Slice of Life Tuesday: Images From Florida

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Slice of Life Tuesday: Analyzing Books for Awards Season

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Slice of Life Small LogoI love awards season! The Golden Globes hooked me on Sunday and reeled me into the bedroom so I could watch and not bother the other family members. I love the gowns, the tuxes, the speeches — all of it. I have a passion for awards. I now want to see all the movies and TV shows, and hear all the music that won those awards. It’s only natural, I think, to want to continue participating in the “buzz” that surrounds awards.

This is the same feeling I have when I read books that are considered for awards. I read list after list, recommendation after recommendation, to find the books that I consider noteworthy. I share books with my classes. I read books aloud, I talk about books, I show my students how books affect my life. That “buzz” is the passion that led me to take some time in class to teach a Mock Caldecott unit this year.  Wow! What an experience!

My students are actively engaged, in learning! Yes, we are meeting the standards. I can prove it: 6.RL.2.1 (Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what a text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text); 6.RN.2.3 (Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text); 6.RL.2.2 (Determine how a theme or central idea is conveyed through particular details…) Wow! Our experiences matter! caldecott_2017_classtop6

We narrowed the list to six books and we are voting this week. We took the criteria from the ALA/ALSC Caldecott Medal Terms and Criteria. We made lists. We ranked each point: 4 means “absolutely meets criteria”, 3 means “yes, meets criteria”, 2 means “maybe meets criteria”, and 1 means “nope.” (It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences in the two sections/classes, too.)

We will decide a winner on Thursday. Then we will watch on January 23rd as we find out if the real voters for the Caldecott Medal and Honors books will issue the same awards that we did. It’s going to be great! Just like learning should be.

 

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

The year 2016 was a whopper! Each day I read the news and comments on social media, and each day I think to myself, “It couldn’t have been that bad.” No, it wasn’t that bad at all.

  1. My close family relatives are alive. This is a big deal to me. Hardships with disease and sickness have become standard in our family, but this year we are all still kicking!
  2. My work situation improved and I still have exciting options for the year ahead. My classes of students are the best, my work team is awesome, and I love being a teacher AND PD teacher leader/facilitator. I added School Librarian to my teaching credentials, which I hope to use in the next year, as well.
  3. My writing life and professional PLN is fantastic! I attended NeRdCampMI this summer and met so many more authors and illustrators, and now I’m “real” friends (instead of virtual friends) with amazing people. I wrote for the Nerdy Book Club and this blog, which makes me feel like I’m finally a writer. I followed my favorite authors, researchers, and educational speakers around the country again, ending up at NCTE’s Annual Conference with so many friends I didn’t even get to spend time with them all! (Seriously, I need longer than 3 days at NCTE — most amazing conference ever!) And last but certainly not least, I had an amazing journey with my wonderful friends/colleagues at #G2Great (Twitter) — My Good-to-Great team is my teaching hope for the future, focusing on KIDS and LITERACY and LEARNING! All my favorite things!

So as I wrap up 2016, I wish you and yours HAPPY HOLIDAYS and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I will see you in 2017, strong as ever!

 

Small Business Saturday — Used Book Sale/Spread the Book Love

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In the spirit of Small Business Saturday and the season of giving, I’m hosting a used book sale. My doubles/triples titles need new homes so they can be re-loved by new people! Books are 3 for $5, 5 for $8, or 10 for $15 plus shipping. “Grab bag” fun! Titles not guaranteed; please let me know which age group you prefer: Toddler/Child, School Age/Student, Young Adult, or Adult. Sale ends when quantities run out. Give books for the holidays! (Disclaimer: All books are used, but in good shape! Most books have my name labeled on them, as they were in my classroom at one time or another. Pictures are samples.) All proceeds go to buying new books for my school students. Payment through PayPal. Shipping via US Postal Service (flat rate shipping $3.99). If you’re interested, send me a note at jdsniadecki@gmail.com. pb-pack-sbs2016histfictionpacksbs2016

Happy holidays!

 

Thankful for NCTE16 — There Are No Words!

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Just…amazing! #NCTE16 was everything I hoped it would be, and more! Happy Thanksgiving to all my family, friends, and colleagues! May peace be with you.

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New Books This Weekend: Perspective Improves

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Perspective Improves

No more political talk for this weekend!

These new books…Ah!…making me feel better!

We are studying perspective in class and these will be class favorites come Monday — I’m sure!

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Slice of Life Tuesdays: Peanut Butter and the Middle School Mess

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Slice of Life Small LogoDISCLAIMER: The following story is my on-demand writing done with my 6th grade class after the mini lesson, “Add Some Spice” to the Narrative Arc with tension/conflict. Students were able to choose a type of conflict and use tension to move the plot along so that readers will want to turn the pages. This is my draft based on the true story, with a little added spice!

 

The worst argument I ever had with my sister was a summer day after my mom went back to work. We were both old enough to know better. Middle school students are supposed to be able to handle Mom going to work, and we knew what we were supposed to do in case of an emergency. This was NOT an emergency.

My sister and I were doing chores and she did not finish the dishes. She said she was going out for a bike ride, but I reminded her that we were not supposed to leave the house without job being done. She said she would do them when she got back. I blocked the door to the garage so she could not leave. First mistake.

Judy pushed me into the desk, and I fell backwards. She’s taller than me, so I had to think fast. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the jar of Jif Peanut Butter. Second mistake.

I opened the jar and scooped up handful of peanut butter. I lunged towards Judy and smeared the goop into her long black hair. She screamed bloody murder! She grabbed the jar and dug into the middle, then covered my face with brown sticky peanut butter. I screamed, heading to the phone that was on the desk. I dialed my mom’s work number. Third mistake.

My mom heard both sides of the drama through her earpiece at her cubicle, and so did all her co-workers! She was so embarrassed that she excused herself, saying that one of us had fallen down and needed help. Thankfully, her boss allowed her to leave work so she could “deal with us.”

She dealt all right! She dealt out smacks on our rear-ends, more cleaning duties, and a week’s grounding to both of us. I vowed never again to worry about what my sister was doing while my mom was at work. I did my own chores and kept out of trouble the rest of my middle school days.

Responsibility is a hard lesson, but learning to stay out of other people’s business is even harder. Especially when it’s your little sister.

 

NerdCampMI Lives Up to the Hype!

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NerdCampBanner2016Last week I traveled to Parma, Michigan for my first Nerd Camp. Nerd Camp (#nErDcampMI) is an event sponsored by Colby Sharp and his amazing wife, Alaina, with the help of the Nerdy Book Club members. The two-day un-conference featuring authors, illustrators, and expert educators was awesome, and I’m still on Cloud 9! The main reason I signed up for Nerd Camp MI was to finally meet Josh Funk, author of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast (and the upcoming Pirasaurs! and Dear Dragon). I used this wonderful picture book in my 6th grade classroom last year, and some of my students got to know Josh through email. The kids were thrilled that an author would actually write back to them, and in May he even joined our class for a Google hangout, which was the major talk of the sixth grade class! Thank you, Josh! JoshFunkandMe0711016

My Twitter friend, Kelly Vorhis, knew of a place to eat dinner the night before camp, but she didn’t tell me that the Olive Garden would be the meeting place for tons of Twitter friends I’ve followed for so long! I met Lesley Burnap face-to-face and she even gave me a handmade book necklace — she’s so talented. Thank you, Lesley! As I sat there, talking to author Jess Keating and her husband Justin, I started to feel like I was living in a fiction book. How could a teacher from Indiana sit with all of these famous people and feel so comfortable? I’m a book nerd. I fit in here. This was my “tribe.” I’m so glad they all let me in.

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Nerd Camp itself was full of surprises. I had no idea that I lived just a few miles away from Kathy Burnette, librarian-extraordinaire! She was an inspiring keynote speaker and all-around beautiful soul. I am so lucky to now call her “friend.” Other speakers included Raina Telgemeier, Donalyn Miller, Teri Lesesne, and Pernille Ripp, who also told inspiring stories (and made me cry!). Then…surprise! Kate DiCamillo came to speak to us! What a wonderful opening! I don’t know how Mr. Sharp pulled that one off. I’m still reeling!

I met Debbie Ridpath Ohi, author of Where Are My Books? — she was so nice to me! She offered me Mitzi Tulane cookies and conversation, which I loved. (The cookies were delicious, and the book is the cutest!) I spent time with some of my favorite lit-world friends, Donalyn, Katherine Sokolowski, and many others. I ate lunch with Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin, authors of books about 9/11 that I will definitely use in my classroom this year. The fun did not end there! I saw Cardboard Schu in the lobby with the real John Schumacher (@mrschureads). I just had to get a picture. JohnSchuandCardboard071116DebbieOhiandMe071216

On Day 2, after adult learning sessions ended, the children came to Nerd Camp Jr. The evening was filled with mini-classes in writing for students of all ages. I signed up to help an author in a classroom, and I met Aimee Carter. Wow — She’s so cool! She told the kids about her book, Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den, and how she develops characters and plot in her series. Thank you for spending time with me, Aimee!

AimeeCartertalks071216Nerd Camp is over, but I still have so many ideas to mull over and books to read. My summer is going to fly by now, thanks to my nerdy friends. I will attend this event again — #nErDcampMI definitely lives up to the hype!

Slice of Life Tuesday: Hard Work

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SliceofLifeSwagMarch2016Roofing is hard work. Remodeling is hard work. Cleaning is hard work. Teaching is hard work. Renewing a license is hard work. Taking classes online is hard work. Reading is hard work. (OK, that’s not true, in my case, but for my students it is.) I cannot wait to drink iced tea and enjoy my “new” home when this school year ends.

 

 

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UPDATE: Yes, It’s a Snow Day

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I should write about flawed predictions more often. Today is a snow day after all.

Strange. I’ve heard the advice before: “Write it down. Make it happen.” Did I do that? Sure, I’d like to think so.

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In the meantime, I have the day to read. The Nest has been on my desk for a month, and I just received Pax in the mail.

Maybe I’ll shovel later. (Hmm…)

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