Book Tasting in the Library

IMG_1829Last week, the 8th grade reading classes came into the library for a Book Tasting. A book tasting, if you’re not familiar with it, provides students with an opportunity to sample a variety of different books in a short period of time. This idea certainly isn’t mine, there are several examples of book tasting ideas online, but I was happy to take the main concept and give it a try. The 8th grade reading classes were a perfect group to start with since they were about to begin a new unit focusing on fantasy and dystopia books. The students needed to find a free read for the unit so we decided to pull a bunch of books and give the students a chance to sample a few during the session.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.41.19 AMDuring the class period, students came in and before heading to a table, listened to a brief overview of what was going to happen. To help set the mood and make the event more festive, we put tablecloths on the tables, made placemats, and added table decorations. When it was time to start, they sat at a table and had about 5 minutes to choose a book on their table, read the inside flap or back cover, and then read the first few pages of the book. They also had a pamphlet they needed to fill out containing information about the book. After about 5 minutes, they rotated to another table and repeated the process. During the class period, the students were able to go through 5 rotations. At the end, they completed a My Top 3 sheet so they could check out those books down the road. We did not let students check out the books immediately because we needed them for other classes, but once every class came in for their book tasting, students could come back in and check out their favorites.

IMG_1830Overall, the students seemed to enjoy the event. They were really into it and found that it was a fun way to experience several books in a short period of time. The plan for the future is to do these again during lunch, with students signing up to participate. We will probably have different genres at each table to get kids to try a variety of books, which from what I’ve read, is typically how Book Tastings are done. Regardless, the event was fun, the teacher and students enjoyed it, and it brought an exciting event to the library.

A Lot of New Principals

For whatever reason, the schools I’ve worked in lately or the ones my children have attended, have experienced a lot of turnover when it comes to the school principal. When I started a new position after leaving my position with Discovery Education, I didn’t think there’d be a leadership change after one year. Surprisingly, I was asked to be on the interview committee for the new principal. The person we ended up hiring was excellent and I feel the school is in very good hands. After moving to a full-time position at a new school this year, I was hired at a school that didn’t have a principal. A new principal was hired shortly after. I’ve been very happy with her leadership and from what I’ve gathered from other teachers, the change has been a good one overall for the building.

I’ve been working in various schools and positions for about 18 years and have worked with 9 (I think) different principals. Almost all have been ones I’ve gotten along with and feel were assets to their schools. I don’t know if I realized it early on, but the principal plays such an important role in the school environment. They can set a positive tone for not only the teachers, but also for the students. Their energy, enthusiasm, and positive interest in student success is extremely important. Two things that I feel is extremely important is their organizational skills and confidence. Another quality I feel is important is being real. I have really appreciated when principals are real people, interact with you in a way that is sincere, and help you grow as an educator. Sometimes the “real” part is hard to put into words, but when you see it, you know it’s there.

The high school where my daughter currently attends, is in the process of hiring a new principal. My daughter’s a junior and had one principal her freshman year and then an interim principal for the past two years. In the next week or two, a new principal will be named for next school year. I attended two of the three finalists meetings for parents to see what the candidates were like. I have a favorite of the two I saw, and I’m hoping that person is offered the position. From the hour long Q & A session I attended, the ideas for the school, experience, and ideas seem like a good fit. Obviously, it will be a while before we really know for sure if this person is the correct person for the job, but I have a good feeling. This person seems like a good leader, has a good vision, and seemed real. I only hope the people in charge of making this decision, which includes the staff at the school, are pleased down the road.

I’ve mentioned a few traits that I feel are essential for principals. I’m curious what you think. What makes a good principal, what’s important to you?



Keeping Myself Accountable

This post is simply here to keep myself accountable. I need to write more and share more. With that being said, blog posts will be coming about the following topics. If you don’t see them soon, let me know.

  • ISTE Reflection
  • DENSI Reflection
  • Chad’s Choices
  • The upcoming school year

Maybe this will help me, maybe not, but we’ll see.

Jersey Wearing Rules

This is by no means an edtech post, but I do think you can learn something from it.  That is, if you’re a sports fan or are ever around sports fans.

A recent discussion with some friends about jersey rules led to me share what I consider the do’s and don’ts of wearing sports jerseys. They disagreed and laughed at a few of them, but it’s okay, they can be wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever written these down before, they’ve just always been in my head. Until now. There are other lists of rules out there, like this one from Rick Reilly, that I find amusing. Take a look at let me know what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Have you seen any blatant violations of the jerseys rules? By the way, these rules also apply to t-shirt jerseys.

And now, the list.