Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Did You Know? Friday January 30, 2009

Filed under: authors,read alouds — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:19 pm
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Did you know Scholastic has the most awesome author read-alouds and interviews? I didn’t and I’m in love with them. How could I have not known? Michele Obama, Suzanne Collins reading, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, presidential trivia and more.

I learned I can use my Flip video camera as a document camera from a teacher being interviewed about the set-up of her classroom. Lots of fun and helpful little snippets for you as well as your students. 

Check it out!

 

Teachers College of Reading and Writing Project

I have a dream. 

I dream of attending seminars at Teachers College of Reading and Writing Columbia University.

I dream of learning directly from Lucy Calkins,Kathy Collins, Carl Anderson, Ralph Fletcher   and being surrounded by people as excited about learning about the teaching of reading and writing as I am.  I won’t apologize for being dorky, it’s just who I am. I LOVE learning, education, teaching, children, and everything that goes into it.  home_reading-and-writing

Having decided that it is worth the time and money to be able to attend, I turn in my application to learn about Literacy Coaching through their Spring Institute. It was over my school’s Spring Break so it wouldn’t involve missing any days from school. Don’t know quite  what that will mean for my own children, but know it will be good for me and the district.  

So not excited to already have a personal rejection letter from Lucy Calkins (maybe she doesn’t know I sat next to year in the front row of her NCTE presentation and helped pass out her papers?) explaining that although the application window just opened January 17th, they received thousands of applications for the spots they have (which I think is around 75?) and that I might want to apply again next year.

I will persevere. I called Patricia Polacco on Oct. 1 at 8 a.m for more than five years to try to secure an author visit for our schools. I can certainly apply multiple years to get to pay money to travel and learn from the eminent institution of teachers of reading and writing.

For now, I guess I’ll just have to be happy buying her newest book and hoping that some blogger out there will post their notes about all the great learning they do. 

There is always the window for summer Institutes that open next month.  You can bet that’s on my to-do list. Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in New York City in classes for a week during the summer? I know I do!

 

My husband says I’m addicted to the Internet January 29, 2009

Filed under: bloggers,blogs,Twitter — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:00 am
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I don’t think I agree with him. Completely. Part of my “addiction” might also be described as an over-reliance on the Internet. I still do plenty of non-internet activities. 

E-mail, Google Calendar-they are a necessary part of my working life. I love that Google Calendar e-mails me my calendar for the day at 4:34 a.m. and that I can have it send reminders about items as often as I like. 

Blogs, Twitter-I am pretty fascinated by the instantaneous access to information.  No longer do I have to wait until the next day to read about Gov. Strickland’s State of the State address. Multiple sources of info are tweeted, posted, and blogged-almost instantly as the speech takes place. 

I don’t think it’s an addiction or an over-reliance. I’ve decided to embrace those 21st Century Technologies as they appear-try to figure out the good and the bad of them to decide if they’ll be helpful to me in any part of my life and then move on.  

Being me, I will feel the need to add some more about the good and the bad over the next several days, so be prepared. Or just skip the blog entries or notes on this topic.

 

Ohio Ice Again-Poor Holly Tree January 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:10 pm

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Love the Scholastic Author Videos

Filed under: authors,books,read alouds — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:06 am
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Grr-there is something wrong with the code-Here’s the link to the video-

 

Here’s Suzanne Collins reading aloud from Hunger Games. I love that she has what I would call a “slight southern drawl”. I love getting to hear an author read their own words. Brilliant Scholastic!

 

I Want to Be Free January 27, 2009

Filed under: books,picture books,Uncategorized,Underground Railroad — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:26 pm
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51l7aga06l_sl160_aa115_I Want to Be Free by Joseph Slate and E.B. Lewis is a new release this month. It’s a lyrical story of a young runaway slave, who despite the burden of a leg iron, refuses to leave a small orphaned child behind. It’s the child’s love that finally breaks the shackle free.  I love illustrator E.B. Lewis. His illustrations are as beautiful as always and add so much to this story. 

An author’s note at the end lets the reader know that “This poem is a retelling of a story in the sacred literature of Buddha about his disciple, the Elephant Ananda, as related by Rudyard Kipling, in his novel Kim.  I moved its setting and language to another times, as I believe its themes to be universal.”

This is such different subject matter, that at first I did not connect that this is the author of the Miss Bindergarten books! That’s a talented author who can handle such extremes ends of the storytelling venue.  

Check with your school librarian to see if this one is on the way to your school.

 

Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers get together to celebrate Award Winning Books January 26, 2009

Filed under: award winners,bloggers,blogs,Newbery — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:07 pm
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img_1706Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers just can’t get enough of Cover to Cover or books! To celebrate the annoucements of the award winners, we met at our favorite book store and then had dinner at Northstar Cafe. It can’t get much better than that!

Me (Bestbookihavenotread), Karen (half of Literate Lives ), Sally Oddi (bookstore owner extraordinaire!), Katie (Creative Literacy),  Authentic Learner authors,  Franki Sibberson (half of A Year of Reading), author Amjed Qamar (Beneath My Mother’s Feet), and Mary Lee (other half of A Year of Reading).

I’m sure you’ve read the Newbery announcements, but here you go:

Newbery
The Graveyard Book-Neil Gaiman (posted MouseCircus link last week, but just bought tonight)-Franki wins since she and Sally are the only two who have already read it!

Honors:

The Underneath-Kathi Appelt (reviewed here-so glad it is recognized for the amazing book it is!)

Savvy by Ingrid Law (started, but loaned to a student and haven’t finished)

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson 

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle

Caldecott:  The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson (Love her Tweets and her book To Be Like the Sun! Will need to purchase this asap!)

 

Quote to think about

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:27 pm

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Ray Bradbury

 

Primary Units of Study-Lucy Calkins

I’ve had an ongoing book study of Primary Units of Study by Lucy Calkins at the elementary school with kindergarten, first, and half the second grade. One of their building goals to have writing instruction happening in their K-3 classrooms everyday for at least 30 minutes. This past Monday the group had the opportunity to spend half a day with Literacy Guru (my name for her, not her own) Carol. Carol is a retired Language Arts Coordinator from a suburban district and Literacy Consultant. She is also one of the most positive people you can ever hope to meet and has an amazing way of bringing you around to her way of thinking while feeling great about yourself!

The week was going to continue with the opportunity for Carol to model a Writing lesson in a classroom with other teachers watching and then time to discuss what they observed. With the lovely Ohio weather and temperatures, we didn’t get as far as we planned, but will continue the following week.

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey is being used as the mentor text for the writing lessons. For those who are familiar with Units of Study for Primary Writers. This is a modified lesson from Launching where the little booklets are introduced (I think Lesson 11).

Click to play The Paperboy
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The Girl Who Could Fly January 25, 2009

girl-could-flyThe Girl Who Could Fly by first-time author, Victoria Forester, is a great book! I really enjoyed the first fifty pages, but  LOVED the next 250ish pages.  

The book was completely different than I anticipated from when I started reading and I LOVE a book that can surprise me! The cover shows a girl in an old-fashioned nightgown and the names of the characters reinforce the idea that the book is set in an “old-fashioned” time or at the least a very rural area.  I’m not implying that the cover or inside flap are misleading, but they don’t give away any of what had me reading compulsively. The school (its name!!), the headmistress, the classmates, the quote the book starts with, etc. make for compelling reading!

I’m torn between wanting to write about it and just telling you that you need to read this book! 

I really enjoyed the character Letitia Hellion who instantly brings to mind  Mrs. Colter from The Golden Compass, (watch out Philip Pullman!). The beauty and smarts that cover up a deviousness you can’t even begin to imagine exists makes Dr. Hellion a character with depth and facets that you’ll just have to read to appreciate.  

I was also reminded of the movie War Games(80s review here) that I  enjoyed when I was in high school. It starred a young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy and just looking at the review on-line brought back all kinds of 80s nostalgia that I didn’t even know that  I had. 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, dreamalittle421 Jump Street, oh my. 

Well, no matter what happy reading and viewing memories The Girl Who Could Fly brings back for me, you’ll need to read this and find your own. I’m very happy this will be a sixth grade read-aloud, but want to give to every intermediate teacher I know as well as wanting to recommend it to countless young readers. Must. Behave. And. Not. Ruin. A. Potential. Read-aloud.

 

 
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