This & That

March was the month of
writing
    publishing,
writing,
    reading,
writing,
    commenting
all on the BLOG!

Then it came to a sudden halt, STOP! And April arrived.

No longer am I wondering what do I write. No longer I am wondering which rough draft do I dust off. No longer am I wondering what post to publish. No longer am I frequenting my favorite blogs or discovering new ones. What to do with my time, what to do! Then I realized I missed a little of this and a little of that!

I missed this One Line a Day journal.

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In theory, I am to add one little line a day in the journal over a period of five years. In March, did this happen? Not so much. My line a day turned into 15 lines on one day to make up for the deficit. ~sigh!

I missed these training journals.

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This cute little Fit Happens journal is where I jot down what I eat and how my regiment of cross training is going. So, how’s that working for me? It’s not. I’ve been eating way more junk than I should and my cross training has drifted away. On a good note, I have been tracking my training runs in this Believe Training Journal, but I haven’t been filling in any of the other areas of the journal. ~sigh!

I missed this catch-all journal, my personal journal.

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During March I only used this journal for planning blog posts for the Slice of Life Story Challenge. It was a dumping zone of randomness that captured my ideas for the blog. I’m ready to resurrect this journal and get back into my daily writing and doodling.

I missed that reading I would do at the end of the day.

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Two books have been somewhat patiently waiting for me. One Amazing Elephant has been quietly slumbering on my night stand while The Sun Is Also a Star was summoned back to the public library. I’m happy to report that the latter is back in my hands.

April is here and I’m finding a new balance. I’m learning, however, this is how we roll in life. A little of this, a little of that, and everything in between.

~~~~~

sol

Slice of Life

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#MustReadin2017 {Update 4.6.17}

The books just kept piling up. The stack grew higher and higher. New releases, older releases, books for my students to enjoy, and a sprinkling of some adult titles for me.

Sixteen books in all!

“You need to stop,” I told myself. “You’ll never have time to read all of these books.”

I needed, I craved a focus.

A plan, or perhaps a challenge! No, not another challenge!

In January of 2017 I joined fellow readers and created a #MustReadin2017 book list. You can read the initial post here.

Initially, I was a bit hesitant to participate, but today I am certainly glad that I am here, participating. I’m accomplishing much more than I thought I would, even though my reading took a back seat to my daily writing during the Slice of Life Story Challenge in March. In case you missed it, here is my #MustReadin2017 list:

 

There are sixteen books on my list and here is what I have read so far:

  1. small great things by Jodi Picoult
  2. The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Llody
  3. How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
  4. The Playbook: 52 Lessons to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
  5. Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh
  6. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  7. Maxi’s Secrets by Lynn Plourde

They were all EXCELLENT! (Yes, I am shouting.) You must read them now, share them now! It’s also time to throw some confetti and do a happy dance! I’ve read seven out of the sixteen books on my list!  🙂

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

  • One Amazing Elephant by Linda Oatman High
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Oh no! Books, books, books! I’ve added more to my #MustReadin2017 list:

  • Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Written In the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • Night by Elie Wiesel

Well, it’s about time I wrap up this post so I can get back to my reading. I’d like to send a special thank you and hats off to Carrie at There’s a Book for That for uniting us. And of course, I’m wondering what you have recently read or what you plan to read soon.

Please share!

I (heart) comments!

mustreadin2017

What Works Wednesday: Book Bins & Beyond

For the past several years I really have been placing an emphasis on Independent Reading. This year it has gone to an entire new level thanks to the addition of book bins. I first read about book bins in a post from Franki Sibberson on the blog A Year of Reading. I knew immediately I needed to implement them in my room.
You see, it’s not enough to discuss what my readers are currently reading. I now ask them what they plan on reading next and if they have a book or two in their book bin. Precious reading time has been lost due the readers telling me they are looking for a book, still looking for a book, or can’t find a book. Gone are the days of “I don’t have a book” or “I can’t find a book.” So let’s talk about book bins and beyond.
Get the books:
First off, I’m a “bookmonger”. While I would love to be able to purchase the newest and hottest releases, that just isn’t possible.  I case the public library and check them out on my library card. I then sprinkle them around the room for my readers. We have a magnificent library in our building too, so I also snag books from our school library.  I think about what my readers enjoy and I comb through the popular books. Then I check those books out under my name and shower them around my room. My readers have actually found it easier to chose a just right book when the selection is smaller and more focused to their liking.
Put the books in the bins:
Here’s the honest to goodness truth, the power comes from me talking about the book and suggesting it. Once I talk about the book and create a frenzy, the readers are all clambering for the books. The book then goes in their bin. I simply write the reader’s name on a post-it note and they drop it in the appropriate bin. If multiple students are interested in the book, then I add additional names on the inside of the book.
Share the book love:
I begin every reading session by quickly asking my students what they are reading now and if they have a book in their bin. If they do not, they use the last five minutes of the lesson for book browsing. They enjoy seeing what books are sprinkled around the room, as this changes almost daily. They also like to see what other readers have in their bin. Last but not least, they *adore* the LOVE THAT BOOK recommendation wall. It’s one thing if their reading teacher recommends a book, but it takes it to an entire new level when they see what their peers are reading. FullSizeRender
Book Bins & Beyond, it works, it really works.

~~~~~

Slice of Life

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What Works Wednesday: Book Vines

What Works Wednesday!

It’s all about what is working well in my classroom.

Today I’d like to focus on…

Book Vines!

I work with readers in grades 4-6 and my readers have been doing a fantastic job with independent reading. They have been devouring books and challenging themselves to read more and more. Luckily, books in a series provide them with opportunities to reach their reading goals. Some of the most popular books they enjoy are I Survived, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (of course), and graphic novels galore! My mission though is to encourage them to reach out and supply them with books to break their book binging habits.

But there has been a void.

A void in reading and enjoying picture books.

Honestly, I can understand because most often picture books are associated with younger readers. Picture books are overlooked even though there are so many great picture books out there that are certainly appropriate for readers at this level.

It’s left me in a quandary!

How do I promote the love of picture books to my readers to ensure that they are enjoying the beautiful illustrations and to be sure they are engaging in the text in a meaningful fashion? The answer…

Book Vines!

A Book Vine reminds my of a book club, sort of. The reader selects a picture book of interest from the Book Vine options and then reads it independently. Along the way, they jot down what they are thinking on a Post-It note. Here are the six thinking strategies my readers use to demonstrate their thinking:

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The “book club” aspect is that the reader has the opportunity to see the Post-It note and the thinking of the previous reader. They can react to the original thought or add their own thought, hence creating a vine, a book vine, of thoughts.

When the reader is finished with the book, they keep their Post-It notes in the book for the new reader to enjoy. Then they add the Post-It notes from the previous reader to the book vine chart. Now the chart can be shared by all, those who also read the book or even those who may be interested in the book.

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Here are the picture books for the first round of book vines. They are all excellent books and the readers are thoroughly enjoying them.

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My readers are asking if they can sign up for more than one book and they are already asking which books will be in the next round of book vines.

They are enjoying!

They are thinking!

They are reading!

Mission accomplished!

Book Vines!

~~~~~

SOL

Slice of Life

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#MustReadin2017

mustreadin2017

Visit There Is a Book for That to see what else others are reading.

Setting goals is something I do all the time in my running world, but I have never set any reading goals for myself. I have to admit, I find it kind of overwhelming. Truth be told, I’m a ~~slow~~ reader. But that’s okay, right? (say yes, or nod your head here!)

When I came across the hashtag #MustReadin2017, I certainly had no difficulties compiling a stack of books. I mean what reader doesn’t have a never-ending list of books they want to read, right?

But, I’ll tell you that creating this stack really gave me a focus for what I want to read next. I’m usually grabbing at books here and grabbing at books there and that too gets overwhelming. Creating the list and having a focus, now that’s a good feeling, for me anyway. I’m also keeping an open mind and accepting what I do complete from this list as a success.

Regardless, I thought it would be fun to see what else others are reading and enjoy some great books along the way. And, perhaps the best part is that I get share the books with my friends, readers, colleagues, and PLN. So, here’s what my #MustReadin2017 stack looks like. Drum roll, please…

On my reading radar now:

  • small great things by Jodi Picoult: Wow, intense and certainly thought provoking! I’m wondering when the small great things are going to make an appearance in this book. I love Picoult’s writing so I’m anxious to see how she pulls everything together or not…
  • How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields: This book is in the self-help genre, which is a favorite genre of mine. I have found so many wonderful wise words in it and it is also where I found my One Little Word for 2017 (more details about my OLW for 2017 in another post).
  • The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd. I received this book when I went to the Scholastic Reading Summit and somehow it got pushed to the side. Then my partner in crime, Katie, told me I must.read.it! I would.love.it! So that’s what I’m reading next.

Happy reading!

Thank you, Carrie for hosting #MustReadin2017!

~~~~~

SOL

Slice of Life

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Two Writing Teachers

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