Monday, August 26, 2013

...And they rode off into the sunset to begin their own great adventures #IMWAYR August 26, 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. 

What I am reading electronically:

I woke up sick in the middle of the night and decided to read until I fell asleep again. I chose The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater via my Net Galley account.

The Dream Thieves picks up a month after The Raven Boys left off and is filled with mystical forces and paranormal happenings. I sort of loved the part when Ronan throws Noah out a window (not really a spoiler, just added characterization).
I enjoy the stories Stiefvater weaves and her use of complex and flawed characters. Her works are always fresh and unique.

*Librarians and educators have free access to Net Galley.
NetGalley is a service to promote and publicize forthcoming titles to readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request and read titles before they are published. (as stated on Net Galley)

What I am reading for ideas:

Scholastic's Book Fairs Ideas Guide Fall 2013 and School Resource Catalog

During our Meet the Teacher event at my school on Friday, a very special package arrived for me. It was the Scholastic Book Fair Planning Kit jammed pack with flyers, posters, and these goodies. I quickly whipped up a couple of posters to hang so families would know we have a book fair coming up soon. I decided to take home the Idea book and new Resource catalog. Hey, this is also reading, you know.

What I am reading for professional development:
Book Love by Penny Kittle

My dear friend, Mapuana, loaned her autographed copy of Book Love by Penny Kittle to me with the promise that I would read it within a week.

If you looked up the definition of a Book lover in the dictionary, it would state: Example: see Mapuana Jones. On her school district web page, she keeps a personal statement.

"When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others."

I am not sure who is actually to be credited with this quote-possibly Confucius or it may be a Chinese proverb, but it is precisely the type of thing Mapuana believes in. Otherwise, I would not have been able to pry her beloved Book Love from her perfectly manicured fingers.

What the family is reading together:
From Lukas and Josiah's personal library collection

Lukas is getting ready to start Kindergarten so we needed a marathon read session in case his new teacher asks this question, "Does anyone read at home with their families?" Lukas has been carefully coached to tell her that his BB (me) reads to him all the time and will be happy to give her books for her classroom library. Yeah, he's that kid who always donates books to his teacher. She's set for the year! He has also met his new librarian, Mrs. Lynch, aka "the hat lady" who plans to wear a cute hat to school every day as part of her librarian persona. I love it!

...and filled with wonderful stories of giants, beanstalks, princesses, brave knights, and fire breathing dragons, BB's boys rode off into the sunset to discover their own magical stories and adventures.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wigging Out to Keep the Castle #IMWAYR August 19, 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. 

Here is a good piece of advice for families:

We are all experiencing very busy days lately and reading has become quite tricky. I read in little spurts. In the check-out line, while I brush my teeth before work, and I do my best to read before bedtime but I am usually out like a light in five minutes these days. On Saturday, I found my house mostly sans family so I shut off the TV, hid my Ipad from myself, and turned my phone upside down so that I would not see the blue notify light alerting me to incoming messages. I was racing to read against time. I had a book due on the 19th that I had not even cracked open and someone had the nerve to put it on hold! Faced with not being able to recheck, I decided to marathon read.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl was a book I had waited a long time to get my hands on and I wasn't about to left it go back without reading it. It was a fun read for a Saturday and though it was not very thought provoking, I still enjoyed it. It was sort of Pride and Prejudice and Emma rolled into one likable novel.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans. (description by Publisher: Penguin)

Here is how Patrice Kindl envisions her characters as flesh and blood characters.

Read an excerpt from Keeping the Castle

Here is a tastefully created book trailer by a Martin High School student (scroll down to find it) I was very glad to find this trailer since it was created by a student in its target audience. In fact, there are several well crafted trailers created by students here. Kudos to them all.

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
MG mystery novel

Here is the autographed copies Kristen sent to me. One for my students and one to give as a prize in a drawing for our district librarians. The winner was Sandy Guzman, an excellent elementary librarian.
Kristen even sent me an awesome Wig pen that doubles as a flashlight.

The Wig in the Window Discussion Guide via Harper Collins Children's Books

#VirtualBookClub chat: The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
Monday, August 19th at 9 p.m. EST/ 8 p.m. CST.

If you join the chat, try a easy service like Twubs for an easier chat flow.  I like to log into my Twitter account so I can see who is sending me messages during the chat and quickly reply. I keep a second tab on my browser open to Twubs for a chronological chat flow. This way I don't miss any tweets. (well, this is not true because a Twitter chat goes fast and I get lost quickly. You have to keep an eye on what the moderator of the chat is saying to stay on track).

If you are new to Twitter chats, remember you have to add the hashtag #virtualbookclub to all tweets you are sending out as part of the book conversation. (no spaces between words) or they will not show up in the stream of consolidated tweets. If you use Twubs, this is already done for you.

Pictured: Mr. Bones, the Library Watch Dog

Mr. Bones and I have been reading many picture books this week based on libraries and librarians but we are saving that for a special post coming soon. Trust me, we have been reading a lot this week.

Have a lovely day. I will be at a professional development today listening to "sales pitches".  I plan to work on lesson plans instead. As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spiders, Flies, and Bears Oh My! IMWAYR August 12, 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. 

The School bell is about to ring. Just a couple of more weeks to tweak lesson plans and prepare for the approaching horde.

What did I read this week?
My focus this week was on reading science topic books and deciding on meaningful activities to go with them. These are great read alouds for Kinder-2nd and can be paired with dozens of great learning activities.

New succulents just added my library's Green Thumbs Science Center.
In the white pots are colored succulents.  behind them are cactus fingers. Kids are allowed to break off sections and take home to transplant. I have even had moms come in requesting these amazing little thorn-less cacti. I am training a few to make a crown shape. 
Great link: NASA's Climate Kids

Learning about Libraries
Here are two good choices for introducing libraries to children. Lola at the Library is a good pick for preschoolers explaining what happens in a library. Tomas and the Library Lady is a classic for older students. It is a particularly useful book for English language learners. My copy is in a bi-lingual format.

I love Bear lessons. They tie in so easily with many lesson objectives and there are hundreds of bear books available. Some of my favorites are the Bear books of Karma Wilson. Here is a blog post on The Beauty of Bears.

Paired Shares:  Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and Germs by Ross Collins

When my students walk through the library doors I shake each student's hand. They begin to giggle when they realize I have given them glitter germs! I overreact with a lot of coughing and sneezing until I get everyone settled in on the story-time carpet and launch into a lesson on How to Wash Your Hands. This includes students singing the Happy Birthday song or the ABC song which allows me enough time to properly model washing my hands. Each student is then given a baby wipe to wipe their hands free of glitter.

Bear Feels Sick Glitter Germs teaching activity

Bear Lesson Resources: 

Bear in a cave Coloring Page from

Pictures of bacteria (yuckie)

 Bear Activities from Karma Wilson website

Bear Finger-play (author unknown)

Here Is a Cave
Here is a cave.
(Bend fingers on one hand.)
Inside is a bear.
(Put thumb inside fingers.)
Now he comes out
To get some fresh air.
(Pop out thumb.)
He stays out all summer
In sunshine and heat.
He hunts in the forest
For berries to eat.
(Move thumb in a circle.)
When snow starts to fall,
He hurries inside
His warm little cave
And there he will hide.
(Put thumb inside fingers.)
Snow covers the cave
Like a fluffy white rug.
Inside the bear sleeps
All cozy and snug.
(Place one hand over the other.)

I can "bearly"wait to use these wonderful books this year. 

Now, I would love to know what you are reading and using in your classrooms and libraries.

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? August 5, 2013 Emergent Readers, Bookmarks, and Doll Bones

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. 

This week I focused on preparing a special book shelf for Kinder and First graders.
I read several of the books that best fit the reading level of an emergent reader,  Kinder, or beginning year for first grade. Here are some books at the 0.2-1.0 reading levels

It was also time for my annual re-read of Tiny Goes to the Library. I like to read this to 
Pre-kindergarten children coming into the library for the first time. It is simple and they love Tiny. 
They will soon discovered his big friend Clifford in a few weeks. 

 It's hard to see but this is what is on the sign. It is the basis of our cultural literacy. We are a product of what we read and internalize. We are the adventurer seeking our fortune or a prisoner held in a high tower. Books shape our thinking of who we are and whom we wish to become. 

This turned out nice, I have been re-purposing old falling apart pages of books and turning them into bookmarks and signs.


Doll Bones
 I am re-reading Holly Black's Doll Bones just in time for our #virtualbookclub chat on Monday, August 5th at 8 CST/ 9CST. We hope you will join us. This is unfortunately at the same time as the #TLelem chat about sharing Back to School ideas. (Teacher-Librarian elementary chat)

Doll Bones is one of the most discussion rich novels that I have read in a long time. It is like an onion with its many layers and meanings. The story revolves around three middle school students Zach, Alice, and Poppy who have been playing imaginary games full of treacherous mermaids, pirates, and great adventures. As adolescence comes knocking, the trio must now face life's great adventure and it's not an easy journey. One day Zach suddenly stops playing the game and refuses to explain why. It seems like all their great adventures are over until a ghost girl comes calling.

Doll Bones has just the right element of creepy horror without the violence or gruesomeness.

I discovered two different versions of Doll Bones a USA and a UK version.
Which do you prefer?

If you are joining #virtualbookclub, using a service like Twubs or Tweetchat will make your chat experience easier to follow. Here is a video that might help.

NEXT UP on August 19th 8 CST/9EST The Wig in the Window
Recently, I was thrilled to arrive home to find this wonderful package on my porch for the upcoming The Wig in the Window mystery novel #virtualbookclub chat. Thanks  Kristen Kittscher
Kristen also donated an autographed copy for my upcoming district librarian meeting. What a sweetheart. Authors are the best! 

For Book Links and a Discussion Guide go HERE

Are you interested in trying out other Twitter chats? Here is a terrific compilation of chats by #hashtags and days of the week. Twitter Chat Google Doc (Compiled by @thomascmurray & @cevans509)

With school drawing so near, I feel rushed to read so many titles. What a blessing to be stressed out about good books. So, what are you reading?