#DBCBookBlogs: Cannonball In

It has taken me over 6 months to pick back up with my #DBCBookBlogs. I have started this post, deleted it, and restarted more times than I am comfortable sharing. You see, the more I get to know these authors, the more invested I have become in the reading, reviewing, and sharing of their books. This one is particularly difficult because the author of the 82nd book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line, Cannonball In, is THE Tara Martin.

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You see, Tara is really the person who inspired me to continue #DBCBookBlogs after #DBC50Summer ended. Her book, Be REAL, was the 51st book published and when she shared that her book would be the next in the line, I knew I couldn’t stop reading and sharing; her book was going to be epic! It didn’t let me down, and neither did her picture book, Cannonball In!

Tara and I met for dinner & ice cream when she came to a town near me to deliver her epic #BookSnaps session. The passion and enthusiasm in her eyes as she shared her journey through writing the book and seeing Genesis Kohler’s beautiful illustrations was enough to bring tears to my own eyes. She was waiting to see “the big cannonball” illustration and her eagerness was precious. When I saw the illustration in the printed book, I knew that Genesis had portrayed that moment in the most perfect way!

There are so many teachable moments throughout the book and the overarching theme of cannonballing into things that seem scary is something we can all benefit from learning. Tara has shared so many incredible resources, lesson plans, activities, and even an interactive bulletin board on her website.

As I mentioned, I had started writing this blog multiple times. Once when I finished book 81, TeamMakers; again when I introduced Cannonball In to a group of students in our Between the Lines Club (a group of middle schoolers that meets each week as I read aloud a book/poem/graphic novel/etc); again when I shared the theme of the book with a group of students in my school who were starting Mustang Pride, a LGBTQ+ Club, at our school; and again when my school served as a host school for Annick Rauch & Nycol Didcote‘s Growth Mindset Read Aloud in January. There were other nights that I’d open this draft just to close out of the tab within minutes.

 

 

Tonight, I’m determined to just share the blog… to Cannonball In to sharing my thoughts again through blogging. Right now, there are so many things that feel scary – not just to me, but to the entire world. COVID-19 has turned simply going to get groceries into a scary experience right now. One of the scariest things for me hasn’t been the physical elements of this virus, but the mental & emotional exhaustion of having no control. I’ll just say it – I’m a control freak. I need to feel as though I’m in control. Not being able to see the students and teachers I serve, not being able to make decisions that impact remote learning for those folks I love & miss so much, not being 100% sure that we can keep my 90-year-old grandfather from coming into contact with the virus, not knowing how the virus would impact my 7 year old with Type 1 Diabetes, not knowing when (if) we’ll go back to school this year, not knowing if the 6 remaining rolls of toilet paper we’ve got will suffice before we find TP again (Stop hoarding the dang TP!!!!!)… all of the “not knowing” equates to having no control… I do. not. do. well. in these situations.

What typically happens when I feel no control is either one of two extremes… I either stress clean (when all the cans of food come out of the pantry & the pantry gets wiped down, the closets get cleaned out, the playroom gets reorganized, and the bookshelves get rearranged) or I curl up into a ball in bed refusing to get up. I’ve seen both of these extremes in the past 3 weeks. Listening to the reading of Cannonball In by Allyson Apsey on Facebook Live yesterday was the kick in the tail I needed to get up and get moving again, to truly face the uncertainties that COVID-19 brings. It reminded me, as an adult, that being willing to stand up and be confident (so what if you are just faking it at first) in front of the dabblers – and even if those dabblers are the voices inside our own minds – is so important to those who are watching when we don’t know they’ve been watching. I have a quote in the media center that says “Keep going; you never know who you’re inspiring.” Right now, I’ve got to cannonball into this with as much positivity & confidence as I can because my biggest audience is my family. My daughters are watching, and they will respond based on how I respond.

 

So thank you, Tara, my sweet friend, for reminding me that picture books aren’t just for kids. Picture books like Cannonball In inspire positive change in hearts and minds of people of all ages. My mom has always told me that what happens to me doesn’t define me, but the way I react to it does. This is no different.

COVID-19 isn’t going to keep us down; let’s choose to push past the doubts, fears, and uncertainties that this strand of the Coronavirus brings and make the best of a rotten situation. Together, we can Cannonball In!

#DBCBookBlogs: TeamMakers

When is the last time you worked with others as a team to achieve a goal? How far back to you have to think? Are you lucky enough to be part of a terrific team right now?

I love the focus of the 81st book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line! TeamMakers: Positively Impacting the Lives of Children through District-Wide Dreaming, Collaborating, and Change is written by Laura Robb and Evan Robb. There is a clear emphasis on creating sustainable change as a district. I’m blown away by the way Laura & Evan take on this topic, which has the potential to create scapegoats for educators on every level. They address each level head on – central office administration, building administration, and teachers – and share how each of us as a role to play in the betterment of our schools for students.

TeamMakers

Some of the quotes that really resonated with me are:

“…in many classrooms technology is simply an ornament. How students learn hasn’t changed.”

“…when staff and administrators share with students dreams and personal stories about their teaching and learning lives, students feel safe to share theirs. Sharing dreams and stories builds positive relationships.”

“…risk-taking can initially raise fear and uncertainty but ultimately produce enthusiasm and courage.”

“…no one role is more valuable than another.” -Marc Ferris, EdD

I also truly enjoyed Chapter 8: Mentors and Coaches! The interludes from current educators at various levels was enlightening and terrific examples how it looks when true teamwork is happening everywhere in a district. There is so much to take away from this book, and it presents the perfect literature to create a district-wide book study! The whole idea is that we can’t make it happen unless we are willing to put in the work and create a team that has one another’s backs. We must all share a vision and a mission to move education forward in a system.

I am so blessed to work in a school system where this idea ofย TeamMakers is a reality. There is always room for improvement, but my school system is frequently leading the way and as a whole, we function as a pretty impressive team.

Implementation

Valuing the work of every individual in a system is vital to a team achieving its goals.

My oldest daughter plays softball, and she has played right field in every season. After playing softball for many years myself, I knew what playing “right field” meant – or so I thought I did. I jokingly said something to one of her coaches about Bailey playing right field because she was still learning and had a l.o.n.g. way to go in coordination, speed, processing the play of the game, etc. He (rightfully) put me in my place by telling me she’s in right field because we can count on her to always back up the play on first base. She’s in right field because she’s got a decent arm on her. She’s in right field because when a ball gets by her, she’ll go chase it down. Every position on the softball field is important because every position has their own role to making sure the team achieves success.

My implementation is to make sure that every person I come in contact with feels valued. Sometimes our custodians, nutrition workers, nurses, front office staff, assistants, etc feel as though they aren’t as important as the classroom teachers. In education, the focus, unfortunately, is on test scores – so unless someone is a classroom teacher in a tested subject area, it can be easy to overlook their importance to the team. Every person in the building has a purpose and a value to the overall dream. I have no idea what this will look like, but I’m going to come up with some way to help others feel valued, and continue to feel valued throughout the year.

Check out the Sneak Peek video from the authors (link here)! You can also get a free preview by visiting this websiteย (scroll to the bottom)!

Follow along with the conversation using #TeamMakers and be sure to pick up your copy of Laura & Evan‘s book! I believe you’ll enjoy it & it will help you look at each role with a new lens.

#EduEyeExam Information

Good evening, friends! We interrupt this irregularly scheduled blog site to bring you some pretty awesome information! Well, at least I think it’s pretty awesome!

This blog fulfills the implementation of several books from #DBC50Summer!

In the very first #DBC50Summer book post (Teach Like a PIRATEย by Dave Burgess), my implementation was the quote, “It’s not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be worth it.” I had no idea how that would be played out, but I knew that I needed to remember that when obstacles made something difficult, it would be worth it on the other side.

In the post for Stories from Webb by Todd Nesloney, I shared that I knew I needed to write & share my own story.

When I finished The EduNinja Mindset by Jennifer Burdis, I knew I wanted to create my own mission statement.

Later on in #DBCBookBlogs, Run Like a PIRATE by Adam Welcome inspired me to start now and try big things!

Shortly after that blog post, I did a thing. I started and definitely decided to try big things! It wasn’t easy! I wrote more than a mission statement. I nailed down my educational philosophy, my vision; I wrote my story and talked to Shelley Burgess about having Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc publish it.

Here we are almost 9 months (to the day) after that conversation with Shelley. I received an email early this morning letting me know that edits were finished and the final files were being sent to DBC, Inc for publishing!!!

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If you’d like more information about the release of Educational Eye Exam: Creating Your Vision for Education, along with information about book signings and more, subscribe by completing this form.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Please share using the hashtag #EduEyeExam on Twitter and Instagram!