BP Can Be More Than an Acronym, It Can be the Change Each of Us Realizes

What do you think of when you hear BP?  At one time, it would have represented one of the largest oil and fuel companies we have come to know.  Much has occurred since then amid oil spills, what appears as perceived greed for part of the wealth associated with large corporations and such. 

If you have been anywhere near a movie theatre, BP would have become to be known as Black Panther.  I headed to the theatre this weekend, settled in, and forgot the where Black Panther left off from the film Captain America, and if you wait until the credits are done in this film, you will be treated with even more additions to come (GLAD I WAITED!!) BP, thanks to Black Panther, has come to be known as Beauty and Power. 

You see plenty of examples of Beauty and Power in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, from the sweeping landscape of a country labeled third country, to the strength that comes from the country of Wakanda used for good and not for advantage, to the realization, despite the push back from media and political aims that unity is better than division, Black Panther is a powerful film.  The virtues can extend beyond the theatre if you allow them.

In realizing the beauty of Wakanda presented under the shroud of a county thought to be desolate, I thought of how many more examples of this exists.  Through the lens of the media one would think Mexico was a maze of destruction, drugs, violence and doom.  Quite the opposite is the reality.  These element exists, as in any country, but to more more of a degree than many cities you might find here in the United States.  As I witnessed the beauty of Wakanda on screen, I realized the beauty I was lucky enough to experience in Mexico, and how much beauty remains in other countries we only see through media?  As well as here int he United States.  There is is substitute except for being in those countries and experiencing it from behind the lens.  Sounds complicated, expensive and out of reach. I thought that about Mexico, and the results outweigh the costs I created in my head.   The beauty of a country, unrealized, outside of your own, changes you as a person for the better.

The sense of being separate from someone across the other side of the world is nonsense.  it is time the idea of division, me against you, power over equality, in fact can and will end when individuals from all over the world do rise above media, politics, and social issues that seem they can be resolved by one area, opposed to all coming together to discuss, organize and empower each other, rather than point fingers. 

At this point, the above pretty much describes the exhilaration you feel during Black Panther.  I would say it is long overdue to have a film, push the buttons for positive change in individuals, through popular culture, rather than focusing on media and news that again, seeks to divide and disperse a sense of doom.

The amazing use of technology, effects, as well as transformations perceived when a different reality exists all play a large part in what Black Panther represents. “What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world.”  An awesome quote from Black Panther that doesn’t really belong solely to the screen.  Another realization I came to was seeing and realizing that some of the villains did not put up as much a fight as I thought they would.  They did at first and then surprisingly were taken down faster than I thought would occur.  In a sense, I also realized what is made to seem as a one way track decisions that are irreversible, is not always the case as we are led to believe.  I like this realization.

There is no doubt from Parkland students in Florida, to constituents all over the U.S., to the Me Too Movement, and beyond changing the face of way politics operate.  To countries outside the U.S. standing up for the ability to bring back greatness to their own country, while organizing with other countries, a film like Black Panther, while entertainment, and a high profile level at that, entertains the notion that positive change is possible,  Beauty and power can in fact work alongside each other, however, they not not have to be stereotypical, biased, always be responsible adults, or set boundaries to do so.  If anything, boundaries for positive change are available and actually open to possibility rather than closing.  it is just time to continue to spread the true message of hope that counters the “fake news” that has a tendency to latch onto countries, individuals, as well as whole countries.  An entertainment film like Black Panther that also sends a message for change in other arena is a most welcome change in the last few months.  There does seem to be hope in numbers, in beauty (not determined by media, and power in numbers.


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Leaping Forward – Possibilities Opposed to the Limitations

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 7.13.42 PMAs I watched this ParaOlympics Open Ceremony today (from days past) – that phrase “The fact we can be limited by our creativity, possibilities opposed to the limitations is what this is all about…” the hour ahead can be a metaphor for what we decide to do with our time.  My thoughts go to watching the Paralympics in Korea, and think of all the amazing students I have grown up with from Korea, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Holland, and so many more countries and the things they have achieved.  

What each of us can achieve if we want to.  With an hour forward it seems we can also make a commitment forward that we might have missed in falling back.

Take these examples –

I was simply doing some basic maintenance on the truck today, and thought about how much actual mileage I have obtained from my 1997 Mountaineer, from the countless Cross Country (XC!) meets, to trips from Delaware to Mexico several times, and then realized how exciting and heart beating moments I had on those images I could never forget.    Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 7.57.34 PMToday I talked to Andres Jannou, artist and owner of Walking Dog in Mexico (soon to be in Argentina) who had headed out from Mexico City and has been driving, final destination Colombia.  Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Veracruz, Panama Canal – and so much more, his afghan Natalie is having the time of her life, and I remember the trip Hangover, Suzy, Dewey, Dane, Wriggley, Amaya, and yes, Kinah’s ashes,  made from Mexico City to Delaware and the amazing things along the way we felt, saw, and experienced.

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream a dream you dream together, is reality.” – John Lennon

Luisa Segura surprised me one day as I was in the states (just returned).  She left Mexico to simply work in a restaurant to get experience.  I thought, what a spur of the moment, without warning decision that changes our lives.  I asked her some questions about this experience to just work for free and find a restaurant that would allow her to do so:

In what ways do you see and feel Mexico in New York City?

I see New York as a minute everything just happens, there no track of time. Everybody is just doing their job. And I think Mexico has a little bit of this flash by during the day by day.

What was the scariest moment taking off on an adventure like this in New York?

The scariest moment was the day before traveling a lot of what ifs were taking place in my head. I really don’t know how I managed all these new challenges in a minute of time, managing to be on time at work and getting used to the subway.


What is one discovery you made about New York most people might not know, or might not discover about New York?

New Yorkers can be very friendly and definitely NY toughens you up, and there’s so many places and streets you can walk through at night and feel the social life.


What is the most unexpected event that occurred to you while in New York?

Taking decisions on what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to accomplish certain activities.


What is one thing that you find resembling New York in Mexico?

The movement inside the food and drink industries, you just see people walk in and nobody leaves, until the place closes up. 


What surprised you the most on this trip to New York?

The ability of being alone, making friends, hanging out, making sure I always was sure of what I was doing. And being able to be alone.


How do you see food preparation in a different light after this experience?

The industry I can say it’s rather mesmerizing by this I mean I think I did a lot of work and this was the challenging part, because I had never been inside a working kitchen. But I think I enjoy it more than before.


In what way have you grown after this experience, that you didn’t realize you needed to grow  into?

I think I have grown in a mature and responsible person.  
I think each of us has so much potential to do something extraordinary.  For ourselves, and for the world we find ourselves in.  The courage that paralympians show that matches if not exceeds the courage shown in the Olympics we just witnessed, – astounding.  When those that are able-bodied have less courage by far than the paralympians – it is a lesson we should all live by – and live every single day.

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What Does the Word Legend and E (from Education) Have in Common?

Phil Livingston. Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 10.30.46 AM

Period.  A few things you should know.

Never an administrator.   Redefined the role of a substitute.  Proof a government agency officer could be one of the BEST educators.  ever.

What does it take to inspire students?  Stories and reaching across the desk and not remaining behind a desk.  

I was lucky enough to see this in action and still hear stories of this after I was in absence of seeing Phil Livingston in actions.  Except for a famous hot air ballon story.  All you need to do is ask those who were touched by him.  There are hundreds.

In a world caught up in climbing a ladder of status, how to be “top dog” through violence, guns, politics, power – Phil Livingston showed day in, day out, the real power that nothing could top, was an utmost attention given to EDUCATION, and yielding education on an equilibrium to ALL – not to a specific school, not to a specific socio-economic class, but to all.  Instead of climbing a ladder, he provided a ladder for everyone to reach heights that they did not know they could climb.

Concert Master,   awarded the  2015 Friend of Seaford Education Award :

“Mr. Phil Livingston was awarded the 2015 Friend of Seaford Education Award at the November 16, 2015 School Board Meeting. Mr. Livingston actively supports the students and district as a whole throughout our schools and in our community. He can be seen standing along the fence at our home football games and other athletic events, cheering on the team. He is present at most, if not all, of our musical concerts, drama performances and NJROTC events. This year, to showcase our Seaford High School Culinary Program he arranged for the Culinary Program students to provide the pre-show meal for the performers at the Seaford Community Concert. Mr. Livingston, and his wife, have also extended their generosity and sponsored several students in our district when there has been a need. To meet Mr. Livingston, is to have met a caring gentleman who brightens the day for many students and staff and to know someone who is a true friend of Seaford Education. It is with great pleasure that we honor Mr. Phil Livingston as the 2015 Friend of Seaford Education.”

photographer and pilot, sailor and  Commodore of the 220-member yacht club in Blades, Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 10.39.10 AM

a former special agent with the FBI, 

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 10.45.32 AM

firing a cannon to start of Woodland Festival,

and over 10 other aspects he embodied and supported, he lived what education has the power to do every single day.  Motivate, challenge the popular thought in any discussion, express free thought, and do more than be a voice.  Being present in every aspect of everyone’s life – and inspire them to greatness.  What if we had just 10 Phil Livinsgton’s in every school community – would the state change?  Yes.  Would communities change? Yes.  Would we change?  Most definitely.  Look at the hundreds of individuals that have changed already and “made it” thanks to someone that served as a substitute, but could not be replaced – ever/ . Ironic isn’t it?  Please share your stories in the comments below in honor of what you remember Mr. Phil Livingston gave you.

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Celebrate Happiness

I loved the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.  LOVED.  And here is why:

1- There is no main goal on target for division or divisive motives.  We see that in rhetoric from leaders in our country, to our states, to other countries, from what seems to be our country as of late, it wears on you.  Even the moments where we did see it from our country at times, it was pushed back and what was brought forth was the characters of athletes, celebrating diversity, amid competition.  This is what united is about, and letting flaws in individuals come out, and it is OKAY.  Recognizing defeat, competing without blame, rising about rhetoric that blames, points fingers, acts superior, and propels anger and hate –  finally felt I could escape that and relish the moments of individuals, among each other.  That is what a truer sense of united is.

2- Walking the walk.  ANY POLITICIAN, has a problem walking the walk, but easily can talk the talk. I am more of an action kind of person.  I like how Ashley Wagner puts her struggles before her and shows what it takes to be an athlete, and ‘the harder we fall, the stronger we rise’ has never ben truer than in the U.S.A. with the ‘freedom to move’ sentiment applying not just to Olympics, but with so many issues  – from immigration to school violence, to so much.  So while the politics is nice outside of the Olympics and agreeing to cause cause walls, it is hopeful to know a generation can make a shift to move to better days if we are hear and make the shift to individuals that are ready top uplift our possibilities, and not fall to wasting, blaming, and finger pointing.

Ice 1.png

3- The music struck me at first.  Then the characteristics of beauty, hope, and heroes, joy, miracles, the magic of the Winter Games came through Toyota”s commercial.  I thought, if I could feel the way I feel about our country, at the moment when I was witnessing that breathtaking record of snowboarding, figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating yes, even curling, then anything is possible.  I believe that yes, businesses are making money off commercials, but what if we held businesses to a higher standard and part of that profit making, as forced by lobbyists, helps the environment, protect the environment while promoting HEALTHY businesses that give back to our environment, push for stricter regulations to protect our youth in communities and schools, and do not consider the almighty dollar as the highest God?  What if we looked at each other, and instead of seeing nationality, we saw ways to harness our diversity to bring up our country with more diversity being a part?  We have a responsibility to ban business that puts business before country, before environment, before people.  I loved that the 2018 Winter Games celebrated that.

Ice 2

4- The power of the Olympics to set aside issues that have split countries, and to find a meeting ground so that the feeling of unity is truly an agenda in the meeting places, town halls, Congresses and capital buildings, is real.  Being caught up in the issue of being on one side and others being on another side just simply, goes in circles.  It causes anger, is feeds into nothing being achieved, loss of identity, loss of individuals from all backgrounds that can be a resource to fighting the power of crime for all individuals that take advantage of that split in races, cultures, and politics.  I hope the amazing aspects of the Winter Games, the feeling of saying something you do not mean and being able to come back and correct it without stones being thrown, the general feeling of acceptance spill over into not only the upcoming ParaOlympic Games, but reinforced by the youth that are finding their voices for change, positive change in the upcoming elections, by the senior citizens and middle class that want all individuals to be recognized for making the United States a great country instead of a divided nation, and coming down off the anger podium and standing behind a podium of compromise, change and a breath of fresh air. 

It is truly time to Celebrate Happiness among all races, all nations, all individuals and see that each individual country grows, is protected, as well as their citizens and show what the U in the United States stands for.

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Students Rise to the Challenge – and Prepare for Change

There are SO MANY topics in the last few months worthy of discussion and as many know – sources of exhaustion in trying to dissect bit by bit the importance of such a movement.  Bit by bit, several posts will attempt to bring some importances to light.

In moving back to the United States from Mexico, as an American shielded from the controversy somewhat being in another country, as a consensus, Americans also realized this did not take away from being an American, just in how far the controversies reached you inside seemed to be numbed a bit.  I know with the recent earthquake (again) – many Americans sounded off saying believe it or not, they’d risk going through another earthquake than another school shooting – it pains your heart to go through the yet again repeated cycle of a school shooting and today, opinions, stances, back and forth just kept a repeated, frustrated reaction to school shootings in the present news – BUT

the continual emphasis and pressure that young people – and the potential – to force change among politicians of all levels, from the highest to the lowest levels – are on the horizon as these students turning 18, will make a MAJOR impact in a new election.

Certainly a walk out of school in protest on a certain day is controversial, as two days of ideas and opinions brings the hazards of being ineligible to wanting chance, for the sake of a system that has been broken for years – what to do?  Remarkably, the youth of Florida have taken the reins and are organizing, across the whole country, using social media to impact a change with a March planned in Washington.

After just TWO days of so many possibilities being tossed back and forth on Facebook. solutions, and opinions, and sharing those examples with youth wanting to make a change, young people began to realize how out of hand this topic was and could be – and began to make connection to reinforce the need for a more widespread movement for change – youth initiated.

From the recent release 8 days before this Florida tragedy, (unbeknownst that 8 days later another school shooting would occur in Florida) by Rhiannon Navin,

What is rewarding is seeing youth being give the freedoms from parents that recognize, simply being is not enough.  Not questioning what can be, being still and compliant and not questioning better ways to improve this world can and is unacceptable. Empowering youth to create better methods, better ideas, and being more open-minded is the reality of who the United States always has been, and this is just one lone topic.  Can you imagine how many ready to turn 18 voters can make a difference?  World changing.  Along the way, adults begin to learn youth begin to help guide adults along this tangled path of open mindedness in making positive change, declining from the heated and hated themes of debate, and bring all views to the table for transparency -making change by being open-minded.  

Much exists to how parents can work hand in hand with youth in helping them mold a better, more hopeful and positive future.  HUGE KUDOS to the President (and I have not had many Kudos to hand out) for the opportunity for these very powerful youth to meet and do just that, transparency that can result in action after so many needless deaths already in the United States.  As David Hogg, one of the leading students asking for a change finally after no visible change over the last 2 years stated:

“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “ Meet the Press.

It is exciting to have students find positive solutions to change.  Goodness knows the world needs it and the adults in politics have not found ways at all.  Adults across the country are willing to go to controversial rallies, vote, but not be visible enough in their individual communities to walk the walk and back up their talk.  Those that are, are so few, and with young people seeing themselves as vehicles for change, they in fact can make so much that is invisible (funding by rich businesses to rich politicians and lobbyists, I’ll rub your back and you rub mine for the bottom dollar, alot of political rhetoric that goes no where but blaming blaming blaming) – it is refreshing in this one instance for sure, how positive outcomes, transparent outcomes can result FINALLY.

I was well aware of “bring your child to work day.”  I am beginning to think once a week, children need to be brought to all legislative offices as an intern to be the true voices of their communities that those, with the threat of being voted out of office, will seriously consider the agenda items that bring the United States of America together, not agendas that cause division for the sake of retaining an office and salary.  it is very exciting to see the reasons for hope come from some very empowered, brave youth that do not hold back the fact that change is on the horizon.  Even when it comes amid the face of such tragedy.  Lets just hope the adults will learn from this lesson as well, and those adults that can in fact make a change amid the temptation of position, clout, and salaries.

I think a lesson exists here for so many educators, forms, paper, and the same old way of teaching students to pass their current grade is not enough – being able to provide all sides of an issue, all consequences of action, and MAKING EDUCATION CONNECTED TO THE REAL WORLD and not about jumping through piles of assignments without a realistic connection – or for the sake of passing a state/national test, that is not enough.  It does not prepare students of today for what awaits them.  Making every discipline’s focus tightly tied to elements of what awaits them in the real world? – This fights division, close mindedness, prejudice, bigotry, isolationism, insular focuses, and ready to pressure those that represent us to avoid the same pitfalls and truly become more like the name of this great country and what this country can be with all peoples, all countries, the UNITED States of America.  Excited to see youth create one of the most vital hands-on projects in the wake of such a heart breaking tragedy within the last week.

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Valentine’s Day is About Those That Moved us.

1553399_10152028546966003_9007594769221778873_oKeyshawn Purnell was one of the most soulful human beings I every found myself beside.  I have said it a few times and I will say it again – very few times in life do you come across someone that is willing to give their all and not ask for even the tiniest of gratitude back.  Keyshawn was one of those individuals indeed. 

When I moved back to Seaford, I unloaded my storage unit, I also came across a sealed case of shirts that were designed in memory of Keyshawn during a Memorial 5k we held for him.  This is one way I’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day – anyone that can add to the amazing legacy of kindness Keyshawn left behind – I ask you to contribute to this blog post what you remember most about what Keyshawn gave you, and others as you remember it.  His one legendary gift was to leap and stretch and run far beyond anyone’s expectations, and the same can be said of the way he gave those invisible gifts of kindness, without end.  Share your most favorite gift, in honor of Keyshawn and Valentine’s Day, and each shirt will go out to you in return, I can think of no better way to have those shirts represent what we always knew about Keyshawn, now and forever.

Thank you.




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Moments that can’t be forgotten, should not be forgotten, and lessons to be kept deep inside.

Looking back at leaving Mexico before such a tragedy as the 2017 earthquake that touched so many parts of my romping grounds, I found there are voices I can latch onto that remind everyone,  tragedy is not the only path for change towards unity.

In catching up with Repentino. staffer Natalia, who conducted half of the interviews at the 2017 At Fair, she was not only a interviewer, but a respondent.  Repentino. looked as the insight was shed on her behalf, on that day at the 2017 Art Fair:

What did you see as a pattern – for example, most people seemed ______________?
Most people seemed challenged by the question. Many were shy to speak and had trouble finding an appropriate answer for the question. Many responded by saying it brought us closer as a community and as a country, responding with a certain level of pride.
What do you feel now – months after this event, as you see and hear these opinions from the interviews – how do you see Mexico now after this event an hearing these individuals’ stories?
Months after the event, I feel like people have forgotten that this event happened and now see it as something from long ago. I see people who think that everything is okay because things are calm now. After conducting these interviews I can tell that people feel proud of their county’s response, but on behalf of the people, not the government. Although many did not share personal stories, one could tell which people felt more affected by the event. The majority of the younger respondents, shared their feeling of fear during the event and the confusion involved with all of the disorder in the city.
What – from all the accounts you have heard from interviewees, would you say all of this says about Mexico as a country?  
After the interviews, I could definitely tell that there is a general agreement with the idea of the unity of our country. How people did not hesitate to help others in any way possible. It came to a point where so many people wanted to help that rescue centers had too many volunteers and had to send people home. 
Is there a message to other countries that suffer through tragedy ?
There is definitely a message to other countries that, when in hard times, the people themselves are the ones who help each other through these hard times. Audiences also depicted Mexico as a country capable of unity, differing greatly from other countries. They focused on the Mexican character. 
And finally, as a student, what does this experience – both the earthquake and hearing reactions to it mean to you as you graduate?
As a student, I was able to listen to multiple responses to the event, they varied greatly on the community to which the people belonged to. In the conducted interviews, many of the respondents shared their experience in the school campus, their momentary fear, and their response in centers and though donations. However, I was also able to hear other stories from people who were more directly affected through the loss of loved ones or property. This experience has made me more empathetic of people through the variety and severity of their responses. It has opened my eyes to how people act during these events, within their capabilities and as a community. I have never seen people more committed and united.
For the full interview list check here:  
a mashup of these will be coming shortly!
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Read Aloud Day, Black History Month, the African American Read in!

Today is World Read Aloud Day, and yes, we did an amazing Open Mic Night last night with alot of cool things to bring in The African American Read In, Black History Month, and …

Did you know tonight is Harry Potter Night?  

(For 2018, the thrilling theme is Fantastic Beasts, the original cornucopia of mythical creatures, which sit at the very heart of the Harry Potter stories. )

On my blog here  please post a comment that is your favorite Harry Potter quote! 🙂


My Favorite Quote:

Sorry, I have TWO-


“You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”   —Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince



“You’re a wizard, Harry.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


Please comment your favorite Harry Potter quote to this post!  🙂


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Embracing the “Bear”

Wow – listening to the podcast – about childhood trauma – this past weekend.

What Do Asthma, Heart Disease And Cancer Have In Common? Maybe Childhood Trauma

Major connections and flashbacks occurred.

Recently discussing with friends yesterday about the differences between some high schools and the trauma that some students experience every day and some not at all.  I sensed the neediness of students from how they had to be so close to me – within an arm’s length constantly, and how exhausting that can be over the course of a day.    But realizing this is amazing – it changes you as a teacher, Media Specialist Librarian, Administrator, facilitator, etc..   The moment when a student puts a head down, seems exhausted, wow, this is a whole new spin on why these actions occur, and a whole new spin on how discipline and delved out and why, allowing that space for a room where students can discuss, talk out, and reflect on things that might be getting in the way, and how it can be dealt with when they feel they have no control.

The connection to the Trauma Summit we had  – MANY underlying themes involved – changing how we deal with the stress we feel and the stress we see every day in students, I realize what a change it is to create an environment where students feel safe and they can let their guard down, to deal with these issues, and how different schools need to recognize the different needs of their populations.

The existence of recognizing the advent of ACES and what it means if left unattended, for both students and teachers – this is becoming even more vital in today’s age.  That post I made at the start of school still sticks with me.

Of course, even the simple act of being a mascot – it had its lesson that travelled over to all areas of education – still true. 

Education today is so different of a vehicle, and when we were told we needed to be flexible as educators, I only took that as being adaptable to the diverse needs of the classroom.  What I still am learning is finding alternative ways to bypass paper necessities to get to the student – and having education be presented in diverse strategies to meet the daunting needs of students, as victims of a stress and trauma rich world. That makes education, and teaching, an art.  Hopefully we will continue to see government recognize it that way.  However, recognition of that, specifically Media Specialist Librarians, is important for Media Specialist Librarian to be proactive in making sure all individuals, even the students, realize their role for change.







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Readathon 2018 – This weekend!

readathon1It is HERE! Check below too!

How to Readathon, #24in48 Style

First of all, there is no one right way to readathon. Let’s just get that caveat out of the way up front.

But as 24in48 reaches maturity (insert cheek pinching here) and there are more prizes to win and places to participate, several ‘thon-ers have requested a bit more guidance in advance of this summer’s event. Hopefully, this will be good for any newbies joining us for the first time or veterans who want to level up. For some of the basic questions, like how to sign up, what is the 24in48 anyway, and what counts for reading time, check out the FAQ post.

  • Signing Up
    • A lot of people (more than you’d expect) participate in the readathon without signing up because they don’t think they’ll come close to reading for 24 hours. Here’s a secret: the vast majority of people who participate don’t come close to reading that much. In fact, I don’t even really think the point of the event is to read for a full 24 hours. Sure it’s a good goal, but really the intention is to set aside some solid reading time over the course of a weekend, hang out with your bookish friends online, and maybe win some stuff. That’s it. It is literally the most low pressure readathon ever. There is no “failing” at readation. Did you read during the weekend? Congrats! You didn’t fail.
    • So there is zero reason to not sign up. Which you can do over here.
    • You must provide your email, your name (even if its your online persona), and at least one place where you’re participating.
    • Please please please don’t choose a platform from the dropdown and then leave the “handle or URL” field blank. Telling me you’re going to be on Facebook without linking to your FB profile doesn’t help. Same with putting Litsy and not listing your handle (you know, that name after the @ sign). If I can’t find you online, I have no idea if you’re actually participating or if you just signed up to try to win prizes. So you won’t be able to win anything.
    • If you need to go back and edit your entry, you should have gotten an email on the account you used to sign up that will let you click through to change your sign-up info.
    • If you DIDN’T get an email, send me a message at 24in48readathonofficial@gmail.com and tell me what you’d like to change and I’ll update it for you. (Don’t abuse this, please.)
    • Pro-tip: if you listed a bunch of places where you think you’ll be participating and realize that you’ll only be using one, like Twitter, edit your entry to reflect just the one. You don’t have to be everywhere to get credit.
  • Tracking Time Read
    • In order to be eligible for prizes for participants that read a full 24 hours, you’ll need to keep track of your time read.
    • There are a number of ways to do this, but the most popular/successful is by using the stopwatch function on your smart phone or by Googling “stopwatch.” (The Bookout app is also great, but I don’t know enough about it to include instructions here.)
    • Every time you start reading, hit start, then pause when you stop to take a break. It doesn’t have to be exact, but because this is on the honor system, please don’t abuse the clock (like letting it run while you nap).
    • Pro tip: Take a screenshot (esp. if you’re using your phone) every time you stop the clock, just in case you accidentally reset it. You can use multiple screenshots to prove your reading time if need be.

stopwatch screen capture

  • Challenges and Check-ins
    • Every three hours a new post will publish on the blog, alternating between challenges and check-ins.
    • The Hour 0 challenge will always be an intro survey and the Hour 48 post will always be a closing survey.
    • Challenges: every six hours (Hours 6, 12, 18, 24, etc.), you’ll have the opportunity to do a fun little task (usually photo- or comment-based) to be entered for a prize.
    • Check-ins: If you entered your info on the sign-up post, you’re automatically entered to win a random check-in prize, as long as you’re actively participating on one of the platforms you entered in the sign-up form (i.e. Twitter or Instagram, etc.)
    • The best way to keep up with these posts is to subscribe using the Follow button in the bottom right corner of the blog, which will push an email to you every time a new post is published.
    • subscribe button screen capture
    • Pro tip: Even though you are free to participate in the full 48 hours (midnight Friday to midnight Sunday) using your local time zone, following Eastern Time in the US (the official readathon time zone) is the best way to ensure you’re catching as many of the challenges/check-ins as possible. Posts are labeled by hour number, not by time (Hour 6 vs. 6:00am on Saturday), so if you start Hour 0 in concert with the readathon, you’ll have an easier time catching all of the challenges. If you need help figuring out what that translates to in your local time, check out this world clock conversion tool. (The downside of course is that if you’re on the opposite side of the world, your reading weekend might spill into Monday or start on Friday instead. If you decide to use local time, you won’t be penalized for having not started or starting early re: prize drawings).
  • Adding Social Media to Comments
    • Often the challenges will ask you to take a photo and link it in the comments. You can do this by posting the photo to your social media of choice and dropping the link into a comment (your entry won’t be counted unless its in the comments.)
    • For Instagram: click on the date of the post (see below) to go to a direct link to the image (https://www.instagram.com/p/BPnWz65AlBh/). Your account must be public (or the @24in48 insta account needs to be following you already) in order to enter. Instagram capture
    • For Litsy: share a direct link to your post by clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the post and selecting how you want to share it (I usually email the link to myself in order to comment from my computer, but if you’re using your phone to comment on the blog, you can just copy and paste the link from the body of an email or wherever you’ve shared it to and add it to your comment). For the below post, this is the direct link: http://litsy.com/p/eGlZMm9PZGYw.
    • Litsy screenshot
    • Due to the number of participants, comments that only include a handle (i.e. @24in48) and directions to go look for the entry will not be eligible. You must include a direct link or the actual image in order to enter for prizes.
    • Pro tip: tagging all of your social posts with #24in48 to cheer on your fellow readathoners is great, but make sure your accounts are public (at least for this weekend) so others can cheer you on too.
  • Winning and Claiming Prizes
    • You MUST be signed up on the original sign up form in order to be eligible for prizes,. You can sign up even after the readathon begins, but you can’t win anything unless you’ve signed up. And your sign up information MUST include not just the platform you’re participating on but the actual place I can go to find you, be that the URL or the handle. (If you’ve already signed up, you can edit your entry by going to the email you received and clicking through to edit.) You can’t win anything if you don’t provide me a way to find you during the readathon.
    • Even if your readathon weekend doesn’t contain much social media or regular check-ins (which is a perfectly fine way to participate), make sure you post something about the readathon when you start the weekend on one of the platforms you entered when you sign up so we know that you actually are participating. You’re still eligible for check-in prizes as long as we can see that you’re reading along.
    • If you are staying away from social for the weekend, don’t forget to check the blog periodically or at least once at the very end to see if you won something during a check-in or challenge. Prize winners will be announced throughout the weekend, so scroll through all the posts to check for your name.
    • As soon as you see that you’ve won a prize, hop on over to the prize page (which is being updated as prizes are added) and select your first, second, and third choices. If you live in the US, please do not select any of the international prizes unless that is all that is left. The sooner you claim your prize, the higher the likelihood you’ll get your first choice. The prize page will be updated periodically throughout the weekend so you’ll have a good idea of what’s still available.
    • Pro tip: Make sure that the name you use to comment and the one you use to sign up are consistent. If I can’t match your comment to an entry on the participant list, you’ll lose out.

I hope this helps as you’re prepping for the ‘thon. If you have any follow-up or additional questions, leave ’em in the comments below.

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