These past months have kept me very busy. Before going to Texas for a very special high school graduation at the end of May, I began learning how to use Google Reader so I could read other blogs on a more regular basis. As I began learning, I discovered several great literacy related blogs (on my own and thanks to my Twitter PLN). I am so thankful I did because on May 26, 2010, the morning I was leaving for Texas, I awoke to this lovely tweet from LeeAnn Moore aka @mom2preteens,
I named yours as a “blog to watch” in my post today. You have taken off like wild fire with your blog!
One of the rules of the award was that you needed to nominate ten other blogs for the same award. Thus, all my time and discoveries helped me write this post, which names my blog nominations. (Click here to read LeeAnn’s other nominations.) In addition, on July 16, 2010, Susan Dee aka @literacydocent surprised (and delighted me) with this:
Hi Julie! I have nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. Here is the link! http://thebookmavenshaven.blogspot.com/2010/07/versitile-blogger-award.html Thanks for sharing your amazing thinking with all of us!
Again, a rule of this award is that the recipient nominates other blogs. Thankfully, since my last post, I have found several other great literacy blogs. I will share them soon, along with a post about what Google Reader is and why I think it is a valuable tool for educators.
While I was in Texas, I greatly enjoyed my time with family. I also really enjoyed being in an organized and clutter-free home (the opposite of mine). As a teacher, I have spent a large amount of money purchasing resources for the classroom and since I do not currently have a classroom, all those materials must be housed in my home (along with a lot of paperwork).
I have been looking for a reading specialist position on a daily basis. Unfortunately, California is going through a severe education budget crisis and reading specialist positions are extremely rare. Further, when they are available, they are only open to educators who are currently in the district with the opening. To see what I mean, check out this morning’s job search on Edjoin for Orange County (the go-to place for finding education openings in California). Why do I bring this up? Well, if I cannot find a position for the coming year, all my materials and paperwork are going to have to stay here, so I figured it was time to give our home a good decluttering and major organization overhaul. (Having friends come in from Denmark for three weeks probably had a little to do with this, too!)
Although money is tight right now, I just had a major birthday, so I chose to use my gift money to buy two filing cabinets and a hutch to help me get more organized. One filing cabinet is now full (and organized) and my wonderful husband is still building the other one. It made me laugh while I was filling the filing cabinet because as I ran across things I hadn’t seen in years, I kept thinking, “Ooooh! This would make a great post!” The same goes for organizing the garage. Once the second filing cabinet is built, I will organize all the paperwork I am hiding in the garage. I can’t wait to see what treasures are waiting for me in there!
My massive collection of professional and children’s books also lacked a bit in organization, so I spent a lot of time organizing them. I even put the unread books into the order in which I want to read them. I hope to include them in GoodReads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing eventually. (Thank you to my Twitter PLN for offering your thoughts on each system!) I also reorganized my professional journals. Journals subscriptions other than “The Reading Teacher” and “Reading Research Quarterly” went into the garage because I needed more room for these two–I have been subscribing to them for years.
Before going to Texas, I made a new daily to-do-schedule and included time for reading these books and journals. Although I have not gotten around to using this schedule yet, I know that when I do, I will relish that time.
Wait! Let me take that back. I have been reading the children’s books. Can you guess where? It is one of the three “Bs” I learned from Jim Trelease and one that I always reminded students to take advantage of–reading in the bathroom. Sure, maybe this is a bit too personal for this blog, but a lot of reading can happen in the bathroom. Since struggling readers cannot afford to miss any opportunity to read, I highly suggest reminding them to keep reading material there (and any other place where opportunities for reading can be missed). You can read about the other two “Bs” under Trelease’s heading, “Is there something I could buy that would help my child read better?”
Another organization issue for me was email because whenever I found an interesting resource, I emailed it to myself. The amount of quality resources I have found on Twitter these past 9 1/2 months is astounding! (If you want to find out how long you have been using Twitter, click here and enter your Twitter username.) I know I should be organizing my resources on Diigo or Delicious, but that is further down my to-do-list. Until I really learn how to use these tools, I will continue using my somewhat effective way of organizing them through my many email folders.
I was not only organizing these resources into categories and topics, but by things I wanted to share on the three Facebook pages I administrate. Figuring out what to share where caused me such grief because some people are fans of multiple pages and I do not want them to have to read about the same resource more than once. While writing this, I made a decision. From now on, this will be the focus of each page:
- The Orange County Reading Association’s Facebook page – local literacy news and news from other reading associations.
- The QuickReads Facebook page – the QuickReads Research-Based Fluency program (which I love), fluency, and Elfrieda H. Hiebert’s work. Note: I think this page has caused (and will still cause) me the most difficulty because so many different areas affect fluency.
- TWRCtank’s Facebook page – all other literacy related resources.
I am going to go through all my email folders of resources once again and force myself to choose one page for each resource. So, depending on your interests, you may want to join all three pages. Then, the only dilemma I will face is deciding on the order in which to post them. (This also caused me much agony.) Should I post the old ones first, the new ones first, or try to mix it up? I think I will go with the old ones first. That way, even if you saw it in the past, it might be a nice reminder. The only exception will be if there is some kind of deadline associated with the resource.
These decisions should help me tremendously and are a welcome relief! I really have been agonizing over what to post where. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. If you are already a fan of any of the pages, thank you very much! I will start posting regularly once this new reorganization is complete. I wasn’t posting regularly on any of the pages because I was simply overwhelmed by the amount of resources I collected (and by the decision of what to post where). In fact, I had so many resources saved to share that I had to restrain myself from using Twitter for quite a while in order to avoid collecting any more. Sad, but true.
How do you keep track of your resources? Diigo, Delicious, email, something else? What would you recommend for me? Do you subscribe to blogs and websites using a feed reader? Do you use Google Reader or something else? Do you have any helpful hints for me? What about GoodReads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing? I know some teachers have students use them, too. If you do, what are the benefits? What do you think about my new plan for my Facebook pages?