Monday, April 30, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/30/2018

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. 

Announcement:
In a little over a week, on May 10th, Teach Mentor Texts will be celebrating it's 8th anniversary! I can't believe it's been eight years already. I'm planning a makeover and will be bringing my content from Story Exploratory over. There will also be some fun writing giveaways and opportunities so get ready to join in on the fun!
Last Week's Book Adventures:
My class is over! I finished up my final project and gave my presentation on Wednesday so I feel soooo freeeeee! I also printed out the current version of my YA novel that I'm working on and have been making notes for changes I'd like to make. I've been reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda with my book club and at home with Peanut and Little Bean. I also read some of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself this weekend. My reading life is all over the place!

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Seriously, I'd like to zone in on Aru Shah and if I can finish it, I have Love, Hate, and Other Filters. I'll also be reading more of Origami Yoda.

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!

Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/23/2018

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. 

Announcements:
In a little over two weeks, on May 10th, Teach Mentor Texts will be celebrating it's 8th anniversary! I can't believe it's been eight years already. I'm planning a makeover and will be bringing my content from Story Exploratory over. There will also be some fun writing giveaways and opportunities so get ready to join in on the fun!
Last Week's Book Adventures:
I started reading Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry by Smokey Daniels and Sara Ahmed. It's amazing. I finished my reading for the class I'm taking. I just have to finish up the final project this week! I read Jabber-Walking, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and more of Aru Shah. I also did a lot of podcast listening and I'm especially enjoying Liz Gilbert's Magic Lessons.

Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'm looking forward to reading more of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda with my book club and Aru Shah and Upstanders and to listening to more of When Dimple Met Rishi. As always, so many books, so little time!

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, April 22, 2018

Jabber-Walking

Title: Jabber-Walking 
Author: Juan Felipe Herrera  
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Poetry 
GoodReads Summary: Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican-American Poet Laureate in the USA, is sharing secrets: how to turn your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry.

Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you're in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, Jabberwalking poet! Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them -- to Jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there's no stopping once you're a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. Scribble what you see! Scribble what you hear! It's all out there -- vamonos! 
What I Think: I love this! It's part writing strategy, part humorous fiction, and part autobiographical. Juan Felipe takes us on a wonderful journey. Even though I read this in one sitting at my kitchen table, it was like I was off and zipping around with him on writing adventures. He shares ideas for how to gather up ideas around you or from things you have read. And he shares stories from his life and how he became a poet. This book exudes voice like salsa juice running down your wrist as you try to eat an over-stuffed burrito. 
     As a mentor text you can totally share this book with students as you talk through how to gather up ideas. You can ask them to try jabber walking or even go on a jabber walk with them yourself. You can also look at voice because his voice to distinctly jumps out at you. No one else could have written this book. Voice is such a hard idea to grasp and having examples like Jabber-Walking is great because it's so obvious. It's so easy to see and hear his voice so it makes a perfect mentor text to study for voice. I would pair it with another poet to show the difference. Robert Frost comes to mind because he clearly writes poem about nature and about walking around and observing things but his style is so different from Herrera. 
Snatch of Text:  
     "SCRIBBLE your burbles, your words of things --- that you see and think and feel but it is really not thinking or even feeling. It is plain ole bonified, fuzzy, puffy, blue-cheesy, incandescent, brave Jabber!
     Jabberwalking is not for the neat, polished, well-combed aesthete --- it is as stated in the epigraph by Señor Lewis Carroll at the start of this fine volume. Jabberwalking is for the Jabber Walker with "eyes of flame."
Writing Prompt: Try going for a jabber walk! Grab your notebook or anything to write on and write with. Wander somewhere new or different and jot down what you see and notice. Then turn it into a poem. 

JOIN: Celebrating What Sucks About Writing Right Now


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


It's seems a bit counterproductive to be celebrating what sucks right now but for me it is a celebration because by acknowledging what sucks right now, I can hopefully move past it. 

1. The Voice In My Head That Tells Me I'm Not a Writer

I'm not sure this will ever go away but I can definitely stop listening to it. As much as I write and as much as I love writing, there's still a little voice in my head that tells me I'm not enough. Partly, I'm not good enough as a writer and partly, I'm not good enough as a person that anyone would care about me or my stories or want to read them. It really hit home this week when I read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I knew I was in a sort of funk and this book was recommended to me so I finally read it. He points out how we all have hidden barriers, these stories we tell ourselves that hold us back, that don't let us live up to our potential. Well, one of my hidden barriers is that I feel seriously flawed as a person. Who cares about me? Who wants to read my stuff? Who am I to think I matter let alone, I'm important. 

I have no idea. 

Solution to celebrate: I'll tell that voice to be quiet. I honestly think I'll always have that little inner critic. In some ways, I think it's an internal defense mechanism. Putting myself out there, sharing my writing, hoping to be published, is a risk. But it's a risk I'm willing to take because I know that everyone else writing is a person too. Everyone else has gone through the experience of sitting down, writing, working on their writing, and putting themselves out there. If they can do it, I can do it too. I have no idea if anyone will care about my stories or want to read them but I can still try. 

I also have an idea for how to breathe some energy into my writing life by connecting with other writers. I'm planning to merge this blog with Teacher Mentor Texts next month and as part of the merge, I'll be offering writing conferences to any educators who embrace the writing life or who want to embrace the writing life. I'll share more info soon!

2. The Fear of Standing Out

I have another hidden barrier...and that's worrying about what other people will say if I write and blog and sell a book and love my life as a writer. I can't tell you how many times people ask, "Where do you find time?" I've even had people ask, "Do you ever sleep?" And I get it because I do a lot. I'm a mom, our family is busy with school and sports, and we love to have fun. I read, I go to yoga, I write. The truth is that I make time for what I really care about and what fuels me. I make time for my family and I make time to live a writing life. I'm lucky because my job as an instructional coach lets me to interact with people and share my love of learning and literacy so it fuels me in a similar way that my home life does. BUT I there are also lots of things I probably could be doing that I let go because I want to make time for what I really love doing. 

Case in point, below is a current picture of my living room table. It's littered with books, bills, homework, random stuff like sunglasses, a hat, a Color Street smple, blue sticks, pencil sharpeners, a compass. It's stuff we need to put away that we haven't. Mostly to blame are me and the kids. My poor husband...I really should clear it off, put all this detritus away, put books on the shelf. Then we could all eat dinner together at the kitchen table. But I don't make dinner every night. At least, not a fancy home-cooked meal. We don't set the table. 
All of this is to say that I have this fear of outshining other people. I have this worry that if I do too much, other people will judge me and ask how I do it and the very last thing I want is for people to tuck their chins back and look at me like I'm some kind of super human person. I'm not! I'm just me. There is so much I don't do to be able to have time to focus on what I really love. 

Solution to Celebrate: *sigh* I'm not really sure how to solve this other than doing what I do, trying to share as much as I can, and inviting others to go on the journey with me. I honestly believe we all have stories to tell. All our stories are important. That's a main reason why I started Story Exploratory. I don't want to prance around and have people fawn over me, I just want to share my writing life and encourage others to embrace their writing life, whatever that looks like. 

3. #1 and #2 Together

Okay, so what really really sucks right now is that I uncovered my hidden barriers. I was able to see that I have this underlying belief that I'm not good enough but also a fear of letting myself live up to my creative potential. It just sucks. They're basically in competition with each other. Just when I tell myself to believe in myself and go out there and work towards my dreams...I then tell myself to hold back and not be too free and too successful. Somehow I have to figure out how to shut down the voices in my head and to believe in myself and hold myself ultimately accountable to myself. But at the same time remind others that if I can do it, they can do it.

Solution to celebrate: The only thing I've got for this right now is to just keep going. I'm not sure what else to do other than to keep writing, to keep blogging, to keep connecting with others, and to celebrate this writing life. Just writing about what sucks right now feels freeing. I can put these ideas out there and maybe let them go. I wish I could say I could write this, post it, and completely let it go. I'll try. But I have a feeling I'm going to need to write about it more and just focus on my living my writing life and also inviting others to live their writing life or their creative life, whatever that means. 

You know what? I feel a little bit better. I teeny bit lighter. I smidge more ready to get over my hesitations, those silly voices in my head. I'm me. I'm a writer. I love myself. I love writing. I'm worth it. I'm enough. I'm going to keep going. 
How about you? What sucks about your writing life right now? What are your struggling with? What's holding you back? Maybe I can help! I'd love to hear more and hopefully this post helps you know that you aren't alone. Wherever you are on your journey, there are others on the path ahead of you or behind you. And we're here for you. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/16/2018

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. 

Announcement:

From now on, we're going to post our It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts at 2:00 am eastern, 1:00 am central, 11:00pm pacific. It just gives us a little more time to get our posts up and we hope you'll understand. Other than that, everything will stay the same. We appreciate you understanding and if you have any questions, please let us know. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of Aru Shah and listened to When Dimple Met Rishi. I also started Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass as we're considering it for a one school, one book read.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
My plan this week is to finish Aru Shah and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and to make it through as much of Every Soul a Star as I can. I'll be facilitating a book club with some 5th graders starting today and we're reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda so I'm rereading it with them. I'm sooooooo excited!

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!

Monday, April 9, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/09/2018

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. 

Announcement:

From now on, we're going to post our It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts at 2:00 am eastern, 1:00 am central, 11:00pm pacific. It just gives us a little more time to get our posts up and we hope you'll understand. Other than that, everything will stay the same. We appreciate you understanding and if you have any questions, please let us know. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I finished listening to We Are Okay and read Write From the Start: Tapping Your Child's Natural Writing Ability by Donald Graves and Virginia Stuart. I find myself still thinking about We Are Okay...that book made me do a lot of thinking. And I got Write from the Start from the library. I know how pivotal Don Graves' research on writing and writing instruction was. Even though this book was published in 1985, it was really interesting to read and think about what still holds true today. I also read more of Aru Shah and read The Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark with Little Bean for our mother-son book club. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll be reading and hopefully finishing Aru Shah. I really want to get back to Poet X and I have When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon to listen to on audio. I also have Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart on audio that I started with Peanut so we might go back to that 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!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The One With The End of Slice of Life Challenge 2018!


This month, I'm participating in the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post or you can head on over there to check out other people's stories and follow along with the fun. For more information on what a Slice of Life is about, you can go here

*          *          *

The March Slice of Life Challenge is over! I missed five days along the way but overall, I kept up with posting daily and I had a blast. I've done the month-long challenge twice before. The first time I blogged about so many totally random things. The second time I blogged all about my identity. This time I took what I learned from the previous experiences into account to make it more manageable for myself but it was still a totally unique experience. 

Here are all my posts in case you'd like to go back and read any of them!


My biggest advice for anyone who wants to try the month-long Slice of Life Challenge is to either choose a topic ahead of time and/or brainstorm a list of topics for different blog posts for the month. It helped me to know that I had enough ideas to last me a whole month. This time, I brainstormed a list but I definitely didn't stick to my list like I did the second time I did this challenge. I meandered a bit and let my exploration take me in different directions but having a specific focus definitely helped. 

This time I chose spoken word poetry as my focus because I'm going to start an open mic club at the middle school where I work and I really wanted to try it out and see what it was all about and know as much as I could going into it. This worked out perfectly because I learned so much about the history of spoken word that will surely impact my lens of looking at the genre going forward. I have a friend who teaches dance and he likes to spend time talking about the history of hip hop and how hip hop started and has evolved before even getting to learning any moves and this feels similar. I feel better able to embrace spoken word and join in knowing more about the history. 

In terms of learning about myself as a writer, I was reminded how easy it is to write once I have a topic or at least a plan, even if it's not super detailed. As I was participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, I was also finishing up a rewrite of a young adult novel. Part of my revision/rewrite process was to outline my story. I wrote the first draft last summer and I've found that writing out the beats in a story helps me because then I can write through all the beats and end up with a draft. 

Well, as I did some research on revision, I discovered a different way to outline after watching a video from Katytastic on how to outline each of the three acts of a story. I've never ever thought of myself as a plotter but the more I write, the more helpful I find it is to have a plan. Just like I did well during this challenge because I had topic ideas for my posts and an overall theme of spoken word poetry, as I was working through my rewrite, I just told myself to write each of these plot points and I slowly checked off each item on my outline.


So far, a writing life for me is a lot about trying new things and keeping on keeping on. That's what I know to be true. I've found things along the way that I really like and that work for me but just because something worked well before, it doesn't mean I'm tied to it the next time around. There are so many writers out there and so many people sharing their experiences and expertise that there are so many ideas to scoop up and try. 

And this, this is what writing is all about and what writing instruction should be. I read this wonderful article about writing instruction this weekend: Six Roadblocks to Writing Instruction—and How to Find Alternative Routes. Writing Workshop with a classful of kids is a challenge but looking at what writers do and discussing that with students, giving them time to write and explore a variety of topics meeting with them to talk over their writing and where they're going next, getting at this metacognition about writing, it's important! And it's what we know is best when it comes to writing instruction. 

So here's my biggest takeaway from this month of participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (it's really a reminder): Teachers who write make better writing teachers. We know this, right?! This is what Teachers Write is all about. When we write, we better understand what it means to be a writer. When teachers are writers too, we better understand what our students are going through. We can empathize and make connections and suggestions because we're in it with them. Over at Story Exploratory, I blogged about embracing the suck and how Brené Brown talks about only taking advice from people who are in the arena with you. THIS is why being a teacher who writes is imperative. 

Whether you've done the March Slice of Challenge this year or before or never, I definitely recommend it! You can wait until next year to join in or start your own 30 day challenge or join in on the weekly Slice of Life challenge (people blog and link up on Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers). Or maybe you want to write a little more regularly or join Teachers Write this summer. I know 100% in my heart and in my brain (there's research!) that students need teacher of writing who write so I hope you think about writing more yourself in some way or another!

And if you need some help or a nudge or a cheerleader, I'm here for you! Just let me know!

Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/02/2018

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. 

Announcement:

From now on, we're going to post our It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts at 2:00 am eastern, 1:00 am central, 11:00pm pacific. It just gives us a little more time to get our posts up and we hope you'll understand. Other than that, everything will stay the same. We appreciate you understanding and if you have any questions, please let us know. (P.S. This isn't an April Fool's joke! xo)

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I have absolutely no idea where the week went! We had fun with friends, went downtown a few times, got a new minivan (woot!), and watched the Loyola win last weekend and lose this weekend. Oh, and we saw the Wrinkle in Time movie.

I finished my rewrite! 60,655 words. It's pretty wild to think that I wrote the first draft last July and August and that I rewrote the whole thing and have a second draft. I've never ever before scrapped a whole draft and started from new. I went back to my first draft here and there but for the most part, I started from the beginning and rewrote the whole thing. That said, I didn't get much reading done. We have one more day off tomorrow and then it will be back to our regularly scheduled life and I'm looking forward to getting back to a routine. AND, I can easily play my audiobooks through my phone and into my car speakers. Honestly, I'm going to be pinching myself for a long time because I'm just so excited to have a minivan.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
My plan this week is to read more of We Are Okay on audiobook and spend time with Aru Shah and the End of Time. I also have reading to do for class...I'm so so so close to being done with this class. Only four classes left! Of course, I still have a major final project to do and a paper to write this week but that's okay, the end is in sight!

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!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/14/2019

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