10.31 {Whatever Wednesday} Reading is thinking outside the box

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. Though often a cool quote or poster, it might simply be a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.


Sometimes it’s good to remember how small we are…


…Two of the three galaxies are forming new stars at a high rate. This is evident in the bright blue knots of star formation that are strung along the arms of the galaxy on the right and along the small galaxy on the left.

The largest component is located in the middle of the three. It appears as a spiral galaxy, which may be barred. The entire system resides at about 400 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.

Image borrowed from HubbleSite.org. Click here to read more information about this image.

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10.29 Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What are you reading?

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday

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{Wherein we share what books we have read in the past week.}

&

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Visit Teach Mentor Texts for Jen & Kellee’s “original”.

{Wherein we share the titles we are currently reading.}

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[Check back throughout the day for updates.]
Since last Monday, my A Class has read:
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15
My B Class has read:
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20 
My C Class has read:
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20
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*** LOTS OF STUDENT MEMOIRS. ***
And maybe…
 (If Acaseya is finished with it.)
These are the books my students are currently reading.
[Check back at the end of the day to see the cool spinning pictures.]

Sooo…… What are YOU reading??? Please leave a comment and let me know.

(For every parent who leaves a comment with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…)

Thanks,
David Etkin

10.26 {BookFlix Friday} Dead End in Norvelt

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Lights…Camera…Action!

 

Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional,Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder.

Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.


For my money, the funniest part in the book is when Jack’s dad takes him hunting and Jack devises a plan to help the pretty deer escape. Definitely LOL. Almost literally ROFL.

If you’re up to it, you can even watch Mr. Gantos’ Newbery acceptance speech:

10.25 {THIRSTday}

Today is Thursday THIRSTday: A beverage and a book.

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There has been no shortage of good picture books this past week. Thank you, fellow bloggers, for the suggestions. {Oh–that little foldable on the TWILIGHT COMES book? That’s a hexaflexagon. I learned about it from the @stylinlibrarian. Go find the vids–they’re great.}

I’m looking forward to reading more about Habitat for Humanity to prepare for my Q & A with the author on his blog tour in November. W00T W00T!

10.22 Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What are you reading?

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday

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{Wherein we share what books we have read in the past week.}

&

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

20120819-185816.jpg

Visit Teach Mentor Texts for Jen & Kellee’s “original”.

{Wherein we share the titles we are currently reading.}

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My comment: This is a great chooseKIND book, focusing on the message of Pay It Forward.  I found the Carpenter’s Gift because I was asked to host the author, David Rubel, on one stop of his blog tour. How cool is that? I’m quite honored. I believe my Q&A with the author will appear on November 25. (FYI: There will also be a book giveaway…)  To prepare, I am also going to read Rubel’s If I Had A Hammer (shown in the THIS WEEK I’M READING section below).
Also, based on Alyson Beecher’s (@alybee930) Nerdy Book Club blog post, I read these non-fiction picture books. I thoroughly enjoyed them all, especially the first.

Since last Monday, my A Class has read:
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17
My B Class has read:
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19
My C Class has read:
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9
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If I Had A Hammer book cover
I’m ready to start book 2! (Acaseya, you can have it when I finish.)
These are the books my students are currently reading.

Sooo…… What are YOU reading??? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks,
David Etkin

Sunday Show and Tell: Memoir Gallery Walk

I posted the other day about my students’ revision work on their memoirs. On Friday they were due and we celebrated with a Gallery Walk. I’ve never had students share memoirs like this before, but I definitely will again.

{see video below}

I got the idea from Ms Dana Taylor, a literacy coach in our building.  Here’s how it works: Students place their writing and a sheet of loose leaf paper on their own desks. Everyone chooses a different desk and starts reading that memoir. Students finish by writing positive, specific feedback on the paper. They also write on a 3×5 card a part of that memoir they might ask the writer to share. When they are finished, they stand and look around for another student who is finished reading his or her memoir. Eye contact is made; a slight head nod is given… and the students switch spots.

Easy. Quiet acoustical guitar music plays. Students read, give feedback, and enjoy.

When we finished (about 25 minutes), the students read the comments that were left with their memoir, then brought their memoir to the front meeting area (“living room”) where they asked classmates to share specific parts of their memoirs. It was beautiful.

Here is a video of the students in action.

Afterwards, students commented how nice it was to be able to read in peace. They also said they enjoyed getting to know their classmates better. Pretty cool stuff, right?

Give the gallery walk a try. Let me know how it goes. AND share with me other successful ways you’ve had students share writing.

10.19 {BookFlix Friday}

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Thanks to Mr. Peterson for finding this week’s Flix…

Lights…Camera…Action!

Reading gives you SUPER POWERS!

 

NEXT!

Available for pre-order in the Scholastic order…. (class code: GML8J)

Love is in the air—but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?

A Valentine’s Day dance at Greg’s middle school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he’s worried he’ll be left out in the cold on the big night. His best friend, Rowley, doesn’t have any prospects either, but that’s a small consolation.

An unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who’s going to be lucky in love.

Click here for a fun segment on Kinney and his books:

NPR Books


NEXT!

Also available in the book order…

(Did you notice that this trailer was made using ANIMOTO? We’ll be starting this next week!)

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2012 Kids’ Next List

“Ursu pulls Hazel and Jack into the world of The Snow Queen in a way that makes complete emotional sense. There’s something here that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt that he or she didn’t belong. For voracious readers, there’s extra payoff in spotting nods to everything from Alice in Wonderland to The Phantom Tollbooth to Harry Potter.”
— Shoshana Flax, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Description

A stunning modern-day fairy tale from acclaimed author Anne Ursu.

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

Awards and Honors
Amazon.com Book of the Year
Indie Next pick
Junior Library Guild selection
Publishers Weekly Book of the Year
School Library Journal Book of the Year

Reviews

starred reviewLike a fairy-tale heroine, Hazel traverses the woods without a breadcrumb trail to save a boy who may not want to be saved in this multi-layered, artfully crafted, transforming testament to the power of friendship.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

starred review“The evocative magical landscape, superbly developed characters (particularly dreamy, self-doubting, determined Hazel and lost Jack), and the piercing sadness of a faltering childhood friendship give this delicately written fantasy wide and lingering appeal.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, starred review

starred review“The creepy fantasyland that Hazel traverses uses bits from other Andersen tales to create a story that, though melancholy, is beautifully written and wholly original.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

starred review“Although this is a fantasy, its grounding in psychological realism and focus on Hazel’s feelings makes it a fine choice for readers who prefer realistic fiction. Ursu’s multilayerd, dreamlike story stands out from the fantasy/quest pack/”
School Library Journal starred review

Here are some book previews for the Scholastic orders passed out in class (and due on Wednesday). Click to view:

Arrow September

Arrow October

Tab September 

Tab October

10.17 {Whatever Wednesday} Real Revision

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. Though often a cool quote or poster, it might simply be a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.


For  the past few weeks we have been working on memoirs–the story of a personal experience centered around a specific event, person, or place. My students know that the draft is just the first step.

Since the draft, we have worked to add:

  • background information/circumstances that helps the reader understand the importance of the event;
  • dialogue and thought;
  • show, don’t tell;
  • a gripping lead;
  • a “So What?” conclusion/ reflection;
  • details that help the reader make a mental movie.

I’m quite proud of how my students have jumped into the revision process. I know it can be challenging–and even annoying–to repeatedly go back into a piece of writing to make it better. As you’ll be able to see in the slideshow below, the students have used many revising devices such as arrows, Post-it notes, and symbols to add new information to their drafts. It was so cool to see them latch onto these new strategies and personalize them.

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For great examples of real-world authors and their revision work–yes, real authors revise–check out this post on author Kate Messner’s blog.

click to visit Mrs. Messner’s blog and a post and a Real Revision Gallery. WOW!