Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, December 2, 2013

#Nerdlution Blog...

#Nerdlution Progress/Update

*I'm excited to be joining the Twitter #nerdlution.

*What a thrilling movement to motivate all of us to be better.

*I'm going to track my progress and do updates on this blog page.

 *To see my goals in details see #Nerdlution Goals

Day #50 (Final Day)

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Everyone knows the phrase "practice acts of kindness."  I have heard story after story after story about people enriching their lives by practicing acts of kindness.  I found this to be true during the last 50 days.  It was rewarding, satisfying, and fulfilling to come up with random acts of kindness.  It wasn't always easy, but in the end it was one of the best things I've ever done.  I know I will definitely continue to practice random acts of kindness in the future and instill this "movement" with my own students. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading)
- I have always been an avid reader.  That is why I started this blog in the first place.  To be honest, I'm a distracted reader.  I read and check my phone.  I read and check Facebook.  I read and check Twitter.  I read and find jobs to do around the house.  The last 50 days I've spent at least one uninterrupted hour of reading.  This goal has been such a life changer for me.  I think from now on I will be much better at putting away the phone and getting lost in a novel without any distractions. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - This was a great goal for myself.  As much as I try to meet with my readers about their goals, reading level, comprehension, and fluency.  The last 50 days have been wonderful having "casual conversations" about their reading life!  I know I will continue to meet with students as much as I can to talk books, reading, and everything in between. 

Day #49

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to come to Colorado and visit good friends.  They have been great hosts.  After a wonderful dinner, I offered and insisted on doing ALL the dishes and clean-up.  Felt great to help out and let them relax a bit!  


#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading)
- It can be hard to get reading in when on vacation with the family plus visiting friends.  But those are both positive things in my life so I'm not complaining.   

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Sunday = No students!

Day #48

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  We are visiting friends in Colorado this weekend.  We were at a ski village today and a little boy was having a heck of a time getting all of his gear up to the lift.  Not sure why his "adult" left him so far behind, but I couldn't let him suffer.  So I helped him carry his stuff.  The best part was when we got to where he needed to be, he looked up at me and said "Thank You MR."

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading)
-Saturdays are awesome for reading for at least an hour if not more! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Saturday = No students!

Day #47

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  We had dinner with good friends tonight and I insisted on "treating" them.  Normally we just split the bill, but tonight I wanted to show them how much our friendship means and take them to dinner.  It felt great and I know they appreciated it. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - For various reasons, I didn't not get an hour of reading in.  Two days in a row.  I'm getting nervous...

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - I was out of the building today so I didn't connect with a student. 

Day #46

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today was all about little random acts of kindness.  I made sure to use extra manners.  I made sure to open doors for people.  I made sure to let other people go first for things.  I made sure to help people in small ways.  There was nothing major about today but when I went to bed I felt great about all the small things I had done. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Believe it or not, I didn't get to any reading today and I just don't feel complete. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Devin and I chatted today during the reading workshop.  We mostly chatted about his reading habits and how some days he is very in the zone and other days he seems a bit lost.  He admitted his really enjoys graphic novels, but that is about it.  One of his new goals is to try some new genres as we move into the second part of the year.  I did not get to any (F/P) assessments today. 

Day #45

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I'm a part of the social committee at my school.  We were making a list of "social" events we could do for the remaining portion of the year.  I offered my home for an end of February/beginning of March "Dead of Winter" party with spouses.  We love to entertain and I'm excited for this fun event later this winter.  We all need to take time to have fun, spend social time together, and be kind to each other!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - I didn't get to my reading last night because I was with my mom during the evening.  I'm going to make a point of getting to bed early so I can get the reading in.  I miss it when I don't read so I'm hoping to do some extra tonight.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today's conversation was with Kaiden.  The chat was so fun because Kaiden absolutely loves to read.  We mostly chatted about how he finds so much time during the day to read and has covered so many books this year.  It was a delightful conversation.  I also made the time to meet with another three students for (F/P) assessments.

Day #44

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today was about giving back to my parents; especially my father.  My mother has Alzheimer's Disease.  She is still living at home.  My dad wanted to go to a meeting/dinner where he use to work.  I told him I would come over after work and spend the night with my mom.  He is always so appreciative when my sister or I help out and give him a chance to get out of the house on his own.  I'm actually blogging from their home.  As hard as it is to see the changes in my mom, I cherish the moments I get to spend with her. 


#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Because of work and being with my mom tonight, I'm not sure I will get an hour in of reading.  We will have to see what time I get home tonight. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Will is such a fun reader to observe.  He and some of the boys in my class are reading novels together at the same time.  They have finished The Percy Jackson series and are now working on the Heroes of Olympus series.  Our conversation revolved around these two series and what he enjoys most about them.  Afterwards I met with another three students to continue the (F/P) reading assessments for winter.  It is a great opportunity to listen to a student read, do a quick running record, and then check in for comprehension. 

Day #43

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I finally got my car washed today after weeks of bad weather, dirty roads, and crud caked on by the layer.  I was so happy when I saw it emerge from the wash.  The place I take the car to has a policy of no tipping.  But since I'm on day #43 of Nerdlution, I had to spread my random acts of kindness to these hard workers.  As I got in my car, I slipped some bills into the attendant's hand and told her I so appreciated her hard work.  Then I quickly got into the car so she couldn't object. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading)
 -  Currently I'm reading from The Book Thief and The Saturday Boy.  Both are bringing me much enjoyment.  I'm hoping to get my one hour in tonight before I hit the hay! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today brought a conversation with Masa.  He is one of my scattered readers and jumps from book to book.  We talked about how he is a strong reader and ways to focus himself on a book at a time before he jumps to something else.  The conversation was great and I'm thinking made impact with him.  After this "chat", I assessed 3 more students and continue to be so pleased that my readers are making the appropriate progress on the (F/P) selections.

Day #42

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Today I writing about an act of kindness that was giving toward me.  As we were driving to Des Moines I kept passing (and then he passing me) for quite awhile.  At one point as he was passing me, he pointed to the radar detector he had in his car.  I kept up with the driver for many miles until my wife needed a rest stop.  It was great to make good time while heading south.  Disclaimer:  Just because we had radar, doesn't mean we were going over the speed limit!  Ha...

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - I finished Fallout by Todd Strasser and started The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  My wife and I drove our daughter to Des Moines to catch a ride to Lincoln, Nebraska.  I drove down, but Kris drove back so I definitely was able to read for more than an hour.  Loved it! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Sunday = No Students!

Day #41

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - I try to see my parents once a week.  My mother has Alzheimer's, but still lives at home with my dad.  I invited them to lunch.  Normally my father always likes to pay.  Isn't that what parents are for?  Ha, ha!  Today when the bill came, I grabbed it.  He insisted, but I insisted more.  He appreciated the gesture.  Seeing the bill, I also decided to leave a larger tip than I normally would.  Our server gave us a BIG THANK YOU!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - A successful afternoon of reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Saturday = No Students!

Day #40

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today I was "the best teacher ever."  If you are a teacher, you know this can change from day to day and even hour to hour.  We finally got some warm weather (30 degrees) and I decided to give my hard workers a well-deserved break.  So my act of kindness today was to take my 4th graders outside for a bit of Friday winter fun!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - As much as I love doing acts of kindness and making time to connect with students about their reading, this one hour (or more) of reading for myself has been one of the best things I've done.  I'm also getting really good at leaving the phone alone for the entire time.  Huge success for me!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Jack and I chatted about his reading life.  He can be a mystery at times because some days he is so "in the zone" and other days he just can't seem to find his groove.  I'm sure we can all relate to that.  Jack is funny because anytime I "book talk" a title, he wants to be the first one to read it, but doesn't always follow through.  We touched on this and agreed this was something he could work on.  Another day of (F/P) assessments and I met with three more students to check in on their progress.  I continue to be pleased with the growth my readers have taken.

Day #39

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - My black ice story.  This morning as I was leaving home to go to work, I witnessed a pick-up-truck hit some black ice and do a 360 degree rotation.  It was scary to witness.  I was at a stop light and this was ahead of me.  Lucky the driver didn't hit any other cars.  As he moved his car to the side of the road, the other cars just drove by.  I decided to slow down and ask if he was alright.  I think he really appreciated it.  Always feels great to check in with people and make sure they are in a good place. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Last night brought more success and my eyes stayed opened for the entire hour (and a bit more) during my reading time.  I'm enjoying a middle-grade novel and an adult novel.  Both of these books will be reviewed as soon as I'm done.  

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - A wonderful discussion was had with Kori today.  She loves to read as much as I do and so we mostly chatted about the common books we have read and what we enjoy most about those books.  Kori has to go to her gifted/talented class three days a week and misses our reading zone.  She talked about how this is frustrating and disappointing sometimes because she doesn't get to read as much as the other students.  I also did another three reading assessments (F/P) and continue to see progress in my readers. 

Day #38

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today's act of kindness was geared toward my students.  We missed Monday and Tuesday due to the weather.  I announced to my math class that there wouldn't be a math packet this week due to the shortened week.  Cheers could be heard!  During homeroom time, I also let the class know there would be no spelling list for the week.  Again, I heard some very enthusiastic cheers.  My act of kindness brought much happiness to many 4th graders.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - I can sure tell that I'm back to work this week.  I believe I fell asleep last night before I finished my hour of reading.  I'm missing the full afternoons with a book and incredible stories.  Tonight I'm hoping to make it through the full hour with my two books that I'm reading.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  First day back to school with students.  It was great to connect with them about their reading and the books they are reading.  Today I chatted with Ryan.  He sticks mostly to graphic novels.  We talked about expanding our genres and some possible choices for him.  I also did our mid-year assessments (F/P) with three students.  It was great to see the progress they have made since September.  So exciting!

Day #37

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - We had another "COLD" day so our students didn't attend school, but our staff did.  We had a great level meeting for part of the day.  Our team is creating common assessments for both reading and math.  Today we were working on the next reading assessment and were getting to a point of a stand-still.  I volunteered to finish the test on my own and then share it with my co-workers for them to preview, make changes, and suggestions.  There are times when it feels really great to go the "extra" mile for the benefit of our students and my team. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - The two books I'm reading right now during my uninterrupted reading time are Fallout and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  One is my adult novel and one is my middle-grade novel.  I'm enjoying them both. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  COLD Tuesday = No Students!

Day #36

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Being the first day back, I took some time this morning to go around and "greet" my friends, co-workers, and school staff to wish them a happy New Year.  It also helped that we didn't have students coming today so I had some extra time.  After work I stopped by the book store to purchase the book for my end of year 2013 book give away.  I will be mailing it this week.  I so enjoy sharing books with other people that love reading as much as I do. 


#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  I'm a bit bummed that vacation is over and I'm back to work because I'm losing out on all that extra reading time.  My goal is to still head up tonight leaving enough time so I can get my hour of reading time in.  I have three books in front of me that I will pick from. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  COLD Monday = No Students!

Day #35

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I know most teachers are heading back to work tomorrow, or maybe not?  The MN Governor closed school for Monday due to the forecasted low temperatures.  In our district we still have to report for "duty".  As great as it would be to have another day of vacation, I'm looking forward to a day in the classroom prepping for 2014.  It also allows for extra time to reconnect with colleagues about their vacation.  I sent a text to my "buddies" inviting them to a pizza lunch in my room tomorrow for an extended lunch.  We don't get that opportunity very often so I know we will all enjoy it!  

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  It has been another awesome day of #bookaday and with that comes #napaday.  I've spent most of today reading The Shadow Throne and enjoying it immensely.  I'm going to miss all the extra time I've had to read once I get back to work tomorrow.  It truly has been a gift.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Sunday = No Students!

Day #34

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I'm not sure I did anything today that would constitute an act of kindness unless you count being kind to myself.  I gave myself the whole day to just relax, read, and nap.  It was absolutely glorious.  I guess once and awhile it can be a good thing to be kind to yourself.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  My whole day was reading, napping, reading, napping.  It was truly wonderful!  I'm reading The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson and an ARC of The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Saturday = No Students! 

Day #33

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  As we (my children and I) were driving downtown St. Paul to meet my wife and parents for lunch at the St. Paul Hotel, I noticed a man at the top of the ramp with a sign in his hands.  He was on the left of the ramp and I was turning right.  I did notice a car stop and roll down their window and hand the man something.  I'm assuming it was money.  Normally when I see people outside at the top of ramps asking for donations, I don't see people stop.  It warmed my heart to see this exchange and reminded me that I want to pick up some gift cards to some fast-food restaurants here in town so that I could give one to someone that I may run across at another ramp.  After we saw this exchange, I had a meaningful discussion with my children about the homeless and/or needy people in St. Paul and what we can do to help.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  They say practice makes perfect.  I'm getting so much better at putting my phone aside and giving myself one hour of uninterrupted reading time.  This morning I read about 100 pages during that hour from the book Winger by Andrew Smith.  I'm planning on finishing the book later today.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Friday = No Students! (And our Governor just called off school on Monday because of the COLD weather that is coming)

Day #32

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I was on the phone with a friend and he mentioned they were driving back from Sioux Falls and had just gotten a crack in this windshield.  We have been through this ourselves (we have a 16 year old driver).  I went and looked up the information from the place we used and texted it to my friend.  I got a nice reply back from his wife (he was driving) thanking me for the information.  It is a small thing, but I know helped a friend in need!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  Ended last night and began this morning with a full hour of reading.  Presently I'm reading Winger by Andrew Smith.  It is a great YA novel and I'm sure I will be done today or tomorrow.  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy vacation time reading...

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Thursday = No Students!

Day #31

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Today I announced the winner of my second book give-away.  I had posted my favorite books from 2013.  The winner was Maria Selke.  She has won a copy of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt.  The feeling of sharing books and giving away a copy, feels so great.  One of the best acts of kindness I've done in the last 30 days.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  Today was definitely a #bookaday and a #napaday type of day.  I literally was in bed all day reading my book called Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.  I finished the book today, but also got some great nap time in.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Wednesday = No Students!

Day #30

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  As cold as it was outside, I had to shovel our driveway.  Looking next door, I remember that our neighbors were still out of town for the holidays.  I had a choice.  I could go in and get WARM or I could go over and do a second driveway despite how cold it was.  Yes, I took the second option and feel good that I did.  I didn't have my phone with me so there is no picture to post, but you will have to take my word for it that this was my act of kindness today!  Happy New Year...

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  I must have been very distracted this morning.  I started and stopped my uninterrupted reading quite a few times.  My one hour of reading turned into two hours because I kept getting distracted by Twitter, Facebook, texts, and people in the house.  But based on my timer, I did reach my goal of one hour of interrupted of reading time.  Currently I'm reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Tuesday = No Students!

Day #29

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Being that I'm sticking close to home during my Christmas break, my family members are at the receiving end of my acts of kindness.  Today's "task" was truly an act of kindness because it was the LAST thing I wanted to do today.  My wife went back to work today and was stressing about getting the donations to GoodWill recorded and delivered by year's end.  I took it upon myself to record all 143 items and bag them up so we can drop them off at the GoodWill store today.  It wasn't enjoyable, but I do feel good that I did something that I know my wife will truly appreciate.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  I finished The Goldfinch last night.  This morning I started my BBC (Boy's Book Club) book.  It is called Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.  I must admit that about half way through the hour I put the book down and checked my phone.  Does it matter that I was checking Twitter?  Once I put the phone down, I found myself in the reading zone and enjoying this memoir.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Monday = No Students!

Day #28

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Having spent the whole day at home (which are my favorite days) it was hard to think of an act of kindness I performed.  I did finally break down and cleaned my daughter's room for her.  She is home from college and things got a bit out of hand in the last couple of weeks.  She went to spend the day at a friend's house and I went to town.  I texted her this picture and she was so appreciative.  My daughter ask that I not show the "before" pic, but I was given permission to show the "after" picture.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  I began another morning with an hour or more of reading.  Vacation time is so perfect for this type of reading.  I'm almost done with The Goldfinch and can't wait to see how this massive novel will come to an end.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Sunday = No Students!

Day #27

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Twenty-two years ago today I married my best friend and have never been as happy as I am currently.  To celebrate our day, I planned a surprise "family" day.  I had to check and get prior approval with my two children.  As we know, young people's lives can be quite busy.  I bought tickets to the Broadway show "Wizard of Oz."  We went to the afternoon show and then went to a famous steakhouse here in town.  There wasn't a better way to spend the day and we made family memories to last a lifetime.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  I began my morning with my uninterrupted reading time before I did anything else.  I spent quite a bit of time reading and finishing Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  The novel was a beautiful story and I will be posting my review soon.  

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Saturday = No Students!

Day #26

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Today's random act of kindness was more of a surprise than an act of kindness, but I also believe it could fit both.  While my wife ran some errands (that would take about an hour), I quickly took down our Christmas village that she dreads taking down every year.  The smile on her face when she walked into the house was worth it!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  Another great day of reading.  I started the morning with my first hour of reading.  I began reading the novel Eleanor and Park.  I've heard about this book for a long time.  I then got in another couple hours of reading this afternoon and plan on reading even more tonight.  Vacation days are just the best!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Friday = No Students!

Day #25

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - While my daughter was at work today, I called her to see if I could pick up lunch for her.  She asked for Panera.  I stopped by there to pick up lunch and drive it over to her workplace.  While in the drive-through, I decided to pay for the person behind me.  I have heard of people doing this, but never have myself.  When I got to the window, I let the cashier know I would be paying for myself and the car behind me.  She smiled and said "Yes Sir!"

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  The holidays were very busy and I found myself frustrated at times because I didn't get my full hour of reading in.  Today I made up for it. I read an entire new novel (review coming soon) during the day.  It felt wonderful and great to be back to some "binge" reading.  I hope many more days of my vacation bring the same thing...

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Holiday Thursday = No Students!

Day #24

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - I think the whole holiday of Christmas can be an act of kindness.  It warms my heart to think of all the wonders and kindness shown throughout today.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Heading up for an hour or more of reading after a long, but wonderful, Christmas Day!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Holiday Wednesday = No Students!

Day #23...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - One of our Christmas Eve visits today was to see my father-in-law who is recovering from surgery at a nursing home.  As we were preparing the gifts and food that we were going to bring with, I asked my wife if we could bring a tray of her wonderful cookies and goodies to share with the nursing staff that has been taking care of her father.  When we got there and told him about it, he thought it was a great idea.  We left a large tray of the "goodies" and the staff was thrilled.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - It is 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve and I haven't gotten my hour of reading in.  I don't think it is going to happen tonight.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Tuesday = NO Students!  

Day #22...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - While shopping at the local bookstore, I sought out my favorite clerk to chat with her about books.  I let her know how grateful I was for her and that I so enjoyed our "book talks" when I stop in the store (which is often).  She then showed me a book she just finished and suggested I read it.  I added it to my pile of things to buy.  Books sure do bring people together.  I then made a point to be especially patients and friendly to the counter clerk because it was quite busy.  She stated how much she appreciated my flexibility and I told her "no worries", to enjoy the day, and Merry Christmas.  She gave me a big thank-you!  It is so easy to be friendly with other people and brings joy to both parties.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Hoping to find an hour today where I can read.  I'm already feeling behind with #bookaday.  I've been shopping and wrapping (again), going to run some errands, and then hosting a dinner party.  My big chunk of reading time may have to wait until December 26th.  We shall see...

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Holiday Monday = NO Students!

Day #21...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Thinking about my Sunday, I'm not sure if anything I did during the day would count as an act of kindness.  I guess it is ok to miss a day here or there.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Another morning where I stayed in bed until I knew I got my full hour of uninterrupted reading time in.  I know once I head downstairs, the holiday season grabs me and doesn't let go until the very end of the night.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Sunday = NO Students!

Day #20...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - I'm not sure everyone will view today's random act of kindness as "kindness" or "duty", but I thought it was pretty kind.  I gave the whole day to my wife to do shopping and wrapping.  We spent HOURS at the mall and then came home and wrapped gifts for HOURS.  I would say that was pretty KIND of me.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Knowing that it was going to be a busy and full day, I got my one hour (plus a little more) in right away in the morning.  Didn't even get out of bed.  Just pulled out the book, put the phone away, and READ!!!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Saturday = No Students!

Day #19...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today consisted of many "small" random acts of kindness;  letting someone merge onto the freeway, being extra friendly to a store clerk, texting a friend thanking him for a fun happy hour, holding the door open for someone at a store, and giving some small "gifts" to my students before our 16-day vacation.  I guess the biggest act of kindness I did today was to share the following video with my building staff wishing them a very Merry Christmas...

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Haven't gotten to my hour of reading yet, it is getting late, and I'm exhausted after a busy day at school; but hopefully I'll get a second wind and be able to read before falling asleep for the night. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Being the last day before a two-week vacation, fitting in some holiday activities, some holiday cheer, and a movie to wrap up the day; I didn't find the time for a book conversation with one of my students.  I will continue this aspect of my #nerdlution in 2014. 

Day #18...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  Today was an act of kindness that my lovely wife helped me out with.  She put together a beautiful tray of Christmas cookies and goodies.  I set them in the office this morning before anyone arrived.  I included a Christmas card.  I wanted to show my appreciation of the office staff for all they do for the building, the staff, and the students. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  This continues to be working well for me and I know it will be even more awesome during my 15-day holiday break.  I can't wait to read even more.  

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Today's conversation was a bit difficult for me.  I had a "chat" with Amina who is probably my biggest challenge when it comes to motivating her to read and finish a book.  We talked about this and why it might be.  She really doesn't give many answers.  I asked if after our holiday break, I could start helping her more in her selection of books and finishing those books.  She hesitatingly agreed to this.  I hope to see more progress in the second part of the year. 

Day #17...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today was a simple act of kindness, but it felt great to do.  I was standing in line at a store (Christmas shopping) and there were two lines.  A lady was in the other line before me, but then my register opened up first and the clerk asked who was next.  The lady in the other line looked frustrated because her line wasn't open.  I looked over and said go ahead.  She looked rather shocked, but then smiled and said thank you.  I then went to another line and got there about the same time as another lady and I waved her in front of me.  She gave me a big smile and gave me a big "thank you."  Such small acts can make such a big difference! 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - My favorite hour (or more) of reading time for just me, myself, and I.  Loving it!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today's conversation was so much fun.  I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Meghan and she is one of my most avid readers.  She devours books day after day after day.  We pretty much talked books and what we both liked about each of the titles we discussed.  She is currently reading Bomb, the first student to try it, and stated that the book is quite interesting and she is enjoying it. 

Day #16...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today I brought holiday cheer to my building.  If you follow the "Mega Millions" lottery, then you know the jackpot is pretty "high".  I sent out an all-staff email this morning inviting staff members to throw in a buck and I would go buy our group lottery tickets.  I ended up with 65 staff members stopping by my room throughout the day with their $1.00.  It was such a fun day and will be even more fun tomorrow if we WIN.  I also sent out an email inviting everyone to a staff happy hour on Thursday afternoon school.  It felt great to send out "kindness" and build community during the holidays in my building. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  This goal continues to go well, but I think I need to head up early because now I'm not distracted by my phone, but I'm falling asleep before I get my hour in.  I'm sure looking forward to two weeks off to get even more reading in. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - I almost forgot my conversation today, but Marlon reminded me since it was his turn to chat with me.  We talked a lot about his love for graphic novels and all the books he has read this year.  I suggested he try some other books that have been presented in our classroom and he thought that was a great idea.  I think it will be very easy to stretch him into many genres. 

Day #15...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness)
 - I felt like "Santa' in the workshop today after school.  I bought a variety of boxed candies.  Then I created a "homework" coupon and sharpened some holiday pencils.  After putting it all together, I have my little gifts for my awesome fourth grade students.  We will play the present game on Friday and hopefully I'll have some happy "elves" after opening their gifts. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  All of my reading time is spent on reading the novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  It is quite the amazing novel, but is massive in size.  I'm so happy to have my "for sure" one hour of uninterrupted time.  And some days even more!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Diego and I had a great conversation today about his "reading life."  Most of our conversation revolved around the issue of him jumping from book to book.  We talked about the types of books he likes and we visited our classroom library to find a book that he can dedicate himself to.  We are both excited for this new venture into our reading zone. 

Day #14...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  We all know we couldn't do our jobs with the help of paraprofessionals in our classroom  At least I couldn't.  Today was a fun day of baking my "famous" chocolate chip cookies.  I've posted the recipe on the blog before and will post it again on Tuesday.  I plan on giving each of my three para's and one special education teacher who I work closely with a batch of the cookies along with a small gift tomorrow.  I love the season of "giving"!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  One of my most favorite times of the week is Sunday afternoon.  I try to have all my school work and house work done so I can enjoy the afternoon with a good book.  Now that I have given myself an hour of uninterrupted reading time each day (Minus the iPhone), I'm reading more than even.  So far today, I've had about two hours of this treasured uninterrupted reading time and plan on having even more!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Spent some time this weekend thinking about my conversations from this past week and looking forward to connecting with five more students before our holiday break.

Day #13...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  We have had lots of snow in Minnesota this December.  It finally warmed up today and I did some snow shoveling and cleaning up.  I decided to help out the mailman and clean a path for him.  I hope his delivery was easier today!

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  Took an hour this afternoon to read and planning on taking another hour tonight before bed.  Double #Nerdlution!!!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  No conversation with a student today being that it is Saturday.

Day #12...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  The annual staff holiday party was tonight.  It was held at Jake's Bar and Grill.  I decided to randomly select a few people to have a drink delivered to them and have the waitress put it on my tab.  How fun!  I loved watching the looks in their faces.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  After a long week I'm ready for a night of some uninterrupted reading time.  It shouldn't be too hard since I have the house to myself.  I will be heading up soon to continue the beautiful book The Goldfinch.  This is one of the best gifts I've given myself.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Today gave me the chance to sit down with Kaltun.  She is one of my more quiet students, but such a joy to work with.  I love to watch how hard she works and how much she enjoys books and reading.  Our conversation mostly was about how she is happy that she is ready my than ever.  It really warmed my heart when she said she likes our reading workshop because she can read what she wants.  Isn't that what it is all about!

Day #11...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - During my prep time today I found myself with a bit of "extra" time.  How often does that happen?  I took a moment to send an email to a mom of a student of mine.  Her daughter had some difficulties earlier this year.  We all have been working so hard to get things back on track.  I have noticed some great positive changes and wanted to let the parent know how pleased I am.  In the email I let her know that I truly believe the changes are mostly because of the hard work her daughter has been putting forth.  The reply I got from the mom made it all worth while.  I forget that quick "positive" email can make such a difference. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  It is amazing to me how easy it has become to give up the iphone during my hour of reading (or more).  Eleven days ago I was so distracted by it, but now once I put it down, I just read and read and read! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Today brought the opportunity to talk with two of my male readers.  I first met with Moustapha.  We talked about how much he loves graphic novels.  He is working his way through Bone and Amulet.  I told him how great this is, but also talked with him about stretching himself with different genres and titles.  After this conversation I headed over to Wilson.  At the beginning of the year all he would read was the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  He would read it over and over and over.  I was thrilled when the new book came out this past November.  I was pleasantly surprised when Wilson told me he was going to read Treasure Hunters for our "Breakfast with Books" book club.  We spent quite a bit of time talking about this book and his excitement about our book club tomorrow. 

Day #10...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.  Being a typical dad, I love to "spoil" my own two kids during this time of the year.  As I get older, I realize how important it is to give back to those that have less.  One of the things my wife and I did this year was "adopt" a family member.  We received a list of items that this person would like and/or need.  The beautiful wrapping is courtesy of my wife.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Even after a long day of a training and my boy's book club, I'm looking forward to curling up with an awesome book and giving myself an entire hour (or more) or reading time.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Since I was out of the building today, I will have to meet with 1-2 students tomorrow to continue "chatting" with my students about their reading lives.  Each day more and more students realize what I'm doing and are beginning to look forward to their day!

Day #9...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) -  I happened to be in the office when the mail was delivered to our school.  I couldn't help notice that some of the mail included a couple of boxes from Scholastic.  None of them were mine, but I decided to play "elf" and deliver several boxes to the different classrooms during my prep time.  It was so fun to see the smiles and hear the "thank you's" when I dropped off a box of books in a classroom. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Last night I had the best uninterrupted reading time.  I'm finding when you "tune out" the rest of the world and truly get into the reading zone, it is nothing but pure joy!  I'm sure looking forward to heading up tonight and reading more!  The novel The Goldfinch is truly magnificent!!! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Since I missed our conversation time yesterday (due to various circumstances) I wanted to make sure to connect with two students today instead of one.  I first touched base with Claire.  We had a great conversation about the books she has been reading.  She is currently reading Out of my Mind and we mainly talked about how great this novel is.  After this conversation, I ran over to touch base with Emma.  She is another avid reader, but tends to read easier material.  She is currently reading our book club book Treasure Hunters.  Our talk was mostly about this book, but we also discussed what her reading plan is and she mentioned she wants to make sure she gets a copy of our next book club book called The Valiant Quest of the Misfit Menagerie

Day #8...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - I'm going to try to "sneak" a little treat to different people in my building and leave them a small token of my appreciation.  Today I left a small note and treat on our administrative assistant's desk.  So fun to try to find a time when I can drop off the goodie without being noticed. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - After a ROUGH Monday, I'm looking forward to heading to bed EARLY and spending more than one hour of reading.  I need to pamper myself a bit tonight. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  As we all know, everything doesn't going according to plan during a "typical" school day.  I didn't get to my daily conversation with student #6 because of a "disruption" this afternoon in my classroom.  My goal is to make time tomorrow to talk to both student #6 and student #7. 

Day #7...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - As I was shoveling today (AGAIN), I noticed my son's car in the driveway covered in snow.  He was at work and had taken our car instead because it has better traction in bad weather.  Normally we try to teach him to be responsible for his own car, but today I decided to be "kind" and brush off the snow for him.  I know, I know; what a great dad I am.  I also decided to go with my wife to visit her mother in the hospital.  I had a lot of school work, but I knew she would appreciate the company especially with the snow-covered roads.  Kindness sure does feel great. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - I got more reading time in today.  I actually gave myself two blocks of uninterrupted reading time.  During the first hour I read from a middle-grade novel called My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish.  During the second chunk of time, I continued to read from my adult novel The Goldfinch.  Sunday afternoons are one of my favorite times because I can spend it READING! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) -  Tomorrow brings my 6th conversation with one of my students and I'm looking forward to it! 

Day #6...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - While at the Scholastic Warehouse sale I was in heaven.  I gave myself a limit of how much I would spend on books for my classroom.  After the sale we were heading to a "Toys for Tots" get together.  We had a few toys already purchased to donate.  My wife suggested we buy a few books to also donate.  It amazes how little things fall into place that fit the bill for a random act of kindness.  We browsed together for two picture books to bring to the gathering.  I'm glad I was able to add more books to my own classroom, but it felt even better to buy books for children that are more in need than my own students. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) -  A day at the Scholastic Warehouse sale, a Toys for Tots party, running errands, cleaning the house for our own dinner party, helping my wife in the kitchen, hosting ten of our favorite people for a holiday dinner, cleaning up, and getting to bed at 1:00 AM; left me with no time for an hour of interrupted reading time.  At first I was bummed, but then knew that #nerdlution would be OK if I missed a day.  I'm going to give myself more time to read today (Sunday). 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Being Saturday, there were no students to meet with, but while I was at the Scholastic sale, I reflected on my first five conversations with my students and what books I might want to add to our collection to enhance their reading.  Looking forward to Monday when I get to meet with five more students next week. 

 Day #5...

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - One of our local radio stations was hosting its annual radiothon for the Children's Hospital here in town.  After listening to a beautiful song by a young man that died last year of cancer, I knew I had to call in and make a pledge.  What a wonderful feeling it gives oneself when you give of yourself to others in need. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Putting aside an hour a day to dedicate strictly to reading.  It is still taking some effort to not do other things, turn on the TV, or check that darn phone, but I'm so enjoying the hour.  There are other times during the day when I will sneak in some reading, but I'm making sure I give myself a full hour! 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - During our library visit today, I chatted with Joey.  He and another student have been working their way through the Percy Jackson series.  They are both on book #5, but could only find one copy.  Joey told me he is at a loss because he doesn't know what to read while he waits to find book #5.  I told him about The False Prince.  He said he would try it.  We talked how he is enjoying reading the series with another student in the class.  They are going to read The Kane Chronicles next.  I'm enjoying these "casual" chats and finding that I can learn so much from them. 

Day #4… 

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - On my way home, traffic was bad (AGAIN).  I decided to take side roads.  At a certain point, I noticed a truck trying to pull out and take a left hand turn.  Cars were not letting him in.  I stopped my truck and waved him on.  Both the driver and the passenger waved and smiled.  Such a simple act of kindness also put a smile on my face. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Last night I read for over an hour without any interruptions.  Unless you count my wife's snoring!  I am reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  It is an incredible book and story. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today's conversation was with Lucy.  We talked about our "Breakfast with Books" book club selection called Treasure Hunters.  The conversation also included some ideas for her to create future book and reading plans.  She at times has a bit of trouble focusing and staying on task during our reading zone.  We also talked about this a bit and came up with a few ideas to help her.  I'm enjoying this short conversations and the class is beginning to notice these one-on-one discussions. 

Day #3…

#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Winter hit Minnesota hard today.  After school I had to brush off the snow of my car.  While I was at it, I brushed off the car next to mine.  Not sure whose it was, but it didn't matter and felt great to do. 

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Surprisingly, this is turning into my tough goal each day.  It is truly difficult to find a full hour for some uninterrupted reading time.  I'm finding the end of the night gives me the most time for this.  The problem last night was I think I fell asleep before the hour was up.  I'll have to start earlier tonight. 

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today's conversation was with Salma.  She is one of my avid readers and loves to talk books.  We talked about our book club selection Treasure Hunters.  She had also just finished The One and Only Ivan so we chatted about that book for a bit.  We ended our conversation talking about her reading plans for the future.  Salma is thinking about reading Wonder next because some of the other girls have told her how great it is. 

Day #2…
#Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today I made a little note along with a treat for our school receptionist.  I found a time when she wasn't at her desk and dropped it off.  What a fun feeling it was.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - Last night seemed to get away from me, but once I got to bed, I gave myself an hour of reading time.  I spent most of the hour reading from my adult book, but snuck in about 15 minutes of reading from a middle-grade novel that I want to share with my students soon.  I'm looking forward to heading up early tonight, turning off the phone, and getting into the "zone" with my reading!

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - I think this is going to be the biggest change for me.  Ilhan (who I met with yesterday) asked if we were going to talk again today.  I told her I would check in with her about her reading, but today I was going to meet with Ramey.  I have noticed Ramey switching from book to book and can't seem to focus on a book for too long.  We talked about this.  He had pulled the book The Odd Squad to read next.  We talked about him moving from graphic novels to chapter books.  This is a great transitional book.  I decided to read the first chapter to him today to get him hooked.  I think it did the trick.  Tomorrow he is going to read chapter two and then we will touch base.  This one on one time with my readers is so much fun.  A casual conversation that I think will have incredible results.

Day #1… #Nerdlution One (Random Act of Kindness) - Today I sent a small bag of homemade cookies with a Christmas card to our favorite high school teacher that both my children had.

#Nerdlution Two (One Uninterrupted Hour of Reading) - I actually started this yesterday.  Even though I'm an avid reader, I find myself getting distracted and interrupted during my reading.  I'm going to try to find an hour to just read.  The biggest thing for me is going to put the phone away for that hour.  It was truly awesome to read yesterday for a full 60 minutes.  After this blog post, I'll be heading up for my full-hour of reading.

#Nerdlution Three (Connecting with a Student) - Today I meet with Ilhan.  I want to connect with one student each day and have a "discussion" about their reading life.  I'm not going to have any checklists or goals in mind.  What I'm looking for is a conversation between two readers.  Ilhan and I talked about The One and Only Ivan.  She had also picked out a rather long and difficult book to read next.  After some chatting, we decided she would try the first Marty McGuire book.  It was so fun to just sit and chat with one student.  Looking forward to tomorrow...


  1. Love how you are varying your acts. Very cool. And that last goal is something I need to continually remind myself to go out of my way and do

  2. Thanks for your positive comments. Enjoying this new "experience" in my life!

  3. I LOVE this! Can't wait to read more.

  4. Your blog is such a joy. Hooray for #nerdlution!

    1. Thanks Colby! What a wonderful thing for you to say. So appreciate it. Thank you for all you do for #nerdlution.

  5. I especially love your "Random Acts of Kindness" goal. Can't even imagine the looks on the faces of the teacher who received cookies or your school receptionist. You make me want to do something nice for someone this week.

    1. Do it and do it randomly and it feels so great!

  6. Love your goals. The progress of each one next to the other is beautiful.

  7. I just read this post. I love how your entire #nerdlution is one post. That's such a good idea. You have inspired my next set of #nerdlution goals! Thank you so much for your wonderful blog!

  8. Just re "my wife's snoring"... if it is a problem, then try SnorEraser ( You just play it through earbuds and you hear ZERO snoring. ZIP! Honestly, it's like magic. :-D