Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BE Vocal...About Your Life As A Reader - Slice of Life 2013

A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's Slice of Life.
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My life on Twitter is just under a year old so it feels sometimes like I spend a lot of time talking about how the social media has positively impacted my professional life and my reading life. Twitter interactions motivated me to blog; introduced me to Goodreads; allows me to interact with people that I wouldn't otherwise know; and inspires me every day in some way.
I pick up on little things, little ideas, from Twitter that I think are manageable for me. I constantly look for ways to get it out there what I am most passionate about - books & kids. One such idea that I grabbed from a Twitter feed was the idea of including my Twitter handle, the link to my blog, and a sentence starter for what I am reading, in the signature part of my work email. There's a certain amount of insecurity that goes with making that visible in EVERY email. What if the people I work closest with view all of what I am doing as "silly"? I have a bad habit of measuring my worth by comparing myself to others - it's something that I battle constantly. One would think that as a 43 year old that I'd be over that, but it's in my core and I suppose is one of those things that drives me to constantly achieve. Honestly, the notion of "I'm not as good as..." is not as prevalent as it has been in the past, but there's always a hint of it in what I do.
My motivation for including my Twitter handle, the link to my blog, and a sentence starter for what I am reading stems from the fact that I want to positively influence others that I am closest to. I have learned and grown through these medias and I just want to spread the wealth a bit. If what I am learning and doing inspires even just one teacher, I feel satisfaction from that. The email signature is subtle - I never know if people even look at that part of their email. So, I just wait...
Validation that the email signature has impact came this week. :o)
One of the beginning teachers that I mentor needed some time to finish up some district required fluency assessments. She really wanted to finish the assessments herself so she asked if I could cover her class for her. She was in the process of teaching to "good fit books" and thought that I could come in and share how I pick books. Her email stated, "since you're so passionate about books...". I do look for those moments where I can talk about books, almost like a teachable moment. This particular teacher is not someone I mentored last year so I've only supported her for three weeks. She is not someone who I've known long enough to know how much I really talk about books. How did she know? She sees the email signature regularly. She checked my blog.
Little does the beginning teacher know what a gift it was for me to spend just 15 minutes sharing with her students about books. I went in armed with a bag of books-books I read, books I've listened to, books I plan to read. I shared why I am reading books and where I get ideas from. Nothing is better than the murmur of children as they connect with a title, an author, a genre. Before long, students were asking me if I had read book number four in the Amulet series. I was being asked if they could borrow my copy of Sidekicks. We began to have this very natural exchange of have you read-you should read.
I spend quite a bit of time observing teachers and providing feedback. One of the things that I've missed while on special assignment is the daily interacting with my own students - especially when it comes to books. So, while I was supporting a beginning teacher's need to finish some quick assessments, she was filling a need of mine to interact with kids about books. It was a GREAT Tuesday!
That settles it. The Twitter handle, blog link, and sentence starter for what I am reading remain in my email signature. For good. 


  1. I am just entering the social media world (about 3 months in on twitter, blog and FB page), and it's still a little overwhelming to me. So, this post about was quite inspiring for me. Twitter still a little too much for me to wrap my head around, but it has really introduced me to a community of book lovers for the 1st time, which has been wonderful. I'm looking forward to getting to know your passion for books now as well :)

    1. Jane, my apologies that the reply I posted from my iPhone app did not appear here.
      I get overwhelmed as well with all of the social media options out there. Of all the medias, I have found Twitter to be a huge benefit for connecting with my education heroes - Todd Whitaker, Donalyn Miller, etc. I've also "met" kidlit authors that I never dreamed I'd interact with. Twitter also introduced me to some other amazing educators that are passionate about books that have opened my eyes even more to the world of books. Hang in there with Twitter...
      I appreciate that you stopped by and responded. I look forward to learning from you as well.

  2. I've recently (toward the end of last school year) added a signature line to my emails at work as well. I list what I'm currently reading and listening to - as well as my Newbery Challenge progress. I have had a few parents comment on what I'm currently reading. No colleagues have remarked on it, but I did have one of the ESL teachers ask me to help her figure out what the title was of a book from her childhood "since you love books so much"...

    1. Thank you, Maria, for sharing your signature experience, too. How great that an ESL teacher knows that you love books. I'm learning that people do notice what we post or include in email, sometimes the acknowledgement comes at unexpected times. I just keep plugging away with spreading the book love in the hopes that others feel the love. Thanks for all the ways that you've positively impacted my reading life.