Sunday, February 7, 2016

Roller Girl

Title: Roller Girl
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson 
Publisher: Dial Books 
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015   
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Graphic Novel 
GoodReads Summary: For fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby. 

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid's life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole...and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.  
What I Think: Eep! I loved this book! t took me way too long to read it but now that I have, I can weigh in on its awesomeness. Gosh, growing up isn't easy but I'm glad young readers have this book. Victoria Jamieson does a great job of capturing the ups and downs of friendship while navigating the courage of new experiences.
     I've been leading a Saturday course on creating graphic novels with students in 3rd - 6th grade and it has been so much fun to talk to them about their favorite graphic novels. I was super excited to share Roller Girl with them and know they'll love it! We spent time talking about characters and now as they've started drawing their own stories on pages of blank panels, we've looked at graphic novels as mentor texts for how to show that time has passed or how to zoom in on a character's face or just how to show the setting from far away and then how to zoom in by using panels in a row. It has been so fun to watch their stories come to life. Next, we'll be talking about dialogue and speech and thought bubbles. I'm excited to show them how Astrid and Nicole act towards each other and how the dialogue along with the artwork supports our understanding of each of their characters...along with the other fun characters in this book.
Read Together: Grades 4 - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 8 
Read With: Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, Sunny Side Up by Jenni Holm and Matt Holm, Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you had to do something all on your own. How did you handle it? How did it feel? 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Bravery, Courage 
I *heart* It:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let's Celebrate Reading and Writing!

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 !

*throws confetti*

I've been in such a funk lately when it comes to writing and setting up blog posts even! But I'm here this week. That's almost cause enough for celebration!
I actually do have something to celebrate! I led a series of book discussions on Ruth's book Celebrating Writers. It was so fun to share this with colleagues in my new district and really connect with people over talking about writing. I heard from teachers that there was more self-reflection than they anticipated but I think that's exactly where we need to start when we're looking at writing instruction. Writing is such an act of the heart and I believe wholeheartedly that teachers need to understand the myriad of emotions that come with living the life of a writer. We even got to Skype with Ruth and it was awesome to have her there in loving color to share her stories. I even created a Celebrating Writers in District 75 Google Site to document our journey reading and celebrating together. (I'm honestly not a super fan of Google Sites and it's been a learning curve for me...but I'm definitely getting more and more comfortable with the platform.)

My plans for World Read Aloud Day are also in full swing! I'm such a fan of World Read Aloud Day and you can see how we've celebrated in 2011, 2012, 2012 again, 2013, 2013 again, and 2014! It's always one of my favorite celebrations of the year. Now I get to celebrate with classrooms in my new district! We have teachers from kindergarten through eighth grade who were interested in Skyping with an author of illustrator and I thrilled. 

I've been helping to coordinate dates and times for all the Skypes and we are so lucky to have over fifteen authors and illustrators who will be connecting with over twenty classrooms across our district. We're starting our celebration early with come classrooms connecting on Monday, February 22nd and then others joining in on Tuesday and Wednesday. And look, I even made a WRAD in District 75 Google Site! ;) So fun!
Of course, I always have to celebrate with my own kids at home but I haven't decided which book we'll be celebrating yet! Both Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be In This Book) by Julie Falatko and Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating are waiting for me at my local Indie so I may have to plan a party around one of them! Do you have either or both yet? I'm so excited for these books!!!
What are you celebrating this week?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Finding Winnie: The True Story of World's Most Famous Bear

Title: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
Author: Lindsay Mattick
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall 
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.
Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. 
What I Think: I fell in love with this book the first time I read it. Of course, it's an award-winner and that usually means it's awesome but it really and truly is. As I read it was like cuddling up with Winnie the Pooh and learning about his story. I had no idea this was the story at all and it's so sweet. I read it with my kids and they were fascinated too.
     I love how the gentle illustrations match the tone of the text...but especially how this is perfect for the context of the story as this is actually a story within a story. A little boy asks his mom to tell him a story and there are pages with them snuggled up together as she tells the story. It's just adorable. Even more wonderful is that Harry, the man who takes in Winnie seems like a very kind and down-to-earth sort of man. All in all, it just all comes together so well.
     As a mentor text, I would pay attention to the tone and the mood and even pick a few texts to compare and contrast. Books like Tito Puente: Mambo King or The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors would be perfect to be able to notice the difference in how each of these books brings to life the essence of the people they talk about. Students can pay attention to how the text helps set the mood and how the illustrations do as well.
     I also suggest looking closely at the details in the text and how the specificity of the description helps to bring the story to life. In the snatch of text students can look for alliteration and a metaphor as well.
Read Together: Grades K - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 6 
Read With: Tito Puente: Mambo King by Monica Brown, The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, Me, Jane by Jane Goodall, Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, The Right Word by Jennifer Bryant, Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess 
Snatch of Text:  
"If a horse had the hiccups or a cow had
 a cough, Harry knew how to make them 
feel just right. Harry's hands were never 
cold, even in Winnipeg, where winters 
are so frosty that icicles grow on the insides 
of your nose. That was just the kind of 
doctor he was."
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you helped someone and made a friend.
Topics Covered: Love, Family, Friendship, Caring, Kindness,  
I *heart* It:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/1/2016

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:
I had another pretty good week of reading! I finished Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. Oh, how Kate always seems to surprise and seep into my heart. I also finished The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna; I love the blend of ideas and great artwork. I'm still reading Amplify by Katie Mutharis and and Kristin Ziemke and I started Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Peanut and I are also reading Milo Speck, Accidental Agent and having so much fun.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'm excited to keep reading Amplify, Big Magic, and Milo Speck! Happy reading, y'all!

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!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The One With Trusting Students #sol16


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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Over the weekend I finished reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. If you haven't seen her amazing Ted Talk, I definitely recommend it. The book is an extension of the Ted Talk really. She goes into more depth with her story and how she came to be where and who she is today. 
What Amanda points out is that she doesn't work at making people pay for her art. She works at trusting people and loving them and connecting with them. And in that way, inviting them to want to support her art.

It got me thinking about how this applies to education. How often do teachers make students listen and sit still and be quiet and follow all the rules instead of trusting them to be able to handle challenging learning experiences and inviting them to want to learn along with them and teaching them how. 

I've been in enough classrooms now that I can see the difference between a teacher who controls what the students do versus a teacher who facilitates learning by trusting students to take charge of their own learning and guiding them along the way. 

If we're going to make an impact on education, we need to think about how we reflect and grow as teachers, the level and complexity of the content we give to students, and the role of the students. I believe in trusting students to live up to the learning tasks we give them.
But first, we have to recognize that everyone thrives on being connected and feeling part of something...isn't that maybe the most important part of our jobs as educators? To see kids - not just look at them - but to truly see them and create a safe space where they are included? I think that's the heart of it all. Maybe we have to stop making kids do things and instead invite them to learn things and to figure things out on their own. If we trust them enough to give them challenging experiences and support them to live up to the task, maybe they could surprise us.

I know they would surprise us.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/25/2016

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. 

Announcements:
This week I'm joining Workman and Algonquin as they celebrate middle grade novels! They love middle grade and so do I. Every day you can hop onto Twitter and follow along with the #ilovemg hashtag and all the MG fun. Click here to see how you can join in and tweet out your love of MG this week!


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Ohmigosh, I had such a great reading week. Part of it was having Monday off, part of it was having to take care of the puppy since she was spayed and had her back dew claws removed this week, and part of it was having great books I couldn't put down!

I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and Peanut and I finished up The Terrible Two Get Worse. I also picked up Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and loved it! What a great story. I read more of Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and I got started with Amplify by Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke and also The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'm excited to finish up The Crossroads of Should and Must and hopefully finish Raymie Nightingale. I should have time to read Amplify and I have Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert to pick up from the library. I can't wait!
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!

Worm Loves Worm

Title: Worm Loves Worm 
Author: J. J. Austrian 
Illustrator: Mike Curato 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Perfect for fans of And Tango Makes Three and The Sissy Duckling, this irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms from debut author J. J. Austrian and the acclaimed author-illustrator of Little Elliot, Big City, Mike Curato.

You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of a worm . . . and a worm.

When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux?


The answer is: It doesn't matter. Because Worm loves Worm. 
What I Think: This book is super cute! Worms are fascinating little creatures and the perfect main characters for this book. I'll not soon forget the wonderful feeling I felt when so many people celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling for same sex marriage across the United States. It felt like it was long overdue. Now this book celebrates what's truly important when it comes to getting married - that love is what it's all about. 
     Worm Loves Worm is an absolutely perfect way to start a conversation with students about the danger of doing something simply because it's always been done that way. I like to think that the world grows and evolves with every generation as we start to think critically about what we do and why we do it...and more and more people stand up for what makes sense versus the way it has always been. Of course, this can apply to so much more than same sex marriage and that's why I absolutely love this book. It's a sweet story and one that even young children will understand and talk about (at their level of course). And if we don't start talking to kids about really thinking about their world and the decisions they make in it, we are doing them a disservice as much as ourselves.
     As a mentor text, more than the discussion this book can foster, I would look at all the dialogue going on. Each character plays his or her own role in the story and his or her dialogue matches his or her personality. What each character says is very intentional and it's a good lesson in thinking about character development and their dialogue - what they would say, how they would say it, why they would say it. Additionally, this book would make a great reader's theater because of all the different parts and all the dialogue. I love reader's theater for practicing fluency.
Read Together: Grades K - 5  
Read Alone: Grades K - 5 
Read With: Be a Friend by Salina Yoon, Zombie In Love by Kelly DePucchio, Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
Snatch of Text:    
"'Wait!' says Cricket.
'That isn't how it's
always been done.'

'Then we'll just change
how it's done,' says Worm.

'Yes,' says Worm."
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you had to rethink or relearn something you already thought you understood.  
Topics Covered: Love, Humanity, Acceptance, Respect, Equality
I *heart* It: