Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The One With a Love of Mentor Texts #slice2014

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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When I started this blog in 2010, I thought a lot about what I believed about literacy. I had recently worked on my National Board certification in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy and my philosophy on reading and writing with students had evolved drastically from when I was doing my undergrad. Looking back, I'm so glad that my focus for this blog was on mentor texts. I continue to wholeheartedly believe in the power of authentic texts to support students - and teachers - and everyone - as readers and writers. 

In September, I shared my thoughts on Ruth Culham's recent book The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing and I'm now excited to share information about an upcoming Google Hangout on Air with authors Ruth Culham, Varian Johnson, Kate Messner, Lisa Yee, and David Harrison. This event will be hosted by the International Reading Association (IRA) and Scholastic and will focus on making the most of mentor texts. Doesn't that sound amazing?

This event will be streamed live on Tuesday, October 28th at 8 – 9 pm ET on IRA’s YouTube channel which you can find here: www.reading.org/youtube . No registration is required. One super exciting thing to look forward to is that audience members will have the chance to win a virtual visit with one of the five author participants. I've been told that details will be provided during the event...so plan to be there! Be sure to follow @IRAToday on Twitter for more information and follow and tweet along with the Twitter hashtag #mentortexts.

I'm already thinking of questions I might like to ask of the guest authors! I find that the more I write and the more I read, the more I see connections between the two. Ever since participating in NaNoWriMo and Teachers Write, I pay significantly more attention to what I notice authors do in their writing as I read books. I'm so much more aware of decisions the authors made, I have a completely different understanding of the intention and dedication that goes into writing books I adore, and a heightened consciousness of the true craft of writing. I could go on and on about mentor texts but I'll wait until next week's virtual visit!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/20/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Giveaway Announcement:

I'm excited to announce that the winner of 
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole 
by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen
goes to: 
Candy Banda

Thank you to everyone who entered and to Candlewick Press 
for a copy of the book to review and giveaway!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week, I finished listening to Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine and I also finished Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. I started reading Fantasy League by Mike Lupica and also Landline by Rainbow Rowell.
     Most of my IMWAYR posts are dedicated to books I'm reading but over the weekend, I read three blog posts and an Atlantic article that really made me rethink my life right now. I can't remember which post I read first - whether it was Ruth's or Donalyn's but they both helped me frame my thoughts on Sunday. Ruth Ayres shared her blog post Personal Landmarksand when I clicked on it, I identified with the idea of trudging along, wondering how I fit in, hoping I'm moving in the right direction especially as it relates to writing. I'm so completely grateful to have been chosen as a Pitch Wars mentee and I feel like I'm moving in the right direction but I still have to manage writing with a completely full-time job along with the full-time job of being a wife and mother. I also read Donalyn Miller's Nerdy Book Club post, Mouths of Babes and I was so happy to know that I already had planned to spend the whole day with Peanut and Little Bean. We were off to pick up some treats from a local bakery and then to visit with friends who recently moved back into the area. I love Donalyn's post but especially these last few sentences where she wrote: "Reading isn’t just taught. It’s passed on, like a treasure from one reader to the next. We should do everything we can as adults to preserve that childhood love of reading when it’s born and foster it when it isn’t. It’s our reading legacy." Then later on Sunday night, I read Katherine Sokolowski's response to Ruth's post. In her post, Finding my Purpose I found solace in knowing that I'm not the only one trying to juggle all the things and feeling like all the things are coming down on me at once. And then, just as I was about to start writing up my IMWAYR post, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and there was a link to an Atlantic article entitled There's More to Life Than Being Happy by Emily Esfahani Smith where she discusses how important it is to not focus on being happy but rather focus on doing something meaningful. I already contemplate the meaning of life a ton but after reading Ruth, Donalyn and Katherine's words, I knew just how right it is. I think I did already know this, too but reminders are always good. I'm glad I spent the day with my kids singing, playing tag, eating cookies. It made me happy but it also helped me feel like I was focusing my energy on them and that's pretty meaningful. Of course, as soon as I opened up this post to update my weekly reading, I felt like I didn't read enough and guilty for not posting all the posts I meant to post. Except, I'm not letting myself feel guilty any more. It just is what it is. I'm doing my best and I'm trying to make the most of everyday. Right now that means blogging might not always happen and pages might not get read, but I'm still here and appreciate you for stopping in to see how things are going. Thank you! 
Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I plan to keep reading Fantasy League and Landline. I need to get to the library this week so I can grab an audiobook...hopefully I can make that happen!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Let's Celebrate Growing Bookworms!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating growing bookworms!

*throws confetti*

Last weekend we went to the Sheboygan Children's Book Festival in Wisconsin. We had never been to Sheboygan before but a friend had told me about the Bookworm Gardens so I was excited to visit. On Tuesday, I shared the festival part of our trip but today I'm celebrating the fun we had exploring Bookworm Gardens itself.

Here's what Bookworm Gardens is all about. There are a few different paths you can wander along that take you to different spots in the gardens where you'll find a book being brought to life. Along the way, there are book boxes like in the pictures below. You can pull out a book, take it with you to a spot in the garden, and read. So much fun. 
The first exhibit we saw at the Gardens was the Magic School Bus. Both kiddos loved this the best. We stopped here first each time when we got there and had to spend time there again before we left. They thought it was so fun to push all the buttons and open the door to let people on and off. 

 Stuart Little by E.B. White

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner

Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French

 The Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner

 Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

These were only some of the gardens we enjoyed on our visit! There were so many great interactive opportunities for the kiddos. This place was a huge hit with our family. Just look at these happy faces again!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The One With Bookworms in Sheboygan #slice2014

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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This weekend we had a great time up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin at their Children's Book Festival. After Peanut's soccer game on Saturday, we drove up just in time to make it to Dave Roman's session. It was fun to see a room full of kids drawing their own super heroes or villains and coming up with stories. The boys got to work right away. Little Bean drew Frankendile and Peanut drew Clawboy. They were pretty proud of their creations!

Afterwards, Little Bean got his face painted like a tiger and practiced his roar knowing he was going to meet Peter Brown on Sunday. He's a natural.
 On Sunday, we were up early for breakfast and a swim before heading off to Bookworm Gardens to ramble and use our imaginations with Terri Murphy. I'll share more pictures of Bookworm Gardens in another post because it's worth its own post...but here are a few pictures of our adventures in imagining and drawing what we discovered there.
We even ran into Curious George!
After some fun at Bookworm Gardens, we headed back to hear Peter Brown talk about his books. The kids loved hearing him read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and Creepy Carrots. They each wanted their own copy of Creepy Carrots to take home and Peanut was excited to buy My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) for his kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers...which I hope they enjoy.
 Love these faces!
 I'm so glad the weather cooperated and we had such a perfect weekend at the Sheboygan Children's Book Festival. We're already talking about going again next year. Do you have a favorite book festival to share?