Monday, April 12, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/12/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
I finished listening to The Art of Creative Writing and started listening to The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas. I'm also reading Little Weirds by Jenny Slate and rereading some awesome picture books that have been published in English and Spanish because I'm presenting at an NCTE Build Your Stack event this Thursday, April 15th: Build Your Stack with Multilingual Texts. You can get more information and register HERE

This Week's Adventures:

I'll keep listening to The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez and I'll finish Little Weirds. I still want to listen to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls; 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World and The Barren Grounds. And I am excited to read Traci Chee's We Are Not Free

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!


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!


Monday, April 5, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/5/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
I finished listening to Ancestor Approved and LOVED it. Then I started listening to The Art of Creative Writing by Lajos Egri. I'm finding it fascinating as it's all about people and stories. So interesting.

This Week's Adventures:

I plan to finish listening to The Art of Creative Writing this week and then to to listen to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls; 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World and The Barren Grounds. 

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!


TODAY! Monday, April 5th, I'm hosting another FREE workshop for educators. You can get more information and sign up HERE. Please feel free to share with friends who might need a little boost right about now. I know I've been feeling the impacts of the last year especially as the anniversary of schools closing hit. This workshop is about taking time for yourself, recentering, and reclaiming you. I hope you join me!
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!


Monday, March 29, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 03/29/20

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
I am proud to say that I actually got some reading done this week! It's all thanks to audiobooks. If you are an educator or librarian, did you know you can get access to free audiobooks through Libro.fm. If you aren't signed up, you can go here and do that now. You'll get an email every month with new audiobooks to download to the app and you can listen at any time. 

Last week I listened to Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander, Class Act by Jerry Craft, Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar, Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne and I started listening to Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith. I also read most of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien as a mentor text for the essays I'm working on.

This Week's Adventures:

This week I plan to finish listening to Ancestor Approved and The Things They Carried and then to listen to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls; 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World and The Barren Grounds. I also plan to finish reading The Things They Carried and then also finish up some other teacher books I've been reading. 

Next Monday, April 5th, I'm hosting another FREE workshop for educators. You can get more information and sign up HERE. Please feel free to share with friends who might need a little boost right about now. I know I've been feeling the impacts of the last year especially as the anniversary of schools closing hit. This workshop is about taking time for yourself, recentering, and reclaiming you. I hope you join me!


Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!


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!


Monday, March 22, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/22/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
Well, I did read more of The Flight of the Puffin and When Things Fall Apart but then I started reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. I'm in an essay writing class with Megan Stielstra this year and she recommended it for me to look at structure and form. 

I have to be honest, Tim O'Brien's work is hard for me to read. It always has been. I've tried before because my dad is a Vietnam vet and he only tells me bits and pieces of stories so I've always wanted to know more. Of course, I know Tim O'Brien and of course, I've tried to read his work before. But it's always been heart breaking in multiple ways. The universe brought me back to his work though so I started reading The Things The Carried this week.  

This Week's Adventures:

It's spring break here! I'm looking forward to taking time to read and work on some writing to but MOST importantly, to hang out with my guys. Taking a break from blogging this week but will be back next week. xoxo


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!


Monday, March 15, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/15/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
Gah. I'm still reading The Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden. I also have been reading a little of When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.


This Week's Adventures:

I'll still be reading The Flight of the Puffin and more of When Things Fall Apart. This week we're writing food reviews to share and I'm excited to share some student writing from 826CHI and the Eat Your Words collection with my current students.

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!


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!


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Writing with...Learning Mascots

A BIG thing I work on with writers of all ages is self doubt. It comes up no matter who you are and it can look different at different times in your writing life. 

With so many stressors on our mental health, we could all use some ways to tackle self doubt in our writing life and beyond. As I asked my students to reflect on trimester 2 and plan goals for trimester 3, I thought about my friend Carrie Baughcum and the learning mascots she creates with her students. 

And then I thought, we need learning mascots!

Our goal is to be able to draw our mascots in less than one minute so we started in 1-minute intervals. We first took one minute to make a list of animals we like, and then we took one minute to pick one of those animals to draw. If a student was finished early, they could try drawing another animal. We repeated this with food, objects/things, and characters like Pac-Man or Garfield.

Next we looked at all of our drawings and thought about what would work for our personal learning mascot. I explained that a learning mascot is a doodle character we create that goes everywhere with us and cheers us on as we work on our goals. 

We're still iterating and getting to know our learning mascots but I wanted to share mine. Her name is Globo (which means balloon in Spanish) and she's an uplifting, bubbly, inspirational kind of gal who wants to help you soar to the highest heights!
I drew her on my notes the other day so you can see how I can add her to all sorts of places to cheer me up and cheer me on. I already have ideas for learning mascots as well and will see if some of my students will share theirs.
You can learn more about leaning mascots from Carrie on her YouTube channel. Here are the videos I watched to get myself ready to share learning mascots with my students. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/8/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
I'm really enjoying The Flight of the Puffin and read some poetry from rupi kaur's book home body too. 

This Week's Adventures:

I'll be reading more of The Flight of the Puffin this week and I have a student who is reading and recommended Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas so I'd like to read that too. 

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!



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!


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Writing With...Zen Pencils and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Zen Pencils is a must-need resource! I love it for so many reasons and here are a few:

1. Quotes turned into cartoons - These are short, visual pieces with so much to discuss. 
2. Critical thinking - There are so many things to discuss in these texts. There's the person who said the quote and learning about them, there's looking at how the quote is brought to life in the cartoon. There's using visual literacy to analyze. So great.
3. Translations - Many of the comics are translated into different languages. I teach dual language so I love that there are options in Spanish but there are also translations in Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Polish, Russian, French, Portuguese, and Turkish.

Students and I have been talking about activism and studying activists. This week we're also talking about failure. As we are finishing this trimester, I asked students to reflect on this school year, how they feel about themselves as learners, what goals they have for themselves for the rest of the school year, and what steps they need to take to achieve those goals. I gave students an option to share in Flipgrid or in a Google Form. Now we're creating learning mascots (I'll share more about this next week!) and we're discussing what it means to fail versus what it means to be a failure. We'll then go back to our goals and use our learning mascots and our deeper thinking about failure to move us into trimester three. 

To get myself prepared for this discussion, I did a one minute word association about perfection and then I did a two minute word association looking at the difference between what it means to fail versus to be a failure. 

I'll be sharing this with my students today and inviting them to think about these as well. We do restorative justice circles and the topic today will be, "When is a time in your life when you failed? What happened afterwards and what did you learn?" Then we'll look at this Zen Pencils cartoon of Life's Pursuit A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and do a free write and then discuss in small groups. And after that, we'll go back to our goals (hopefully with renewed energy!) and connect this all with our learning mascots. 

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was noted as saying: 

“If you fail, never give up
because F.A.I.L. means 'First Attempt In Learning'.
End is not the end, in fact E.N.D. means 'Effort Never Dies.'
If you get No as an answer,
remember N.O. means 'Next Opportunity', 
So let’s be positive.”

I'll be sharing this quote too. Woo hoo! I'm so energized for this. I'll share my slides and more details on this lesson in Patreon this weekend. And I'll share more about my learning mascot journey next week.

If you have a favorite Zen Pencils cartoon or go look through them and find one that stands out to you, I'd love to hear about which one it is and why! Please share in the comments. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/1/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
I ended up reading and LOVING Cultivating Genius by Gholdy Muhammad and then rereading En Comunidad by Carla Espana y Luz Yadira Herrera. I'm officially starting The Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden today. 


This Week's Adventures:


I'm so excited to read The Flight of the Puffin! Looking forward to some fiction reading this week.

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!

Some fun with Zen Pencils!


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!


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Writing Woke

I read this fantastic poetry collection last year and fell in love right away. On the very first day of this school year - via Zoom - I introduced students to Mahogany L. Browne and we read Instructions of Listening to the Trees and did shared writing. I go back to this book again and again. It's a collection with poems about a variety of social issues written by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood with artwork by Theodore Taylor III. 

This text offers poems that can stand alone but can also be paired with another text. I'm a huge fan of pairing texts for two main reasons. 1. No one text can ever be diverse enough to encompass every lived experience. We have to offer a variety of texts to students and pairing texts or making text sets is a great way to do this. 2. Short texts are where it's at! Between the pandemic and the Tik Tok generation, short is key. Using short(er) texts, we can pair pieces and allow for students to practice comparing, making connections between texts, and learning from multiple resources.

As a mentor text, I love the shared writing I did with Instructions on Listening to the Trees so I'd like to share it. First of all, this piece is about paying attention and writers need to pay attention! It was a great way to kick off the year but this could be something to talk about at any time. Secondly, this poem is about community. I realized very early on in remote teaching that I have to be extra intentional about building community. Now that we are hybrid, this is still something I am paying attention to. Talking about it is important. Which leads me to shared writing. Not only are we reading about community but we each offered a line and I merged all the lines together into our own co-created poem. 

So when you read the poem, here's the line I zoned in on for students:

"And this is when I remember home"

I then asked students to step outside, notice, and write a line to finish their line: "The way..." My students are middle schoolers so I felt okay to ask them to step outside with the disclaimer to stay safe. I wrote my own beginning inspired by Mahogany L. Browne's poem and then added my students' lines. Here's a snapshot of the beginning:


I also tried this with teachers in my district and here's how that poem starts:

Y'all, this is just ONE poem from this collection. Every single poem is a gem and is so inspiring. Another one that resonates with my students is I've Been There Before. One of my 8th grade students was inspired to write about feelings he's been experiencing. I invited him to share with the class and what he wrote really resonated with others in the class. It was awesome. I'll be sharing slides that you can use with students in the Story Exploratory Patreon community this week. 









Monday, February 22, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/22/2021

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing ReadersThe original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It's a great way to share what you're reading and get recommendations. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Last Week's Adventures:
Last week I read Brave in the Woods by Tracy Holczer and shared how you can use it as a mentor text. On the adult side I read more of In the Dream House, Keep Moving, and I reread The Big Leap. On the education side, I'm reading Cultivating Genius so I can join the book club discussion that The Institute for Anti-Racist Education is hosting on Thursday.

Our librarian book talked different Black authors for Black History Month last week so I read the first chapter of Ghost by Jason Reynolds to them on Friday. They agreed that it was not boring! (If you go to his website and read the about page, he says his goal is to not write boring books. I've made an effort to go to author/illustrator websites to get to know them before we read their work.)


This Week's Adventures:

I'm going to start reading The Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden this week! And read more of Cultivating Genius.

Goodness Coming Your Way This Week!


Story Exploratory Update:

I also have more exciting news! There's another FREE workshop headed your way! For Teachers: Reclaim You is about time to recenter. 

Teacher friends tell me they are overwhelmed, exhausted, drained, stressed out, feeling pressure from everywhere, not feeling like they are doing enough at home or at school. We shouldn't have to sacrifice everything for our students. We love the work that we do but we don't to let the public school system suck our souls away. 

Give me one hour and I'll help you take a full, deep breath and recenter so you can reclaim YOU and walk into the weekend with open arms and a full heart.

The For Teachers: Reclaim You workshop is FREE when you make a donation to ACLUThe Conscious Kid, or Houston Food Bank
Sign up HERE
I'd love it if you'd help me connect with more awesome people like you! 
Share with anyone you know who could use a pick-me-up. :)

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!


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Writing with Brave in the Woods

As a teacher, I'm obsessed with two things right now. Pairing texts and digital texts. If you haven't seen Franki Sibberson's new Instagram account, @textsets I invite you to check it out. Texts sets are where it's at! 

Looking critically at the texts we choose to share with students is important. In my district, we were asked to teach a nonfiction unit from a resource that was bought without teacher input. When I looked at the list of resources, I saw that all the texts used in the unit centered white people and after doing my research, I found that they were all seemed to be written about white people. 

I brought this up to the administrators and my team right away and asked for us to have a discussion about the problem with this and how to address it. This is what happens if we do not look critically at the resources we share with students. 

Enter text sets and digital texts. We should always be making connections between texts and offering a variety of texts to our students. Because no one text will ever be everything it needs to be to every person. There is no simple black dress when it comes this work. There is no silver bullet. There is no magic diet pill. The solution is the work. And the work is gathering up lots of different texts to share with students and giving them opportunities to make connections. 

Okay, so here's this week's mentor text with a text you can pair it with to do exactly what I'm talking about and with purpose. You can pair texts for so many different reasons. This match up has to do with theme and also using repetition. 

At the beginning of Tracy Holczer's book Brave in the Woods, the main character is worried about her brother who has gone missing. 
Here's the snatch of text to look at and wonder about:

"In the thirty-two days since they'd found our Connor had gone missing, the worry had never left Juni's mind.

Not when she tried to read The One and Only Ivan for the seventh time because it was her favorite book ever. Not when she worked with Anya all day turning blackberries into jam. Not when she climbed the magical juniper tree, for which she was named, to sit in the old saddle Connor had loosely tied to the widest branch. 

Especially not then. 

She worried about being cursed. She worried about the bees in her chest. She worried that school was about to happen to her again. How was she supposed to get up every morning and think about math and English and social studies when her brother had vanished? How was she supposed to sit at a school desk five miles away when the army man could come back at an moment and tell her family they'd found Connor?" (p. 7-8)

I noticed the worry, her brain on overdrive and thought about Jason Reynold's book Look Both Ways and the story The Broom Dog. It's available with Jason himself reading it aloud with my Scholastic account so I asked students to read and listen to the story and to notice what the main character is worried about and how the author shows it on the page. 
A few weeks ago, I asked my students to write to me about things they wished their teachers knew. Worry and anxiety filled my screen. They are aware of their mental health and that they need help navigating complicated times.

Here's an opportunity to explore what it means to worry and how that manifests in our brains and our bodies. And then to try writing about it ourselves. I started thinking about what it means to worry and how that means fear is driving the bus. 
And then I thought of a time in my life when I was really worried, when my brain was on overdrive. It was in middle school when we had to go on a field trip to a teams course. You know the kind where you go with your group into the woods and a facilitator leads you in all sorts of team building activities. I hated them at first but then I grew to love them. 

I made a list in my notebook of what I was worried about and then how it went. And then I looked at the mentor text again and how repetition and listing all the things shows how worry shows up and is persistent and grows. And I wrote a poem to share with students:


What If?

We're on the bus, off to the teams course.
What are we going to do?
Why can't we be with our friends?
Will people be mean to me?
Will people say horrible things to me?
Will people judge me?
Will I be able to do the activities?
What if I can't do them?
What if I fail?
What if I mess up?
Will I survive?

We're on the bus, me and my brain.
Wondering and worrying
and wasting away the minutes 
until
We're there and we climb off the bus.
We stand with our group. 
We follow our facilitator into the woods.
We put one foot in front of the other.
We introduce ourselves.
We try the activities, one at a time.
Human knot, 
carefully passing a Koosh ball, the cure to save all humanity from a deadly virus,
 saving each other from lava on Mars.
crawling through a two-foot wide tunnel.
We survive.

What if next time we just did it?

During a time when it's so important to pay attention to our mental health and also to think about how we honor our students' by talking about our emotions and in giving them opportunities to engage with characters with a variety of lived experiences, I love pairing these two texts. I love that there's a digital option to listen to Jason read aloud the story himself. I love all the invitations to write with mentor texts. 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/12/2021

  It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop I co-host with ...