How embarrassing! I lost my post and it was NOT one that I had composed and saved anywhere but in wordpress. Hmmm. . . thoughts for future work.
That post was based on Erin Baker’s “Since Last March” found here.
Since Last March
Since last March, I’ve been to Kentucky.
Kentucky for the birth of my grandson,
Kentucky for many holidays, 4th of July, Labor Day & Christmas,
Kentucky for the crawling, first tooth, and first steps (some via Skype).
Since March, my “baby” turned twenty five.
Twenty-five and a first time dad,
Twenty-five and an expert with bottles and burping,
Twenty-five and changing those diapers.
Since last March, I’ve said good-bye.
Good-bye to doubts and questions,
Good-bye to agreeing to impossible tasks,
Good-bye to questionable practices,
Good-bye to activities that waste precious time better spent on reading and writing!
Since last March, I’ve said hello.
hello to friends who I’ve met face to face,
hello to slicers and bloggers from #tcrwp, #ila15, #ncte15, #g2great ,
hello to books, read with friends and with kids!
It’s time to write!
Conversation about this book over dinner, purchased at a book store (Bank Street Books in NYC), and then talked about in person at TCRWP Institutes – all eventually led to an online book chat that culminates tonight in a Twitter chat at 6:30 EDT (#WabtR). The questions for the discussion are located here; please join us!
What have I learned?
This post covered my learning as a reader and as a writer. I am green with envy about a friend’s report that she sat down and read the book all in one sitting. We agreed to read and respond to four chapters a day.
Of course, life in summer was complicated. I was waiting on the mail because I had the books shipped home (so much cheaper than the extra cost for a checked bag)! And when the book arrived, I was a day behind and felt the pressure of “keeping up with the book club”. I didn’t read ahead until I had completed my writing.
A rule follower. Playing school. Unfortunately, my biggest feeling was relief when I completed the book. Adding some creativity to the summary re-engaged me as a learner and made me happy to “come to school again.” During my drive time thinking yesterday I began this.
A Handful of Stars
Hope, wishes, and faith
Hope for the present,
Hope for the future,
Hope for self, and
Hope for others.
Wishes for the present,
Wishes for the future,
Wishes for self, and
Wishes for others.
Faith in present,
Faith in future,
Faith in self, and
Faith in others.
Hope, wishes, and faith
A dog named Lucky
Blueberry barrens, and
Issues from real life experiences!
What do you want to remember most from this book?
I’m not big on book reviews unless they are professional books. My taste in picture books often matches others but when it comes to YA literature, I hit multiple bends in the road. I will read almost anything one time, but the books that I return to and read year after year are often historical fiction or classics. However, I continue to read and read and read. I usually finish a book, albeit quite slowly, when I discover that it is not my “cup of tea”. BUT if you like Cynthia Lord’s books, then you should read, A Handful of Stars!
What are you reading this summer?
How are you experiencing the tasks that you ask your students to do? How are you “walking the talk”?
When an experience doesn’t meet your expectations, how do you turn it around in order to celebrate the “positives”?
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Tuesday night at 7:30 pm (EDT), you may want to check out the twitter chat Writing About Reading (#WabtR).
For the past week about 20 of “us” have been writing about reading. The text: A Handful of Stars but you can substitute any title and NO, you don’t have to have read the book to join the chat!
What: On-line Book Club
Organizer: Necessary! Ours wa Julieanne Harmatz!
Process: Google form to solicit members
Agreement: Read 4 chapters each day, respond to the chapters on google docs for each set of chapters, return to the documents to reread and respond to fellow readers, and participate in a chat at the end.
As a reader, I learned:
- That I hated to stop reading to jot notes or record ideas.
- That stopping to “record” meant that I had to reread to re-ground myself in the text.
- That stopping at pre-set chapter ends was not comfortable when it was in the middle of story action/conflict (the pageant).
- That I had many questions about how students responded to these same tasks/requests.
- That it was absolutely imperative that I have CHOICE in my purpose for reading.
- That when I “got behind” in reading and writing, I panicked and felt like I had let the entire group down.
- That I could not read the other comments until I had posted my own ideas.
- We all had many, many different tools that we used to process our thinking while reading.
- That I REALLY hated to stop reading to jot notes or record ideas and even resorted to recording voice messages so that I could continue to read.
- That I wondered about WHERE and WHEN I would do this work (Writing about Reading) out in the real world (Is it a transferable skill?)
- That rereading for a purpose was fun and something that I often do in real life.
As a writer, I learned:
- That I had to reread in order to write about the story, the characters, golden quotes or my thinking about reading,
- That I had to redraft my thoughts and that also required thinking time.
- That it was easy to comment on other’s thoughts, but I felt extremely vulnerable when sharing my own thoughts.
- That it was VERY, VERY, VERY easy to QUIT writing!
- That even adults respond differently to reading: Margaret – a poem below; Julieanne – a game “Capture the Quote”; many-writing long about a jot, written notes, and drawings; and me – a digital write around based on an image.
What are the Implications for Teaching:
Honoring many different paths is important!
Collaboration / conversation among learners is critical!
Teachers MUST use the same methodology they ask students to use to truly understand how the process feels (even as an adult reader)!
Being a part of a community of Readers and Writers is necessary for the success of all!
Additional Thoughts / Questions?
I’m in NYC!
So excited to be back, with friends, literally from around the country, to learn, live and celebrate writing this week! (Can you guess my favorite punctuation?)
The Saturday before #TCRWP Writing Institute found several “slicers” meeting up at Bank Street Bookstore. Our goal, Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and I, was to meet Sally Donnelly (@SallyDonnelly1), a fellow slicer up from the Washington, DC area. We had met Sally, oh so briefly at the March Saturday reunion, and were interested in longer conversations. We all found ourselves purchasing Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars that had been highly recommended by fellow traveler Allison Jackson (@azajacks). (sidenote: What’s up with the @? Those are twitter names to follow. If you aren’t following these three, why not? Oh, not on Twitter; well, why not? You should be!)
Amazing book. A dog balancing a blueberry on his nose should “hook” you right into this book! Bank Street Bookstore was also the site of an amazng toddler read aloud with parents, toddlers and accompanying strollers filling the aisles. And that’s all I have to say about that topic because of another book that I purchased that I will be gifting soon. (Hint – book is by Jimmy Fallon; yes topic connected to the new addition to my family.)
We adjourned to the Silver Moon Bakery and cafe for some coffee and much, much, much conversation. Sally is returning to a third grade classroom after years as a reading specialist. We had advice about techonolgy, blogging, professional books (Good to Great: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters by Mary Howard) and fellow bloggers for additional advice.
My one little word is “Focus” so I am thinking about my own professional reading for this summer. This book and my all time favorite What Readers Really Do are my re-reads for this summer along with Colleen Cruz’s, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, and Jennifer Serravello’s, The Reading Strategies Book, as my two new books. Only four – but rich, savory texts that will feed my soul and brain for the year to come.