Thursday, December 28, 2017

Must Read in 2017: An End of the Year Update!

Hello Dear Friends.  Please excuse the dust flying off this blog! Stay tuned for less dust flying soon...but for now...let's talk about our reading shall we?!

A few thoughts before I share my titles.  I'm so glad that I jumped on board this year with Must Read in 2017.   Here's what I've learned/observed/learned:

  • There is time to read.  I get up between 5-5:30 in the morning.  I read and write during this time.  
  • If I'm reading, my kids are reading.  
  • I set a plan in January.  It went totally off the rails by the summer.  Here's why:
    • When my now teenager recommends a book or series, I will drop everything and read it.  That won't change.  
    • As I read your recommendations and followed new releases, I knew there were some books I just had to read.  Right.Now.  Several of those are in this last post of the year.  
I'll be participating in the Must Read 2018.  But for now, here is how the end of the year went:


I loved this book.  It was funny to read at 5 AM, because then I had to work hard not to laugh too loudly and wake up the family.  I just connected with every page. 


So, my Big 13 recommended this series to me.  I'm in it to win it!  The last half of this series is on my Must Read in 2018.  And anything else he hands to me in the next couple of days. 


Some nonfiction that I studied this fall.  I will say, I loved reading about the history of Lutheran schools, the story of Martin Luther, and the application of it all.  This was a friendly read for me on theology.  It made me want to read more. 

I read this book in a collaboration group.  It lead to great conversations about ideas, jobs, twitter!  (Blogging and Ted Talks to come!) 

Oh.  This book.  I got to a point in this book where I couldn't put it down, because I needed to find out what happened!  And I'm so hopeful that people reading this book see themselves in it!  When I was talking to a family member who worked in a high school this fall, she shared that her students were also reading to the end.  :)  I loved it.  We bought the Big 13 a set of John Green books for Christmas.  I hope he shares them with me. 
 I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  It just didn't resonate.  But it is finished, and I was able to share it at Christmas with a teacher-cousin.  Hoping it resonates with her! 
What an important read.  It's still sitting on my pile.  I keep picking it up and rereading pages.  I'm all about neighbors and getting to know them.  So this book spoke to me in volumes! 

Now, I had set a goal to read 30 books by the end of the year.  I'm going to hit that goal with these two reads:



Now, I haven't finished either of these books. (No spoilers please!)   I'll be reading the rest of the day.  :)  You can look for my reactions to these two on Instagram. 

A thank you to Carrie for bringing us together!  I appreciate your efforts, and enjoy this community very much! 

Happy New Year! 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Must Read in 2017: An Update!

Hello Dear Reading Friends!

It was good to have encouragement from the Must Read in 2017 to dust off the blog since school has started.

And I love reflecting on what I've read so far this year!  As I was thinking what has happened so far, I noted a few things:

  • I've completed 21 chapter books this year.  My goal was 20 for the entire year.  I've set a new goal of 30 for the end of the year.  I love being in a situation where I really feel like I can take time and read each day.  
  • I've also read whole stacks of picture books and cook books.  I don't track these, even though I consider it reading.  
  • I have only read 1 book from my book stack that included adult novels.  I've read so much middle grade and young adult.  I have a 12 year old avid reader, and it's just fun to browse stacks with him.  Adult reads will be there later.  
  • I've read more nonfiction than I thought I would.  
My list since April includes the following:

These two books were recommended to me by another teacher.  I read the first one, and then needed to read the second to find out what happened!  Fairy tales and high school intertwine.  I keep these in my books to read list to recommend to any 8th graders looking for a good read.  

23502557 This graphic biography was fantastic!  It was my 12 year old's first "grown up" read.  A great mentor text for biography writing.  Also, a great read on persistence and resilience.  

13513205 I saw a student at our school reading this book, and I may have squealed.  It was my first read of the summer.  


24345797 This book was a quick read.  It was perfect for me to enter summer with as well.  Second chances?  Yes please, all around!  

33027382I read this book in an afternoon on my sister-in-law's porch.  A confession:  I won't loan it out to people really because I love it so much. (Do you have books like that?) I keep pulling it out to refer to as I try a few new strategies this year to promote curiosity.

17722973So, I started this series.  And I can't stop reading it!  So the series went to the top of my stacks.  My 12 year old has read through this.  And it has encouraged one of his friends to do the same.  Spread the reading love people!  

31193387I have kids in my life who I'll be gifting this book to this year at all the holidays.  I also have it in the plan to get a copy to pull out from time to time in my own house.  As a mentor text, it would be a great mindset read.  

30653882So my 12 year old read 1-2-3 this summer.  Honestly, this series had been pushed to the side in my brain.  When he got done with 3, he came to me with a furrowed brow.  "That's it?!?!  There has to be more."  After a little research, we indeed learned there was more.  This is the concluding book of the series.  

31845516I marvel at how Glennon Doyle has so bravely shared her story.  A true storyteller.  
30653731I had seen many recommendations on social media about this read.  I'm so glad it picked it up!  I'm debating if it can be a read aloud for me this year.  I will for sure be recommending it to anyone who will listen.  

Right now I am reading:



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#TellHisStory: On Being Refined.

I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure, just as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire.  They will call on my name, and I will answer them.  I will say, "These are my people, and they will say, "The Lord is our God."  Zechariah 13:9

I was reading this verse 2 days ago in the quiet morning.

It was like a whack over the head.

You see, it is about those experiences in the fire.  The ones that leave us bruised, battered.  And in my case needing a bag of chips and a long nap.

As Christians it is ridiculous to say all the things about suffering.  Oswald Chambers said it best, "It is nonsense to say that suffering makes saints, it makes some people devils; suffering according to the will of God raises us to a freedom and felicity that baffles all language to express."

I will state it again:  This isn't what God wants for you.  He delights in you.  He does Not Enjoy seeing you experience the fire.

When metal is being refined, we know that during the heating process, the impurities rise to the top, they are skimmed off the top.  Repeatedly.  Until, in the case of silver, the refiner bends over to see a clear reflection of his face.

So as Christians, what do we do?

  • We let God get to work.  How can he skim off those "impurities" from our lives?  What do we need to let go of so God can get to work?
  • How do we even know what that is?  We have got to get close to God to hear that answer.  Studying his word, Cooperating with Him in prayer, seeking out those Wise Ones that God has placed in our lives.  
  • Watch for His image to appear in the refining.  

I don't know if this post is complete or not.  Most likely not.  

But You are God's People.  Hang on My Friends.  


Thursday, August 10, 2017

#pb10for10 Ten Books I Use to Promote Friendship and Kindness


Thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for this yearly celebration of picture books.  Join in to share and learn here.

I love to talk about friendship and kindness all the time with my first grade friends.  We return to it many times during the school year.  And some of these books I will read several times based on what we need.

So without further chatter, here are 10 books that can be used to promote Friendship and Kindness:

Last year, I think I read this book no less than 3 times to my class.  I love it.

This is another book that I love to read a couple of times a year.  I love to read and share and plant the idea that food can really bring people together.

Sometimes a little magic is all you need to start a friendship.

I love reading this book to remind kids that it can be the small acts of kindness that build a person up.







Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who links up.

I Love Back to School time.  I immediately immerse myself in the important work of reading lots of new picture books, so I can introduce new books to my new friends! 

Here's what I've been reading this week for picture books:


Charming, with accessible text!  I loved all the stories in this book.  I hope the kids do too.


I know this book was written for perhaps Newborns.  However, I'm loving the idea of reading it on the first day of school.


Another great book as we set up our time to read and write!  


I love this celebration of reading anywhere.  Donalyn Miller talks about edge reading.  I teach this to my First Graders.  You are "done"?  Try some edge reading.  We are waiting on a field trip?  Try some edge reading.  This book celebrates reading anywhere perfectly!  


Ahem.  Excuse me!  There are picture books as companions to this series!?!?  What excites me about this book, is that it is a companion to The Land of Stories, which I'm currently reading.  Since I don't feel like this is an appropriate read aloud per say for First Graders, the picture books will be a great way to connect with what "I'm really reading."  That doesn't happen very often. 


I love transition books.  For me, my favorite one is First Grade Stinks!  But this one is great for incoming second grade friends.  

Welcome to August Friends!  I'm feeling the excitement and anticipation this morning.  


Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who links up.

Hello Friends!  These past two weeks, I've been reading picture books.  Stacks of them actually.  Funny story:

Last week we are at the library, and we are using my son's library card to get our books.  As we continue our check out, his library card stops working on all the books.  As I approach the librarian, she scans his card and informs me he has exceeded the 50 book limit.  Whoops.  (And I may have felt book shamed?!? If that's a thing...)  Not to worry!  We just pulled out another card and carried on...

I'm always looking for books to add to the classroom library.  So I'll read stacks of them in the summer.  But today I want to start with a cook book:

If you have-know-Love anyone with food allergies, I loved this book.  On the left of the page layout, there are tabs that let you know what allergens have been eradicated.  On the right of the page layout, it gives the recipe, and another label on allergens and what to consider.  What I loved about this?  I felt like I could cook for the family without losing my ever loving mind.  If you are a Multiple-food-allergy parent, or love-support-have food allergy people, you know what I'm talking about.  :)  My favorite find was the pumpkin seed pesto.  (Nut-free!)  Seriously, very user friendly.

Now to the business of the stack of picture books:


As I read this book, 3 boys watched with concern in our living room.  So I just passed it around.  They all read it.  As much as I don't want to, I'm glad to have another picture book to pull out when I don't know what to say.  
As we continue to strive for peace, this is a great book.  

I want to meet Flannery O'Connor after reading this book.  (I know...not possible.)  But she might be my soul sister.  The author's note is my favorite part of this book.
I read this right after reading ida, Always.  Whoops.  More concerned looks from the living room.  Comforting and peaceful, with accessible text for all.

I learned I'm a Vision Dreamer and Nature Happy.  I mean, could you imagine how empowering for a student to see themselves in this book?

So at the beginning of the year, I focus on books that have rhyme and rhythm.  They also have to be accessible and fun!  Josh Funk writes books such as these.  :)

I'm always looking for books that encourage creating and refining.  Here is a great one!

Happy Reading!