Visit Ruth Ayres’s blog to link with the weekly Celebration.
1. Scholastic Book Fair. I almost didn’t go. We were in a hurry after parent-teacher conferences, and the last couple of times I’ve visited the fair, I couldn’t find any books I wanted. (Shocking, I know.) But that obviously wasn’t the case this time. I kept adding more and more books to my pile. I now have a new favorite counting book, Count the Monkeys, and I loved The Snatchabook just as much as my PLN suggested I might.
2. Luke’s Midterm Learning Reflection. I asked most of my classes to reflect on their learning this week, and I have been thinking about one line in Luke’s reflection ever since I read it: “I like when you are able to bring books to class for me that you believe I would like reading.” I have been struggling with my Children’s Literature class because students aren’t reading as much as I expected they would. Luke reminded me to focus more on what I need to do and what I know how to do to help my readers. He also gave me some guidance by identifying his two favorite books so far–Dan Santat’s Sidekicks and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan–and asking for more books to read that would be like them. I sent him off for midterm break with a couple of graphic novels and ordered several more. I’m trying to figure out some reasonable readalikes for The One and Only Ivan, which I’ve got to say is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Ivan is not my favorite book, but the difficulty of finding another book to suggest to the reader who is crazy about Ivan has really made me appreciate Applegate’s unique achievement. I can think of books that he might possibly like, but nothing that I think is a surefire slam dunk.
Notes from our discussion of Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures in #contemplitclass
3. Contemporary Literature class. This is such a unique class. I had so many different ideas for the syllabus for this course but finally lighted on the contemporary short story, and that’s been a great choice. For one, everybody is always prepared for class! Even if someone gets behind on the reading, they’ve completed at least one story so they can contribute to discussion. This is also a format that I have fairly limited experience reading or enjoying, so I am another learner and reader in the class–not the expert. And that dynamic has been really productive. We’ve read Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, and Gabrielle Bell. For the second half of the semester, I assigned one more complete collection of their choice, which they were going to use as the centerpiece for a couple of group projects. The class voted to ditch the group project and continue conducting class just as we have so far–AND voted to assign themselves SIX MORE BOOKS to read. So they’ve gone from having one more required book to having six. Who ever heard of a class voting to give themselves six times more work?? We did some research together, and they selected books by Charles Yu, Sherman Alexie, Kelly Link, Lez Yilmaz, George Saunders and another Aimee Bender book to read. I can’t wait to explore these new collections with them after midterm break!
4. The book trailer for Carnivores. We started exploring book trailers a couple of weeks ago in Adolescent Literature after we read and discussed this post from Colby Sharp. Mr. Sharp asked his Twitter PLN to recommend their favorite book trailers, and a couple of mine–The One and Only Ivan and Wonder–came up repeatedly, as did Journey and Carnivores. And I loved the Carnivores trailer so much that I had to show it in Children’s Lit and Adolescent Lit. And of course then everyone wanted to read the book. Brilliant stuff!
5. This tweet from Donalyn Miller:
What amazing company to be in!