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Two teachers think about and write about their lives as readers -- readers of children's books, professional books, and adult fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Yes, we still want to try to have read the Newbery, but our reading lives are much bigger than just that.
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1. #cyberpd

Tomorrow, at 8 PM EST,  there will be a final #cyberpd chat with participants talking about Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8.  I coauthored this book with Bill Bass and we were honored when  the  #cyberpd team --Cathy Mere (@cathymere), Laura Komos (@laurakomos) and Michelle Nero ) @litlearningzone-- told us that they had chosen the book for this year's #cyberpd talk.

If you have followed #cyberpd over the years, you know what an amazing and powerful conversation it is. If you haven't heard of it, it is definitely something you'll want to look forward to next summer. This year was the 5th annual #cyberpd event and the group continues to grow! If you want to know more about this year's event as well as about past years, you can read all about it on Cathy Mere's blog.

As the authors of the book that the #cyberpd community was discussing, I must admit, we were VERY nervous. It is one thing to have your book out there in the world. It is another thing to have a group of people who you learn from daily and respect incredibly, read it together and discuss it on a public forum.

As the weeks went on and I followed the conversation on Twitter and on the Google Community,  I found my list of notes and thoughts growing. I jumped onto the Google Community every few days, thinking I'd just pop in for a few minutes-- and then I'd realize I'd spent 2 hours reading posts, jotting ideas, exploring things mentioned, etc. I learned so much and have so much to think about around digital reading as we go into this next school year.  I was amazed at how people took the thinking we had in Digital Reading and expanded it, connected it to their own classrooms and schools and connected with others to make the ideas bigger.  There were visuals created by members of the community that clearly synthesized ideas about digital reading. And the community Pinterest Board continues to grow.  People collaborated to solve problems around the ideas throughout the month. (I love that primary teacher Deb Frazier is asking the community to help her bring resources together for young readers.)

Bringing so many readers together to discuss a book and an idea over a few summer weeks is a hugely powerful PD, that's for sure!  It was a bit surreal to have written a book on digital reading and then to see the power these digital tools were having on the readers responding to the book. (Cathy wrote about the power of the Google Community in a recent blog post.) I've been thinking a great deal about authenticity lately and the whole idea of #cyberpd and the ways the tools help us read more deeply than we ever could before was visible every day in this community.  We know that our thinking grows when we put our heads together and the power of digital tools to expand the possibilities of thinking together and growing ideas was evident every day in the #cyberpd community.

Digital Reading is a hard topic. We are all learning about it as we go, so we know our book has no "right" answers on the topic. Instead, it is our best thinking about it...for now.  Our goal, when we wrote Digital Reading, was to expand the conversation about how these new tools might change our work with children in classrooms. We wanted lots of smart people who were grounded in good literacy practice to find the conversation about the role of technology to be a worthwhile one.  We wanted to think with others about the ways digital tools could expand the ideas about literacy in our classrooms.

We can't thank the #cyberpd community enough for choosing our book and for inviting us into the conversation. I know that we've both learned so much over the past few weeks and have connected with so many people who have pushed our thinking. We look forward to the final chat on Tuesday. We hope to see you there!

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2. A Great Day at the Scholastic Reading Summit!

I was lucky enough to attend the Scholastic Reading Summit in Cincinnati last week. I really didn't know what to expect but I figured that if Donalyn Miller, John Schumacher and Cynthia Lord would be speaking, it would be a great day. And it was!

I pulled into the hotel parking lot the day before the Summit and saw the Scholastic Book Fair trucks! It is always a happy day when those trucks are in the area. Way better than any ice cream truck--that's for sure!

It was an extra treat to have time to go to lunch and to visit a bookstore with these 4. At one point I was looking at books alone and I thought to myself, "You are in a bookstore with John Schu and Colby Sharp. What are you doing by yourself? Go follow their every step and pay attention to every word they say in here!" So I did and I bought a good stack of books. Shopping with this crew is fun... expensive, but fun!


Starbucks and great friends! What could make for a better morning?
The incredible people of Scholastic!  
We heard the mission of getting books into every child's hands, we heard research about reading and we heard book talks from these amazing individuals working to get all kids reading.


The morning keynote was given by Donalyn Miller. I've been lucky to hear Donalyn speak a few times this year and it is always a treat--she always reminds us of our most important work with children. Incredible opening keynote!

Some of my favorite takeaways from Donalyn's keynote are below:


For the morning session, Katherine, Colby and I heard John Schu. If you have never heard John Schu, I would make that your new goal.  Even though I follow his blog and I read every tweet, watch every video and listen to every online book recommendations, there is nothing like hearing John talk about books in real life!

John knows the best books and has great stories behind every one. He notices things I never pay attention to.  And his session is great fun!  He is definitely the Oprah of books! A great session!


The Scholastic Book Fair was open all day.  Yes, that's right..great speakers, great people and great books! I have been looking forward to reading this new book by Jennifer and Matthew Holm for a while  so I was THRILLED to get it at the book fair!

And who knew that this amazing nonfiction series is available in Spanish? My 3rd graders LOVED this series and to find them in Spanish was a real treat!


A great session about conferring with Donalyn Miller. Some of the best learning form this session is below:


Colby Sharp talked to us about his reading life. He shared an important message in a very powerful  few minutes.  He said:

"I hope that this fall your hearts are focused on finding the right book for every child. When we do that, everything is possible." Brilliant.


I have loved Cynthia Lord and her books for a very long time.  To hear her speak was another great thing about the day.  She was amazing! My favorite line from her talk was:

"I know that feeling when you open a book expecting to find a story, but instead you find yourself." WOW!

If you weren't able to attend a Scholastic Reading Summit this year, I'd highly recommend one in the future. It was a fabulous day!  In the meantime, visit the Open a World of Possible site. We watched a few videos from the site and I LOVED them. Excited to use a few with students in the fall.  Here's one of my favorites:

You can also revisit the Scholastic book Open a World of Possible that I blogged about this fall--I'm revisiting it to find pieces to share with students this fall.  You can also follow the #ReadingSummit or the #sharepossible hashtags on Twitter.

A great day  that left me inspired and ready to start a new school year!

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3. Poetry Friday -- Renga With Friends

About a month ago, Steve Peterson (@insidethedog) invited me and Jan Burkins (@janmillburk) to try writing a renga with him. Renga is an ancient collaborative poetic form, and is actually where haiku was born!

Steve gave us these directions and resources:
  • 3 line haiku-like poem 
  • 2 longer lines (sort of like a tanka form when you put them together). Another person writes this. 
  • 2 lines are inspired by the haiku immediately above. 
  • then, 3-line haiku poem inspired by the 2 previous lines, 
  • and so on like a game of telephone until we reach 35 lines total.
And some resources

     a description of the form.
     some examples.
The order of play went Steve, me, Jan (repeat). Here's our first renga:

in the prairie dawn
a spider's web snares the sun  --
cricket rejoices

meadowlark joins the chorus
breeze bends ripening wheat heads

whose lanky bodies
bow, sun’s church--peace be with wheat
and also with corn

they gather on folding chairs,
jello melts while the preacher prays

white-robed acolytes
shoulders shaking with giggles
two clouds hide the sun

even the adolescent stalks are sober today
word of fire in the neighboring field

this dark sky --
thunderheads poke fingers
at a thirsty land

near the abandoned homestead
ditch lilies toss flaming heads

who called this place home
does the ground remember
stories brought to earth

a faded calendar tacked
to the wall above the stove

try to imagine
the layers of memories
beneath the dust
how much memory is imagination
how much dust is history

sun slants through wavy glass
in the stale air
motes rise to dance

down the road, far down the road
reverberations can be felt

After we came to the 35th line, we gathered via conference call from Mountain, Central, and Eastern time zones to discuss the process and the product.

Steve found that although he instigated this poem writing adventure because of a desire to try collaborative writing, and to practice the haiku and tanka forms, he found himself meditating on Jan and me as he chose the words he thought would best fit with what we were trying to say.

For me, it was like trying to catch a tune and sing along.

Jan was continually looking for the meaning in each set of 5 lines alongside the meaning of the poem as a whole.

Our memories of church and our ideas of "prairie" were very different, but we realized that Rosenblatt's reader response theory was alive and well as we wrote together -- each of us as reader/writer could bring ourselves to the text and make our own meaning, independent of the two others.

For me, the prairie in the poem is the flat, dry landscape of Eastern Colorado, where I've spent this month with my mom. Wheat harvest has been in full swing, but no one is complaining about the rains that might have delayed some of the harvest -- they were good for the corn. Those white-robed acolytes are my childhood friend Barbie and me, trying to be solemn in our candle lighting duties, but invariably giggling all the way down to the altar and back. The end of the poem is woven with images of change, home, memory, and loss -- all of which have been bitter and sweet in this month of helping my mom transition from her home of 60 years to a new home in assisted living.

Jan and Steve found echoes of current events that I can see now, but that didn't occur to me as we wrote.

We have plans to play with revising this poem, and we are fifteen lines into another. It has been fabulous to take risks together, to watch the poem unfold, and to hear each other's actual voices over the phone after listening so closely to each other's writerly voices on the page. Thank you, Steve and Jan!

Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Reflections on the Teche.

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4. #PaperTownsMovie

Since Paper Towns--The Movie--comes to theaters tomorrow, I thought today was a great day to share the fun we had at #PaperTownsOH last week.  Lots of John Green fans in Ohio!

The crowd was a big one and according to twitter, fans began arriving at 5 a.m. to get a spot in line!  The line looked to be a fun place. John Green even had 50 pizzas delivered to the crowd which was hugely appreciated since many had been standing in line for hours. 

My daughter has always been a huge John Green/Paper Towns fan. She has the original book and heard John Green at Cover to Cover when it was released a while back. It was extra fun for her to have her book signed a 2nd time by John Green!

Thanks to Cover to Cover and Penguin Random House, we got tickets without having to stand in line.  We had great seats and had a chance to go backstage to meet everyone afterwards.  It was quite the treat.  Here we are with John (Penguin Random House), Laura (Beth's sister), Beth (Cover to Cover).

We got a sneak peek at 19 minutes of the movie (which looks to be spectacular!) and we got to hear from John Green and the actors/actresses in the movie. It was great fun with lots of screaming fans, of course!

John Green!!

The stars of the movie!

A signed Paper Towns poster!

Looking forward to seeing the movie!

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5. Friends with Fins: Informational Videos

I'm always looking for good videos for my students.  As we expand our understanding of what it means to be a reader in this digital age, I know videos are an important part of learning.  I want my students to have lots of experience with quality video.  I've heard over and over again from my students that they enjoy watching video for entertainment, but they don't really know how to watch video to learn. So I know part of my work is helping them to read video.  I think lots of kids pick up bits of info when they are watching for entertainment, but finding good informational videos for kids is sometimes a challenge.  Short videos that are crafted well so that kids can learn information as well as study the video for the craft are things I am always on the lookout for.

Recently I noticed that Jaclyn Friedlander, a Marine Life and Ocean Conservation Expert has been adding weekly video episodes to her blog. (I interviewed Jaclyn on our blog about her picture books a while back.)

The Friends with Fins videos are PERFECT for my students. They are short, engaging and packed with lots of fascinating information.  Many connect to our science standards and I'll watch them a bit more closely to see which align with our science standards.  So much of our life science is about habitats and animal adaptations and so much information connected to that is embedded in these videos.

I also plan to use the videos in Reading Workshop as we think about learning from video clips. And I will use them in writing workshop as they will be great mentor texts for informational writing. They are crafted well and there is lots to study as a writer/moviemaker.  The way that Jaclyn shares information is accessible to young learners.  There are so many possibilities for these videos.  I like them individually, but the collection of the videos on the site provides so even more to learn from.  Not only are these a great link to science standards, but Jaclyn is passionate about ocean conservation and uses her blog and social media to spread that message.

Jaclyn plans to add a video most weeks to the site will continue to grow.  (All of the videos are also available on her Youtube Channel as well. And her books are now available as Kindle or iPad versions.

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6. Kindergarten Luck by Louise Borden

I have been looking forward to the release of Kindergarten Luck by Louise Borden for a long time.  I received a review copy in the mail from the publisher last week.I love all of Louise's books and we love that she is an Ohio author.

Kindergarten Luck is about a boy named Theodore and his lucky day.  On a gloomy day, Theodore finds a shiny new penny face up and his day goes from gloomy to lucky.  The book follows Theodore through his day in Kindergarten where lucky things happen!  From having great pancakes for breakfast to being line leader at school, Theodore has a great day!  At the end of the book, Theodore pays his luck forward so that his friend can have a lucky day too.

This is a happy book with lots for readers to talk and think about.  It seems like a book that should be in every Kindergarten classroom. It is also great for older kids too when talking about paying things forward and finding those positive things throughout the day.  The illustrations are fun and happy and the end pages are an added piece of fun!

This would be a great gift for any kids in your life who are getting ready to start Kindergarten!

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7. Poetry Friday -- Weather

Kimberley has the Poetry Friday roundup this week on Google+.

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8. Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec

I saw this book somewhere a few weeks ago and knew I wanted to keep my eye out for it. Then this week, I got a review copy from the publisher in the mail and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

WHO DONE IT is by Olivier Tallec, an author/illustrator who I've loved since I read THIS IS A POEM THAT HEALS FISH.

This new book is quite fun.  Each two page spread features 10 characters who are doing their own thing. The line on each page asks the reader to look for something in the illustration. For example:  Who played with the mean cat?  The reader has to look at the illustrations for clues to find the answer to the question on each page.  It is quite fun and each page is amusing in its own way. The answers are obvious but not totally-it takes a bit of looking to find the person on each page. (And there  is an answer page in the back if you need it!)

I see so many possibilities for this book. First of all, it is a great book for young children.  It will start great conversations and provide great interactions. The text is also predictable and simple so it seems great for early readers.  I also know my 3rd graders will love it and it will be a great book to use when we talk about visual information and getting information from visuals.

Really this book is much too fun. You will want a copy for sure!

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9. More Nonfiction Picture Books

Trapped: A Whale's Rescue
A great short book about a whale rescued from abandoned nets in the ocean. This one would make a good read aloud and there is more info after the main story for readers who are interested in more.

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle
I LOVE this book! It is not only a great introduction to the water cycle but the language and illustrations make it a great read aloud.  This is patterned text done in a way that shares a great deal of information. There is lots of extra information at the end of the book.  A great nonfiction mentor.

Tricky Vic:  The Impossibly True Story o the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower
Tricky Vic is one that has been on so many "Best of 2015" lists that I had to read it. It is a longer picture book about Robert Miler, a famous con artist whose story is fascinating.  

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10. Puppy Pirates by Erin Soderberg

At Nerd Camp, we were able to go into a room filled with books and choose 2 books--what a fun time!  You can imagine the scene with teachers browsing to choose the two perfect books.  Decisions! Decisions!

I had no trouble deciding. I grabbed Erin Soderberg's new series Puppy Pirates (that was released the day of Nerdcamp) and I grabbed Crenshaw. (I had read and loved Crenshaw and wanted a copy for my Newbery Club students.)  The new Puppy Pirates book was the first thing I read when I got home form Nerdcamp.

I am a HUGE Erin Soderbergh fan so I have been anticipating this series since our last Skype visit with her. She showed us the covers and talked a bit about the series.   My 3rd graders LOVE The Quirks series and having another series for 3rd graders by this author is very exciting!

Stowaway is the first book in the new Puppy Pirates series. And how adorable is the cover!?  There were two books in the series released last week--Stowaway and X Marks the Spot. I read Stowaway and am anxiously awaiting the other.  The book is about a soft little puppy named Wally who meets a ship full of pirates and wants to join them. He has always longed for a home and for adventure.  In this first book, Wally has to prove himself to the pirates-to show that he is brave enough to be a Puppy Pirate. The book is perfect for 2nd and 3rd graders. The humor is exactly what they love--one character always says the wrong thing, there is lots of pirate language and there is a bit of word play throughout.  The combination of cute sweet puppies and pirates is a brilliant one and one I know my 8 year olds will love!  The length is perfect for readers newish to chapter books and the plot is easy to follow without being too simple or boring. The language is fun and engaging.  I can't wait to share this new series with my students in the fall!

I was able to volunteer at Nerd Camp Junior and hear Erin Soderberg talk to a group of kids during this even She was incredible and so fun! I learned that the 4th book in The Quirks series is due out in the fall! Woooohoooo!  I think Erin Soderberg is an author who understand perfectly this age group that she is writing for so the more she writes, the better!

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11. Poetry Friday

(c) Mary Lee Hahn, 2015

Katie has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at The Logonauts.

Please note this change for next week: Kimberley will host us on Google+. This is where you will find her post -- leave your links in the comments.

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12. Inspiring People From History--A Collection of Picture Books

This week, I read a stack of nonfiction and historical fiction picture books that I've been hearing about.  All of the following are either nonfiction or based on/inspired by a true event. I've realized lately that so many of the nonfiction books I read are more science related than Social Studies so I am happy about this new stack. There is so much to learn from incredible people from history.  I love the kinds of thinking and conversations books like that can begin in the classroom.

I love the whole idea of this book. 28 people who changed the world--one to learn about each day for a month. This one can be read and shared in so many ways. Packed with great information and stories.

I would have liked US History so much more had I known about stories like this one!

This book includes several pieces of history in Huntsville, Alabama. I knew some of this story, but not all of it. This is one of my favorites of the year for sure...An important book.

This book is inspired by the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga who broke Cuba's tradition against female drummers. It is a great story told in beautiful verse and has amazing illustrations.

I was not aware of Emmanuel before reading this book. Emmanuel was born with one leg but that did not stop him from doing anything.  His message --disability is not inability--is a strong one that he continues to work to spread.

This is the story of Mary Nohl, a girl who made art out of lots of things and created cement sculptures in her garden gallery in Wisconsin.  Such an interesting story about art and a unique artist.  The author's note tells about how controversial Mary's art still is and that the neighborhood where her garden is want the art to be dismantled.  It is an interesting story to follow after reading this book.

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13. Live Blogging from #Nerdcampmi Monday and Tuesday

We know we didn't do such a great job of live blogging from All Write, as we had planned. But Franki will be at #NerdcampMi and she'll be adding live updates to the blog as the throughout the event. This is one of our favorite events of the year so we'd also recommend following it on Twitter if you are not attending.

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14. Rump and Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

I discovered Liesl Shurtliff's books this year and shared Rump as a read aloud with my 3rd graders.  It was one of our favorites and I was amazed the conversations and the depth of thinking and understanding my kids had as we read.  Needless to say, many of us put Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, Liesl Shurtliff's newest book, on our summer TBR list.  I had a chance to read it this week and I LOVE it.

I love when I discover new authors that so understand our middle grade readers.  I think Liesl Shurtliff is a brilliant writer for middle grades. She understands this age perfectly --I knew that when I read Rump and I was reminded of it again when we Skyped with her and I heard her answers to the questions my students asked.  I often write about how difficult it is to write with a depth that is both appropriate and accessible to middle grade readers.   So many book for these age are a bit shallow or written in a way that kids miss many of the subtleties and can only understand at surface level. But what Shurtliff does with these two books is pretty brilliant. Here's why:

Both of these books are retold fairy tales--"true stories" as the subtitles state.  Each take stories that we know (Rumpelstiltskin and Jack and the Beanstalk) and give us a different perspective, they tell us what really happened. In Rumpelstiltskin, we learn Rump's side of the story--a new perspective that changes the way we understand the character of Rumpelstiltskin. In Jack, we learn the story of the giant village where Jack goes when he climbs the beanstalk.  We learn how he gets the golden hen and we learn his perspective of all that happened.  The premise of both of these stories make them instantly engaging to middle grade readers.

The action in these books is perfect.  The fantasy land that Shurtliff creates is both believable and accessible.  The giants' village in Jack make parts of this story read like The Littles or The Borrowers and middle grade readers love those worlds where miniature people are among giant people any things.

The reference to other fairy tales is subtle but easily picked up by middle grade readers. My students' eyes lit up when they recognized a reference to a poisoned apple or they recognized a fairy tale character from a brief description.  Shurtliff ties in lots of this and kids in the middle grades are just starting to find joy in these little surprises as a reader.

Even though these are fairy tales that we know, Shurtliff gives readers important messages in her storytelling. They are perfect for middle grade readers because they are accessible in the way she writes but they are not so obvious that they take away from the story.

Seriously, these books are perfect for middle grade readers. As read aloud, for book clubs and for independent reading.   If our kids are to grow to be lifelong readers, they need more books by authors like Liesl who totally understand this age and what they deserve in a story. I can't wait to read her next book!

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15. Poetry Friday

Happy Almost-the-Fourth!

Donna has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Mainley Write.

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16. Mock Newbery Club

We are starting a Mock Newbery Club at our school this year.  We have a meeting coming up to introduce books and think about those we'd like to read. I've been working on a Padlet to collect trailers and blurbs on many of the books on our list.  I am hoping it is a resource that helps members choose great books!  Looking forward to our first meeting later this month!

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17. Audiobooks I've Loved

I don't tend to enjoy audiobooks but am working to change that. My preference is to read self-help type books as those seem good for shorter spurts while I'm walking or driving. My good friend Stella always recommends great audios that help me reflect on life and set new goals.  And over the past few years, I've read more middle grade fiction too. I have learned how important the narrator is (with  Teri Lesesne's help) and I have learned to use the audible sample to determine quickly whether I'll be able to stick with the audio. I've tried to find narrators I love and then look for new books read by those narrators.  I am getting better at choosing books that are a good match for me to read on audio and I am starting to love my audible account.  I am hoping to build in more time for audiobooks--I realize I have lots of times that I can be listening to a book while doing other things.

I thought I'd share some of the audiobooks I've loved in the past year or two:

Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (NARRATED BY THE AUTHOR)

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (this one is actually a series of workshops given by the author more than an actual audiobook. Her new book Rising Strong will be available on audio with the author doing the reading. Yippee!!)

Middle Grade Fiction

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco (NARRATOR: Ariadne Meyers)

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (NARRATOR: Katie Rudd)

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods (NARRATOR: Sisi A. Johnson)

Tell Me by Joan Bauer  (NARRATOR: Cassandra Morris)

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George  (NARRATOR: Suzy Jackson)

And these are the audiobooks on my TBR "stack" :

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins  (NARRATED BY THE AUTHOR)

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh  (NARRATOR: Cassandra Morris)

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (NARRATOR: Sisi A. Johnson)

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18. It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I've read quite a bit over the last week. These are my favorites:-)

Two FABULOUS middle grade novels! LOVE LOVE LOVE both of these. (They do require some tissues though:-)

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Three Books about People and History. These were all different but they were all great reads and I learned a great deal from each.

The Case for Loving by Selina Alko

Two Fabulous YA books that require lots and lots of tissues:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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19. The Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

by Anne Vittur Kennedy
Candlewick Press, 2014

As the farmer drives away from the barn on his tractor, the farm animals (and other assorted animal friends can be heard exclaiming, 
neigh neigh baa baa quack quack tweet
arf oink ree ree cluck cluck cheep!
And then the fun begins! The animals take a float trip down the river, have a picnic, ride a roller coaster, go water skiing, fly in a dirigible and have a formal evening dance. But all good things must come to an end. Dog alerts the animals
arf! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! afr! arf!
ARF! arf! afr! ARF! arf! ARF! arf!
And all (well, almost all) are back in place by the time the farmer has parked the tractor in the barn.

This delightful book, as you can probably tell from my two quotes, is told all in rhyming animal noises! As with all the best picture books, there is as much (or more) of the story going on in the pictures as in the text. You'll have as much fun reading this one aloud as your audience will have listening and joining in!

Just like the farmer is away from the farm, I am away from the blog today. Share your link via Mr. Linky and I'll look forward to reading all of your posts when I am home from the All Write conference on Saturday!

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20. Gardening

Summertime is gardening time for me. Those are my beets (first time I've ever planted beets -- can't wait to roast the root and saute the greens) and my basil (aka Pesto Plants). I also have tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and onions (also the first time for those), rosemary, parsley (mostly for the black swallowtails), and chives. In the community garden where my environmental club has a plot, we have tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, carrots, onions, and beans.

Here are a couple of great books for the gardeners out there:

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden
by Mary Quattlebaum
illustrated by Laura J. Bryant
Dawn Publications, 2012
review copy from the public library

This picture book follows the traditional rhyme (I dare you to read it without singing it!), but substitutes sun, soil, worms, seeds, water, bird, plants, food, treat, and when winter comes, rest.

There is wildlife hidden in the illustrations. In the back, Quattlebaum includes information about the plants and animals and gardening.

EIEIO: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm
by Judy Sierra
illustrated by Matthew Myers
Candlewick Press, 2014
review copy -- gift from a fellow gardener

In this version, Old MacDonald starts with a house and a big back yard -- a yard that takes a lot of mowing. So much mowing that he gets a goat. After the goat, MacDonald gets a chicken. But not just ANY chicken! This one has a diploma, a suitcase monogrammed with LRH, and a plan that includes improving the soil, planting, and selling the harvest to the neighbors! In the end, Old MacDonald has an urban garden with no less than seven raised beds, plants in containers (and an old bathtub), and rows of grapevines and sunflowers. It's a new vision for what a yard can be. EIEIO.

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21. My Online Reading Life

I haven't felt like I've been reading a lot lately.  With the projects and things I have going on, I haven't been able to lose myself in a book like I usually do.  But then I read Donalyn Miller's Nerdy Book Club post about reading fast and short and realized that I have been reading a great deal of short texts. I thought I'd share some of my recent favorites.

I am a huge Carry On, Warrior fan and try to read Glennon Doyle Melton's blog daily. I especially loved this recent post and think it speaks to teachers too.
It's Just as Simple and As Hard as This by Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery

I am a huge fan of theSkimm and I read it daily. But I recently discovered Skimm Guides. These writers help us out if we haven't been keeping up on an issue that seems important. They've written guides to summarize the issues and what is happening with them. They are so helpful. This week, I read the Guide explaining "The Supremes" and all the current work the Supreme Court has ahead.  It was an easy way to catch up and now I feel pretty smart about it!  (If you do not get the daily theSkimm newsletter, I HIGHLY recommend it. You will feel smarter every day because of it!

I laughed out loud at this Buzzed article--How To Know You've Found Your Teaching BFF. How would we survive without these fabulous colleagues who get us through some stressful moments and who make our jobs even more fun!

Bud the Teacher recently moved to a new role and I love the challenge he gave himself. I think we can all benefit from reading it and giving it a try.

Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia always has wise words and asks hard question. His post What If is an important one.

I've been exploring the new Stenhouse book, Well Played online.  I love the preview feature and have been getting to know the book before it is available. I have trouble reading the entire thing on the site but do like the opportunity to read short pieces as I think about how the book can help me as a math teacher.

Wordless News is a site I learned about from Kristin Ziemke during her All Write session. It is a great site I've been exploring--love the concept and am thinking of ways to use it with kids.

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22. The Doodle Revolution

The Doodle Revolution
by Sunni Brown (her "Doodlers, unite!" TED talk is here)
Penguin, 2014
review copy from the public library

You could probably read/skim this book at five different times in your life and get five different personal life lessons from it. My big take-away this time around is that doodling is not bad. Doodling is a way to think and learn:

I want to teach my students some doodling tools so that we can doodlearn (yes, I just made that word up!) together.

But what this book gave me for right now (for today and this week and the rest of the summer) was a reminder that I don't have to wait until I'm an amazing artist to have fun with doodling. I learned to doodle new, more expressive stick figures, and use eye positions, noses, mouths and eyebrows to create a variety of more emotive faces:

And I returned to my TED challenge and illustrated notetaking by opening the TED app on my phone, scanning the featured talks, finding one with NOTICE in the title (my One Little Word for 2015) and received this excellent message from the universe:

Tony Fadell: "The first secret of design is...noticing"

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23. 2 New Picture Books

I discovered 2 new picture book this week. I ordered a big stack at the library after All Write and they are starting to come in.

At All Write, I learned about lots of books but one that I was especially excited about was WILD IDEAS:  LET NATURE INSPIRE YOUR THINKING by Elin Kelsey.  I learned about this book from JoEllen McCarthy, the Book Ambassador for The Educator Collaborative in her session with Chris Lehman on Nonfiction.  I always find new books from JoEllen and they are always "must have" titles.  I am excited about adding this book to the classroom library. It is about problems, problem solving and wonder so I can definitely see it being used to start conversations about that. But it is also about animals and so much of what we do in science is animal adaptations, etc.  The authors note at the end tells that all of the quick info in the book came about from scientists studying animal behavior.  This is a quick read. Just a sentence or two on a page but it will start great conversations!

I a a huge Cece Bell fan so I have been awaiting her new book, I YAM A DONKEY (story, pictures and bad grammar by Cece Bell) .  It is a fun book about grammar that I think kids will find quite amusing (I know I found it to be quite funny!).  This is just a fun read that readers of many ages will enjoy.

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24. Poetry Friday -- Hello, Sketchbook! Let's Get Reacquainted!

I got my sketchbook out for the first time in 3 years, and look what I found:

We call them "glads"
because they are;
because they make us so.

They show us
process and stages.

They teach us vulnerability --
reaching, bending, falling
with the weight of what they've become.

And yet,
they are beautiful.

They are glads.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

How do I sketch heat?
   oppressive heat
   blanketing heat

How do I sketch a hawk?
   flap, glide, soar

How do I sketch the trees?
   so many shades of green
   holding still as the storm builds

The sky is easy: violet.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

Today I made this:

Because of this book (thank you, Amy LV)...

...and because this other book has inspired me to doodle with wild abandon and much happiness...

...and because of this blog post (thank you Kimberley Moran)...

...which has this video embedded (scrub to 1:30 if you just want the Black-Eyed Susan lesson)...

Life is good.
Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.
Happy Doodling.

Carol has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Carol's Corner.

The July-December roundup schedule is in our sidebar, the code is in the files at the Kidlitosphere Yahoo group, and everything's set and ready to go at Kidlitosphere Central. Let me know if you want me to send you your very own copy of the code. (marylee DOT hahn AT gmail etc etc).

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25. Learning and Unlearning

This video is fascinating. Take the 7 minutes to watch it. It is about the way we learn, how hard it is to unlearn something you thought was immutable (like riding a bike), perception, and bias.

I love this quote from the end:

"Truth is truth, no matter what I think about it. So be very careful how you interpret things, because you're looking at the world with a bias whether you think you are or not." -- Destin at SmarterEveryDay

All kinds of perfect, eh?

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