Tag Archives: Nerdy Book Club

A Little Bit of Everything to Start the New Year


The start of the new year is one of my favorite times to be on Twitter. I love the #OLW and #Nerdlution posts. I love the “best of” book lists and the new reading goals being set for the year. Even if you aren’t a blogger, I’m sure you’ve been participating in all of this resolution making from the privacy of your own living room or reading corner. Fresh starts are a wonderful thing, right?

My OLW for 2014 was listen, and although I haven’t necessarily perfected the art of listening, it served me well. As someone who is quick to jump in with what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, I was constantly reminded to pause and hear my family, friends, and colleagues with more intention and purpose.

I have a couple of words that I thought would be my OLW for 2015. Yesterday, I was sure I finally had it; a word that was inspiring, about goals and pursuits. But a quiet voice spoke to me during a conversation with a friend early this morning. It whispered my word to me.

And I said no.

I don’t have time for that word.  I’m no good at that word.  That word will be a lot. of. work.

But, here I am about ten hours later, getting ready to accept my word, my challenge for 2015.


Such a simple word, a small act, yet something I don’t do nearly enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I encourage my students all the time.  It comes so easy, so naturally. But outside of the classroom. With colleagues. With friends. Even with my family. Ummm.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have serious tunnel vision during the week. When I’m walking in the halls, I’m on a mission.  As soon as I leave school, it’s off to the races with this sport or that music lesson. When I get home, it’s dinner and dishes and homework and reading. (There has to be reading!) I think I don’t have time, but my one little word is telling me that I should be making the time.

How often have I walked through the halls of my school and seen a really thoughtful display on the walls, only to smile and then keep walking without saying anything to the teacher who designed it?  When a colleague undertakes a project to better the school, how many times have I taken a minute to send an email or stop by to thank them? Not nearly enough.

My friends know I’m busy, right? If I don’t text them for a week, two weeks…they’ll understand. We’re all running our kids from here to there. I don’t do high maintenance friendships. Actually, I have the tendency to have no maintenance friendships.  I may have been telling myself that works for me, but I think the wonderful people I call my friends deserve a little more than that.

And my family. I want the world for my family. Unfortunately, many times that translates into pushing instead of encouraging. I push hard, because I want them to be the best they can be. Sometimes a push might be needed, but most of the time, an encouraging word or action will go so much further.

So, there it is. My OLW for 2015. It also happens to be the springboard for my Nerdlution.


Image by Kristine Mraz

For the next fifty days, I commit to an act of encouragement each day.  A note, a conversation, a text, or an email for my colleagues, friends and family. So many of you have encouraged me, and I have appreciated your words or acts on days when I needed them most. I hope that my OLW will become a permanent fixture in my life, but nerdlution is going to get me started in the right direction.

I also hope that everyone else is having great success with their nerdlutions so far, and if you haven’t chosen your one little word for 2015, there’s still plenty of time to think about the kind of year you want to have.  Or maybe your little word will choose you.  One little word can have big possibilities for you and the people in your life.

So with that in mind, let me encourage (see what I did there?) you to read some of these great books that I read in the first few days of the new year:

red pencil death by tp crossover

All three are perfect for MG readers.

What I’m reading now:

green glass house

And what I’m reading next:

boys of blur all the bright places image

Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!



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Celebrating Real


This week I’m celebrating with Ruth Ayres. Please take a look at all of this week’s celebrations on her blog.

 Real Writing

This week we had some excitement in my class when one of my fourth grade students, Charlotte, had her review of Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur featured on Nerdy Book Club. I happened to be on Twitter at the right time when Colby tweeted out a request for a retro review.  Although I couldn’t remember if student work was ever featured on Nerdy, I put it out there, and he graciously accepted.


You can read her post here. What I loved about this experience was that it was a perfect way to show my students that writing is real. It’s not about the essays you hand in to your teacher (because we do that), and it’s not about the thirty minute timed prompt on the state assessment (we’re about to have to do that too).  It’s about purpose and passion AND audience. My students have had some chances to connect with a larger audience through blogging this year, but no experience came close to seeing all of the comments on Charlotte’s Nerdy post this week. And we had celebration on top of celebration when one of her favorite authors, Cynthia Lord, commented on her review mid-morning.

Charlotte got a taste of what it can be like when your writing has an impact. She had students in the hallway asking her for her autograph, supervisors stopping by, teachers and prinicipals calling and emailing to congratulate. And the impact was felt by all of the students in my class. Requests to publish a review on our class blog skyrocketted, and I am celebrating my students’ renewed sense of this writing thing is for real.

Real Friendship

I’m also celebrating my colleagues past and present who have become some of my closest friends. I’m celebrating the support, the feedback, the willingness to understand me. You know who you are.  You know what you’ve done. I love you. Thank you.



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