Summer Reading 2019

I am starting to plan out my summer reading for this year.  I am looking for four different types of books.  I will be participating in Penny Kittle’s Book Love 2019 Summer Book Club.  This is the third year that I have been involved and totally love doing this.  There is always a professional book and 3 books good for high school students.  I love reading and discussing the books with other professionals in this group.

Professional Development

  1. Its all about the Books by Tammy Mulligan
  2. Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp
  3. Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kylene Beers
  4. We Got This by Cornelius Minor

Young Adult Books (books that would be of interest to my students and work in my classroom library)

  1. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  2. Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
  3. Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo
  4. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  5. He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

Mentor Texts 

  1. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
  2. Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  3. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
  4. Night of Soldiers and Spies (Ranger in Time 10) by Kate Messner

Just for Fun Books for Me

  1. A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford
  2. Death on the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst
  3. A Memory of Muskets by Kathleen Ernst
  4. Mining for Justice by Kathleen Ernst
  5. The Lacemaker’s Secret by Kathleen Ernst


My goal is to read 40 books this summer from May 1st until August 31st.  So that means that I am still looking to add books to at least a couple of the categories.  I feel like one PD book a month is what I can handle if I want to read the book and digest what is said.  I may be adding one more book to the PD list after I see what the NCTE Reads book is for this summer.

What are you planning on reading this summer?  Do you have a must-read book that I need to add to my list?



My original plan was to write about customer service or the lack of it.  But as the day went on, it became apparent that frustration was to be today’s topic.  This word always brings a smile to my face even if it has a negative connotation.  When our oldest was about 3 years old, we were in the car on the way home from somewhere.  I don’t remember where but we had a bit of a drive.  My husband happened to use the word frustrated to describe how he was feeling about something.  Once again, I don’t remember exactly what.  All of the sudden from the back seat we hear this little preschooler (who has just started talking) repeating “I frustrated” over and over.  At this point, we doubt that she even knew what the word meant, but she just liked it and kept repeating it over and over.

Anyway, back to today. Why am I so frustrated today.

  1. Students not turning in their work on time.  Since we started the no late penalty, the student’s attention to getting work done on time has gotten worse.
  2. Students not using their class time appropriately, because hey they can turn that assignment in whenever they want.
  3. I came home to discover that once again dishes hadn’t been done even though my oldest was home this morning and didn’t have to go into work until later.
  4. My youngest daughter’s laptop isn’t working correctly and Dell has been a bear trying to work with them to get it fixed.  They want to remote in to try and get fix it that way.  But wait, the problem is that the screen doesn’t come up, there is no way that we can give them permission to do anything.
  5. Dell wants the service tag number, but I keep trying to tell them, that there is no sticker on the back of the computer.  They insist that it is there.  When I try to bring up my order number it doesn’t show under my account.  Too many phone calls between Dell and myself or my daughter.
  6. Trying to find the paperwork from my order from Dell.  Can’t remember what I filed it under.
  7. Creating a bigger mess in my house trying to find the paperwork.
  8. Dumping my tea all over the living room floor.  Seriously?
  9. This dang cough and dripping nose.  I just need something that is bad enough so that I can get an antibiotic and get over it.  Because like so many women that have had children and are older, I have another problem when I cough.  I will spare you the details on this one.
  10. Dealing with some drama from my youngest daughter away at college besides the computer issue.  She has had a long year as far as roommates, and other things.

The nice thing about a new day is that you get to start over again.

Please just STOP it.

Trying to teach my students (sophomores) how to do in-text citations and works cited entries.  Several of my students just turned in a page full of nothing but the URL.  They think I am being mean and unreasonable because I won’t accept the URL and instead make them do a complete works cited entry.

Students: “But (insert teacher’s name) allows us to just use the URL.  They say it doesn’t really matter. Why are you making us to this other stuff instead?

Me: Really, you are allowed to just submit the URL for Mr(s) teacher?

Me: (to myself)  Well that explains why the students don’t see a connection between what we learn in ELA class and other subjects.  No wonder they can’t seem to in the habit of creating works cited entry and using in-text citations.

If you are that teacher that is allowing them to take side cuts, please just STOP IT!!!

Does the basketball coach teach shortcuts and allow the students to run with the ball instead of dribbling it? Does the volleyball coach allow the person serving to walk up to the net and just toss the ball over?  Maybe the track coach should allow the athlete throwing the discus to just walk out and place the discuss where they think that they could throw it.

No one questions a coach insisting that the athlete practice the fundamentals over and over and that they constantly work on mastering the technique so why do we allow shortcuts in academics instead of just teaching the material and demanding that students use those fundamental skills in every discipline when appropriate?




I made it

This is it, my 31st post for the month of March.  This year I had every entry posted and comments finished before 10:00 pm central time.  The past few years I have struggled to get some posts in by the 11:00 CT date.

I do struggle with coming up with something to write about many days during the week.  As a teacher, I know it is important for me to model reading and writing for my students.  I don’t have a problem modeling the reading, I share my reading goals, I share books that I am reading that are really good, and I am always asking my students about the books that they are reading.

Yet, I struggle with writing.  I started off the year determined that I would write daily with my students, that lasted for about a month.  Why do I find it so hard to get into a habit of writing?  Like many of my students, I struggle with coming up with a topic to write about.  I seem to think that my life is boring and routine.  This year, I am going to try to get into the habit of writing once a week.  Hopefully, I can continue this on Tuesdays and continue with the year-long SOL challenge.

Ear Buds

My husband seems to think that I need earbuds.  He claims that when I am listening to something on my computer (usually 10 minutes or less) that I tend to annoy him if he has a game on or any other TV show.  He is always watching TV, so if he is home the TV is on.

Of course, my comeback is “What about when I am reading and you turn on the TV”.  Maybe he needs earbuds for the TV.

Men never seem to see how the two things are related.

Different classes, different reactions

What a difference a class makes.  For the past two days (we are on an A/B schedule) I have given my students the topic of immigration for their 10-minute journal writing. I begin the cycle with an LA honors 10 class, then 3 regular ed LA 10 classes and end with another LA 10 honors.

The regular ed students basically just wrote about the assigned topic. Or at least I am believing the best.  A few asked for a different topic because they don’t care about immigration and there are a few that refuse to write period.

The honors classes were different.  Class A started arguing right away about immigration laws, the wall, the president, racism, abortion, and anything else that they could find to argue about.  Not sure much writing took place with that class either.  This class was totally out of control within seconds and took a few minutes to reign them in.

The second honors class was much different. They gladly wrote about the topic for the required 10 minutes, some even took a bit longer to finish up and then they were happy to discuss their opinions and ideas regarding this topic.  We ended up with a 30-minute discussion on the topic.  While that was not on the agenda for the day, it does match up with some other standards that I need to teach, so the class time was not a total waste.  During this time we worked on listening to each other, respecting others opinions, and furthering a conversation.  In my opinion, it was a win-win for the class.


Trying to find airplane tickets this afternoon for this summer.  Seriously, what is with these prices.  For two to fly it will be over $1000, some airlines are not allowing a carry on bag and charge $60.00 for the first checked bag.  Then if I want to come back I need to leave around midnight and get back to our home airport at 8 or 9 in the morning.

Really, how do people who have to fly so much do it?  These prices are way too much.  Especially the 60-80 for a checked bag.

My husband has to go for continuing education, but I am thinking that I may not be going at this price.


For some reason, we have accumulated a bunch of stuff.  Most of it sits and is not used.  Most of it, I have totally forgotten about even having.  As we work on cleaning out the basement, closets, drawers and other corners where stuff was stashed, I just shake my head and wonder how and why.

It seems like the harder I work to get the house decluttered the more I find and the worse it gets.  I am sure that it will get better as my daughters grow up, find their own homes and take their stuff (junk) with them.

We must have 100 or more of those cloth tote bags that you get when you attend a conference.  It seems like so many conferences just hand over a bag with all of the materials you will need, including your name tag, lanyard, registration items, and usually some sort of “gift” for attending the conference.  How many of them do we need to collect?  I decided tonight that as I find them I am going to start tossing them.  There will be more I am sure as we have more conferences to attend yet this year and into the future.  Hopefully, I can remember to toss them once we are home and I have sorted through the material that needs to be kept and all of the stuff that you are handed that usually ends up in the garbage.

My girls are 19 and 25, but yet I keep finding baby bibs and 6-month sleepers.  Those really should have gone a long time ago to Goodwill or some organization that will use them to bless others who maybe can’t afford new items.

I wonder if we will ever get rid of all of the stuff that is in our house and not necessary.  Oh, well, I will keep plugging along and maybe someday I will finally pitch the last piece of junk into the garbage.



Wedding Woes

This June we will have been married for 30 years.  Tonight my husband is watching an old episode of Home Improvement.  In this episode, Tim is driving Jill to a wedding that is supposed to take place in another state.  They get lost twice, but finally, make it to the wedding in time to discover that the bride had been stood up.  Sadly this was the third time she was jilted at the altar. This reminded my husband of all of the things that went wrong with our wedding and he proceeded to list them all off for our daughters.

  1. The wedding started about 30 minutes late as they tried to get everyone seated.
  2. The minister hadn’t done a wedding for a few years, so he forgot to let my husband say I Do.
  3. The photographer was late so we didn’t get any pictures before the wedding
  4. The photographer’s camera broke, which didn’t help matters
  5. Since all pictures had to be taken after the wedding, we cut the cake and then went back up to take pictures and ended up missing most of our guests (before the days of big receptions)
  6. The person that was supposed to video the wedding decided to take his kids to Adventureland instead.
  7. We went back to my folk’s house for a small reception with family and close friends and to open gifts.  My dad made us change in separate rooms so he didn’t get to take me out of my wedding dress.

He continued to go on about some other minor things that I don’t even remember.  Seriously, after almost 30 years that is what you remember?

They’re back!

Close to where I work there are two ponds.  One of the ponds is for swimming and the other pond is used for fishing.  There is a huge flock of geese that call this pond home during the spring, summer and fall seasons before they fly south for the winter.

You know that spring is coming when you start to see the geese out on the lake, sitting on their nests

and walking around the lake.  If you are driving by earlier enough in the morning or at the right time you will be able to see the flock crossing the street to the cornfield.  Today, I knew spring was coming for sure as I saw many of the geese out and about this morning.