Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lunch Lady and The Cyborg Substitute

A Vespa that shoots sloppy joes to stop bad guys. The laptop disguised as a lunch tray, and Betty with the spatu-copter. These are just a few of the fun parts of a new graphic novel that is coming soon from Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Last Friday I got to go to the exhibit hall at the ALA Mid-winter Conference. The bag of books I came home with is SO cool!

I laughed the entire time I read Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. The humor is, well, right up my alley. I can’t wait to let students read it. The fun part is that next week at CCIRA I get to spend the day with the author. Someone that writes like that will be fun to be around.

ARC. On sale: July 28, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nothing to do with boys or reading!

The current (early spring 2009) Country Gardens Magazine has a piece on my parents and their wonderful green house. It is fun to see my parents in a national magazine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Video Games and Reading

Yesterday I did a mid-year DRAII assessment on one of my lowest readers. Marco is a wonderful boy that just isn’t reading. To back up a little, last week we were generating ideas for personal narratives. (Thank you Lucy Calkins for your great ideas!) I had the students make a list of things that are hard, easy, first time etc. Marco put reading down on his list. Then he wrote a personal narrative about how reading is hard, but he needs to know how because he can’t read the directions for his new video game.

Marco was a DRAII 8 at the beginning of the year and now is a DRAII 14. In the past he lacked confidence in his reading. I truly believe that his new sense of “I can do this” is because he now has a reason to read. I will take what ever reason I can get. I am proud of his growth, but more importantly he is. We are going to keep at it so that the directions are no longer an issue.

Franki and Mary Lee at A Year of Reading have started a new discussion on 21st century literacy. I’m not sure if this fits into that discussion. Yes it is 21st century video games, but it is old fashion ya gotta read!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New York Times Style Section

I cross country skied all weekend, so I did not have a chance to look at the Sunday paper until yesterday evening. One of the first sections I look at is the style section. I was so excited to see the front page. YES! Diary of a Wimpy Kid is styling. Jeff Kinney’s series was featured in a great article by Jan Hoffman. There is also a piece on Jeff Kinney. As I read the article I kept thinking about all the things written about Captain Underpants and Bart Simpson. It is funny how similar it all sounds.

In the end it comes down to a quote from a mom, Debbie Drucker, “He (her son) knows the boys are naughty and not P.C., and he loves that. It’s not a big message books as opposed to the other stuff we try to cram down his throat. I’m just happy to have him read.”

That’s my goal. Get the boys to read! And, hopefully not eat cheese off the playground, no matter what the bet is!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Evan's Dad

Yesterday was the first Guy’s Read of 2009. They were very excited to attack the snacks and sing songs. After about 10 minutes we split up to discuss the books. This meeting turned out to be special because a dad participated in book club. Evan’s dad Mike joined us for discussion. Every month I invited dads to join us and this was the first time. It was fun to have the connection to home. He admitted that he had one chapter left. He was glad at the end of book club that no one gave away the ending. He was excited to go home and finish the book.

I am excited that there is a bigger home and school connection. I hope more dads will come in the future.

Our next book is Knucklehead Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka. Most have already read it and talk about their favorite parts. Hopefully there aren’t many electric radiators at home.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My New Look

So everyone is talking about resolutions, and as I wrote earlier I do NOT do them. At the beginning of the school year one of my goals was to make things simple. I played around with different layouts and found one that is simple. I hope you like the new look.

Now if I could just do the same clicking with everything else.

The Wrong Book

Picking books for the book club can be challenging. Finding a book they will all like is something that is in the front of my mind. One Small Step by P.B. Kerr is a great book about the Apollo space program (OK the secret ape space program), and a fantastic book for guys. I learned many things about space travel. For instance, pooping in space is not an easy chore! It is not a challenging read, but there are too many situations that are not appropriate for third graders. Carol wrote on her blog about a Maya Angelou book, and how it is not right for certain ages.

As educators we have to balance appropriate reading for our students without censoring what they read. CENSORING BAD, directing kids to the right book priceless!