Skip to main content

Back to Books

About this time last summer, I realized something awful; I had quit reading for pleasure!  I blamed it on not having enough time, but that was a lie.  Instead of reading, I had fallen prey to mindless games on my ipad.  It started off with Angry Birds, Scrabble, and then Candy Crush.   
This past year I made a commitment to myself-to start reading again!  I didn't realize how much I'd missed it.  Although I don't have a great deal of free time, I have found that I can get some reading in at the gym while on the elliptical or the bike.  I prefer reading on my ipad and love that I can highlight sentences to come back to later.  Of course, being able to tap a word and find its definition is also pretty awesome!  Just yesterday I learned how to spell facetious!  Although I knew what the word meant, I didn't know how to spell it.  
I enjoy reading books about education, memoirs, and historical fiction.  I am currently reading In the Best Interest of Students by Kelly Gallagher, and it's been a life changer for me as a teacher! If you'd like to know more about him, click the link-you won't regret it. Kelly Gallagher's website He has inspired me to follow my instincts in regards to teaching and the Common Core.  He has inspired me to give my students more choice in what they write about! He has inspired me to give my students more choice in what they read! He also spends time explaining the pros and cons of the new standards. I read the book once, highlighting important sentences.  Then, I went back a second time and took notes on everything. I can't wait to put what I learned into practice next year. 

In addition to that book, I finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  It takes place in 1939 in a small village in France and gives a French woman's perspective of the war.  I could NOT put it down.  I have read numerous books about WWII, but this one was unlike any other.   The main character,  a French woman named Vianne, must raise her daughter alone when her husband is called to fight in the war.  Eventually, a Nazi soldier shows up at her door and demands the right to billet in her home!  This book is beautifully written, and   I highly recommend it.
Not only did I miss reading books, I missed talking about books. I missed learning from books.  I missed disappearing in a book.  

Popular posts from this blog

Ditch those Reading Logs: Try Flipgrid Instead

If you've read my posts or follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about pointless projects and homework!  This year I made it official and ditched homework.  It's the best decision I've ever made as a teacher.  My students are loving it, I am loving it, and I think most of their parents are loving it! I have completely transformed the way I run my classroom and feel like my students are more engaged and excited than ever. 

Student Example (Click to watch)

Like homework, I never felt quite right about assigning reading logs.  Whenever my own kids had to read a book on their own for school, they were initially excited. First, they were told they had to read twenty minutes each night. Then the dreaded reading logs began.  They had to write  down what pages they read, as well as a summary.  Urgh! I can only imagine lying on the beach with my own book and having to complete a reading log.  No thanks!  And I am not going to lie. I just might have signed one of my son's read…

Have a Dance Party Before Class Starts

This year I decided to play music as students are entering my classroom and before the final bell rings.  I had no idea what a difference it would make!  Why didn't I do this before?  It creates a positive, upbeat mood and seems to energize my students and ME! 

At first I thought they'd complain when I blasted disco tunes by artists like Chic, The Bee Gees, and Vickie Sue Robinson ("Turn the Beat Around").   I thought they'd groan when I played Bon Jovi, Journey, and Whitesnake. I thought they'd roll their eyes when I played clean versions of songs by Tupac and Snoop Dogg.  I really thought they'd lose it when I played Gypsy Kings.  NOPE!  They loved it!  I had NO idea that my kids would react they way they did.  Here are the results:

If I don't have time to put the music on, several kids will ask, "Where's our dance party?" I really like Pandora because I can create my own stations.  If you're looking for a way to create a positive vi…

Getting students to RESEE their writing

When students are asked to write, they often want to "get it done" and turn it in as quickly as possible.  I often ask them to look over their writing and look for places they can improve. Sometimes I even have them read each other's work and provide feedback.  Yet, even after I do these things I receive papers riddled with errors and flat out bad writing.  For years I have provided students with feedback (I try to offer as much positive feedback as I can).  I tell them, "Good verb choice. Great imagery. Fantastic argument. Wonderful hook."  However, I am frequently frustrated that  I am also continuously making comments like  "Sentence fragment.  Run-on.  Verbs aren't consistent."  You get the idea!  What's even more frustrating is that even though I make these comments telling students what they did incorrectly, the make the same errors on future assignments!

So, two weekends ago, I dedicated some time to researching add-ons available on Goog…