Tuesday, June 24, 2014

{sols} vacation

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Finally, school ended.

And summer arrived, starting with a vacation away ...

So much planning, organizing, packing, and loading the days before a long, long drive from Illinois to Florida.  With four year olds.  Did I mention that's TWO four year olds?

Time away from the go-go-rush of life.  No thought or needing to balance home and work life.  It was all 100% family time.  No worries.  No stresses.  No responsibilities to think about at home.  Unplugged ... almost.

Laughter and relaxing.  No rushing, just savoring moments.  Beaching-going and building sandcastles.  No to-do list waiting, just wish-list saving.  Live music jamming and fine dining à la Grandpa.  No thinking about what needs to be done, just enjoying it all.  Pool dipping and extra-long napping.  No schedule to adhere to, just doing what we want.

Fun in the sun.  All week long.

And then, in a blink of six days, it was time to say goodbye --

Goodbye beach.  Goodbye house.
Goodbye ocean.  And pool.
Goodbye Grammy and Grampy.
Goodbye Nana and Papa.
Goodbye vacation.

Then the looooong drive back home.  With four year olds.

Did I mention the girls were fabulous travelers?

And it feels so good to be home too.

Back to our every day life and what we know and love.  But with summer comes no school today or tomorrow.  No thought of needing to balance home and work life.  Almost the vacation life --

Minus the beach.  Even though I'm still finding sand in everything.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

{sols} summer is almost here

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These last few weeks of school have been tough.  Summer is almost here.

Everyone in the family has been sick the month of May and now into June.  (Yes, even my husband has all the bronchitis symptoms as of Sunday.  Off to the doctor he goes today!)  Summer is almost here.

At the beginning of the school year, I always feel like I'm off and running, already months behind before the students even arrive.  Summer is long gone.

The end of the school year feels quite the same.  The final to-do list grows before the students leave and the building is closed and I'm feeling months behind.  Summer is almost here.

However, I've been known to create my own craziness when I give myself time to think.  And an ingenious idea leads to procrastinating because I have now preoccupied my time working on another idea or project.  Summer is almost here.

The work will get done.  Summer.  I'll finish the final to-do list.  Is.  My room will get organized and packed.  Almost.  And the paperwork will be completed.  Here.

And then summer WILL be here.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

#cyberPD ONE Book

With almost ONE hundred different PD book titles shared, our #cyberPD crew scoured and sorted and finally narrowed it down to ONE book.  There were so many great titles suggested and so many books that would have made the perfect backdrop for #cyberPD learning.  But ...

There was just ONE title that was mentioned that continued to come up in our #cyberPD book title selection conversations.  Repeatedly.

ONE book that we will read together.
ONE book that we will discuss our thinking.
ONE book that will encourage us to ask questions.
ONE book that will allow us to wonder some more.
ONE book that will push us to think and act differently in our classrooms.
ONE book that will help us change the culture of reading in schools.
ONE book that we will learn and grow together over the month of July.
That ONE book that is the perfect book to reread and learn more through conversations.

And that ONE book is ...

Drum roll please ...

Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

We are all excited about deepening our beliefs about intentionally creating lifelong readers.  We can't wait to read Donalyn's suggestions and also discuss what you do in your classroom and school to share the joy of reading.  

Interested in learning more about the book?  Check out Donalyn Miller's introduction and overview on her website.  Also, we are excited that Donalyn is available on Twitter to join in the conversations too!

Reading in the Wild:  #cyberPD Schedule

  • Grab your copy from your book stack or order a copy now (Paperback or e-book).  
  • We divided the book into three sections (see below).  
  • Each week we will be posting a reflection on our blogs.
  • The host blog will be the place to leave links of other blogs participating in the event.
  • Read (or reread!) and be ready to share your thinking! 
  • Please know that we are all available to answer any questions as we go!

Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.

July 9th    Chapters 1-2  Hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine
July 16th  Chapters 3-4  Hosted by Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate
July 23rd  Chapter 5 and Appendices  Hosted by me! Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone
July 30th @ 7 PM (CST) Twitter Chat with you and Donalyn Miller

How to Participate in #cyberPD
  • Blog Reflection:  Share your thoughts on the book section on your blog.  Then link your blog to the host blog by leaving a comment and your specific url link.  If you don't have a blog yet, now is a great time to start one! 
  • Blog Commenting:   Even if you don't have a blog, you are welcome to comment on the host blog to join in the conversation.  All participants are encouraged to stop by at least 3 other blogs during the week and leave a comment.  This is what makes #cyberPD come to life!
  • Twitter:  You can also participate by commenting on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.

I hope you will join in the conversation in July!  
Happy reading in the wild until then!

Previous #cyberPD Events

Saturday, June 7, 2014

{celebrate}: today

I'm here to {celebrate} with Ruth Ayres and YOU!
Finding the little moments of joy in life.

Today I am celebrating: {celebrating again}

I'm finally back with some energy.  My girls and I were burdened with acute bronchitis over the last three weeks.  It was not a fun way to spend the month of May, especially when trying to wind down the school year and plan/pack for our vacation.  But we are all back on track to be completely healthy for our trip!

Two. More. Days.  But so much to do!  I'm still trying to connect with students to encourage reading and writing all summer long.  Here's a book.  There's a notebook.  Keep your reading and writing brains awake!  Looking forward to the Summer Learning Nights we planned for 9 weeks this summer to stay connected to students.  More to come on this event!

I have participated in an online summer PD book discussion the last three years.  This year two of the hosts, Cathy Mere and Laura Komos, asked if I wanted to help host and facilitate the event!  I was laying on the couch with no energy to even click a response, but I did!  Of course I was in!  I'm excited about the opportunity to learn with others across the globe.  Perhaps you will join in too!  (Interested in learning more?  Check THIS out.)

It just feels good to be back writing and celebrating with you!  What a joy!  I'm off to spend the day with my family on this beautiful day and attend three graduation parties this weekend.  More celebrating!

#cyberPD Learning

It's that time of year.  School is ending and there is a little extra free time.  Time to do more of what you love.  For me?  Reading.  Reading all kinds of books.  And more time to read professional development (PD) books of my choice.

I have quite a collection of PD books stacked at home and at school.  Some have been tasted.  Others fully digested.  And yet some books are still waiting.  Waiting to be discovered and read and talked about.  My book stack (so far) for the summer.  They won't all be tasted or digested this summer, but there will be ONE that I can't wait to read -- alongside YOU!

My 2014 Summer PD Stack

Over the last three years, I have participated in an online summer book study discussion group called #cyberPD. This year I am helping host this awesome event  with Cathy Mere and Laura Komos.    

In a previous post I reflected on the importance of this awesome PLN community:
Reading any PD book grows my thinking and gets me wondering about the implications in my school and more specifically, in my resource classroom.  This title was not in my original #cyberPD summer book stack, but I wasn't about to miss out on the conversations and learning.  Opening up the conversation to educators across the globe, exponentially  e x p a n d s  my thinking and learning.  Because YOU just might:
  • Pick a phrase from the book that I missed and share your thoughts.  
  • Ask a really good deep question that makes me ponder.  
  • Share your insights to your understanding and the implications in your classroom.
...and all of your great thinking pushes my thinking.  Let the learning begin!  I hope you will join in the conversations too -- whether you are reading the book with us or not!  Your ideas and thoughts MATTER!
So, are you in?  Will you own your learning?  Share your PD book stack either on Twitter using the #cyberPD hashtag or leave a link below in the comments!  Let us know if you want to participate too!

We'll be making a decision this weekend on our summer book read.  Then, come July, we'll all have the selected PD book in hand, sticky notes and highlighters ready, and blogs open for sharing.  Let the true learning begin.  I hope you will join in the conversation too!

You read.  You reflect.  You share. You respond to others.
Then repeat.


Stay connected to learning more about #cyberPD starting in July and to find out more specific details.  For your planning, the book is divided into thirds and each week in July we read, reflect, share, and respond to others.  Then the last week, a Twitter chat. 

Cathy Mere on Twitter @CathyMere and blogs at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community

Laura Komos on Twitter @LauraKomos and blogs at Ruminate and Invigorate

Michelle Nero on Twitter @litlearningzone and blogs here at Literacy Learning Zone

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{sols} sick

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The girls in our house
were all sick.
Three weeks sharing it.

I'm tired of being sick.
I'm done feeling achy.
I'm over all the coughing.
I'm finished feeling the fever.

I'm tired of laying around.
I'm done doing nothing.
I'm over being no fun.
I'm finished being


The doctor says take this
for acute bronchitis.
You should feel better soon.

What's that?
What's that you say?
You say it's almost summer break?
Yeah, well, then why am I still sick today?

I look forward to the day
when I can say,
"I'm feeling good and summer break is here!
Now, let's go outside and play!"


I'm thinking I was a little inspired by