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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: common core, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. How Common Core’s book choices fail children of color

The Common Core has become a hot-button political issue, but one aspect that’s gone larGuest postgely under the radar is the impact the curriculum will have on students of color, who now make up close to 50% of the student population in the U.S. In this essay, Jane M. Gangi, an associate professor in the Division of Education at Mount Saint Mary College and Nancy Benfer, who teaches literacy and literature at Mount Saint Mary College and is also a fourth-grade teacher, discuss the Common Core’s book choices, why they fall short when it comes to children of color, and how to do better. Originally posted at The Washington Post, this article was reposted with the permission of Jane M. Gangi.How Common Core's Book Choices Fail Children of Color

Children of color and the poor make up more than half the children in the United States. According to the latest census, 16.4 million children (22 percent) live in poverty, and close to 50 percent of country’s children combined are of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American heritage. When the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were introduced in 2009—2010 , the literacy needs of half the children in the United States were neglected. Of 171 texts recommended for elementary children in Appendix B of the CCSS, there are only 18 by authors of color, and few books reflect the lives of children of color and the poor.

When the CCSS were open for public comment in 2010, I (Gangi) made that criticism on the CCSS website. My concerns went unacknowledged. In 2012, I presented at a summit on the literacy needs of African American males, Building a Bridge to Literacy for African American Male Youth, held at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Emily Chiarello from Teaching Tolerance acknowledged the problem and connected me with Student Achievement Partnership, an organization founded by David Coleman and Sue Pimental, “architects” of the English Language Arts standards.

In the fall of 2012, representatives from Student Achievement Partnership came to Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York, to ask our Collaborative for Equity Literacy Learning (CELL) to help right the wrong. SAP wanted us to provide an amended Appendix B. In July 2013, CELL presented SAP with a list of 150 multicultural titles, which were recommended by educators from across the country and by more than thirty award committees. All the books were annotated and excerpts were provided. The 700+ PowerPoint slides of the project can be found here. SAP then sent the project to Stanford University’s Understanding Language Program for validation of text complexity. The Council of Chief State School Officers has yet to make the addition to the CCSS website.

Why does seeing themselves in books matter to children? Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita of The Ohio State University, frames the problem with the metaphor of “mirror” and “window” books. All children need both. Too often children of color and the poor have window books into a mostly white and middle- and-upper-class world.

This is an injustice for two reasons.

One is rooted in the proficient reading research. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, researchers asked, “What do good readers do?” They found that good readers make connections to themselves and their communities. When classroom collections are largely by and about white people, white children have many more opportunities to make connections and become proficient readers. Appendix B of the CCSS as presented added to the aggregate that consistently marginalizes multicultural children’s literature: book lists, school book fairs and book order forms, literacy textbooks (books that teach teachers), and transitional books (books that help children segue from picture books to lengthier texts). If we want all Children must be able to envision possibilities for their futures. And they must fall in love with books. Culturally relevant books help children discover a passion for reading.children to become proficient readers, we must stock classrooms with mirror books for all children. This change in our classroom libraries will also allow children of the dominant culture to see literature about others who look different and live differently.

A second reason we must ensure that all children have mirror books is identity development. For African American children, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are not enough. They must also see African-American artists, writers, political leaders, judges, mathematicians, astronauts, and scientists. The same is true for children of other ethnicities. They must see authors and illustrators who look like them on book jackets. Children must be able to envision possibilities for their futures. And they must fall in love with books. Culturally relevant books help children discover a passion for reading.

I (Benfer) was one of the annotators for the project. Each year I tell my incoming fourth-grade students, “None who enter here remain unchanged” (from Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven). Participating in this project made this statement come true for my students and me. Before working to amend Appendix B, I had been teaching for 16 years, and had always been serious about my classroom library.

Reading a great book changes us. I had not yet encountered the metaphor of mirrors/windows until hearing Gangi’s talk in our children’s literature course, based on her article “The Unbearable Whiteness of Literacy Instruction.” After the talk I Lakas and the Manilatown Fish coverfound myself reflecting on the books to which I was exposing my students. I expanded my library to include many texts reviewed in the project, which allowed my students to see the wonderful diversity in the world. As my classroom library grew, my students began to read and discuss these diverse texts I began to hear students say things like, “I like books which have a black main character,” and parents emailed me to say, “I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging Black History Month and having such a wonderfully diverse reading library for fourth grade.” Filipino students gave me a standing ovation when I purchased Anthony D. Robles and Carl Angel’s Lakas and the Manilatown Fish/Si Lakas at ang Isdang Manilatow (see Lee & Low Books for this and other multicultural books.)

I recommended Rukhsana Khan’s Wanting Mor, the story of a young girl in Afghanistan to one of my students (see Groundwood Books for this and other multicultural books). This student’s parents were astounded by the change in their daughter. She had been an uninterested reader and was transformed into an enthusiastic one. She began to request copies of books featuring girls in Afghanistan. The students and I spent countless hours creating lists of recommended texts.

What do we do with this issue now, educators? The CCSS have yet to adopt the expanded and enhanced Appendix B, but the message is too important to be filed away. This work must be must shared with educators. The expanded Appendix B contains recommended texts that are mirrors and windows for our students’ worlds.

“None who enter here remain unchanged.” Teaching Tolerance will be publishing the list in the near future. In the meantime, children of the United States are waiting for us to make this change for the better.

Jane M. Gangi is an associate professor in the Division of Education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. Nancy Benfer teaches literacy and literature at Mount Saint Mary College and is a fourth-grade teacher at Bishop Dunn Memorial School.  Gangi is the author of three books: “Encountering Children’s Literature: An Arts Approach,” “Deepening Literacy Learning: Art and Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms (with Mary Ann Reilly and Rob Cohen),” and “Genocide in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Cambodia to Darfur.” Both are members of the Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning at Mount Saint Mary College. Gangi may be reached at jane.gangi AT msmc.edu; Benfer at nb6221 AT my.msmc.edu.


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources Tagged: CCSS, common core, common core standards appendix b

4 Comments on How Common Core’s book choices fail children of color, last added: 10/8/2014
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2. The Story of the Giant Sequoia + a Giveaway

Tony Johnston and Wendell Minor's new book, Sequoia, will be published later this month. Recently, both of them were gracious with their time and granted me interviews. Hear what they have to say about writing and illustrating. Get a sneak peek at this exquisite text you can use to infuse your students' informational writing with poetry.

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3. THE COPERNICUS LEGACY: RELIC HUNT IN NEW YORK CITY!

Looking for a fantasy read that’s great for the classroom this fall? One stellar recommendation is The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by bestselling author Tony Abbott – now in paperback!

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A perfect pick for kids who love Percy Jackson, Kingdom Keepers, or Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy is a Da Vinci Code-style story for young readers. The book follows four kids who stumble upon a powerful ancient secret of the famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Protected by notables throughout history, it now falls to our young heroes to become guardians of Copernicus’s secret, racing across the globe, cracking codes, and unraveling centuries-old mysteries in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a vast and evil shadow network called the New Teutonic Order.

It’s the worldwide adventure and historical scope that makes the series both page turning and educational, earning it many great reviews including a starred review from Kirkus: “With engaging characters, a globe-trotting plot and dangerous villains, it is hard to find something not to like. Equal parts edge-of-your-seat suspense and heartfelt coming-of-age.”

There’s even a downloadable Common Core-aligned activities guide and star map poster so you can bring the adventure into the classroom.

Veteran children’s book author Tony Abbott is no stranger to epic adventure series having written over a hundred books including The Secrets of Droon. The Copernicus Legacy will include six full-length novels and six shorter novellas, each told from the perspective of one of the kids. The first novella, The Copernicus Archives #1: Wade and the Scorpion’s Claw, is available now and the next full-length novel, The Copernicus Legacy #2: The Serpent’s Curse, will be out on October 7.9780062194466_p0_v1_s260x420

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To celebrate the launch of the next books in this exciting series, on Saturday, September 13th, Tony Abbott will be leading a scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where four lucky winners of a national sweepstakes will work together to find hidden clues amongst the exhibits, crack codes, and earn prizes. You and all readers across the country will have another chance to win a trip to New York for the second Relic Hunt starting October 7 at www.thecopernicuslegacy.com!

After the Relic Hunt, Tony Abbott will be signing copies of The Forbidden Stone at 2:30pm at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan.  The Barnes & Noble event is open to the public, and we invite you to join us there for a pizza party! It’s no mystery—the whole family will be in for good food and fun!

 

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4. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, book lists, the Cybils, common core, aging, ebooks, apps, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, reading, writing, play, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Books and Authors

Stories from authors about school visits "gone terribly wrong" at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/zcwJO  @SevenImp @FuseEight

75 Years Old, Still Showing off her Scar, fun details about Madeline from @SevenImp + @FuseEight at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/z94Jk 

Book Lists and Awards

Amazon-backed Booktrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award turned down by Allan Ahlberg | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/z3OLT 

The Wildest (bold + unique) Children’s Books of 2014 as picked by @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zcxat  #kidlit

Teen blogger Summer from @miss_fictional looks back on Favorite Books from her Childhood http://ow.ly/z5flg  #kidlit

Who knew that there could be a list of Top 5 Picture Books about Ninjas? @rosemondcates could! http://ow.ly/z3KJl  #kidlit

Thanks! RT @145lewis: #CYBILS are an amazing resource Looking for summer reading ideas? http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/finalists/ … #kidlit #edchat #elemed

Common Core and STEM

#CommonCore Becomes Touchy Subject for Governors Group, reports @WSJ, as both parties are internally split on CC http://ow.ly/z5fA0 

Tap the STEM Resources in Your Community! | ALSC Blog post for librarians by @amyeileenk http://ow.ly/z3KzZ 

Diversity

RT @tashrow 5 Stereotypes Positive Aging Picture Books Avoid | Lindsey McDivitt http://buff.ly/1zmZLk9  #kidlit

eBooks and Apps

RT @TWhitford: Great Apps To Introduce Coding to Young Kids http://goo.gl/uUdGX0  via @mattBgomez

Malorie Blackman: ‘I love gadgets, but e-reading has to be carefully handled’ | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/z3P8z  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Growing Bookworms

What Do Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Mean? @CoffeeandCrayon has the scoop http://ow.ly/zeLEb  #literacy

How #Comics Create Life-Long Readers -- @MaryAnnScheuer interview with @jenniholm http://ow.ly/zeLPW  #kidlit #literacy

Teaching My Daughters to Read -- Part III, Phonics from @ReadingShahahan http://ow.ly/zcvyn  #literacy

RT @LiteracySpeaks: 5 Simple Ways to Improve Reading Comprehension from This Reading Mama! http://fb.me/6BtWnEOln 

Fun times @everead | How I Stopped My Children's Whining with Story Club http://ow.ly/z5eUD  #literacy

KidLitCon

KidlitCon2014_cubeBOOM: And we are LIVE! Why you should attend this year's KidLitCon, from co-organizer Tanita Davis, FindingWonderland http://ow.ly/zcvbM 

The registration form for #KidLitCon14 Oct. 10-11 in Sacramento is now live: http://ow.ly/zc0lr  A great way to see friends + talk books

October will be here soon, soon, soon — @bkshelvesofdoom is coming to #KidLitCon14 Are you? http://ow.ly/z3GYs 

RT @CBethM: The 8th Annual @KidLitCon - Spending Time Face-to-Face with Kindred Spirits by @JensBookPage #nerdybookclub http://wp.me/p21t9O-1zS 

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

On having (and integrating) multiple Reading Lives by Kristin McIlhagga @TeachChildLit @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z94kV 

Cultivating Curiosity, on love of stories vs. love of words at So Obsessed With blog http://ow.ly/z94SO  via @catagator

Food for thought at Stacked: Growing Up, Leaving Some Books (Narnia) Behind by @kimberlymarief http://ow.ly/zi3Ac  #kidlit

Why Book Reviewers Would Make Awesome Authors, by @Miss_Fictional http://ow.ly/zcvDd 

A proposal from @100scopenotes | All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions. Thoughts? http://ow.ly/zcvYJ 

Here's what @medinger thinks about @100scopenotes idea for Putting a Stop to Middle Grade Novel’s Increasing Girth http://ow.ly/zcwej 

Confessions Of A Binge Reader (Or, How I Read So Much) | Ryan Holiday at Thought Catalog http://ow.ly/z3LKY  via @tashrow

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With @EliteDaily http://ow.ly/z3NZQ  via @librareanne

On Kids

How Much Activity Do Our Students Need? asks @katsok How do you help kids who can't sit still, in era of less recess? http://ow.ly/z92pA 

Did What You Played as a Kid Influence Who You Became as an Adult? asks @FreeRangeKids http://ow.ly/z933H 

Powerful post @KirbyLarson by Michelle Houts on adults looking back and regretting childhood acts of bullying http://ow.ly/z3K36 

Schools and Libraries

Bridging the Gap: Making #Libraries More Accessible for a Diverse Autistic Population | @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3Omk 

Corporal Punishment in Schools: Can it be Justified? @TrevorHCairney thinks it's not the right approach http://ow.ly/zi3el 

Top 10 Ways to Turn Classroom into a Hotbed of Enthusiastic Readers by @megangreads + @muellerholly @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z5eFi 

Summer Reading

This could keep us busy for the rest of the summer! 50 Fabulous Movies based on Children's Books from @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/zcvGP 

#SummerReading Tip20 @aliposner Set up your vacation accommodations in ways that make literacy more likely to occur http://ow.ly/z3LbF 

#SummerReading Tip21 @aliposner Encourage your kids to author “vacation books” when you are traveling this summer http://ow.ly/z5eOF 

#SummerReading Tip25 @aliposner | Read the SAME BOOK that your child is reading independently + discuss it together http://ow.ly/zeM9u 

#SummerReading Tip26 @aliposner | Try to connect reading to your kids’ summer activities http://ow.ly/zi3mT #literacy

Reading Is Fundamental Study Says Summer Reading Is Not Priority | reports Lauren Barack @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3OeW  @RIFWEB

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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5. MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY (for the beach AND the classroom)

Looking for some recommendations for a middle grader who loves fantasy? Well, we’ve got just the list for you!

Here are some stellar picks for the kid looking for magical powers, mysterious forests, heros, and villains to take to the beach with him.

The Thickety

THE THICKETY, by J. A. White, is the start of a new fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden but exists in the dark woods called the Thickety. This book would be a great recommendation for fans of the Septimus Heap series, and here’s a book talk prepared by librarian, author, and Common Core workshop presenter Kathleen Odean:

How would you like to have the power to summon amazing creatures to do your will? When Kara finds a book in the Thickety, a dangerous forest, it awakens her magical powers. Local villagers view magic as evil but for Kara, it’s a connection to her mother, who was executed as a witch. The spells thrill Kara until the magic starts to change her in frightening ways. Is Kara in control of the magic—or is it in control of her? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she could lose everyone and everything she loves.

There’s even a Common Core-aligned discussion guide with activities written by the author, J. A. White—an elementary school teacher! (You may not want to send this to the beach, though. Maybe save it for September.)

 

The Castle Behind Thorns

THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, by Schneider Award winner Merrie Haskell, is a magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that will appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Everything in the castle—from dishes to candles to apples—is torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Thinking ahead to the new school year, Common Core applications include: Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; and analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

The Dyerville Tales

THE DYERVILLE TALES, by M. P. Kozlowsky, tells the story of a young orphan who searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

If you’d like to bring this one into your classroom next year, Common Core applications include: Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone; describing how a particular story’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes; and describing how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW, by Christopher Healy, is the hilarious and action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed hit series that began with THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

And Common Core applications for this one include: Explaining how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text; comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; and analyzing how differences in the points of view of the characters and the reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Happy reading!

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6. Jim Averbeck and Ed Porter: Positioning Your Work For The Common Core

Jim Averbeck is an author, illustrator and author/illustrator of picture books (including the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, In a Blue Room) and novels. His first novel is just out, A Hitch at the Fairmont, and it has been positioned for use with Core Curriculum State Standards.

Ed Porter is a former superintendent of schools in Long Island. Currently, he is an educational consultant who, among other things, coaches schools in understanding and implementing the Common Core Standards.

Jim Averbeck (left) and Ed Porter


Ed and Jim start with explaining that The Common Core is evolving. "Call it Common Core 1.0"

You can check the standards out at corestandards.org

The handout packet is hefty, and its cover is a map of which U.S. states have adopted Common Core (most), which have similar standards (a handful), and which have rejected it (four.)

Ed gives us an overview of the evolution of Common Core so far.

Today, we're asking students to have skills and attributes beyond what the old K-12 standards could offer them. Things like self-regulation, critical thinking and problem-solving, effective oral and written communication and resilience.

And Common Core is one of many responses to this. Another response is "The 4 C's in STEM: Collaboration, Creativity, Communication and Critical Thinking."

Jim and Ed also share a metric called "Webb's Depth of Knowledge" that breaks down knowledge about a book into four levels. Here are examples of text questions at each level:

1st level of knowledge: What are the names of the characters?
2nd level of knowledge: What happened?
3rd level of knowledge: Why did something happen?
4th level of knowledge: What would happen if…?

Common Core aims to have students go deeper, into those 3rd and 4th levels.

Jim aims to have his book and Common Core tie-in

"Easy for teachers to choose, easy for teachers to use."

Jim explains how texts are evaluated to be used in classrooms, based on "text complexity." It's a mix of Quantitative (like Lexile scores determined by computer - Jim's Hitch book was a Lexile 770, recommended for grades 3 and 4), Qualitative (like judging the complexity of the story, an evaluation performed by educators, and based on this analysis by teachers, Hitch moved up to 4th through 6th grades) and Reader & Task measures (individual teachers choosing things for individual classes and students.)

So what might we do to help teachers choose our books to use in the classroom?

There are group exercises through, like one that demonstrate to attendees how contemporary and speculative fiction can tie into the common core, and also tap into those 3rd and 4th levels of knowledge.

Jim shares his advice on what to do before the writing, during the writing, and after the book is published.

Here's one example for each:

Before: connect your fiction to research

During: Include appendices and author notes that surfaces research where appropriate

After: Create a "Common Core Selection Guide" that summaries the text complexity

They walk us through a page from the actual "Common Core Activity Guide" Ed created for Hitch! You can see and download the entire guide at Jim's website here.

And they even share a giant list of where to distribute your supplemental materials.

So much great information!


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7. VIDEO: PETE THE CAT AND THE NEW GUY

Need a little dose of positivity and acceptance today? We’re here to help you out!

Watch this trailer for PETE THE CAT AND THE NEW GUY, which is on sale today. We guarantee it’ll make you feel groovy!

And here’s another little bit of grooviness to take with you into the coming school year: a Common Core-aligned teaching guide to all of Pete the Cat’s picture books and I Can Read titles!

“Keep walking along and singing your song. Because it’s all good.”

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8. Who’s doing the thinking?

Over the summer, I’ve been doing some literacy work with an educational consulting group here in Boston — we’re taking some of their existing professional development (PD) and classroom tools and modifying them to better address the Common Core. Last week, I went with some other members of the team to a PD session for high school teachers titled “Who’s Doing the Thinking?” In light of the Common Core, this workshop was designed to help teachers accurately assess the thinking demands in their classroom, and to make informed decisions around when we should guide students in diving into complex texts, and when we should let them do it on their own.

As part of this workshop, we watched a video of a high-performing 9th grade ELA classroom. The students were seated in a modified semi-circle having a whole-class discussion around themes in the latest chapter of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks — a literary nonfiction text they were reading together. As the teacher facilitated the discussion, she skillfully asked probing questions like “What makes you say that?” “Where in the text can you find evidence to support that?” “Why do you think that?”  Her questions enabled students to really ground their thinking in textual evidence — a key piece of Common Core reading.

However, I couldn’t help but notice another teacher move that happened often. After each student finished giving evidence and making a statement, the teacher almost always offered a “summary plus.” That is, she concisely restated the student’s point and added some of her own thinking to the student’s comment. I likely noticed this because I do it all the time: taking a student comment and adding more detail. Now, I think this is sometimes wholly appropriate, but after watching about ten minutes of this video and reflecting on my own practice, I wondered, Shouldn’t we be trying to get students to do these “summary pluses”? In a perfect world, wouldn’t we be nearly absent from the conversation?

The video clip I watched happened towards the beginning of a unit, and I have no doubt that the discussion was more “teacher heavy” than later discussions would be. But the video still got me thinking. In addition to simply probing students to give evidence, what can we as teachers say and do to encourage students to give those mini-summaries? One thing I’ve decided I’d like to try in my classroom this fall is to be very explicit about my “summary pluses.” During early discussions of text, I will tell my students exactly what I’m doing when I rephrase and add my own thinking, and then I’ll slowly try to release the responsibility to them.

Giving up control of the thinking in a classroom is so much harder than it looks, but as I delve into the Common Core this summer, I’m realizing more and more how necessary it is. I’m excited to really practice what I preach this fall, and I’m looking forward to hearing from other educators on how you navigate the thinking balance in your classrooms!

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9. Lexile: A Bookseller’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

Guest bloggerThe following post by bookseller Melissa was cross-posted with permission from her blog, Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books. Thanks to Melissa for allowing us to share her perspective!

Fall has (almost) arrived.  Cool weather, pretty fall color, yummy drinks composed of apple cider or hot cocoa, and I get to wear scarves (I like scarves as an accessory).

And standardized testing, if you are or have a school-age child.

In my area of the country, it seems school districts have chosen testing that calculates a Lexile score for a child’s reading level with an associated score range.  Lexile is a company that uses a software program to analyze books for word usage, sentence length, etc. and produce a Lexile Text Measure for each book (I copied the description from the Lexile Analyzer site):

The Lexile ® measure of text is determined using the Lexile Analyzer ®, a software program that evaluates the reading demand—or readability—of books, articles and other materials. The Lexile Analyzer ® measures the complexity of the text by breaking down the entire piece and studying its characteristics, such as sentence length and word frequency, which represent the syntactic and semantic challenges that the text presents to a reader. The outcome is the text complexity, expressed as a Lexile ® measure, along with information on the word count, mean sentence length and mean log frequency.
Generally, longer sentences and words of lower frequency lead to higher Lexile ® measures; shorter sentences and words of higher frequency lead to lower Lexile ® measures. Texts such as lists, recipes, poetry and song lyrics are not analyzed because they lack conventional punctuation.

I’m not a huge fan of putting a “score” on a book based simply on a computer generated metric because the software doesn’t take into account context or content of a book.  Or form, cf poetry.  But this seems to be accepted by the educational powers-that-be, so it’s here for the time being. However, I don’t know how well or often the scores are explained to parents, because I wind up in a lot of parent-bookseller conversations like this:

Parent: My child has a Lexile score of XXXX.  She has to read books in the range of XXXX-XXXX.  Will this work?
Bookseller [thinks]: Craaaaaaaaap.
Bookseller [says]: Well, let’s pull up the Lexile site to see what it suggests for that range and go from there.

The major problem here is that the parent hasn’t THE FOGGIEST IDEA what books go with the child’s Lexile score or how score ranges line up

The Sun Also Rises cover

The Sun Also Rises, a title with a confusing Lexile identity

with likely grade-levels.  They don’t have/haven’t been provided with a list of suggestions for the range.  They haven’t looked up Lexile on the Internet to get a handle on what this thing is (I mean, hello, the Internet is the Information Superhighway, Google it).  And their poor child is off in the corner trying desperately to read another Warriors book by Erin Hunter or Wimpy Kid or the new Babymouse before the “grown-ups” force her into reading stuff that she thinks she doesn’t want to read.

As booksellers (and by extension librarians, a population I am not a member of but respect greatly), we are the information gatekeepers the parents turn to in this situation.  We are the ones to take an abstract range of numbers and turn it into a physical pile of titles and authors.  We have to differentiate between editions because scores can fluctuate wildly and Lexile isn’t very informative (type “The Sun Also Rises” into Lexile – the old Scribner edition has a score of 610L, the ISBN for the reprint isn’t found, and the Modern Critical Interpretations edition is listed with a score of 1420L….confusing, right?).  And we are the ones who have to know what stories lay between the covers of those books so we can explain the contents to the parents.

In almost every customer interaction regarding Lexile, I have had to find books for a child who reads significantly above grade level (at grade level is generally pretty easy and parents with children under grade level often have a list of recommended titles as a starting point; for some reason, those children who read above grade level don’t have many recommendations).  For reference, Lexile gives a grade approximation for the score ranges:

Even though the approximate ranges are pretty wide, a book or series that is popular among peers isn’t often in the “right” score range for an advanced reader.  Some titles are marked “NC” meaning a non-conforming score (higher than intended audience) but it’s hard to tease those out of a range during a search (I’ve tried).  It can get pretty emotional when the child cannot find anything he or she wants to read or that parents will allow them to read that “counts” for their Lexile score.

The biggest grade-to-score discrepancy I’ve come across was a seventh grade boy (and a bit young socially for his age) who had a Lexile score greater than 1100.  His Lexile range was approximately 1150 – 1210.  The boy had to read at least five books that semester in his range to pass English and he was already behind. His father had done some online research and was at a loss – he was having trouble finding content-appropriate books in that score range (there was also a religious consideration, so a lot of recommended fantasy titles were automatically out).  The boy was very open to reading Stephen King, who has a lot of high-Lexile score titles, but the idea was vetoed by Dad due to language (and probably the religious consideration as well).  Dostoevsky was perfectly acceptable to Dad, but the kiddo really couldn’t get excited about it (he was into Gary Paulsen’s Brian series, but that wasn’t even close).  Some Dumas was in the right range but not the more appealing titles (The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask are both under 1000).  Gary Paulsen’s My Life in Dog Years was just in range, so I was able to interest both parent and child in that.  I sold them on The Hound of the Baskervilles and then hit paydirt with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.  The boy had a friend with an Asperger-like syndrome and they were friends in their advanced math classes. Whew.  Finally, three books and a reasonably happy father.  But I couldn’t help but think – what are they going to do as the child continues through the school system?

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all this since this isn’t quite the usual tone for a “‘Tis the Season” post.

Well, I really just wanted to put this out there to maybe help save parents, children, and teachers (and possibly other booksellers and librarians)  had a little girl just burst into tears once when I told her The Last Olympian  - the book she so desperately wanted to read - had a score of 620L; she had to have books greater than 700 or her teacher wouldn't count them at all. some grief.  I would like to ask school administrators and teachers to work with children and parents to come up with lists of possible books appropriate to both grade-level and Lexile range (and I understand if you do this and the parents forget, are obstinate, or leave the list at home when they head to the bookstore).  For parents, Lexile provides a map with lists of titles for score ranges.  It’s a good place to start when trying to find books.

I would also like to ask teachers to be less rigid when assigning Lexile-related reading assignments because this seems to be where children have the most trouble.  I have so often helped kids who love, love to read but have found that none of the books they find appealing “count” for a reading assignment because they aren’t in the “right” Lexile range or have no score because either the book is too new or has an un-evaluable format.  These kids feel disheartened, that they’re failing, that the things they love are unimportant, and I hate seeing their disappointment when I’ve gone through the entire stack of books they’ve picked out and not a single one was in the right range.  I had a little girl just burst into tears once when I told her The Last Olympian  – the book she so desperately wanted to read – had a score of 620L; she had to have books greater than 700 or her teacher wouldn’t count them at all.  Please let children with high Lexile ranges count some of those lower-scoring books toward their reading assignment (say, an exchange of two non-Lexile books for one Lexile book, not to exceed half the assignment) or perhaps give them extra credit for those books as long as they’re keeping up with the Lexile assignment (if you’re already doing that, bravo!).  These kids are reading because they love reading and they’re already reading outside of school, which is sort of the point of those types of assignments.   I rarely hear of a child being penalized for reading above his or her range so I think there’s a compromise that can be reached for those kids who want to read but have trouble finding books due to age or content.

So bring your Lexile ranges to me and I and my fellow booksellers and librarians will do our best to find what you like to read as well as what you need to read – if we’re very good, that book will fill both requirements.  ‘Tis that sort of season.


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources Tagged: back to school, booksellers, common core, lexile

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10. Open mic and the classroom

perkins open mic1 Open mic and the classroomI confess that I have been known to say that many, many books are my absolute favorites, to the extent that sometimes people roll their eyes and avert their attention. And I think that as a reader, this is true — I fall in love a little with story after story. But it is not true that as a teacher, I fall in love with every book that passes by. I read with different eyes for my classroom, and given limited time and resources, I get to choose fewer books on that front.

So recently Mitali Perkins released an edited volume called Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices, a collection of pieces about being bicultural, and I fell in love twice. As a multiethnic person who loves thinking about these issues, I was on board immediately with the poignant, wry, and funny accounts about being in-between. Those are feelings I know well.

But I didn’t just fall in love with Open Mic as a reader — I feel in love with it as a teacher. The Common Core Standards (if your state is into those) push us to teach across genres more, to use multiple texts to work on synthesis skills, and to expand our text repertoires in ways I think could be important and useful. But in practice, I have found that my repertoire of texts is going to need some shoring up if I am going to shift my teaching that way.

In addition to having an exciting theme that I absolutely love for my classroom, the texts in Open Mic vary in genre. There is a poem, a personal account, a graphic opinion piece, and so on.  Those different genres give me a whole new window into how we can build the skills to synthesize and analyze, because crossing genres necessitates that work. I can see the great usefulness of a collection like this, and I hope lots of other cross-genre collections around themes are on my near horizon. I can hardly wait to get started.

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11. Revising a Picture Book: Length, Common Core, Details and Research


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vagabonds by Darcy Pattison

Vagabonds

by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends May 09, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I just did a quick revision of a picture book that’s in progress.

Shorter. One goal was to shorten the story whenever possible. I cut out an entire page, and an entire sentence. Doesn’t sound like much? At only 700 words, the story is as streamlined as I can make it. Well, no. I just cut out one page and a sentence. Honing the text to the tightest possible is important for picture book texts.

When I’m asked to read someone’s manuscript, here’s my main comment: Cut it in half.

And a friend adds this: After cutting it in half, cut another 100 words.

Classroom reading center: Will your picture book be useful in the classroom?

Classroom reading center: Will your picture book be useful in the classroom?



Common Core. The Common Core education standards are a couple years now and their requirements are definitely on my mind. I am constantly consulting the standards for each grade level and working to make sure the picture book is useful in the classroom. Because I write for early elementary, I consider this a crucial aspect of what I do.

Oliver511x400First, I focus on the story. Is the story itself compelling and interesting for the audience? If so, then can I add anything that will enhance it’s use in the classroom, without changing the essential story elements? For example, my picture book, THE JOURNEY OF OLIVER K. WOODMAN is now ten years old and still selling well. Part of the reason is that the story is told in letters and postcards. Of course, children’s learn about writing letters and postcards in early elementary, so this book is a natural for teachers to use as a mentor text. The story came first and demanded to be written in an epistolary (big word for letters) format. But after the story worked, then the layout and design decisions enhanced its usefulness in the classroom. Story first; but don’t ignore the book’s classroom usefulness.

Details. The Work-in-progress is about cats and I’m looking at about 20 cats that could be used in various places in the story. Which cat goes where? It’s a balancing act which requires me to know something about different cat breeds and match them to my story. I also have to carefully tabulate and re-tabulate which breeds I’ve used. I can’t use one breed twice, but each of the 20 breeds must be used. Check. No, move that one to this place. Re-check. It was a morning of detailed work!

Research.
I know–everyone loves cat videos. But have you ever seen a Devon Rex cat?

If you can’t see this video, click here.

In case you were wondering, according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, here’s the top 20 most popular cat breeds in 2013. (In other words, I am doing research to document and justify the breeds I am using in the story.)

RANK BREED
1 Persian
2 Exotic
3 Maine Coon Cat
4 Ragdoll
5 British Shorthair
6 Abyssinian
7 American Shorthair
8 Sphynx
9 Siamese
10 Devon Rex
11 Norwegian Forest Cat
12 Oriental
13 Scottish Fold
14 Cornish Rex
15 Birman
16 Burmese
17 Tonkinese
18 Siberian
19 Russian Blue
20 Egyptian Mau

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12. P.S. Evolution is real

queen P.S. Evolution is realSo the Rialto, CA, school district has decided that maybe it’s NOT a good idea to have eighth-graders debate the existence of the Holocaust. I’m of two minds (Opposing Viewpoints: In My Head). While I see the chance for much mischief in such an assignment and believe middle school is too early  for the kind of fact- and viewpoint-evaluation the topic requires, I also think this is a great focus for teaching high school students how to navigate truth, history, and propaganda. It could provide what the Common Core–at its best–asks students to do: “to use cogent reasoning and evidence collection skills that are essential for success in college, career, and life.”

Just so we’re clear: I’m not asking schools to “teach the controversy,” allowing students to decide for themselves in an all-viewpoints-are-respected-here kind of way about the historical reality of the Nazi genocide. What this lesson should instead teach them is how to distinguish facts from the ravings of racist whackjobs.  The Anti-Defamation League’s L.A. office called the assignment dangerous, citing “the large volume of misinformation” on the internet, but doesn’t that volume also mean that people need to learn how to recognize pernicious claptrap when it’s presented to them?

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13. Picture books for launching mathematicians

My school uses a play-based approach to teaching math, which is advantageous because as an early childhood teacher, my students still love math and they love to play games. They enjoy learning and working with numbers and I can build on this through math games.

For me, teaching math is often challenging because my own mathematical background emphasized “doing” math over understanding with drills, formulas, and math algorithms rather than reinforcing why we use specific math procedures. Add to this the new Common Core Math Standard’s focus on conceptual understanding, fluency, and application and you get a recipe for highly reflective lesson planning!

One way to bridge this gap between doing and understanding math is with picture books. They provide purposeful ways to ground students intuitive use of math and easily get them using and talking about the most effective strategies.

There are so many wonderful math concept and picture books out there, yet selecting books that effectively support mini lessons and launch play requires a bit more searching. The books need to interest students, embed rather than simply present math concepts, lend themselves well to differentiated extension activities, and of course, be fun!

Some books I’ve successfully used and that meet these criteria are:

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean — This is a Kevin Sherry’s story about a giant squid who thinks he’s bigger than everything in the ocean. He’s very big, but is he the biggest? This book is great for introducing relative size, comparisons. This is an alternative text for introducing standard measurements as well as scale when students are challenged to rank by size or to think of reliable ways to determine how much bigger he might be than other animals.

roostersofftoseeworld 218x300 Picture books for launching mathematicians Rooster’s Off to See the World — This classic Eric Carle book can help launch math activities about number sets. In the book, Rooster seeks company as he travels around the world. Along the way, he encounters different types of animals and invites them along. The best part of this book is that every time he meets a new animal, the number of them increases. It’s a great way to introduce students to counting in groups and helps students to distinguish between total numbers and sets of numbers. With this book, students played sorting games and counted number sets.

Ppigswillbepigs 300x259 Picture books for launching mathematiciansigs Will be Pigs — This is the hilarious tale of a family of pigs who need to find enough money to pay for dinner at a restaurant. The author Amy Axelrod wrote this book to teach explicitly about money and she does a fabulous job. I especially love this story because it can also be used across the curriculum. I’m connecting this to a social studies unit on access to healthful food. Grocery store or restaurant math games using coins are natural extension activities with this book.

alexanderwhousedtoberich 300x229 Picture books for launching mathematiciansAlexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday — Judith Viorst’s Alexander tales normalize my students’ every day experiences and emotions. This one is no different. Alexander has just spent every cent of the money his grandparents gave him. As he recounts how he spent it, students add up how much he spends or can subtract from the initial total. I love this one because a few of the items have prices that some students might find awkward to work with. As with Pigs Will be Pigs, it also lends itself well to cross-curricular connections, especially the basic economic principle of scarcity: Alexander had to learn the hard way about saving versus spending his limited income. For this book, a game to help Alexander save is also a next step for money.

When using picture books to teach math, pre- and post-assessment of student understanding can easily get lost. Talking to students about the math concepts in the books before sending them off to play math extension games can give you a sense of their thinking. For post-assessment, reviewing student work and requiring them to either to write or share out their strategies for success on the games lets them talk about their math knowledge and provides natural entry points for correcting misconceptions or pushing learning.

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14. Nonfiction then and now and...?



I started writing for I.N.K. in March 2008.  With nostalgia and curiosity, I went back to look at some of my initial posts.  I kept on reading and realized that I was also looking at a history of what has happened in the field of kids’ nonfiction from then to now.  At least, some of its zeitgeist, its ups and downs. 

By 2008 we nonfiction writers had had time to road-test our liberation from straitjacket association with encyclopedic information.  We had seen or written books such as Dance, Actual Size, and Action Jackson, celebrating the changes that came with cheaper color printing and more experimental styles and formats.  It was no wonder my second post for I.N.K., A Rose by any Other Name? bridled against the confines of the word used to describe our field.  I wrote: 

As we all know, words matter. So what about the one that describes our genre of writing: nonfiction. I used to feel just fine about it, but now I have a slight twinge. After all, it does have a negative point of reference. The “I’m not fiction” instead of the “I am something” kind of writing…

If you link to the post you can see a discussion of the issue and the difficulty I and other  commenters had trying to find a good solution.

Artistically booming , we were about to take a fall. In June 2008, however, most of us didn’t know that. I’m a glass-half-full-AND-half-empty type, perhaps I had a premonition.  In The Lucky Thing about Friday the 13th(prompted by my assigned post date) I amused myself with cheerful grumbling about the luck factor (or lack thereof) in writing nonfiction for kids.  Here is part of it:

The lucky thing is that schools and libraries can always use a well-written book to update their collection on a particular subject.
The unlucky thing is that they can’t afford to buy them.
The lucky thing is that you can create books on subjects kids will love.
The unlucky thing is that many publishers can’t imagine marketing nonfiction to the trade market, so the kids don’t find them.

If you click on rest of the post, please note I do end with the lucky side; I love what I do and have, luckily, managed to make a living at it.  

Nevertheless a few months later, the fan was hit plunging us into the biggest fiscal crisis since the Great Depression.  It hit the book industry the same way it affected the nation at large.  I know many people whose completed, even paid-for manuscripts were dropped by publishers looking at a shriveling market with no immediate change in sight.  One of my own was pushed to a pub date over a year in the future so it could be “supported more successfully.”

Happily unagented for most of my career, I began to think about the comfort of having an ally.  I started a search for an agent and was shocked by what I found on their web sites.  Another post, Agents-Agents of Change was born. 

A personal nadir perhaps, but hope springs and swings eternal along with changing fortunes for people and professions.  In other words, if you stick around long enough, the pendulum swings.  On a personal level, I had three books come out in 2012.  More globally, picture books, declared a dying form, managed a “rebirth.” YA nonfiction is growing. Nonfiction books are more frequent winners and honor winners of the Newbery, Printz and Caldecott. 

I’m not exactly sure when the phrase Common Core first appeared in I.N.K. posts, but it increased exponentially in 2012.  My book Skyscraper was included in Math Reads, Marilyn Burn’s series using actual books to teach math; and I posted about future models of using our books in the classroom. When Penguin combined The Truth About Poop and Gee Whiz in a new edition, I wrote about what was lost and gained by very intelligently reissuing these books in black-and-white digest form for the burgeoning middle grade market. 
 
I wasn’t the only one commenting on the Brave New World of nonfiction’s role in education.  I.N.K. devoted the whole month of October 2013 to Common Core and nonfiction in the classroom with a spirited discussion about the author’s role in the process.

Is Common Core going to change the role and status of nonfiction in our culture?  Who knows.  I know more imprints are opening their lists to it.  And I wish we’d have more time and posts to report on what happens as a result.  But it’s been great to have an opportunity to think and write about all things nonfiction until now.  Thank you, I.N.K.

This post, in fact, my tenure at I.N.K. is dedicated to Linda Salzman, without whom…

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15. Arts in the Schools and INK (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids)

While writing today’s piece, I anxiously checked news feeds regarding the fire at the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building. By the end of the day, the fire service reported they were able to save 90% of the building and about 70% of it’s contents. Just thinking about the possible loss turned my stomach. Started in 1897, the Mackintosh Building was designed by Scotland's most influential architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Opened in 1909, the art nouveau building signaled the birth of a new style in 20th Century European architecture. A 2009 poll by the Royal Institute of British Architects voted it the best British building of the last 175 years. Imagine what we could have lost today.

About six and a half years ago, Linda Salzman contacted me. She asked if I’d be interested in writing for a kids’ nonfiction blog she was creating. Evidentially, someone noticed all the blogging I’d been writing promoting of art books for kids.  Today, in preparing to write this second-to-last post, I reread all my pieces and perused the books I’ve promoted. I was curious if there has been any change in the educational world in regard to the arts. Here's just a few items that I found. There are many more. I wonder where we will stand in another six years. 

In the last six years, we’ve become accustomed to the terms Common Core, and STEM and STEAM.
  • Common Core State Standards now aim towards a 50% nonfiction and 50% fiction classroom reading text; previously the classroom reading text was around 80% fiction.
  • In 2009, President Obama started White House Science Fairs as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire more girls and boys to excel in STEM subjects. Next week, on May 27, the 2014 White House Science Fairbegins. This year’s fair will include a specific focus on girls and women who are excelling in STEM. The Administration’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition grants states competitive preference if they demonstrated efforts to close the STEM gap for girls and other groups that are underrepresented.
  • In February 2013, the bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus was created, co-chaired by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL). “We frequently discuss the importance of STEM education, but we can’t ignore the importance of engaging and educating both halves of the brain,” Bonamici maintains. “Creative, critical thinking leads to innovation. The integration of the arts into STEM curriculum will excite creativity in the minds of our future leaders.”
  • Stanford University began requiring all undergraduates to take two units of "Creative Expression" classes, including design, dance, music, fine arts, drama or creative writing.
  • Sesame Street officially expanded its STEM-themed programming to include arts.
  • Last week, Actress Kerry Washington wrote an impassioned plea for arts in the schools in a Huffington Post blog column titled How to Save Our Schools: The Arts and Music are No Fairytale.

Art-themed nonfiction books introduce young people to the passion and inspiration of artists and creators. Years ago, reading Frida by Jonah Winter to an elementary class was an eye opener for me. The text and illustrations presented the art of Frida Kahlo flawlessly, complimenting my presentation. And, the book even caught everyone's attention in a room full of kindergarteners and a class of fifth graders – no small feat.

As the support for arts in the schools continues to grow, I’ll continue to spread the word about nonfiction art books, including STEM/STEAM, activity and creativity books. Tragically, we could physically lose our treasures, but the passion and creative inspiration is what stays in our hearts. That is what art books set out to accomplish.

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16. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: May 30

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few links from last week, too, shared from my iPad while I was on vacation in Disney World. Topics this week include authors, book lists and awards, common core, diversity, events, growing bookworms, reading, publishing, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Authors

Henry Winkler: I love acting but I am proudest of my books - @TelegraphBooks http://ow.ly/xmNSB via @PWKidsBookshelf

12 Charming Tidbits About Beverly Cleary | Mental Floss via @bkshelvesofdoom http://goo.gl/Db5nMs #kidlit

Book Lists and Awards

As Easy as ABC: Awards, Best Sellers, and Critical Thinking by @gregpincus http://goo.gl/UAAJPU

Kirkus Reviews unveils three $50,000 book prizes (for fiction, nonfiction, and #kidlit) http://ow.ly/xoTaovia @bkshelvesofdoom

Ten Dystopian Visions for middle grade readers, some classic some new, at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/xmSqh #kidlit

Damian Dibben's top 10 time travel books | @GuardianBooks via @tashrow http://ow.ly/xjUgM #kidlit

Interesting! Top Ten List: Favorite Postmodern Picture Books by Frank Serafini @nerdybookclub http://goo.gl/c9lTMY #kidlit

Killers in Plain Sight: Five Stories about Assassins in High School @bkshelvesofdoom http://goo.gl/80hEuM #yalit

So You Want To Read Middle Grade: Natalie Aguirre on upper middle grade #kidlit @greenbeanblog http://goo.gl/8WRC6T

YA Gets Nordic: Seven Stories with Roots in Norse Mythology from @bkshelvesofdoom http://goo.gl/O2QRoK #yalit

A Tuesday Ten: London Calling . . . | Speculative #kidlit set in London | Views From the Tesseract http://goo.gl/5TRX3v

3 YA Novels To Help Us Remember Our Nigerian Girls @mitaliperkins http://goo.gl/nXDsp1

15 books that should be the next Percy Jackson from @book_nut http://ow.ly/3kFTAy #kidlit

Common Core

Part One: Developing Your Nonfiction Reading Aptitude by Sue Bartle at The Uncommon Corps http://goo.gl/m4oB5p #commoncore

Beyond the Backmatter: Nonfiction Equivalents of Bonus Features and Director Commentary at The Uncommon Core http://goo.gl/45sIvh

Diversity

30 Diverse YA Titles To Get On Your Radar from @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/xoUr1 #WeNeedDiverseBooks #yalit

Thursday Three: Diverse Picture Books suggested by @MotherReader http://goo.gl/A96Hsv

For Armchair BEA, @MsYingling shares a list of books for kids about other cultures http://ow.ly/xoTHk #WeNeedDiverseBooks #kidlit

DiverseBooksCampaignHow To Get People To Care: Anatomy Of A Trending Hashtag, #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign @FastCompany http://ow.ly/xmD0i @PWKidsBookshelf

Where Are All The Fat Girls In Literature? | Mariko Tamaki in @HuffPostBooks http://ow.ly/xkbwt via @PWKidsBookshelf

It's Not Me, It's You: Letting Go of the Status Quo | Zetta Elliott @HuffPostBooks http://ow.ly/xkaUJ via @SheilaRuth #diversity

Diversity in Children's Books: Moving From Outcry to Real, Market-Driven Solutions | Kyle Zimmer @FirstBook @HuffPost http://ow.ly/xjUln

The Great Greene Heist goes on sale today! Have you taken the Great Greeene Challenge? @haleshannon http://ow.ly/xjTwg @varianjohnson

Events, Programs and Research

Activities for Children's Book Week 2014 suggestions from @BookChook http://goo.gl/LjsVS1

Read with your ears! Free SYNC audiobooks this summer, starting now! | @BooksYALove http://ow.ly/xjYKR

It's time for The Sixth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge from @donalynbooks http://goo.gl/PFqkBw #bookaday

48hbc_newCentral Ohio Blogger Breakfast to Kick Off to 48 Hour Read and Book-A-Day @FrankiSibberson #bookaday #48hbc http://goo.gl/GuDSL1

Successful Brains, on the behavior differences between successful people and not from @tashrow http://goo.gl/8rK7sd

Growing Bookworms

When Imagination, Story & Creativity Work As One by @TrevorHCairney http://goo.gl/xEFYwm #literacy

Create a reading culture, make sure you are not perpetuating" gender stereotypes, writes Stacy Dillon http://goo.gl/XD4i1t

Good advice! Chris Evans: parents must read to their children, in @TelegraphArts http://ow.ly/xoM7F via @librareanne

The progression of her sons as readers by @katsok and how to create the next generation of @NerdyBookClub members http://ow.ly/xmwtR

"The best thing we can do to ensure our boys are reading ... is to get to know each child" @katsok on boys + reading http://ow.ly/xjTJm

On building a reading culture | We’re All In This Together by Emily Meixner @NerdyBookClub http://goo.gl/vUn4y1

Kidlitosphere

RT @RosemondCates Check out the fabulous @JensBookPage on http://www.bighairandbooks.blogspot.com  #spotlightsaturday

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

"why do we keep judging readers who don’t have the privilege of buying ... books from a (physical) store?" @catagator http://ow.ly/xoUWM

At The Uncommon Corps, Marc Aronson explores the question of what we mean by "pleasure reading" http://ow.ly/xmvh1

Define "Reading", @catagator responds to recent studies about people reading less, questions definition of readinghttp://ow.ly/xjYEs

Fun! Putting Your Book in Your Book — @100scopenotes (on illustrators including call-backs to their own work) http://ow.ly/xmw26

A refreshing primer from @tlt16 | Dear Media, Let me help you write that article on #YAlit http://ow.ly/xkbiY via @PWKidsBookshelf

MAKING OUR OWN MARKET: Why I Leaped into Print-on-Demand and Ebook Publishing by Carole Boston Weatherford | http://ow.ly/xmvH8

On ‘The John Green Effect,’ Contemporary Realism, and Form as a Political Act by Anne Ursu http://goo.gl/Tkt2UK via @bkshelvesofdoom

Schools and Libraries

Can teachers read books only for pleasure or do they think about teaching? Both. by Amanda Jaksetic @nerdybookclub http://goo.gl/pEDT0U

Another sigh! School Librarians Get No Love in Allentown School District (1 librarian for 15 elem dists) | @sljournal http://ow.ly/xmDgH

Sigh! California’s Modesto City Schools To End Library Instruction for Elementary Schools | @sljournal http://ow.ly/xk5Fa

Summer Reading

IndieBound has released recommended#SummerReading #kidlit. @tashrow shares the top ten, w/ links to more http://ow.ly/xoSS8

#SummerReading List: Books, Resources and Programs by @momandkiddo http://goo.gl/UJI80R

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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17. Get Out Your Calendars! It’s June Planning Time!

If we do nothing else, we do this one thing…Read this post to find out what it is!

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18. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 20

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter over the past two weeks @JensBookPage. I have a lot of links because I was traveling last week, and wasn't able to do a post. Topics include book lists and awards, common core, diversity and gender, growing bookworms, kidlitosphere, reading, writing, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Book Lists and Awards (find other lists in the Summer Reading section below)

10 Books For Kids Who (think they) Hate Reading by Lisa Graff in @HuffPostBooks http://ow.ly/y9Klq via @tashrow

Cool Correspondence | Great Books About Writing Letters | @sljournal #booklist http://ow.ly/yeCXi #kidlit

Always interesting | Newbery / Caldecott 2015: The Summer Prediction Edition from @fuseeight http://ow.ly/y9Ovj #kidlit

Ten Fantastic Father-figures in middle grade science speculative fiction from Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/ybPhK #kidlit

I love it! A Tuesday Ten: Incredible Introverts in #kidlit science fiction + fantasy | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/xWOyZ

Congratulations to @gregpincus | The 14 Fibs of Gregory K is deservedly on the Bank Street Best Children's Books list http://ow.ly/ybO3d

Another fun set of lists from @catagator Stacked | Microtrends in YA Fiction (like being stuck in elevators) http://ow.ly/y9L6p #yalit

Semi-Grown-Up Gumshoes: Three Adult-Market Girl Detectives. http://goo.gl/A5QZmW @bkshelvesofdoom

Fun! RT @tashrow Cameron McAllister’s top 10 amazing machines in children’s books | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1ulw6o4  #kidlit

Common Core

Math: "a lens through which we can see the world better", Jordan Ellenberg quoted in post by Marc Aronson #CommonCore http://ow.ly/ybOwD

Cut to the Core: #CommonCore Is a Hot Topic at Trade Shows http://ow.ly/xWP9y @PublishersWkly

Testing (Again), the Gates Foundation, and Curriculum by Mary Ann Cappiello at The Uncommon Corps http://goo.gl/v6NzfJ

Great Kid Books: #CommonCore IRL: Digital Resources for students studying Colonial America http://ow.ly/xFrGv @MaryAnnScheuer

Diversity + Gender

Diverse Books – on why we ALL need them! by @BooksYALove http://ow.ly/xNviZ  #WeNeedDiverseBooks

The Brown Bookshelf shares message from @RIFWEB | how + why to choose good multicultural children's books http://ow.ly/ybPY7  #diversity

#Diversity in Publishing: Next Steps from the Discussion from @thetoast http://ow.ly/xWPmL via @PWKidsBookshelf

Useful resource from Grace Lin | A Cheat Sheet for Selling #Diversity in books http://ow.ly/xQBH2 via @FuseEight

First Book Pledges to Buy Diverse Books in response to #WeNeedDiverseBooks @sljournal http://ow.ly/xNQUI @FirstBook

Interesting question from @haleshannon squeetus: Is anyone really "able-bodied"? Disability as continuum http://ow.ly/xNqjk #diversity

The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth : Monkey See : @NPRBooks http://ow.ly/xNBBj via @tashrow

Growing Bookworms

How YA Books Engender a True Love of Reading in My Students | Tina Yang @PubPerspectives http://ow.ly/yeKbS via @PWKidsBookshelf #yalit

So true! "It doesn’t take fine literature to hook a kid for life." @LisaGraff @NerdyBookClub on keeping reading fun http://ow.ly/yerfH

"Reading should not be a chore." On the use of apps that force kids to log book time to earn screen time @salon http://ow.ly/y9H50

Are fathers better at bedtime stories than mothers? - @TelegraphNews via @librareanne http://ow.ly/xWQKo

#DadsRead Campaign Celebrates Fathers Reading to Kids | @sljournal @ZoobeanForKids @goodmenproject http://ow.ly/xWQaU

"I ... credit my husband's love for literature with ... Sprout's enthusiasm for books." @SproutsBkshelf for #DadsRead http://ow.ly/xWOPe

#DadsRead Because Dads are Awesome —adorable photos from @fuseeight for @ZoobeanForKids + @goodmenproject effort http://ow.ly/xNVAC

Raise A Reader: A Parent Guide to Reading for Ages 3-5 | @Scholastic http://ow.ly/xNEqc via @librareanne #literacy

Series books for summer pleasure reading - This is the post for parents by @pwbalto http://goo.gl/fqsJNF #kidlit

How to encourage students to read for pleasure: teachers share their top tips | Teacher Network via @librareanne http://ow.ly/xFsHm

Kidlitosphere

The scoop from @100scopenotes | #Bookaday-gate Resolved! @donalynbooks #BookADay #BookADayUK http://ow.ly/xNqzn

For her 200th Post, Stephanie Whelan shares First Impressions Through 100 Favorite First Lines in #kidlit http://ow.ly/y9K4w

On Reading, Writing, Publishing

An Art Exhibit Honors 75th anniversary of 'Madeline' - @WSJ http://ow.ly/xWQ0s via @PWKidsBookshelf

The fault in our aesthetic pigeonholing: Who cares if grown-ups read young-adult fiction? - @GlobeAndMail http://ow.ly/xWPGs

Where, What, How, and Why Teens Do and Don’t Read | Consider the Source | Seeta Pai @CommonSense Media in @sljournal http://ow.ly/xNR5V

Really? Are We Still Genre Shaming People For The Books They Like? Lauren Davis at io9 http://ow.ly/xQCCh via @gail_gauthier

This is hilarious: "adults should be ashamed to read children’s literature!" Satire from Marjorie Ingall http://ow.ly/xQBet @FuseEight

More great stuff! Ten Reasons To Read YA (No Matter What Age You Are) from @Gwenda http://ow.ly/xNtT5 #yalit

Can you infer an author's interests sometimes? Check out Cats, Dogs and Other Authors’ Favorite Motifs @read4keeps http://ow.ly/xNqL6

Schools and Libraries

A teacher says: "you continue the practice of reading aloud because it is right" @Shoulded @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/xNrFc

Ways that kindergarten teachers can foster the love of literacy in kids | Jennifer Schwanke @ChoiceLiteracy http://ow.ly/xNO2h

"As a teacher, I see the importance of caring, compassionate, and dedicated librarians" @JustinStygles @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/xNCt9

When You Know Better: A Journey to Authentic Book Clubs (learning from @donalynbooks ) by @jenbrittin @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/y9KvH

Rethinking Teaching Choices, some thoughts on Accelerated Reader programs from @katsok http://ow.ly/y9Mce

Press Release Fun: Teachers Are Givers Contest from Walden Media highlighting release of The Giver movie — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/ybOSC

I love @lochwouters descriptions of her annual Library Camp-Out programs. Such a fun way to grow bookworms! http://ow.ly/yegbW

The loss of a school's librarian, from the librarian's point of view, sadly, Zoe @playbythebook http://ow.ly/yeuVb

UpClose: Designing 21st-Century Libraries | How we were vs. are now using libraries @LibraryJournal http://ow.ly/yeCND

Good news! RT @tashrow Libraries see light after years of cuts http://buff.ly/1ulvqiq #libraries

Summer Reading

Great stuff! Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Reading This Summer by @jamibookmom @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/xNth2 #GrowingBookworms

10 Tips for Getting Kids Reading This Summer #SummerReading @5m4b http://ow.ly/xWOYj #literacy

Great photos! Top 10 Just Right #SummerReading Nook Ideas from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/y9JYf

BeBookSmartSigh! New Survey from @RIFweb Finds Only 17% of Parents Make Reading a Top Priority for Summer http://bit.ly/1iHaziD

8 Tips to Prevent the #SummerReading Slide from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/yeqPb #literacy

RAISING A READER Organization Offers Tips for Getting Children to Read During Summer Vacation http://ow.ly/xNwmU via @tashrow

I'm loving this series by @MaryAnnScheuer | Here are #SummerReading favorites for Kindergarteners http://ow.ly/y9KVc #kidlit

Lots of ideas in #SummerReading favorites: 1st grade suggestions from @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/y9K9R #kidlit

#SummerReading favorites: 2nd grade suggestions compiled by @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/y9JST #kidlit

Reading is fun! #SummerReading favorites from @MaryAnnScheuer | 3rd grade suggestions http://ow.ly/yeqca #kidlit

12 #SummerReading lists by transportation category (inc. rocketship) from @NPR http://ow.ly/ybPEl #bookyourtrip via @bkshelvesofdoom

#Diverse #SummerReading Picks For Kids from Michael Martin @npr via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/xNPPB

Stacked with a literal twist on "Summer" Reads, 2014 Edition ( #yalit with summer in the title) http://ow.ly/xNrTe @catagator

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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19. Force Field for Good and a Giveaway!

Learn about Barry Lane's newest book, Force Field for Good and enter for the giveaway!

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20. Writing Inspiring Nonfiction for Kids and Common Core

Two weeks ago when I read the latest article about the Common Core in the New York Times titled Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes, I knew this would be the topic of my last post. Things have sure changed in the last six years. When Linda Salzman first started this nonfiction blog and invited nonfiction writers from all areas to write a monthly post, I was all about speaking out about art and creativity books for kids. Now, the popular nonfiction buzzwords are Common Core, STEM, digital publishing, marketing, and graphic novels. These were main topics discussed at last weekend’s Second Annual 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference --- as pointed out in this Publisher’s Weekly article about the conference.

In the aforementioned New York Times article, 9-year-old Chrispin Alcindor had been a star student but was struggling with math under the new Common Core teaching and was worrying about not passing to the next grade. I was drawn into his story by “his dream of becoming an engineer or an architect, to one day have a house with a pool and a laboratory where he would turn wild ideas about winged cars and jet packs into reality.” Chrispin’s excitement towards learning changed, as he grew frustrated by the new Common Core math. His enthusiasm was crushed. His dream of "walking across the stage at graduation in sunglasses and white sneakers, claiming his award and basking in the applause of the entire school" banished from his mind.

Trish Matthew, Chrispin’s teacher at Public School 397 in Brooklyn, saw the frustration in her classroom. The article continued, “Many struggled with basic math skills. Ms. Matthew, concerned about morale, called each student to her desk at the beginning of the year. “Please don’t think you are a failure,” she told them, one by one.”
I was so touched and moved by Ms. Matthew’s actions, which prompted writing this post and fueled my final comments. 

Last week, Arne Duncan went on CBS This Morning to talk about the Common Core. If you missed it, I’ll post it here.
And, if you're interested in reading a few pros and cons on the Common Core, check out the 505 comments on the New York Times article. Warning: it gets a little heated.

Recently, I've noticed while sitting down with editors to discuss new book projects, the Common Core is often mentioned. They highlight new book projects that have sold because they support the Common Core---fodder for reader discussions on why they thought the author wrote the book, compare and contrast aspects within the story, etc.
As I set off to work on the next chapters in my writing career, while the Common Core and their writing strategies will be in the back of my mind, inspiring young readers will be my main focus. Inspiring them to think. Inspiring them to achieve whatever they want to be. Inspiring them to be creative. Inspiring them to dream.
I will be continuing my blog posts on my website: AnnaMLewis.  Please check there for my next posts and the latest book news.
Here’s to Interesting (and Inspiring) Nonfiction for Kids!

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21. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 3

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. I am posting a day early this week because of the July 4th holiday. Topics this week include: authors, awards, book lists, common core, growing bookworms, events, kidlitcon, publishing, teaching, libraries, and summer reading.

Authors

Rest in Peace, Walter Dean Myers. Here's an appreciation from Tanita Davis at Finding Wonderland http://ow.ly/yIbNs

Just Walk Away: Authors and Illustrators Who Do — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/yIBxa #kidlit

Book Lists and Awards

Roger Sutton makes some excellent points in this @HornBook editorial about new ALSC policy on communication by judges http://ow.ly/yFSbj

RT @CynLeitichSmith: Growing Int'l #Latino Book Awards Reflect Booming Market http://nbcnews.to/1nPPLbF via @NBCNews

2014 Guardian Children’s Prize Longlist | @tashrow has the list http://ow.ly/yFrdp

Children's Literature at SSHEL | #kidlit recommendations for Independence Day: Remembering the Revolution http://ow.ly/yFJcy

Stacked: Get (sub)Genrefied: Alternate History @catagator http://ow.ly/yIBXO #BookList

A few Seek and Find Picture Books, recommended by @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/yIBq5 #kidlit

Very nice list! 14 Children's Books that Challenge Gender Stereotypes | @momandkiddo #BookList http://ow.ly/yCaBW

Top Ten Books for Young Readers about Encountering Obstacles by @MrazKristine @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yCcaz

2014 Mind the Gap Awards (books ignored by ALA awards) from @HornBook http://ow.ly/ywTV1 via @tashrow

Common Core / Literacy

#CommonCore IRL: In Real Libraries -- 2014 ALA Presentation from @MaryAnnScheuer + friends http://ow.ly/yFrql

Higher Ed Administrators Seek To Stem States’ Rush Away From #CommonCore @LibraryJournal via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yv1kk

Spreading the Good Word about Visual #Literacy @SevenImp chats with Francoise Mouly @KirkusReviews http://ow.ly/yubPV

Events, Programs and Research

RIF_Primary_Vertical"children spend nearly 3 times as many hours weekly watching TV or playing video games as they do reading" | @RIFWEB http://ow.ly/yIALH

Sad! The World Book Night project has been suspended, reports @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/yIAzA

Book drive for unaccompanied immigrant children kicks off July 10 reports @latimes via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yFSo6

Growing Bookworms

One of many reasons to read aloud | Children’s Picture Books Use More Sophisticated Words Than You | Michaels Read http://ow.ly/yIBgc

Why dialogue is important to kids' comprehension development from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/yudra #literacy

RT @PapaJFunk: @JensBookPage This story inspired me more than anything http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/fashion/21GenB.html … I'll read every night to my kids while they're in my house...

Kidlitosphere

KidlitCon2014_cubeCall for session proposals @charlotteslib -- #Kidlitcon 2014: Blogging #Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit http://ow.ly/yIAlO

The call for session proposals for #KidLitCon14 is live! Deadline for submissions is 8/1. Theme: blogging #diversity http://ow.ly/yIbCJ

Celebrating @MrSchuReads with a Donation to @ReadingVillage, from @MaryLeeHahn + @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/yFrhx

Miscellaneous

Interesting thoughts @haleshannon on the segregation of ideas (choosing to only hear from people w/ similar ideas) http://ow.ly/yIArf

Interesting article on the cost to our productivity of distractions from Facebook push updates, etc. @WSJ (login req) http://ow.ly/yC8Td

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Bertelsmann Getting Out of Book Retailing, reports @wsj (login req) http://ow.ly/yC9Ks #Publishing

Powerful post on books as Lifelines by Heather Preusser @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ywV9c

Schools and Libraries

Teachers should cry in class when reading poignant stories ... Michael Morpurgo says @TelegraphBooks @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yFSxJ

Interesting! Pew Research Center – 7 Surprises About Libraries | reported by @tashrow http://ow.ly/yC9TN @PewInternet

Save libraries by putting them in the pub says man tasked by Government to save them The Independent via @bookpatrol http://ow.ly/yx0FW

Summer Reading

Fizz, Boom, Read: Library #SummerReading Programs Blend Learning with Fun and Prizes | @sljournal http://ow.ly/yFICh

Jumpstart your summer adventure – Dig into reading, suggests @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/yCbNR #SummerReading

Fun idea! @aliposner Tip-a-Day #5: Designate a place outside your home specifically for #SummerReading outings http://ow.ly/yucI1

#SummerReading Tip-a-Day #6: Take your kids on a “summer is here” new book-getting mission! | @aliposner http://ow.ly/ywVze

#SummerReading Tip#7 @aliposner | Make sure your kids have reading STARs – Space, Time, Access to books, and Rituals http://ow.ly/yzTvR

#SummerReading Tip #8 @aliposner | Create an open-faced book display somewhere in your house http://ow.ly/yzTAI

The Ultimate #SummerReading List for Teachers from @Scholastic via @mattbgomez http://ow.ly/ywSXv 

I love this one! #SummerReading Tip #9 from @aliposner | Create an outside reading spot at your home | http://ow.ly/yCbkU

#SummerReading Tip #10 @aliposner : Make sure kids have easy access to tools for written response to books http://ow.ly/yFrJw

#SummerReading Tip #11: Stock up on “Barebooks” materials for fun and authentic summer writing | @aliposner http://ow.ly/yIBDa

Five Tips for Summer-Long Learning - Tina Chovanec from @ReadingRockets @FirstBook http://ow.ly/yFrbS #SummerReading

Macy’s and @RIFWEB Aim to Boost Summer Reading (hint: only 17% of parents think it’s a priority!), says @StorySnoops http://ow.ly/yCbw3

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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22. COMMON CORE SPOTLIGHT: GALAPAGOS GEORGE

GALAPAGOS GEORGE is the story of the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species, lived to be one hundred years old, and became known as the rarest creature in the world. This incredible evolution story by renowned naturalist and Newbery Medal winner Jean Craighead George gives readers a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the ever-fascinating Galápagos Islands, complete with back matter that features key terms, a timeline, and further resources for research.

Galapagos George

Here are some Common Core objectives that GALAPAGOS GEORGE can help meet:

Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a book to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

And you can use the following questions to help start a specific discussion about this book or a general discussion about informational texts and/or literature:

  1. How does a reader determine the genre of a particular book? What characteristics apply to GALAPAGOS GEORGE? RI.2.5, RL.2.3
  2. What elements of a book help the reader determine the main idea? What details support the main idea? RI.2.2, RL.2.2
  3. How do the illustrations contribute to the text (characters, setting, and plot)? RI.2.7, RL.2.7

GALAPAGOS GEORGE will be available next week!

 

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23. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Stacked: Revisiting YA Verse Novels: A 2014 Guide to the Format http://ow.ly/vwXku #yalit

Always good choices | Waterstones Children’s Book Prizes 2014 | @tashrow http://ow.ly/vwXAV #kidlit

A roundup of Rapunzel retellings from @alibrarymama http://ow.ly/vCtot #kidlit

Diversity

Color Your Bookshelf: 39 Diverse Board Books to Give a Baby or Toddler from @SproutsBkshelf http://ow.ly/vx18R #kidlit

On not stereotyping | Joseph Bruchac responds to "You Don't Look Indian" @CynLeitichSmith http://ow.ly/vwV9z

Entertainment Weekly — Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White — thoughts on @ew article from @lizb http://ow.ly/vzC4X #diversity

Events (National Poetry Month)

Poetry writing for kids: 14 Ideas from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vzBCc #NationalPoetryMonth

For #NationalPoetryMonth, Five Teen Poet Ambassadors Will Present their Works Across the Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vzD4h

Growing Bookworms

Nursery Rhymes: Not Just for Babies! (Activities for older and younger kids)| @ReadingRockets via @librareanne http://ow.ly/vwMHP

How Can a Child Learn to Write in 30 Minutes? (after lots of groundwork) by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vwZ7a #literacy

Relevant for many! The Lesson I Learned From My Daughter About Reading Choice by @littlemamab @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vwWR2

Great advice from @SunlitPages Raising Readers: Teaching Children to Read With Expression http://ow.ly/vzCnu #literacy

Miscellaneous

Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3) — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vCuGS#kidlit

Very cool! See a time-lapse video of LEGO Fenway Park being built | BetaBoston http://ow.ly/vwAqG via @tonkazona #RedSox

MagicAndMLK3My photo w/ Magic Johnson + Martin Luther King III at We Day CA, in blog post by my friend Jonathan White http://ow.ly/vwB90 #WeDay

OK, this is very fun! From @escapeadulthood | Dude Transforms Deck Into Pirate Ship http://ow.ly/vzACo

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

The 9 Most Mischievous Literary Pranksters, Ranked | @HuffPostBooks via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0wm

Perspective, people. Thoughts from a mother + author on why she can't respond to everyone's emails from @haleshannon http://ow.ly/vwUtU

Yes (most anyway). Should celebrities stop writing children's books? | The Observer @Guardian http://ow.ly/vzKex via @PWKidsBookshelf

LA Times - 'Fault in Our Stars' writer John Green has a good read on teens, tech by @Gwenda via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vzK3U

How I learned to stop worrying and love the @Kindle @DailyDot via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0Th

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Jersey Librarians Get $116,000 in Makerspace Grants - @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/vzCV6

SummerReadingKids-1Infographic about positive impact of library #SummerReading programs as reported by parents http://ow.ly/i/5a9ww @SantaClaraLib @alscblog

Nice infographic about the positive impact that library #SummerReading programs have on kids http://ow.ly/i/5a9qN @SantaClaraLib @alscblog

Parenting

Food for thought | I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical | @BunmiLaditan @HuffPost http://ow.ly/vwYp1 via @FreeRangeKids

Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/vwWcx

What Parents Should Know About Kids’ Social Networking from @StratfordSchool http://ow.ly/vwXwZ

Programs and Research

News: @Scholastic Launches Classroom and School-wide Registration for Students to Join the #SummerReadingChallenge http://ow.ly/vwJ8h

Join the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge - @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/vzBqR #STEM

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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24. Happy Earth Day from Lee & Low Books!

In an era of great global change, it’s more important than ever to take a moment today to think about how the Earth sustains us and how we can help to sustain it in return.

We asked author Jan Reynolds, whose work we have been showcasing throughout April here on the blog and whose travels have taken her from a hot air balloon over Mount Everest to the Sahara Desert, to share a few of her favorite photos and some thoughts on celebrating Earth Day:

I chose photos for Earth Day that aren’t big landscapes on purpose. We think of Earth Day as the Earth, pristine, something separate, while in reality…

Jan Reynolds with giraffe…the Earth is one big party with all kids of life on it, not just plant life and oceans. 

Jan Reynolds with monkeysWe are all a part of it, including man. 

BaboonsSo therefore, the baboon pics. Hoping we can see ourselves in the baboons, and vice versa.

Further Reading and Resources:

Don’t miss our Pinterest board of recommended books about Earth, the Environment, and Human Impact:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.04.16 PM

Raising Global Citizens: Jan Reynolds Author Study

Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures series

Where in the World? Using Google Maps to explore the Vanishing Cultures series


Filed under: Curriculum Corner, Holidays Tagged: common core, Earth Day, environment, environmentalism, informational text, nonfiction, photos

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25. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 25

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. We are light on book lists this week, but heavy on events (World Book Night, Children's Choice Awards, National Poetry Month, etc.). 

Authors

Author Tanita Davis on why she's supporting the ALTERED PERCEPTIONS anthology in support of author Robison Wells http://ow.ly/w84Wy

squeetus: What do writers and mental illness have in common? Why @haleshannon is participating in Altered Perceptions http://ow.ly/w6a6N

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative Environmentals | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/w5qyf #booklist #kidlit

11 Jewish Folktales for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/w00w3 #kidlit #booklist

Diversity + Gender

Diversity in #KidLit: 7 must reads from @rosemondcates "you can find the uniqueness of each character while relating" http://ow.ly/w83Ej

A Diverse Dozen in #yalit http://ow.ly/w03aO #booklist @diversityinya

CCBlogC: Same Old Story: The Stats on Multicultural Literature http://ow.ly/w3xrF #diversity

Heartening post @Freakonomics on father/daughter initiative to encourage McDonalds to not make gender assumptions http://ow.ly/w3z6C

"it’s our job to represent humanity in literature. And humanity is #diverse" | @haleshannon on "Neutral characters" http://ow.ly/w02g2

Boys, Reading and Misogynistic Crap | @tashrow takes on Jonathan Emmett's recent Times of London piece http://ow.ly/vZZz1 #literacy

Events

World Book Night (tonight!) and a Proper Celebration of the Day of Shakespeare’s Birth — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/w5qiK

Voice your choice! Voting for @CBCBook's Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards is open through May 12: http://ccbookawards.com #CCBA14

SFW-logo-with-2014-dateIs anyone participating in Screen-Free Week 2014, May 5-11? | @CommercialFree Childhood Campaign http://ow.ly/w3wZw

Can you commit to 20 min of reading as a family for 20 days? #Read20@jendonn @5M4B is taking @Scholastic Challenge http://ow.ly/w01Qd

Celebrating Earth Day: A focus on Molly Bang's science picture books (ages 4-10) from @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/w01jW #kidlit

Poetry Challenge for Kids {Week 4} from @momandkiddo for #NationalPoetryMonth http://ow.ly/vVOlL

Growing Bookworms

Teaching Kids How to Take Care of Books - @growingbbb http://ow.ly/w8451 #GrowingBookworms

7 Book-Related Things I’d Like to Destruct by Here Comes Destructosaurus author Aaron Reynolds | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/w5qdK

Another well-put reminder: "All books are worthy of being read. Just let kids read" by @mentortexts @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/w00Ld

Study finds mothers share rich Information when Reading Picture Books (narrative and non) reports @tashrow http://ow.ly/w815v #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

"No matter how long a book has been out, the first time you read it, it’s new to you" Michael Guevara @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/w84sR

Parenting

Literacy, families and learning: Fifteen Creative Ideas to Try During Holidays from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/w5qNy

Schools, Libraries, and Homeschooling

12 Big Ideas About Homeschooling from @PenelopeTrunk @escapeadulthood http://ow.ly/w82ci

Growing Our Reading Community: Learning from Older Readers (on reading buddies) by @cathymere http://ow.ly/w02Cw

"the books our kids want to read, and the books we want to share", Mumbai school librarian @ShirinPetit @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/w82HQ

The joy of sharing (recommending) books, by Hong Kong Academy teacher librarian @tgaletti @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/w8349

Going to the #Library Gives You the Same Boost as Getting a Raise! | @tashrow Sites and Soundbytes http://ow.ly/w80sz

Depressing | Modesto to Replace School Librarians with Teachers in response to #CommonCore http://ow.ly/w3vKt via @PWKidsBookshelf

Common Core Flip-Flop: Gov Cuomo Changes Mind About Using #CommonCore Results For Teacher Evaluations | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUiip

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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