Backtrack !

Life is a funny thing. Full of Oxymorons. I enjoy busy, but at the same time I like not having things to do. I love planning and think it is so important, but lately I like not having a plan so that I can do whatever I feel like doing. I think because I finished graduate school in December and was used to having a full plate, or 3 full platters, I enjoy my freedom so I can make decision based on what I really feel like doing.

Sadly, our summer plans are dwindling. However, I plan to do some better and more thoughtful planning for the Fall for Ryan and I to go to Alabama to visit my Dad and family. I love it up there and can’t wait to see the Autumn and Winter. Plus, I have a little nephew I need to see again. He is so cute I can’t even stand it!

Hangin' Tough! New Kids on the Block, watch out!

Hangin’ Tough! New Kids on the Block, watch out!

Giggles!

Giggles!

Gators & Elephants Unite! :)

Gators & Elephants Unite! πŸ™‚

<a Didn't think so!

Summer Goals

We are in the 2nd full week of my Summer Vacation. This is the first Summer I have not worked or been in school ever. EVER. I have always either been working on my college degree or teaching a summer camp. Or Writers Camp at Poynter. Or working on my Master’s Degree. So, this is it: a jobless summer. During the past few months as summer approached, I had a ton of ideas dreaming about how I would spend my summer. As our calendar begins to fill up, Ryan and I have talked at length over the past few days how important it is for me to have time to myself. When you picture two months of doing whatever you want to do, it becomes stressful when other sources (which are wonderful people who love you, care about you, and want to spend time with you & of course, vice versa) start pulling the days and weeks from your calendar.

This has kind of left me in limbo because I want to have a better balance in my life. Actually, this is one of the most important things I want to obtain this summer is setting a foundation for more balance in my life. With all this being said, I wanted to prioritize some of my goals for the Summer that are truly of top importance to me.

Relationship (Love πŸ™‚
Home Organization & Balance
Health & Fitness
Family….especially time with my mother
Communication with Friends & Family
Organization of Materials for School (Any small creative prep I can do beforehand)
Reading More Books!

These all seem like Big & Lofty Goals, but they are really important & more detailed posts on that to follow.

So far, this summer we have had company from Ryan’s mom, stepdad, and my mom. Then friends from Orlando as well as Ryan’s BFF. Whew! The relaxation has not really started πŸ™‚ This week? Moving! Case in point.

Favorite Authors

I love to read & I love to teach reading. I have a few favorite authors, which I would like to share below. (Both children and adult authors) Over the weekend, I finished Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult. The week before I finished House Rules (2 Book Reviews coming soon). Her books are so thought provoking & challenge your values and beliefs. It is interesting to me how sometimes the books I am reading to my students mirror what I am reading at home or vice versa. We are reading Crash by Jerry Spinnelli as part of our Social Issues Book Club unit. This is typically taught in 5th grade, but all kids face Social Issues on some level. I am so glad I chose to do this unit rather than mysteries (I didn’t have enought upper level books). Now that I know how well it goes and how effective it is on my student’s conversations and thinking, we will be doing Book Clubs sooner next year & doing various genres.

Jodi Picoult’s books do the same thing for adults I think. Her plots, twists, turns, and character development all push your thinking beyond anywhere you thought you could go. One thing I love most about her books is that it’s not necessarily a “happy ending.” The stories all feel complete as an ending should make the reader feel, but everything isn’t perfect. The endings are appropriate to the plot and I can never predict how the book will end.

Ryan was helping me figure out my next read last night. He was on Amazon looking at Jodi Picoult’s books. I think he likes to get her books for me because they are so long and last more than 3 days. He feels like he is getting his money’s worth! :):) This led me to check out her website. She is so inspiring! I love how her website is so personal! Sometimes when you go to author’s websites, their more generic and business oriented. I like how she has pictures up & writes on the site also.

I really like getting hooked on one author and reading all of their books. I highly recommend this in the classroom as well because you and your students begin to notice patterns in the author’s work, which will aid in Writer’s Workshop & helps you teach better. Also, there are a lot of patterns in characters and setting which require deep thinking. This is why I have a select few books that I HAVE to read my students each year because I know how well I can teach from them. Plus, they are so good that I never get bored and you ALWAYS notice something new or in a different way:)

My favorite children’s authors:
-J.K.Rowling
-Kate DiCamillo
-Jerry Spinnelli
-Andrew Clements

Favorite Children’s Books:

Harry Potter!!!!
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Loser by Jerry Spinnelli
Crash by Jerry Spinnelli