Celebrate This Week - June 14, 2014

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

As I write this post, it is still Saturday on the west coast.  I find it a challenge to get this post up every week.  Partially due to the fact that I hate working on a blog post on Friday nights.  Too often I am out and by the time I get home it is a bit too late.  And Saturdays are often packed.  Since, I missed the past few weeks, I felt that I had to get something up for today.

So, this might be late but here it is.

Here's what I am thankful for this week... 

1.  Summer Break - I am thankful for some much needed time off to reflect and be creative.

2.  Authors - Have you ever said or heard someone say "authors are rockstars".  It is definitely true, and this week, I had a chance to interact with some wonderful writers and illustrators.

Arree Chung Recently, I participated in a blog tour for Arree Chung's new book NINJA. I truly think this is a wonderfully delightful book.  Thank you Arree for this beautiful signed print. I can't wait to frame it and hang it in my office. 

Tracy Holczer I love living in Southern California where so many wonderful Children's and YA authors live.  One of those wonderful folks is Tracy Holczer, The Secret Hum of a Daisy.  This past week, Alethea and I had dinner with Tracy.  We had a wonderful evening talking books and writing and more.  As a thank you, Tracy brought us "answer jars".  Read her wonderful debut novel to find out about "answer jars". 

Jillian Cantor - Thank you Bloomsbury Press for inviting us to meet Jillian Cantor prior to her signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. There were 4 of us who had a chance to chat with Jillian and ask her questions about her new YA novel, Searching for Sky. Jillian was wonderful to hang out with, and I am looking forward to reading this book.

Walden Pond Press & Christopher Healy - Though I have never met Christopher Healy, I recommend his books all the time.  Today, I received from Walden Pond Press a copy of The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw with a signed bookplate as a thank you for participating in the recent blog tour.

3.  My friends is home from the hospital. - Yes, after two more surgical procedures, my friend is home.  It is still going to be a long recovery period but we are thankful for how he has pulled through this most recent round of surgeries.

4.  Collaborating with friends - At the end of this month, I will be presenting at the American Library Association Annual Conference.  I am honored to be able to present with Mary Ann Scheuer, Cathy Potter, and Louise Cappizo.  I was also super thrilled when I discovered that SLJ recommended our presentation Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries as one of their staff picks.

5.  Great Tweets & Facebook posts - On Friday, I received some tweets from John Scovill.  He made my day when he shared that teachers that he works with cited me in their presentation on informational text.  It really goes to show that we are connected in so many ways to other teachers and educators and we have no idea about how our work influences others.  I am very thankful for my Nerdy Book Club friends because it is through them that I have come to know so may excellent educators.

Hope you are having a wonderful week and weekend and a Happy Father's Day.

Celebrate This Week - May 3, 2014

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

Here's what I am thankful for this week...

This week has been a strange week.  I feel like I have rushed through one day to the next and moving from one meeting or event to the next meeting.  As a result, the week feels like a blur.  However, I do have some things to celebrate.

1.  Surviving April - This year, we had our spring break in March, which meant that April was the long month without any days off.  It was also very, very busy and every weekend too was packed. My mantra was "May is coming."  So, I am celebrating that I survived April.

2.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks - I am so excited that this is trending and that authors, teachers, librarians, students, bloggers and well just about everyone is bringing this need to everyone's attention.  I loved seeing the post on the LA Times website about the campaign going viral.

3. Special Edition Literacy Café -  This week Barbara Brauner and James Mattson came to Roosevelt School and did a literacy café with a group of fourth and fifth graders.  I was thankful for my connection with Scholastic Book Fairs, which helped me be able to provide every student with a copy of The Glitter Trap.

4.  Pasadena Teen Book Fest - I have been waiting to grab some photos from friends in order to do a wrap-up on this event that happened last Saturday, but I haven't had any time this week to search for them or ask friends. Last week, I celebrated that we were having it, and today, I am celebrating that it went well.  I promise better pictures to follow at some point.

5. First Graders - I am really, really enjoying my time in classrooms.  This week, we continued to work on a writing project for Open House (basically taking what we have been learning and applying it in a fun way). I had to take photos of the students for the project. I have enjoyed editing the photos because I am reminded of each of their personalities.

Celebrate This Week - April 26, 2014

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

Here's what I am thankful for this week...

Some weeks it is a bit more of a challenge to find things to celebrate. This was one of those weeks. On Friday, I posted on facebook...
I am so happy to have made it to Friday. *collapses on couch*
There were a few times in the week that I wondered if I would make it to the end of the week with my sanity intact.

However, I did make it through the week and there were some highlights for me. 

1.  The classroom teachers and students that I am working with are part of the highlight of the week for me. No matter what else is happening I know that when I enter the classroom to work with a teacher and students that I have been transported into a wonderful place.  Watching kids learn and be excited about something and try really hard to do well is the best thing in the world.

2.  I had lunch with James Mattson and Barbara Brauner this week to plan a Special Edition of a Literacy Café for their visit to one of the elementary schools that I work with.  I will report back how it went next week.  In addition to some great brainstorming, I had such a lovely time chatting with them about their writing partnership and books and well more books.

3.  This week I was also invited to a special dinner by my local Simon & Schuster Rep for Morgan Matson who has a new book called Since You've Been Gone. Morgan is charming and everyone had fun chatting with her.  She was a former bookseller at Vroman's before life took her in the direction of becoming a writer. 

At the end, Kelly Stidham (Simon & Schuster) did some impromptu book talking from the back of her car. And then I received a special bag of goodies (see below).

4.  Today, I will be helping out at the Pasadena Teen Book Fest, which will be held at the Pasadena Public Library.  I am very much looking forward to all the fun we will have.  I will also be moderating a Middle Grade Panel at the end of the day. 

5.  Finally, I am thankful for friends.  I don't have pictures of everyone I want to include and I likely couldn't remember to list everyone who did something special for me this week or just let me vent when I needed to or helped me out with something but I am rich in friendships. And for that I am most thankful!

Celebrate this Week - 4/19/14

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

Here's what I am thankful for this week...

April has been an extremely busy month.  I really should look at the full calendar when planning things.  Despite how busy it has been, this past week was filled with some great things.  

1. The Los Angeles Times Book Festival - This year I was an honorary bookseller for the weekend (April 12-13, 2014). What a marvelous experience.  Check out my wrap-up post.

2. Author Event: Tomie dePaola - When I heard that author/illustrator Tomie dePaola was coming out for the LA Times Festival of Books and then doing an event at Once Upon a Time, I knew I had to meet him.  Tomie's newest book is one he illustrated for Lin Oliver's poems.  Tomie was so wonderful and good with all of the children and teachers and librarians and parents who came out to see him.

3.  Distinguished Schools Visitation Team - This week I had the opportunity to serve on a Distinguished Schools Visitation Team. What a fabulous experience!  I loved learning more about the process, visiting classrooms, hearing parents and students and staff talk about their school.  It was definitely worth doing.  I also loved the emphasis on writing and student writing was evident everywhere. 

4. Open Mic Poetry Event - We held our first joint activity between the schools and the library and celebrated National Poetry Month with an Open Mic Poetry Event. It was smaller than we had hoped but the energy was good and everyone is talking about seeing this happen annually. I blogged about it here.

5.  First Graders and Writing - I have been continuing my pilot writing and comprehension project and expanding it to a couple of additional classes.  Can't wait to share more. I love watching first graders as they figure things out.

So, what are you celebrating?

Celebrate This Week - 4/5/14

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

Here's what I am thankful for this week...

1.  District Professional Development Presentations - I presented on two different topics this past Monday at our Professional Development training.   Both presentations went well, and I was very appreciative of Cathy Potter and Cynthia Alaniz for taking time out of their busy schedules to skype in.

2.  My work with First Graders - I was excited to continue my work with first graders on comprehension and writing. Even in just one week, we have made progress.

3.  Literacy PLC Meeting - On Wednesday of this past week, I led a meeting for whatever principals and teachers could attend on independent reading, classroom libraries, and summer reading.  I was thankful for the support from my Scholastic Book Fair rep who planned and presented with me and who also provided food for the meeting. It was not a large group, but it was certainly a group who was interested in learning and applying what they learned.

4.  Author Visits - On Thursday, we had fun welcoming authors, Rohan Gaven (Knightley & Son) to Jackson School and Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities ) to Marshall Fundamental and San Rafael School.  I love watching how students respond to authors and how excited they become to read the book after meeting an author.

5.  Meeting up with an on-line friend - Over the past 4 years, I have had the opportunity to meet up with a number of my twitter and facebook teacher and librarian friends.  What started out initially as on-line professional encouragement and support has moved to real friendships and working collaboratively on projects and presenting at professional conferences.  Mary Ann Scheuer (Great Kid Books) was visiting the Los Angeles area for spring break.  We had a chance to meet up for dinner and work on our presentation for ALA Annual this June.

6.  Literary Orange - Today, I had a chance to moderate the Young Adult: The Awesome Age Panel, which featured Kendare Blake, Jessica Brody, and Maurene Goo.  The time flew by and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

So, what are you celebrating?