Saturday, May 18, 2019

Share Your Stack: #cyberPD

Several years ago, in an effort to have more input into the #cyberPD professional book selection, we added a "Share Your Stack" component.  During this time, those interested in joining the #cyberPD conversation share their planned titles for summer professional reading.  I've found this step to be a bit dangerous.  As I see the stacks shared by others, my pile of summer reading just grows!  So many books....so little time.  #goodproblems

Of course, #cyberPD is a July book conversation, but we find it helpful to get books in advance for a variety of reasons.  Community members will be sharing their book stacks until the end of this week (May 25th).  In an effort to get some direction in my summer reading, I've selected my books for professional summer reading:


Want to know more?
Of course, we'd love to have you join us....so SHARE YOUR STACK!  You can link to the community's conversation on MeWe or using the Twitter Hashtag #cyberPD.  

We will announce the #cyberPD selection on June 1st!!!  I don't think this is going to be an easy decision....


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Hey, #cyberpd. It's time to share your stack!!!

Are you ready to share your stack?  (details at the bottom of this post)

What's in Your Stack?
I don't know about you, but as days tick in May I find myself thinking about summer reading.  I just can't help it.  I've started planning the fiction I hope to read, the middle grade books I need to add to my stack, and - of course - the professional reading I hope to do.  What can I say?  So many books....so little time.

#cyberPD
Building my summer professional bookstack means it is time to think about #cyberPD.    This will be our 9th year talking together about a professional book across digital spaces.  I read several professional books across a year, but the #cyberPD title always seems to stick with me and find its way into the work I do.

What's #cyberPD?  Each summer the #cyberPD community chooses a professional book to read and discuss in the month of July.  The event has certainly grown since its first year which began with less than fifteen people, but the community has remained collaborative.

Here are the books selected since 2011: 

Our Group Has Moved
If you are new to #cyberPD, I should give you a bit of quick history.  While our group has always maintained a strong Twitter presence through the hashtag #cyberPD, we have typically connected our posts in a hub-like space.  In the beginning years, after completing the reading, we linked to host blogs.  It wasn't long until we started using "Jog the Web" to create a collection of all posts.  Well, Jog the Web closed its site so our group moved to Google Communities.  Yep, you know where this is going.  In the early spring of this year, Google Communities closed.  Michelle and I wrestled with this as we think the collaborative conversation and flow of thoughts is such a key piece of #cyberPD.  Michelle suggested MeWe as a platform to allow us to keep the conversation going.  We are going to give it a try.  I mean, after all, the whole point of #cyberPD is to dive into new learning!

Take minute to stop by this year's MeWe group page to join the conversation:  https://mewe.com/join/cyberpd.

Share Your Stack
To get started, we first need to select our book for the 2019 July virtual book talk.  To help to do this, we are asking the #cyberPD community to share their book stacks.  By May 25th, please share the professional books you hope to read this summer.  Participants can share their stacks using the Twitter hashtag #cyberPD and/or post on our group's new MeWe page. We'll select the title from these stacks.  It seems there are always about three that show up across stacks.   

The #cyberPD selection announcement will be made June 1st!  We want everyone to have time to get their books and mark their calendars.  We're looking forward to this amplified learning opportunity with all of you.  Join us.  

Share your stack....and join the fun.  

Goodbye, Texture

I love the opportunities living in a digital world has given me.  It is easy to connect with my friends, family and other educators near and far.  I no longer have to wait on an educator to publish a book about the work they are doing with students, I can read fresh material every day on blogs.  I basically carry my bookshelf in my hand, my music library too.  (As a kid with a record player waiting on the newest single to be sold at the record store, I never imaged that!)  Until May 28th, I carry my magazine library everywhere I go too.

Yep, May 28th, Texture is saying goodbye (read as bought out).  I prefer digital reading, and Texture had a great format for reading magazines (my post about my appreciation for Texture).  It was as close to a paper magazine experience as you could get.  Magazines are so expensive these days, but Texture managed to find a way to make it reasonable to subscribe.  Texture is/was the Netflix of magazines.

And so it goes with digital sites, Texture is ending.  I've seen a lot of them come and go.  I've said goodbye to:

Jog the Web

Google Reader

Ghostwriter

Today's Meet

Google Plus

goo.gl

...among others.

I was crushed to hear that Apple was shutting Texture down.  Yes, I'm putting that one on Apple.  I'm sure they'll say "Apple News" is what you need, but I'm not so sure I agree.  Honestly, as I look back at my list of closing they usually can be traced to Google or Apple.  Either Google decides they no longer want to keep the site running or Apple updates (or money to keep up with those updates) end a favorite application.  I've tried to be much more selective about what I use, but still it happens.

So...goodbye Texture.  I'm still jury out on Apple News.  They are offering a "free month" to try it out.  I'll save my thoughts/opinions so far for another post.  Right now, I'm just going to wallow in my sorrow of losing another favorite digital tool.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Book Pairs: Something Old and Something New About Unsung Heroes

I probably should disable my Amazon button.  It makes it much too easy to purchase picture books at the click of my computer. Let's face it, publishers are quickly able to get picture books out into the market...and authors and illustrators are certainly making it hard to resist. The number of amazing picture books seems to grow each month. In all of these new books, it is easy to forget picture books that have been written that once sang to our hearts.

This week, I was invited to share my book stack for our local NCTE Build Your Book Stack event. It seemed the expectations would be high with a group of book enthusiasts. What could I share they'd love? What was new? What could I share that they hadn't seen? As I worked to find books for our selected theme, I couldn't help but think about past picture books that would be great to share.  Knowing that newer titles would be well received, I completed my collection. However, those other titles kept nagging at me.  So why not share them with you?

Here are the books I shared in my book stack paired with an older picture book with equal power for your classroom library.

Picture Book Pairs:  Unsung Heroes



1. Unsung heroes bring people together to do something bigger than any one person.

Maybe Something Beautiful:  How Art Transformed a Neighborhood (2016) by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell.  Illustrated by Rafael López. 

Strictly No Elephants (2015) by Lisa Mantchev with illustrations by Taeeun Yoo.

Well, this one made me laugh.  Maybe Something Beautiful is new to me, but it has been out in the world since 2016 which makes Strictly No Elephants only a little older.  I'm staying with it though because I love the way these two books pair to demonstrate we are always better together.  In both books, the main character teams with a friends to create something better for their community.  We're better together.  




2.  Unsung heroes bring have a giving heart.  

Thank You, Omu! (2018) by One Mora.

Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice (1997) by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova and illustrated by Robert Roth.  

Now I have the copyright year difference I had hoped for in these pairings.  The first time I read Thank You, Omu!, it reminded me of a picture book I read to my children and my classes years ago.  Both books have a repetitive structure that make them a delight to read.  In both books, the main character makes some soup and is soon sharing with everyone.  The rhythmic language in both books make them perfect for reading aloud.  They both demonstrate the power of a giving heart.   


3.  Unsung heroes are there for others.  

The Rabbit Listened (2019) by Cori Doerrfeld.

I'm Here (2012) by Peter H. Reynolds.  

Let's face it, sometimes we need someone to just listen and help us pick up the pieces.  In both of these picture books the main character has a friend that just sits beside them and listens.  Both demonstrate the power of just being there for other people.  



4.  Unsung heroes understand us, help us hope, and give us a path forward. 

Carmela Full of Wishes (2018) by Matt De La Peña.  Illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Ruby's Wish (2002, 2013) by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

I just love both of these titles for the way I can go back into them again and again to discover something new.  In both stories, the character is a young girl with a wish to make their worlds better.  In Carmela Full of Wishes, Carmela lives in a migrant worker community.  She has many wishes for a better world for her family including having her father beside them.  I love to read Ruby's Wish to groups of students.  As girls/women in America, we sometimes take for granted our ability to get an education.  Life is still very different for many women around the world.  In both of these books, there is a secondary character who understands the main character's wish and helps to find a way forward.  




5.  Unsung heroes will stand up for others.


Freedom Summer (2001, 2014) by Deborah Wiles.  Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue.

Both of these books demonstrate the power of having a friend to walk beside you.  I wrestle a bit with Freedom Summer now that I am more attentive to the white savior narrative.  Yet, I also think the fact that a child will take a risk for a friend when a system is unfair should speak to each of us.  We can't stay silent.  As a friend once reminded me, silence is an option only for those with privilege.  


6.  Unsung heroes do hard things because it matters.  

Lubna and Pebble (2019) by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Engnéus.  

Wemberly Worried (2000) by Kevin Henkes.

I keep going back and forth on this pair.  To compare the struggles of a refugee to the first day of school seems a bit unfair.  Let's be honest, these two struggles are nowhere near the same.  However, in both books the main character is dealing with a difficult situation and pushes through to get to the next place.  In both books, there is a friend, who by helping themselves, they also make a difference for the friend.  Both books illustrate the ways we work through really difficult times.  Sometimes we just have to do hard things.  


Your favorite pairings?  I'd love to hear about other books you think might go with these I've shared --- or maybe you have some other old/new pairings that come to mind.  Please share them in the comments.  Wait, I'm going to go get my library card before I spend all my money buying books!




Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sometimes a Small Step is Big

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash
Sometimes a small step is better than doing nothing at all.

"Can you go today?" my friend texted as she tried to get me to the gym.  She'd been working this angle for nearly two months and my calendar seemed to make it impossible.

"I can't today," I replied, "but keep asking.  I do want to get there."  She was likely doubting my sincerity as I had replied so many times that I couldn't make it work.  I may have been doubting it too.

In all honesty, this went on for a few months.  Finally she sent me a text inquiring, "Can you go to the gym Monday, Thursday, or Saturday?"  Clever.  Three days did make it possible to make it work.  As I looked at my calendar there was an opening so we scheduled a time to go.

Sometimes a small step is better than doing nothing at all.  

That was two months ago.  Yesterday, I was driving back from a run - okay a walk, jog, run, walk - at the gym and thinking about how I seemed to have found a rhythm with the gym.  I am starting to want to get to the gym.  It's nothing amazing, but I've gone 2-3 times each week for about two months now.  I just gave myself permission to quit trying to put in place long workouts and just get to the gym.  I gave myself permission to just take a first step.  I committed to going at least once a week.  Then once a week became twice a week.  Since I gave up trying to do long workouts and just get to the gym, I often find myself there three times a week if my calendar allows.  It is a small step, but big.

It's like that in our classrooms too.  Sometimes the challenges can seem so overwhelming that it's hard to dive in to tackle them.  I can remember times when my teaching in reading or writing workshop seemed to not be working.  It was in those times that if I could just take one small step, I would begin to see a difference.  Sometimes it was committing to keeping my mini lesson mini or making sure I didn't skip a share.  Sometimes it was pushing myself to stay on time so that a support teacher was able to push in and use her time effectively.  Sometimes it was putting more time into my language when I was unsure of next steps or spending time to find the right question to start an inquiry.  One little change can often make a big difference.

Sometimes a small step is better than doing nothing at all.

Whether in our personal or professional lives, there are times we want to make a change, but it seems so big.  Sometimes we are presented with a problem that feels overwhelming.  Sometimes we find ourselves in cycles of habit we'd like to break.  Sometimes we want to improve something, but the task seems to large to begin.  Maybe, in those times, the secret is to find one small step that will make a difference.  Before we know it we are on our way.

Sometimes a small step is all it takes.  

What's the small step you want to take?

Sometimes a small step...
                                         is big.  




Sunday, February 10, 2019

It's Today: Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 #nf10for10


Goodness, how did it get here so fast?  Today's the day for our nonfiction picture book celebration.  This is an important event for me as it is a reminder to keep nonfiction texts in the front of mind.  It reminds me of the importance of weaving these texts alongside the other picture books we read.  It's certainly a great time to talk about nonfiction picture books as authors and publishers continue to grow in the work they do in this genre.

(Directions to join are at the bottom of this post.)

10 Nonfiction Picture Books 
In previous nonfiction events, I've shared:
This Year
This year, I'm going to share 10 hybrid texts I love.  I've often called narrative texts that weave in information, literary nonfiction.  More and more I see the term "hybrid text" being used to talk about books that weave narrative and nonfiction.  I might be going a bit too far in my collection as I'm going to also include poetry that has information woven within its pages.  I'm thinking this works as well, but it is certainly up for debate.

Ten hybrid texts I can't live without:

Join Us
Want to join the conversation?  Visit Mandy's blog, Enjoy and Embrace Learning, to add your nonfiction link to the conversation.  This is different than in the past as we have been hosting on Google Plus, but Google Plus is shutting down.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Are You Ready? The Countdown Begins for Our Nonfiction Picture Book Event

Our February Nonfiction Event
It's January in Ohio and they say we're about to get a bunch of snow.  Personally, I think the weather forecasters have had nothing to talk about so they're a bit overzealous, but time will tell.  I guess if I get snowed in for the weekend, it would be the perfect time to begin my quest for my favorite nonfiction titles.  You see, it's almost time for our annual nonfiction event!

Yep, let the countdown begin.  It's less than a month until February's Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 event (#nf10for10).  This year will be our 7th annual nonfiction event.  Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 is the sister event for August's #pb10for10.  I'm always amazed that this event rolls up so quickly.  It seems we flip the calendar - and boom - it's time to prepare for February's nonfiction picture book party:  #nf10for10.

Not only does Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 provide an opportunity to bring our picture book community together to share some book love, but it pushes me to grow in my knowledge of nonfiction.

What is #nf10for10
In 2010 Mandy Robek and I hosted our first picture book event.  In 2013, Julie Balen suggested we add a nonfiction picture book event that worked the same.  Participants choose 10 - well, usually 10 (they're a crafty bunch) - nonfiction picture books to share.  If you'd like to take a look at some of the books shared by participants in previous years, make sure you stop by our #pb10for10 community to find links to their posts.

On the day of the event, we'll ask that you visit Mandy's blog, Enjoy and Embrace Learning, to add your nonfiction link to the conversation.    This is different than in the past as we have been hosting on Google Plus, but Google Plus is shutting down.  Don't get me started on this!!!!  I'll save that rant for another post.  ;o)
So....

Join us!

Start sorting through your collections to find your favorite titles and join us on February 10th as we each share 10 nonfiction picture books we just can't live without.  Feel free to grab the #nf10for10 button and spread the word.

I see the snowflakes beginning to fall outside my window.  Every store is out of bread and milk, and I saw people grabbing snow shovels like hotcakes when I stopped by the store yesterday.  Personally, I haven't pulled my boots out of my closet yet.  What can I say?  I'm a skeptic.  Who knows, maybe I will have a chance to start looking for my titles today.  Time will tell.....