Summer BookaDay Update #IMWAYR

Summer #bookaday Update #IMWAYR

June 23, 2019

As usual,  I stuffed my book bag with a load of books on my way out the door last Friday.  It’s a hodgepodge of professional texts that have been languishing on my shelves and kid lit that are reads and rereads.  Also don’t tell Mr. K how many times the Amazon van has dropped by our house as Pernille’s Global read aloud books trickle in.  I seriously need to make better friends with my local library.  They mostly seem to be titles I need.  So here is week one’s round up of summer book a day.

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.18.31 AM.png  Some Places More Than Others This is my #1 book right now for novels. A charming story about a middle schooler searching for her roots and wings.  Imbedded in the story is a wonderful family history project ripe for the trying.   I want to give this book to everyone I know to read and treasure and pass on.  Full disclosure:  I read about this from Colby Sharp.  He says ( and I agree) this will be a Newberry contender.  When Angelina and I went to Wellesley Books educator appreciation,  I snagged the ARC of this book, so it’s going to her next.  See my Goodreads profile for an amazing quote from this book.  Sidenote:  this book has a connection to several biography picture books I read last year, so I see it sliding into a quick read aloud.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.27.01 AM.png

 

Next up is this amazing, much anticipated book,  How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, art by Melissa Sweet.  I ordered this book in February and it was worth the wait. Everyone is writing about this book and for good reason.  Visually beautiful, it’s lyrical prose will put in a lot of categories in my professional library,  beginning of the year, how to’s,  and literary life.  I can’t wait to read and share this book with many adults and students.  It will be the book I give to our new principal to welcome him to our learning community.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.34.37 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.35.13 AM.pngThe next two books Little Night Nochecita and Viva Frida are not new books.  Viva Frida was a Caldecott honoree and a Pura Belpré award winner in 2015.  Yuyi Morales is an author study pick for this coming Global Read Aloud.  (September 30, 2019)  This year I am determined to be ahead of the game and have these books read and book talked throughout our learning community before then.   I have read and own the other books in this picture book study.  Viva Frida will work best when the author’s notes at the end are read first.  There is an audio of these notes as a preview on Amazon.  Little Night Nochecita has bilingual text which only adds to the magic of the beautiful dreamy illustrations.  I love that the picks for this picture book study are varied.  I have a vision of using them to show young authors that you can write about many different things in many different ways.

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.47.15 AM.pngAfter listening to Booksource’s webinar on diverse books for classroom libraries,  I tried out a trio of mysteries with Lark and her brother.  The second in this series,  Lark and the Diamond Caper features this brother and sister duo finding their place in their social group and celebrating their uniqueness.  This book, by Natasha Deen, an own voice author, isn’t my favorite mystery, but I want to add more mirrors to our selections in the Nate the Great/Cam Jansen category.  It will be interesting to see if the students are drawn to these titles.

 

Monday,  Tammy Mulligan read us Astro Girl,  a charming story that includes girl power Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.57.14 AMreferences and a can-do mindset.  As Tammy said,  this is a great book to encourage I-got-this.  I love how the father gently discusses what might be involved using affectionate displays and the little girl responds with I can do that.  The surprise ending might be a connection to a book collection to read and display. This book is also soon to be published. Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.56.04 AM.png

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 9.08.45 AM.pngMy last book of my Monday-Monday run is also an older book,  The Fabled Fourth Grade of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming.  It has been kicking around in my random novel basket for years.  I must have acquired it in a collection somehow.  I was thinking that it would add to my poetry novel set, but it really isn’t a novel in verse.  What it is a twist on Aesop’s fables.  Each chapter has a story about something that happens to this fourth grade class with a bad reputation and the corresponding Aesop lesson learned.  It’s dated for sure, published in 2005, but I am thinking it might work for a read aloud during a folk tale unit if you had it in your collection, perhaps as a mentor text twist for students.  Truthfully some of the language and situations are not current, but like other older titles might be fresh for a new audience.

Up for this week are some professional texts and a few more short novels.  All suggestions welcome.

Advertisements

Notebook Saturday: Drop In #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

Notebook Saturdays

Through my work as a literacy coach,  I have teachers that I meet and collaborate with throughout the week. Some teachers will come with questions, sometimes we plan out what we will work on the next week, sometimes I have a teaching technique or skill  I’ve noticed or a suggestion. I keep a journal entry of each meeting to keep me thinking. 

Notebook Saturday:  Drop In #sol19

March 23, 2019

She rushes in the book room, paper in hand. Do you have a few minutes? she asks.  I turn from my computer, my head full of other thinking.  I hesitate, only for seconds.  Sure, I say, What’s up?  

She places a carefully constructed sheet on my table.  I scan for a moment.  Oh,  new strategy goals…  She has been very careful.  I wish I remembered her carefully constructed titles for the groupings.  In my mind I was already translating them… word solving, ok.  Two word solving groups.  (Middle word)   Now I’m remembering… Mind Movies,  Dialogue.  I called one Fluency.  Oh yes,  she called it sound like talking.   There’s one cryptic group that I’ve called LL.  Hope she remembers who and what.

Looks like you’ve got it thought out. 

I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all in.  

(Sigh) (This is a talk I can do on the fly)  Let’s talk it out.  Let me get a piece of paper.  Legal pad sheet ripped off the pad.  Stickies.  Pencil.  Let’s go. Ok,  how many groups can you fit in a workshop?  Two? 

I think I can fit three, she says.  Hmmm.  I quickly draw a grid, talking as I go.  Let’s plan for four days and then you can have an extra for things you notice that week or just whip around conferring.  I pause…  Let’s start with your word solvers.  

We begin working through groups talking strategic times, timing, configuration, methods as we go. My paper begins to look like a football play book.  (As if I’ve seen one of those)

IMG_3799

Quickly we work through the groups. Perhaps start the week with Word Solvers.  Maybe this word solving group can be seen by your partner teacher and you can just do table conferences.  

On we go.  Four days a week for the word solvers. She’s been running a shared reading group with them.  I suggest a gradual release. 2 minute teach, 8 minute watch and coach.  Then later in the week, run both groups at the same time, centering herself and going back and forth.

She’s ready for a stretch in technique.

Her Mind Movie group and Dialogue group perhaps two days each.  That might be a good try for Shared Reading.  Interactive Read Aloud, she says.

Mind Movie group?  What level?  Lish?   You could teach into story mountain.  Time line? she asks.   Four squares.   Maybe a little higher level character work.  Iris is the kind of person who…character trait.   

We talked through book club ideas quickly.  Double partnerships, book club talk.

We include a bonus slot for research or teaching into current unit lessons.  I draw a poorly executed trash can fire.  She looks up.  Sometimes fires happen.  You need space for that.  

Then I say something off the cuff in closing. That’s a mantra, she says.  Write it down. 

IMG_3800 (1) Laughing,  I write it down as I say it again.

Off you go.  

 

My apologies to Jennifer Serravallo for my fast edit of a technique I learned from her.  You can read more about this grid planning technique in Teaching Reading in Small Groups.  

Monday Bookshelf: (Un)Flat Characters #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

Monday Bookshelf:  Character Study in Intermediate Edition #sol19

March 18, 2019

If you are reading this, you might have the same problem I do.  Bookshelves bursting at the seams and an organization system that works one day, but not the next.  Welcome to my Monday bookshelf, where I will organize a stack of books within a category.  Hopefully this stack will resonate.

We meet up on Friday mornings at 7:30 and co-teach with each other through the reading (writing) block each day.  Sometimes we chat on the fly before I go to my first class at the beginning of her planning.  Sometimes she stops me on my way down the hall.  Sometimes I drop in as I am walking by.  We talk a lot.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.50.31 PMThis week we are talking about what it means to be in a book club and the dreaded flat characters.  I won’t mention the flat characters.  You know who they are.  They lurk around in easier chapter books or series where the author keeps that main character as flat as a pancake. When you say something brilliant like

develop a theory about a trait of your main character and use evidence to grow that idea, 

that darn old flat character really won’t give up one single thing.  He or she just sits there on the pages moving forward with not a real emotion one.

Help me!  I have some real emotions. 

So here we sat with this problem along with another problem… Harry Potter.  Now I love Harry Potter, not as much as the next person, but I do think he’s pretty special.  HOWEVER,

itsgoingtobenearlyimpossibleforthatnineyearoldtopickonecharactertraitandevidencefromaSEVENHUNDREDpagebook. 

First my recommendation for books with characters for third graders who love Harry Potter.  patentpending

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.49.30 PMBeastologist.   Ok, the actual title is Flight of the Phoenix (Nathanial Flood, Beastologist)  This book is short.  This book is easy.  This book is filled with villians and twists and surprises and magic and… an orphan.  I know,  WINNING.  Also a series.

Another similar short book is Spiderwick.

If you want something in the same vein, but a harder read,  Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos will fit the bill.  Again a series.  Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.49.13 PM.pngThese books are for your HP lovers.

The flat character lovers need something else.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.49.00 PMFor Lovers of the flat character books,  perhaps Ellray Jakes is Not a Chicken.  The character isn’t much less flat, but he does learn something.   This is also a place where I might insert Alvin Ho or Calvin Coconut who seem much less flat.  I insert male protagonists here because I am thinking about certain flat characters.  If your flat characters are perhaps fairies,  I think Spiderwick might work or perhaps you could work in some strong girls like,  Lola Levine or  Dyamonde DanielsJasmine Toguchi, or Sofia MartinezScreen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.47.35 PM

definitely a theme here

All these books are not expensive.  They are relatively easy to read and find.  They are part of a series.  And… we will be book tasting them very soon in a third grade near me.

So my teacher colleague and I read and talked about some books.  Some fresh books will come and be loved by her friends.  Some old flat friends will stay and we’ll work through those skills with short text and picture books.  We will pick up that story another time.

Monday Bookshelf: Fairy Tale(ish) Edition #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

Monday Bookshelf:  Fairy Tale(ish) Edition #sol19

March 11, 2019

If you are reading this, you might have the same problem I do.  Bookshelves bursting at the seams and an organization system that works one day, but not the next.  Welcome to my Monday bookshelf, where I will organize a stack of books within a category.  Hopefully this stack will resonate.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 4.31.28 PM.pngStack 2:  Fairy Tale, Folk Tale, Fable, Traditional Tale… Any Book with Strong Archetypes and a Lesson

Being a little tired of most fairy tales where the female character is at the whim of the male power character,  I branch out to other books that have a traditional tale feel without actually being one.  All except The Three Little Pigs, which could be either gender and seem to work with every demonstration lesson ever.  (Don’t believe me.  It’s Tammy Mulligan’s theory.  Give it a try)  For that story,  you don’t need a book.  Every single person knows what happens.  Here is a collection of books with a strong lesson, strong characters, and character change. 

 

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.28.17 PMA Camel in the Sun inspired by a retelling of a traditional Muslim hadith, or account of the words or actions of the Prophet,  this is the story of a camel whose owner only realizes his selfish ways when the Prophet appears and tends to the camel humanely.

 
Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.27.05 PMThe Wolf, The Duck, and the Mouse   This is a crazy tale where the victims change the tables on the villain.  Who is the bad guy in this story?  Perfect for the student who loves a twist.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.25.39 PM

Little Tree  The little tree stubbornly refuses to let go and faces the consequences.  There is a strong message here about change.   Very simple text and beautiful illustrations.

 

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.24.39 PMThe Uncorker of Ocean Bottles   I’m not sure what kept me from this book until now.  The Uncorker has the solitary job of retrieving bottles from the ocean and delivering them to the appropriate persons until one day…

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.23.00 PM

 

Horrible Bear   As in many of Ame Dyckman’s books,  the obvious bad guy just isn’t.  Misjudged,  the bear isn’t the one with the lesson to learn  See also  Wolfie the Bunny and Misunderstood Shark

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.21.29 PM

 

Chopsticks  I kind of want to include an AKR book into every category I make.  They can be used for so many.  Chopsticks think they can only work together, until… See also Spoon and Exclamation Mark.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.20.00 PM

Bloom  is a fairy tale with an anti-hero.  She’s the solution that no one wants.  She doesn’t have to be the one to save the day,  she can give her powers away. Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.20.31 PM

 

 

 

 

Also in the Stack:    Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.58.55 PMThe Princess and the Pit Stop a delightful mashup of many tales where the heroine definitely makes things happen  Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.59.55 PM

After the Fall    a familiar tale with a much more satisfying ending

 

 

and  Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 4.01.26 PM.pngWe Don’t Eat our Classmates

I have never seen this problem in a classroom and yet, I think we can all relate

 

Shoelace Philosophy #sol19

For the month of March , I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 5.20.36 PMShoelace Philosophy #sol19

March 10, 2019

A conversation between the Kennedys where I attempt to use Darin Johnston’s # genius

Typical Saturday Morning at the Kennedy’s.  Mr. K is watching something on TV and I am running around doing this and that.

Mr. K calls from the couch, We need something to replace shoelaces?  Your basic shoelaces won’t work?  We need these Hickie things?  

#yeahwedo

Coming in to the room, I say as someone who has discussed shoelaces and shoe tying daily for the last thirty eight or so years, I’m all for something that keeps shoes tied.  

Then I think about shoelaces and so many discussions about shoelaces.

#velcroruinedhandwriting

Yes, that’s right.  When velcro first gained popularity, many were worried that students who didn’t practice shoe tying would lose manual dexterity,  eye- coordination, self-care and then not be able to develop all the skills needed to develop beautiful penmanship.

#sothatiswhathappenedtopenmanship

Then velcro ran its course and students went back to shoelaces… which are either hard to tie, slippery and untie, or just aren’t tied.  This led to me and, I believe, others to constantly saying Stop and tie your shoes. Do you need help with those laces? 

#ifIonlytalkedaboutbooksthatmuch

So there you have it folks, civilization as we know it hangs on the balance of students learning how to tie shoes. So I ask you, Do we need a replacement for shoelaces?  

#issomethingbiggergoingon

 

#thishashtagthingisharderthanitlooks

#darindoesitbetter

 

 

 

5/31 Monday Book Shelf #sol19

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 8.32.28 AMFor the month of March, I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge (#sol19) sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I will be slicing each day for 31 days inspired by my work as a literacy specialist and coach, my life, and my fellow bloggers.  This is day 5. 

 

5/31  Monday Book Shelf #sol19

March 4, 2019

If you are reading this, you might have the same problem I do.  Bookshelves bursting at the seams and an organization system that works one day, but not the next.  Welcome to my Monday bookshelf, where I will organize a stack of books in the whim that strikes me that day.  Hopefully this stack will resonate.

Stack #1  Mirrors and Windows for Shared Reading and Read Aloud

Providing for reflection of the school experience for some and empathy creating conversations and reflection for all through shared reading and read aloud can be a multipurpose tool in the classroom.  With so much content, wise choice of books help us discuss Social Emotional Learning goals along with decoding and comprehension skills. 

These book provide a glimpse into the lives of children who are struggling to find their place in this world.  Isn’t this true for many? 

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.57.09 AMA Boy Called Bat was this year’s Global Read Aloud pick for the younger students’ read.  What to say about Bat?  Bat struggles are in some ways universal and in others particular.  He is sensitive to sound, loves routine, has objects for comfort, avoids eye contact, and is incessantly inquisitive.  When Bat’s mother fosters a baby skunk, Bat learns a lot and by sharing that moves closer to friendship.  What I love is that everything isn’t smoothly resolved in the end. A beautiful read aloud for any class perhaps first through third grade. Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.57.40 AM

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.55.22 AMBeatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker is much more in-your-face kind of reading.  Beatrice’s classmates and teacher can get frustrated with her ways.  This is a book about her trials and missteps, her attempts and successes.  Again,  I like that everything isn’t perfectly resolved.  I am wondering if reading a chapter or a book talk might spark an interest in a small book club in grades two through four.  Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.56.02 AM

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.51.27 AMStuart Goes to School and Stuart’s Cape are particularly new books, just new to me. Stuart is starting to school and has some real and exaggerated fears about what might happen.  Unlike the my other choices,  there is magic involved here.  The magic, however, is not necessarily responsible for  Stuart’s change in thinking.  An easy chapter book for reluctant transitioning readers, possible shared reading text for second graders, a book reviewed book for a book club.  Many possibilities for this short series.  Also magically written by Sarah Pennypacker, a perennial favorite. Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 8.06.35 AM

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.53.56 AM.pngFox the Tiger, a book award winner for 2018, is a charming beginning reader about a Fox that decides to be a tiger.  His plan,  his friends’ reactions make for a surprising deep well for character change and feeling discussion.  Perfect for shared reading in a late kindergarten and any time in first grade.  Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 7.54.19 AM

I might label this bin.  Be Unique, Be You.

 

 

 

What I Took Away from It’s All About the Books #IMWAYR

9780325098135 Ten Things I Took Away from It’s All About The Books

April 20, 2018

Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan’s new book, It’s All about the Books is a wake up call to every elementary classroom, school book room, literacy specialist, and administrator.  Buy more books and figure out how to redistribute the books you have so that every book is getting into the hands of students.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned or been reminded of by this amazing book.

 How many guided reading sets do we need? 

Break up the guided reading sets and make them into more interesting groupings. Keep the sets that will help teachers teach specific genres or specific skills in strategy groups.

Level, but don’t make it about the level 

It’s true at the beginning reading levels, students should and need to be reading at level.  However, making the level how we identify books,  identifies readers too.  Those kiddos don’t want to read an ____ level book,  they want to read a book about tarantulas or dolphins or whatever.   Make those groups be fun and funny and interesting.  Some book bin labels from our revolving bin collection:  Fun, Fun, Fun,  We Go Out,  99 Problems, I Got a Dog.   Our books are leveled A/B,  C/D, E, F/G,  H/I, but those level aren’t how we identify them.  IMG_1182

 

Move those books around!

Bring them to faculty meetings.  Make a bin swap date once a month for K-2.   As a coach, tote them to collaboration meetings, PLC, and whenever you meet with teachers.

 

Involve everyone in the DIY

Just because I live in the literacy center,  I don’t own it.  Involve everyone.  Ask questions:  What do we need?  What do we have?  What organization would help? What’s hot?

Find out what is out there in the building

Do a complete inventory.  Find out what you have to work with.  Include classroom libraries that were purchased by the district, mentor texts, classroom sets, EVERYTHING.

Organize a book swap 

Organize a book swap for teachers.  What books do you have in your room that your students consistently can’t read, don’t read, are too high,  too low,  ready to move on.  Maybe those books are just what someone else is looking for.

Organize a book swap for students

Have student bring in outgrown books.  Set up shopping tables by general grade level or interest.  Have kids take however many you can spread out.

Create a shared document 

Create a shared document for recommendations, for groupings, for books.  What would be a good next purchase?  What should a classroom teacher build up?  What is a must own?

Start in one place to organize

Let’s say your teachers all want to work on folk and fairy tales.  Create a section in your book room that is especially for those titles.  Same with animals.  These are always needed and popular.  Think about what you need organized as a group and start there.

Encourage everyone to switch up their offerings 

A good time to switch is over breaks or at the end of units.  Keep some from the last that didn’t quite get around to everyone or to use for transition.  Another good time to switch is after assessment time when you want to match readers with books that are more right for them.

School favorites

Think about vertical focus.  Is there a title that wants to move from grade to grade.  Picture books are not just for kindergarten and first grade.

Help Given

Hang a sign in the door of the book room, Help Given.  Have kiddos come by to discuss book groupings with you and help put away.  Have PLCs meet where the books are.

 

These are just a few of the amazing ideas inside Clare and Tammy’s great book, It’s All About the Books.  This is a must read for all teachers of reading because it really is all about the books.