professornana (professornana) wrote,

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my kind of town, Chicago is.....

Greetings from a too-long IRA Conference in Chicago. Last night was a fabulous reception and dinner with the fine folks of Random House. I had the chance to sit beside Christopher Paul Curtis and talk for a nice long time. He is one of my favorite people in the business as he always cares about what others have to say and what they think about his books.

A woman at the table mentioned an activity she does with her art teacher that I must steal and try out. It is called CHALK TALK WALK. Toward the end of the school year, students (all 1000 in her school) plan a sidewalk chalk drawing they will do from their favorite book. They set aside a day for the kids to create these chalk drawings (and the kids talk to one another while they draw) and then after all the drawings are done, the whole school walks and looks at all 1000 drawings. From those, each kid selects his or her Top Ten and that list becomes their Summer Reading List. How cool is that?

I stole another idea from someone who came up and told me her brother drove a school bus. He placed a crate of books in the bus so that kids could check out books and read them on the bus. They are also allowed to take them home to read. Wonderful idea, especially since kids spend so much time in transit to and from school.

Tonight I have a dinner with Jon Scieszka. It will be a blast I know. Home on Friday and teach on Saturday. Long week, but so worth all of the time and effort.
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