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Showing posts from July, 2016

Yet I Will Rejoice

We've made some major systemic changes this week with technology and it has been trying at times - for every knot untangled there are two more found. I was reminded of a favorite passage in Habakkuk and had to make a modern version inspirational photo.

As the principal said, we don't need any of this technology to do what we do (teach). When it works, great. When it doesn't, we continue teaching. And while it is very frustrating when the tools and resources do not function correctly or we discover that data is lost or broken, I am so glad that my eternal destiny is not dependent on any electronics!

Are you a good person?

Book Review: Flotsam

Flotsam by David Wiesner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Wiesner does more than illustrate, he tells an engaging story through his illustrations. His watercolor paintings are colorful and full of hidden details that allow for additional discoveries when reading again. This 2007 Caldecott winner is a wordless book so it is appropriate for all ages. I especially recommend reading it with children, and allow them to explain the story that they see.

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Book Review: Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since junior high I've been a fan of the choose your own adventure style book. Ryan North has done a fantastic job.

My only complaint is that there are so many variations and the tales so long that I had trouble tracing back to a particular point of decision. I found that numbered sticky notes would allow me to retrace my steps and see how the adventure would change based on a single different decision.

I also enjoyed how each ending was accompanied by an illustration drawn by a different artist. What a great way to emphasize different outcomes by using different drawing styles!

Check out the author's website for the book at

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How Coaching Works

This video explains what I do everyday: facilitate great teachers. #INCLC

Did you notice what the coach (in the hat) did? Or what they didn't do? Special thanks to Erin Brown for sharing this video in her presentation.

Connect.Learn.Coach Workshop Day 1

What I learned at #INCLC - take time to connect and learn before teaching teachers. On day one I attended the keynote address, two workshops and taught one workshop.

The keynote address was A Kaleidoscope of Powerful Possibilities and Partnerships presented by Dr Jennifer Wheat Townsend, Director of Learning at Noblesville Schools. She set the tone for the workshop by focusing on three key areas: Collaboration, Growth Mindset and Asset-Based Thinking.

Collaboration is characterized by trust (taking time and being open), giving unselfishly, and receiving (a willingness to acknowledge someone else might know more and to learn from them). We develop a growth mindset through dedication, resiliency and a love of learning. While asset-based thinking looks for the possibilities (instead of the problems), is focused on productivity (not easily sidetracked) and is people oriented.

A workshop titled Coaching Relationships by Beth Neidermeyer, Superintendent at Noblesville Schools, was an intere…

Book Review: Who Could That Be at This Hour?

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everything you would expect from Lemony Snicket, including a less than satisfying conclusion or answers to all your questions. This first person narrative follows a young Lemony on his first assignment but everything is wrong. Told in a film noir style complete with monochromatic pictures and descriptions of a monochromatic world. There are clues throughout the entire book but none of them solve the mystery or explain what is going on.
This is a great upper elementary or middle school book. There is little of substantive plot but plenty of nonsensical action. Lemony is always a great wordsmith, being careful to explain nuanced meanings of colloquial phrases and such. Here I am using "and such" to indicate that there are other examples but I am too lay to look them up.
It's a quick read and leads quickly into the next book of the series. The reader is always teased with an answer just beyond their g…