Sunday, October 4, 2015

Links Worth Talking About 10-4-15

Inspired by Elisabeth Ellington's weekly Links I Loved Last Week posts, I've decided to curate my own set of notable links from the past week.

If you live in or near southeastern Michigan, you need to come to #EdCampEMWP on Saturday October 24th. It's going to be a fantastic day of learning, plus there's going to be giveaways and SWAG. Speaking of which, this is what greeted me on my front porch when I came home from work on Friday:
A delivery of TWELVE boxes of ARCs and SWAG from Scholastic! We also have SWAG and giveaways from Candlewick Press, Simon & Schuster, and a few professional texts from NCTE.

Speaking of NCTE, to close out Banned Books Week, I wrote a post on the NCTE blog:
On Banned Books and Beyond: Say YA to Reading

And on this Banned Books Week, Laurie Halse Anderson was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. I can't wait to congratulate her in person at #ncte15 in November.

Dav Pilkey shares a great video for Banned Books Week and why we need to change the language of censorship.

And Jacqueline Woodson is eloquent as always in this Washington Post article: It's Banned Books Week. Can We Stop Yelling at Each Other about It?

"Are you really protecting your child, or are you keeping your child from the tools they’ll need to deal with these issues?”

My friend Kaitlin just started a PhD program at Wayne State this fall and she came to my classroom on Friday to hang out and to share a book and a writing prompt with my students. She read the book Magic Trash about Tyree Guyton, founder of the Heidelberg Project, and then shared about a tour she took through Detroit last week to experience its street art.

I love this Washington Post article about private schools allowing staff to bring dogs into the classroom. It reminded me of an interview I did a while ago with my friend Danielle Kulawiak who brings her dog Tonka, a certified therapy dog, to her high school classroom.

This week hasn't only been full of good news and warm and fuzzy stories. We also had tragedy. Tragedy that I believe could be prevented. I'm tired of hearing these stories of mass shootings at schools. It's time to start doing something about it. The first thing I'm going to do is start better educating myself about the topic of gun safety and gun control, starting with the Brady Campaign, which was brought to my attention when someone shared it on Facebook this week when a friend asked for reliable sources about the topic of gun control. And this opinion piece from the Sydney Morning Herald eloquently explains why Australia is not like the U.S. to counter what President Obama said in his press conference this week. And while we're on this topic, here are a few more articles to read:
Mental Illness is the Wrong Scapegoat after Mass Shootings
Rehearsing for death: a pre-K teacher on the trouble with lockdown drills

Other blog posts I wrote this week:
One of my all-time favorite Twitter encounters
Confidence is a roller coaster
Celebrate the need for change

And apropos of nothing:
This "movie trailer" for Saving Daylight had me laughing until I was crying.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Celebrate the Need for Change.

Celebrate This Week was established by Ruth Ayres

It's funny how when I get an idea in my mind, I become monomaniacal about it.

One of my favorite books is Natalie Lloyd's middle grade novel, A Snicker of Magic. I love the quirky town of Midnight Gulch and I love the main character Felicty Pickle's desire for a place to finally call home despite her mama's wandering heart.

I always thought I was more like Felicity than her mama. While I do have a sense of wanderlust, I also want a consistent place to call home. Lately I've been feeling more like mama than Felicity.

For the past ten years, my husband and I have lived contentedly in Canton, Michigan. I have been happy here. We have plenty of space, we live in a condo so we don't have to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or do yard work.

But lately I've been feeling the pull to leave this place. I've just outgrown it, metaphorically speaking.

I'm tired of the sprawl of the suburbs.
I'm tired of subdivisions and homeowner's associations.
I'm tired of sharing walls with neighbors.

I want to live in a tree-lined neighborhood.
I want to be able to go places without having to get in my car.
I want to live in a town where culture and activity are always around the corner or down the road.

I've been hinting at these thoughts to my husband for the past few months. This week, he finally acknowledged this desire of mine and said he'd be willing to entertain the idea of moving. We've decided that with winter coming though it's probably not the best of ideas to move right now. So we will begin looking for a new home in earnest in the spring. We plan to move to my
Hoping to get the chance to hang out on this corner in Ann Arbor more often
favorite town in Michigan, Ann Arbor, which has just about everything I want in a town: a downtown with loads of restaurants and cool shops, cultural events, mindful residents, it's walkable, and has those tree-lined neighborhoods I'm seeking. The only thing it doesn't have is a warm climate year-round, but we can't have it all, friends. :)

As I write this, I'm listening to the doors closing and walls banging of new neighbors moving in to the condo next door. This incessant reminder that the walls of this home are not completely ours is beginning to take its toll. As I said, once I get an idea in my head, it begins to fester. I'm ready for a change of scenery.

And so the process of change begins.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Confidence is a roller coaster

Today was one of those days as a teacher that you dream about.

Where you don't feel like a fraud. Where you don't wonder why responsible people have entrusted you with the lives of these innocent children. Where everything just clicks. And suddenly you feel like, "Yeah... I got this."

It took almost ten years to get there, but I'm finally here.

That is, until a student fails to turn in that writing assignment on Monday that's already two weeks late.
Or I botch a lesson on Monday
Or a parent castigates me next month for not challenging their child enough. 

Because, truth be told, "I got this" is fleeting when you're a teacher.

And so right now, I'm just going to relish in this moment, because I'm sure to screw something up tomorrow.

Just keepin' it real.

One of my all-time favorite Twitter encounters

If you're a teacher and you're not on Twitter, here's a good reason why you should be. Because you'd miss out on nuggets of wisdom and humor like this:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Links worth talking about 9-27-15

Inspired by Elisabeth Ellington's weekly Links I Loved Last Week posts, I've decided to curate my own set of notable links from the past week.

If you missed last weekend's #nctechat on censorship and young adult literature, you can read the Storify archive. I also curated my own set of Tweets for the chat that I found the most valuable.

Brian Wyzlic shared the letter he sends home to parents about his classroom library and why he won't censor books. This letter is especially poignant because, like me, he works at a Catholic school.

Teri Lesesne gets fired up about an EdWeek article that criticizes the merit of young adult literature.

On the NCTE blog, Cindy Minnich makes the case for why face to face learning at conferences still matters in this new world of social media armchair conference attendence. 

Pernille Ripp writes about public shaming in the classroom and also about the toll nonstop learning takes on students during the school day. 

From School Libary Journal: Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle School and High School Students.

And speaking of picture books, here is a lovely interview with Kevin Henkes about his wonderful new picture book, Waiting.

Phil Bildner talks about how he used mentor texts to write his new book, A Whole New Ballgame.

Betsy Bird shares her Newbery and Caldecott predictions.

And of course, apropos of nothing:

Could the president and first lady BE any more adorable?

Stephen Colbert nails Cesar Flickerman in The Hungry for Power Games.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Links Worth Talking About 9-20-15

Inspired by Elisabeth Ellington's weekly Links I Loved Last Week posts, I've decided to curate my own set of notable links from the past week.

First off, I hope everyone reading this joins tonight's awesome #nctechat on Twitter at 8 PM ET: Say YA to Reading. A preview of tonight's chat is on the NCTE blog.

Yesterday The Educator Collaborative hosted a virtual conference called #TheEdCollabGathering and all of the sessions that were on Google Hangouts were archived. One of my favorite moments from yesterday's sessions was Kristi Mraz's closing keynote with when she says:

"If the rules of your classroom were the rules of the world, would you want to live there? "

The longlists for the National Book Award came out this week and the list for Young People's Literature is fabulous.  I'm rooting for X: A Novel because we need more diverse books like that in our canon of young people's literature. Even though it's historical fiction, it is still so very rooted in our present.

As a former classical pianist, I love this story: A Duo Raised on Hip-Hop and Classical Has It Both Ways

Language is glorious chaos

And, apropos of nothing...
Author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka appeared on Matthew Winner's Let's Get Busy podcast, but as you will quickly see, his snoring pug Frankie upstages him. I laughed so hard I cried.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Links Worth Talking About 9-13-15

Inspired by Elisabeth Ellington's weekly Links I Loved Last Week posts, I've decided to curate my own set of notable links from the past week.

Last week I celebrated my students' willingness to put in the hard work.

And on the NCTE blog I wrote a post about how my PLN pushes me to be a better teacher

Speaking of NCTE, If you're a teacher who has always wanted to attend the their Annual Convention but knew you'd never be able to get funding, this year NCTE is helping you make a case to your administrator as to why you should be able to go.

Continuing with more awesome NCTE info, they have a pretty epic #nctechat scheduled for next Sunday in honor of the upcoming Banned Books Week, which revolves around YA Lit this year.

Speaking of Banned Books Week, guess what, Tennessee mom? I'd never even heard of this book before and now I want to read it. #SeeWhatYouDidThere
Tennessee Mom Calls Henrietta Lacks Book 'Pornographic,' Seeks to Have It Banned in School

YA author Jason Reynolds gave this amazing virtual keynote for School Library Journal where he said that the reason he writes books is "to acknowledge the lives of those who seem to have been unacknowledged.”

After watching this video, I DEFINITELY want to read A Fine Dessert and make blackberry fool with my students. 

Michigan principal Ben Gilpin shared some amazing classroom cribs in his own building. Leaders like Ben Gilpin and Sue Haney are certainly making a name for themselves and showing that the small town of Parma, Michigan is an enviable place to work.

But while teachers in Parma, Michigan might have pretty swag classroom cribs, teachers in Silicon Valley can't even find a decent crib because even modest homes are going for millions of dollars.

Kevin English writes about what he learned teaching summer school this year (that can totally apply to regular school).

And speaking of Kevin English, he shared this video on Twitter last week with a great suggestion to pair it with the book What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom

Pernille Ripp bravely asks students why/when they feel disengaged.

I love debating grammar "rules" with pedantic grammarians. It's my favorite.

And here's a good blog post to also give pedantic grammarians:
Error in Student Writing: A Balanced Developmental Approach

This Washington Post article about the right and wrong way to get kids to sit still in class is everything. Bottom line: kids need time to play, not just sit on bouncy balls.

Another win for introverts:
I Argued That Class Participation Was Necessary. Then I Heard From Introverts. by Jessica Lahey

It's safe to say Stephen Colbert has started off his tenure on the Late Show making quite the impression, especially this heartfelt interview with vice-president Joe Biden.

And it wouldn't be a Links Worth Talking About post if I didn't have some "Apropos of Nothing" links to share too:

If you're not following Hipster Barbie on Instagram, remedy that right now. She's way more authentic than you.

Because I like to be on fleek with the young people lingo, I had to look up just what the heck #SquadGoals means.

This light art installation project is cool. I hope they're able to make it happen. It would be yet another reason to love Chicago.