Monday, July 6, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/06/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I finished listening to Little Fires Everywhere and started listening to How to Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. I'm still reading The Art of Memoir and The Water Dancer and then have also been reading My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Vilanueva and rereading George by Alex Gino as I prep for summer book clubs with students. I also started reading An African America and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz. This is the book I needed this school year. I'm so glad to have it, to be taking notes, and to be thinking hard. I have a lot of work to do and I'm glad to have this book to guide the way for me.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I'll be reading more of The Water Dancer and The Art of Memoir while listening to more of How to Be Anti-Racist and also re-listening to Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You. I'm doing a buddy read based on the schedule that the @melanatereader shared on Instagram. 

Announcements:
Teachers Write starts this week! Be sure to sign up over on Kate Messner's blog so you get all the great resources and ideas and then join me here on Sundays for the weekly check-in. It's a time to reflect and share the ups and downs of the week. I look forward to Teachers Write every summer and am excited to connect with other teacher writer friends!

Story Exploratory is now offering small group coaching. Our first 6-week program starts on Thursday, July 23rd. We'll guide you towards finding your stride as a writer. You'll develop your mindset, strengthen habits, and learn strategies to help you reach your goals as a writer whether you are working on a manuscript or a blog post. This small group coaching opportunity is for writers who know they have a story to tell and are ready to take the first step and for writers who want to be more focused and consistent in their writing. For more information check out our Coaching page

On Tuesday we're publishing a new Jen and Ben Go Back to Class podcast episode. The last episode Exhaustion AKA #teachertired went up in November...and that tells you how exhausted we were before Covid hit! You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other listening platforms. We were both in district level positions and decided to go back to teaching in the 2019-2020 school year. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss and process our experiences and you get to listen in!

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, June 29, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/29/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I dropped everything to stop and listen to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. She narrates along with Melania-Luisa Marte and it is phenomenal. I highly recommend the audiobook version but the writing is great overall. 

I did read a little more of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and I've been reading The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I'll be reading more of The Water Dancer, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Art of Memoir. 

NCTE's Virtual Build Your Stack Event is happening Tuesday! 
Don't miss it, sign up now!
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What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, June 22, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/22/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of The Water Dancer. We had such a great discussion and I'm so enjoying being able to read and discuss this book with others. I've thought a lot about it as a writer as well and it's really made me think. 

I'm also started reading My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva and read more stories from Black Enough.

I finished listening to More Myself by Alicia Keys and started listening to Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. 



Last Week's Posts:

Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I'll be reading more of The Water Dancer, My Life According to the Butterfly, and Black Enough this week. 

If you aren't registered for NCTE's Virtual Build Your Stack Event, sign up now!
build your stack, virtual event, ncte, bys, mentor texts, build your stack virtual event

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, June 15, 2020

I Know Where I Stand

We marched, from the grass on the sled hill at the park district into the street.

TELL ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.

Past the library, past the fire station, towards the grocery store on the corner.

I saw you.

You were up on the sidewalk.

TELL ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.

I looked around. There were people I didn't know and others I did. A friend who I met when both our sons were in preschool. A former student and his family. A family we're friends with because our sons are also friends and because both parents are teachers like my husband and me. A former co-worker of my husband. Another family with parents who are teachers and kids similar in age to our own and a father who happens to serve on our school board. There were a lot of us marching.

But you.

You were up on the sidewalk still, arms crossed, face unmoved. You watched us.

We marched past you.

HANDS UP.
DON'T SHOOT.

HANDS UP.
DON'T SHOOT.

Past the grocery store on the corner, past the high school where we turned east.

WHAT DO WE WANT?
JUSTICE.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
JUSTICE.

We marched, past the middle school, up the hill, into town, past the Dunkin Donuts where we turned south.

WHAT DO WE WANT?
JUSTICE.
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
NOW.

We marched down Lake Street until the crowd stopped in front of the police station. We chanted.

IF WE DON'T GET IT?
SHUT IT DOWN.
IF WE DON'T GET IT?
SHUT IT DOWN.
IF. WE. DON'T. GET. IT?
SHUT. IT. DOWN.

On we marched, down the street, past the McDonald's, into Kracklauer Park.

SAY HIS NAME
GEORGE FLOYD
SAY HIS NAME
GEORGE FLOYD

SAY HER NAME
BREONNA TAYLOR
SAY HER NAME
BREONNA TAYLOR

I walked next to my 13-year-old son, unable to shake the image of you watching as we walked by.

I send my children to school to be seen and loved, celebrated and nurtured.
I send my children to school to be embraced and nudged, held and free.
I send my children to school to be given knowledge to engage with the world, to learn how to make the world a better place, to be empowered.


I send my children to you.

Who watched us walk by.

I want to hope that you didn't know there was going to be a Black Lives Matter protest and just happened to discover us with our signs and our chants as
You watched us walk by.

I want to believe you were looking for a friend, waiting for them so you could join in alongside them and until then
You watched us walk by.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt but I can't ignore the evidence.

You watched us walk by.

Here I am, days later, unable to shake that image.

I want to claw at the memory, shred it into bits and pieces so small that it no longer haunts me.

But what I saw cannot be unseen.

It's branded into my heart.
An ache I did not ask for but was forced upon me and will burn forever.
A scar that continues to sting.
I choke back tears of embarrassment and shame that you are one of us.
I slam the door on the memory, lock it up, shove it into the recesses of my heart.
I wish that was enough to save students from you. I wish it was that easy.

But I am not naive.

I promise to keep my heart open, arms reaching for the sky, accepting the light and shining it back into the world and onto the students who sit before me. I pray that my light will overpower any darkness that came before me and fend off any darkness that comes after. I wish it was that easy.

But I am not naive.

I do not pretend to be able to solve all the problems.
I do not pretend to be able to save my students.
I do not pretend to be able to protect them.


Instead
I promise to be there for them, to listen, and to be honest.
I promise to advocate, to speak up, to point out inequities.
I promise to fight for change.

I will stand alongside them.
Whether you watch us walk by or choose to join us.
I know what I stand for.
I know who I stand with.
I know where I stand.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/15/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I'm behind on The Water Dancer for book club but I've heard it's getting good so I'm looking forward to getting caught up. I reread more of This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany M. Jewell. I also listened to The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish on audio and started listening to More Myself by Alicia Keys.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I'll be reading more of The Water Dancer this week and listening to More Myself. I have Little Fires Everywhere to listen to on audio when I'm done with More Myself and I also still would like to read more of Black Enough
build your stack, virtual event, ncte, bys, mentor texts, build your stack virtual event
I'll also be doing some research as I prep for my 5 minutes for NCTE's Build Your Stack virtual event on Tuesday, June 30th. I'm sharing "Mentor Texts for Nurturing Teacher and Student Writers". Click here to check out the other presentations and to register. I'm sure I'm going to be furiously adding books to my list of books for summer reading.  
As I mentioned last week, if you are looking for books to read as a way of doing the ongoing work to be anti-racist and anti-bias, Kathy Burnette from Brain Lair Books has a list of book recommendations for you. You can find it at: This List is Anti-Racist. Here is a list of Black-owned, independent, book stores if you are looking for something closer to you. 

Also, two books, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, were made into movies and are now available to stream on a variety of platforms. I suggest you look for them and watch them if you haven't seen them yet. 

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, June 8, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/08/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read more of The Water Dancer and am glad to be discussing it with my book club as we go. I also read more of Black Enough and I went back to This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany M. Jewell.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I'm going to keep on keeping on with the books I'm reading. I am also hoping to do some more reading but we'll see how it goes!

If you are looking for books to read as a way of doing the ongoing work to be anti-racist and anti-bias, Kathy Burnette from Brain Lair Books has a list of book recommendations for you. You can find it at: This List is Anti-Racist.

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, June 1, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/01/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read more of The Water Dancer but am still at the beginning. I also started to read Black Enough which is a collection of short stories written by various authors and edited by Ibi Zoboi. 

Last Week's Posts:


Upcoming Book Adventures: 

I honestly have no idea where the week went...my goal this week is to finish the stories in Black Enough and to read more of The Water Dancer

If you are looking for books to read as a way of doing the ongoing work to be anti-racist and anti-bias, Kathy Burnette from Brain Lair Books has a list of book recommendations for you. You can find it at: This List is Anti-Racist.

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Friday, May 29, 2020

My goal is to be anti-racist and anti-bias.


Growing up in the 80’s in a primarily white, northern Chicago suburb, my Latinx identity learned to stay quiet and not speak unless spoken to.

Then, without any warning, the We Need Diverse Books campaign took center stage and wasn’t just speaking to me, it was holding a hand out, inviting me up, and giving me a microphone. I had no idea what to do. I was shaken and shaking. I opened my mouth to speak but was silenced by shock. It’s hard to use a voice that’s never been asked to speak.

Writing helped me. When I couldn’t get the words out, I could get the words onto paper. I told my story, bit by bit. I shared parts of my life I had never paid much attention to before. But the more I wrote, the more emotions I felt, the more tears I cried, the more clarity I gained. And the more I wrote, the more I realized how much racism I had internalized without even knowing it.

Since then, I have continued to work on accepting and loving my Latinx heritage. Years later, I still have moments when I don’t feel Latinx enough and other times when I feel too Latinx. Years later, I’m still making sense of my experiences and learning how my story compares to others. Years later, I’m still doing the work, still nurturing my voice to speak up and speak out.

After seven years of working in district level positions, I returned to teaching for the 2019-2020 school year. To say the world has changed since I taught before is both an understatement and a gross misrepresentation.

The world hasn’t changed. We are who we have always been. There is inequity and injustice. There is so much work to do.
And yet, technology has shifted my ability to see more clearly. See who we have always been. See the inequity and the injustice. See the work that needs to be done. There is no denying it despite the many people who choose to look away, feign denial, or flat out argue it even exists.

Inequity and injustice exists.
Racism exists.
Colonialism exists.
Ableism exists.
Sexism exists.
Anti-Semitism exists.
Homophobia exists.
Islamophobia exists.
Xenophobia exists.

The intersection of these exists.

Inequity and injustice exists.
I didn’t see it before the way I see it now. Technology has given me access to experiences that don’t match mine as much as it has given me access to experiences that do match mine. I’ve explored and claimed my Latinx identity as I’ve expanded my understanding of what it means to be Latinx while also learning about identities others experience and how they experience the world because of those identities. I’m learning as I go but it started with acknowledging, being willing to see, and stepping into the work.

My goal is to be anti-racist and anti-bias.
I started with myself. I freed myself first by telling, valuing, and owning my stories. I learned to love and care for myself and I am still learning what it means to be me and live my most authentic, truest self. Learning how to use my voice.

As a teacher this year, I relied heavily on Teaching Tolerance and Facing History as resources. I used the Social Justice standards alongside my Common Core State Standards. I learn from educators like Britt Hawthorne and Tiffany M. Jewell. I worked really hard to create a safe space for students and to invite them to engage in discussions about identity, diversity, race and racism, bias, power, and activism. I was intentional about the texts we read and watched, the guests who visited us, hoping students would recognize themselves but also have opportunities to learn about others. It was not always easy but it was necessary.

At one point, I asked them, “Have you talked about race and racism much in school before?”
I heard murmuring and then a voice said, “Not really.”
“We learned about slavery,” another student shared.
Right away, yet another voice countered. “But that’s not the same.”

It is not the same.
I’ll never forget our back-to-school institute day in 2016. A consultant was hired to talk to all district staff about working with our bilingual population. She talked about culture and asked us to label circles with our different cultural identities. On the screen, she displayed her sample and talked about herself and told stories about her different identities and then invited us to do the same.

We serve a large Latinx population in our school district but this was the first time I had engaged in professional development that was openly addressing identity work I had previously done on my own.

Just as the We Need Diverse Books campaign emboldened a piece of me, this professional development stirred something in me. I had no idea I so desperately needed discussions of identity and equity and social justice to be center stage.

Relief and a sense of finally washed over me and tears filled my eyes. I had been craving this. I didn’t feel as alone. I felt empowered. This professional development was not the same and it mattered. It wasn’t enough. This work is continuous. This work is ongoing. This work is work. But it was a start.

Being anti-racist and anti-bias matters.

Inequity and injustice exists.

Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd deserve better.

Black lives matter.

Educators must make it a priority to continually work to be anti-racist and anti-bias. It is our business to do the work - to understand ourselves better, to understand others better and with an open heart, and to actively be anti-racist and anti-bias. We need to demand that our schools and districts are talking about the reality of the world we are living in and taking action to address inequities and injustice everyday.

I’m on my own journey and you must be on yours. You have to find your own way. Start somewhere. No one else can do this work for you. If I could point you in one direction, it would be to Rachel.Cargle. You've got it from there.

I'm putting out my hand, calling you up onto the stage, handing you a mic. We all have a voice. It may not be strong at first but I promise you, it works. You just have to do the work.


Monday, May 25, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/25/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read more of Art Journal Courage and tried some self portraits. That was different and fun. I tried starting The Water Dancer but didn't get very far.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Last week was the end of our school year. It was a busy and emotional week and I didn't do much reading. This week I'm hoping to read The Water Dancer because my book club is starting. And I want to read Tell Me Who You Are. I also have some essays on the Internet that I want to read and study as mentor texts.

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, May 18, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/18/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Well...I didn't finish anything this week. I'm not even sure I did much reading this week at all. I listened to podcast and I read a little of a new mixed media book that I got called Art Journal Courage that's about it. I did reread some of Your Story Is Your Power and I'm reading aloud Where to Begin to my students.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
My plan for this week is to finish Becoming and to start The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates for book club. I also want to read more of Tell Me Who You Are.

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, May 11, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/11/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what your reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I finished Cleo Wade's Where to Begin and decided to share it with my 8th graders as our last read aloud of the year. It ties in to themes we have been discussing all year and recently and feels like a great way to send them off on a new adventure. I finished Talking to Strangers and started listening to Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed. I also started reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and Tell Me Who You Are by Winona Quo and Priya Vulchi

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll be reading more of Becoming and Tell Me Who You Are and I'll be listening to Yes No Maybe So

The next Story Exploratory workshop is this Saturday, May 16th. If you'd like an opportunity to connect with others and spend a couple of hours writing, please join us! For more information and to register, click here.

What are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/06/2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly ...