It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/31


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

I have been really having a difficult time with getting to my blog in the last few months. I don’t really know why. I am just going to share a few of my favorite books from the last couple months here. 

Books I Finished:

I love everything by Jo Knowles. As always, this one made me cry but also filled me with hope. Still a Work in Progress deals with a young middle schooler whose sister has an eating disorder. It is a tough subject but dealt with realistically. This book is absolutely one I would recommend to middle and high school students. 

I listened to Red Queen and I absolutely got absorbed in the story. I sort of wished I had the book once I got close to the end because I wanted to go quicker to find out the resolution to the problems. I will definitely be looking for the next book in this series. I highly recommend this one for middle and high school students. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is another novel set in France during WWII. I really loved the way the author brought me in to the story right away and made me love the characters. I appreciated this story which gave me yet another perspective into the horrors that occurred in that period in history and the brave souls who worked in the resistance. I highly recommend it for older teens and adults. 

My sister gave me Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal for Christmas last year. She knows the author somehow. I think he was a friend in college. I really enjoyed this novel, which celebrated food and cooking as well as exploring relationships and the way we love each other. I can’t say exactly what I loved about the book, but I can say that I loved it. I would recommend this one for adults. 

I really enjoyed reading Ghosts and learning more about the Day of the Dead. I know my students will absolutely love this one. I highly recommend it. 

I wasn’t sure about reading this one, because I thought it sounded more like a memoir and I didn’t think that would help me at all. Then, I read Better than Before and realized that Gretchen Rubin has some great ideas about how to live life. I read The Happiness Project and just soaked up the amazing suggestions about how to be happier. I love the idea of doing a happiness project of my own. The way this book is written really helps the reader to see how some of the principles might apply to their own life. I highly recommend this one to adults who might be looking for self-improvement. 

Books I am currently reading:

I just started reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I am also reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. 

What’s Next?

I will be reading How to Win Friends and Influence People for a training I am doing. I will probably also pick up a middle grade title for times when I only have a couple minutes. I started listening to Start With Why by Simon Sinek also. 

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!



Celebrate This Week-Building Trust and Relationships


This week’s celebration is all about trust.

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.


This week I am celebrating the fact that I am able to have patience. It is so crucial when dealing with children who have emotional health issues and are needy. I am so glad that I am able to grab hold of my temper and keep it in check. 

Relationships and Apologies

This week, one of my students brought me a small care package. He wrote an apology note and was asking forgiveness for having destroyed part of the classroom. What was amazing was this student’s thoughtfulness. His apology gift included small stuffed animals, a number of sharpened pencils to replace the ones he broke, and a handful of cough drops because he knew I had been sick. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. 

I am thankful for the heartfelt apologies that I get from all of my needy students. I love being able to give them hugs and to remind them that they are loved even though they have made mistakes in their behavior. 

I am also celebrating a new connection made this week with the mother of one of my more challenging students. I think that this family connection will help the student to do better with self-control. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


Celebrate This Week 10/8


It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

Digging Deep

For a moment this morning, I paused and thought about not writing this post. This week was tough. I found myself really struggling to maintain the positivity that I try to always have at the forefront. I didn’t even quite feel like myself. I thought that I would need to dig deep and work really hard to come up with celebrations. But then, I started to think about what I might have to celebrate, and the list started coming. I may have been less mindful of the celebrations throughout the week, but when I search for them, there they are.

  • A hug and heartfelt, almost tearful, apology from a kid who was testing his limits this week
  • The laughter and fun to be had on the days that the kid with Oppositional Defiant Disorder takes his medicine and his smart math brain that impresses us all
  • Hugs and a bracelet made for me by one of my Burmese students and the amount of language that the two of them are using already
  • 22 students who kept reading and focusing on their books as 3 students chose to be defiant and were making noise and trying to get our attention
  • The excitement over library time and a step toward many more readers being engaged with their reading
  • Evidence of books being talked about and shared, especially by the student who loves Raina Telgemeier who got her copy of Ghosts this week. There are now three girls reading Smile.
  • Reading aloud Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola and now seeing all the rest of my collection of his picture books in many of the students’ book bins
  • Our shared reading and thinking about The Tiger Rising–I just absolutely love this book!
  • Our beautiful heart maps that we will be able to get ideas from throughout the school year
  • A patient and supportive grade-level partner who will take students for a time-out without complaint and will offer to have those students come in for recess with him
  • Singing along to the song I use for transitions, “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. The class knows the lyrics now and we all end up singing.
  • GoNoodle–I love that this class is loving the brain breaks on this program. Our afternoons are LONG! The breaks help us to maintain our focus and our learning all afternoon.
  • Our Friday game time when we all have fun together. In many ways, I think this is the most important time in our classroom all week. These students need so much work with learning empathy and treating each other well. This game time each week supports their growth as a community of learners that is learning to cooperate with each other and communicate effectively. Everyone played a game this week. No one refused to join in our game time. This was the first week that this happened.

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!