Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Retrospective

2011 has been a rewarding year, personally and professionally. I can't wait to see what 2012 holds for me.

In June I said goodbye to my best year of teaching yet and it was all thanks to the passion of Donalyn Miller. After reading The Book Whisperer, I completely changed the way to structure my literature classroom. I grew leaps and bounds in my teaching, and my students showed so much passion and progress in their reading.

Then, in November, thanks to the suggestion of my Uncle Tom, I attended NCTE and actually got to meet Donalyn in person. This conference was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career thus far. Not only did I learn so much, but I got to meet so many amazing teachers, mentors, and authors.

Speaking of authors this year I went to my first author signing - Maggie Stiefvater in July - and then I went to a few more after I realized that there was an amazing independent bookstore near me in Ann Arbor. I met Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys and Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

In Cesky Krumlov
Also during the summer my husband was able to return to Germany for a month-long business trip and since this trip happened during the summer, I was able to accompany him for a week. It was so good to be able to go back and travel around Europe. When we lived in Germany we traveled somewhere new at least once a month, so that's where the "wanderlust" part of my blog came from. During the trip we visited Salzburg and Hallstatt in Austria, Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, and our old home town of Schweinfurt in Germany. I also had the pleasure of meeting Lenore Appelhans and her husband Daniel Jennewein in Frankfurt the night before I flew home. I continue to marvel at both Daniel and Lenore's generosity and talent. I am waiting with bated breath for Lenore's novel Level Two to come out in 2012!
With Daniel and Lenore my last night in Germany

And continuing with Daniel and Lenore's generosity, Daniel was nice enough to be my guinea pig to be my very first classroom Skype visit in December. Despite a rocky start when my Smartboard speakers wouldn't work, the rest of the visit went beautifully. And he was even nice enough to draw pictures for my students and then mail them to us. I have one more Skype visit already scheduled with author Audrey Vernick in January, but I hope to have more scheduled before the end of the school year. This is such a new and exciting way to learn about and through authors.

Oh, and unrelated to books and teaching, over the summer I bought my husband tickets to the U of M/Ohio State football game for his birthday. Seeing that my husband and I are both big U of M fans, we were elated to be in  attendance when they finally beat OSU for the first time in seven years. The joy in the stadium was palpable. We are looking forward to more great things from the Brady Hoke era at U of M.
Go Blue!
Then, a little over a week ago, my husband decided to drop a bomb on me that he'd been doing some "research" and that he wanted to finally fulfill his dream of owning a Mustang. Since we could afford the payment, I decided to be the good wife and tell him to go for it. It certainly looks pretty sitting in our driveway.

So maybe 2012 will be the year to fulfill my dream of one day owning a Bösendorfer:
Me playing a Bösendorfer in Vienna, October 2003
(Considering this piano costs DOUBLE what my husband's car costs, I have a feeling that is a dream that will remain unfulfilled).

What are your dreams for 2012? I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 and wish you a happy, healthy 2012!

1 comment:

  1. We continue to marvel at your generosity too! Thanks for being a part of our wonderful 2011!