Monday, July 06, 2015

Live Blogging from #Nerdcampmi Monday and Tuesday

JWe know we didn't do such a great job of live blogging from All Write, as we had planned. But Franki will be at #NerdcampMi and she'll be adding live updates to the blog as the throughout the event. This is one of our favorite events of the year so we'd also recommend following it on Twitter if you are not attending.  (We will update on the top of the post each time we update so read from the bottom up!)

A session about writing for The Nerdy Book Club blog by Donalyn Miller and Cindy Minnich.

We love that we can connect with people all over the country at Nerdcamp!  But we also love having time to learn within Dublin colleagues.

Session on Nonfiction Mentor Texts led by Jen Vincent!

I went to a great session led by John Scovill on Reading Engagement in the Upper Grades.  You can access the resources from this session here:

Look what I got!--DAY 2

Dublin's very own, Jessica Ardela was the first female to finish the Nerd Run 5K!! wooohoooo!

Team Saunter ready for Nerd Run!

Really, there is nothing better than hearing John Schu (@mrschureads) talk about books!! 

So happy to have s chance to hear Brad Wilson (@dreambition)) talk about digital writing!

Amazing kickoff to Nerd Camp today!  Brilliant talks by Ruth Ayres, Pernille Ripp,  Sue Haney, Lisa Graff and Donalyn Miller.

After dinner, Jillian (@heisereads) invited us to see all the new picture books she got at ALA last week.   Katie (@katiedicesare) and I went down. And we made new friends over books--, Aliza (@alizateach) and Kim (@fins025) Such a fun way to end the day!

Within minutes of arriving, we ran into one of our fave authors  (and fave #teamsaunter teammates) Jess Keating (Jess_Keating).  She happened to have her two upcoming books in her bag--wow!  We are excited about both of them. The third in her Middle Grade Novel series and a new nonfiction book, Pink if for Blobfish)

Marisa (@MarisaReads) pulled out her new Selfie Stick--purchased jut for the occasion!

About 30 of us started off the fun with dinner at Klavon's.  Our annual #nerdcampmi tradition now!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Rump and Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

I discovered Liesl Shurtliff's books this year and shared Rump as a read aloud with my 3rd graders. It was one of our favorites and I was amazed at the conversations and the depth of thinking and understanding my kids had as we read.  Needless to say, many of us put Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, Liesl Shurtliff's newest book, on our summer TBR list.  I had a chance to read it this week and I LOVE it.

I love when I discover new authors that so understand our middle grade readers.  I think Liesl Shurtliff is a brilliant writer for middle grades. She understands this age perfectly--I knew that when I read Rump and I was reminded of it again when we Skyped with her and I heard her answers to the questions my students asked.  I often write about how difficult it is to write with a depth that is both appropriate and accessible to middle grade readers.   So many books for this age are a bit shallow or written in a way that kids miss many of the subtleties and can only understand at surface level. But what Shurtliff does with these two books is pretty brilliant. Here's why:

Both of these books are retold fairy tales--"true stories" as the subtitles state.  Each take stories that we know (Rumpelstiltskin and Jack and the Beanstalk) and give us a different perspective, they tell us what really happened. In Rumpelstiltskin, we learn Rump's side of the story--a new perspective that changes the way we understand the character of Rumpelstiltskin. In Jack, we learn the story of the giant village where Jack goes when he climbs the beanstalk.  We learn how he gets the golden hen and we learn his perspective of all that happened.  The premise of both of these stories make them instantly engaging to middle grade readers.

The action in these books is perfect.  The fantasy land that Shurtliff creates is both believable and accessible.  The giants' village in Jack make parts of this story read like The Littles or The Borrowers and middle grade readers love those worlds where miniature people are among giant people and things.

The reference to other fairy tales is subtle but easily picked up by middle grade readers. My students' eyes lit up when they recognized a reference to a poisoned apple or they recognized a fairy tale character from a brief description.  Shurtliff ties in lots of this and kids in the middle grades are just starting to find joy in these little surprises as a reader.

Even though these are fairy tales that we know, Shurtliff gives readers important messages in her storytelling. They are perfect for middle grade readers because they are accessible in the way she writes but they are not so obvious that they take away from the story.

Seriously, these books are perfect for middle grade readers. As read aloud, for book clubs and for independent reading.   If our kids are to grow to be lifelong readers, they need more books by authors like Liesl who totally understand this age and what they deserve in a story. I can't wait to read her next book!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Poetry Friday

Happy Almost-the-Fourth!

Donna has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Mainley Write.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Mock Newbery Club

We are starting a Mock Newbery Club at our school this year.  We have a meeting coming up to introduce books and think about those we'd like to read. I've been working on a Padlet to collect trailers and blurbs on many of the books on our list.  I am hoping it is a resource that helps members choose great books!  Looking forward to our first meeting later this month!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Audiobooks I've Loved

I don't tend to enjoy audiobooks but am working to change that. My preference is to read self-help type books as those seem good for shorter spurts while I'm walking or driving. My good friend Stella always recommends great audios that help me reflect on life and set new goals.  And over the past few years, I've read more middle grade fiction too. I have learned how important the narrator is (with  Teri Lesesne's help) and I have learned to use the audible sample to determine quickly whether I'll be able to stick with the audio. I've tried to find narrators I love and then look for new books read by those narrators.  I am getting better at choosing books that are a good match for me to read on audio and I am starting to love my audible account.  I am hoping to build in more time for audiobooks--I realize I have lots of times that I can be listening to a book while doing other things.

I thought I'd share some of the audiobooks I've loved in the past year or two:

Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (NARRATED BY THE AUTHOR)

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (this one is actually a series of workshops given by the author more than an actual audiobook. Her new book Rising Strong will be available on audio with the author doing the reading. Yippee!!)

Middle Grade Fiction

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco (NARRATOR: Ariadne Meyers)

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (NARRATOR: Katie Rudd)

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods (NARRATOR: Sisi A. Johnson)

Tell Me by Joan Bauer  (NARRATOR: Cassandra Morris)

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George  (NARRATOR: Suzy Jackson)

And these are the audiobooks on my TBR "stack" :

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins  (NARRATED BY THE AUTHOR)

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh  (NARRATOR: Cassandra Morris)

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (NARRATOR: Sisi A. Johnson)

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I've read quite a bit over the last week. These are my favorites:-)

Two FABULOUS middle grade novels! LOVE LOVE LOVE both of these. (They do require some tissues though:-)

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Three Books about People and History. These were all different but they were all great reads and I learned a great deal from each.

The Case for Loving by Selina Alko

Two Fabulous YA books that require lots and lots of tissues:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Learning and Unlearning

This video is fascinating. Take the 7 minutes to watch it. It is about the way we learn, how hard it is to unlearn something you thought was immutable (like riding a bike), perception, and bias.

I love this quote from the end:

"Truth is truth, no matter what I think about it. So be very careful how you interpret things, because you're looking at the world with a bias whether you think you are or not." -- Destin at SmarterEveryDay

All kinds of perfect, eh?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Poetry Friday -- Hello, Sketchbook! Let's Get Reacquainted!

I got my sketchbook out for the first time in 3 years, and look what I found:

We call them "glads"
because they are;
because they make us so.

They show us
process and stages.

They teach us vulnerability --
reaching, bending, falling
with the weight of what they've become.

And yet,
they are beautiful.

They are glads.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

How do I sketch heat?
   oppressive heat
   blanketing heat

How do I sketch a hawk?
   flap, glide, soar

How do I sketch the trees?
   so many shades of green
   holding still as the storm builds

The sky is easy: violet.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

Today I made this:

Because of this book (thank you, Amy LV)...

...and because this other book has inspired me to doodle with wild abandon and much happiness...

...and because of this blog post (thank you Kimberley Moran)...

...which has this video embedded (scrub to 1:30 if you just want the Black-Eyed Susan lesson)...

Life is good.
Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.
Happy Doodling.

Carol has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Carol's Corner.

The July-December roundup schedule is in our sidebar, the code is in the files at the Kidlitosphere Yahoo group, and everything's set and ready to go (and January-June is archived) at Kidlitosphere Central. Let me know if you want me to send you your very own copy of the code. (marylee DOT hahn AT gmail etc etc).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2 New Picture Books

I discovered 2 new picture book this week. I ordered a big stack at the library after All Write and they are starting to come in.

At All Write, I learned about lots of books but one that I was especially excited about was WILD IDEAS:  LET NATURE INSPIRE YOUR THINKING by Elin Kelsey.  I learned about this book from JoEllen McCarthy, the Book Ambassador for The Educator Collaborative in her session with Chris Lehman on Nonfiction.  I always find new books from JoEllen and they are always "must have" titles.  I am excited about adding this book to the classroom library. It is about problems, problem solving and wonder so I can definitely see it being used to start conversations about that. But it is also about animals and so much of what we do in science is animal adaptations, etc.  The authors note at the end tells that all of the quick info in the book came about from scientists studying animal behavior.  This is a quick read. Just a sentence or two on a page but it will start great conversations!

I a a huge Cece Bell fan so I have been awaiting her new book, I YAM A DONKEY (story, pictures and bad grammar by Cece Bell) .  It is a fun book about grammar that I think kids will find quite amusing (I know I found it to be quite funny!).  This is just a fun read that readers of many ages will enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Doodle Revolution

The Doodle Revolution
by Sunni Brown (her "Doodlers, unite!" TED talk is here)
Penguin, 2014
review copy from the public library

You could probably read/skim this book at five different times in your life and get five different personal life lessons from it. My big take-away this time around is that doodling is not bad. Doodling is a way to think and learn:

I want to teach my students some doodling tools so that we can doodlearn (yes, I just made that word up!) together.

But what this book gave me for right now (for today and this week and the rest of the summer) was a reminder that I don't have to wait until I'm an amazing artist to have fun with doodling. I learned to doodle new, more expressive stick figures, and use eye positions, noses, mouths and eyebrows to create a variety of more emotive faces:

And I returned to my TED challenge and illustrated notetaking by opening the TED app on my phone, scanning the featured talks, finding one with NOTICE in the title (my One Little Word for 2015) and received this excellent message from the universe:

Tony Fadell: "The first secret of design is...noticing"