Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 9/9/13

I'm linking up with Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts today.  Check out both sites for some great books!

This was sort of a crazy week.  Tuesday was our first day back at school.  I am really excited to be back, but the first week is always exhausting.  I'm looking forward to getting into more of a routine. We had a great first week of math thinking, reading, writing, and learning together in Room 11.  I just have to remember that we are building stamina for EVERYTHING, not just independent reading.  (And I need to keep reminding myself that that includes me too.  Perfection is not a smart expectation for the 30th week, let alone the first week.)

I did get a chance to do a little bit of reading this week, so here are some of the books I enjoyed.

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat is an awesome new book.  I had heard a lot about it, but I sort of got the feeling that it was a bit old for my first graders.  I was definitely wrong.  My first graders are definitely going to get a kick out of this one.  This was a really funny book.  I think I might pair it with Nugget and Fang and Surprising Sharks when I read it to my kids.  It also would pair really well with I Want My Hat Back.

I am so very late to the party on this one.  Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell was a 2013 Geisel Award honor book.  I can't wait to read this one aloud to my students.  The dynamic and the dialogue between Rabbit and Robot was hysterical, and I know they are going to be laughing through the whole book.
Yet again, late to the party on this title.  Each Kindness has been getting so much excellent publicity, and for very good reason.  This is a story that really needs to be told as many times as possible.  I liked that it didn't tie up in a nice pretty bow at the end.  I think it's more of a real-life mirror that way.  This is a powerful and important book to share with students about the importance of kindness.
I read the companion book to this one, Okay for Now, earlier this summer and really enjoyed it.  I liked this one even more.  Mrs. Baker has to be one of the greatest fictional teachers ever.  I also really appreciated the historical fiction aspect of it--this isn't a time period I've read much about.  If you haven't read this one yet, I would highly recommend it.

Room 11's Pick of the Week
I actually read Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehraupt a couple of weeks ago, but somehow I haven't written about it yet.  I shared it with my students on Friday.  Now this being the first week of school, we have really kicked things off with a bang and shared some pretty fantastic books.  On Friday afternoon, we voted for our favorite read aloud of the week, and this one was a runaway winner.  They begged me to read it again as soon as I had finished it.  We watched the trailer 3 times as well.  I have to say, I would echo their enthusiasm about it.  I actually brought it on a family picnic this weekend so my sister could read it.  She and my dad were both big fans.  If you haven't read this one yet, or if you haven't seen the trailer, you need to check them out.

What titles did your students really enjoy this week?

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 9/2/13

I'm linking up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers today.  Make sure you check them out for some great books!

I can't believe this is the last IMWAYR post of the summer.  I started out the summer with the goal of participating in Donalyn Miller's #bookaday challenge...ish.  I figured that 76 books might be a fairly lofty goal with a toddler at home and our plans for the summer, so I thought I'd just get as far as I could.  Well, 76 days later, my grand total is 101 books.  I read more than I've ever read before in a summer (which was really my goal to begin with).  The breakdown is:
  • 6 adult novels
  • 5 professional books
  • 4 YA novels
  • 16 middle grade novels
  • 5 early chapter books
  • 65 picture books, including 18 nonfiction
Thanks to Twitter, the IMWAYR community, and the Picture Book 10 for 10 event, I had more than enough books to fill my "to-read" list.  I'm starting the school year with a bunch of new titles in my teaching toolbox as well as a considerable list of titles that I wasn't able to get to this summer.

Here are a few of my favorites from this week:

After waiting all summer, I finally got my hands on a copy of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I had been hearing really good things about it, so I was excited to read it.  I thought it was a great story, and I really liked the characters, but some of the language was a little rough for me. 

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner was a book I had skimmed before, but hadn't really taken the time to read.  This is an incredible mentor text for language, structure, and narrative nonfiction.  The illustrations are terrific, and Messner's beautiful language and way of weaving facts in through the story make it a must have.

This is the book I bought when I went to the bookstore for something else.  I couldn't resist adding to my Steve Jenkins collection.  As always the illustrations are fantastic and the animal facts will definitely pique your interest.


On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne is another title that has been getting rave reviews on Twitter.  I had seen it recommended to a fellow first grade teacher and I thought, "Really?  A book about Albert Einstein in first grade?"  Yes, absolutely.  Berne has crafted a biography that serves as a science mentor for every grade, even if the theory of relativity is a little beyond reach.  This is a book about noticing and wondering, and that is the perfect message that I want to give to my first grade friends.  We'll be sharing this one early on in the year.

I know that next week's reading will slow down considerably.  Now that I'm back to my school commute, I'm listening to The False Prince on audio.  I'm also in the middle of The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, so I hope to finish that.