#DBCBookBlogs: Be Real

It’s been two weeks since I blogged. I have to tell you that I’ve felt lost, without purpose, and out of sorts. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around events in my life, professionally and personally because I wasn’t reflecting as I should. I think it’s safe to say that writing has become my main outlet for reflection and sharing my voice, with others, but most importantly with myself. I knew that after the incredible #DBC50Summer journey, I needed to put on the brakes a bit and spend time with my family. I needed to catch up on sleep. I wanted to watch some Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime movies and get back into football. My house desperately needed to be cleaned. So here we are two weeks later, after finally watching The Greatest Showman (so good), with 100% less dark circles under my eyes, and a moderately cleaner home.

After trying to read Be REAL: Educate from the Heart by Tara Martin for a week while being totally distracted by life (and only reaching page 57), I finally made myself intentionally go back to my reading spot (center seat of our sectional), eliminated distractions, opened the book to page 1, and pressed play. This time, I couldn’t put it down.

BeREAL

I don’t remember the circumstances under which I first spoke to Tara online. I just remember an instant connection to her. I felt as if I’d known her for years within moments.

In this way beyond cute video in which Tara and Wendy (DBC Director of Operations) announce Tara’s accepting a new job with Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc, I found out that I had won a #DBCChallenge (a contest run each week – see Dave’s blog post for more) and got to pick any book from the DBC, Inc line for free! (I chose Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa-Todd – great book! See my #DBC50Summer post here!) It was the first time I had ever seen Tara and Wendy on video and I instantly wanted to hug the both of them! They both appear to be so authentic… so REAL!

A little over two weeks later (June 18, 2018 – my oldest daughter’s birthday), Tara’s book was officially released to the public. Be REAL: Educate from the Heart is everything that I adore about Tara! She is relatable, vulnerable, approachable, and employs an attitude of lifelong learning. Through no surprise if you’ve picked up many DBC, Inc books, REAL is an acronym:

  • Relatable

  • Expose Vulnerability

  • Approachable

  • Learning Through Life

Without giving away too much, you will read this book and want to pack your bags, figure out where Tara is, and give her “big squeezy hugs” multiple times before reaching the last page. Tara is an amazing storyteller; she captivates you and pulls you in, sharing her truths, many of which are heart-wrenching. After removing the mental block I had, eliminating outside distractions, and finding my “reading spot”, I now sit here with tears in my eyes, convicted to be as REAL as I can for my students and the teachers I have the honor of serving.

As an instructional coach, I relate to many of Tara’s stories and look forward to employing her strategies of coaching teachers and other coaches. I love the REAL + Innovator’s Compass (inspired by the work of Ela Ben-Ur) section & look forward to using this practice in my own relationships. More information can be found on Tara’s (insanely awesome) website here. I also love the REAL Talk Treasures shared in the book! Humble inquiry has served me well as a coach!

This past summer I was fortunate enough to serve the western half of my state as a Digital Learning Competency Ambassador. During this time, I traveled over 530 miles to deliver professional development in four schools to over 1200 North Carolina educators. I facilitated a session with the spectacular Emily Brown (Follow her on Twitter: @ebrown0789) called #Twitter101, then moved into facilitating a live Twitter chat and growing a #PLN in a session called #Twitter102, and finally, got to share my love of #BookSnaps in two sessions, which were almost always at capacity.

#BookSnaps are a digital, visual representation of our connections to the text using common tech tools like Snapchat, Google Slides and Drawings, Seesaw, etc. See all you ever need to get started on Tara’s how-to page here! Tara sent swag to give to participants and even created an epic personalized video for those in my sessions! The love of #BookSnaps has now spread virally throughout North Carolina! Tara speaks about #BookSnaps and how it got started within her book, and she shares exceptional stories of their impact on students from educators.

I had so many a-ha moments while reading Be REAL: Educate from the Heart. The first was in the foreword written by the author of Teach Like a Pirate, the Pirate Captain himself, Dave Burgess. You can see it on his blog here. Other moments were certainly tweeted:

 

 

 

 

So much good stuff to choose from in this book! Care to know what my implementation is? (Yes, I will continue to share these because, as the Captain says, “Inspiration without implementation is a waste.”)

After all the awesome that #DBC50Summer has brought to my life, sharing my thoughts with each of you, and figuring out my passions, my why, and many times forming an opinion while in the middle of writing these posts, I realized I need to take the advice of my mentor, director, and friend, Lucas Gillispie. As soon as I read this portion of Tara’s book, I know it was time to make the change. It’s time to finally transition my blog site to become my professional website. The blog will still be housed here at aliciaray.com, but will become a subset of the larger website. In the coming months, I will be adding resources, presentations, contact information, and more. So the home page will look a bit different, but just click on blog and you’ll be back in the right spot. I’m not really sure what to expect of this space, but know that I plan to just “cannonball in” (see what I did there, Tara) and see where it takes me.

I can’t say enough about Tara Martin as a person. I can assure you that she is the REAL deal – I can see her heart and soul through her social media presence and through the words in her book. I know that sounds weird as I’ve never talked to her face-to-face, but you just can’t fake it on social media that much. Everything I know of her matches up. I so look forward to the day I finally get to meet her (we were in Chicago in June together, but our schedules just wouldn’t allow it to happen) and finally get that “big squeezy Tara hug” AND give her one back in return! You should seriously go grab a copy of her book here. I highly suggest following her on Twitter at @TaraMartinEDU.  You can check out her newly updated website and book resources here! This is amazingness, by the way, so prepare yourself!  You can preview Be REAL: Educate from the Heart here. Because everyone adores Tara (seriously. everyone.), you can find tons of podcasts featuring Tara by a quick google search. Check out the hashtags #REALedu and #BookSnaps on Twitter and follow along!

Also – you want to follow @HeckAwesome! If you see photos tweeted from the book, it typically includes the illustrations. Carrie Baughcum sketched every illustration within this book and they are fantastically beautiful! Find more about her and sketchnoting on her website here! She was super inspirational in her #HiveSummit conversation with Michael Matera (author of Explore Like A Pirate), and I tried sketchnoting for the first time last week. It was an awesome way to creatively taking notes!

This book seriously reminds us as educators and readers that many of us have overcome life’s challenges to get where we are; we have persevered and beat the odds to have the privilege of standing in front of children day in and day out and facilitate the creation of a love of learning.

I’m inspired to share more of my story, with you and with my students and teachers I serve, in hopes that it inspires someone else to persevere. Thank you for your REALness, Tara. You are so appreciated and your story is valued beyond words. It came out 5 days after #DBC50Summer started, so I knew I’d have to wait a long time to get to read it… I must say, it was worth. the. wait.

If you’ve read Be REAL by Tara Martin, add your thoughts to the Flipgrid (copiloted by Andrea Paulakovich and me) here! If you’ve not, grab a copy, then add to our flipgrid!

Up next is Lead with Literacy by Mandy Ellis!

 

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.

dbcgift

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!