NerdCampNJ 2019

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Apologies for the crazy late post. I had the best of intentions of writing this up a week ago but it’s currently the hundred-yard dash to the last day of school in my house, with finishing up final projects, locating missing homework that somehow mysteriously disappeared in the blackhole of my son’s book bag, and last, but not least, cramming for final exams.

So back to the topic at hand, NerdCampNJ. What is NerdCamp? Glad you asked. NerdCamp is a “literacy focused ‘unconference’ ” for teachers, school administrators, librarians, students, and authors with the goal of inspiring students to become lifelong readers and writers.

Each NerdCamp has its own way of creating its nerdgenda (don’t you love the nerdlingo?), with fluid workshops, which can take the form of conversations, interactive presentations/panels, hands-on learning, etc. Nerds are encouraged to participate, sit back, listen, and share their knowledge.

This was my second NerdCampNJ and it was NERD-A-RI-FIC! The morning started off with five amazing keynote speakers:

  • Tricia Ebarvia
  • Emma Otheguy
  • Jarrett Lerner
  • Andrea J. Loney
  • Laurie Halse Anderson

Subsequently, everyone went to workshops. Selene Castrovilla, Gryffyn Jade Phoenix, and I led an interactive workshop on helping students break through writer’s block. Afterwords I attended two wonderful workshops: one by educator, Nesrin Amabile, on teaching students how to create storyboards, and another by third-grade teacher, Jaclyn Flanagin, on classroom: book-a-day, the program inspired by Donalyn Miller.

Here are a few photographic highlights from my AWESOME nerdy day:

I would like to shout out a SUPER HUGE THANK YOU to the incredible Oona Abrams, Juli-Anne Benjamin, Sarah Mulhern Gross, Julia Guthrie, Nicole Mancini, ​Emily S. Meixner, Denise Weintraut, Larry Zuares, and to all the volunteers for a NERD-TAS-TIC day.

Tucked-in Tuesday with Dr. Belinda Richardson-George

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Photo by KLA Photography

If you haven’t heard, seen, or read about the incredible work Dr. Belinda Richardson-George is doing as a first-year principal of Homer Drive Elementary School in Beaumont, Texas, you’ve been missing out.

Every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm CST, you can catch Dr. George on Facebook Live reading bedtime stories to her students, whom she addresses as scholars. In total, she has 680 scholars at her school.

Dr. George was inspired to read to her scholars by the Facebook group, Principal Principles Leadership, and her love for her students. Ninety-four percent of her students come from economically disadvantaged homes, according to an interview Dr. George did with the TODAY show, and she wanted to ensure someone was reading to them.

Sporting PJs, Dr. George always gives a shout out to her students who log in. After her reading, she will often invite the author and/or illustrator to talk about his or her book.

This coming Tuesday, May 21, I am so honored that Dr. George will be sharing No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies (Sky Pony Press) with her scholars. Just click HERE for the link.

Following Dr. George’s reading, my three mischievous dogs, Cupcake, Madeleine, and Mathilde, are planning to say a quick hello to Dr. George’s scholars and perhaps share a bite (oops! I mean word) about their favorite peacocks, Phil, Jim, and Harry.

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Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

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Below are a few photographic and video highlights of this incredible day courtesy of the amazing Joanne Kaplan.

Unveiling of Sesame Street. 

May 1, 2019 officially declared Sesame Street Day.

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Mayor de Blasio “high-fiving” with Big Bird.

Sunny Days singalong