Slice of Life Tuesdays: I Couldn’t Wait

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Slice of Life Small LogoI Couldn’t Wait

I had to start my Book-a-Day summer challenge on Sunday. I couldn’t wait until my summer — my summer doesn’t start until June 11th! (And it ends early, as well. Boo hoo.) There are so many books to read, so many characters to meet, so many awesome authors who have written new works!

The Book-a-Day challenge (#bookaday) is a challenge where you read a book a day (on average) for a number of days, all set up by you — yourself — as a challenge to read more, read widely. You can read picture books, poetry, short stories, novels, nonfiction, ANYTHING! I wanted to start after reading Donalyn Miller’s (The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild) challenge last year.  I read for 40 days, no problem. But I didn’t share every day, which is my goal this year.  Sharing is the best part. You read, and others recommend, and you read more! It’s an excellent way to spend your time, trust me!

RSBookI started with three professional books:

Day 1) The Unstoppable Writing Teacher (M. Colleen Cruz)

Day 2) Reading Workshop 2.0: Supporting Readers in the Digital Age (Frank Serafini)

Day 3) The Reading Strategies Book (Jennifer Serravallo) I received this one today after waiting, waiting, waiting!  (This will take me longer than a day, but I’ll read a picture book to go with each day, so that counts!)

I have to get back to reading, now. LOL Why don’t you join me?

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Time’s Running Out

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Slice of Life Small LogoTime’s Running Out

It’s hard to believe, but the school year is almost over. We have a few precious days left for inspiration, creativity, and learning. How will we use our time?

Of course, we will assess. It’s testing season, and the standardized tests will take up much of our time and energy. I don’t want my focus there. Testing is not inspirational or creative. I pledge to use my time on the following literacy activities:

1) Reading Aloud. I love sharing stories, poems, and articles with others — students and colleagues. I will read aloud each day. Research shows that reading aloud inspires students, encourages thinking, and helps overall achievement.

2) Talking about Reading. When students are allowed to share, students learn more. Plus, students are tired of the teacher talk. I know. I talk too much. They are sick of me! I will offer time for peers to discuss their favorite scenes from books, question each other’s choices, and reflect on their own readings. Talking about reading is a great way to provide students with a voice in the classroom. Each voice counts.

3) Writing and Sharing. Students in my classes love free writing time. No assignment, per se — just write. The most creative, inspirational stories I’ve read are from this laid-back, yet structured time. Once testing is over and assignments are completed, it’s time for students to show what they know. It always amazes me…they know a lot! And don’t forget sharing. Sharing time provides a purpose, a captivated audience, and much-needed fun.

The last days of school are stressful. As teachers, we try to get all the teaching in before time runs out. Reading aloud, talking about reading, and writing for the purpose of sharing are worthwhile ways to spend time with the kids. Time never runs out to grow life-long learners.

 

SOLSC Day 24: Reader, or Writer?

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Reader, or Writer?

Today I feel more like a reader than a writer. I’ve read some fabulous posts on interesting SOLSC blogs. Thank you for sharing your stories with us! All of you are so inspiring and thoughtful with your words. I really want to read today, and not write. I’ll write about my “to do” reading:

Finish: Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone, co-creator of Twitter. (This guy is amazing!)

Read Again: Brown Girl Dreaming (Woodson), Charlotte’s Web (White), Sisters (Telgemeier), The Tiger Rising (DiCamillo), and Divergent (Roth)

Read the First Time: Turn Right at Machu Picchu (Adams), The Crossover (Alexander), Echo (Muñoz Ryan), Fish in a Tree (Hunt), there are so many titles! If I listed the rest of my books on my shelves I want to read, I’d be here until midnight!

I’d rather go back to reading. Please excuse me. Good night!

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Books That Changed My Life

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I read a challenge on Facebook last week: “List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard. It is not about the right book or great work of literature — just ones that have affected you in some way. The list does not need to be in order…”

I could not possibly list ten books that have stayed with me. Maybe 25 or 50, those are more realistic numbers (for my lifetime). Not more than a few minutes to think? I’m a stubborn Taurus perfectionist, and I analyze everything, so I definitely need more than a few minutes, and I will spend time thinking about it before I let others see my list on Facebook (or anywhere else). To meet this challenge, I did think about what would sound good to readers of a teacher’s blog. Then I thought, “Oh, brother…just make the list already!” My list is unusual compared to the others I’ve read in the past week. Maybe some other people think like me, and don’t want to embarrass themselves in a public forum; maybe they read more mature and publicly acceptable books than I do. Anyway…challenge accepted! Here’s my list of books that have stayed with me over the years:

1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr.

2. Nancy Drew Mysteries (series), by Carolyn Keene

3. How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell

4. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

6. A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute

7. Daybreak, by Belva Plain

8. When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do, by Kylene Beers

9. Zoom, by Istvan Banyai

10. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris

I have another whole list of notes, categorized by childhood, teen, and adult reads, and broken down into genres. Like I said, I could not possibly list just ten.

 

“What Did She Say?” — My Answers to Twitter Chat Questions This Week

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What Did She Say? My responses to the Twitter chat, #titletalk

Hosted by Donalyn Miller and others on Twitter

September 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm EST

Q1: What is your definition of “uninspired reader?”

(A1: T.S. said, “ An “uninspired reader” is one who hasn’t had the chance to form a reading identity, feels no sense of ownership.)

My A1: Agree! Many students/people don’t have a chance yet to be inspired.

Q2: Considering your definitions of uninspired readers, what can we do to help Ss find reading personally inspiring?

A2: I make sure I allow my students to like and dislike – and share my likes and dislikes. Opens a door.

Q3: How can we negotiate academic and personal reading goals with our students, so they find reading personally inspiring?

A3: It’s hard to find time for everything. Reading is a non-negotiable. Even 15 minutes a day. Do it for you.

Q4. How can we engage a school/home community in the goal of inspiring more readers?

A4: Many families don’t have books or other reading in the home. Ss and P-T conferences help. Also ads for book clubs.

(E. S. said, “I have a future NBC post on this topic. My own children became uninspired readers because of AR.”)

I replied, “My 2nd daughter hated AR! Wouldn’t read at school. Is a wild reader at home!”

Q5. What books, series, authors have sparked uninspired young readers who you know?

A5: Scieszka’s KNUCKLEHEAD had the whole class rolling! Wild reading of wild stories! Also:

So many! Percy Jackson, Divergent, and 39 Clues, as well as Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Just starting…

(K said, “Several mentions of read aloud as powerful. It really helps level playing field for those who can’t quite access certain texts.”)

Q6. I just finished Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. Intriguing connections to Plath’s Bell Jar.

(I didn’t respond here. I lost the conversation for a bit.)

Q7: Last minute BONUS question: What are you reading your students this week? 

(W.C. said, “Whatever they want!”)

A7: I agree. I said, “I agree with W. They choose. Class reading is The Tiger Rising. Studying setting etc.”

Thank you so much to Donalyn Miller and others who host these amazing Twitter chats! I had a great time becoming part of the conversation!

Curriculum Tip: April 2, 2013

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Taking a Break

It’s spring break here, and I was just thinking about how great it is to have some time to read for fun. No homework, no lessons, no projects. Just reading. Research concludes that any time spent reading helps one to become a better reader. What are you reading?

Spring Break Book List — Feel free to share your list with us!

Life of Pi (Martel)

The Happiness Project (Rubin)

Liar & Spy (Stead)

The Last Lecture (Pausch)

My Beloved World (Sotomayor)

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