Tag Archive for books

My Summer Reading Bucket List

If you follow my blog then you know that I’m an avid reader with a goal to read 55 books this year(you can read it in this post). So far, I have read 31 books since January and have a stack of books that have piled up that I look forward to read this summer. My only problem is that I have so many stacked up, it’s hard to make a “what’s next” plan.

Here’s my professional reading stack:

I am currently reading The Multiplier Effect with our district admin team and we will be moving on to Cultures Built to Last as we attend the PLC Institute in July. I will also be reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (who I was so fortunate to meet at the ASCD conference) for the #educoach chat starting on July 10th.

As I’ve previously written about (in this post), I’m trying very hard to not be so boring and also make sure that I read fiction, so here is my “reading for pleasure” stack for the summer:

What’s on your summer reading bucket list?  Can you read any in either of my stacks to help persuade me to move it to the top?

Everything I love about Goodreads

One of my Reading Resolutions for 2013 is to use Goodreads to track my books, maintain a to-read list and connect with others for reading.  I used Goodreads years ago, but switched to Shelfari when I wanted to have a widget on my blog to show what I have been reading.  Over this time, Goodreads came up with that widget I was missing and a lot of other really cool features that make it the best place for book nerds to go!

When I first started my account I was a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t want to lose the books I had tracked in Shelfari. I was able to import my list, but 7 of them didn’t transfer and I couldn’t figure out which ones they were so I got over it and moved on. Then I was amazed by how many different shelves people create in their accounts and had to make a decision.  Am I book nerdish enough to create a shelf for each genre? The Book Whisperer would (and does) so she can easily refer back to it to help students find books, but it’s not ultimately my role each day as principal to do so.  I decided to stick with the 3 main shelves you are given–read, currently reading, and to-read. I added 2 additional shelves: Professional ed books and Books I read with my sons.  We’ll see in 2013 if I change my mind and decide to add other shelves…you can do that whenever you want!
When it comes to reading I am notorious for having several books going at one time. Ok, not at one moment in time, but you know what I mean…a book at my home desk, a book at my office desk, a book on my kindle, then quickly purchase a book from amazon that someone tweeted out for a book study.  Whenever I see a book title recommended by someone I respect greatly on twitter I go out and get it immediately and start reading. It’s time to get control of myself and utilize the to-read function on Goodreads.  I love how you can continue to add titles and then easily change the order they appear in.  
A few other features I’ve already been enjoying about Goodreads…
*You can enter your goal # of books to read for 2013 and will keep track of your progress as you update your books read.  I’ve added this as a widget on the right side of my blog.  Here’s what it looks like:
*When I am logged in I see the updates of any of my Goodreads friends. This lets me see whatever they have just added to their bookshelves or To-Read lists.  I’ve already found myself adding books to my To-Read list thanks to my friends.  Here’s a small screenshot of what this looks like:
*I am just beginning to explore the Groups and Discussions feature.  In discussions you can see what others have written on books and you can add to the discussion.  You can also join a group that looks similar to any other type of message board that people subscribe to.  I was invited to join the following group:
The only issue I have encountered with Goodreads is that when I first set up my account, I used the option to start an account using my Twitter account. Makes sense, since I planned to tweet about it anyways, right?  Unfortunately, Goodreads hasn’t fully figured this feature out yet, because I can’t update all of my profile or change my password. When I try, I get this message:
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It won’t take my Twitter password  and it only gives an option to confirm with Facebook…even though they let me use Twitter to start my account! Very confusing. You can also not login to the iPad app using Goodreads if you started your account through Twitter. I’m hoping it gets fixed soon, but I’m still using it now just going through the browser. 
If you’re wondering, “how on Earth do you have time for this?”  I spent an hour or two (off and on) exploring Goodreads on New Year’s Eve to find all this stuff. Now each day I just check in before bed to update my current reading progress and if I have time, see what other people’s updates are. 
There are so many great features to Goodreads that I’m still learning about. Please let me know if you have something to share and help me out!

My Reading Resolutions for 2013

For 2011 I read 26 books and then almost doubled it this past year with a total of 51 books. Out of that 51, 30 were fiction and 21 were non-fiction.  These titles included professional education books, novels for personal enjoyment, parenting books and chapter books I read to my 6 year-old.  As I’ve previously written in THIS POST I have learned that the more fiction I read, the more I enjoy reading and the more I end up reading.


My Reading Resolutions for 2013 are:
1. Use Goodreads to track my reading.  I’ve been convinced by Donalyn Miller to use Goodreads to track my books, keep a to-read list, and connect with others on books I’m reading. I spent time today exploring this site and can already feel a blog post coming on about how neat it is!
2. Have family “Read-to-Self” time with my kids. Read-to-Self is one of the components of Daily5 in our school that my son is familiar with.  This will be a chunk of time (at least 15 minutes, because that’s all he can handle right now) that he can read whatever he wants (not to me) while I also read myself.  This will be a win-win for both of us! (I realize I did say kids plural–I’m hoping that the 2 year-old can be quiet that long looking at books or listening to books on the iPad).
3. Read 1 professional book a month I will probably end up reading more, but I want to focus on reading more fiction so I’m not so boring!
4. Read 280 books. I’m not as crazy as I sound, I swear!  As I was exploring Goodreads today, my son thought it was cool and asked if we could keep track of the books I read to him (and his brother) on there too, so out of the 280 goal, I expect 225 to be for picture books and 55 to be for novels, professional books, and kids’ chapter books.

Reading Resolutions – staff memo edition

In my last post I shared my learning from a full day workshop with Donalyn Miller and what ideas we will be implementing in our school as a result of this learning.  After grade level meetings and a full faculty meeting, here is a post on my staff memo that I shared with staff on Reading Resolutions.  I try to share some of my staff memo posts here, because I often gain great ideas from reading what other principals post for their staff.

My next post here will be my personal Reading Resolutions.
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Some of you asked about Reading Resolutions after the staff meeting…here are the answers. If you don’t want to think about it until closer to January, then save this to read later. :)


Image from BOTNS

In yesterday’s staff meeting we talked about school-wide ideas to continue building a culture of readers.  We already have great literacy practices, but now we want to go further to help out students develop the habits of lifelong readers/learners.

One of the ideas I asked all of you to do is start out January creating “Reading Resolutions” with your students.  This would start with you creating your own Reading Resolutions.  I haven’t written mine yet (there are still 14 days to read for 2012), however, I did write a blog post in June in which I reflected on my reading half-way through the year: HERE is the post.  In that post I noted how last year I read 20 non-fiction and only 6 fiction books and that I needed to read more fiction or I would become a really boring person!  I do not at all expect anyone to write something as long as I did for a reading resolution, but I just wanted to share that with you.

HERE is a post that Donalyn Miller wrote last year on her Reading Resolutions.

HERE is a post with some actual reading resolutions from students. HERE is another one.

I don’t want to tell each of you how to do this with your class, you have to do what works for you.  I’m sure that several of you will also come up with some cutesy little form for students to fill out (and others can steal from them) and others (if it were me) might just use index cards or old-school paper.  I would share with students my own personal reflections on my reading for the year and then show them an example of what format they should write their’s in (showing your own resolutions).

Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing your reading lives with students!

An idea found on Pinterest–maybe usable for 5K students?

Books for the first week…

In my last post I shared some tips to get started with informal walkthroughs. After posting it, I received this question on twitter:

So, here are the books I read in classrooms during the first week of school…

During my first year as Principal, I read:

This was my favorite First Day book as a teacher and when I shared this with classes during my first week as a principal, I talked about how I was nervous too!  I don’t usually read this book anymore, but I keep it with me for a back-up, just in case I need another book.
I read this to our 4 year-old kindergarten:
I read this to our 5 year-old kindergarten:
I read The Kissing Hand to the 4 year-olds my first year and one of them began crying hysterically, which is why they have a different book now!  After I read The Kissing Hand, I give each student a little heart sticker on their hand to remember the story of the book and use that time to practice each of their names.
I read this to our 1st grade classrooms:
I read this to our 2-5th grade classrooms:
By the time they’re in 5th grade, they’ve all heard it several times, but I always tell them when you find a good book, it’s fun to read it over and over again. I also use this book for discussion/review on our Code of Conduct and why they’re so lucky to have a teacher that is not like Miss Viola Swamp.
And just in case I have extra time to spare, I have this one with me:
This year our school is going with the Bucket Fillers theme, so I’ll be reading different ages versions of :
Principals–what do you read to your classrooms? I’d love to add to my list of books!

My Summer Reading List

Blog 8 of Spilling Ink Challenge

Summer is a time to rejuvenate…this usually means that I finally catch up on professional reading that I’ve wanted to do all year long, but didn’t find the time for.

Here’s my summer reading list:
Difficult Conversations : How to Discuss What Matters Most No matter how many difficult conversations I’ve had, I always feel like I need more learning in this area.

Implementing Response to Intervention: A Principal’s Guide We are just in the beginning stages of RTI at my school and I need to be a leader for RTI.

Classroom Walkthroughs to Improve Teaching and Learning My Professional Development Plan (for licensure renewal) is on using walkthroughs to improve classroom instruction/learning, so this looks like a great book for my own personal professional development.

What’s on your summer professional reading list?