Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/01/2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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 worked a lot on my writing last week plus I led a couple of workshops so I didn't find a lot of time to read. Peanut and I are back to reading Charlotte's Web (we got a little sidetracked there for a bit!) and I started reading Matilda with both boys too. I tried reading Here Comes the Sun but my brain has been exhausted this week and I was struggling to stick with it even though it's really interesting. I also started reading The Anatomical Shape of a Heart based on my friend Amy's recommendation of it as a mentor text for me and it's great so far.

Reviewed Last Week:

This week, I celebrated Elena, Disney's first Latina princess over at Story Exploratory!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to continue reading Charlotte's Web and Matilda with my boys. They are two of my favorites from when I was little. And I'm hoping to keep reading The Anatomical Shape of a Heart too!

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!

For The Love of Mentor Texts - Linda Baie


Welcome to our first post in the For The Love of Mentor Texts series I'll be hosting here at Teach Mentor Texts. I love to talk about the power of mentor texts to impact our writing but I've invited a few friends to share how they use mentor texts for a fresh perspective. Today I'm thrilled to share thoughts from Linda Baie who blogs at Teacher Dance. I hope you are as inspired by her ideas as I am!

Would you like to write a guest post for For The Love of Mentor Texts? Just let me know by filling out this simple form

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         I’m honored that Jen asked me to write about mentor texts, and grateful to share some ideas from my teaching past. First, I want to mention that there are many wonderful PD books that help teachers find good examples, and to share a few that meant much to me through the years in addition to using my own students’ words and mine, too.

         Mentor Author, Mentor Texts - Ralph Fletcher
         Write Like This - Kelly Gallagher
         Poetry Mentor Texts - Lynne R. Dorfman & Rose Cappelli
         All The Poetry Friday Anthologies - Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

Older, but so valuable in poetry:
          Knock At A Star - X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy (K-6)
          Important Words - Bill Brown and Malcolm Glass (middle & high school)

        If I were still teaching, I imagine Stacey Shubitz's book, Craft Moves, would become one I would use often, too. It’s about picture books as mentor texts, which I used through all my teaching days.
       This time, I’ll focus on one idea, and it was borrowed from a colleague long ago. At my school where I taught, each student chose a specific topic to study, called a unit, and with their beginning research input and mine, a curriculum was built around that topic. I taught a mixed grade of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, but others in the school who taught younger children also used this idea sometimes. I used alphabet picture books that showed different approaches to writing some basic information about a non-fiction topic. Because artistic capturing of details and ideas was also an important component in all classrooms, this beginning assignment for students worked beautifully as a start in both art and writing for each research topic. Students were to research and create an alphabet book that showed the beginning of their learning.
        As the students worked, they also began to form questions to further knowledge. This will be something that can be applied to a whole-class study of a topic, with each student taking one or more letters according to the needs of twenty-six pages! Basic pages can be written and illustrated, but later support deeper research.

       Here are a few books I’ve used, and why:

RIsForRhyme.jpg
R Is For Rhyme - Judy Young and illustrated by Victor Juhasz

       This book not only entertains with beautiful pictures, but introduces poem forms and example poems. It helps writers choose what could be a good approach to including their research in poem form.

butterflybook.jpg


The Butterfly Alphabet Book - Brian Cassie and Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Mark Astrella

        Each page shows straightforward informational paragraphs, good practice in keeping on topic.

A-Muskox.jpg
A Is For Muskox - Erin Cabatingan and illustrated by Matthew Myers
        What a clever book, that actually tells all about one topic, the muskox, but using a funny approach, allowing dialogue between the “writer” and an interrupting muskox. The pages show real things that are traditional alphabet words, like “A Is For Apple”, but adds that interruption with information about the topic (the muskox). For those students who want to know that writers take risks when delivering informatin, this is the book to show.

antler bear.jpg

Antler, Bear, Canoe - A Northwoods Alphabet Year - Betsy Bowen

          This book adds another layer that might fit certain topics, it takes the alphabet through a year.  Each page ensures that real information is included, like the fact that the Hare changes back to brown from white when spring arrives. It also shows how so much information can be included by only highlighting certain words.

ocean.jpg
The OCEAN Alphabet Book - Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Frank Mazzola, Jr.

         Jerry Pallotta has written other alphabet books, too, but I find this one shows that he has tackled a large topic, but narrowed it down to only creatures that live in an ocean, except for the first page. If a topic is quite broad, first a student, or class, needs to narrow to a sub-topic in choosing something for each letter. In this book, the sentences are brief, a way to craft a book for younger readers. It would be good to compare this one to the butterfly book in studying the way  information is given.

8-animalalphabet.jpg



8 An Animal Alphabet - Elisha Cooper
           This has been published since I was in the classroom, and it is wonderful. With many pictures of animals who start with each letter, Elisha Cooper challenges the reader to find the animal that’s presented “eight” times. It’s an opportunity for alphabet pages that have only vocabulary, perhaps for early readers?  Elisha places a bit more information about each animal at the back.

           I’d like to take this opportunity to share another very recent book that makes me wish I was back in the classroom, in a writers’ workshop. Here is the post about Ideas Are All Around by Phillip C. Stead  This book can be used in a variety of ways across ages, especially when searching for ideas to write about. Please find it, read and enjoy.

             I hope that you will take some of these ideas, use these books or find your own favorite alphabet books to use in the classroom. Thanks again for inviting me, Jen.

Thanks for being here, Linda! xoxo

Do you have any thoughts to share with Linda?
Please add them in the comments!

Week #5 - Teachers Write Sunday Check-In 2016

What's up, writers!? How was week five? I got in lots of writing in some fun writing places so that was cool! But I'm in revision mode which is fun in a challenging way but also challenging in a tiring way. I'll talk more about my week in the recap!

This week, I'm thinking about writing what begs to be written. Here's my video and then I'll share a mentor text that inspires me in terms of writing what begs to be written.


Two years ago, I went to a powerful session at nErDcamp Michigan led by Cindy Minnich and Sarah Anderson  that was all about sharing diverse books. We all need diverse books...but sitting in that session helped me see how much I need diverse books. To better understand my own story, I spent all last March doing the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers and I realized just how much I have to share my stories

The books in Jenny Han's series To All The Boys I've Loved Before are totally mentor texts for me. Just look at those gorgeous book covers with a clearly Asian main character! I have so much LOVE for these Jenny Han and these stories. These are the kind of books I hope to write (and eventually publish!). In looking closely at my own life experiences and thinking about what books are begging me to be written, I know my heart is in writing books with diverse characters. 

You can read my review of To All The Boys I've Loved Before here.

Some quotes that inspire me 
from Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before:

“Life doesn't have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.”

“When someone's been gone a long time, 
at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. 
You try to keep track of everything in your head. 
But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: 
all the little bits slip out of your hands, 
and then you're just clutching air and grit. 
That's why you can't save it all up like that."

Because by the time you finally see each other, 
you're catching up only on the big things, 
because it's too much bother to tell about the little things. 
But the little things are what make up life.” 

“How was I supposed to know what’s real and what’s not? 
It feels like I’m the only one who doesn’t know the difference.”

And the third book in the series, 
Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is due out in 2017!

My Teachers Write Recap:
I spent a lot of time with my words this week...although the majority of my time was spent thinking through revisions and working on my query. I actually wrote the query for this ms before I drafted but now I'm reworking it after knowing what I know from writing the book. It can be complicated, this writing thing, huh?

Anyway, I think my query is in much better shape and now my goal this week is to really zone in on revisions so I can polish this baby up and submit to a contest organized by the amazing Brenda Drake called Pitch Wars. I participated in 2014 and was mentored by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie. It was an absolutely amazing experience. Submissions open this week so if you have a polished up manuscript, I would definitely recommend joining in! And let me know if you have any questions or if I can help in any way!

A reminder of my rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.

Today, in the comments:
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
Has anything begged you to be written this summer?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the not-so-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-totally-fun part?)
What are you looking forward to and planning for the week ahead?
P. S. Thank you for replying to each other's comments! 
While I read them all and do my best to reply and 
reply as soon as possible it doesn't always happen.
I so appreciate you cheering each other on through Teachers Write! You r-o-c-k!

Psst! Yes, you! One more thing...
Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter here!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

JOIN: ¡Bienvenida Elena, Disney's First Latina Princess!


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


Maybe you've heard, and maybe you haven't, but Disney now has a TV show based on their first Latina princess! The show is called Elena of Avalor and is a spinoff of their show Sophia the First on Disney Junior. Here's more about her debut at WDWInfo.com


I first heard about Elena when we were in Guatemala and my mom was excited to show me that Guatemalan singer and songwriter Gaby Moreno sings the theme song. Here's a link to Billboard talking about how Gaby Moreno Sings Theme Song for Disney Channel Latina Princess Show 'Elena of Avalor'. And here's the title sequence so you can see it (and hear Gaby) for yourself!


Friends! I'm so so so excited!

I messaged my mom yesterday asking if she would help make an Elena of Avalor costume for me to wear for Halloween...because, seriously, this is the first Disney princess who looks like me!!! My mom was a little confused but willing to help. 

I've always been a Disney fan. Disney World is one of my favorite places. We watch every Disney movie that comes out when it's still in the theaters. I can sing along to almost any Disney song you throw my way. We watch Disney channel more than any other channel. 

I love Disney!

I didn't think it was possible to love Disney more. 

Then they introduced Elena. 

And I'm nine again. 

Who knows? School is starting soon. I'm working on my ESL endorsement and participating in a pretty intense teaching workshop this year too, but I would love to have an Elena dress to wear someday. 

Also, if you aren't familiar with Gaby Moreno, her music and her voice is beautiful. Here's a duet with fellow Guatemalan singer and songwriter Ricardo Arjona. The video is filmed in Guatemala too and you can see places like Antigua and Tikal. 


Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me this week and every other week. I'm so thrilled to be sharing new of a Latina Disney princess! It just brings the biggest smile to my face. 

Pirasaurs Are Taking Over!


I may have stolen borrowed Pirasaurs from Josh Funk at nErDcamp...

 And now they're taking over the blog today 
because they have something very important to say!


We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!
We grunt and roar and sneer!
We’ll steal your books with tails and hooks
And own the blogosphere!
We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!
We post a giant threat!
We’ll slash and duel and soon we’ll rule
The world-wide internet!
We’re Pirasaurs! We’re Pirasaurs!
Our story is fantastic!
This grand hardback by Funk & Slack
Is published by Scholastic!

… and available August 30th wherever books are sold!

Take it from me, you'll want pre-order this one.
And they didn't make me say that!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/25/2016

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 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 found myself doing more writing than reading last week...but I did read more of A Curious Mind and I started reading Here Comes The Sun by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn. The voice is unique and captivating right from the start. 

Last Week's Posts:
I celebrated over at Story Exploratory this week: nErDcamp Michigan 2016!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm hoping to continue reading both A Curious Mind and Here Comes The Sun.

This Week's Posts:
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!

JOIN: nErDcamp Michigan 2016!


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


The Sunday before last, I drove the few hours to Parma/Jackson, Michigan to join my fellow Nerdy friends for nErDcamp Michigan! Later, I told my neighbor all about it and she interrupted me to ask, "Is it really called nErDcamp???" Why, yes, it is!
I've gone every year to nErDcamp since the first one in 2013. It's morphed from one day to two days and has become more amazing every year. This year, we watched Most Likely To Succeed: A Film About What School Could Be to kick off all the nErDcamp fun on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, I helped with registration so I didn't run the 5k or eat the pancake breakfast but it sounded like a great time. I did, however, get a great seat to listen to six remarkable women share their stories and their inspirational words: Kathy Burnette, Teri Lesesne, Raina Telgemeier, Pernille Ripp, Donalyn Miller, and Kate DiCamillo.
Monday afternoon I presented with author Louise Borden on getting real with research and inspiring students to explore their curiosity and to offer opportunities for authentic research because of it. After that I also led a session on living the life of a coach.
And then it was off to the Nerdy dinner and more great conversations with Nerdy friends. Look at the goodies Debbie Ridpath Ohi shared with dinner guests!
Tuesday it was time for the more traditional Edcamp-style unconference at nErDcamp where I threw out the idea for a session on Pokemon Go...and people came! It was super fun to learn more about Pokemon Go with others who were curious too. 
Two years ago, one other teacher from my previous district came to nErdcamp and we met there for the first time when we realized we taught in the same district. Last year, one of my really close friends came. But this year, we actually had six people come and that was pretty awesome. It was fun to be able to share nErDcamp with them! And so I give you...a Nerd balloon picture with my U-46 friends:
After all the sessions on Tuesday and hugging friends goodbye, I stayed Tuesday night to lead a group of students through their nErDcamp Jr experience. It's such a great way to end nErDcamp because everything we do is really and truly about the students.

All the kids gathered together in the auditorium to watch as Jerzy Drozd led Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Aaron Zenz, and Eddie Pittman through an illustrating challenge. Then they were off with their groups to read and write with authors and illustrators. How cool is that!?
My group was able to write and draw with Erica Perl, Liesl Shurtliff, and Laurie Keller. So fun!
It's energizing to be around people who are part of my wonderful educator family! Being with others who are passionate about learning buoys me up as I get ready for another school year. Today I'm celebrating the people near and far who share my love of reading and writing but who also share that with their students.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/21/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme ho...