Today I'm the stop on the blog tour for Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson! But this is an extra special sort of blog tour as I've been invited to celebrate a teacher I loved when I was in school. As it just so happens, I got together with one of my high school English teachers for coffee over spring break.
In April, I blogged about reconnecting with her in my This Is Your Life post at Story Exploratory. Truly, I had so many wonderful teachers along the way. I'll always remember reading aloud Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out in Ms. Armstrong's class, writing back and forth in a notebook to Ms Corn, taking The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle from Ms. Eustis when she handed it to me and believed I could handle it.
With Ms. B. (now Mrs. Zimmerman), I read The Once and Future King and The Odyssey. We turned off the lights and hung up a sheet and did shadow puppets to act out scenes. My best friend and I sewed hat-veil-type creations that we decorated and wore as we performed a scene from Romeo and Juliet. She reserved days for reading workshop, where we could silently read a book of our own choosing. And we even had writing workshop. We took pieces through the writing process and she facilitated peer conferencing and met with each of us to give us feedback. And this was in the 90's. It was awesome. I'm so lucky to have experienced workshop as a student! I'm so so so grateful that I had her as a teacher. Without a doubt, being in her classes helped me continue to love reading and to grow as a writer.
As we talked in March, we both took notes, jotting down titles of books the other recommended, plotting how we might collaborate going forward, sharing resources. It was awesome. As a teacher and now as a tech integration specialist, I can only hope I had/have a similar impact on students' lives.
Learning was fun with Ms. B, she was enthusiastic about teaching and literacy but most importantly us. Talking with her now as an educator felt similar to talking with her when I was a student because at the root of it all, I know she respects me now just as much she respected me when I was her student. And that's what makes a teacher awesome. Teachers like Ms. B. who genuinely care for students, see students as individuals, and thoughtfully design learning opportunities that respect what students bring to the experience are the teachers we remember years later. They are the teachers who make a positive impact. They are the teachers we love.
Maybe you had a Ms. B in your life? I hope you did! Ms. Bixby is Ms. B. for Topher, Brand, and Steve in John David Anderson's book Ms. Bixby's Last Day. Read more about it below, check out the other blogs on the tour, and be sure to enter my giveaway courtesy of Walden Pond Press!
Title: Ms. Bixby's Last Day
Author: John David Anderson
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: July 21st, 2016
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.
Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand, and Steve—and what they are willing to go to such great lengths to tell her.John David Anderson, the acclaimed author of Sidekicked, returns with a story of three kids, a very special teacher, and one day that none of them will ever forget.
Ms. Bixby's Last Day Blog Tour Stops!
6/2/2016 - Nerdy Book Club
6/3/2016 - Next Best Book
6/6/2016 - Walden Media Tumblr
6/7/2016 - Teach Mentor Texts
6/8/2016 - This Kid Reviews Books
6/9/2016 - Read, Write, Reflect
6/10/2016 - Flashlight Reader
6/13/2016 - Julie Falatko
6/14/2016 - A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
6/15/2016 - About to Mock
6/16/2016 - Kid Lit Frenzy
6/16/2016 - The Hiding Spot
6/17/2016 - Unleashing Readers
6/20/2016 - Ms. Yingling Reads
6/21/2016 - Maria's Melange
6/22/2016 - Lit Coach Lou
6/23/2016 - Novel Novice
6/24/2016 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
6/27/2016 - Librarian's Quest
6/28/2016 - Educate.Empower.Inspire...
6/29/2016 - Bluestocking Thinking
6/30/2016 - Mindjacked
7/1/2016 - All the Wonders