Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm linking up with Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts today. Last week, our class studied scientists and biographies, so I read a couple new to me picture book biographies.  I loved Jeannette Winter's The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life With Chimps.  It struck me as a quiet book. It also led us to a great discussion about how scientists need to be "watchers" like Jane Goodall.

In the same vein, I also read Dan Yaccarino's The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Coustou.  I loved his illustrations in Boy + Bot, so I was excited to see them in a completely different kind of book.  

Thanks to the wonders of interlibrary loan, I read and loved two terrific middle-grade novels this week.  I loved The Center of Everything by Linda Urban.  I am new to Linda Urban's work, but she makes me want to teach older students so I can share her books.  I finished the book and immediately wanted to read it again.  I'm sure I missed some things! Lisa Graff's A Tangle of Knots was really good.  I knew it had been highly recommended on Twitter, but I didn't know much about the story before I started reading.  I've been on a bit of a realistic fiction kick lately, so I ended up going back to read the first few pages when it became quite apparent that this was not going to fit that genre.  (This is a good lesson in previewing your text before you begin!)  The way Cady found everyone's perfect cake reminded me of the perfect drink descriptions in The Lions of Little Rock.  This is not a book to read on an empty stomach!

I've got The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blackmore waiting on for me at the library for next week.  I'm excited to read this one that so many people are talking about.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why Not? A New Adventure

Shortly after New Year's, I decided one night on a whim to join Twitter.  Previously I thought that Twitter was not particularly useful unless you really needed to know what a reality star had for breakfast.  As it turns out, Twitter has been overtaken by some of the smartest, dedicated, most passionate educators that I have ever digitally met.  Over the last four months, my thinking has been challenged and reshaped and my PLN has grown tremendously.  Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club members,  I've read more books than ever before (which as a lifelong reader, is an accomplishment).

I've always believed that in order to have the right to teach reading and writing, I must be a reader and a writer.  The reading part of that is easy for me, but the writing part is something I must confess I have been lacking.  Just as with our students, it's difficult to find time and motivation to write without authentic purpose and audience.  Inspired by some wonderful bloggers on Twitter, I thought I would take on a new adventure.

Julia Child wrote in a letter to her friend, Avis DeVoto, "There is so much that has been written, by people so much more professional than I, that I wonder what in the hell I am presuming to do, anyway."  I don't know what I am presuming to do either, but I'll add my voice to the mix anyway.