Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BBAW - What Book Blogging Means to Us

Jen: Today for Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2012, we are talking about what book blogging means to us! Just recently, we have started sharing reviews of non-fiction books on Wednesdays and want to share more about that, too.

Kellee: Before I joined Teach Mentor Texts a little over a year ago, I was considering joining other blogs or starting my own; however, I knew that I wanted to be part of something special and Teach Mentor Texts fit that bill perfectly. Jen designed TMT to be a blog that would not only review books, but helps teachers find the best books for their classroom. It’s objective was different than other blogs and was exactly what I wanted to be part of!

Jen: I’m glad you say that, Kellee, and I love to hear others tell me that they find value in Teacher Mentor Texts. The main reason I started blogging was to share the books I read and to share ideas for using them as mentor texts with students. I love to read and talk about books so it makes so much sense to have a blog devoted to just that. Actually, I had been reviewing books on my family blog until a friend of mine suggested I try a blog devoted to just books (I secretly think the books were taking over my other blog and she was telling me that in a nice way...).

Kellee: Jen and I talked this summer after she read Pathways to the Common Core and I went to a Common Core training. One of the biggest changes from state standards to CCSS is the heavy inclusion of non-fiction. We know that non-fiction is so important to incorporate in the classroom so that children are exposed to it and learn to be a reader of non-fiction. Ultimately, it was decided that we wanted to pick one day a week to review only non-fiction so that our readers would consistently be exposed to non-fiction for their classroom. We were even more ecstatic when we saw that Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives did a nonfiction picture book Wednesday. We jumped right and became part of their weekly posts and we love being part of the non-fiction community.

Jen: I really feel like non-fiction gets a different kind of love than fiction. It’s easy to fall into love with fiction and forget about non-fiction. Luckily, there are some really unique and engaging non-fiction books out there if we just look for them! I have loved learning about these great non-fiction books from blogging and Twitter friends - they remind me that non-fiction is awesome, too. Some of my favorites are Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey, Knuckleheads by Jon Scieszka, and How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg.

This whole new emphasis on non-fiction and the conscious focus at Teach Mentor Texts is an example of something else blogging means to me. Blogging helps me stay current and relevant as I read others’ blogs and strive to make changes that reflect best and current practices in teaching. I love that Kellee is part of the blog, too, because I can bounce ideas off of her and we grow through our discussions. It’s pretty cool that TMT is ever-evolving!

Kellee: That is exactly why I love doing a blog with you, Jen! It is so great to be able to brainstorm with you. The saying “Two brains is better than one!” definitely works in this case.

I’ve been so thankful to be part of the blogging and Twitter PLN that we have. You are so right in that it is the only way I have been introduced to some of my favorite books including non-fiction ones. Recently I have read and loved books by Jane Yolen, Doreen Rappaport, Sid Jacobson, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Tanya Lee Stone, and many great authors.

Jen: I love that Book Blogger Appreciation Week helped us slow down and reflect on what blogging means to us. When it comes down to it, it's about always learning and being part of an online community that helps facilitate that. We would love for you to share what blogging means to you!

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