Grateful: Book Talk Revisited

A few months ago, I made this book talk video and posted it on YouTube. I confess, I did try to find out how to pronounce words correctly, but I still goofed up. And yesterday I received an email correcting me on a few points: I added the email text to the video, and kept the original video because I want to share this with students this next school year. This is how we learn. One of my plans for my own learning this summer is to read more and reflect on Indigenous peoples in North America. Monise Seward and…

Tell your story.

You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero. But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore. pic.twitter.com/6vW9DXZK6x — Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018 Yesterday in one sitting I read Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai: it’s a short verse novel, so saying I finished it quickly is a silly boast. The story, light in words but heavy with my response…

Summer Series of Saves: It’s not just you.

Is anyone else finding that social media/cell phones have completely altered their capacity to read books and concentrate on multi-page sequences? It’s become a major problem… — Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) August 10, 2018 I am concerned about my #ProjectLIT project stalling out. I need these books. Don’t want: need. They aren’t some glib luxury for my incoming 8th students, they are a lifeline. These books pulled me out of my own fractured, terrible attention span thinking. They brought back mental stamina– what my students lack, and desperately need if they’re going to move through high school with courage. Eighth grade…

School Shopping.

Is Teachers Pay Teachers “bad?” And why do I have an image of my #ProjectLIT progress? I’ll pull it all together, promise. I believe that as a whole TPT is bad for students, so I will continue to voice my concerns. — Colby Sharp (@colbysharp) August 8, 2018 Yes, sometimes it is. It can be the junk food, candy display at the check-out counter, along with the pulp magazines and other impulse buys. Worksheets=bad. (Even when students beg for them: that’s a good sign you’re actually teaching.) Teaching authentically, making fresh, home-made lessons every day is tough; we can’t even…

Summer Series of Saves: Tea with Bears (or the hard sell)

  Planning and shaping students’ reading lives–I have some concerns. Selfish, muddy concerns. Donalyn Miller’s tweet about ill-defined independent reading prompted my own wondering about the basics: what is are the differences and connections between instructional and independent reading? A while back I wrote this blog post challenging those notions, too:  How to Survive a Bear Attack My FB friend @donnawstark fixed it! pic.twitter.com/ybRdlXyDAm — Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks) July 21, 2018 https://bookwhisperer.com/2015/02/08/ive-got-research-yes-i-do-ive-got-research-how-about-you/amp/ And, the notion of leveling texts also seems outdated, or at least considered revised: @nellkduke #ILA18 why we should not use only level-based grouping: “leveled texts [and groups] lead…

How to teach a novel.

There are veteran English teachers shuddering ‘tsk tsk’ at the title of this post, as if to suggest it’s a simple process, and doesn’t take years of practice, studying, and scholarly pursuits. And reading. A lot of reading. (And if you’re a middle school teacher, some dislike that age group of literature: I find it to be some of the most honest and terrifying. Really think about The Giver? Nightmare fuel.) About two weeks ago, one of my colleagues, who ventured on a long time ago to do great things, asked me if I was still teaching the “Journey of…