Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/1/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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'm having a blast listening to Better Late Than Never by Tim Federle. I'm also reading Lost In The Sun by Lisa Graff. Peanut and I started reading Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks and I read a few pages of Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures and In Words.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm looking forward to reading everything I started last week!!!

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!

Counting Crows

Title: Counting Crows 
Author: Kathi Appelt 
Illustrator: Rob Dunlavey 
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book  
GoodReads Summary: Help hungry crows avoid a feline foe in this clever concept book from the author of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and The Underneath.

One, two, three, crows in a tree, bedecked in red scarves and hungry as can be. So they fly out of their nest with snacking in mind, and snack they do. Snack one, snack two, snack three;all the way to a dozen! But before they have time to complain about bellyaches, they have a bigger problem: a cat has been eyeing them;as potential snacks! Can these well-fed crows become well-FLED crows? Read and find out in this counting book from Newbery Finalist and two-time National Book Award Nominee Kathi Appelt, with spot-on illustrations from Rob Dunlavey. It's the cat's meow! 
What I Think: The other night, Peanut, Little Bean and I sat down to read three counting books and Counting Crows was one of them. We had fun counting as more and more crows joined the crew. It was even fun for Peanut who just finished second grade. We talked about counting by two and then counting by three. And towards the end, when there were twelve crows, we discussed the word "dozen" and what it means.
     As I was reading, I fell in love with the simply description in this book. I'm a fan of description and the more I write, the more I realize just how important it is to show instead of tell. Sometimes even when I think I'm showing, I'm still telling. Having a mentor text like Counting Crows is great because it's easy to zone in on the rhyme, alliteration, and great adjectives Kathi uses and then to help students see how they might try being descriptive in a similar way in their own writing.
Read Together: Pre-K - K 
Read Alone: Pre-K - 3 
Read With: Let's Count Goats! by Mem Fox, Count The Monkeys by Mac Barnett, Count-A-Block by Christopher Franceschelli
Snatch of Text:  
"Ten crunchy crickets,
ten green peppers.

Ten for the counting crows. 
Yep, yep, yeppers!"
Writing Prompts: Write about something in your life using some awesome adjectives and even trying some alliteration.
Topics Covered: Integration - Math, Counting  
I *heart* It:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let's Celebrate Friends Who Feel Like Family!

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 friends who feel like family!

*throws confetti*

Honestly, I'm such a lucky girl. I could write this post about so many people who are friends but who truly feel like family. 

When I think about friends who feel like family, 
I think about people 
who I can trust
who believe in me
who care about me
who may not always agree with me but who respect me enough to listen 
who laugh along with my goofiness 
who make me laugh and not take things so seriously when I need it most. 

Friends who feel like family
are the best kind of friends.

Today I'm actually thinking about the friends I have made working in my school district over the last thirteen years who feel like family. In a few weeks, I'll pack up my office, turn in my keys, and say goodbye to them as the school year ends but this time it's a different kind of end to the school year for me. I'm thrilled to have accepted a position as a Technology Integration Specialist in a district much closer to home but it means leaving my family at U-46.

I believe what comes next for me is going to be absolutely amazing but I also know I need to acknowledge how it feels to leave a place I have worked my entire career, the experiences that have shaped me into the educator I am today, and the people who have made it worth it along the way. And how it feels is like someone has scooped a piece of my heart right out of my chest. Not just tugged at my heart strings, but snipped them clear away, severed and sad.

My sophomore year in college was the first time I visited a classroom in my district for observation hours. I did practicum hours my junior year and then also student taught there my senior year so U-46 has actually been part of my life for sixteen years.

I was lucky enough that I usually worked one-on-one with students so I got to know them and their families well. Students like Edwin, Nick, Jessica, Jose, Josh, Crystal, O'Shay, Iris, and Frankie, who I taught my first year of teaching, will always stay with me but so many others, like Jackie, Rosalba, Nathan, Derek, Alex, Cesar, Nia, Bryan, Yazmin, Michelle, Antchill, Jodi, Abbie, Diego, and Onyeka, I carry in my heart, too. And along the way, countless teachers and staff who also wanted what was best for students helped me see how to grow throughout the years. 

For the last three years, I've worked in two district-level positions that allowed me the opportunity to visit all 57 schools in my district and interact with new and veteran educators. I've had the pleasure of meeting educators who've let me into their lives, shared their practice with me, and invited me to join in on the struggles and celebrations they experience in their little corners of our very large district. I would list everyone from preschoolers to retired teachers who have carved a little etch in my heart here but it would go on and on and you'd be scrolling forever and ever only to never find the end. I'm going to miss all of them but I'm lucky to have amazing friends to cherish.

I've done a lot of crying in Starbucks this school year while writing blog posts but I don't even care any more. Feelings deserve to be felt. 

As I say goodbye to my precious friends who feel like family, 
I tell them It was nice working with you!
I give them an extra squeeze in my hug 
I remind them that in our connected world
they can tweet me
message me
e-mail me
call me. 
And thank goodness for that. 
Because even if my heart strings are stretched across a few miles
they will always be part of me and never far away.
And that's reason to celebrate.

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/25/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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 a great week listening to Ungifted by Gordon Korman. It was fun when a student recommended it and I could say I was listening to it. Peanut and I are so so so close to finishing Wayside School. I've also been reading Lost In The Sun by Lisa Graff and am so intrigued by the characters and can't wait to read more.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm looking forward to finally making it to the library for new books but also hoping to finish at least one of the super many books I've started over the last few weeks. I've been mostly caught up in end-of-the-school-year fun and working on revisions but am hoping to get more reading time in soon. I've clearly had trouble keeping up with blog posts so I'm not even committing to any this week and we'll have to see what happens. 

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, May 19, 2015

The One Where I Go Around The World With Twitter #sol15


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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It amazes me that all because of Twitter, I have great friends who I can visit with and learn from all over the country...and even some people around the world. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to connect because I truly don't think I would have found all these wonderful people without Twitter or technology.

On Friday, I had coffee with Taylor Meredith, @forfeedback, and we talked about being out of the classroom but still keeping our passion for teaching. Then on Saturday, I ran (and sometimes walked...) an 8k with Greg Armamentos, @dashthebook, and we talked about writing and teaching the entire time. 

I spent all evening driving downstate to visit my friend, Katherine Sokolowski. I'm excited to spend the day in her classroom talking with her students about reading and writing. A couple months ago, I did the same thing in Jilian Heise's class. 

Now I'm in Monticello, Illinois and tomorrow I'll be meeting with another recent Twitter friend, Patience Bertana, @pbertana, back home. 

For the last thirteen years, I've worked in the same district. It's a large district and we have a lot of teachers I've been fortunate to meet and get to know since I have worked there, but I'm in love with how much my world has expanded thanks to Twitter. I have so many different perspectives I can connect with and learn from - whether I can be there in person or virtually. 

Visiting other districts, spending time in classrooms, seeing what the have on their walls, how they organize their time, how they spend the precious minutes they have with teachers has allowed me to add ideas to my teaching toolbox. If your district gives you time to visit other classrooms in or out of your district, I highly recommend taking advantage of this! And if not, I believe it might be worthy of a personal day to see what other teachers to firsthand. 

In Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon talks about how all artists are taking little bits of ideas from different people and putting them together to come up with our own ideas or style. When it comes to writing, this is exactly what a mentor text is all about. But this happens - or can happen - in teaching as well. I believe we are all better when we put our heads together...and if we can, then why not?

Have you had a positive experience visiting someone's else classroom or seeing how another person works? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/18/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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:
It took me all week to finish I'll Give You The Sun but I finally know Jude and Noah's story. Honestly, writing (and revising) my own novel makes me appreciate books like I'll Give You The Sun. I found myself paying extra close attention to the characters and their emotions and how Jandy Nelson brings them to life. 

I started listening to Ungifted by Gordon Korman and think I'll finish it early this week. Peanut and I are still reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School. We read Who Wants a Hug? by Jeff Mack and I took it to work for a friend who wanted to borrow it to read to his kids. I love sharing picture books with colleauges.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm sure I'll finish Ungifted but I didn't make it to the library over the weekend as I had hoped so we'll see what comes next! I have a few physical books I need to finish up so maybe I'll get back to those, too! I'm trying my reviews all over again...hopefully this week, I'll actually get them up! 

Last 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!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/11/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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'm so in love with I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson! I'm over halfway through and the writing is so unique. I can't wait to see where the story goes. I'm also rereading Real Revision by Kate Messner as I work through revisions again. Peanut and I finished Fake Mustache and are hoping Tom Angleberger writes a sequel. Then we started Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar and after only a few chapters, Peanut is cracking up. Love it! I also started Lost In The Sun by Lisa Graff.
Last Week's Reviews:
 
Click on the picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Finishing I'll Give You The Sun this week has me super excited. I'm looking forward to reading more of Sideways Stories with Peanut and reading more of Lost In The Sun

Last 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, May 5, 2015

The One With Shiny New Neighbors #sol15


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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Guess what!? We have new neighbors! I love new neighbors when new neighbors are friendly and nice and have a baby. We met them when they stopped in last week and then the moving truck was officially here over the weekend. When they told us they were moving in, I felt a surge of exhilaration. I'm such a fan of people in general but this couple seemed like two women I could seriously be friends with and they would be living two doors down. I imagined my kids playing with their six-month-old son, hanging out in the driveway on summer nights, borrowing a cup of sugar from time to time. 

After they went inside, I looked across the driveways at one of my long-time neighbors, threw my arms in the air and silently cheered. She laughed at me, swatting the air to tell me to calm down. I can't help it. I love making new friends but her reaction reminded me that I need to not freak them out by being overly excited. It's hard to help it though; when I get excited, I get excited.

It reminded me of this awesome John Green quote about being a nerd.

"...nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff…Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”

Speaking of uncontrollable excitement. I found out last week that a proposal I'm part of for NCTE was accepted. I'm thrilled to be sharing how teachers might empower students to engage in passion-driven research. After visiting many classrooms over the past three years, I've found that teachers who are sincerely energized and enthusiastic about what they're teaching are the teachers who seem to get the students motivated about learning, too. One of my teacher friends who will be presenting with me at NCTE is totally a teacher who is passionate about her subject and that genuine love of learning clearly carries over into her students. 

So maybe I get a little too excited about the potential of extremely awesome new neighbors moving in, but shouldn't we all have something we get jump-up-and-down, throw-your-arms-up-in-the-air excited about from time to time? And wouldn't everything be more fun if we geeked out once in a while? 

What gets you hop-out-of-your-seat excited? I would love to hear about it!
Why hold back your excitement for anything you truly enjoy?
How might we help students feel free to express their enthusiastic nerdiness?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/4/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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:
We had fun with picture books from the library, especially The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach and Leopardpox! by Orna Landau. I finished I Was Here by Gayle Forman and it excellent and now I'm listening to I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. It's fascinating so far. I read Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon and I would recommend it to anyone and am still working on Our Iceberg Is Melting by Kotter and Rathgeber which is an interesting look at change management.
Last Week's Reviews:
 
Click on the picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm really intrigued by I'll Give You The Sun and we still have lots of picture books to read so I'm excited to find time to read them!

Last 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!