Monday, October 3, 2016

#IMWAYR Oct. 3 Lockwood Fangirling and P&E However We Can Get Them

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Another week where I only finished a couple.

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading 1 & 2 ... as many of you know they are cute. Not stupendous in terms of writing (though the illustrations are top notch), but cute. The Cookie Fiasco is a math lesson on fractions and division. We Are Growing is both a writing lesson on adjectives and a guidance lesson on accepting all regardless of differences. The framing device of Elephant and Piggie at the beginning and end will have to fill the void left by the discontinuation of that series. We get a little bit of the beloved characters.

Chloe on the Bright Side is certainly reflective of many students' everyday lives. Parents break up and kids have to move. New friends can be both good and bad influences. It's not lovely groundbreaking realistic fic like Wonder or Out of my Mind or Rules ... but it's definitely useful in an upper elementary or even lower middle school. I was glad they sent it to me because it's not one I might have picked up otherwise. I usually prefer my fantasies and murder mysteries and set in space stories.

I listened to Lockwood #4 via Audible. If I wouldn't have been driving I would have been bugging all my FB friends sharing funny snippets ... it's just full of sarcastic funny lines. Yes. A ghost hunting book that is funny. I mean, the talking skull has quite a sense of humor when he's not trying to see to the group's demise. Each character adds their own strengths to the group. The hints of more than friendship are stronger in this one but still nothing I'd feel uncomfortable giving a strong reader. Middle school for sure, strong fifth graders no problem, either.

AND THE ENDING. Oh my word the ending. That was just mean, Mr. Stroud! This book is so new and now I have to wait another year!

We'll see what I get to this week. Have several I need to finish.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Today I Went to #LRR2016

and I WASN'T PRESENTING. Which I have done at every conference I've attended for the last I don't know how long because 1) I wanted to try getting a position on a different campus and thought that would help; and 2) a previous admin wouldn't let me attend a state level conference being held in my own hometown and I thought "Never again, they can't say no if I'm presenting!" (Ha ha to the previous winter when yes, I got to go, but only on the two days I was presenting, so I missed 70% of it because the last day was only a half day :().

It was very nice to just attend and learn. I wish I had some awesome ideas to share this time but no. Just soaking it all in with no stress.

The keynote was Jason Reynolds. I haven't actually read any of his books but at least one has been on my TBR list for a while and perhaps I should bump it up. Curiosity may lead me to add another one of his titles. He had a great message about helping kids find the books that they connect with. And told stories about his literary and writing journey as "Langston Latifah." He tells it better. You should just take any opportunity to hear him. And actually the anecdote about the time he met Queen Latifah is pretty funny. Takes about 26 seconds to tell.

Then the first actual session was David Liss. He will be coming to our school in November. I LOVED Randoms so I'm excited to read Rebels.
A photo posted by Angie Oliverson (@msoreadsbooks) on
I bought these from the indie shop that was there. And I wasn't thinking when I handed them an Amazon credit card, now was I? She made a joke about covering that name up. Took me a sec to "get" it.

The second session I went to was about Genius Hour. I have done a few things similar to this ... but started it a little differently last week and am regretting it a bit. Showed part of Caine's Arcade and now 9 of the 10 want to build something out of cardboard. Will go back next week and try to revamp to somewhere in between. It's super awesome and motivating for kiddos to go after their passions. Just ... what do you do when the one non-cardboard person one insists her passion is building a printer? A 3rd grader?

Then we had lunch and we got to hear a highly condensed 45 minute presentation from Mr. Schu. Actually never heard him speak before. Definitely passionate about kidlit! I came home and ordered two books because P&E in any form are awesome. Don't know why Amazon says they are written by MW, though, because they are not. Just part of a series.

Third one was about delivering PD in the age of TTESS (our state teacher eval system). There were some interesting ideas shared that I may post about later. I really liked most of them. A couple ... wow. Made me feel a little overwhelmed with responsibility. I try to know a lot about what is going on all over campus. Just ... how on earth can I know everything?
My friend and colleague tweeted this out cause she had a better angle. And oh drat. Embedding doesn't show the pic preview. Well. Libraries and world domination. Click through if you have a sec.

Then I went to a refresher on because it's been a while since we had access to it. I always really liked it and need to figure out a better way to get staff involved using it.

Then I went to a meeting about being a mentor to a teacher going through the UNT master's program. Though my mentee hasn't contacted me yet or responded to my message. Bummer. Now, I will admit ... there is quite a lot to this being a mentor. Who knew? Also I am glad I was able to concentrate on school and didn't have to keep teaching while I took the classes because that would be hard.

WEEKEND! Had two teachers ask about possible lessons next week. One ... second graders researching flexible seating to help a teacher spend $500. I LOVE that she asked. Just not even sure where to start! Then a fifth grade teacher with a couple options. Reading Separate is Not Equal for Hispanic Heritage. Maybe some mini bio research. Teaching kids how to search for photos for projects. And possibly integrating heat energy with that. Must do some test searches. Will looking up "heat" get us ... weird inappropriate images?

Monday, September 19, 2016

#IMWAYR Sept 19

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Just the one! School starting has put a major harsh on my reading time. #thingsthatjustwillnotdo

I read comparisons to Star Wars for this one and I have to say ... bit of a stretch. Can sort of see it but bit of a stretch. That said it was a grand fantasy. The idea of rebel princes could have been overdone but there were some great twists to this one that made it still feel fresh. Upper middle school and high school.

Hoping to finish Cove #2 tonight. That's an upper elem. Get to start Lockwood #4 as my new commute listen tomorrow. Other than that we'll see!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

These Are the Days

I'm behind in all my reading and listening so I haven't started it yet. But all the heart eyes! All the heart eyes for this series!

The day started with an upset adult two minutes before morning announcements (in the library). I didn't handle it well (open with "It never made it home so it has to be here." "But it's not so hopefully they will find it in the classroom. She said yesterday they were looking for it." "But it's not his fault" and it went downhill from there). With grumpiness on either side no one wins. :(

Then a couple fun read alouds so there was that. Kinder and PreK both heard How to Babysit a Grandpa. "Today we're going to read a book about an old guy. Who do you think he is?" (Sometimes you have to amuse yourself, no?) "A PawPaw!" First grade heard The Dot and of course we used the Quivervision coloring page. Some of the message gets lost in the absolute tech amazement (apparently none of them have used a Crayola Alive coloring book) but I'll take all those "WOWS". All of you all that did more involved things for Dot Day ... power to you!

Then a lesson fell through but I remembered our equipment inventory was due. OOPS! The AP helped us clear out a lot of OOOOOOOOOOOLD stuff last spring so it was the quickest and easiest equipment inventory ever. What luck! Morning frustrations not gone but helped. And some great visits of kids on passes. Calm and unchaotic enough to talk a little bit and help them find a book. I know it can't always be that way but it sure is nice when it happens! And some great kids exploring Overdrive and creating wishlists.

The bookfair flyers came and we will have Mother Bruce.

Always a little nervous when I know a sub is coming. I was supposed to have a migraine preventive med checkup tomorrow (actually working well, knock on wood!) but the doc cancelled yesterday. Couldn't get an after school time until the END of Nov. Like post T-Day break. Lame. :/ But since I'd already made plans for the afternoon he's still coming. And I will get to hang out with one of my sisters and my mom. Family time recharges.

Early happy weekend everyone! Dullest post ever but that was the day. Some good and some less. Keep on swimming!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Already Saturday Sept 10

I was in PJs within 10 minutes of getting home. Tired.

Why is it so hard for students to use shelf markers? And bookends to not slip? And teachers to send class return books down early (well, I know it's hard there ... but as you know, it's less hard than not being able to check in books, check out books, and help students find books as one person with 24 plus students).

Now that I've whined ...
Things That Were Interesting This Week

Seriously, if you like Star Wars at ALL you need this book. Well, and the others are pretty fun, too. ;)

Speaking of messy library spaces ... though adults chuckle more than kiddos at this.

I need to make this. And get patterns cut so that kids could make it. I'm toying with the idea of making the club I sponsor this year either Star Wars or Harry Potter. iMovie was too stressful last year ... keeping track of everyone, range of kids from 3rd through 5th, no help (that knew what we were doing, anyway ... I mean, she did try but didn't know a thing about iMovie or iPads), keeping them on a storyline when we only met once a month or so for 70 minutes. That turned out more like 50 with transitions.

Or stumble around until you fall into clothes, have bags hanging off of both shoulders, and are sitting in your car. By then you definitely need to be awake. No, I don't drink coffee. :/

My brother is a police officer clear across the country. They are in NYC this week to perform with his department's bagpipe group. I remember 9/11. I was just starting my second year of teaching HS Spanish. 14 Cows is still my fave book for the day! Take a moment to remember bravery. Then pick back up and be a brave teacher and serve your students now (I'm telling myself this cause remember earlier whining) and have fun with Dot Day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#IMWAYR Sept 6

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Late Aug Early Sept Reads

I forgot to put Busy Week Busy Builders on there. Crazy. Will fix it later. Very different titles, no?

School's First Day ... I have to admit confused the kinders I read it to. "The school talks?"
Not So Quiet Library is a good one for a library/book related storytime.

How This Book Was Made ... lots of irony and sarcasm. I plan on reading it to 4th graders.

Hooray for Today! ... I mean, look at that owl. Automatic win.


Still have lots of books I'm in the middle of so when I finish them you'll find out. The second one comes out in a couple weeks. If you like middle grade fantasy/steampunk run to go read the first one right now so you'll be ready. The author visited our school last year. Fabulous.

Fires of Invention (Mysteries of Cove, #1)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Busy Builders, Busy Week Blog Tour

Fun picture book alert ahead! I was so excited to be offered a copy and a spot on the blog tour.

Authors are awesome. I mean really. The ability to put words together in a beautiful or interesting or funny way? Pretty cool. Add rhyming (that WORKS) and you've got an extra poetic win.

"Monday! 'Doze it day!
Dig it, dump, dispose it day.
Roll, mash, crunch, crash.
Smooth the highs and lows it day."

Busy Builders, Busy Week is a fun little ditty.

It's structured through the week as the animals build ... hmmm. Do I tell? Maybe not.

Only that it's a place that would delight any kiddo. I wouldn't mind visiting! They start on Sunday and work throughout the week to finish with a grand Saturday celebration. The illustrations are bright and colorful and the big eyes on the animals are my favorite.

Read it to some visiting nephews and niece and they approved! I should have gotten a picture. ;)
Next up will be my students!

Jean Reidy is a two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award. Especially gifted at writing for very young children, Jean is a frequent presenter at national and local literacy, writing,and education conferences and at schools across the country—in person and via Skype. She is a member of the Colorado Council International Reading Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she serves on the board of Reach Out and Read Colorado. Jean writes from her home in Colorado where she lives right across the street from her neighborhood library, which she visits nearly every day. Visit her at and on Twitter: @JeanReidy.

Teachers and teacher librarians, click here for a free classroom curriculum guide and storytime kit!

You can see past reviews and one more tomorrow right here!

Follow Jean on the BUSY BUILDERS, BUSY WEEK! tour!

Mon, Aug 22
Tues, Aug 23
Wed, Aug 24
Thurs, Aug 25
Fri, Aug 26
Sat, Aug 27
Mon, Aug 29
Tues, Aug 30
Wed, Aug 31
Thurs, Sept 1
Fri, Sept 2