Thursday, November 1, 2018

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden Blog Tour

I taught third grade for16 years.  This year I am teaching drama in an elementary school. I have gotten over my fear of kindergarteners, but still laugh at the random bits of “important” information they MUST share while I am reading a story or teaching the lesson. Anyhow, what I love about this job is that it is literature in action. 

Thank you Penguin Young Readers!
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to participate in a spooky and Wicked blogger campaign. There was a list of books and types of candy.  We were asked to pick a candy, and which creative way the book could be promoted. For the candy, I selected Reese’s (YUMMMM!!!) because I can eat them at school, but due to my partner’s deadly peanut allergy I can’t have them at home. What made this fun is that I had NO idea which book I would get.  The silver package arrived last week filled with Reese and Small Spacesby Katherine Arden

For the creative way to discuss the book I decided to tie it into drama.  I selected a couple of spookier chapters from the book.  The fourth and fifth grade classes will read the chapters and as a class we will write a script to act out the story.  On Monday and Tuesday one of the fifth grade classes started the process.  They were so excited.  As we were writing a couple of students loved the bellowing Mr. Easton, but what sucked in all the kids were the white eyes of the bus driver and the sharp white teeth on the RED lips.  A few hands went up after that, and students pleading to play the part of the bus driver. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to finish this week; but kids left excited to come back and finish it next week.

Over the years I have loved helping kids find books that will turn them into readers.  Even though, I am no longer have a formal position as a reading teacher I do get to introduce so many other kids to great stories. As I look forward to the rest of the school year I want to incorporate as much script writing and performing what is written as possible.  Starting with a spook story is a fun way to get readers and actors excited about books.

The Wicked Reads Campaign Schedule


Sour Patch Kids
October 29 – A Warrior’s Library – Creative Instagram Picture
October 30 – Jo Loves to Read – Creative Instagram Picture
October 31 – Under the Book Cover – Characters: Costumes and Trick-o-Treat Candy
November 1 – The Page Mistress – Unboxing + Creative Instagram Picture + Sour vs. Sweet Post
November 2 – YA Bibliophile – Halloween Recipe 

October 29 – Read with Allison – Dream Halloween Party + Guests 
October 30 – The MegaNerd – Inspired by the book: Pumpkin Decorating
October 31 – Bookbabe88 – Creative Instagram Picture 
November 1 – Jena Brown Writes – Creative Instagram Picture + Halloween costumes based on a few characters from the book
November 2 – Treestand Book Reviews – Unboxing + Spooky Game

Jolly Rancher Sticks
October 29 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Spooktacular Book Reading Party
October 30 – Cheyenne.Reads – Photoshoot in a historical cemetery
October 31 – The Bibliophagist – Creative Halloween Picture +  Characters: Friends or Enemies   
November 1 – Book Fidelity – Snack + Drink Recommendations 
November 2 – Twinning for Books – Dia de los murtos: Day of the dead spotlight with fun gifs and spooky facts about the holiday

Swedish Fish
October 29 – Bookwormgram – Spooky Halloween/Autumn Creative Instagram Picture
October 30 – The Review Room – Moodboard + Playlist
October 31 – Books coffee and repeat – Creative Graphic
November 1 – Page travels – Creative Instagram Picture 
November 2 – Kat’s Books – Horror Movie Listicle 

October 29 – Bookish Lifestyle – Haunting Creative Instagram Picture + Truth or Dare Game
October 30 – Tenacious Reader – Digital Blackout Poetry
October 31 – – Halloween themed picture + Listicle 
November 1 – Sarcasm & Lemons – Aesthetic Board
November 2 – Fangirl.Bookgram – Halloween themed Creative Instagram picture


October 29 – Two Points of Interest – Halloween themed Creative Instagram Picture
October 30 – The O.W.L – Why reading is better than candy
October 31 – Bookfoolery – Review + Blog Picture
November 1 – Polish & Paperbacks – Inspired by the Book: Nail Art 
November 2 – Books 4 your kids – Creative Instagram Picture 

October 29 – Lacey Does Lit – Inspired by the Book: Decorate a pumpkin
October 30 – Bookish Friends and Feline Fancies – Creative Instagram Picture
October 31 – The Bookish Chick – Matching Halloween Monsters to YA + MG Books
November 1 –  BookCrushin – Pairing Books with Candies + Spooky Playlist 
November 2 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – Yummy treats to eat while reading

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
October 29 – Always in the Middle – Review
October 30 – Hapa Bookworm – Creative Instagram Picture + Inspired by the book: Playlist 
October 31 – Four Violet Reviews – Creative Craft Project 
November 1 – The Boy Reader – Classroom students re-enact book scenes
November 2 – Fables & Wren – Creative Instagram Picture 

Kit Kat
October 29 – Iwanicki Adventures in Teaching – Creative Instagram Picture
October 30 – Teachers Who Read – Classroom Writing Activity
October 31 – A Little Bit Biscardi – Halloween themed Creative Instagram Picture
November 1 – Looking Glass Reads – ‘Gimme a break’: 5 times the characters needed to take a break and share a Kitkat bar
November 2 – Brunette Biblio – Replacing the main characters with the Sanderson Sisters (Hocus Pocus)

October 29 – 4th Grade Unicorns – Creative Instagram Picture
October 30 – Trissina Loves Books – Halloween themed content + Scary Autofill Question
October 31 – The Pages In-Between – Book + Candy Pairing with Spooky Kid Costumes
November 1 – A Bella Fairytale – Creative Instagram Picture + Inspired by the book: Dog Costumes
November 2 – Bridget and the Books – Bridget’s Halloween Celebrations

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Tour and Netflix Show! Who Was Pablo Picasso and Who Were the Wright Brothers

What do you get when you cross The Electric Company, Zoom, and Schoolhouse Rock? Oh that’s easy, you get Netflix’s new show “The Who Was? Show.  First, I’ll start with a little background.  Random House Penguin has a fantastic series of biographies on famous people called Who Was…  My student’s love them.  The books are filled with interesting facts and illustrations.  They are age appropriate, but they don’t shy away from serious details. 

Luckily for us Netflix decided to highlight these books with a hilarious show. Two famous (actually three this time) people are show cased in each episode. I got to spend a little time with Pablo Picasso and The Wright Brothers.  The difference between the books and the Netflix show is enough that a student can’t watch the show and learn everything in the book.  The show is almost a teaser for the book.  “Hey kids wanna learn about a famous person?  Here is a bit of information.”  Hey kids want to learn more? Great! Here is a book that will teach you so much more!”
Thank you Penguin for the Books! 
In the episode I watched one of the Wright brothers is annoyed that they each didn’t get the same amount of time as Picasso.  I, also, don’t think it is true that the Wright brothers tried to invent clothes for cats.  But, you never know!   

Earlier, I commented that the books don’t shy away from serious details.  For example, in the Who Was Pablo Picasso
book it talks about the death of his sister and best friend and how this loss dramatically impacted his art.

Combining the humor and seriousness of life is what makes for an interesting watch and read.  I look forward to continuing to share the books with my students, and now I can share this wonderfully delightful show.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Summer Reading List 2018

It is hard to believe that it is May!!!  Every year I compile a summer reading list for families.  By no means is this a perfect list.  I did notice that there are more books for older middle grade and middle school.  My wish is that I could have a lot of these so the kids could select a couple to take home for the summer.  However, finding funding for this is very difficult.  

If you want to suggest books as well I know families will love that.  Have a fantastic summer of reading.

The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea 
The Wild Robot Escapes byPeter Brown(Author / Illustrator)
The Losers Club by Andrew Clement
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
***Miles Morales Spiderman by Jason Reynolds 
 ***AnythingWritten by Jason Reynolds 
***Crossover and Rebound by Kwame Alexander
The Creativity Project by Colby Sharp (this book everyone should read and try!!!
***Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt
Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
by Liesl Shurtliff (the other ones are hilarious as well)
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Flying Lesson & Other Stories by Ellen Oh
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Caraya
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Nate Expectations by Tim Federle (this is the third of a trilogy. I’d start with Better Nate Than Ever.
***How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generationby Maureen Johnson
***Ghost Boysby Jewell Parker Phodes
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
***Well That was Awkward by Rachel Vail
***The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz ZafÓn (SCARY!!! his other YA books are wonderful too.)
The Julian Chapters and other short storiesby R.J. Palacio (These are only available on Amazon, but they are $1.99)The author has a group of books that tie into Wonder which are wonderful
***Brown Girl Dreaming Jacqueline Woodson
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne (His others are wonderful as well!)
The Penderwicks (series) by Jeanne Birdsall
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The  Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
(Neil Gaiman was inspired by The Jungle Book when he wrote The Graveyard Book.  Read both and compare them!)
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
***Older reader!

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp

When I read books I wonder how can I use it in class.  Most of the time I think about whether the book will be a good read aloud, a book to use in guided group reading, a certain student will love the book, or will it be good for the Guys Read Book Club.   Along comes The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharpand all I think about is “How can I use this book to improve writing in my writer’s workshop?”.  Books from Mark Overmeyer, Ralph Fletcher, Lucky Caulkins or Georgia Heard help me be a better writing teacher, but I am taking about how using The Creativity Projectcan alter how students see themselves as writers.

Colby Sharp is a fifth grade teacher in Michigan, and has a wonderful blog called Sharpread.  So, a little about the book.  Colby Sharp contacted 44 children book advocates, and asked them to contribute two different prompts.  The prompts could be written, a photograph, or an illustration.  Once the prompts were returned he compiled them and sent every contributor two prompts from someone else.  Each person was asked to respond to just one of the prompts.  The Creativity Project is the finished product.  In the first part of the book are the responses, and the second half are the rest of the prompts. 

As I read the responses so many of them I wanted to share right away with my kids.  I laughed at so many. Kirby Larson’s response made me stop and reread the ending, and laugh out lout. I cried with many as well. John Schu’s story reminds us about the power of books.   Jewell Parker Rhodes’ response is so powerful and sad, but at the same time has so much hope that I reread it a few times.  I got VERY frustrated with Dav Pilkey’s response because I didn’t want it to end.  I want to know more.  When I finished reading the prompts I was excited and in awe of the creativity that exists in children’s literature.  These advocated of literacy make my classroom joyful.

So what is next?  Right now we are in testing mode.  When that is done I will introduce The Creativity Project to my class.  I will start small, but small steps become giant strides. Giant strides become The Creativity Project.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Baby Monkey, Private Eye

Thank you Scholastic for the copies
In walks an opera diva, a pizza chef, a clown, and an astronaut.  It sounds like a beginning of a joke, but it is anything but a joke.  These are new clients for a very special private eye.  No, the detective is not Cormoran Strike, but Baby Monkey.  Brian Selznick and David Serlin’s newest character. 

A couple weekends ago, was a literacy filled.  Thursday and Friday was the CCIRA annual conference.  The conference was wonderful, and just what I needed to rejuvenate me. It continued to get better because Denver was host city to the ALA Midwinter Conference.  On Saturday I attended the exhibit hall where I was able to pick up an advance reader copy of Baby Monkey Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin. (I’ll be honest I picked up two copies.) I was so excited to get my hands on this joyful book.  Back up a little bit.  It is not longer in my possession.  The students in my class got a hold of it and created a wait list to be fair.  The amount of laughter is amazing!

I love this book.  As usual Brian Selznick illustrations are breathtaking. The text the two created is engagingly funny to high third grade readers.  Looking at the changing details during each new chapter is fun.  I mean really Maria Callas and the first footstep on the money.  The creativity to come up with this is just…WOW!

Finally, anyone that has watched a toddler try to put on pants will love watching Baby Monkey try to put on his pants.  Again, the laughter of third graders reading this part is priceless.  This book reminds us that if we only allow kids to read books at “their level” most kids will miss out on the joy of a masterpiece.