Sunday, January 28, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/29/2018

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:
Gah! With my class starting and really zoning in on my rewrite, I didn't get to as much reading as I had hoped. I read for class, read some of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and believe it or not, I did get to some of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Obviously I have to read for class but I might put Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life aside for a bit because I'd like to read I Am Alfonso Jones and I have Bull by David Elliott 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!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/22/2018

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 made it about 50 pages into Pedagogy of the Oppressed and then my brain needed a break. I also read more of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I didn't get to my graphic novels this week but I hope I can fit one in this week at least. Last Wednesday was the first day of the last class I need to earn my ESL endorsement. I'm soooooo close. I have two text books for this class and lots of projects but hopefully it'll be good learning.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
My plan this week will be to get my reading done for class and then to make at least some progress with Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and probably I Am Alfonso Jones. Happy reading to all!
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!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/15/2018

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:
This week I read Amina's Voice by Hena Khan, Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner, and finally finished Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I read some of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and picked up Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire but haven't started it yet. For picture books, I finally read After The Fall by Dan Santat and Love by Matt De La Peña with illustrations by Loren Long. Both amazing.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to zone in on Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Pedagogy of the Oppressed this week. I also have I Am Alfonso Jones and Yummy, two graphic novels which I've really been looking forward to and have heard good things about. 

Also, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I found a digital version of Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story, the comic book Peanut and I heard Representative John Lewis talk about. He said it inspired him in his work as an activist and is in part why he believed in Andrew Aydin's idea for the March graphic novels. We'll be making signs for the Women's March next weekend and I thought reading this together might be interesting along with looking at other images from the Civil Rights Movement and making connections to today. 

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!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

All's Faire in Middle School

Title:  All's Faire in Middle School 
Author: Victoria Jamieson 
Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson
Publisher: Dial Books 
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Realistic/Graphic Novel
GoodReads Summary: Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind--she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all. 
What I Think: I love Imogene and her bravery in middle school. I talked to my 5th grader about this book (he read it before me) and we talked about how Imogene takes ownership of her actions. He pointed out that he was kind of bummed that she did something mean in the first place. It reminded us of Jack Will from Wonder. He gets sucked into being unkind to Auggie too. It made me wonder about how common this idea is in books and I think my son is right, we see it more often then not...but I think that's because it's so easy to get sucked in. It's not easy to stand up for what you believe in no matter what. I'm so glad we have Imogene's story to talk about, even if she makes a mean choice at one point, she faces her consequences and that's a great lesson.
     I found myself thinking a lot about how the story unfolds and how Victoria Jamieson made the story arc work. I was so excited after reading it that I went back to look at each chapter and study it as a mentor text. Short stories or even longer stories can be hard to write. It seems like they should be easy because there is so much room to make stuff happen but just because they're longer, it doesn't mean stuff has to happen or that the story doesn't have to move along. You better believe it has to move along. Most writers start by learning that a story has a beginning, middle, and end. And most writers know there has to be a problem a story. But beyond that, it's hard to see how a story moves along from beginning to end. Enter All's Faire in Middle School as an awesome mentor text.
     Here are the 13 chapters with a gist of what happens in each chapter (without giving away spoilers):
1. We get a hint at what our main character's journey might be but he/she/they don't know what they're in for yet!
2. Our main character prepares for an upcoming challenge.
3. Our main character is off to the challenge...and is kind of freaked out.
4. A celebration, things are going well for our main character.
5. Oh no, trouble ahead.
6. When there's trouble, our main character strategizes and comes up with a plan.
7. The plan is working...wait, the plan is not working at all.
8. Disaster strikes. Like really strikes. Everything that can go bad, goes bad.
9. Just when you thought everything that could go bad, went bad, things get even worse for our main character.
10. Our main character starts to face the consequences.
11. The main character tries to make amends.
12. Our main character tries even harder to set things straight.
13. Not every story ends in happy ever after...but the main character makes one more courageous act to at least try and make everything as right as possible.
      This was a great activity for me in reverse engineering an outline. The beats that appeared reminded me a bit of the beats from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat. That's a great resource too! Here's how I did it. I put a sticky note on the first page of every chapter. I reread each chapter and wrote 1-2 sentences about the chapter. Then I laid out the sticky notes in order and looked at characters, setting, and main plot points. I looked at a general gist of what was happening in each chapter and how the story arc unfolds. I also did this with Amina's Voice by Hena Khan. It's helpful to see how others have worked with plot so I can think about it in my own novels. You can easily have students do this and then think about how they might write a story by starting with 1-2 sentences with each beat in the story and then have them elaborate from there. So often student writers start writing their stories without a plan...I do this sometimes too but I've learned that sometimes it really is helpful to have a plan. When I have a plan, it's much easier to talk myself into writing each chapter or scene because I just follow my plan.
     Whether writers want to use this basic outline to loosely plan their stories before writing or not, it's important to discuss the idea of outlining with students. It's all about the mindset of writing and having a toolkit handy when we're writing. In my experience, every story is different and every story gets written differently.
Writing Prompt: Write about the different ways Imogene tries to make things right and share any connections to your own life that you notice.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/07/2018

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'm finally, finally feeling rested and rejuvenated and ready to head back to school! I'm soooooo excited because I'll be doing a workshop on mentor texts! And you know how I feel about mentor texts!

This week I managed to finish up Braving the Wilderness which reminded me a lot about this post I wrote at Story Exploratory about standing up and speaking out. I followed my brave heart and this post describes a little of what it felt like for me. Brené Brown is amazing, I love everything she writes and Braving the Wilderness did not disappoint.  (On a side note, I'm thinking of transferring my Story Exploratory posts to Teacher Mentor Texts and choosing to be okay with blogging about more than mentor texts here. Writing is still my jam but I thought for some reason I needed a separately blog for not teaching stuff and I'm feeling like I have a split personality. Stay tuned! I'll share more information when I have a more concrete plan. But if you have thoughts, please let me know!)

I also read Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, and finished All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, and One Last Word by Nikki Grimes. All were awesome in their own way. If you haven't read One Last Word, it's beautiful and actually supports the idea of braving the wilderness. I highly recommend it.

Posts From Last Week:
Click on the picture above to read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
It's back to school this week! As I was reading All's Faire in Middle School, I was thinking about how I can use it as a mentor text so I can't wait to go and mark it up and make notes. Poor Peanut will have to deal with my confiscating his book for a little bit while I reread it.  I'd also like to get back to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. After that, I also have Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal that I've wanted to read. And speaking of Any Krouse Rosenthal, I was able to go to A Beauty Salon which was an exhibit that was an amazing tribute to her life and it was beautiful. Whether you know Amy's work or not (I know most of you do!), I hope you check out my post because we need more magic in the world. You can always trust magic. 

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!