.

Student work is most awesome but I find it hard as more than one class likes to do things and the kids are offended if I post someone else's and not theirs. Easy to post electronic work on our hallway display. Plus I do less hard copy work and more electronic work. All those glyphs take FOREVER to cut out! They look cute but no one ever has the time for the kids to cut the pieces.

After reading Kids Deserve It (more on that to come!) I've decided I might need a Star Wars costume. One that the kids would recognize. Just for fun.

Best as I can tell this website must have made a shirt of this at one point. They totally missed a marketing opportunity ... I would have thought FB or Pinterest would have screamed "SHE'LL BUY IT!" to them but I only found it a little while back. And clicking through there's no more merchandise on the site. Just this awesome image.