Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/26/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I finished Gabi, A Girl In Pieces on audio and read Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst and Renew by Shawna Coppola. I also started listening to 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. 

Reviewed Last Week: 
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I plan to finish up 100 Sideways Miles and then I'd like to read Shift This and Originals. I'm really loving listening to audiobooks when I go for walks with Perdi lately. I haven't listened to many audiobooks since I have a shorter commute now so it's nice to have time to listen to them. I have Will Grayson, Will Grayson in Spanish so I think I'll listen to that next!

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, June 24, 2017

Celebrating Riveting Read Alouds!

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. 

*                  *                   *

This week I'm celebrating school-wide collaboration!

*throws confetti*


Today I'm excited to celebrate all the great professional reading I've done this summer already! Many of my friends just finished up their last week of school but we're finishing up our fourth week of summer. We've had so much fun already but the best part has been having time to spend reading and writing. I'll be finishing up Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst and Renew! by Shawna Coppola. Both are amazing and both discuss the importance of silent reading of choice books in school but we know read alouds are also necessary in our classrooms. 

I have a story to tell about read alouds. A few weeks ago we went to the library to stock up on summer reading books and my younger son wasn't sure what books to check out. He loves non-fiction picture books about his favorite sports teams or athletes but I wanted to help him also find fiction to read. I immediately thought of the read alouds I knew his teacher shared with his class during the year. Knowing they had read some of the Lulu books by Judith Viorst and Lindsay Leavitt's Commander in Cheese, I suggested we look for the next books in the series or books he hadn't read yet. He was game.
I love series reading because it helps readers out! If a reader already knows the main characters, the setting, or the structure of the book, it makes it easier to get into the book and for young readers especially, it's gives them a head start. My little guy is about to turn seven and going into 2nd grade so this also helped me be confident in reading chapter books. 

Don't underestimate the power of a read aloud for older readers as well though. At the end of the school year, I met with an 8th grader who wanted to prepare herself as much as possible for freshman year and her next four years in high school. We talked about how important it would be to keep up her reading over the summer and I pulled a stack of books to share with her so she would have a list to go off of for her summer reading. But more book talks and more read alouds would have given her great ideas for her own reading as well. 

If you are on the look out for some great books to share with students next year, I'd like to share Scholastic's Riveting Read-Alouds: 35 Selections to Spark Deep Thinking, Meaningful Discussion, and Powerful Writing by Janet Allen and Patrick Daley. It's full of amazing texts to share, the actual excerpt to read aloud, and ideas for how to discuss and invite students to write after reading. There are a range of genres and even formats that allow you to offer a variety for your students. You know I'm a fan of mentor texts (right?!) and each of the samples here can also be used as mentor texts when writing. 

Here's the summary of the book from GoodReads: "Why read aloud to students in middle school? Reading aloud exposes them to a wide variety of text types and genres, builds background knowledge, models effective reading behaviors, and more. The selections in this book have been carefully chosen to appeal to diverse students and boost their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Each selection comes with a teaching page that includes discussion and writing prompts and more. A powerful way to cultivate students’ love of reading!"
Whether you just started your summer or have been out of school for a bit like we have, I hope you get to celebrate summer reading too! I'm proud to say I'm caught up on my #bookaday plans and it feels good! Happy reading, y'all!


What are you celebrating this week?

Thank you to Scholastic
for sending me a copy of Riveting Read Alouds to review!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Out of Wonder

Title: Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets 
Author: Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth 
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Out of gratitude for the poet's art form, Newbery Award winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors' hearts sing and their minds wonder. 
What I Think: I'm such a fan of poetry and I love how this book celebrates so many different poets. Not only that, but each poem was inspired by one of those poets and it's a great example of the power of mentor texts. Writing poems is a great way to play around with style as a writer and using favorite poets as inspiration is such a powerful way to get going with poetry. I had a lot of fun trying my hand at this after reading Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It by Gail Carson Levine. You can read my blog post about it here.
     Out of Wonder is a perfect mentor text for poetry and you can use it in a few different ways. I'm sure the authors took time to read many poems by the poet they were emulating and even might have spent time researching the poet as well. Writers can choose one of the poets in Out of Wonder, read the poem in honor of them, and then go do some research on him or her and his or her poetry before trying to write on their own. Writers can also use the poetry in this book and choose one poem to use as a mentor text for his or her own writing. One thing I love to do with poetry is to borrow a line from a poem and use it to start or inspire my own poem.
     The more writing I do on my own and with other writers, the more I realize how helpful it is to have a place to start from. Whether it's brainstorming, finding an idea from my day, or finding a word or line from another author...anything to get started helps. Mentor texts help us in this way and poetry is powerful as a mentor text.  Kwame talks about just this in the preface of the book. He writes, "Writers often struggle with the blank page. A clean slate can motivate, but it can also scare us. We are always in search of experiences that spark ideas for our poems and stories. Inspiration can also come from reading the works of other poets."
Snatch of Text:  
Majestic
celebrating Maya Angelou

Rise
into the wonder
of daybreak.

Be a rainbow in the cloud.
Be a free bird on the back of the night wind.
Shine on, honey!

Walk with joy in your golden feet
over crystal seas
and purpled mountains.

Know your beauty
is a thunder
your precious heart unsalable.

Be brave,
like a new seed bursting
with extraordinary promise.

Shine on, honey!
Know you
are phenomenal.

-Kwame Alexander

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the poems in the book and use it as a mentor text to write your own poetry. Choose two of the poems in the book and compare and contrast the description used in each of the poems.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/19/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I finished listening to Wild by Cheryl Strayed and started Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quinetro. I also finished The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie and Hold Me Closer by David Levithan. I read some of Disrupting Thinking and also started Fish in a Tree

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I plan to finish up Gabi, A Girl In Pieces on audio this week and to finish Disrupting Thinking and Fish in a Tree. I also am so super exited to read Renew by Shawna Coppola and Shift This by Joy Kirr. Oh, and I checked out every single workshop book I could from the library so I want to see if i can find ideas to share with colleagues in the fall. Hooray for workshop! (If you haven't read my post about blaming Reader's and Writer's Workshop...it's my favorite right now, so check it out!)

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!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/12/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read Beach Party Surf Monkey, Student-Centered Coaching by Diane Sweeney, and I started The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie. I was soooooooo excited to get a review copy of Lindsay's book and I'm loving it so far! I also read most of Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan while my kids were in the pool. I love summer reading!

Reviewed Last Week:
I celebrated yoga and just doing it at Story Exploratory!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I plan to finish up listening to Wild by Cheryl Strayed and finish reading Peculiar Incident and Hold Me Closer. And then I'll get to Disrupting Thinking which I mean to read last week. I have a stack of cute picture book biographies in the Little People, Big Dreams books to read. I also have a giant stack of books about workshop...I checked out every book my library had access to so I can review them and gather some ideas to share with teachers.

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!

I Blame Writer's Workshop (And Reader's Workshop Too)

It's all Writer's Workshops' fault.

And Reader's Workshop too. 

I blame Writer's Workshop (and Reader's Workshop too) for making me into the writer I am today. 



I had time to read, time to talk about what I was reading, time to visit the library and explore books that were interesting to me, time to know myself as a reader alongside all the reading I did for school. I know I'm not the norm, I loved reading classics in high school. I felt really cool reading books that felt important, except for James Joyce's A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man. I loathed reading that book actually. It was okay though because I knew that even if that book wasn't for me (and it really wasn't for 17-year-old me), there were others that were for me. Without Reader's Workshop and the fact that I knew there were other books out there, I might have judged reading solely on my experience with that book. I might have *gasp* stopped reading. I could have decided it was me and my trouble to connect with this particular book and applied that to every book out there. But no, thanks to awesome teachers I had in middle school and especially in high school, I knew there were other books. My identity as a reader didn't hinge solely on the books I was assigned to read in school. 

It's definitely Reader's Workshop's fault for helping me grow as an independent reader who loved reading outside of school as much as in school. 

Because if I hadn't loved reading books so much, I wouldn't have all the experience with stories and words that gave me a great foundation for being a writer.

Reading and writing goes together. They directly influence, impact, and interact with each other. Writing is taking reading to the next level. Readers soak up all these wonderful words...but the real trick is to now take all this knowledge of stories and words and to create your own. 

While I can point a finger at Reader's Workshop for making me a writer, Writer's Workshop has to take some of the blame too.


I had time to write, time to discover topics I wanted to write about, time to share with peers and give and get feedback, time to confer with my teachers and get their feedback, time to share my writing, time to understand that writing is a process and I could navigate it. Most of all, I had time to get over that little voice in my head that told me I couldn't write or it wasn't worth it or I wasn't good. Lots of people have that little voice. I do sometimes, but most times I can just sit down and write. The thing is, last year I had coffee with one of my high school English teachers and we were talking about free writing. I told her my rules for free writing and she pointed out that I shouldn't forget about not listening to the little voice in your head. Guess what?! I had totally overlooked it! Why? Because I don't have to fight that little voice! I don't have to fight it because my awesome teachers helped me get over it in Writer's Workshop. She had it in her mind because she remembers how important it is but I forgot it because she did such a good job of banishing it from my brain. 

*boom*

Pretty awesome, right? 

See?

It's all Writer's Workshops' fault.

And Reader's Workshop too. 

 I wouldn't be the writer I am today without Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop. 
Obviously, I'm a fan of Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop because I know the power of Workshop firsthand as a student who experienced it. But there is so much out there about the benefits of using a Workshop model in teaching literacy. 

Thanks to Stacey Reidmiller, I discovered Megan Smith's new blog One Book, One Pen where she shares ideas for how to get started with Workshop and I'm in love already and can't wait to read more. I'm so excited to share it with teachers in my district. I'd love to hear which are your favorite workshop resources so please share in the comments! 


Friday, June 9, 2017

Scholastic Mag Vacay Fun! #ScholasticMagVacay

Guess what!? Scholastic has an awesome giveaway going on right now! 

If you are already a fan of Scholastic's classroom magazines or Scholastic Teacher magazine (like me!) or if you are new to them, this is a great opportunity. You can check out all the classroom magazines here. And if you aren't a subscriber already, you can go to this request form to receive a free sample issue so you can join in on the giveaway.
I love that they have so many different options for classroom magazines. My school district just finished our first year of dual language so I love that they have resources in English and in Spanish. Plus they have magazines for all ages on a variety of topis. 

Wanna know what you can win? If you enter, you have a chance to win cash prizes: $250, $500, and $1,000! How amazing is that?
So how do you submit an entry? It's super easy! Take a picture of you (or a video!) and your summer vacation with a copy of any Scholastic magazine (just like mine above) and share it to your personal social media with #ScholasticMagVacay. That's it! Super easy, right?

The contest opened on June 1st and will run through August 31st. For all the details, visit Scholastic.com/ScholasticMagVacayAnd be sure to follow Scholastic on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest