Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Is Here!

Memorial Day always makes me feel that summer is officially here, although I know the actual date isn't for several weeks. Many years I'm still in school when Memorial Day roles around. This year, with no snow days, we got out last Wednesday. We head back to school on August 14th, the 16th for students. I am ready to soak up all of the days at home between now and then. 

I've had several posts rolling around in my brain so I thought I'd just do a post about "summer" and hit everything at once. 

Scholastic Reading Summit
I'm excited to be a part of the Scholastic Reading Summit again this year. I will be presenting at the summit in Chicago on June 21st. I'm talking about the importance of audience for my middle school readers and writers. 

I'll also have a few book giveaways throughout including a copy of Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. I'm thrilled that the publisher agreed to send me a copy to give one lucky attendee. My copy has been passed student to student and it was one that I felt like I must talk about this summer. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you come. It is a great conference! 

Summer #bookaday
I read a lot during the school year, but the summer is another level. I do read some books for adults, but most of the books are geared at my students. First, I love these books too. Second, this is where I can soak up recommendations for next year. My goal is always a book a day. While that seems high, that includes picture books, graphic novels, novels, etc. So far we've had five days of summer and I've read fifteen books. From my count, we have 80 days of summer, so I still have quite a way to go. I share many of the books I'm reading on Instagram. Many of my students follow me there. Whether or not they read what I read, it is a daily reminder that I am reading and hope they are too. Here's what I've read so far...

Summer Responsibilities

I share this here because people always ask me about it - how do I get my boys to read all summer? I don't share this to say that what we do is the "right" way, it just works for us. To understand this, you might need to know that I will avoid confrontation at all costs. I like peace, I don't want to nag, I don't want to argue. So, for the past seven years my boys have a daily list that has to be done each day. Once that's done, they can park themselves in front of video games for the rest of the day and I won't argue. Their "jobs" are variations of this:
  • Read 30 minutes
  • Some type of exercise (at this age, and due to their sports, they run 2+ miles each day except Sundays)
  • Something to help the house - water plants, sweep, etc.
  • Ensure their room is not a disaster and the first floor of the house is picked up of their stuff.
When they were younger, the list was very specific. Now, it is vague. They know what it is. When they were younger the list had to be done before they played any video games. Now it is done before lunch. We will officially begin tomorrow, the first few days of summer were just to relax, as was mine. But because this is the expectation, they've already begun exercising. Liam finished Harry Potter #5, Luke has flown through a stack of graphic novels. Since this has been the rule forever, they just know. (The cleaning part does require more reminders at times...) 

It works for us.

And I shared our high school reading assignment on Facebook today and many friends asked me about it. I actually love our high school assignment - there are lists to choose from, but really they just ask the kids to read two books over the summer. Two books. Our middle school doesn't have a formal assignment, but I shared with my seventh graders the HS website. They were all shocked to see that they had read so many books off of the recommended lists already. I hope my students will remember this and read this summer. They will be so much farther ahead come fall if they do. 

And that's our summer - a conference, reading, relaxing, and spending time together. I purposefully scheduled a summer with very little that I had to do this year. My boys have crazy schedules of practices and events, but my schedule has Scholastic and a weekend away with my family, otherwise I am home. You know what? It might be the thing I am looking forward to the most this year. Rest, relax, and recharge. I hope you get the time to do that too.