IMWAYR: Stories from Webb — #mypersonalPD

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After meeting Todd Nesloney at NCTE’s annual convention last fall, I knew I wanted to read Stories From Webb: The Ideas, Passions, and Convictions of a Principal and His School Family. The guy is amazing! He’s high-energy, willing to speak about his educational beliefs — and listen to yours, and he’s a principal! How many principals do you know that have that much passion for teaching and learning? Well, honestly I can think of 6 or 7, but that’s the cream of the crop, and I’ve been lucky in my teaching career to work with awesome principals.

Back to the book. Stories From Webb…is part of the #KidsDeserveIt Collection published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (the Teach-Like-A-Pirate leader), which is just fabulous. You know when you click that hashtag on Twitter that you will be inspired by what you find, and this book goes hand-in-hand with the movement. What movement, you ask? Teaching and learning is about THE KIDS. Everything you do is about what is best for kids, and that reminds me to always think about “why-am-I-here?”

Todd Nesloney shares his “why” story in Chapter 1, and highlights stories of three teachers from his school who remember their “whys.” In each chapter — 1 through 35 — Todd introduces a theme and has a group of teachers and other staff members from his school tell their stories. His wife even has a story: “When You Marry Into Education.” Each story made me nod my head, think, and question my own teaching practices over the 21 years I have been an educator. Each chapter leaves the reader inspired.

The Twist: After nodding, thinking, and questioning, Todd asks you to tell your own story. Yes. He leaves “Things to Consider” at the end of each chapter, and asks you to tweet your story to #KidsDeserveIt. That is such a cool thing — for an author to want to hear from the reader. I made some notes. I haven’t tweeted yet, but I will.

As I posted on Facebook today: “Get this book. Read it. Renew your love for teaching.” #KidsDeserveIt. And so do you.

 

IMWAYR: Comics Squad!

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What do you get when you cross well-known middle grade graphic novel writers and school? Comics Squad! I had fun recommending Comics Squad: Lunch! today when a student had finished (and couldn’t find another-because-they’re-always-checked-out-of-the-library) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Comics Squad series books are collections of stories and drawings of already-famous characters, written by already-famous authors — in compact, colorful books, and they are FUN to read! Right up my alley — and my middle graders’.

Thank you to Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm, Jarrett Krosoczka, Cece Bell, Nathan Hale, Jason Shiga, Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon, Peanuts, and Jeffrey Brown for creating this particular edition (Lunch!) of comics for readers. This librarian is spreading the book love!

IMWAYR: The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson

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I love learning about people and their real-life stories. I especially love the lesser-known stories of historical time periods. Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. and we also remember other great names in Civil Rights history. Did you know that some famous Civil Rights activists were children? Today’s IMWAYR title should be shared widely. I share here to remind myself and others that children CAN and DO make a difference in our lives and in our communities.

The Youngest Marcher: The story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, by Cynthia Levinson will stay with me for a long time. I know the stories of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s marches and speeches, and they have inspired me in the past. Last year when I read The MARCH Trilogy, I learned so much more from Representative John Lewis’ firsthand accounts and experiences. Now I am reminded (through a picture book — see, picture books teach all ages) that there were children arrested in May of 1963, one being Audrey Faye Hendricks, who was nine years old at the time. I thought, “NINE? They arrested 9-year-olds?” Yes, yes, they did, and by doing so, they filled the jails in Birmingham, Alabama. Amazing. Frightful. Inspiring.

I missed this book when it released in 2017, but I am so glad I have remedied that. I recommend that you buy this book and keep it — read it when you need a good story about children being brave and changing the world.

IMWAYR: Getting Ready for Awards Season! Caldecott Medal

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IMWAYR: Predators and Prey, and A Season of Gifts

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Mondays are interesting around here — People are working, doing homework, and reading. Today’s reading made me think of science for some reason, and how knowledge can be fun.

I read The Wolf, the Duck, & the Mouse by Mac Barnett. Mr. Barnett is always so clever with his storytelling skills, and he got me giggling again. “Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.” End of story, right? Not quite.

See, there’s already a duck that has made a home in the wolf’s belly. The mouse and the duck made such a ruckus inside the wolf that the wolf got a stomach ache. A hunter then hears the wolf, and sets up to shoot. I can’t give the story away, but I promise you’ll be amused. The ending is also a surprise. Genius.

A twisted tale about predators and prey with a load a laughs. You’ll never think of hunting the same way again. (Good thing.) By the way, the illustrations with familiar bright eyed-animals created by Jon Klassen make The Wolf, the Duck, & the Mouse another Barnett/Klassen classic. A good book for a long winter’s night.

Now I’m re-reading A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck. I revisit this one every Christmas season. I just can’t get enough of Mrs. Dowdel.

And if we have a snow day tomorrow (supposedly there’s a chance with all the “Lake Effect Snow” coming), I’m ready. 

IMWAYR: Long Way Down

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It was so nice of RivetedLit to pass along a free reading of Jason Reynold’s LONG WAY DOWN yesterday. This title has been on my pile, but this was the perfect opportunity to sit down and read. I’m so glad I did! This is a new YA (Young Adult) book about urban youth, gangs, inner struggles, and decisions. All I could say to my family when I finished was, “Wow!”

When Will’s brother, Shawn, is shot in the neighborhood, Will decides (at age 15) he’s old enough to take care of this gang issue himself. He takes Shawn’s gun out of hiding, and heads to the streets. But as Will waits for the apartment building elevator to travel 8 floors down to the lobby, he is reminded again and again that it is a “long way down” and that he might just be the next victim. Will he take the necessary steps to follow “The Rules?”
A MUST-READ: thought-provoking, harrowing, and deep. Jason Reynolds does it again — uses a few carefully-selected words to tell an engaging story. I finished in one sitting, and I’ll bet you will, too. I also bet this one will stay with me (and you) for a long, long time.

IMWAYR: Life

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Life, by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, reminds us, “Life begins small.” This beautifully illustrated, simple tale shows the complexities of life in a way that children of all ages can understand and appreciate. As I turned each page, I savored the colors, the eyes of the creatures, and the messages Rylant wrote, it seems, just for me.

“Remember this: in every corner of the world, there is something to love.”

With all the hassles of life lately, it was nice to slow down and remember that LIFE is always changing.

 

 

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