Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Juggling Literacy in the Summer

Thanks Google images.
I consider myself a very organized person.  My family would say sometimes to the default of my unwillingness to "get out of my box."  At this point in the summer, I feel like the Cat in the Hat juggling everything and really not feeling so good about how I am doing.

 My juggling act started this week with 4 TBR piles: book club, books from the library, books for my students, and professional.  I finished reading: The Center of Everything by Linda Urban and I had my first dilemma.  As I was reading, I wanted to annotate in the book.  I loved her analogy with using water throughout the language of the story, and I wanted to highlight my favorite lines.  I also got confused with characters, so I needed help with organizing character traits.  My dilemma was to write in the book or not write in the book?  I want to book talk it in Sept. so I don't want to write in it. I tried post it notes-not so good for me.  I tried my reader's notebook-not so good for me.  I tried my iPad and taking notes/photos of pages better but time consuming.  What do you do when you have this problem with juggling your thinking and connecting it to your book. I know one suggestion: purchase two books ;)

Next I want to read all the time but I want to blog, work on articles and start thinking about next year. I was doing well until I started reading my book club book from March. I didn't quite make that dead line.  Gone Girl is suspenseful and long, and it was hard to enjoy the adult book with the nag that I should be reading other books. I also knew I had several other books that I needed to start for twitter chats that I wanted to participate in. I missed my first twitter chat for Teach Like a Pirate but I hope to catch up this week.  Does anyone else struggle with which book pressure and trying to let go and just enjoy the current book that you are reading?

Finally I have 4 journals:  probably too many.  I have my reader's notebook where I keep the list of my books I am reading, want to read etc.  Next I have my writer's notebook that holds all my writing ideas.  Third, I have my technology notebook which I jot down all the apps, ideas etc.  Finally I have my iPad, which I am beginning to learn more about, and enjoying the digital east of bookmarking etc.  Once again, is anyone else juggling too many places to hold their thinking?

Maybe if I look at one big pile, it might help?
I am super excited to be leaving tomorrow for #Allwrite13 (follow on twitter) there is an amazing list of presenters: 
Carl Anderson
Jeff Anderson
Ruth Ayres
Penny Kittle
Lester Laminack
Chris Lehman
Tanny McGregor
Kate Messner
Tim Rasinski
Jennifer Serravallo
Terry Thompson
Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Just imagine the rich conversations and professional learning for the next two days. 



  1. This is always how I feel when summer begins - so much to read, think about and plan for...where to begin? I juggle notebooks, too, Maria, I like to compartmentalize my thinking, I guess. And my readers notebook contains book notes - it's the only way I know how to do this, although I know that I'm behind the times. Are you going to All Write, too. It's amazing how many bloggers will be there...I'm bummed that it begins on my last days of school. Maybe next year!

  2. Thanks Tara I agree I like compartments to place my thinking also. Yes I am leaving today for Allwrite. I went last year and it was amazing. I love the freedom of choosing your sessions and the conversations with everyone are really strong. Best of luck on your last days-thinking of you as you say good bye to your class.

  3. Addendum -- just imagine the rich conversations, professional learning and OH THE AMAZON.COM bills ;)

    I really connected with what you and Tara mentioned about compartmentalizing. I'm struggling with how much of my digital reading/writing life I want to integrate and how much I want to keep fragmented -- based on purpose and identity (merging or keeping separate personal and professional).

  4. Maria,
    I have easily transitioned to taking writing notes as I read electronically. That is largely because I prefer to read everything digitally so it is easy to do. I can just highlight and note as I read. There are issues of retrieval and page numbers when talking about the book with others, but I am learning.

    I struggle most with the writing. I tend to keep short lists of ideas in my phone and that works well, but when it comes to developing ideas my notebook isn't always right at my fingertips. Instead my phone and iPad usually are. Of course, I use different apps to write to develop ideas and journal. These apps don't always sync across devices...and I don't consistently use the same one.

    I think the answer is to go back to my notebook, but it just isn't as convenient. It is possible that I just haven't found the perfect app.

    Like you, I am juggling. Let me know if you find a solution.


  5. Keeping everything organized and where it needs to be is a constant challenge for me... A wonderful colleague introduced me to Evernote. I am exploring it this summer and hope to use it to solve all of my journals, clippings from the web, book lists, etc... Have you ever used it?
    I am just moving to grade 5 so I am trying to read as much as I can this summer so I know what is on my bookshelf.

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments sure seems like we are all trying to figure out how to integrate old school with new school. Yes I am currently using Evernote in my classroom with all my student files, conferences etc. It doesn't have that personal feeling I am searching for like a WNB. So far I am leaning toward my iPad because I want to be able to share next year with my students and taking pics is huge. Let me know if anyone has any new learning on this juggling of literacy.