Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introduction & Classic Literature

Hooray for Armchair BEA for those of us who can't make an appearance in New York for the official Book Expo America or the Book Blogging Convention this week! The book blogging community is such an awesome collection of passionate literary people and participating in Armchair BEA is just another great way to connect with these mega-bookish people. This week, our posts will be devoted to Armchair BEA. We'll be participating in their daily prompts and sharing our love of blogging and all things book-related. 

Today we are sharing our introduction post. We each chose five questions to answer from the Armchair BEA list of questions to answer! We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about us and be sure to chime in with your own answers to see how we compare!



Jen:

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? I started blogging in February of 2008. I had been a long-time scrapbooker and then I discovered blogs and found that it was similar to scrapbooking in that I was sharing pictures and telling stories about my life. 

 

Peanut, 9 months old, when I started blogging!


Peanut now, 6 years old!
And we also have this guy in our lives now!

I blogged for a few years about my family and being a mom and all of our adventures...and lots about books. Finally, my friend, Laura, wondered why I didn't have a blog devoted to books. And that made me wonder. And then I realized it made a lot of sense to start a blog to share all the great books I was reading as a resource to other teachers and parents. As a hearing itinerant teacher who worked with students from preschool through high school, I read so many books and a huge variety of books. Going through the National Boards process encouraged me to read even more and to think about how I could share my passion for using authentic texts in classrooms. Finally, I took the plunge into book blogging and started Teach Mentor Texts in May of 2010. Kellee joined in on the fun in July of 2011 but will be leaving to work on her own blog, Unleashing Readers, this June. I'm super thankful for her collaboration here at Teach Mentor Texts but excited to see what the future brings. 

2. Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event? I participated in Armchair BEA in 2010 and 2011. What I loved most was meeting other book bloggers. Both years, I remember finding book bloggers who were reading such unique genres compared to the books I read and I loved seeing how passionate they were about books and blogging. Sometimes keeping up with a blog can be a lot of work but events like Armchair BEA remind me of how awesome it is to be able to share my passion for books and that there are tons of other people out there who share my love of books and blogging.

3. Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s). Two Writing Teachers is a blog that I'm in love with right now. My love of reading led me to looking as books as mentor texts in my teaching and more recently to my own writing. This summer my kids and I are planning to do lots of writing. We went and picked out writer's notebooks and have been taking them with us wherever we go. In the fall, I'm hoping to adopt a classroom and work with students with mentor texts and writing. Ruth and Stacey share great ideas and have developed a wonderful community of readers and writers at their blog. I'm looking forward to joining in on their Slice of Life challenge this summer. 



4. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. I played the violin from 4th grade all the way through high school. I tried to get private lessons when I was in college but realized what I had always loved about being in the orchestra was the friendships more than the time and energy that goes into practicing in order to be a great musician. The highlight of my violin-playing days was traveling all over Italy, playing and sightseeing along the way in my sophomore year of high school. I can still read music and could probably play. My senior year I took music theory and even wrote some music...but at this point I think I'd much rather read and write words! 

5. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why? I would really love to visit New York. The only time I visited was on a layover to Florida. We saw the Statue of Liberty out our window and sat in the airport and ate dinner. Technically, I've never been! I would love to visit the zoo and see the penguins like Mia does in Princess Diaries, I would wander around Central Park where Lily walks dogs in Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and I would marvel at The Panorama in the Queens Museum of Art like they do in Wonderstruck. There are tons of others bookish places I would want to see in New York, making it my number one literary place to visit...someday! 


Kellee:


1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Hi! I am Kellee Moye. I am a middle school reading, journalism, ESOL, and gifted teacher in Orlando, Florida. I have been blogging with Jen now for 2 years here at Teach Mentor Texts, but will be leaving June 24th to begin blogging with another partner at http://www.unleashingreaders.com. Ever since joining Twitter in 2009, I have been pushing myself to be the best teacher I can be which meant becoming a better reader. Soon I was reading over 100 books a year and wanted to be able to share the great books I was reading with others, thus getting interesting in blogging. Luckily, I found Jen who was kind enough to co-blog with me and here we are!

2. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. I don't talk about these very often, but next to my family, reading and teaching there are some things I really enjoy: animals, TV, and baseball. The animals part may not be a shock because I think many of my followers know how much I love apes. Ever since I first read Hurt Go Happy, I have become quite an ape advocate, but I also love cats (my first word was kitty), turtles (I have quite an extensive collection of turtle paraphenalia), and penguins (my sister and I have adopted penguins named Frank and Stella). Pretty much, though, I am not animal bias. 
Frank on the left and Stella on the right in their burrow
     I have always enjoyed some good TV. I loved Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's then TGIF and Nickelodeon followed by Seinfeld and ER and now love How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, So You Think You Can Dance, and so many others. My DVR is constantly full of good shows to watch and if I'm not reading,  you will probably find me in front of the TV. 
      Finally, Baseball is a major part of my life and I can hardly remember a time when it wasn't. I have liked the Chicago Cubs for 24 years now (my very first crush ever was Ryne Sandberg who I actually got to meet on Valentine's Day when I was ten!) and will forever be a Cubbies fan. 
Jim and I visited Wrigley Field for my first time in 2009!
3. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why? This one is easy for me. I have a thing for Ernest Hemingway. I just love how he writes and its masculine beauty just makes me ignore all of the negativity I know about him. I also imagine if I chose the right time period, he would be a heck of a lot of fun. 
Ah, Hemingway (1st edition  Old Man and the Sea!)
4. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? This is a really hard question for me. I really liked my Dystopian vs. Post-Apocalyptic series and I know our readers are a fan of my lists especially the ones for struggling readers, sci-fi, graphic novels, and my end of year wrap-ups, but I think my favorite posts are the ones where I get to share what I am doing in my classroom. One of the recent examples of one of these posts is about how I used Jacqueline Woodson's Each Kindness to discuss kindness and bullying with my students

5. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Definitely my favorite part about the book blogging community is that I have an international network of people to book talk for me. All of the blogs I follow make me a better reader and teacher. I specifically like our It's Monday, What Are You Reading? meme (#IMWAYR) because it allows me to visit a plethora of blogs and get a snapshot of what everyone is reading. 

Genre Discussion: Classics- What are your favorite classics? Thinking about the classics brings me back to my literature degree. So, looking back, here are my favorite classics I read when getting a college degree in English Literature: 
The Catcher in the Rye The Sun Also Rises Siddhartha: Siddhartha The Old Man and the Sea The Monk Slaughterhouse-Five The Bell Jar Heart of Darkness The Thorn Birds 
The Hobbit Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Edition)  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight/Pearl/Sir Orfeo Frankenstein

Tomorrow we'll be blogging about blogger development and fiction, 
 and

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