Best Book I Have Not Read

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

NCTE Reflections and more January 4, 2015

I’ve been wanting to write for what feels like forever, but time keeps running out. This evening, as my children work on their homework, my husband coaches basketball, and the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer are all full and running, I’m choosing to write.

That also means I’m choosing NOT to: read, knit, walk the dogs, answer e-mails, sweep, etc… Doing, not doing, it’s always a choice.

NCTE was a wonderful learning opportunity. The sessions, the learning, the reading, the BOOKS, the former and new professional colleagues I met and talked with, all of it. Such a great way to recharge the professional battery. Exhausting, but so great.

Listening to my professional heroes, such as Lucy CalkinsHearing new (to me) amazing speakers such as:

  • Sonia Nazario

Have you read Enrique’s Journey? No? Go buy it NOW and start reading. The timeliness of the book in relation to the national conversation about immigration could not be more perfect.

  • Marian Wright Edelberg-Children’s Defense Fund

“America, we have work to do. Our children can’t wait any longer!”

“If teaching is not a calling and a mission for you, go do something else!”

“The U.S. Government spends 3x more money per prisoner than per pupil.”

Seeing my graduate school advisor Dr. Evie Freeman and THE amazing Rudine Sims Bishop from the wonderful Children’s Literature program at The Ohio State University.

Sitting next to someone with a name tag from the Ouagadougou–not only knowing where it is, how to pronounce it, but having hosted students in a WAIASL (West African International Activities School League) athletic meet when we lived in Dakar, Senegal. Had colleagues at ISD who used to work at the school he is currently working in Burkina Faso.

Passing a friend from high school-we edited the High School Literary Magazine together-on the escalator bright and early in the morning–he lives on the west coast and is a professor of education

Having the opportunity to talk with current graduate students from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, while waiting in line for an autograph from Christopher Paul Curtis.

 

In the past all the ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) and books that I’ve gotten from NCTE I would try to read and post a review. I would then pass them onto to teachers to have in their classrooms. I LOVE BOOKS! I LOVE READING!

I HAVE AN ADDICTION!

This time, I have set aside four or five that I have a chance of getting read in the next month or two prior to their publishing date. Those I hope to read and blog about. All the others I have separated by age group and have started delivering to classrooms in the very poor county I work in.

Tonight I came home and cried. I told my family about the first classroom’s reaction. There are only two teachers who teach reading at this grade level. This fall when I first walked in with some books that my son had out-grown, I became recognizable to the students. Not just some other adult who is in and out of their classroom and building. The second time when I delivered a bigger bag of books from a Facebook friend’s hand-me-down donation, I became somewhat of a rock star in their minds. As I find books, buy books at Half-price books and auctions, or have books donated to me, I put them in the classrooms of students, the majority of whom have very few books of their own. At the beginning of the year, students from multiple classes were sharing the same book with different bookmarks marking their spots. No one could take the book home since so many students were all wanting to read it.

A couple of the students helped me carry the books in for their classroom and I was instantly surrounded by the students, exclaiming over the books-showing each other, showing their teacher, authors, series or titles they recognized. Once I explained that some of the books were autographed to their class and others were advanced review copies which meant THEY HAD NOT EVEN BEEN PUBLISHED YET and that THEY HAD THEM BEFORE ANYONE ELSE DID IN THE COUNTRY and that THEIR REVIEWS WOULD BE HELPFUL, the excitement went up even another notch!

That’s not what made me teary. A student came up to me and asked “Is there any way you could get Rick Riordan’s autograph? I’ve read all his Percy Jackson books and now am reading….”. He was SO earnest.I turned around and another boy, in a huge over-sized man sweatshirt, slightly dirty, known- but not for his reading habits, just as eagerly asked if I could try to find some graphic novels. He went on to tell me how he loves graphic novels but there aren’t very many in the school and he has read them all already.

Such small things.

So, @ArneDuncan, #imagineif, the money that has been spent of assessments, PARCC, and privatizing public education, was spent on helping children out of poverty.

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My Favorite New Quote March 19, 2012

Filed under: reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:49 pm
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“Independent Reading is, in fact, not independent at all. It is actually interdependent.”

Love that- I think renaming it interdependent would help people realize it’s not just something to fill time with- it’s an essential part of instruction!

Calkins & Colleagues -A Curricular Guide for the Reading Workshop-Grade 4

 

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.

 

 

 

100 Things About Me as a Reader-or at least the beginning of the list October 31, 2010

Filed under: books,reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:04 am

Inspired by Franki and Mary Lee over at A Year of Reading, I decided to start my own 100 Things About Me as a Reader list. It will have to be a work in progress, but now is as good a time as any to get started.

1. A reading goal is still motivating to me.

2. I used to keep track of every book title and author I read as a child. I probably shouldn’t admit that I would start copying the list over again if it got messy. What can I say. I wasn’t allowed much tv as a child.

3. The Betsy-Tacy books are ones I could buy over and over again with new covers.

4. I often think about characters or books many years after I have read them.

5. I really don’t enjoy nonfiction unless it’s professional work related.

6. I read every biography in my school and public library more times than I can count, but now can’t think of the last time I read a biography.

7. I dream of going on literary themed vacations. Just typing Betsy & Tacy makes me want to start researching trips to Minnesota to see the homes.

8. My first bedroom had been my father’s study. It was lined from floor to ceiling with books on all walls.

9. My father just finished writing his first book. It grew out of his research that he did back when I was in that nursery.

10. There is something so cozy about reading aloud to my son, that I used to fall asleep in the middle of the book. He’d wake me up when I started reading nonsense.

11. I love audiobooks because it feels like I’m sneaking a quick reading break in when there is no time for quick reading breaks.

12. I’m trying to figure out how I can reread Harry Potter #7 before the movie comes out. I’m not sure I want to see it until I do.

13. My husband and I love many of the same books, but there are others that each of us read that the other can’t even stand to think about reading.

14. I love nothing more than helping a child find a book to read that they love. There’s no better thrill in the world.

15.

12.

 

Just Right books September 6, 2010

Filed under: reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:00 pm
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I love, love, love when something I know to be true comes out of one of children’s mouths-not from me, but from repeating something they learned at school.

I wish I’d had a video camera to capture this moment.

Simon-“Mom, can you help me find a just right book? It’s really important to my teacher that I read just right books. She complemented me for picking a just right book at school.”

Me-“Sure Simon. What book did you pick at school.”

S-“It was a Geronimo Stilton, but it might be a little too easy for me.”

Me-“Simon, I’m so proud of you. Knowing how to pick a just right book is an important skill. Even if Geronimo feels a little bit easy for you, you can still get better as a reader by reading it and others in the series.”

S-“Okay. What should I pick tonight?”

Me-“Let’s take a look (going through his book shelf with him, pulling books and sorting them into piles). Would you like me to get some books from my study that I think you would be interested in?”

S-“Sure. Wow! Look at all these books I can pick from. Which one do you think I should start first?”

(We talk through pros of each book). He then decides he needs his older sister’s advice to decide for sure.

S-“Maggie can you help me find a book to read?”
Maggie-“Sure. Do you have some picked out?”

He shows her the pile. They sit on his bed together and sort through and put them in a pile. He starts to put the others away on his shelf when Maggie stops him. “No Simon, don’t put them away. You need to have a stack next to your bed so that you always know what you are going to read next.”

Thank you Mrs. Krebehenne!

Thank you Mr. Morris!

You are helping my kids be readers for life and I can’t thank you enough!

 

ELL Resources September 5, 2010

Hello Blogging Community,

I’m looking for some input.

What are the best resources that you turn to when you are preparing for ELL students in your classroom or your school. I have my “go-to’s” for reading, writing, literacy, etc. but need to have a couple “go-to’s” that address this topic.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you consider the best out there.

THANKS!

 

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.