Monday, August 1, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!  I love all of the recommendations I collect from the "It's Monday!  What Are you Reading?" posts!

Picture Books
I'm a huge fan of Wolfie the Bunny so it's no surprise that I enjoyed Horrible Bear!  This book would be a perfect read aloud for primary students to discuss how we handle our frustrations.  Great lesson!

I recently discovered this book, even though it was published in 2006.  I love using Judith Viorst's books for the Again and Again (Notice and Note) signpost.  Just in Case is the story of Charlie, an adorable boy who needs to be prepared for every possible situation.  

Are We There Yet? will be such a fun classroom read aloud! Dan Santat's writing and illustrations are always captivating! Children will be able to relate to the boredom the character feels on a car trip to his grandmother's birthday party.  The last line of this book could lead to a great classroom conversation!

I've seen many posts recommending Mother Bruce, so I had to get my hands on this book!  In this adorable story, Bruce is clearly the victim of mistaken identity.  There are many opportunities in this book to stop and ask students "What should Bruce do?".  This book will become a favorite in our school library for sure!  I'm looking forward to checking out Hotel Bruce in October!

Middle Grade Novels
Thank you to Elly Swartz for sharing Finding Perfect with me through NetGalley!  Molly is a twelve year old girl struggling with OCD.  A few of the ways she copes with the changes and struggles in her life are counting by four and carefully arranging the glass animals in her collection.  In this book, Elly Swartz grabbed my heartstrings and hooked me with the ups and downs of Molly's journey to finding perfect.  I can think of a number of students who would related to Molly's struggles.  As a teacher, this book reminded me that in our classrooms we all have students who are struggling to be perfect, even if they are not dealing with the challenges of OCD.  Molly's journey will remind readers that perfection is an elusive goal.

Five stars for this beautiful, touching story!  I highly recommend that you get your hands on this book when it's released on October 18th!

I loved the perspectives of the four characters in this book.  I will be highly recommending Nine, Ten as a read aloud to the fourth and fifth grade teachers in our upper elementary school!  I know this book will inspire deep conversations with students about an important date in our country's history.

Tamra Wight's mysteries never disappoint me!  Mystery of the Missing Fox is the story of Cooper, Packrat, Roy and Summer's quest to discover who is trying to harm the fox family at the Wilder Family Campground.  As always, Tamra's character development is outstanding!  I am hopeful that our upper elementary school will participate in a school-wide reading event with the books in this series this year!

Professional Reading
The tools in DIY literacy are ones I plan to use this year with teachers, especially in grades three to five.  My goal is to create a demonstration notebook to collect some of my mini lessons from classrooms.  I also hope to create some sample micro progressions for reading and writing workshop with teachers in the fall.  The ideas in this professional book will impact student learning and engagement!

Up Next!

Thank you to my friend, Melissa Guerrette, for the advance reader copy of this book!  It's next in my stack!  I saw that Lynda Mullaly Hunt recommended it on Facebook!

I think this book will have great read aloud potential in the upper grades!

I am hoping to finish Visible Learning for Literacy before my summer institute on Wednesday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Books I Loved This Week
I LOVED this book!  The character development is amazing as the plot unfolds between the alternating perspectives of Ravi and Joe.  Save Me A Seat will inspire conversations about bullying, friendship, empathy, and acceptance.  I believe that sharing this book with students will encourage them to reflect how we often make inaccurate assumptions about others.  I am planning to recommend this book as a read aloud for teachers in our upper elementary classrooms.  

I am a huge fan of What Do You Do With An Idea?  Both of the books in this series incorporate many signposts including Again and Again, Tough Questions, Words of the Wiser and Ah Ha Moments.  I can't wait to share What Do You Do With a  Problem? with teachers this fall!  It is an outstanding text to share in our work with the signposts, but I also think it would be a fabulous mentor text to encourage students to reflect on how we persevere through problems.  I highly recommend reading it aloud at the start of the school year.  As a classroom teacher, I know this would be a text that I would return to with students throughout the year.

After seeing a number of reviews for The Storyteller on Twitter last week, I was inspired to get my own copy! There are many possibilities for discussing this text with students!  I plan to share it with teachers at both our primary and upper elementary schools.  It offers connections to the signposts of Again and Again, Ah Ha Moment, and Words of the Wiser.  Even if you are not using the signposts, this book shares a beautiful message about the importance of storytelling.  I know this is a text I would love to share early in the year, so that I can refer to it often in my conversations with readers and writers.

I am grateful for the lovely employee at Barnes and Noble who recommended the Dr. Kitty Cat series to my daughter, Grace.  I can tell she's hooked because she has been walking around the house reading this book unprompted all week.  We already started Book 2: Clover the Bunny tonight.  This adorable series is about a pet vet who takes care of the ailments of other animals.  Dr. Kitty Cat would be an excellent addition to classroom libraries in second and third grade!

Currently Reading

I am halfway through Mystery of the Missing Fox and can't wait to discover who is bothering the new kit foxes at the Wilder Family Campground.  I love the character development in this latest mystery in the Cooper and Packrat series.  I'm anxiously awaiting word on my grant proposal for an author visit with Tamra for our third, fourth and fifth grade students this fall!

Here's a link to my reflections on Chapters 3 and 4 in DIY Literacy!

Up Next

Thank you to Elly Swartz for sharing a copy of Finding Perfect with me on NetGalley.  I can't wait to start reading it!

I was so excited to receive my copy of Sticks & Stones on Tuesday!  I think this book has great read aloud potential, as it's so important to talk with our students about the power of our words to help or harm.

I've seen many reviews of Nine, Ten on Twitter.  I'm looking forward to settling in with this book soon!

New Professional Book Recommendation

I recently finished reading Embedding Formative Assessment this week as part of my work with a cohort of teachers collaborating with the literacy specialists at the Maine Department of Education. Our goal is to craft professional development sessions related to formative assessment that will be offered across the state this year.  This text provided us with a great deal of background knowledge and strategies related to formative assessment.  At our training this week, we received a copy of Outstanding Formative Assessment, which is full of classroom examples that I am looking forward to sharing with teachers this fall!

Week 2: DIY Literacy - Chapters 3 & 4

I am very excited to share my thinking this week on Chapters 3 and 4 in DIY Literacy.  Thank you to Cathy, Laura and Michelle for organizing this incredible opportunity.  I have enjoyed reading many of the posts in the cyberPD Digital Learning Community this week!

After reading Michelle's post, I was inspired to try a similar format this week for my reflection!

Chapter 3

Confirming Ideas

  • In order for learning to stick, students need support, time and repetition. Teachers are often frustrated when students cannot recall certain lessons, but the issue may be that we have not provided students with enough support to remember how to use the strategies we've introduced.  I found myself thinking back to CAFE strategy lessons in reading workshop and the importance of our anchor charts.   
  • I appreciated the tips at the end of the chapter on knowing when students will be ready to give up the teaching tool.  I worry that too often we remove a scaffold, such as an anchor chart, before students have internalized the information.  A tip I learned from a colleague a few years ago is using foam boards for anchor charts instead of chart paper.  By using the foam board, the chart can be moved around the room from a lesson with a small group to the classroom meeting area.  Our foam boards were stored in a laundry basket in the meeting area, so students could access a board at any time.  Using foam boards preserved wall space for charts that I needed to be posted for a longer amount of time.
  • One of my favorite quotes was on page 41. "We believe in creating 'high-five' energy whenever possible, the feeling that we are proud of what our kids have offered." I plan to share this quote with teacher as a reminder that "high-five" energy needs to be palpable in our classrooms!


  • It's so important that anchor charts don't become wallpaper in classrooms!  Kate and Maggie's suggestions for keeping anchor charts alive are tips I plan to share with teachers next year (page 42)!
  • I've seen many beautiful charts in classrooms that are Pintrest worthy, but they were not constructed with students.  This chapter included many references to the importance of student input and engagement in the creation of the chart.  If students are involved in the crafting of the chart, I feel they are much more likely to use the tool.


  • I am hoping to model a lesson for creating bookmarks in classrooms this year.  There are so many possibilities for using this tool as a personalized way for students to remember information.  I loved the suggestion of creating them for test taking tips!
  • As an instructional coach, I create a digital newsletter (using the Smore website) every week.  I plan to share photographs of well-created charts in my newsletter next year so that teachers can see examples of charts (created with students) that anchor learning.
Chapter 4

Confirming Ideas
  • I love, love, love the description of rigor at the beginning of the chapter.  Kate and Maggie stretched and confirmed my thinking that rigor is "a performance - it is a stance, an action, a state of being that is taken to move through the world, tackle tasks or work toward a goal." 
  • Daniel Pink's quote on page 55 is one that all teachers need to remember. "One of the keys to increasing motivation is to create a sense of autonomy, a sense of I know what to do. Control leads to compliance.  Autonomy leads to engagement."
  • When I introduce the micro-progression tool next year, I plan to share the sidebar on page 55.  The three signals that rigor may be the issue are a great way to highlight the value and purpose of the micro-progression.
  • The teachers in both of our elementary schools are beginning to implement the Units of Study writing program in the fall.  As I read this chapter, I kept thinking about how we can use micro- progressions with students during writing workshop next year!  On page 59, Kate and Maggie remind us that students need to be able to transfer the micro-progression to all of their work in other subjects.  It's easy to fall into the trap of creating a model or progression that is specific to a particular task or piece of writing.  I agree that it's important for the details and models to be transferable other tasks and subjects.
  • I loved how the examples of the micro-progressions in this chapter were all created with students.  Once again, teachers should not create a mico-progression, review it in a lesson and post it on the wall for students to use as a tool.  For it to be a living document, it must be co-created with students!
  • My other favorite pages in this chapter to share with teachers are the example of using charts to highlight the steps or skills in high levels of work (pages 64-65)  and the signs of rigor (pages 68-69).
  • There are many ideas that I would like to use from this chapter during my lessons in classrooms next year.  My primary goal will be to create a model of a micro-progression during professional development sessions this fall as we begin our work with Units of Study.  I'm hoping that by creating a sample and sharing some of the information and tips from this chapter with teachers, they will see the potential impact this tool can have on our students' learning, growth and engagement!

As I continue to dig into the chapters for next week's post, I hope to find some time to check out Kate and Maggie's DIY videos!  When I share my learning with teachers in the fall, I know they will appreciate time to watch the videos and read some of the posts for DIY Literacy on their website!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

I'm three weeks into summer vacation and have already finished six middle grade novels!  Although I can't keep up with a #bookaday, I'm proud that I've read at least two books each week.  Most of all I'm thankful for my book-loving colleagues @kfmayoKaren, @vglueck69, and @HiltonKinsey.  The four of us have formed our own book group to share our favorite new books!

Here are some of my recent favorites!

Students will love The Wild Robot!  My soon-to-be second grader is already hooked!  I think it would be a great read aloud for second through fourth grade.  Peter Brown has written a beautiful story centered around Roz's relationship with the animals on the island.  There are great messages in this book for classroom conversations.  The ending left me hopeful for a sequel!

I've read many of the posts on Twitter related to The Seventh Wish.  I love this book and truly believe that it has a place in our classroom and school libraries. As a classroom teacher, I would prefer to use this book as a read aloud in order to have important conversations with students.  Kate Messner handled a topic that is often avoided in such a beautiful manner.  If you haven't read Melissa Guerette's post on Using The Seventh Wish in the Classroom, I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Jen Vincent @mentortexts for my copy of this incredible book.  Ms. Bixby is the next Mr. Daniels in children's literature for me.  I love how this book alternated perspectives between Topher, Brand and Steve.  Although this book was deeply touching, the comical situations added so much to the story.  I highly recommend this book to all teachers.  We should all aspire to have the type of strong bonds with our students that Ms. Bixby shares with these boys.  

Once I started The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price, I could not put it down.  In many ways, this was a difficult book for me to read after losing both of my parents in the last two years.  As a classroom read aloud, I think this book would inspire deep conversations about the results (both positive and negative) of Charlie's decisions.  Readers can't help but feel a strong connection to Charlie and his sister.

I loved this novel in verse!  The narrative storyline is beautifully told through the perspective of eighteen different students. One of our fifth grade classes really enjoyed this book as a read aloud this spring.  Their recommendation would be to track the characters on an anchor chart or in a notebook to support students' understanding.   I think Laura Shovan's beautiful collection of poems during a challenging school year would be a great middle grade read aloud.

Wolf Hollow was the first book I finished this summer and it is sure to be one of my favorite books of 2016!  There are so many deep messages in this book, including loyalty, kindness, honesty, and courage. You absolutely must read it!

Currently Reading

I am so grateful for this book recommendation from Carrie Thurston!  I'm halfway through Save Me a Seat and anxious to see how Ravi and Joe will work together to handle the challenges of Dillon, the class bully.  I know that I will be recommending this book as a middle grade read aloud!

Up Next

I am looking forward to reading Mystery of the Missing Fox!  My son and I are Tamra Wight fans!  My fingers are crossed that my grant proposal for an author visit with her is funded soon! I would love to share the Cooper & Packrat books as a community read aloud this year!

Both of these titles appear often on my Twitter feed.  I'm looking forward to reading them in the next few weeks!

Recent Professional Reading

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it!  I'm looking forward to rereading it before school starts to prepare for sharing it with teachers this fall.  

Current Professional Reading
I'm excited to participate in the #cyberPD community discussions for DIY Literacy this summer.  Here's my recent post for Chapters 1 and 2, as well as the Bonus Chapter.  I'm looking forward to putting these teaching tools into practice this fall.

Up Next Professionally

I'm looking forward to gathering high impact practices to share with teachers next year!

#cyberPD ~ DIY Literacy Week 1

I am very excited to share my thinking this week on Chapters 1&2, as well as the Bonus Chapter in DIY Literacy!  This is the first time I have participated in cyberPD, so thank you to Cathy, Laura and Michelle for organizing this incredible opportunity.  I'm hoping to join some of the Twitter chats for the book in the next few weeks!

As I thought about how to organize my post, I decided to collect my favorite quotes in one post.  I also wanted to reflect on how I can share my learning with teachers in the fall. As an instructional coach, I am always reflecting on how I can share my professional learning with my colleagues.  

Chapter 1

Favorite Quotes to Share with Teachers

"True learning happens when students get the instruction that fits their needs, have the agency and motivation to work hard, and remember and recycle what they've learned." (pg. 2)

"...often we get trapped in the hamster wheel of breadth - of being sure we have gotten to everything - rather than catering our work on depth." (pg. 3)

"It is important to create authentic, deeply known repertoires of strategies for students, but sometimes these clear strategies become muddy from overcrowding." (pg. 5)

These three quotes resonated with me because teachers are always talking about how overwhelmed they are with the amount of content that needs to be covered.  I agree with Kate and Maggie that we need to focus on true learning, as we avoid the hamster wheel.  I love their reminder that less is more.  It's important to remember that students don't need more tools and strategies; they need a toolbox of tried and true strategies that they can rely on in a variety of situations.

As I share th
ese tools with teachers in the fall, I plan to emphasize the value of making learning stickier through using tools that are:
*make the abstract concrete, and
*encourage repeated practice.  It's easy to forget that one has to practice something for at least twenty-one days to make it a habit.  

Chapter 2

Favorite Quotes to Share with Teachers
"You are never strong enough that you don't need help." Cesar Chavez 
Teaching Charts 
  • "Both types of charts (repertoire and process) are lists to help students get going in their work largely by recording the teaching that has already taken place, preventing its loss in the sands of time." (pg. 13)
  • "The best charts, whichever the type, are those made in front of students and as collaboratively as possible." (pg. 13)
Demonstration Notebook
  • "A demonstration notebook is a collection of interactive lessons the teacher can use to demonstrate repeatedly with kids, whether individually in conferences or in small groups across the day, unit and year." (pg. 14)
  • "...only by knowing the full trajectory of a certain skill can we possibly create a pathway for how to get their with students." (pg. 18)
  • "Allowing students to decide and write down for themselves the teaching that is most helpful creates space for them to be self-directed and reflective on the teaching happening in the classroom." (pg. 19)
As I read this chapter, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could use these tools in my work as an instructional coach. Although I hope to share all of them in my professional development work with teachers (especially in the upper elementary grades), I think it's important for me to find ways to include these tools in my work in classrooms.  My plan is to create a demonstration notebook that can be a collection of my lessons in classrooms.  I would love to have a model that I can share with teachers, but I also think it would be an incredible way to archive my lessons in a variety of classrooms between two buildings.  I also plan to create a few model micro-progressions that I can share with teachers for reading and writing workshop during our professional development in the fall.  I agree with Kate and Maggie that zooming in on a smaller span of a skill's level and pairing each level with models can provide a visual and powerful path for both students and teachers.  The impact micro-progressions can have on student learning and reflection is exciting to me!  

Bonus Chapter
I love the reminders and guidance in this chapter on how to find help and how to mine our own work for strategies.  Most of all, I appreciated the reminders at the end of the chapter of common problems and obstacles, as I think I've encountered all of them at one time or another!

Be on the lookout for strategies that are too wordy.  (Guilty!)  Keep it simple.

Be on the lookout for strategies that are too general. (Guilty!) Make sure the strategy is clear.

Be on the lookout for cramming too much into one strategy or tool.  (Guilty!)  Once again, less is more.

I am looking forward to reading Chapters 3 and 4 this week and reflecting on memory and rigor. I looked at a few of the videos this spring before I purchased the book, so now that I have started reading, I'm excited to watch the videos again, as I think I will have a deeper appreciation and understanding!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Skyping with Jeff Gottesfeld

On Wednesday, the fourth graders at Williams Elementary School were fortunate to have the opportunity to Skype with Jeff Gottesfeld, author of the beautiful picture book, The Tree in the Courtyard.  To say that our video chat was incredible would be an understatement!

Jeff actually attended Colby College, so he is quite familiar with our local area.  After chatting with the students about McGrath Pond and his love of fishing, he offered to read the book to our five fourth grade classes.  Although the teachers had read aloud the book to their students prior to our Skype session, it was powerful to actually hear the author read the book the way he intended.  You could have heard a pin drop, even though we were sitting in the cafeteria with more than seventy students.  Everyone in the room was moved as Jeff became emotional at the conclusion of this beautiful text.  It meant the world to us when he shared that reading aloud to us was his favorite time sharing The Tree in the Courtyard.

For the next thirty minutes, students took turns asking Jeff questions about his process and The Tree in the Courtyard.  We could tell he was impressed with the depth of our students' thinking!
Our readers wanted to know:

Why was the tree a she?

You used third person narration but it also seems that the story is told through the tree's point of view.  Why did you decide to write the story that way?

Why was the girl so important to the tree?

Why did people try so hard to save the tree, but not the girl?

Why did you choose to write about Anne Frank?  What inspired you?

How long did it take you to research this topic?  How did you get all of your information?  Did you have help researching this book?

How old were you when you decided you wanted to write this book?

When did you become an author?  How many books have you written?

Why did the illustrator choose to do the illustrations in black and white?

When/how did you become interested in becoming an author?

For thirty minutes, Jeff provided our readers with detailed answers to each and every question.  He made each child feel important as he continued to say "That's a great question!"  In his responses, he shared many inspirational messages that will stay with our students for days and years to come.  The hour passed in the blink of an eye.  At the end of the session, Jeff explained a few things that he would like to revise in the book.  Our advice would be to not change a thing, as we love The Tree in the Courtyard just as it is!

On Thursday, I sent Jeff an e-mail to thank him for his time and for making our readers feel so special.  He responded with the following message:

I will tell you what I told the Morning Sentinel in the letter-to-the-editor that I submitted to them yesterday afternoon: I am no rookie at the book biz. I've done hundreds of school visits over the years. I have never, ever had an encounter with a group of students who were as thoughtful, well-prepared, focused, and interested. Those questions! I really had to think about some of them, because they were probing into the deepest and most fascinating depths of the creative process. Those kids were just delightful in every possible way, and all credit goes to them, to the educational treasure that is you, and all of their teachers. 

Here's a link to Jeff's letter-to-the-editor that appeared in our local newspaper this morning.  Jeff is right; our students are lucky to have outstanding teachers at WES who model a love of learning each and every day.  Thank you, Jeff for your time and for inspiring our students to be better readers and writers.  We will be forever grateful for the opportunity to "meet" you!  I can promise you that The Tree in the Courtyard will be a treasured read aloud in our classrooms.

If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it!

Goodreads Summary:
Told from the perspective of the tree outside Anne Frank's window—this book introduces her story to a young audience.

The tree in the courtyard was a horse chestnut. Her leaves were green stars; her flowers foaming cones of white and pink. Seagulls flocked to her shade. She spread roots and reached skyward in peace. 

The tree watched a little girl, who played and laughed and wrote in a diary. When strangers invaded the city and warplanes roared overhead, the tree watched the girl peek out of the curtained window of the annex. It watched as she and her family were taken away—and when her father returned after the war, alone.

The tree died the summer Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted around the world as a symbol of peace.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Previewing My Summer PD Reading

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

For #IMWAYR, I thought I would share the titles in my summer professional book stack!

Who's Doing the Work?
I actually finished this book two weeks ago and loved it!  Burkins and Yaris stretched my thinking and made many outstanding points about how teachers should be doing less so that students can do more.  I found myself writing "YES!" in the margins of the text on many pages.  I love that the book is organized around chapters for read aloud, shared reading (close reading), guided reading and independent reading.  My plan is to reread portions of this book this summer to prepare for sharing it with teachers in the fall.  I know that classroom teachers will enjoy the classroom snapshots at the end of each chapter, as well as a list of ideas to try.  I highly recommend adding this title to your summer reading stack!

The Construction Zone
I am currently reading this book in order to connect Terry Thompson's ideas about scaffolding to Who's Doing the Work?.  This text is organized around the four common conditions that apply to any scaffolding scenario: focus, flexibility, feedback and responsibility.  I believe the messages in these two texts will be important to share with my colleagues in the fall.

DIY Literacy
I was excited to see the announcement of the 2016 #cyberPD book selection this weekend!  DIY Literacy is the perfect choice.  I'm looking forward to participating in the discussions around this text in July. One of my colleagues was so excited to get her hands on this book that she borrowed my copy soon after it arrived!

Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts and Strategies
I started reading this text a few months ago when one of our fourth grade teachers was interested in implementing the three key questions for nonfiction from this text.  We read the introduction and the chapters for the essential questions as she worked with her students on using the big questions to deepen their understanding of informational text.  The teachers at our upper elementary school have selected this text for a book study next year, so I'm looking forward to finishing the book this summer!  It's full of many outstanding ideas, so I find it's best to read it in digestible bites!

Visible Learning for Literacy
This new text from Fisher, Frey and Hattie has been recommended to me at a number of literacy events this spring. The high-impact literacy practices in this book will be valuable to me in my role as an instructional coach.

Writers Are Readers
I believe in the importance of connecting our reading and writing instruction, so this book is highly appealing to me!  The goal of this text is show teachers how we can flip our reading lessons to writing by exploring the same segment or mentor text with the lens of a writer.  It's well organized around text structures, strategies for weaving meaning and story elements.  Each chapter includes clear ideas for how to flip our instruction from reading to writing workshop.

Text-Dependent Questions
This professional book has been in my reading stack all year, so I plan to dig into it this summer.  Two of our third grade teachers started using the the four phases outlined in this text in their close reading lessons this spring.  They loved the framework, so I'm excited to learn more this summer so I can share this book with the teachers at our primary school who are continuing their work with close reading next year.

Close Writing
I've known Paula Bourque for many years through our literacy work with the Maine Department of Education.  I was thrilled when I saw the publication of her book Close Writing: Developing Purposeful Writers in Grades 2-6.  In January, I attended a session with Paula at nErDcamp NNE where she shared a number of the strategies in the text.  I can't wait to dig into Close Writing this summer!  I know it will be full of outstanding ideas to share with teachers next year.

Opening Minds
I read this book a few years ago, but I feel that it's time to realign my compass with Peter Johnston this summer.

Big Book of Details
I love the layout and organization of this text!  It reminds me of the The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Seravallo, which has become an incredible resource for teachers.  For each lesson, Rozlyn Linder explains how she introduces the move, as well as ideas for guided writing and mentor texts.  I know this book will provide additional support to teachers during writing workshop next year.

Learning From Classmates
Next fall, the teachers in our two elementary schools will begin using Lucy Calkins' Units of Study program in writing workshop.  I know that Lisa Eickholdt's ideas for using students' writing as mentor texts will connect well with our work next year.

As you can see, I have a summer full of professional reading ahead of me!  I hope to share my thinking related to these books on my blog as I work through the stack.  I also have my eye on Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz.  Still Learning to Read is one of my all-time favorite professional books for reading workshop, so I would love to check out the second edition this summer to share it with our new teachers.  Becoming A Literacy Leader by my friend, Jennifer Allen, is also coming out with a second edition that I would love to share with the instructional coaches in our district.  I'm sure this stack will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead!

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

Favorite Book of the Week!
Grace and I are huge fans of Elephant and Piggie!  We own about half of the books in the series, so of course, we had to preorder the final book!  I think the final page is the perfect conclusion to this incredible collection!  Thank you, Elephant and Piggie, for helping my daughter to fall in love with reading!

New Middle Grade Novels

I agree with all of the book buzz on Twitter - I loved Raymie Nightingale!  The characters reminded me of India Opal and her friends in Because of Winn Dixie.  Everyone needs friends like the Rancheros!  Kate DiCamillo's character development is beautiful as the story evolves. I would highly recommend this book as a read aloud!  

I enjoyed Maybe A Fox, especially the alternating perspectives between Jules and the fox.  This book was a page turner for me!
I love Fenway and Hattie!  I've been recommending it to all of our third grade teachers as a read aloud for next year.  I think it would be a wonderful read aloud in any grade, especially as an introduction to an alternate perspective.  One of my favorite elements of this adorable book is that it is narrated by Fenway, the energetic Jack Russell terrier!  Thank you to Kali Wallace @kaliphyte for sharing the book love!

New Picture Books
I love the message of this beautifully designed picture book!  Ideas Are All Around is the perfect title to share in writing workshop to encourage students to open their eyes to the ideas surrounding them everyday.  

Hermelin is an adorable mouse detective, who solves mysteries in his neighborhood.  I love the design of the picture book, which is perfectly narrated by Hermelin.  Students will love this book!

Currently Reading
Grace and I are enjoying the adventures of Red Riding Hood in this true story by the amazing Liesl Shurtliff.  This book may be my favorite in the collection!  

Jacob is just starting the Mystery of the Missing Fox by Maine author Tamra Wight.  I can't wait to get my hands on it when he's finished!  If you have not checked out the Cooper and Packrat series, I highly recommend it!  I have my fingers crossed that we can arrange an author visit with Tamra to our school next year!

Jacob recently finished A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner.  He would highly recommend that teachers include this title in their classroom libraries, especially for sports fans!  I'm looking forward to reading this book this summer.

Professional Reading

Yesterday I started Who's Doing the Work? after reading all the excitement on Twitter about this new book by Burkins and Yaris.  After chapter 1, I am hooked! This book is stretching my thinking and confirming my beliefs about scaffolding.  I agree this book should be in the hands of all elementary teachers!  I'm looking forward to sharing more about it when I am finished.

Next in my stack is DIY Literacy which I hope to start later this week!

Currently Reading
Thank you to Susan Dee @literacydocent for sending me a copy of this incredible book!  I read half of it this weekend and wish I didn't have to put it down to go to school today.  My heart is breaking for Annabelle and I can't wait to find out how her problem with Betty is resolved.  Thank you for sharing this book love!  I will be passing this book on to fifth grade teachers when I am finished.