Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Welcome Spring March 20, 2010

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know I’ve been silent for a while. Thanks to those who didn’t give up, but kept coming back to see if I was talking yet.

I moved in mid-January (which has been wonderful), had four ‘extra’ snow days to unpack, but the rest has been hard.It’s not even been “my” hardness that has been hard, but our small town has been suffering through immense sadness.

I’ve spent many days plotting a trip to TCRWP for their March Reunion weekend. I figured if a shot of Jerry Spinelli, Lucy Calkins, Katherine Bomer, Alfred Tatum, and Jim Trelease mixed with the TC energy couldn’t fix my funk, I might need to seek professional help! Unfortunately (or fortunately from my husband’s point of view), I could not find anyone who thought NYC was ‘just a road trip’ from Columbus.

If I was there I’d be getting ready to walk into Riverside Church to hear Jerry Spinelli’s ‘Failure, Fried Chicken, Fiction’ keynote. I would then be trying to decide if I was going to hear Mary Enrenworth’s talk on “Reading Historical Fiction: The Project’s Latest Thinking on the Intersection Between Deep Comprehension, Interpretation, and Book Clubs” or Jen Serravallo’s “Reading Conferring and Small Group Work in a Classroom of Accountability”. I would then skip off to see Jerry Maraia, who was my TC staff developer last summer, talk, “My Students Just Retell! Getting Readers to Think Deeply About Their Books by Supporting Inference and Synthesis”. After lunch I would have been hard pressed to pick between Tiffany Nealy’s “Unit of Study on Mystery Book Clubs”, “The Intersection of RtI and Reading Workshop” (not because it makes my heart go pitty-pat, but because I have to think, talk, and advocate about the topic endlessly, or “Grammar Instruction on the Go! Creating Demonstrations Sketchbooks to Support Small Group Instruction in Writing”. (I will admit that I just flipped over to Expedia to see if a magical plane ticket for cheap had just appeared. I know I am nutty, but I’m a good nut). I will now make myself stop looking at the Workshop Schedule.

I haven’t been able to make myself read and finish a book. I’ve started several, but after a chapter I’ve put them down. Today, I vow that I will pick one up and finish it. It’s not good for me not to read.

Here’s the positive I’m going to focus on-

  • It’s the first day of Spring!
  • My kids and hubby are healthy and happy!
  • Not only am I going to attend a week of the July Summer Reading Institute, but I will have a teacher from the elementary school there as well! The August Reading Institute has another elementary teacher and two intermediate teachers! We have two on wait list for July! This is huge for us!
  • I have a huge TBR pile!
  • Four days until spring break!
  • I love walking two blocks to get a coffee, an ice cream cone, or a drink!

8 Responses to “Welcome Spring”

  1. mary Says:

    Your “get-out-of-your-funk” list sounds great. The first day of spring has brought us a rain with winter still hanging around. Why not create your own PD this weekend – get back to your new reading book by Jennifer. Not the same … but maybe will help with the funk! My spring break is coming to a close so I’ve got my “teacher” books, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea nearby.

  2. Mike Says:

    You missed a great day!!

    We started off at Lucy’s synopsis of her new Reading Units – got me REALLY excited!!
    Then, off to Carl Anderson’s “Teaching with Clarity and Precision:Qualities of Good Teaching in Writing Conferences” which was awesome. Ive never had an hour seem so short…he could have gone on all day and I would have stayed.
    Next was Jerry Maraia’s “My Students Just Retell…supporting Inference and Synthesis” which exhausted me. I have no idea how someone can move that fast and furious all day….tons of good information!
    After that was Kathleen Tolan’s Book Club session….eh. Hate to say it, not the strongest event of the day.
    Finally was Tiffany Nealy’s Poetry Units of Study, which was awesome…interactive, funny, excellent!

    Such a worthwhile day…it was my first reunion, but not my last! Next one is in October…I’ll be there!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I have to say I was disappointed at the Kathleen Tolan session in October. I want to like her as much as I do Lucy, Carl Anderson, or Mary Erhenworth, but she just hasn’t done it for me. Her colleagues always have great things to say.

  3. Liz Says:

    I do enjoy your blog…hope you are a bit “de-funked” by now. So sorry you couldn’t make the TC reunion. We share an equal passion & love for the project’s work. I’ve been a “TC groupie” for about 20 years attending summer institutes, calendar days and reunions!!!! As you say, it is the best PD in town!!! In fact, Tiff was our staff developer for about 3 years in our White Plains school…she is dynamite!!! Thinking good thoughts for you and hope you are able to make one of the institutes this summer. In the interim, HAPPY READING!!!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I would love to have Tiffany Nealy as our staff developer. I am going to the July Reading Institute and am already making plans for next October. I love hearing that you have been a groupie for so many years-it goes to show that the TC ideas are timeless!

  4. tiffany nealy Says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I love working with teachers!

  5. Liz Says:

    Hey Mike,
    Hope you get to read this. I’d love, if possible, to get your notes from Jerry’s workshop on “My Students Just Retell…”. I’d glady swap w/ you for my notes & handouts from Dana’s workshop on “Tap the Extraordinary Power and Steer Clear of the Pitfalls in Book Clubs” which was excellent. 🙂


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