Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Summer is always a little crazy… July 13, 2010

Filed under: ALA,book clubs,KidLit,reading workshop,summer reading,TCRWP,units of study — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:42 am

I enter summer, knowing full-well it’s going to be crazy. It’s always too fast, and make me wonder how I manage to work full-time during the school year. This summer has proven to be crazier than normal. In case you are interested, here is a week-by-week breakdown of the craziness.

first week June-last week of school for kids; swim team starts

second week of June-hubby and kids go on vacation with my family to NC. I have an extended contract so I stay to finish up the 2009-2010 school year. Breathe a sigh of relief that all the administrative team seems to be staying in place for next school year.

Realize that I miss having multiple dogs in the house and add another puppy.

third week of June-

Monday evening-our superintendent announces he is leaving for another district.

Tuesday mid-day-my direct supervisor (Director of Educational Operations) announces he has accepted a job in another district (ARGH!)

Wednesday and Thursday-lots of extra meetings

Friday-leave for D.C for my first ALA

Sunday-return from D.C. with van full of books!

Board member steps down…

last week of Junemidweek: first set of house guests arrive. So happy to see my college roommate and her family! It’s always too long between visits.

last week of June-end of week: one set of house guests leaves, another arrives two hours later-So happy to have Guy’s cousin, wife and baby visiting us! They have the happiest baby on earth! It’s also beginning of arrival in town for husband’s family reunion AND 25th high school reunion.

Fourth of July weekend-house guests, street fair, family reunion AND pack to leave for Teachers College

Our beloved Director of Technology dies unexpectedly of a heart attack.

First week of July– 17th annual Reading Institute at TCRWP. (Great learning opportunity-if you ever have the opportunity to attend one of TC’s institutes, you WON’T be sorry! )Hot beyond belief in NYC (103 degrees at 6 p.m. near the former World Trade Center site (see photo).

get home Friday night very late after multiple delays with flight

Our Director of Student Services accepts another job.  We are a small, relatively stable district. We go years without anyone leaving.

Saturday-all day class at Muskingum University. Approximately 18 hours after leaving Columbia University’s campus in NYC.

Sunday-drive to Michigan and back to deliver son to summer camp. Wish I was staying for a week of Lake Michigan!

Second week of July-let the meetings continue….new board member and interim superintendent named-whew.

What I was looking forward to was a month of reading on my screen porch, with a lap full of puppies. In the plans were-the new Units of Study for Reading books by Lucy Calkins, The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen for my upcoming book club, and as many ARCs from ALA that I could manage. Progress is slow, but I have started the first book in the reading series (such a great resource), finished Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Fantastic!), and at least checked out the book club book from the library. I’ve also learned to type with the lap full of puppies. Unconditional love and affection is worth a few little potty-training accidents.

Instead, I’m reminding myself daily that with each new challenge there lies opportunity. Here are a few of my favorite change quotes:

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Brian Andreas, Story People artist

 

Upcoming Teachers College Reading Institute June 30, 2010

I’m trying  to make my brain think of things I need to remember to pack /tidbits I’m glad I know for the upcoming TCRWP Reading Institute next week. I’m attending with two teachers-both of whom have not attended before. One is a second grade teacher and one is a fourth grade teacher.

Here are some tips I shared with them:

Pack a little umbrella-trying to find one in a store when it is raining is no fun
Plan on LOTS of walking. Columbia is spread out and it won’t be unusual for the keynote to be at one end of the campus and then the small group session to be six blocks away. Also lots of four+ story buildings with stairs.
They do give us a tote/bag with needed binder/books, etc. the first moring. It is a nice size and has a pocket for a water bottle-which we will want to carry with us.
Many times I would buy a bagel/sandwich or something like that when I bought my coffee in the morning before the keynote-then carry it with me to eat for “lunch”–Even though there is a lunch break, it isn’t terribly long to have bathroom break, get to next session site, and try to stop sweating –some days I would sit outside in the campus quad, eat whatever I’d picked up, call the kids, and watch the interesting things going on.
There is an AMAZING farmer’s market outside the keynote hall, but I dont’ remember which day.
 
Bring a notebook and pens for your own notes. I filled an entire five subject spiral last summer.
I’ve been told I might want to bring Amber Brown is not a Crayon, Because of Winn Dixie, and Tangerine along for one of my sessions which focuses on assessment. I was also encouraged to do an assessment using Skylark ahead of time.
In the advanced section, we will all be receiving Lucy’s new Guidebook from the newly published Reading Units of Study. I’m expecting my two colleagues to receive The Art of Teaching Reading.
 

Reading Units of Study June 21, 2010

I’ve been on the lookout since I got the e-mail from Heinemann saying Units of Study was published and that pre-orders were being mailed last week.

And here it is!

I was going to be cleaning the basement-now I’m planning on jumping right into the new Lucy Calkins, TCRWP, Units of Study for Teaching Reading Grades 3-5. Expect posts all week about this topic from me! Wheee!

 

How Can I Move Up a Reading Level? June 9, 2010

Filed under: reading workshop,TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:56 am
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I was just looking through some of my old photos from one of my school visits to Teachers College and New York City public schools when I came across this interesting factoid in the form of a chart:reading

Level Time to Complete One Book Time to Move Up a Level *
G, H, I 15-20 minutes 10 days
J, K, L 20-40 minutes 10 days
M, N 60 minutes 15 days
O, P, Q 2 hours 21 days
R, S, T 4 hours 45 days
* BUT, you must read an hour a day!

So, what’s the take-away messages?

You can improve your reading ability just by reading books.

You must read a lot for it have an impact.

The higher the books become/the more advanced a reader you become, the longer it takes to complete a book, as well as move up to a higher text difficulty band.

 

TCRWP Reading Institute excitement May 30, 2010

Filed under: Calkins,professional learning community,reading workshop,TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:38 am
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I’m so excited that I am attending TC’s 17th annual Reading Institute, July 5th-July 9th. While traveling on the Fourth of July is not ideal, in my mind, it does open up some fun possibilities. Maybe we’ll see the Macy’s New York City fireworks. Maybe the Statue of Liberty?

I’m even more excited as my former teaching partner was just accepted off the wait list this past week to attend as well! She will be attending a fourth grade section, another colleague will be attending a second grade section, and I’ll be attending the advanced sections. We’ll have information galore to share!

The sections I will be attending are:

  • Help Readers Progress Along Trajectories of Comprehension Development: Using Formative Assessments to Make Our Teaching Data-Based and Powerful (3-8), Lucy Calkins and Cory Gillette.
  • Design Units of Study That Can Move More Readers from Levels K, L, M to P and Q: Humor and Series, Inference and Monitoring for Sense (2-4), Emily Smith.
I’m thrilled that I’ll be learning information relevant to grades two through eight! I also think both topics are ones that will really help me help teachers.

David Booth,  Lucy Calkins, Kathy Collins,Tim Rasinski, and Jon Scieszka are the scheduled opening presenters. Of the five, the only one I haven’t heard before is Kathy Collins. Tim Rasinski, a fellow Ohioan, is a great speaker on fluency; last time I heard David Booth he made me laugh and think; Lucy-you all know what I think; Jon Scieszka-love that guy-so funny, was a great first ambassador, love his Guys Read project.

Three colleagues are attending the Reading Institute in August, representing second, fifth, and sixth grade. I’m so excited that we will be able to share information with each other, our buildings, and our district.


 

Reason to Click My Heels Together! April 29, 2010

What event could bring  Franki from A Year of ReadingKaren from Talkworthy, Karen from Literate LivesKatie from Creative Literacy , Stella from My World-Mi Mundo, myself and others under one room tomorrow?

Could it be a sale at Cover to Cover?

The announcement of the Newbery?

NCTE?

OCTELA?

Good Guesses but wrong.

We will all be in one room to hear and watch Samantha Bennett , author of That Workshop Book: New Systems and Structures for Classrooms That Read, Write and Think, work in Katie’s second grade class and Karen’s fifth grade class. I am very exciting to have colleagues from three different grade levels that will be attending tomorrow, as well as a student teacher from the building. What a great professional development opportunity that would not be possible without the hard work of the volunteers for The Literacy Connection, including my friend and guru, Carol.

While we won’t all fit in Karen’s and Katie’s classrooms, the rest of us get to watch over close-circuit television, with debriefing sessions in-between.


 

Student created Strategy Posters Reading and Writing April 16, 2010

Filed under: reading workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:09 pm
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