The Chicago Scholastic Reading Summit


I had the honor of presenting at the Scholastic Reading Summit yesterday in Chicago. It was fun sharing the story of Parma Elementary with my principal Ms. Haney.  My hope is that they found value in what we had to say.

This past school year my students were obsessed with YouTube. Many of them didn’t just watch YouTube videos, they also created them. Their passion towards creating content has made me want to spend the summer trying to figure out how I can better serve my students that live in this YouTube world. One thing that I have decided to try is creating more YouTube videos. I’ve  created a lot of videos in the past, but they are mostly just one take videos. It seemed like a good idea to try and make videos like the ones my students are watching. Filming myself playing Minecraft didn’t seem like a good idea, so I decided to try and tackle Vlogging. I’m not going to do it every day this summer, but I will do it when I’m doing a lot of school related activities. You can find my two vlogs from the reading summit below.

My First Look At My New Classroom

Yesterday, I walked through my new classroom for the first time. It made me feel all sorts of things: nervous, excited, curious, scared. I cannot wait for the custodial crew to finish cleaning so that I can get in and start putting the pieces together.

UPDATE: The awesome red chair is going with the teacher that use to be in my room to her new school. That was a pretty big bummer, but I did find out that it was from IKEA, so maybe I’ll be able to pick one up sometime this summer.

The Best Part Of My Day Volume 34: Giving Away Books

I started going through my classroom library books a few days ago in preparation for my transition from third to fifth grade. A lot of my books will be traveling with me. The 500-700 that I decided not to take with me, I gave to my students.

If my videos bring you value, I hope that you will consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. You can subscribe my clicking on the image below, and then click on the red subscribe button when you get to my channel.



I’m super excited to reveal the cover to Jill Diamond’s Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza. Jill was kind enough to answer a handful of my questions.



5,4,3,2,1 Interview


1. Can you tell us a little bit about LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE BICENTENNIAL BONANZA?

Best friends Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl are back, and this time they’re busy preparing for the Bicentennial Bonanza, their city’s two-hundredth birthday bash. The party will take place in their beloved community of El Corazón and Lou Lou and Pea couldn’t be more excited, particularly since Pea is making the traditional Bonanza hats and Lou Lou is growing honeysuckle for the occasion. With a baking contest, talent show, and a new gazebo planned, the whole community can’t wait to celebrate! But when Vice-Mayor Andy Argyle claims the festivities belong to neighboring Verde Valley, using a mysterious diary as evidence, Lou Lou and Pea smell trouble. Will the friends be able to uncover the secrets of their city’s founding, and bring the Bonanza back to El Corazón?


2. What is the best part about being a book creator?  

There are so many great parts, it’s difficult to choose just one! One of the things I really love is building a whole new world that becomes anything I conceive. It can be fun, colorful, mysterious, exciting, joyful…the possibilities are endless. And, on top of that, I get to share my world with readers who use their imaginations to make this world their own!
3. What’s the hardest part of being a book creator?

Learning not to take criticism personally and instead using it to make your story better. This is hard, but so incredibly important!
4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?

The world of the The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander so I could be best friends with Princess Eilonwy.

5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?

Look to your own life and world for creative inspiration. It is all around you. Inspiration comes from your family, your friends, your community, your culture, and, most of all, your own heart and dreams!