Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SoLSC Growing Adult Relationships 6.30.15


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.


As teachers, as librarians, as professionals that work with students, we work very hard at cultivating and growing relationships with students.  Many of you have written on this topic.  I am constantly awed and amazed at some of the beautiful ways you have created relationships with students.

But what about relationships we have with adults?

There have recently been a couple of instances in my professional life that has made me think about this.

I have worked in a double position for a couple of years now.  Part of the day I am an interventionist.  I work with students.  Part of the day I am a coach.  I work with adults.  The role of a coach is still relatively new, and there is not a defined way to approach this position.   I've approached it in many ways, but let's just say I'm still trying to work out what is best.  As a coach, you form a working relationship with colleagues.  These relationships can help two individuals grow, or they can be full of friction.  How you approach each individual is different.  I need to be different.  It's hard to change who you are to make a relationship grow.  It's something I'm still working on.

Over the past two years, I've formed new relationships with colleagues that span the globe.  I have learned so much from people by reading blogs, articles, books, tweets and voxes.  I have grown immensely, as well as the relationships I have with these communities   I consider many people I have met good friends.  I know that has happened to many of you, as well!  Think of the wonderful communities we have formed - writing and reading, Twitter friends, friends I see at conferences, blog friends and friends I speak with everyday through voxer.  I feel very fortunate to have found so many new relationships.  At this point, I could feel very satisfied, and start closing the circle - after all, I've found my "peeps".  The circle can be closed now, right?  
   But by not saying hello to someone new.  
      By not reading that new blog.  
By not stopping and talking to someone at a conference.  
   By not keeping my head up and looking people in the eyes.  
         By not welcoming that new person to the community.  
Then I wouldn't have made new connections.  And sometimes that new person, can make a difference.  It doesn't have to be a big difference.  For instance, I've recently started up a few conversations with someone I found through the blog community and then Twitter, Jennifer Laffin (@laffinteach).  We quickly found out we live maybe a half hour away from each other.  Of course, the first time we met (AllWrite) we had to drive almost 4 hours to do so!  But we met yesterday at Starbucks and she helped me redo my blog! (I really like the new look!)  It's a good thing my circle wasn't closed.  It's a good thing I want to continue to grow my professional relationships.  You never know when you'll find a new friend.

As hard as you work at maintaining student relationships, don't forget about growing your adult relationships.  Keep your circles open.  You never know when that person you met over Twitter, or a blog or a conference, will become a friend.

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.29.15

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

I've been plugging through some of my #mustreadin2015 books.  Participants are updating their list this Wednesday.  Check back and see what I've checked off.  Have you been meeting your reading goals?  We ask students all the time to set goals and reflect on them. But what about us?  What are your goals?  What do you want to achieve as a reader?  I'll be talking about mine this Wednesday, check back then!

Here's my reading for this week:

Picture Books

One Word from Sophia
One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
4/5 stars
Every once in awhile, the perfect mentor text for writing comes about.  This is one!  Do you find yourself teaching persuasive or opinion writing?  Then you'll want to use this at the beginning of your unit.  Sophia needs to convince members of her family to get her an outrageous birthday present.  She goes about it the right way - she tries to persuade each person based upon their occupations - she researches her target and approaches them in a way best to persuade them of her goals.

I Yam a Donkey!
I Yam a Donkey by Cece Bell
4/5 stars
Such a fun fun read aloud.  Especially if you use an Eddie-Murphy-as-Donkey voice.  Just saying.

Duncan, the Story Dragon
Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll
4/5 stars
This book reminded me of the beginning of a book club.  Would be fun to share with students to introduce them to book clubs!
Fun interview from Mr. Schu with Amanda Driscoll here

Middle Grade

Rules by Cynthia Lord
5/5 stars
You haven't read that book yet???   Yes, I've heard that a few times.
I knew I would probably love it, but there was always something getting in the way.
I finally got to it, and yes, I loved it.  But not because it was an amazing story, but because I saw me in the book.
It's enough that I will be writing a separate post about this book.  Not for a little while because I want to read this book with my daughter first.

Young Adult

I'll Give You the Sun
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
3/5 stars
I am 100% in the minority with this book.  I expected to have immense book love for this book, but it just didn't happen.  The first 2/3 of the story didn't have me interested at all.  I'm not sure why.  I have learned that YA can be iffy for me.  I either love them or I am completely disinterested.  Usually it's the way characters talk to each other.  Sometimes YA books have characters talk in this philosophical way.  This one wasn't like that, so I'm not sure what my problem was.  Maybe it just wasn't the right time for me and this book.  However, I enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book.  The way Nelson brings all of the strands of the story together, had me finally involved in the story.

Currently Reading

The Impossible Knife of Memory
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Another one from my #mustreadin2015 list!  Trying to finish it by Wednesday.

On Deck

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

What are you reading next?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 6.24.15


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

Sometimes I come across nonfiction texts that are just wonderful reads.  I don't necessarily teach the topic, but it's a book that should be shared.  That's when I can look at the text structure of a book - read it like an author.  How did the author construct this text?  What made it stand out?  Why did the author put it together in this manner?

This week I found 2 books that are written in a narrative nonfiction format.  The language of the text is written so it flows, sometimes like a poem, but the words are chosen in a specific way so that it teaches us something.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

In Trapped! A Whale's Rescue by Robert Burleigh spins the story of a whale that has been trapped in a crab's net.  Instead of giving us a lengthy and wordy text, Burleigh uses specific words that sharply define the events of the story.  Some lines that stuck to me include "she spanks the cold blue with her powerful tail."  And this gives me the chills, "she spirals sideways as spidery lines tighten around her."  Paired with Wendell Minor's beautiful paintings, this book will grip students into its tale (or tail)!  The author's notes give more facts about the story and additional facts about whale rescues.  What a beautiful text to use when looking at the environment and what we can do about protecting the earth's creatures.  But if you aren't currently studying that, then bring it out to show how an author uses powerful words to create images in a narrative nonfiction text.

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Water Is Water by Miranda Paul is another beautifully written narrative nonfiction text.  This time, the topic is the water cycle, but instead of being explained in dry, boring text, Paul uses a poetic form that describes the different forms of matter and how it changes.  Just as gripping as the words are Jason Chin's illustrations.  After reading the lilting narrative rhythm, readers are given additional water facts in the end notes.  Did you know kids are about 65% water, but that a baby is about 78% water?  Or that a garter snake is about 74% water?  Paul continues to explain how important water is and the types of water found on Earth.  While this book reads like a fiction text, show students how an author can use beautiful poetic language in a nonfiction read!

Narrative nonfiction is a great text structure to use when showing students how nonfiction can sound like a more familiar fiction text.  Reel those readers in!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SoLSC Learning from AllWrite 2015 6.23.15


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

I spent two days at the AllWrite Conference in Warsaw, Indiana, last week.  I saw many wonderful presentations and learned something at each one.  Here's just some nuggets of information I walked away with:

Jennifer Serravallo
I attended two of her sessions.  I would have attended all of them but figured there were others to learn from as well.
Her first session focused on reading strategies, which is the subject of her newest book.  What impressed me the most about her presentation was the fact that it wasn't a regurgitation of her book.  She taught us the essence of her book, but made it so you didn't have to purchase the book to make the session worth it.  Of course, I had the book pre-ordered months ago, so I'm ready to go anyway!
The biggest nugget I walked away with is her hierarchy of goal setting.  So many teachers have been asking where do you start with strategy groups when a student needs everything - print work, fluency, comprehension...  Jennifer shared the order she recommends, although exceptions can be made based upon need.  
Another big thought for me is how to organize a student's learning.  Start with a needed goal - that comes from the hierarchy of needs chart (print work, comprehension, engagement, fluency....).  Next decide upon the skill.  In 4 weeks time, the student will be able to ______.  Finally decide upon the strategies that will be taught.  Strategies should be generalizable - they should carry over from book to book.  Strategies are wordy - they are a series of steps that start with an action verb.
Another question teachers ask, how long do I work on a goal?  For no more than 4 weeks is the the answer.  She said if it's taking longer than 4 weeks, then the goal was probably out of reach for the student.  Think about what the student can do and then think about what is just out of reach for the student.
The second session I went to hers was about her Literacy Playbook for grades K-2.  This session went more into depth about making a plan for a student.  She did say this does not need to be done for every student.  This plan really takes an in-depth look at a student, starting with collecting and analyzing data and looking for patterns.  From there, an action plan can be made, including a learning plan, complete with strategies, and assessment ideas.

Other quick thoughts from presentations:

Maggie Roberts
She showed how we can use digital literacy to enhance writing.  I had not thought of doing something like this before, but it made so much sense after seeing her talk about it.  By showing visual clips that students can see and hear, discussing what the person did - whether it be bring passion into a subject or certain elements of persuasion - and be able to bring that into writing, is a powerful tool!

Kristin Ziemke
Technology is something I'm not always in tune with, it makes me nervous and I don't play with it a often as I could.  It doesn't help that our reading department does not have much at our fingertips to use.  After watching Kristin's presentation, I'm wondering if there are 2-3 apps/platforms I could use that would enhance some literacy instruction at the remedial level?  I'd like to play with a couple over the summer and have some ideas of how I would use them going into the fall.
She shared a padlet that she started that is a collection of some tech ideas:

Lester Laminack
This was the first time I had seen him present and he was definitely a dynamic presenter! I was laughing and engaged!  He shared that read alouds are a gift and you can only open it for the first time once.  
He has us thinking about how we use read alouds.  He said teachers are too quick at rushing in with their own agenda - they read a book and rush in with questions for the students.  He said kids need time to think it over, let it roll through their minds.  Come back to the book a day or two later after kids have time to think about it - their discussions will be rich and probably have more thought to them before.  While I appreciate that thinking, I'm not sure I always have time to do a read aloud, but leave the discussion for another day.  However, I do think I can change the after reading part.  I would like to see myself encourage more student discussion and questions from the students.  It's something I try to do, but I'm not sure I've allowed myself the time needed to develop the concept.
Here's something that really is a big concept.  Stop for a minute and think about this - what is perspective?  What is point of view?
Not so hard to define is it?  Seems to overlap?  In my mind it did.  Perspective is whose eyes do you see through?  Whose heart do you feel through?  Whose mind do you think through?  Point of view is 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person.  That was an Aha for me!

Chris Lehman and JoEllen McCarthy
This was about the passion of nonfiction.  I think because of my involvement with Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday with Alyson Beecher, my nonfiction repertoire has grown and I feel so much more comfortable with it.  In this session, Chris and JoEllen really pushed us to think about the natural curiosity literature brings in the nonfiction genre.  What are kids curious about?  What does literature make them think about?  Can they get excited about a topic and then apply it in other facets?

Donalyn Miller and Franki Sibberson
I really didn't need to go to this one, but when you have the chance to celebrate books??? It's just a feel good session!  I do have a small list of books to read after that session, but most of them I was happy to say I had read or it's already in my pile.  I think back to a year or so ago when I was new to this - I probably would have been just a bit overwhelmed.  Instead it was nerdy heaven!

I missed Dan Feigelson at the end of the conference, but I'm doing a study on his latest book with friends later this summer.

I love walking away from a conference being just a bit smarter or knowledgable about a subject than when I walked in.  I hope this post gave you a little something to think about.

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.22.15

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

I needed to get caught up with my #bookaday count so got in a few picture books this week.  I was really caught up in my reading of Deborah Wiles' Revolution.  What a gorgeous book!

Picture Books

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter
4/5 stars
Another book illustrated by the talented Birgitta Sif.  I love how she always knows what color palette to use with her illustrations that mesh with the text so well.  Paired with the sweet story by Alicia Potter, this book will touch the hearts of many young readers.  I love the gentle teaching style of Miss Hazeltine.  Her soft touch and understanding of her houseguests' needs is just what these cats need in order to grow and learn.

Where's Walrus?
Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage
4/5 stars
Savage has an amazing talent of knowing just how to appeal to young readers.  He creates books that will draw a very young reader in and be excited about books.
Kids will get a kick out of finding Walrus on each page as he eludes the zoo keeper!

To the Sea
To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
5/5 stars
I had heard how wonderful this book is, and the reviewers did not lie!  Such a sweet book about friendship.  What does it mean to be a friend?  I love the small acts of kindness between the two surprising friends and the feeling of hope at the end of the book.
I think this one would be a great companion story to Trudy Ludwig's The Invisible Boy.

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann
3/5 stars
I get where this story was going.  Rose might not be the perfect student but she has talent. Can she be acknowledged for her talent?  
What made me sad was the portrayal of the teacher.  To see a teacher put out the flame in a child is sad.  She has a reversal by the end of the story, but I was already turned off by her at that point.

The Whale in My Swimming Pool
The Whale in my Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan
4/5 stars
Loved the easier text in this fun book that is perfect for summertime reading.  The mom cracked me up - completely engaged in her book and not noticing the ginormous whale in the little backyard pool!  The little boy in the story ends up making the best of the silly situation.  The surprise at the end will make young readers laugh.  The bright, bold illustrations are eye catching and fun.  The end pages reminded me a bit of Elephant and Piggie, with a surprise from the front pages to the back.

Middle Grade

Revolution by Deborah Wiles
5/5 stars ++++++
I read Countdown last week and went right into Revolution.  Wow wow wow.  I loved Countdown.  The way Wiles was able to put historical fiction and primary sources together was just astounding.  But the heart of the story in Revolution, was nothing short of amazing.  
Wiles wrote a picture book story, Freedom Summer, that does a great job telling about a small moment in time during the political chaos of the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi.  That book also has a great Author's Note giving some more background.  But Revolution is a brilliant mash-up of the political craziness of Freedom Summer and the Vietnam War.  Although the core of the story is what was happening in Mississippi, you can't help but compare the political unrest that was happening in Vietnam with the political unrest between whites and blacks.  What is the meaning of freedom?  And how does a young girl, who is meant to believe in the adults that surround her - family, friends and community members - but in her heart know something is not right?  How does a young child who is black, understand what is due to him by law, but cannot act because of the way the adults who have power have made it impossible to do so?
Franny's story is such a powerful one because it makes the reader ask, what is right?  And even though you can understand what is right, what is morally correct, how come that can't happen?  And then there is Franny's secondary story, wondering about her mom.  
Raymond's story is equally powerful.  His story is told through emotion and always trying to fight the hard feelings to become an equal.  I love that Wiles told both sides of the story.
It's either the sign of great storytelling, or me just being completely oblivious, but I did not realize until the very end how Wiles brought Countdown and Revolution together.  Not sure how I missed that, but there was an audible "ohhhhhhh" once I figured it out!
Revolution is the second book in a trilogy about the 60s.  I cannot wait for the last one to come out.  I'm very excited to find out what topic will be the center of the third book!
Tonight I'll be chatting about Revolution on Twitter with Aly, Carrie and Leigh Anne.  Join us in our discussion!  We start at 9pmEST using the hashtag #revolutionchat.

Young Adult

Off the Page
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
2/5 stars
I stuck with this book because off and on it was good.  Overall, I did not care for it.  I think there are certain young adult readers who will enjoy this story.  I felt like it was completely predictable, the writing was easy and the characters were flat.

Currently Reading

Rules by Cynthia Lord
Have you ever had that book that everyone else in the world has read but you?  I'm sure all of you gasped when you saw I hadn't read this title yet, but I'm reading it now!

On Deck
I'm continuing my month of June YA reading.  Here's what will be up next:

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

What book are you looking forward to reading next?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Celebrate This Week! 6.20.15

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

What a crazy week we had around here!  It was full of some highs and lows.  Here are my highs, because those are worth celebrating!

Celebration #1:
My daughter and I made it through her first sleepover camp!  I blogged earlier this year when I signed her up here. I'm so glad to say we both made it out alive :)  I had many moments thinking, "what did I allow her to do?  Was this the right decision?"  She had a last minute roommate change that derailed a lot of issues, a rough first night, some friends that weren't really being friends, but, she had:
* joy being in the water everyday
* fun meeting new friends
* excitement learning new tips that she can try
* laughter at talent night
She made it home, I made it through my parenting worries.  All is good!

Celebration #2:
What a joy the All-Write Conference was these past few days.  When I saw the list of presenters, I knew I had to go.  And it was an amazing opportunity.  I want to blog more about my learning later, but I want to take the time and celebrate the awesomeness of the entire conference.
* I learned from Jennifer Serravallo, Maggie Roberts, Kristin Ziemke, Lester Laminack, Chris Lehman, JoEllen McCarthy, Donalyn Miller and Franki Sibberson.
* I was able to spend time with Linda Baie, Jennifer Laffin, Leigh Anne Eck, Ruth Ayers and JoEllen McCarthy - all people I've communicated with through Twitter and blogs, first time meeting in person!
* I had time to process information with my wonderful colleague, all while enjoying some great meals in the Warsaw community!
* I continue to stay enthusiastic and passionate about what I do and making a difference with kids

Great week!  Hope you have something to celebrate too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 6.17.15


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

Saying you're wrong is hard to do.  Imagine scientists and engineers having to do that!  Well, usually they don't, since most of their big ideas, inventions, discoveries aren't proven to be incorrect until well after their lifetime.  But having to come to terms with the fact what you thought was one thing, was actually something else... can be hard for anyone!

Kathleen V. Kudlinski's series "Boy, Were We Wrong" shows how many of our ideas about something changes over time.  Scientists are always working on ideas - old and new - and sometimes they find some misconceptions, er, changes over time.

For example, in her book Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System!, how we were wrong about that 9th planet Pluto, which actually turned out to be a dwarf planet.  Oops, or, wow, that's new learning!  Or how they used to think the heaves were perfect and everlasting.  Oh wait, new stars appear all the time.  And those other planets?  Well, we learned that the sun has spots, the moon has mountains and craters, and... well, to quote Dot the Bunny, "oh, skip it."

So I guess what you're saying is those scientists never had it right?  Or... you could show students how thinking is always changing.  We're always learning new information that we add with what was already known.  Look at how our thinking is growing!

Kudlinski has two books published in this series:

Boy, Were  We Wrong About Dinosaurs!                                 Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System!
Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!                            Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System!
    illustrated by S. D. Schindler                                                   illustrated by John Rocco

And the third one will be published July 7th:

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather!
Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather!
     illustrated by Sebastia Serra

This is a great series for your classroom or library!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SoLSC End of the Year Reading Reflection 6.16.15


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

This Slice is a long time coming, just haven't had the time to put it down in writing.  I'm sure many of you are already on summer vacation or wrapping up the last couple of days.  This post is a bit late for most of you, but if you're like me, you're already collecting ideas for the future!  If anything else, hope this sparks an idea!

A couple of months ago, the idea of "the end of the school year" starting trickling into our minds.  We always know it's coming, but it seems like it's a long way off.  Conversations started happening in our Voxer group about how we could have students reflect upon their reading this past year.  Our group is a wonderful collaboration of classroom teachers, literacy specialists/coaches, and teacher librarians.  Everyone found a way to have students reflect a bit on their reading lives and make summer reading plans.  Each student created their own reflection, no where did they copy down information the teacher gave them.  Conversations happened.  Sharing occurred.  Plans were made.

This past year I have worked very hard with a group of 4th grade reading intervention students to help them understand their own reading identity.  Instead of using a scripted and dry reading intervention, I placed a variety of great books at their disposal - books for them to choose, instead of me telling them what to read.  They read, a lot, and discovered what they liked and what they didn't.  I had high hopes for all of them.  Some students, learned how to fall into a book.  Laughing out loud at funny parts, and sharing those parts with peers.  Others fell gently into books, taking time to find what felt comfortable.  Others experimented, and still need more time.

It was such a year of exploration for them, I wanted the students to reflect.  But I wanted to allow for creativity and expression.  So instead of giving them a preprinted worksheet, I gave them time and a blank sheet.  

Day One - Reflection
I gave them a blank sheet of paper and flair markers (everything is more fun with a marker, right?).  I asked them to think about how many books they thought they read this year.  Then they went back and counted.  They were shocked and amazed at how many they had read.  The look of pride on their faces was awesome!  They wrote that number in big, proud colors in the middle of their page, but then I wanted them to add some more information.  I asked them to go back and look at the genres and formats they had read and what did that tell them about who they were as a reader.  Many said they liked reading graphic novels the best, but couldn't tell me the genre.  That is something I want to work on next year - giving students a clear understanding of genre and how they can read that genre in different formats.  Next, students reflected on what they learned about themselves as readers this year.  Finally, they rated their top 3-5 books and shared with each other.  

Day Two - parent letter
Each student wrote a letter to their parent about reading habits.  Sure, I could send a letter home about how important it is to read everyday, giving facts and statistics, but I know where that would end up  :(  But a letter that is handwritten from their child?  Much more likely to be read!  The students told their parents where they read best - in bed, in the kitchen, in the car, when they have to wait somewhere... Many of them wrote they needed to be in a quiet place and need their parents help keeping a sibling away during that time.  Next, they wrote about how much they need to read each day.  I don't like putting a specific amount of time down as required reading.  I don't set a timer each day when I sit and read.  The kids were honest when they reflected what was an appropriate amount of pages or chapters to read each day.  Many of the kids will be traveling on summer break and they wrote how they could get their reading in while on vacation.  Finally, they told parents where they could go to get books over the summer.  All year long, most of their reading material came from my classroom.  They love getting their hands on the new books.  Many were concerned they wouldn't find new books.  My assistant, who lives in the town I work in, was able to tell the students where they could find the new books at the library, and that information got added to the letter!  I also gave them my goodreads info, if they wanted to follow me there.

Day Three - Challenge Day!
I wanted the students to challenge themselves a bit and stretch their wings.  We talked about how important it was to read at least 6 books over the summer so they could keep the growth and skills from this year over the vacation.  We talked about the Bluestem Challenge.  The Bluestem List is the Illinois State Choice for students in grades 3-5.  I gave the students bookmarks that listed all the books and they highlighted some that looked good to read over the summer.  We talked about Bookaday.  What an ambitious goal that is for some students, but some were ready to take it on.  We talked about the Newbery List and I gave them the list of Newbery winners and Honor winners since the year they were born.  Some students will read books from this list.  We also talked about challenging each other.  I told them how I challenged my Voxer group to reread a book in June.  What challenges could they give each other?

Day Four - padlet page
I created a summer reading padlet page for students to add what they had been reading over summer.  We had been adding our weekly reading on a Monday page, so this would be an extension of that page.  Students can add their summer reading to the page all summer long.

Day Five - TBR list
I created a slide show and book talked some books that had recently been released that I had not had a chance to share with them.  I included picture books, informational texts, middle grade and graphic novels. I also book talked books that were going to be released over the summer.  Our school had this day organized so there were other opportunities to talk about books.  Students saw book trailers and could add those books to their list.  They also had the chance to book talk a book they had read with a peer.  They went home with very full lists that should last them awhile!

I love how they are going home with something they created that was about themselves.  It is very powerful for students to know who they are as readers and be able to communicate that.  I was proud of their work and have high hopes for great summertime reading!

This was the way I had students reflect.  My Voxer group shared ideas with each other and everyone took it to their own level.  If you're thinking of ways to adapt this up or down grade levels, or how you could make it work when you see multiple grade levels, you may want to check in with:
Carrie Davies (@readwithdavies)
Jason Lewis (@jasontes5th)
Kristen Picone (@kpteach5)
Lesley Burnap (@auntierez)

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 6.15.15

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

So this week is covering 2 weeks of reading.  Vacations always provide some bigger chunk of downtime that I can get a lot of reading in.  Then it's back to reality where life gets in the way of reading time.  Even though this was the first official week of summer break, I'm already behind in my #bookaday.  I'm hoping this week will provide me with some time to catch up!

Picture Books

I Will Take A Nap! (Elephant & Piggie, #23)
I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems
5/5 stars
I keep waiting for an Elephant and Piggie book to be a dud, but they aren't!  They are always fun!  And that's why I love them and that's why they are an easy sell to kids.  I laughed out loud over and over.  There's a twist, I had not expected.  And it has one of the best ending lines for an E&P book.  Just love.

Billy's Booger
Billy's Booger by William Joyce
4/5 stars
Oh goodness, this one is funny!  You have a story about a booger, it's got to be humorous! This story is {somewhat} of a memoir.  Great mentor text for small moment or memoir writing in a different format.  A mentor text that has you laughing out loud.  And says booger.  You know kids will like it!

Middle Grade

The Great Good Summer
The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Stanton
5/5 stars
This one reminded me a lot of Because of Winn-Dixie.  Certainly there are similarities.  The main character of this story, Ivy, would be great friends with Opal, I think.  The difference between the two books is Winn Dixie is driven by the characters and the relationships Opal has with them.  Ivy certainly has relationships that grow and change, but there is also a plot that moves forward with this great adventure.  By the end, Ivy was a character that I wanted to hug and hold on to.

The Forget-Me-Not Summer
The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland
4/5 stars
It's not an award winner.  It's not a book that will generate lots and lots of buzz.  It's not a book that you will use for a mentor text.  It's just a fun and enjoyable read.  It's one that is hard to put down because it's so likable.  It's a book that I would have devoured as a middle grader.  It's a book I enjoyed as an adult because I know kids will love these three sisters.

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent
Milo Speck, Accidental Agent by Linda Urban
5/5 stars
Milo is a character you will adore, root for and want to know more of his story, long after you finish the book.
Loved the twists and turns and surprises.  The plot moves forward quickly as you meet a cast of characters who are lovable and unforgettable.
This book is going to be a wonderful read aloud.  It's a book that will be easy to hand off to kids - you'll have a waiting list for this one!

Countdown by Deborah Wiles
5/5 stars
I love historical fiction. The way authors make the setting a part of the story - it stays in the background but it's quietly woven into the story so it impacts all the other parts and the story couldn't exist without it. But Wiles goes even farther. The events of the Cuban Missile Crisis are in the forefront of the story, Franny's life is impacted by it - whether because the air raid drill sirens are going off, or how Uncle Ott's is impacted by undiagnosed PTSD, or how her sister is off changing the world, or is she a communist? But then Wiles adds primary sources to make the historical part pop out of the story. The propaganda, the music that was popular from that time, the political images. It just makes the story amazing.  I love how the theme of friendship really is proven old as time in this novel.

Young Adult

Saint Anything
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
4/5 stars
Dessen is an author that you just know you're going to enjoy her books.  I love that this one could have gone down a cliched YA book road, but it didn't.  And I appreciated that.  What an interesting story line - a young girl whose older brother is in jail for doing something quite wrong.  How that affects the family.  How it affects her.  The results is has on the story.  Great read.

Currently Reading

Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

How is your #bookaday going?