Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jen's Mish Mash in May

Believe it or not, like it or not, ready or not, May is here! It's actually closer to mid-May than the first of May. It's hard to understand how the school year has flown by or that fact that it's truly May already. We have been so busy on the blog with our Girl Power series and other guest posts that I haven't had the chance to talk about rereading in April or some other fun things that have happened lately. I have been making of list of things to blog about and this is the lucky post where I mix it all up and share with everyone. To start, I'd like to quickly recap my rereading in April. Then, I'd like to talk about Edcamp Chicago and the fact that my oldest son, Peanut, is six which also means that it's the three-year anniversary of Teach Mentor Texts. So much to share!
Last year in April, I declared it to be a month of rereading. This year, I decided to give myself the go ahead to take a break from new books so I could reread some favorites again. I think it's a combination of April being such a super busy time of year and the awesomeness of rereading, but it was exactly what I needed as much this year as I did last year. I enjoyed revisiting books that I love. It's a wonderful feeling to read or listen to a book that I already know I enjoy. Many of my reviews of rereads were all about how we read it first to soak in the story and then when we reread we're able to acknowledge and appreciate what the author has done. Rereading is so critical and I believe now more than ever that we need to keep this in mind when working with students. How often do we read with students and then stop and ask questions about craft or literary techniques without giving them time to reread? We should stop and ask them to read it again or listen as we reread and to think about what the author is doing. It comes down to giving students the chance to read it and revel in it the first time but then the expectation to focus and find what the author has done that makes it so great by rereading. And sometimes when rereading we are able to more objectively view a text. There were a few books I actually was much more critical of as I reread because I could access the text with a different lens having already read it one time through. Overall, rereading in April was another fascinating trip into thinking about how readers read. Here are my 2013 rereads (click on the titles to read the review)!

Jen's 2013 April Rereads:
Bink and Gollie #2

Two weeks ago, I got to attend my very first Edcamp! It was also my first time organizing an Edcamp so it was an insanely crazy learning experience for me in more ways than one. I'm still reeling from how energizing it can be to simply gather people in a space and let them free to share and discuss and learn from one another. If you haven't heard the news on Twitter, Colby Sharp is organizing his own Nerdy version of Edcamp on July 11th in Battle Creek, Michigan. I'm ecstatic to be on the team to help bring his nErDcamp vision to life. Click the link here to register and join us! If you couldn't make it to Edcamp Chicago or aren't able to travel to Michigan this summer, I recommend looking for an Edcamp near your or hosting your own! It's a phonomenal experience!
My baby turned six on Friday! It's crazy to think that I have a six-year-old son! It's been amazing to think of how much he has grown. On Friday, when he woke up, I told him about the day he was born. It was a week past my due date and I had to be induced. We woke up super early and drove to the hospital so I could get all hooked up to machines and start the whole process of inducing labor. It wasn't until 7:10 p.m. that he finally made an appearance. I'll never forget the feeling of holding him and looking into his eyes for the first time. And now, six years later, I'm so proud of the kiddo he has become. He's just a blast to be around. He has a kind heart and a great sense of humor. He was born a few days before Mother's Day making him the hands-down, best Mother's Day gift I could ever ask for. 
Three years ago, after we celebrated Peanut's birthday with family, I remember he took a nap and I sat down to take the plunge into book blogging. I had already been blogging for over year but a dear friend, Laura, suggested I think about doing a book blog since I was always reviewing books on my home/family/cute kid blog. I was pregnant with Little Bean and had just turned in my National Boards box...I have no idea why that was the day, but it was. And here we are today, three years later. Right from the beginning, I felt such a warm welcome from other book bloggers. I've so appreciated the guidance and support from Danielle at There's a Book who has been and continues to be a true inspiration along with all the other great bloggers out there! Two years ago, Kellee started blogging with me and she has been a great partner. I have loved being able to collaborate with her and to share her perspectives on books and reading here at Teach Mentor Texts. I'm sad to see her go but know her new blog Unleashing Readers will be an asset to the blogging community. Overall, blogging for the last three years has brought me so many wonderful experiences and I'm looking forward to seeing how my adventure in blogging continues. 

With all the reflecting I've been doing on my life, blogging, and the school year lately, I realized it was important to share how important reflection really is. It was also the perfect opportunity to create a postcard to share with you using my Bill Atkinson Photocard app. I love this app! A big thank you to everyone who has visited and been part of Teach Mentor Texts over the past three years!
If you've made it all the way to the end of this post: hooray! It was a mix of news and updates but important things I wanted to share and celebrate. What's new in your world this week? What are you reflecting upon at this point in your life, career, school year? I'd love to hear about it!
 

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