Best Book I Have Not Read

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

What I’ve Been Reading (and Listening to) December 11, 2011

I’m currently reading Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler and have recently finished Bystander by James Preller.

Having spent a great deal of time in the car over the past month, I’ve just finished Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher, The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I loved them all, for very different reasons. I’m one a YA kick right now on the heels of ALAN in November.

I do listen to audiobooks almost every time I’m in the car without someone with me. So even if it’s just a four minute drive between school buildings. I didn’t have much of Whale Talk left, so I thought I could probably finish it on the ride from the office to GIS. I didn’t anticipate that I would start bawling and be unable to go into the school for ten minutes while I pulled myself together. I LOVE Chris Crutcher and Whale Talk is amazing. I do think that any adult who likes to read, really should venture into YA or teen books. There are so many amazing titles that deal with so many different issues that if you don’t, you are really missing out. I love the main character T.J. Jones, his biker father, and the group that makes up the swim team. The issues of race, abuse, hunting, amidst the backdrop of varsity sports and athletic fervor will really make the reader think.

I don’t know how I hadn’t read any of the Larry books by Janet Tashjian. When I go to the library to get audiobooks, I just look for covers that I know have gotten a lot of blog talk over the past several years that I hadn’t gotten to when they first came out. The Gospel According to Larry is brilliant. I really enjoyed Josh’s wry tone as he tells the story of Larry/himself. Consumerism, celebrity, all great messages during the whole Occupy Wall Street Movement.

 

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Versatile Blogger continued plus my grad school rambling October 1, 2011

Filed under: bloggers,blogs,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:33 am
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Since I haven’t been a faithful blogger of recent, I’m going to take the time to tap my go-to blogs (in addition to Franki and Mary Lee @ A Year of Reading):

Sarah @ The Reading Zone

Karen & Bill @ Literate Lives

Stacey and Ruth @ Two Writing Teacher

Abby @ Abby the Librarian

Travis @ 100 Scope Notes

Jen @ Jen Robinson’s Book Page

Katie @ Creative Literacy 

I could keep going, but I have to get back to the task at hand today, which is to make a huge dent, if not finish my gazillion hours of documentation for the hours and projects that I have done TO COMPLETE MY PRINCIPAL LICENSURE!

(I won’t start in on how Muskingum University changed all the requirements for principal licensure over the summer and the new licensure candidates have to complete only 2/3 of what we who have been in the program for only six additional months have to complete or how all those extra courses they made me take cost my family an additional $4500. I’ll just stop with WTH!! and go back to focusing on something positive. I’ve now admired my problem, acknowledged there is nothing I can do about it and am moving on.)

The finish line is within sight! I never, ever thought I was going to get a principal licensure, but that past three+ years have moved me down a path I didn’t anticipate for myself back when I was a very happy fourth grade teacher. (see my first post as Scaredy Teacher/Squirrel)

 

Where I’m Hiding February 21, 2011

Filed under: assessment,background knowledge,blogs,books,kidlitosphere,professional development,reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:36 pm

Where Have I Been Hiding?

In plain sight, but off the blog-o-sphere.

Wishing to be blogging rather than yearning to blog.

I tell myself, it’s all worth it.

I’m hidden:

  • Under a pile of professional books both for grad classes and for
  • “catching up” (Building My background Knowledge) with the point of view our new superintendent brings with him to our district

Good thing I find his thinking right in line with my own, and also as a positive for our district 🙂

 

Recently finished:

Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results by Douglas Reeves

Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Assessment by P. J. Black & Dylan William


My current professional reading list:

The Leadership Challenge by Kouzner & Posner

Guided Instruction: How to Develop Confident and Successful Learners by Douglas Fisher

Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning by multiple authors (Reeves, DuFour, Marzano, Stiggins)

 

In progress:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The Things that Keep us Here by Carla Buckley

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (audio in progress)

 

Wish List (What I wish I was reading!)
Every Last One by Ana Quindlin

Linchpin: Are you Indispensible by Seth Godin

 

Alas, I must stop procrastinating the revision of grad papers so I can get them crossed off my to-do list. It doesn’t seem like one type of writing should count as procrastinating for another type of writing, but it sure is for me.

 

 

 

Central Ohio’s Got Talent! August 28, 2010

How exciting! A first successful week of school is under our belts and we have a get-together planned for  Central Ohio KidLit bloggers at our favorite indy children’s bookstore. Not only that, but the event ties in with a great author visit and a trip to a favorite eatery.

How could it get better? It’s hard, but today news came through the KidLit blog pipe that  Julie Johnson of Raising Readers and Writers won NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing! How does one find out they have won the award? With a phone call from none other than Katie Wood Ray!

Holy Cow!  I can’t even imagine answering the phone and hearing that southern drawl?

I first met Julie when I was fortuatnte enough to attend The Literacy Connection’s Carl Anderson visit 2 Aprils ago. Participants got to see Julie in action with Carl and her students in her Hilliard, Ohio classroom. A KidLit friend introduced us, it turned out she also had started a blog AND had taught with my former co-teacher in another life in another district. Small World!

Julie happens to be one of “them” that I refer to in my guest post over at Two Writing Teachers. If she happened to read that article, she probably didn’t know she was a “them” for me. Julie is one of “them” because she made the time for writing in her life both through the Central Ohio Writing Project AND her own classroom. She had a writing club! Ah…

One of her first posts on her blog was about the writing community her principal and fellow teachers were forming. Wow! The dedication…I still can dream of that day…

Congratulations Julie! What a deserving winner. May you continue to be an inspiration for people not just in your school, classroom, and community, but even further with the audience of your blog.

 

Maybe I Should Have Looked in the Freezer… January 19, 2010

Filed under: authors,autographing,bloggers,blogs,Newbery — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:46 pm
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I couldn’t find my socks today. Perhaps like Hobo Bob from Wayside School, I should have looked in the freezer.

I do actually know that the freezer is one place the socks definitely aren’t. My freezer is empty, but my house is full of boxes. The socks lurk in one of the many unpacked boxes. I should be looking for them right now, but books are on my brain. Maybe I couldn’t find my socks, but I did take time to meet my Kidlit Book Blogger friends yesterday to celebrate the Newbery announcements with breakfast and a trip to the awesome Cover to Cover! Some would question my priorities, but if you know me….

My husband and I both grew up in the small town we live in. When we met, we both lived in the village, and when we were first married we loved the many plusses of being able to walk to the library, to school, etc. Needing more space than our home had for children and dogs, we spent the last eleven years outside of town, hoping to move back into the village at some point. I might not know where those socks are, but I am thrilled to be back in walking distance of the library, school, and have the built in exercise of dogs that need multiple walks a day. I love our 1920’s home with the old woodwork and old house charm and quirks! Today my friend told me it reminds her of the original book Cheaper by the Dozen and for me it brings back memories of illustrations from the Betsy and Tacy books for me! Yet another thing to love about our move-a house that brings back happy childhood reading memories for myself and my friends!

Back to 2010 Newbery awards! While I was disappointed to have not predicted (or read-yikes!) any of the Newbery winners, I was thrilled that Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me won! She was delightful at NCTE this fall and having a personalized, autographed copy of the book is pretty darn cool! It’s been in my TBR pile, but my daughter got to it first. She really enjoyed it and loved how the cover came together for her like pieces in a puzzle as she read.

Great job to fellow bloggers A Year of Reading’s Mary Lee and Franki, Literate Lives’ Karen and Bill, and Cover to Cover’s Beth and Sally on reading and having the winner on their short list.  Check out their blogs for the group photo.

Also in my TBR pile are Newbery Honor The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer Figg and Printz Honor Book Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith. I picked up When The Mountain Meets the Moon. 

Printz winner Going Bovine was the 2010 Printz winner, so I’ll give myself credit for having read that one already. What an interesting, funny, quirky book. All winners can be found at ALA.

Big oops over at Random House for announcing the award winners on Twitter before ALA announced. Wonder if anyone lost their job over that faux-pas!

 

New Picture Book by Lois Lowry September 26, 2009

Filed under: blogs,books,narrative writing,picture books — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:04 pm
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I was so excited to see a picture book by Lois Lowry this evening.  crow callCrow Calls is a beautiful story illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline and tell’s Lowry’s own story from her childhood.

Crow Calls takes place when Lois was a young girl, a big outing with her father has just returned from a long absence away during World War II is heart-warming. The illustrations are perfect for the mood and tone of the book, as well as the hunting season.  A photo of Lois Lowry as a child in the plaid, hunting shirt highlights Ibatoulline’s artistic talent.

I can hardly wait to share this book with my colleagues and their students next week. A perfect complement to our personal narrative work we’ve been doing!

If you check out Lois Lowry’s blog you can see everyday life for her, along with beautiful photographs.

 

It’s Hard Keeping Up… September 24, 2009

I don’t know why I am finding it more difficult to keep up with my blog lately. I guess it’s that school is at a full, rolling boil! I haven’t had much time to read either. I actually think it might be related to the ages (and phases) my children are currently.

Even though I haven’t been blogging about it, lots of good things continue to happen. The good news is:

I have gotten to experience and fall in love with so many different groups of students this fall as they get started with writing workshop.

I had a great PD day with a grade level that I didn’t have much of an opportunity to work with last year. The dedication to kids and learning in my colleagues is always so inspiring.

I was able to talk a small group of teachers into spending their own money to travel to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Fall Reunion . You can’t beat Katherine Patterson and Lucy Calkins in one venue! Legal teacher crack!