Friday, September 13, 2019

Lovely Emails on Friday the 13th

So how was your Friday the 13th? Crazy or calm? I had to borrow the nurse's office for a nebulizer treatment since I don't have an office and I didn't want kiddos walking in wondering what on earth Ms. O was doing. DUMB ALLERGIES. Before the last year or two I wouldn't have known what I was doing. Anyway.

I hope ... internet, if you have never received an email like this, know that I see you. I hear you. It has been quite some time since anything like this was ever heard on my campus. That's why I had to share it. It might take a while. A good, loooooooooooooooooooong while. But eventually it comes.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Be You

Rant ahead.
I'm getting a little ... over the "girls don't like Star Wars" "kids don't like Star Wars" thing. Had several interactions the past week and I really am OVER IT.

1) Many of them DO in fact like Star Wars.

2) You know what? They don't have to. That's not really why I have some signs and I share things in the library. It's because it's part of me and the kids see that and they appreciate THAT, even if they don't happen to love Star Wars and prefer My Little Pony or Five Nights at Freddys. They connect that their teacher librarian has a passion and they know what it is. They draw me pictures and tell me about when they watched the movies with their families.

Take down the Rey that is in the window (specifically BECAUSE people stand right there and hold loud discussions and the walls don't go all the way up to the ceiling and we can hear every word so yes. She is looking at you). Don't have a cutesy Yoda doodle they color after finishing tasks on a Read You Must promo. Argh.

They also know I love Harry Potter. And Mo Willems. And them.

Rant over.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

#IMWAYR On Tuesday Some of my Summer Reads

It's (almost) 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.

It has been a long time since I got around to participating in It's Monday What Are You Reading.

partial Goodreads list
partial Goodreads list

That's some of them from this summer. It almost feels cheesy to have enjoyed Atomic Habits so much (FICTION FOREVER!!!!) but it was so good. 132 Kindle highlights gives you an idea.

Winterhouse #1 has some issues but ... I still really want to know what happens next so I need to find book 2.

Archimancy is brand new I feel kind of the same ... it has a few, to steal a phrase from the Deck the Hallmark podcast WAIT WHATS but still, on the whole, I REALLY want to know what happens next. I got to read an early copy from Netgalley or Edelweiss. One of the two. So it will be a while before the next one is done. The Thickety was super fun. Archimancy I think could be read by younger kiddos than The Thickety.

Any time there is a Bruce book I am there! I sent the new board book to my nephew but he lives far away so I haven't seen it. :(

We Are the Gardners is lovely ... but do kids like it?

You can see more specifics on other titles on Goodreads. Hopefully I am back in the saddle. Seriously, I started blogging forever ago and that was what it was for. To document my books!

Tomorrow I go back on contract. Kids don't go back to school until the 19th but we go tomorrow. So my two focuses will be the audio that FINALLY came back in (it ran out last time before I finished it!)

Aru Shah book cover
and this one. Yes. Inspired by Shark Week.
Left for Dead book cover

#ditchsummit #wearecue The Rest of It!

None of my notes are as good as hearing the speakers. No pretty sketchnotes here. Really, next time, sign up for the #DITCHSUMMIT!!!!! The teacher wellness topic was really helpful. It IS for kids because if the teacher is at their best they can do more for the kids.

Digital Detoxing with Merve Lapus
I like that he framed it more in a keep this time sacred. Cause this is something I've totally struggled with (taking it AWAY) and framing it as keeping time safe (with people I love and time to myself and keeping my brain quiet!) and protected just feels better. Professional development on our time definitely happens. Going to the gym? Not so much. Need to get that back. I definitely go to sleep before 1AM, though. I can't function AT ALL on that little sleep.

Crystal Chavez
It's really interesting ... she talks about a time when she had a very supportive team at her school. I miss that. Sometimes being the only one ... I dunno. We have to be mindful, teacher librarians, and make the effort to reach out. As an introvert when things start going sideways at school I draw in and that doesn't solve anything. Good thing I've always had my family.

She also talked about attaching habits together to get them going (or, if you've read Atomic Habits ... HABIT STACKING).

Dan Tricarico
I've got his book Sanctuaries. I still need to finish it (I am very slow with books I actually buy, how weird is that, even when it's really GOOD! No due date so no pressure). He also just started a podcast and it's worth a listen. Give yourself permission to take a couple moments for you. He's also worth a follow on Instagram. Intentionality and breathe through the impulse to grab your phone. Silence and stillness. Space. Subtraction (create MARGINS). Slowing down.

Kim Strobel
Boy Howdy ... this one spoke to me. Don't want to be all grumpy but the last couple years have been ... well, grumpy at school. Less than the fun it used to be. I missed getting to see her at the Google thing this past spring (more school grumpiness ... they were lame about my registration!) so this hour was helpful. Forty percent within our control. I've heard that before. That I can't let what other people might think affect me (you'll never please everyone, right?). So it's just something I'm still working on. Being solid in my own practices and doing my best for the kids with what I CAN do ... and letting the rest go. Embracing a practice of gratitude is super important.

Tanya Avrith
Personal and teacher branding ... due to our district survey last spring ... at least I am faking it better for the kids than I might be for the adults in the room. THEY had nice things to say, as often as I might slip in other places and seem grumpy in front of you all. It's a balance between being grumpy/negative and being honest/real. They aren't the same thing. I just try to figure things out here. Matt Miller talked about a book (if he mentioned the title I missed it) about the astronauts and disconnecting the thoughts of failure in your head and that totally reminded me of Angela Watson's podcast this week. TELL THE RIGHT STORY. I struggle with that. For the love. I'd forgotten about a super rudeness but then saw an IG post and remembered and now it's fresh all over. Better to forget. And GO BEYOND THE LIKE and make real connections. That is super cool. I have really DMed / emailed several people from here and IG and that is fun! I mean, real life is still the best way but Internet Friends, you are cool, too! If you are actually reading this you know a fair bit about me.

Matt Miller also talked about the book Digital Minimalism which I actually have on my Kindle but haven't read yet. It's ON THE LIST!

Adam Welcome
So I liked his presentation more than I liked his book Run Like a Pirate ... it rubbed me a little bit the wrong way just because of some health issues but that is a personal reader problem, for you it might be just the ticket to get you out the door and on the road!!!! And I did really enjoy Kids Deserve It. Eliminate and streamline. What is the MOST important. Empower everyone.

Only one Spark image. Oh well. Happier with this one than the others. So picky. :P

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

#ditchsummit #wearecue Days Two and Three

So I went back and caught Roni Habib's video and it was great. So needed. Again, I can't really give you the lowdown, I am not eloquent and I'm out of the blogging habit. You need to watch it! (I think you can still sign up? Not sure. Google Ditch Summit 2019 and check. Burned In Teacher said on her stories that she had checked and it was a yes). The main thing is what people need? A safe place to land. Sharing mindfulness doesn't take away from classroom instruction time because the kids (and staff) are actually THERE. Distracted and disconnected? A huge reason why the last years have not felt as awesome as the years previous. For me, anyway. Just trying to figure it out.

(For as much time as I spend looking at images and skimming how tos ... and A. Spark making it easy tech wise ... I can't say I love any of them that I've created. Must work on the spark of creativity and design, I suppose! :P)

S'more notes.

Dr. Sheldon Eakins works in all sorts of ways for equity digitally and on a tribal school outside of Pocatello, Idaho. I'm sure he did experience some ... culture shock isn't exactly the right word but it's all I can come up with, at 0.8%, as lovely as the area is (I'm pretty familiar with at least a hundred or so miles away where my grandparents lived). I'm not a teacher of color and it was "still" an interesting presentation. Retreat and recharge ... and then go back it. Take care of yourself and then go back at it. That's what he said. He talked about black families having "the talk" and that made me sad, especially after just having finished Ghost Boys.

Ghost BoysGhost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This might be one of the hardest kid’s fiction books I've ever read.
And I'm not really any closer to knowing what to do with it next year. It needs to be shared with lots of kids ... but it needs context and discussion. So many of them will just see the word "ghost" and think "ooh, scary story" and then the actual topic will be so NOT what they are expecting.

It was also hard to read because I have a brother in law enforcement. I guess that is exactly it, though. So many people have dealt with prejudice for nothing but what they look like. I don't want people to think my brother thinks terrible things because of a uniform he puts on. They don't want their kids to be hurt because of the color of their skin.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

#ditchsummit #wearecue Days One and Two

Hey! What better way to return to the blog world than a post about a teacher wellness online summit. It's a topic that has affected me a lot the last while. The better served the teachers are the better they can help the kids, you know? To repeat an overused phrase ... Put on your own oxygen mask first.

But you know what? It's true.

The first video I watched was by Brad Montague. He is pretty awesome and much of the voice behind Kid President. He talked about so many different things but I guess the main things I will take away from it are 1) it's OK to say no (you go Eric Carle!) and 2) to a kid simple is what they need. They don't need huge. Which makes filling their expectations and needs much easier. He says it all much more eloquently. Go watch KP's Pep Talk. 44 million views and counting. I've never seen him anywhere else. Have you? That's not the only thing he's ever done.

closed but still awesome sign

The next video I watched was Amber Harper of Burned In Teacher. I listen to her podcast and participated in her small group last spring so I was already familiar with a lot of her work. Having the hard conversations ... it's not the same thing as venting. It's looking for help and for fixes and action. If all you do is ever vent you will burn out ... and drive yourself into a dark place for sure away from education and also in terms of emotional/physical/mental health. But look for action? For real feedback? That's where you'll find your own power and be able to do the most good.

What is your best imperfect step candle burning

I have taken her quiz. A little bit of all of them. Burned and Over It ... obviously not over because I'm still trying. But definitely don't have the same rosy glasses I used to. My campus has been through a lot of changes the past couple of years and everyone acts differently. Burned and Unbalanced was definitely me a couple years ago. I definitely used to take on WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more and freak out if it wasn't perfect. Health issues have stopped much of that. Burned and Bored ... definitely. My job has changed a lot the last several years. That's one reason I don't post as much. I don't feel like I have as much interesting to share. I do a lot more that feels mundane. But I'm working on it, Internet. Your best imperfect step is better than nothing. It's still a spark.

More to come tomorrow. There's still another video to watch today (Roni Habib) and then tomorrow's. I know Dan Tricarico is one of them (The Zen Teacher).

I've been reading. Check out Goodreads and Instagram for some of that ... a mix of picture, middle grade, YA, adult fic, and some PD/personal growth.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

#TCEA19 Thoughts after My Day One

1) WHY OH WHY CAN I NOT GET OVER THE "THEY WON'T LET ME GO IF I'M NOT PRESENTING. IT CAUSES SO MUCH ANXIETY." I mean, really. Note to self/world ... turn off heart rate monitor aspect of Apple Watch before even thinking about standing in front of crowds. It's been going off a lot ever since the PE incident but was even higher this AM. Chill out, Ms. O. And thank goodness for a co-presenter who had her laptop. Yesterday's dismissal was so ... interesting that I ran out and didn't look back. Completely slipped my brain that was pounding from the decibels.

2) This one ended way early but no one seemed to mind. So I guess I won't stress that I talked too fast and ours ended early?

3) The SA Convention Center is SUPER CONFUSING. And so big. Got my steps in today and I feel like I did a lot of sitting.

4) I should probably try talking to more people. I feel awkward so I don't.

5) Saw a pretty cool presentation on AR/VR/MR. Sort of reignited the interest and then I was like "but no one will ever do it" and "who has the time when there are books to check in/out." I even have five iTouches that were supposed to be for Google Expeditions but surprise! Blocked by our district filter. And sadly the ViewMaster ones are kind of hard for the kids to navigate?

6) For a ___ year old I still find stickers pretty fun. This presentation was ... well, the connection was  lame and it threw her off. I didn't really learn anything but maybe one extension. Though in some ways that is kind of nice because it affirms maybe I know more than I give myself credit for?

7) I left at that point. Had gotten my sense of direction confused in the center too many times (and then actually lost my car in the garage for a good 10 minutes and it was so hot and muggy wandering around in there) and TRAFFIC.

That fifth one is the one that concerns me the most, and why I put up with the first one even when most of it was theoretical and I haven't been able to get anyone to TRY said activities with me. They are just ideas. The last couple of years ... it's been harder and harder. Y'all that do it all with no assistants ... I  can't keep up! I don't know if the stress of wanting to do more with the kids and feeling totally stifled by what feels like total non-support. With some actual examples that shows those feelings are not all in my head.  And hating all the times I have to say "I can't help" because I have another class or the dumb checkout system is being ridiculous. All anyone wants or has time to do is checkout. And visits on passes are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY down. Every year since I started tracking. Or health struggles that mean I can only do what I can only do.

I still need to post about the teacher self care conference last week. That was actually pretty cool. Or some books I've been reading. I haven't given up reading entirely, as the blog would make it look. I just tend to start a lot and never get around to finishing. Plus I've still got two more days here to see/hear more and figure out my own twist if I want to post about them (because straight up recaps you can get from their handouts, right?). But anymore I require a full 8+ hours of sleep to function and we're already too late for the + so goodnight.