Monday, December 16, 2013

Enjoying the Holidays #IMWAYR December 16, 2013

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it at Teach Mentor Texts. 

Last week, I hosted my annual "Christmas Card" to the community. I hosted a Family Reading Celebration filled with story-times, crafts, special guest appearances, and lots of families. It was lovely and so much fun. I found myself dreading to write my It's Monday post so I took a mental vacation from writing. I am taking a partial mental vacation today too. With so many distractions lately-work, projects, presentations, Christmas shopping and holiday parties etc. there are not enough hours in the day to meet the demand. so I can either stress out or give myself permission to enjoy the moment. I choose the latter and I feel so happy with my decision. Life is enjoyable and stress free. I am still crazy busy with my two jobs and committee meetings but I am not letting it control me. 

I am focusing heavily on reading and reviewing the books on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list 2013-2014.  I am reading aloud all the nominated picture books, helping my students finish up their Bluebonnet Book Club projects, and dropping big hints to Bluebonnet Trivia Contest questions. I made it tougher this year. Students have to read five of the nominated titles to vote in the electronic voting process but to receive an invitation to the Bluebonnet Breakfast, they must read eight books and compete five book projects. Students have a full year to reach this goal. 

Assemble your own dinosaur activity.

Here are some really good resources for Barnum's Bones
Want to learn more about Barnum's Bones, check out Tracey Fern's author website

This is such a terrific biography about a boy named after the famous circus entrepreneur  P. T. Barnum who grew up with a passion for fossil hunting that eventually led to the discovery of the world's most famous dinosaur-the Tyrannosaurus  Rex. What a flamboyant and debonair character he must have been. Snappy dresser, dancer, and with a nose for finding fossils. The students thoroughly enjoyed listening and asking questions about Barnum Brown and fossil hunting. They made excellent connections to what they were learning in science. We will be using the "Assemble your own Dinosaur" activity that Webb Elementary librarian, Lisa Trevino shared with me at one of our Librarian Meet Ups. She is a really cool librarian and she always has great ideas to share. 

I also read many holiday themed books this week. Here are some favorites:

Snow Bunny's Christmas Wish was predictable but we all still loved it because it turned out the way we wanted it to. Sometimes, predictable is OK as long as we are satisfied with the way it makes us feel.  

Time to go watch the Survival Finale and flip back and forth to Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey season 3. I can hardly wait for the January premier of season 4.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? December 2, 2013

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it at Teach Mentor Texts. 

30 days of Picture Book Month posts have now been put to bed. I love the challenge each year of writing a daily themed based post. It's like getting back into physical shape. Before, each blog post would take me so long to write but having to write daily, I relearned how to be efficient and set parameters for myself. As a result, I have been asked to do more guest writing and have begun wondering how I will juggle so much writing with two jobs, two grandkids, and several committee meetings in the weeks ahead. A few minutes after I submitted a set of interview responses for The Children's Book Review, I received an email from author Kirby Larson reminding me I had promised to write her an article about my Bluebonnet Book Club program. A few months ago I also agreed to write something for My Town Tutors. I have also been wanting to contribute a Nerdy Book Club post and Donnalyn Miller sent out a tweet calling for volunteers. This might be the right time. That is after my big Holiday Family Reading Celebration this coming Saturday.

I am very excited about my upcoming literacy event. Each December I host a big family themed reading event at Barnes and Noble. I have asked several community organizations to join forces with me to promote families reading together and reading for the sheer joy of reading. Many community members are helping me with guest appearances and read alouds. We will have an Elf on the Shelf, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, a Twas the Night Before Christmas PJ storytimes. Our university Student Reading Council students are coming out to help me and put on a Readers Theatre. We will have craft activities and a visit from a real robot-Curby the Recycling Robot and a "Going Green" storytime. 

Yesterday, I secured volunteers from
 Vader's First 501st Legion-a Star Wars costume character organization who promote an interest in Star Wars at community events. In other words, they are "Bad Guys Doing Good." I am expecting Boba Fett and Stormtroopers. I have requested a big book display of Star Wars books to be set up. Star Wars has a unique way of drawing readers in. It would be so cool if families would dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters too. 

I predict I will probably read about 30 books myself on December 7th. I hope I find some really terrific titles. 

Here is what I read this week:

Beautiful Creatures: I enjoyed the book but then I saw the movie and I was frustrated with all the changes. It almost ruined the book for me until the ending. The ending was fantastic. I did like that change. I also saw Catching Fire today-the screenwriters, producers, and directors did a great job of staying true to the essence of the book. Even my self professed movie critic of a son said it was a great job.

If you want to read the blog post for each book, please click on the available links. 

My Family's Clothing themed books

Retile themed book
Jungle themed book

Holiday themed book

Monster themed book

Well, that's a little bit of my reading week. I hope you have had a lovely week too!