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professornana
04 July 2015 @ 08:47 am
Here are the books I read in June. So many terrific titles. Such wonderful adventures in books.

June 2015 books read


334) ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU
335) TRAFFICK
336) PIG AND PUG
337) HOW TO READ A STORY
338) YAK AND GNU
339) INTERSTELLAR CINDERELLA
340) I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS. BENSON'S BLACKBOARD
341) I YAM A DONKEY
342) WHOSE SHOE?
343) IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON'T
344) ON MY BEACH
345) RUDE CAKES
346) BULLDOZER'S BIG DAY
347) THE COW LOVES COOKIES
348) ESCAPE FROM MR. LIMONCELLO’S LIBRARY
349) THE DETECTIVE’S ASSISTANT
350) NATURE’S CONFESSION
351) A SHILOH CHRISTMAS
352) LOST IN THE SUN
353) MARCH, BOOK TWO
354) SUNNY SIDE UP
355) DEAR HANK WILLIAMS
356) THE ONLY GAME
357) I WILL TAKE A NAP
358) FLOAT
359) WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?
360) BEAR COUNTS
361) SEA AND REX
362) READY FOR SCHOOL, MURPHY?
363) TOMMY CAN'T STOP
364) MY COUSIN MOMO
365) MONSTERS LOVE UNDERPANTS
366) STELLA BRINGS THE FAMILY
367) THERE'S A CROCODILE UNDER MY BED
368) POOL
369) ELLIE
370) THINGS THAT GO BURP IN THE NIGHT
371) FATAL FEVER
372) SONYA’S CHICKENS
373) DROWNED CITY
374) THE INKER’S SHADOW
375) HONOR GIRL
376) ORBITING JUPITER
377) THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER: KNUD PETERSEN AND THE CHURCHILL CLUB
378) WHIPPOORWILL
379) SWITCH
380) CALVIN
381) CONSENT
382) DIME: A NOVEL
383) THE NOT SO ITSY BITSY SPIDERS
384) THE YETI FILES: MONSTERS ON THE RUN
385) BEYOND CLUELESS
386) TERRIBLE TYPHOID MARY
387) DUCK'S VACATION
388) BEN DRAWS TROUBLE
389) ...AND NICK
390) SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY
391) I'M TRYING TO LOVE SPIDERS
392) LITTLE TREE
393) HAPPY BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE
394) THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL
395) ONE FAMILY
396) THE A B C ANIMAL ORCHESTRA
397) THIS WAY, THAT WAY WITH BOOM SNOT TWITTY
398) THE MOON IS GOING TO ADDY'S HOUSE
399) FATAL CHAPTER
400) RHYTHM RIDE
401) RICKY RICOTTA AND HIS MIGHT ROBOT VS URANIUM UNICORNS FROM URANUS
402) X: A NOVEL
403) SEAVER THE WEAVER
404) THE MONSTER WANTS YOUR VOTE
405) EARTH FLIGHT
406) STEVE JOBS: INSANELY GREAT
407) I CRAWL THROUGH IT
 
 
professornana
03 July 2015 @ 07:11 pm
Long day in airplanes getting back from Maine. My head is still swimming with all of the images, ideas, and discoveries from the Boothbay Literacy Retreat. As I sift through them in the next few days, I will post more. But for now, I leave you with a line from Naomi Shihab Nye's poem read around a fire pit after dinner a few nights ago: "The book will provide."

More after I catch up on sleep.
 
 
professornana
02 July 2015 @ 07:57 am
My Facebook feed this morning had a link to a Washington Post story about 81 things Mike Huckabee finds offensive. Frankly, I could care less about what politicians find offensive. But the idea did niggle inside my head and spawned this post.

THREE THINGS I FIND OFFENSIVE (81 seemed a bit excessive)

1. People directing education who do not have experience in education.
I know that anyone who ever attended school believes he or she can make things in education better. I wonder how doctors might respond to me saying, "well, I have played doctor as a kid, so I think I can take care of this diagnosis." More to the point is the fact that Texas governor Greg Abbott recently appointed a woman who home schools her kids to be chair of the State Board of Education. Really? Can all of you see ge agenda for this appointment?

2. People who say they are too busy to read and write despite being educators.
I hear it all the time. Now, I know my job provides me more time for reading and writing than many other educators. However, I could just as easily be spending this "extra" time napping, playing on,Inge games, and checking social media. I carve out time to read and to write daily. This morning I finished reading a GN, posted it out to Twitter and Facebook, and am now writing to blog post. I find time. I make these things a priority.

3. Surveys that do not really measure what they purport to measure.
If you follow me on social media, you know that my latest trip began with a FLIGTMARE. So, when the survey to provide information to United arrived, I opened it, eager to let them know what went wrong (EVERYTHING). The survey is basically useless if United wants to fix the things that are broken (EVERYTHING). And I see these are kinds of surveys in education. Poorly worded statements, some with obvious bias. Or I read a statement from someone like Arne Dunacn asserting that almost all teachers are happy with CCSS. Then, I read the actual survey and discover the truth.

To be sure, very little offends me. Some things disturb me; some anger me; some dismay me. I a e offensive for the truly heinous. What do YOU find offensive?
 
 
Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: Offended
 
 
professornana
01 July 2015 @ 08:24 am
Pedagogy! Get your fresh hot pedagogy here! Programs! Get em while they're fresh! I got some lovely authentic, responsive frameworks here!

When I was young, I often stayed with my grandmother for days at a time. There were all sorts of street vendors, some in horse-driven carts, who would come down the street behind her house hawking their wares. A link from the (you should forgive the name) Smart Brief this week centered on a district in Texas which has mandated online PD for all teachers with fewer than 5 years of experience: http://www.panews.com/2015/06/28/paisd-to-begin-innovative-staff-development-course/. The price tag is staggering. But what staggers me even more, are some of the underlying assertions as to the need for this PD. Here is one quote that disturbs me:

"'We have a lot of individuals coming from the business world into our classrooms,' he said. 'We have engineers coming in from industry teaching math courses. They’re brilliant people, and they know their fields — they have no problem teaching the class material. But when you have 27 students, 160 if you’re teaching in the high school, that’s completely different from industry or from business.'” - See more at: http://www.panews.com/2015/06/28/paisd-to-begin-innovative-staff-development-course/#sthash.fHRp9R8k.dpuf"

No duh! Folks who come into education from another profession do not have the knowledge they need. The reason for that is that they believe they are imparting knowledge, teaching "things." What they are doing, IRL, is teaching KIDS and not content. Do they not touch on this in nursing school and engineering programs? Apparently not. And that is sad. I wonder if these folks from other occupations take any courses in colleges of education? If they do, I would hope they would have a better handle on class management, discipline, and more. And if you are not called to teaching per se, I am not certain why you have entered the classroom.

This is not an indictment of alternative certification (well, maybe a little). It is an indictment of a school or district that does not screen applicants to see what they DO know about teaching real live students. What questions are asked in an interview that would lead someone to hire a potential teacher without sufficient knowledge and expertise in education?

And, of course, part of this is due to the high rate of turnover in teachers. Instead of trying to address this situation, we are offering PD online for the droves of new teachers who come into the profession without a background in pedagogy and then leave in a matter of a few years.So, spend almost a half a million dollars on bringing folks up to speed (who should not enter the classroom without already possessing the skills and knowledge and expertise) instead of spending funds on books, libraries, librarians, equipment, and all the other necessities. In a few years, perhaps schools and districts will understand priorities better. I can only hope.
 
 
Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
professornana
30 June 2015 @ 07:04 am
Highlights from yesterday's Boothbay Literacy Retreat in a series of phrases and snapshots.

"You have a lovely voice." From Naomi Shihab Nye. Juan Felipe Herrera's teacher told him he had a lovely voice. Those 5 words can change the world for a student. Herrera is now the Poet Laureate of the U.S. Think about how simple words can encourage, uplift, make impossible seem totally possible.

"Sometimes." The first invitation from Linda Rief to write.

"It takes more than one use for a strategy to take hold, be successful, work." Smart words from Kylene Beers. How often have we tried something new, had it fail, shrugged it off, and moved on? I remember the first time I tried to incorporate Literature Circles in my classes. It did not work as well as I had hoped. I had to sit down and think about what went wrong. The first thing that came to mind is that I needed to make it my own. That meant some tweaking for me and for my kids.

Not a quote, but I loved Bob Probst talking about Louise Rosenblatt and how she was able to decimate folks who talked about meaning residing in the text, on the four corners of the page. How I wish Louise Rosenblatt were alive to talk to David Coleman.

"Sometimes people simply parrot something they have heard without considering the source." Chris Crutcher joined us at the dinner table. The discussion ranged from family to Supreme Court to presidential candidates, and more. We talked about how some folks seem to misunderstand everything to suit their agendas.

"What do you still want or need to know?" Penny Kittle asked this question repeatedly as she talked about making movies from our writing. How I would love to be in her classroom!

Here is my general observation: I am sitting in a room with about 100 very smart people. Some are presenting sessions, some are organizing the conference, and some are there attending. ALL of us are learning. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US IS LEARNING. What a community.
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Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: amazed
 
 
professornana
29 June 2015 @ 11:35 am
As a general rule of thumb, I do not love Mondays. The end of the weekend, and the beginning of the work week is not my favorite time. However, I do love this particular Monday. Here I am in Boothbay Harbour, Maine, with my BH. The weather is lovely: sunny and in the 50s right now. The view is spectacular. But there is more to my chipper view of this Monday.

Today is the opening day of the Boothbay Literacy Retreat. My morning began with coffee and Linda Rief who walked us through writing exercises. My writing surprised me. It always does when Linda is the guide. She is so inviting that I cannot help but respond openly and honestly and sometimes surprisingly.

Breakfast was lovely with a couple of people who also were from Texas and the incredible Lester Laminack who makes me smile simply by sitting down next to me. Then, Kylene and Bob began talking about access and discussion and response and so much more. We are off talking on the patio or even in the wooded areas that surround the small conference center. Later, we will eat (again!) and then Penny Kittle talks and I talk about books and then we do some speed dating with the 7 faculty members.

To be sure, the day is long and packed and, ultimately exhausting. But it is a good tired, a I-feel-as-though-I-have-accomplished-much tired. I tweeted and posted to Facebook using the #bblit15 hashtag, so go on out there and pull in some of the processing I am doing. See how others are responding, too. And make plans to come to the retreat in the future. I know there is a West Coast retreat in San Diego coming up for those who live closer to the left coast.

I needs PD as much as the next educator. While I love doing PD, I also love being on the receiving end of it. It renews me. My batteries are charging. The ideas are percolating. Not bad for an old lady.
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Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: charging
 
 
professornana
28 June 2015 @ 08:04 am
Passing along a new resource.

Hi Teri,

In celebration of Pride Month, Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers have just launched a new resource for LGBTQ teens, parents, teachers and librarians: Read Proud Listen Proud. Readers can find suggested books and audiobooks highlighting LGBTQ issues and characters who are positive role models, along with author interviews and discussion guides at www.readproudlistenproud.com (full announcement below). The site was inspired by the We Need Diverse Books movement and award-winning author Ann Bausum’s recent book, STONEWALL, one of the first nonfiction chronicles of the gay rights movement written for young adults.

Now more than ever, we need to continue to encourage conversations about LGBTQ issues with young adults. While the Stonewall Inn was just named a historic landmark this week and the Supreme Court is set to release their decision regarding same-sex marriage any day, a teacher in North Carolina was recently forced to resign after reading a fairy tale featuring two princes in love to his students, and eight states restrict or forbid talking about LGBTQ issues in public schools.

Stories are an incredibly powerful way to spread a positive message of tolerance and respect and to spark dialogue, and Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers are committed to publishing books and audiobooks that LGBTQ teens can see themselves in. The two publishers will be launching the site at this weekend’s American Library Association annual conference in San Francisco, giving away thousands of pairs of rainbow-colored sunglasses at the San Francisco Pride Parade and the Moscone Convention Center.

I hope you’ll check out the site and consider sharing this news! Please be in touch if you have any questions.

All best,
Katie

Katie Punia
Director of Publicity
Audio | Fodor's Travel | Living Language | Reference
Penguin Random House

(212) 782-9464
kpunia@penguinrandomhouse.com
 
 
Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: happyhappy
 
 
professornana
27 June 2015 @ 08:03 am
A recent piece in the Washington Post caused some fuss on social media: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/06/23/a-disturbing-quote-about-teaching-literature-in-common-core-era/?postshare=7861435313046380. It quotes a story from the New York Times that reads in part: "“Unfortunately there has been some elimination of some literature,” said Kimberly Skillen, the district administrator for secondary curriculum and instruction in Deer Park, N.Y. But she added: “We look at teaching literature as teaching particular concepts and skills. So we maybe aren’t teaching an entire novel, but we’re ensuring that we’re teaching the concepts that that novel would have gotten across."

There are two important things to take away here. One is the definition of the literature as a tool to teach skills and concepts. That is the topic for a separate post (soon, I promise). The other, though, is the idea that teaching PIECES of a novel somehow makes up for spending less time on fiction in lieu of the CCSS emphasis on nonfiction. I have some questions for these folks who think teaching PIECES is sufficient.

1. What PIECE of CHARLOTTE'S WEB do we share? What PIECE of MACBETH? What PIECE of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?

2. Who decides on the PIECES?

3. What context, if any, is provided for students?

4. Are these books made available to those who might want to read more than the PIECES?

5. Is time provided for more than PIECEMEAL reading?

Yes, these are rhetorical. The very idea that teaching bits of something so kids can gain some skill is disturbing. More, it is chilling. What if we turned the tables and read more parts of works of nonfiction. After all, the aim is simply to teach skills. So, why not take a PIECE of the Declaration of Independence and read that? Why not take a couple of lines from THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS or the latest manual for a smart phone or instructions for putting together something? Why not read nonfiction in PIECES? The answer is that it would not make sense to take a part from the whole. Guess what, the same applies to fiction. A novel is more than a sum of its parts. The proof is in the reading.
 
 
Current Location: on the road again
Current Mood: puzzled
 
 
professornana
26 June 2015 @ 05:28 pm
If you want to know if a book will be a good one to share with your students, here is the secret: READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT.


I am weary of folks who want others to read it and digest it for them. If you are not a baby bird, you do not need someone to feed you through regurgitation. You need to read it, consider it, digest it, and decide. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT.

It is fine to ask for book recommendations. But do not ask someone else to help you select a book. That is your job. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT.

One of my favorite books is EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK by Byrd Baylor. The 10 rules she provides for finding a rock are my own 10 rules for finding those foundational (rock-like books for students). One of the rules is, "Don't ask anybody to help you choose." READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT.

In conclusion, if you are looking for some new books to share with students, head to a bookstore, lurk in a library, seek out some kids. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues. Then...you guessed it: READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT.
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: determineddetermined
 
 
professornana
25 June 2015 @ 12:05 pm
I am thinking about what to pack for my trip from Texas to Maine at the end of the week. I am thrilled at the prospect that I might include items with sleeves since summer has arrived here with temps in the 90s plus humidity. But before I even think of clothes, there are some priorities that jump ahead in the planning process.

The most important packing priority, the one I have begun already has to do with BOOKS. I suspect none of you is surprised at this. There are two legs to the flight from here to Maine. One leg is about 3.5 hours; the second one is about 2 hours. And there is, of course, layover time to consider. That means I need books for each segment up and back. Add to that time to drive from airport to conference location (and back) plus some time each day for quiet reading, and you know what will weigh down my luggage: BOOKS.

I could take eBooks (and I do have some just in case on all of my devices). But with the ever-threatening TBR stack, I will also take physical books along. I do have audio as well for the driving segments,

The books I take depend on the length of the flights. I try to take some of the heavier tomes for the longer flights knowing I will have somewhere to prop the book. But I also need to have some shorter fare for the shorter flights. Am I too rigid about all this planning? Probably, but I know if I do not plan ahead, I might have to buy a book at an airport (GASP! The Horror!). So, I have the 4 books for the trip up to Maine in the carry on. The suitcase has the books for the other days of the journey. They represent a range of genres and formats. I have a couple GNs. I have fiction and nonfiction. I have a book I need to review, some I am reading for committee work and even a couple of just for me selections.

Yes, I will think about clothes and such later. But first things first: BOOKS.
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: prioritizing