It’s been a busy four months since I last posted, and for that Dear Readers, I am sorry. The last week of August added a new title to my name: Professor. It also added a rich, new dimension to my life that I never expected. It has also kept me quite busy. Between my seventh and eighth graders and my first and second-year graduate students, I find myself fully immersed in literacy. And I love it!
I’ve been reading a lot during these months. And yes, I have failed to even post to my “What I’m Currently Reading” page.
Why Johnny Won’t Read full post
(1316 words, 3 images, estimated 5:16 mins reading time)
Meg Rosoff’s novel How I Live Now has a definite before and after. It is so definite, in fact, that the page that separates the two sections has simply a dot on it, and the chapters begin again at one. There’s much to talk about with this novel, and unfortunately, some things might be spoiled.
Before and After full post
(577 words, 1 image, estimated 2:18 mins reading time)
I think everyone has had at least one time in their life where they would like to have a wish granted. When I turned 40, I wanted a chance to stop “adulting” for a day. So that’s what we did. My (at the time) soon-to-be husband and I hopped on a train and headed into NYC. Our first stop was the NY Public Library’s main branch on Fifth Avenue—the branch with those iconic lions out front. Walking through the front doors always causes me to stop and take pause. It’s a building full of possibility. On this day, I had to pause and figure out how to get to the children’s room. Yep, I was taking this non-adulting thing seriously. Actually, I was on my way to see the original Winnie the Pooh (and the gang). We spent some time there looking at that “silly old bear;” I recounted my favorite Pooh tales and explained how one plays Pooh Sticks, and then we headed off down Fifth Avenue.
I Wish Those Days full post
(1244 words, 8 images, estimated 4:59 mins reading time)
September 1 marks the start of my 25th year teaching middle school. In two different districts and three different middle schools, highly qualified ceritification, standards, benchmarking, and state testing, one thing has been constant: work family. Each school I’ve been in has focused on creating a work family. Sometimes, the family is more dysfunctional than others, but through it all, we’re there supporting each other. We celebrate the good times, we mourn losses, we hold each other up.
Just Call Out My Name full post
(828 words, estimated 3:19 mins reading time)
Because I’ve been reading a lot about classroom libraries, I’ve been making a conscious effort to add books to my room that represent all of my students. I’ll be honest, teaching in a predominantly white, middle/upper-middle class school, I wasn’t sure how students would respond, but not all of my students were white, upper-middle class, Christian, heterosexual people. Not all of my students had families that were “normal.” And so, I started listening more closely to students talk about books like Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, Rules by Cynthia Lord , or Wonder by RJ Palacio. I began to have conversations with my students when I thought about adding a book like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseBenjamin and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz to the class library. I took their suggestions when they recommended books to me. I asked them about favorite characters, especially when the books they were reading had characters who were no cis-gendered, mainstream people.
Known to Friends Whom I Knew Not full post
(1342 words, estimated 5:22 mins reading time)