Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Greg and Rodrick: What Comes Next?

I was thinking the other day about kids who read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and when I'd conference with them one-on-one, armed with a bunch of other ideas about books they could read when they were finished, all they wanted to do was read them all over again.  Something about books with more text scared them. At first.

Now don't get me wrong, Jeff Kinney totally gets awkward preteen/teenage boys!  And I'd watch these kids, usually boys, curl up and chuckle away at their antics in each of these books. Nothing wrong with that!

But that got me thinking about the "BIG" change I went through this year (no, not that one, been there, done that!) I mean the one where I read a comment by one of my Reading heroes, Donalynn Miller that changed my way of thinking.  She said something like this (and I paraphrase)...."Hey Dummy!  Stop thinking that because kids are reading graphic novels they're not reading.  You read books of all kinds, why can't they?"

Her words were a little more eloquent.  But that got me thinking about what else I have in my classroom library for kids for whom these books are a good fit.  These are the ones I have:

These fly off my shelves almost as quickly as the Wimpy Kid books do.  And even though I have doubles of most of these, someone's usually waiting for the next one to be returned.

Janet Tashjian has written a series of these - My Life as a Book, My Life as a Joke, and My Life as a Stuntboy.  I manage to lose at least one copy of these every year.  Guess that means that someone's enjoying them!

This series - there are at least ten now - feels to me like the "girls' version" of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I don't mean to give these a gender, but I don't ever see any boys reading this series, although I do see a number of girls reading Wimpy Kid.

This trio of books by Raina Telgemeier flew off my shelves when I finally bought them this past year.  The girls (and a few boys) handed them back and forth, promising to finish one overnight so the next person could read it.  They loved them and wanted to know if Telgemeier would write more like this.  Smile and Sisters are more connected than Drama, but that didn't stop anyone from reading all three.

And finally, this one, which I found a really touching and thoughtful read, about a girl who is deaf and has to wear a rather large and bulky hearing aid which makes her feel very self-conscious.  Lots of kids read this one too.

So, how about you?  What do you give your Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers to read after they finish those books?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Bucket List linky

I've linked up with Natalie at What the Teacher Wants and her Summer Bucket list.  A few days late, but it's worth putting it out there - makes me more likely to hold onto these goals!

I don't have a lot of concrete goals as much as ideas that I want to let play around in my head for a while.  So, here goes!

We used a new, very intensive Reading series this past year, and while there were a lot of aspects I liked about it, there were also some that I didn't.  I want to think about where I can adjust things for next year.  The more I think about that now, the better it'll be!

My students loved some of the creative writing opportunities that I provided for them.  But I felt like we did it in spurts.  I'd love to find a way to make that a more regular part of my week.

I am so loving the chance to wake up without an alarm clock!  I putter around the house for a while in my pj's and it's okay.  There's no rush to be anywhere, most days.  I am really, really enjoying this!  

I learned last year that Austria, the birthplace of both of my parents, was making citizenship available to any offspring of people who had to leave the country under duress.  My parents, who didn't know each other then, fled during the rise of anti-Semitism after Austria was overrun by Germany.  Although my mother converted and we were raised Christians, this feel like a wonderful opportunity for restitution.  

My three children (all in their 20's) were very interested in having me do this, so I'm am meeting lots and lots of government officials, as I get documents notarized, certified, apostilled, and every other kind of stamp that can be given to make something official.  I've been to New York City (got to see my daughters so that was fun), I'm heading to Washington, D.C., and I'll head over to Harrisburg, PA at some point.
I have a dear friend who owns a home at the beach.  She'll be gone for a few weeks, so I get to stay there!  What a wonderful way to refresh and restore!  One of my daughters recently said, "The beach is the only place I can go where I am truly 'present.'  I can go there and the rest of the world falls away."  So, so true!

I completely changed up the way we eat last summer, and we're all feeling healthier for it.  I don't follow any particular plan, but it's definitely more whole food/Paleo/no wheat/no sugar.  I enjoy having the extra time during the summer to play around in the kitchen, trying out recipes I've found on food blogs or pinterest.

Enjoy these wonderful days of summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Too many books, not enough $$

At the end of the year, I often get a gift card or two from my students to purchase new books.  They know how much I encourage reading and they want me to stay on top of the latest books out there.  I'm always thinking about books I want to buy for my new class, but this year, the choices are quite a bit greater than my pocketbook!  Part of the reason for that is that I finally listened to my hero, Donalynn Miller, and started a section for graphic novels.  But the other is that there just are a lot of good choices.

Have you read any of these?  Which ones should I buy?

  And the list goes on and on.  Have you read any of these books?  Are there others which should be on my list?