#DBCBookBlogs: Lead with Literacy

Hold on tight – I’m about to get my Usher on. This is my confession…

I became a media coordinator to promote my love of technology, not reading.

There. Don’t throw things at me, though. My blog, my reflections. Just stay with me.

In my district, there is no such thing as an instructional technology facilitator/specialist. In January 2011, I started an online program through East Carolina University (the Pirates… not even kidding) to earn a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology. In early May 2012, I graduated. I flew through that program and loved every minute of it. I was devastated when I spoke with our HR and found out that there was no funding (nor would there be) for these positions. He did let me know that our media coordinators in our district were filling the role of instructional technology facilitators in many cases and that perhaps I should look into that.

So I did. After applying in late May 2012 for the online Master of Library Science program at East Carolina University, I was accepted, and within a matter of days found out I was expecting our youngest daughter. I had to make a decision… was it worth it to me to earn my MLS when I could get paid for having an MAEd in the classroom?

I enrolled in classes reluctantly. The only reason I was pursuing this degree was that it was my only avenue for sharing my passion with other educators. Incorporating technology in seamless and meaningful ways was the goal. I finished the MLS program in May 2014, fulfilling my internship requirements by already being hired as media coordinator in an elementary school media center. I never went into my role in the media center because I wanted to promote a lifelong love of reading.

Don’t get me wrong… I enjoy reading. However, I despise everything about Accelerated Reader, Reading Counts, and other read-then-quiz-to-get-points programs. Those programs were the norm in my district. Also, I despise Battle of the Books. I CAN admit that I always enjoy the book list. But those questions? How much more arbitrary can we get? Unfortunately, this club is the norm in my district as well. (I’ve tried to make the best out of the situation. You can see how I gamified Battle of the Books to try to incorporate my own passions to make it more palatable for me to sponsor in this archived post.) With these two programs that I am adamantly against, I can confidently say that I dreaded my role in the media center with the expectation that I would have to not only support these programs, but encourage participation in them.

I did it for 2 1/2 years. During those 2 1/2 years, I discovered my own love of reading children’s books. My favorite media classes were those in which I read aloud a story. I loved our mobile Book Bus, a school bus that traveled a combination of our bus routes to deliver new books and a snack to students multiple times during the summer months. Our local Rotary Club supported literacy by gifting kindergarten students with a free book four times a year! They would come and buddy-read to the students and personally give the student the book. It was a highlight of my time in elementary school. Dr. Seuss Day made me smile. Our character parades were amazing and a dance party ended the day with lots of “characters” dancing to celebrate reading! I fell in love with literacy when there were no strings attached.

See, I grew up with Accelerated Reader. I remember taking those quizzes as a student. I remember being in Academically Gifted (AG) classes and being required to take a certain number of tests, cheating on the tests because I hated the books we were required to read. It destroyed my love of reading. I’ve watched my own 4th grade daughter lose her love of reading; “Oh, Bailey, you loved the book?! How did you do on the test?” I won’t let that happen on my watch. Not anymore. If there is any silver lining at all to a loss of funding, it’s that the AR program was cut in nearly every school in my district. This has given an opportunity for significant growth, thinking outside the box, getting creative. All schools have been tasked with casting a new vision for promoting literacy in our schools.

After reading Lead with Literacy by Mandy Ellis, I am armed with TONS of new ways of promoting literacy in our school.

This isn’t a program, it’s a culture.

In truth, our district is asking every school to change its culture. That’s not happening over night, but it will happen. And we’ll all be better for it.

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I knew from following Mandy on Twitter we were going to see eye-to-eye when I finally got to read her book. Unfortunately, at a #BookSnaps workshop this summer (see Be REAL by Tara Martin post here), someone accidentally took my book (I choose to assume positive intent). Mandy immediately replied asking for my address so she could send me another copy. Not only did she send me a copy, she sent me a signed copy with stickers! She’s got a heart of gold! (Thanks again, Mandy – I cherish my book!)

Mandy’s passion and intentionality in creating a culture of reading is evident both in her twitter feed and on the pages of her book. There are so many ways to embed reading into the culture of the school that can be applied to every level of education! Before reading this book, I didn’t see myself as a literacy leader by any definition. Even though I advocate for choice in reading, I’m still very much seen as the technology person among media folks in my district and in the state. As I read Mandy’s book, I noticed that I do many of the things she does in her school! I was blown away!

According to Mandy, I am certainly a lead reader (#DBC50Summer is clearly evidence A, and my insanely full bookshelf of children’s books in my office would suffice as evidence B). I tweet and blog my book reflections regularly, sharing with faculty and students what I’m reading. I ask what students are reading and dive into conversations with them about their books. I make suggestions to students for books to read next, but do not mandate book selection. I encourage choice in selection of books, and offer a variety of options for our students. I value quality of books over quantity of books, regularly stating that I’d rather have 500 books that I can’t keep on the shelf than to have 5,000 that sit on the shelf unopened.  Mandy’s book is so full of ideas that there are at least 5 or 6 things I’m looking to implement as we move forward with our updated literacy plan. Knowing that culture won’t change overnight, I’m focusing on just a couple things at a time.

Here is a copy of the draft of our new literacy plan. This is a living document and will be changed throughout the year. These plans are only a starting point. My first year at middle school, I only had around 400 circulations in a media center which served approximately 400 students… yes, one book checked out per year per student. Sad.

Last year we increased that number to around 2,700 circulations in a year. A 600% increase, but still nowhere near enough reading happening. I am thrilled to say that we are already at 1,689 circulations and students have only been in school for 6 weeks! We’re moving in the right direction!

The greatest factors to students checking out books, I believe, has been time and independently set reading goals. Students have been given protected class time to check in and out books twice a month. I really appreciate our teachers making this a priority. Students were asked to determine their own reading goal each quarter with no strings attached. There are no rewards, other than the satisfaction of reading amazing books, and no consequences (absolutely no ties to grading, quizzes, point systems, etc). They aren’t “in trouble” for not meeting their goal, and I’m only disappointed if they don’t set a goal. I was honestly worried how this would turn out when I took this risk. I was expecting a ton of students to set their goal at only reading one book, while others focused on quantity versus quality by reading 20 books. (Although I can say from personal experience that this may be a false dichotomy as my goal of reading 50 books this summer was strongly rooted in quantity AND quality… just saying.) Here are their goals for the first quarter.

Aren’t they impressive? I’m excited to see where this takes us! Mandy’s book is one that is available for media coordinators in our district as we partake in a small group book studies this year. I am excited to see what others in my district will implement from this insanely amazing power-packed Lead Like A Pirate guide book!

*Side Note: This is the second of the #LeadLAP guide books! Mandy continues the tradition of excellence that Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf established, and Jay Billy built upon in his guide book Lead with Culture.

More information can be found on Twitter using the hashtag #LeadLIT! There is such greatness waiting for you there, so jump on over if you’ve not already! This book is an incredible addition to any media coordinator, or principal’s professional library. Classroom teachers will also take so much from this book! I’m feeling a bit like Oprah – YOU need this book and YOU need this book and YOU need this book! (Sorry, can’t give them to you like Oprah, but man wouldn’t that be epic?!) Check out the first few chapters here! Once you fall in love with it (because you will), go ahead and order your own copy! Mandy’s website can be found here!

Also, share what you’re reading on the flipgrid created by Andrea Paulakovich (which I get to copilot, thanks Andrea!)

Next book up (because you should always have a book on deck) is Balance Like A Pirate by Jessica Cabeen, Jessica Johnson, and Sarah Johnson.

The 5 W’s (and other FAQ’s) of #DBC50Summer

I have been asked so many questions about my #DBC50Summer journey. Some have called it crazy, some said there’s no way I’d finish, while others were encouraging! Mostly though, I’ve had genuine questions. They have come from a place of curiosity from friends and acquaintances and from a desire to replicate from PLN members.

This final #DBC50Summer post will address each of these questions, and allow you a space in the comments below to ask any other questions you may still have. I will answer those as well, as openly and honestly as I can. I am also throwing in a few resources that may help those that are interested in creating their own version of #DBC50Summer. I also have a super-cool, exciting announcement about what’s next that you don’t want to miss!

What is #DBC50Summer?

I created #DBC50Summer as a celebration of the first 50 books released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Using the hashtag, I would share my connections and reflections after reading each of the first 50 books and then implement at least one thing from each book in the 2018-2019 school year in an effort to better my teaching and coaching practices to ultimately benefit student learning, engagement, and empowerment.

Why did you create #DBC50Summer?

In Teach Like A Pirate, Dave Burgess calls it Creative Alchemy. I had nearly half of the collection sitting on a bookshelf and had never read most of the books. I always had an excuse not to read the books; I never have time, something came up, I’m tired, and the like. I met Dave in April at a conference where he was keynoting and I was presenting. I left the conference inspired and used social media to connect with Dave, and stay inspired. After connecting with Dave on Twitter and reconnecting with the #tlap community, I realized how much I missed being active in a Professional Learning Network and I wanted to revive my contributions to a PLN. One of the best ways to share what your students are doing is to blog about it. I used to blog fairly regularly but got out of the habit and was uninspired. After the conference in April, I was inspired again and wanted to blog frequently but needed something to be accountable for blogging. I really wanted new ideas for the 2018-2019 school year as I was beginning to feel complacent in the day-to-day of my job. Looking at my “problems,” #DBC50Summer was a perfect solution to each of them! Blogging about the DBC, Inc books on my shelves and sharing a new idea gained from each book to create a PLN on Twitter which would better my teaching and coaching practices for my students. I just told my husband that I needed to get the rest of the books (insert diabolical laugh here).

Who else is doing #DBC50Summer?

Several people have created their own version of #DBC50Summer this summer! To my knowledge, none of them have been exactly alike, which is part of what makes it so cool! The first to jump on with me was Andrea Paulakovich, who was referenced in every #DBC50Summer blog post as the creator of the flipgrid space (linked below). She completed nine amazing blog posts this summer and is continuing to read and blog! Andrea and I will be working on a collaborative blog post on Talk to Me by Kim Bearden in the coming weeks! I’m excited to work with her to share the awesome from this book! If you did (or plan to do) your own version of #DBC50Summer, please share a link to your blog in the comments below so others can access your reflections & learn with you!!! I’d also love to tweet it out so my PLN can follow along with you! Don’t be shy!

When did you find the time to do all of this?

Y’all… I have no idea! Like anything else, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find the time to do it. I just found the time. I read during my oldest daughter’s softball practices, I read during my flights to and from Chicago, I read in my hotels while traveling, I read in the hospital when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. If there was more than 5 spare moments available, I was reading. I always had the book in my backpack. Almost every night after my family went to bed and the house was quiet, I would sit in the center seat of our sectional in the living room and read until I finished or until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I typically blogged immediately after completing a book, but there were times that I couldn’t wait and had to blog during the book and there was one time that I had to wait a couple of days because the book wrecked my soul.

Where did you get all of your books?

I owned about half of them before starting. These were purchased through Amazon, won at edcamps, or given to me by friends. I finished the collection with a combination of Amazon gift cards, ordering on Amazon with our credit/debit card and asking my husband for forgiveness later (HA – truth!), gifts from friends who knew about #DBC50Summer, and a few were sent to me from the authors themselves. (They are the most generous people ever!)

Which book is your favorite?

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked this question, I would have a lot of dollars, haha! Asking me to choose my favorite book is like asking which of my students is my favorite, or asking me to choose who is my favorite among my two daughters. I have a different “favorite” every day. My favorite depends on what I need in the moment. After almost every book, I would tell my husband something along the lines of, “Man, this one is incredible; it might be my new favorite.” He’d just roll his eyes. If I were pinned down and had to choose… I’d say Teach Like A Pirate. Without that book, DBC, Inc may not have ever existed. Without that book, I certainly wouldn’t have ever picked up another one because I “didn’t read professional books”. It was the first time I’ve ever felt “normal” in the classroom. Dave gave me permission to be a bit crazy, unorthodox, FUN! That doesn’t mean that I don’t absolutely LOVE the rest of them! It’s like I tell my daughters, “I love you both for different reasons. You are both special to me because you’re you. We have a different relationship than your sister and I have and that makes you my favorite you.” Similarly, I love every book for a different reason. They are all special to me. I have a different relationship with each author and their words within their book(s) and that makes each one of them my favorite on any given day.

I’m doing a book study at my school; which should I choose?

I have no idea! I will usually ask what you want to accomplish with your book study and go from there. Sometimes, I just throw out some random names of books. For a better answer, check out the new DBC, Inc website (linked in resources below). I LOVE it because it separates the books into themes and allows you to read the first few chapters of each book to get a feel for it. This is an incredible feature that I highly suggest you take advantage of!

Come on… are the authors really that nice?

What kind of question is this? It’s been asked though, by more than one person. The answer is a resounding yes! Every author I have interacted with has been incredible! Some I’ve even formed genuine friendships with that I expect to last a lifetime even though we’ve never met face-to-face. Based on what I know of each one, I’d let them babysit my kids. hahaha! In all seriousness, each one that I’ve talked with, and that’s about 85% of them, have been totally genuine, kind, generous, and incredibly thoughtful. I have chatted with them via Google Hangout, Direct Message on Twitter, recently had multiple friend/follow requests on other social media, and some have been so generous to send (despite assurances that they shouldn’t feel obligated by any means and they responded [nearly every time with] but we want to!) their stickers, a copy of their book, t-shirts, and/or other super cool stuff like placemats for use in math instruction and a huge pack of highlighters. Speaking of highlighters…this is one of my favorite questions…

You post all these videos of the highlighting in the books. How many highlighters have you used exactly?

Fantastic question! I have used 2 packs of 6 Clear View Sharpie highlighters, a pack of 18 Mr. Pen highlighters (sent by an author – thank you!), 4 jumbo Sharpie highlighters, 2 of my daughter’s highlighters for school that I had to replace (oops), and 1 pack of 8 retractable highlighters… so, doing the math (I hope I added correctly) – I’ve used 44 highlighters. RIP highlighters – your mark is your legacy and it will live on forever.

When is your book coming out?

I cannot begin to tell you how much this warms my heart every time someone asks this question! I so appreciate that you have that much confidence in me! I do plan to write my story, and I will share my story with my favorite publishers in the future. Whether it is ever released remains to be seen; you’ve seen the quality of writing that is published! They are incredible! For every book that’s published by my favorite publishers there are probably 10-20 books (if not more) that are not published. At the moment, I cannot give a real answer to that question because I’ve not even started writing it yet. You can’t publish something that’s not written. See, there was this thing this summer that took quite a bit of my “spare” time… All I can say is that I will write my story, and if it ever becomes a book, you will be among the first to know!

How much time did it take you to complete #DBC50Summer?

I wrote the first blog post on June 13 and the last book was completed on September 22, so 3 months and 9 days. A book took an average of 3-3 1/2 hours to read (some took less time and some much more) and reflect while reading by highlighting and writing notes in the margins. It would take, on average, between 2-3 hours to write each blog post. The creation of the Where are the PIRATES section of the new DBC, Inc website was a HUGE time saver because the websites were there and I could typically find podcasts and YouTube videos from there. So take 6 hours (average) times 50 books… 300 hours(ish). Working 40 hr work weeks, that would be 7.5 weeks. So over the 14 weeks, this has been similar to a part-time job working over 20 hours a week.

Did you get anything out of it? What’s in it for you?

Pick a variation of that question. It’s probably been the most frequent question I’ve been asked. If you’ve asked it, I adore you and know that I mean this with as much love as possible, but the question, or any variation of the question, is absolutely ridiculous. If you’re asking that question, you don’t “get it” anyway. I’ll just assume that your materialism is showing, so I’ll just answer to that end. I received a super-duper amazingly cool print from DBC, Inc that hangs in my office at work (see pictures below). My school also received a pretty amazing gift as I couldn’t turn down a gift for my teachers; I’m not going to cheat them out of an opportunity to grow and learn if they want it! Dave and Shelley sent a copy of every single book published by their company as a gift to our school! All of them, y’all! I was beyond blown away and literally cried happy tears when I opened the boxes. They are already being checked out and read, and it’s amazing to hear the conversations being had about each one. I received some pretty awesome swag from several of the authors after the posts of their book(s) was/were made. However, the things I value the most has been the encouragement, support, thoughtful notes (both digital and print, email and snail mail), time to connect via Google Hangout, and the friendships that have started. What’s in it for me has always been personal and professional growth in order to reach more teachers and students to enhance student learning. Period. Anything else has been icing on the cake.

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I ran home as fast as I could during a teacher workday lunch to see what this surprise from DBC, Inc was!

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This makes me smile every time I look at it! It’s a #DBC50Summer original – it even has my hashtag in the bottom corner. Yes, I cried.

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So what’s the “big announcement?”

I am so excited to share the big announcement with you! All summer I have been adamant about continuing #DBC50Summer after book 50 and after summer is over. I’ve been trying to figure out what to call it because #DBC50Summer doesn’t fit anymore. The fun will continue with a new hashtag as I will be reading and sharing every DBC, Inc book that is released from now on, starting with the seven books that were released after the 50th was released in early June, 2018! I will also be sharing books from the IMpress line, which Dave discusses in this blog post and George shares here. The DBC, Inc books will continue to be shared in order of release, and the IMpress line will be shared in order of their release. To follow along with the excitement, be sure to add a column to your TweetDeck for (….drum roll….) #DBCBookBlogs!

I cannot wait to share the first book under the new hashtag – the 51st book in the DBC, Inc line is written by none other than THE Tara Martin – yeah, the #BookSnaps, #CannonballIn, #REALedu, #DBCSocialMediaGirl #ContagiouslyEnthusiastic Tara Martin! She wrote the book, Be REAL: Educate from the Heart, and it was released on June 18, 2018 (my oldest daughter’s birthday)! Her book was released just 5 days after I announced the beginning of #DBC50Summer and I nearly changed the name to #DBC51Summer because I was so excited for her (and us)! But now, her book is the first to be blogged & shared under #DBCBookBlogs! The post will be coming soon!

*If you have any further questions you’d like to have answered about #DBC50Summer, please put them in the comments, or DM me on Twitter! I’d love to chat with you about it!

*Edited to add answer to a terrific question asked via Twitter DM!

I want to follow along with your implementation plans. Are you going to share those throughout the year?

Yes! I plan to share the impacts of implementations as they come about throughout the year! There are some that I have already begun implementing and others that will come up much later in the year (I’ve got to pace myself, ha). It is currently my plan to blog about the projects & share pictures and any resources used, but I’m not sure if I will transition these blogs to #DBCBookBlogs or continue to use #DBC50Summer, or even use both. Either way, if you subscribe to the blog and/or follow me on Twitter, you’ll definitely be notified! I’m so excited to see how these books impact student learning, the culture, achievement, and enthusiasm in our school! It’s going to be an epic year!

Resources:

Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc

DaveBurgess.com

ShelleyBurgess.com

#DBC50Summer Implementation Plans: This Google Sheet shares the books, in order of release date, my implementation plan, link to my blog post for each book, the link to the flipgrid for each book, and has a place holder for sharing the impact of implementing as I fulfill each plan throughout the school year. This Sheet will remain live, so check back throughout the year for updates! You are welcome to make a copy of this sheet to create your own implementations for each book. As Dave says, “Inspiration without implementation is a waste.” What will you do with the information you gain from each DBC, Inc book?

DBC Books Database: This rudimentary Sheet was my worksheet as I verified book release dates with authors, as well as connected on Twitter and searched for their websites. Much of this information is now readily available on the updated Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc website under Where are the PIRATES linked here. The asterisk beside the release date means it hasn’t been verified, while the V means it was verified by the author to me personally, the blog of the author announcing release date, or a tweet from Dave or Shelley Burgess announcing official release date. This is also a live site, and will be updated as verification becomes available and new books and information are released.

Flipgrid for All DBC, Inc Books: This global collaborative space was the brainchild of the amazing Andrea Paulakovich! I referenced each topic in each of the #DBC50Summer posts, but wanted to share the entire grid in one space for ease of access. If the embedded grid isn’t available below, click the hyperlink to access the grid.

https://flipgrid.com/9a53ee?embed=true

#DBC50Summer Book 41-50 Recap

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It is officially the first hour of Fall 2018! I published the blog about the 50th book 30 minutes before the official end of summer.

When I began the #DBC50Summer journey in June, I had no idea what it would look like at that point. I typically begin with the end in mind. In this case, I took a major risk. I had an idea and I just went for it. Not only did I go for it, but I jumped in head first by letting the owners of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc know what I was doing before I even really knew what I was doing. From that moment, Dave and Shelley Burgess have been nothing but supportive. Their team at DBC, Inc is incredible; Wendy and Tara are two of the nicest people you’ve ever interacted with in your life! I have felt encouragement, support, and enthusiasm from everyone at DBC, Inc and I cannot say thank you enough for that!

Only having less than 2 weeks to read and blog about 10 books was insane! I was at a point where I literally read and blogged about a book a night. You may have noticed (especially if you’re subscribed to the blog) that the posts were coming around 1:30-2:00 AM every night. That’s when I was publishing. You would think that I have been exhausted. You would be wrong. I have been more energized than ever before in this journey! I quietly wondered if the integrity of the quality of books would be in question as the quantity of books increased. Short answer: DBC has just gotten better with time.

Through reading the first 50 books, in order of their release date (to the best of my knowledge), I have watched the transformation of DBC, Inc. I am absolutely blown away . by the fact that every. single. book compliments the Teach Like A Pirate message. These books never contradicted themselves. They built on one another in a logical manner, pulling you deeper into the PIRATE pedagogy with every page. It is abundantly clear that Dave and Shelley take great pride in their authors and they are still very much running the business, both in name and in practice. I do not believe for a second that the continuity between books would be present if they weren’t (wait for it…) steering the ship at every turn. They are clearly invested in their business through their investment in the authors they publish. Dave set out to disrupt the publishing business, and disrupt the business he did. I stand (errr, sit…) in awe of the dynasty they have created from the ground up. Dave and Shelley have kickstarted a revolution in education through their publishing business and I am so excited to see what they have coming up for us next!

Three days ago, I saw this post was pinned on Dave’s Twitter profile.

Although Dave saw this at a fitness center, this quote applies perfectly to my experience with #DBC50Summer. I believe there were times that the Captain himself even doubted that I would meet my goal of reading the first 50 of his books by the end of summer (though he never said anything about it). Heck, there were times I doubted it. When my youngest daughter was hospitalized and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in early August, when I was traveling throughout the western half of North Carolina doing four presentations each day then driving hours to our next destination for two weeks in July (I presented 32 one-hour sessions in 8 days), when I was spending late nights at the softball field with my oldest daughter, and when teachers came back to work in late August, I was certain that the first day of fall would come and go as I continued to work on #DBC50″SUMMER”. The unending encouragement from my professional learning network and the absolutely spectacular authors of DBC, Inc get full credit for inspiring me to keep going and push through these obstacles to achieve my goal of reading the first 50 books by the end of summer. Even those “without a dog in the fit” so to speak (the authors of books 51-57) have shown support through Direct Messages on Twitter, text messages and encouraging tweets. I am forever grateful.

On August 27, I experienced an hour unlike any other. I actually found Cloud 9 and hung out on it for a while… I was honored to host #tlap that night to share my experiences with #DBC50Summer and discuss the entire DBC, Inc line. This was a great celebration of the authors and the ideals shared in each book, and I hope that those who participated were able to walk away with new books on their Amazon wishlist!

Let’s check out the last ten books in #DBC50Summer!

41 – Be The One For Kids by Ryan Sheehy: This book lit me on fire to be an advocate for every student. It also reminded me that even though I can’t possibly be the one for every student, I never know which one I will inspire and motivate. Because I don’t know which one(s) will be touched the most, I should do everything in my power to be the one for them all.

42 – All 4s and 5s by Andrew Sharos: This book is advertised for Advanced Placement (AP) teachers. But ohhh the power of false advertisement. This book is actually for EVERY teacher! Why should AP students be the only ones held to high standards? That’s exactly what Andrew shares with us in his book! Don’t let the intended audience fool you. You need this one in your hands yesterday!

43 – Shake Up Learning by Kasey Bell: Static learning won’t work for students in 2018! (It also didn’t work for students in 2006 when I started my career, but I’m learning to forgive myself because I didn’t know any better.) Kasey inspired me to step out and apply to earn my Google Teacher Certification. Get her book to see what dynamic teaching is and why it’s what’s best for our kids.

44 – The Secret Solution by Todd Whitaker, Ryan Donlan, and Sam Miller: Unlike any book in the DBC, Inc line, this book takes us on a fictional journey inspired by real events. We experience the inner-workings of a typical school that could be found anywhere in the US. A principal (Roger Rookie) is trying to find the secret to being a great leader. He fails over and over again. What does he find the Secret Solution to be, or is there even a Secret Solution? Grab this book – and you don’t have to be a principal to put it on your wishlist!

45 – Let Them Speak by Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter: The power of student voice cannot be understated. Meet students on their turf and get their opinion, but only if you’re ready for the honest feedback you’ll receive. Then, do something about what they say. They deserve to be heard. So let your students speak.

46 – The Path to Serendipity by Allyson Apsey: The big secret of #DBC50Summer can be found in this post. Allyson’s book is the real catalyst! The post for this book written weeks before #DBC50Summer started. This is one of those books that you’ll get something different out of it every time you open it. I actually deleted the majority of the first post to rewrite a new one because I was inspired by something altogether different the second time around! Allyson takes us on a journey of self-discovery that you don’t want to miss!

47 – Lead with Culture by Jay Billy: Jay is the real deal, y’all! His book has me excited to go on a treasure hunt this year for evidence of positive culture! Check out the post to play BINGO and use the link within it to purchase Jay’s book, the very first book in the Lead Like A Pirate guide book series! There are more to come!

48 – Sparks in the Dark by Travis Crowder and Todd Nesloney: This. Book. Though. What do you mean, you don’t have it? Go get it. Now. It will transform your reading and writing instruction (and all other content areas) for the rest of your career! You will fall in love with reading and writing, and so will your students if you use these strategies!

48.5 – Sparks in the Dark by Travis Crowder and Todd Nesloney: What happens when you’re 48 hours away from the end of #DBC50Summer and you are inspired beyond belief by a book… you write a second blog post, of course! This one had me breaking all the rules. Lucky for me, I know the lady who made the rules. We chatted… it’s okay. (HA) Check out Part 2 of Sparks in the Dark #DBC50Summer blog post!

49 – The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard: Why does Monday have such a bad reputation? Why can’t we celebrate a new beginning? That’s exactly what Sean did through #CelebrateMonday! Find out what inspired the movement and how Sean connects his passion for The Beatles into his own schoolhouse as principal! The author is a friend of mine… he’s as genuine as they come! You want this book, even if you’re not a fan of the music.

50 – The EduNinja Mindset by Jennifer Burdis: She competed on two seasons of American Ninja Warrior but that wasn’t the hardest thing she ever did! Find out what was the hardest thing she ever did. You’ll also discover how to set goals and get out of your own way to achieve them. This one is a book for the masses! The perfect book to end #DBC50Summer on!

My implementation plans and flipgrid links for each book are listed in a nifty spreadsheet here. I also suggest checking out each of the Recaps from earlier in the summer: Summer Recap 1, Summer Recap 2, Summer Recap 3, and Summer Recap 4.

That’s it; that’s all folks… but wait. #DBC50Summer may be over, but I’ve still got one more blog post to write! You’re going to want to see this one! I have been asked a dozen questions by coworkers, administrators, PLN members, and members of the Pirate crew (immediate and extended)! I address them all in the final #DBC50Summer post, as well as sharing a HUGE announcement!