Monday, May 28, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/28/2018

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 started reading Love Sugar Magic by Anna Meriano and ended up listening to more of When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm hoping to finish listening to When Dimple Met Rishi and to finish reading Love Sugar Magic. I also have The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson which I'd like to read as a mentor text so hopefully I'll get 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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

Title: Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes 
Author: Hena Khan 
Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini 
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes—and traditions—of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent's lap being read to a child. 
What I Think:  
Snatch of Text:  
"Crescent is the moon,
brilliant in the sky.
It whispers salaam
as the day passes by."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon & Garfunkel

Title: When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon & Garfunkel
Author: G. Neri 
Illustrator: David Litchfield
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 20th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: From childhood friendship to brief teenage stardom, from early failures to musical greatness — the incredible story of how Simon & Garfunkel became a cherished voice of their generation.

Long before they became one of the most beloved and successful duos of all time, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were just two kids growing up in Queens, New York — best friends who met in a sixth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland and bonded over girls, baseball, and rock ’n’ roll. As teens, they practiced singing into a tape recorder, building harmonies that blended their now-famous voices until they sounded just right. They wrote songs together, pursued big-time music producers, and dreamed of becoming stars, never imagining how far their music would take them. Against a backdrop of street-corner doo-wop gangs, the electrifying beginnings of rock ’n’ roll, and the rise of the counterculture folk music scene, G. Neri and David Litchfield chronicle the path that led two young boys from Queens to teenage stardom and back to obscurity, before finding their own true voices and captivating the world with their talent. Back matter includes an afterword, a discography, a bibliography, and a fascinating list of song influences. 
What I Think: G. Neri completely captured the mood of Simon and Garfunkel and their music in this wonderful non-fiction picture book biography. I could hear their acoustic guitar and folk style music in my head as I read. By the end, I had tears in my eyes after learning more about Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and their friendship. I had no idea they had been friends since they were young. 
     I love this book because it's such a great example of how an author and illustrator have created a book that characterizes their subjects so well. This book is a great mentor text for showing what mood is. I would think about word choice here and how it contributes to the mood. I would also use this as a jumping off point to talk about writing about a historical figure and how a writer can use word choice to set the mood for their piece based on what they know about the subject. 
     As a mentor text for ideas, you could read this book and think of your own favorite singers or musicians and think about writing about them and their story. Similarly, you could dive into music and different styles of music. Once I finished reading, I went and found Simon and Garfunkel singing The Sounds of Silence on YouTube. It instantly reminded me of what I know of the time period and wanting to go and learn more. I love books as opportunities to spark curiosity and inspiration for writing. Below is the video if you want to take a trip down memory lane or maybe you've never heard the song and are curious what these two are so very well known for. 
Snatch of Text:  
"When it's over,
Paul and Artie stand there,
breathless and grinning
at each other. 
If nobody ever hears it,
at least they'll have a recording
just for themselves ---
a snapshot of their friendship,
frozen for all time."

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/21/2018

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:
Teachers Write will be back this summer and the sign up is open! To celebrate, I've blocked off time on Monday, May 28th to talk with 10 people who sign up for a personal writing conference with me. This will be first come, first served and we'll connect via Google Hangout. You'll have the option to share a short piece of writing with me ahead of time if you'd like or we can just talk about your writing life in general. It doesn't matter whether you have been writing for a long time or are new to writing. It also doesn't matter what you write. All writers count, all writers are welcome. Each writing conference will last 20-25 minutes.

To sign up for a writing conference, click this link. Then click where it says, "Next available appointment slot on May 28, 2018." From there, choose a time slot that works for you and click "Save". This will save the appointment to your Google Calendar and reserve the spot with me. You will need to be signed into a Google account to be able to do this. I'll send you an email confirmation the week before our chat with more information. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of Darth Paper Strikes Back with Peanut and Little Bean and we also tried listening to some of The Hobbit on audio. I'm not sure I convinced the kids they would love it but we tried listening for a little bit. I started listening to Lily and Dunkin but admittedly didn't get very far yet.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm hoping to listen to more of Lily and Dunkin and to read Love Sugar Magic by Anna Meriano.

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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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 20, 2018

JOIN: Celebrating My Mama and Reading and Writing


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


Yesterday my sister and I took my mom to Milwaukee for a Mother's Day girls' celebration. It's been a long time since just the three of us went out and we had such a great time. We scheduled a private lesson for her at a yarn store. She loves to crochet but she got some tips from a nice lady who does the lessons at the Knitting Nook. Then we went out to dinner at a tapas restaurant called La Merenda. It was so fun to celebrate my mom and spend time with her and my sister.  



I'm grateful to still have my mom in my life and that my kids get to have her in their lives. 

On the drive to pick up my sister, she asked me about my writing and we talked about how my grandma loved to read and write. There are so many things that contributed to me being a reader and a writer but the fact that my family embraced books and encouraged me to read and write is definitely one of them. I'm lucky and I wish every young person could develop a love of reading and writing. 

Blogging has been a really fulfilling way for me to share my love of reading and writing and to hopefully make an impact on the world by spreading a love of reading and writing. To celebrate eight years of blogging here, I'm happy to share the winners of three different books. I'm also offering to chat with anyone who wants to talk about writing. On Monday, May 28th, I've blocked off time to talk with 10 people who sign up for a personal writing conference with me. This will be first come, first served and we'll connect via Google Hangout. You'll have the option to share a short piece of writing with me ahead of time if you'd like or we can just talk about your writing life in general. It doesn't matter whether you have been writing for a long time or are new to writing. It also doesn't matter what you write. All writers count, all writers are welcome. Each writing conference will last 20-25 minutes.

To sign up for a writing conference with me, click the link below. Then click where it says, "Next available appointment slot on May 28, 2018." From there, choose a time slot that works for you and click "Save". This will save the appointment to your Google Calendar and reserve the spot with me. You will need to be signed into a Google account to be able to do this. I'll send you an email confirmation the week before our chat with more information. 


And now the book giveaway winners! Thanks again to Scholastic for providing these books for me to give away. 

The winner of:
Comprehensive Literacy 
by Patricia L. Scharer
is Jill Bless!

The winner of:
One person will win The Megabook of Fluency 
by Timothy V. Rasinski and Melissa Cheesman Smith
is Lisa Maucione!

The winner of:
The Writing Teacher's Companion 
by Ralph Fletcher
is Lisa Cosgrove!




Friday, May 18, 2018

How to Code a Sandcastle

Title: How to Code a Sandcastle 
Author: Josh Funk 
Illustrator: Sara Palacios 
Publisher: Viking/Penguin 
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.

Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, need to build a sandcastle before summer vacation is over, and they’re going to do it using code. Pearl breaks the big we-need-a-sandcastle problem into smaller steps, then uses conditionals, loops, and other basic coding concepts to tell Pascal exactly what to do. But building a sandcastle isn’t as easy as it sounds when surfboards, mischievous dogs, and coding mishaps get in the way! Just when it looks like the sandcastle might never work, Pearl uses her coding skills to save the day and create something even better: a gorgeous sandcastle kingdom!

What I Think: I'm so excited to use this when we celebrate Hour of Code next year! Our district has been doing Hour of Code districtwide for about five years and next year we have plans to expand this and integrate coding experiences throughout the year. I love how How to Build a Robot helps us think about coding outside of computers. While I sometimes work with the code on my blog, I don't have as much experience with coding that lets me see how coding can be part of other parts of my day. But this book helps me see how I can start looking for times when I can code my day and it also gives me the opportunity to think about this with students. 
     At the end of the book, you can read Pearl and Pascal's Guide to Coding where they explain code, a sequence, a loop, and an if-then-else. I've been thinking a lot about teaching students advocacy. From as simple as, if you aren't sure about something, raise your hand to ask a question, we could talk about if-then-else. I love this! Students could come up with different scenarios and think through what they could do in those situations. You could brainstorm as a group and then ask students to write their own if-then-else scenarios. Sometimes this explicit discussion of what to do in different situations helps students know what options they have in different situations. This is kind of silly but here's an example. When my 7-year-old runs to the car ahead of me and tries to open the door before I've unlocked it, he used to pull and pull and pull on the door handle to get the door open. Finally, I told him, IF he gets to the car and tries to open the door and it's still locked, THEN he should look into the passenger side window and wave at me so to remind me to unlock the door. It worked like a charm. All I had to do was explain to him what I wanted him to do instead of what he was doing. Again, this could definitely work in a school context. Students could brainstorm what to do if: they have to go to the bathroom, need a drink of water, don't understand a math problem, need help spelling a word, etc. Again, this is perfect for discussing any kind of strategies we want students to be aware of IF they encounter a certain situation. 
     As a mentor text, How to Code a Sandcastle also offers a perfect opportunity to look at problems in a story. As students stretch their stories out more, they can start to think about how stories have some kind of problem or conflict that the main character has to work through. Pearl and Pascal encounter four small problems that they have to solve in the story. It's great to pay attention to this as a reader because it helps us understand and retell a story but it's also important to pay attention to as a writer because many stories have a problem or conflict. Once readers notice that this story has a problem, they can start to look for the problem in other stories and make connections in this way while also or before thinking about the problem in their own stories.
Snatch of Text:
"But today, I've got the perfect plan. I've brought my trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal.

He'll do whatever I tell him - as long as I tell him CODE. It's not a secret code - it's special instructions that computers understand."  
Writing Prompt: Write a code for something in your own life. You can write out the steps, identify a loop, or even write an if-then-else code.

Monday, May 14, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/14/2018

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 The Strange Case of Origami Yoda with my 5th grade book club and read Darth Paper Strikes Back with my kids at home. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'm going to listen to more of Lily and Dunkin and to finish reading Origami Yoda and Darth Paper. This is my last full week of school and we have something to do every single night this week so it's going to be a doozy!

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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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 13, 2018

JOIN: Celebrating My Eight Year Blogiversary!


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


You may have noticed that things have changed a bit around here! This weekend, I updated the blogger header, picked a new theme, and imported all my posts from my Story Exploratory blog. Now everything is here so I can blog a little more broadly about writing but have everything in one place. 

When I started blogging about books and writing in 2010, Peanut had just turned three, I was pregnant with Little Bean, and had finished work on my National Board certification. Eight years later and Little Bean is finishing up second grade. Next school year he'll be in third grade and Peanut will be in sixth grade which is the first year of middle school in our district. It's time to renew my National Board certification so I've been making plans to be able to start that process next year. 

So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same. I'm sitting on our back deck as the kids play football with my husband, Chad. We celebrated Mother's Day by going out to lunch with my family and soon we'll head inside to take showers and go through backpacks and get ready for the week. 
Eight years ago I decided this blog would be about a celebration of books and how to use them as mentor texts. I had no idea how much my love of writing would grow, that I would start writing novels and picture books, that I would be part of an amazing virtual summer writing camp for teachers, that I would start to dream about one day being published, that I would try online writing contests, query agents, and sign with an agent, or that I would have books out on submission with publishers. 

Who knows what the next eight years will bring! I'm excited to see how my love for writing will grow and what I'll learn about writing and what experiences will come my way. Thanks for being part of my writing journey! And for being here to celebrate with me, I have some gifts for you! 

I have three awesome educational books courtesy of Scholastic to share. You can fill out the Google Form below to enter. I'll choose three separate winners in the continental US next Saturday, May 19th and announce the winners here on Sunday, May 20th. 

One person will win Comprehensive Literacy 
by Patricia L. Scharer. 

One person will win The Megabook of Fluency 
by Timothy V. Rasinski and Melissa Cheesman Smith.

One person will win 
The Writing Teacher's Companion by Ralph Fletcher.

Also, as you may know, Teachers Write will be back this summer and the sign up is already open. Being part of a writing community like Teachers Write has seriously changed my life and played a huge role in me seeing myself as a writer. Connecting with other writers is an important part of my writing life.

To celebrate the power of being connected as a writer, I've blocked off time on Monday, May 28th to talk with 10 people who sign up for a personal writing conference with me. This will be first come, first served and we'll connect via Google Hangout. You'll have the option to share a short piece of writing with me ahead of time if you'd like or we can just talk about your writing life in general. It doesn't matter whether you have been writing for a long time or are new to writing. It also doesn't matter what you write. All writers count, all writers are welcome. Each writing conference will last 20-25 minutes. I've never done this before so we'll see how it goes and if there is a lot of interest, I might find another day during the summer to offer this again. 

To sign up for a writing conference with me, click the link below. Then click where it says, "Next available appointment slot on May 28, 2018." From there, choose a time slot that works for you and click "Save". This will save the appointment to your Google Calendar and reserve the spot with me. You will need to be signed into a Google account to be able to do this. I'll send you an email confirmation the week before our chat with more information. 

Thanks again for celebrating with me and for reading my blog! I'm so glad to share my love of books and writing and to connect with you. Don't forget to enter the book giveaway or to sign up for a writing conference. xo




Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/06/2018

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:
On Thursday, Teach Mentor Texts will be 8th years old! I'm planning a makeover and will be merging my content from Story Exploratory with everything here at Teach Mentor Texts. There will also be some fun writing giveaways and opportunities so get ready to join in on the fun!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Peanut and I finished The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. I also read New Shoes be Sara Varon and we went to Free Comic Book Day and I got and read the Comics Friends Forever sampler and a Ms. Marvel comic that I loved, loved, loved. Other than that I've been working on revisions and adding songs to my playlist as I brainstorm and work on some character development for the next book I want to write. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I have Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart to listen to on audio so I think I'll make that my goal for the week. I've been listening to podcasts lately but I'm ready to switch back to an audiobook. I also would like to get back to Upstanders...and a million other books I have on my to-read pile. 

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!

#classromobookaday and Vocabulary

This year I'm joining in on Classroom Book A Day fun with my 7th and 8th graders. You can read my first week with Classroom Book A...