Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

You know it’s been too long August 9, 2014

Filed under: book clubs,reluctant readers,school,Teachers,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:51 am
Tags: , , , ,

when you can’t figure out how to post on your blog

you can’t remember the title of the last children or YA book you’ve read

you’ve only been to your favorite children’s bookstore once in 6 months

but…

Somehow I find a reference

to a couple of women

who were written about in Reading Today

and summarized on Marshall Memo

who have a blog

and the most awesome ideas ever!
and now I want to be just like them

which means…

I need to come out of the world of district administration for at least a little while each week

and read more books

and talk to more kids

and get them as excited about reading as I am reading about their brilliant ideas.

Check out Crazy Reading Ladies at their blog or on Twitter!

 

 

Student Led Conferences/Goal Sharing April 7, 2014

 

Two of my former colleagues from the International School of Dakar (currently residing in Saudi Arabia and Dakar/Texas) put together this wonderful website as part of presentation they gave at the  AISA conference of 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

https://sites.google.com/a/isd.sn/student-led-conferences/

ISD had started with student-led conferences as a pilot the year before and had then added the goal sharing portion to the school year last year. The student-led conferences had been quite successful and well received by families.

The Goal Sharing portion of the conference caused a fair amount of nerves by some teachers, especially those in the primary grades. No one was resistant, but there was a great deal going on at the time and the teachers wanted their students to be well-prepared.

 

 

 

Beginning of the Year Books recommended by The Book Whisperer August 21, 2012

Filed under: book reviews,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:25 am

If you haven’t had a chance to read Donalyn Miller’s column at Education Week, it is well worth a look! She’s gathered up several recommendations for ‘Books that Build Community’, something educators the world over are working on this first month of school.

 

What to Keep? What to Pitch? June 10, 2012

Filed under: school — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:16 pm
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A sample of what’s currently in my recycle box:

  • memoir rubric
  • using prior knowledge to understand unfamiliar text
  • 5 year Strategic Management Plan from 2010-2015
  • certificate of attendance from Ohio Resource Center
  • Ohio Academic content standards with notes
  • thank you note from Ronald McDonald House for former fourth grade economic project
  • Reading Level Correlation Chart

 A sample of what’s currently in my keep pile:

  • Elementary Gifted Service Matrix and Advanced Learner Specialist file
  • PD notes from Promoting a School’s Literacy Community
  • 32 Text Structure notes from Katie Wood Ray
  • Where You Are From George Ella Lyons poem
  • Suggested Expectations for conventions K-12 document
  • pacing guides
  • curriculum maps
  • a copy of the first day of school letter I sent home for all 15 years
  • a xerox copy of an amazing piece of student art work

Do I need any of it?

  • Will I remember what I want to use from what I’ve recycled or kept?
  •  Does it really matter to my remembering if I have “it” or not?

When I was a teacher I used to keep things in case I needed or wanted to replicate or modify something I had done in the past.

When I was a curriculum coordinator I kept things to show work in progress and keep us moving forward.

With a change in administrations twice in nine months, I kept things because no one else would have ever known things existed.

In many ways I am a blank slate, starting over. I bring with me my prior knowledge and background of experiences.

No one from my new school is going to ask me to see something from my old district because they won’t know it existed, nor would it be relevant.

Why am I re-sorting for the twentieth time, rather than just pitching it all?

It took me three years to part with all my fourth grade files, and I should learn from that. Never once did I go back and use anything in those files.

Part of my brain still thinks, “When I write a book about this….”, I will want hard copies of things to help with my writing.

I want to just dump it all as I look forward, but I still just can’t make myself do it…

 

Welcomed almost daily February 29, 2012

Filed under: international school,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:58 pm

I wish I could say that I think that we have always welcomed new employeees with the warmth and enthusiasm that I’ve received from ISD. I could, but I would not be being very truthful.

It’s not even March, we are moving in August and I already have a great ‘buddy’ at school who shares information about work and everyday living, an e-mail address at the new school which also allows me to receive staff information for this year and access their online materials, and there is a New Hire web-bulletin board with all kinds of information about classrooms, school, daily life, etc. They have a welcoming committee.

As I talked about with a friend this week,  we determined it’s certainly in the school’s best interest to be welcoming and helpful and my new school has certainly made us newbies feel like very welcome additions to their faculty. By providing information, it allows me time to process, digest, ask questions and continue to get excited. All before I am even being paid by them. What school wouldn’t want that?

Even though our school has always had an orientation in August (a one day affair usually focused on getting paperwork filled out), things like getting new employees ID badges, e-mail accounts, staff directories or keys to their classroom, much less curricular materials could be an agonizingly slow process. My first year there weren’t desks and chairs OR math textbooks until well into the third week of school. I know this is not particular to one school district. I’ve had friends in other districts tell me they cried on the way home everyday their first year because no one would really interact with them. That’s just crazy!

I’m not writing this as a critical piece, but more as a reflection on how perhaps we should be more intentional about the welcoming of new staff (not that we will probably have any for several years with the way the state education budget is). Teaching is a hard job and it’s especially hard your first year in a new district, new grade level, new building, etc. There are things like mentors and such built into most districts and now Resident Educator program is a requirement for all entering teachers as part of the licensing program. That is a good step in the right direction, but I’m talking about more than just the newbie’s mentor who has their own classroom as well. Why don’t we hand over the curriculum as soon as we hire the new teachers so they can spend the summer familiarizing themselves with it? Why haven’t we had a welcoming committee?

What are some things your school does to welcome new staff members?
What are some things you wish your school did to welcome or support new staff members?

 

 

So I’m a Little Sad December 23, 2011

 

I am in my fourth year of my current position and it officially will not exist next year. This makes me a little sad (okay-more than a little). I usually have a very positive outlook on most things, but I’m having difficulty with this one. I hate to say I knew it was inevitable, but I did. I might say more on that some other time.

So what am I doing next year? I’m trying to figure that out every day. Here’s what I do know:

  • I do have a position within the district I’ve worked in for nineteen years (good news), even if it means bumping one of the new teachers I’ve mentored the past several years out of their position (super yucky news).
  • I do have a licensure as a principal ages 3-14 now (good news)
  • I have been accepted by an international educationn search organization for educators as an administrative candidate (good news)
  • I had a Skype interview with a school in Asia this week (good news) (oh, by the way-I started my career in an International School in Luxembourg and am considering returning to international school education-more on this later)
  • Filling out job applications is a full-time job (bad news)
  • Getting ‘ding’ letters is no more fun at my age than it was when I was waiting on college acceptances (yucky :( )
  • I’d really like to be spending my time reading books and cleaning my house, but am a little hyperfocused on what I’m going to be doing next year (bad news)
  • There are very few blogs out there about educators in international education, at least that I can find. I have met several great international educators through twitter, NCTE, and more and they have been very helpful.
  • I could refocus on writing the professional book I’ve been outlining for the past several years (good news)
  • I am partially finished with coursework for my superintendent licensure (good news)
  • I have enough reading material from NCTE to keep me busy for the first half of 2012 (good news)

Holiday Break goal-get a good idea of first steps, second, etc.

 

I Wonder… A lot… Do you? October 8, 2011

Filed under: school,Teachers — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:51 am
Tags: ,

I wonder about things alot. Not like Wonderopolis wondering (which I think is a fabulous site), but other big life issues and educational issues.

I’ve always considered myself settled in my career and hometown. I grew up here. My husband grew up here. Both our families are still here. I’ve been working in my childhood school district for nineteen years. I love it here.

In Ohio (and I think it’s same to say in America), once you are a teacher who has taught more than four or five years, it is typically very difficult to get a job in another district because you are “too expensive”. It’s not unusual for districts to have an “unofficial” cap on hiring anyone with more than three years of experience unless it is harder to fill area (not so much of an abundance of let’s say librarians, or high school science teachers or music teachers). So even if I didn’t love it, live here, etc., going to a different district was really never an option (as a teacher).

Until…

I had a realization this summer.

Just because I love it here, doesn’t mean that I can’t love it somewhere else.

What if…

I opened the cover of the book of somewhere else???

What if…

 

 
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