Category Archives: Professional Development

Solve for Happy: Engineer You Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat

Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to JoySolve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mo has some great ideas to help others focus on the happy and joy in our lives. He uses a lot of graphics which makes it easy to read and find the parts that pertain to you. He touches on all aspects of our thoughts about being happy and searching for joy that make us unable to let go and Live In Peace. Live in peace everyday, let go of the negative, give, express gratitude, love, love, and love! Do not fear death because God has planned this wonderful universe with an afterlife in mind. Our loved ones who have passed on are still near and we will see them again. Throughout the book, Mo uses logic and mathematics to frame his thinking. This logical presentation was much more interesting than I expected. After some passages Mo tells the reader to think about what he has just said for a while before reading on. In some parts Mo tells the reader to get a pencil and some paper and make a list of things such as what truly makes you happy. He gets down to simplifying things and to reflect more on our current state of being. Toward the end Mo writes about belief in a higher power. He talks about evolution and intelligent design and doesn’t want to commit to one or the other, but he does say he knows he will see his son, Ali, again, and that he believes there’s too much to our universe for it to be unplanned by a brilliant designer. For me, I take away that he does believe God is our creator and gives us the promise of living on after our time on this old world is over. I really enjoyed his book, and I do think reading it has made me happier. In times when I’m not happy, I will remember what Mo has written and search for my default state of joy. Thank you for this great book, Mo Gawdat!

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a thought-provoking book and I couldn’t put it down. He talks about “Adverse Childhood Experiences” that kids cannot overcome without a stable home and an adult that they know who puts them first and cares for them. I recommend this book to all teachers and admins looking for ways to reach some of the tough kids we deal with. I don’t think as a school teacher that we can make the difference these kids need, but it does give understanding. We have to protect our children from these adverse experiences because it changes the way they process their own lives, making some have a give up attitude which means that they think no matter what they do, they’ll never make it. Life is too against them. But for JD Vance, his grandmother saved him. He had a few teachers he connected with, and most importantly, he was lucky in that he was very intelligent. He says he was very lucky with some of the connections he made throughout his life. He has a great TED talk if you are interested. His story just resonated with my own hillbilly roots.

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Procedural or Functional Texts

Procedural texts inform the reader about how to do something. Sometimes it’s presented in a step-by-step format like how to make a recipe or put a toy together. The higher level procedural texts inform the reader about how to carry out goals such as how to begin a new career or learn or perfect a craft.

I often have teachers asking me for books to teach this skill. Here are a few that I have used that show the reader how to synthesize information from procedural or functional texts.

This one is good for kinder, first, and second and students will connect with learning to ride a bicycle.

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The Gift of Reading

What will reading for twenty minutes a day do for children? What a great chart and comparison table! When you think about the investment in time, why not model reading at the same time your kids are reading? Imagine the impact of that over the years, and to make it even better, begin a dialogue about what you are reading and what they are reading. Talking about reading is something that makes thinking visible to kids by showing them how good readers think while reading. For young readers to be able to share how what they are reading impacts their thinking is a great way to help them synthesize what they have read. So many times in reading with children, I have had aha moments that I would not have had if I had not been sharing my thinking about what we were reading together. To give a child the gift of time by listening to them with your full attention and responding to their thinking is priceless. How lucky am I that I am an elementary school librarian!

Gearing up for Summer Reading

Gave away 500 new paperback books to kids at school today for their first “summer reading” assignment in elementary school! I’ll be starting the year talking about characters, plot and theme with grades 2-6 in September next year. Second grade is reading Thaler’s Black Lagoon’s Summer Vacation or Black Lagoon’s Reading Challenge or Allard’s Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. Third grade is reading Sachar’s Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. Fourth Grade is reading Riordan’s Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters, and Fifth grade is reading Paulson’s Hatchet or Fletcher’s Flying Solo. With our gently used book giveaway and these brand new paperbacks and checking out books from our library, my students should have plenty to read this summer if they want to. Hoping they can hang on to the top of that “Summer Slide.”

Connections All Year Long

Reading With Meaning: Teaching Comprehension to the Primary Grades by Debbie MillerTeaching kids to think while reading is a goal I continue to reinforce all throughout the year. We talk about the text to text, text to self, and text to world connections that are explained fully by Debbie Miller in Reading With Meaning: Teaching Comprehension to the Primary Grades.

I would recommend this book to all librarians and teachers of primary children. Demonstrating how to make the connections while reading is a very valuable tool that can be shown and practiced every time books are read aloud to children.

I tell the kids that when they run and play they are exercising their bodies, but when they think and make connections while reading, they are exercising there brains.