{Whatever Wednesday} Kids playing library

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.


I dare you to watch this video just once—Kids playing library being acted out by grownups:

Thanks to Niki Ohs Barnes (@daydreamreader) for posting this on Facebook the other day.

Summer Reading Postcard #10—from an INCOMING student

If you’ve been following along, you know that students have been mailing back their Summer Vacation is for READING postcards that I passed out at the end of the year.

I went in to my classroom last week and started the getting ready process. I found a stack of Summer Vacation is for Reading postcards that were left over, so hung them outside my door with a note for this year’s students to take one and mail it in. I was pleasantly surprised to receive this one from my incoming student, Todd N.

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1.

Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.

100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson’s inimitable style.

2.

No, this isn’t a book about joining some fringe cult. It’s a book by LEGO® fans, for LEGO fans, and you and your kids will love it.

In The Cult of LEGOWired‘s GeekDad blogger John Baichtal and BrickJournal founder Joe Meno take you on a magnificent, illustrated tour of the LEGO community, its people, and their creations.

The Cult of LEGO introduces us to fans and builders from all walks of life. People like professional LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya; enigmatic Dutch painter Ego Leonard (who maintains that he is, in fact, a LEGO minifig); Angus MacLane, a Pixar animator who builds CubeDudes, instantly recognizable likenesses of fictional characters; Brick Testament creator Brendan Powell Smith, who uses LEGO to illustrate biblical stories; and Henry Lim, whose work includes a series of models recreating M.C. Escher lithographs and a full-scale, functioning LEGO harpsichord.

Marvel at spectacular LEGO creations like:

  • A life-sized Stegosaurus and an 80,000-brick T. Rex skeleton
  • Detailed microscale versions of landmarks like the Acropolis and Yankee Stadium
  • A 22-foot long, 350-pound re-creation of the World War II battleship Yamato
  • A robotic, giant chess set that can replay historical matches or take on an opponent
  • A three-level, remote-controlled Jawa Sandcrawler, complete with moving conveyor belt

Whether you’re a card-carrying LEGO fanatic or just thinking fondly about that dusty box of LEGO in storage, The Cult of LEGO will inspire you to take out your bricks and build something amazing.

Gold Medal, Independent Publisher Book Award, “IPPY” for Pop Culture

Silver Medal, 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards for Crafts and Hobbies

Grand Prize, 2012 San Francisco Book Festival

Selected for the Communication Arts 2012 Design Annual

3.

Click here for the Magazine site.

Isn’t this FUN? I can’t wait to meet Todd… on WEDNESDAY. It’s not too late to mail your card in. And don’t forget to send me your summer picture of you reading a book. Mail to: SummerReadingPic@gmail.com.

Summer Whatever Wednesday= Summer Reading Postcards #9 & 10

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.


If you’ve been following along, you know that students have started mailing back their Summer Vacation is for READING postcards that I passed out to them at the end of the year. Now that summer is almost at an end, I’m hoping for an influx of cards. 

I recently received my 9th and 10th postcards. Thank you, Andrew T. and Mr. Peterson.

Photo on 8-27-13 at 11.54 PM

Photo on 8-27-13 at 11.52 PM

1.

From IndieBound:

Description

In the tradition of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, million-copy bestselling Halo author and game developer Eric Nylund brings action-packed science fiction to a young audience with this riveting children’s debut. Twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood has always known exactly what he wanted—to win the state soccer championship, get into the best high school, and become an astronaut. Then he meets Madison and Felix, who tell him something . . . insane. They claim that 50 years ago, aliens took over the earth, and everyone past puberty is under their mind control. Ethan doesn’t believe it. But then he sees for himself the aliens’ monster bug robots and the incredible way that Madison and Felix have learned to fight them. So Ethan Blackwood has a choice: he can go back to his normal, suburban, protected lie of a life—or he can become a Resister. This is science fiction on the lines of Scott Westerfield and Cory Doctorow for middle graders.

2.

3.

From Indiebound:

Description

Daniel Corrigan is as regular as can be, especially when compared to the Supers: kids in his new hometown with actual powers like flight and super strength. But Daniel’s not powerless. Only he was able to stop the Shroud, a supervillian bent on stealing his newfound friends’ powers. And thanks to him, his friends got to keep those powers.

Now Daniel himself is starting to display powers, while at the same time, his friends are losing theirs. His friend Eric thinks Daniel is just becoming a Super himself, a late-blooming one. But Daniel worries there may be something more sinister at work, since his power-stealing ability is uncomfortably like the Shroud’s. Of course, the Shroud is gone now . . . or is he? And could Daniel himself be his new vessel?

 

{I also happen to know that Andrew is reading Zadoff’s Boy Nobody. I can’t wait to hear about it…

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•     •     •

And my dear ELA colleague, Mr. Peterson… What did he read? (Notice the note below line 3.)

Photo on 8-27-13 at 11.53 PM #2

1.

From IndieBound:

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Fall ’12 Kids List
“Mr. Jelliby, a member of Parliament, was too nice a young man to make a good politician. One day, he overheard the powerful Mr. Lickerish order the death of the tenth changeling — a ‘peculiar,’ so named because they have the blood of both men and faery. Mr. Lickerish is planning to open a door to the faery world that would destroy London, and only Mr. Jelliby and Bartholomew, a changeling himself, can hope to stop him. Bachman has succeeded in creating a murder mystery, a faery fantasy, and an action adventure that middle-graders and older readers will devour.”
— Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Description

Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

2. 

From IndieBound:

Description

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

3.

From IndieBound:

Description

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

 

Isn’t this FUN? Keep those postcards coming. And don’t forget to send me your summer picture of you reading a book. Mail to: SummerReadingPic@gmail.com.

Summer Whatever Wednesday = Librarian “Sabotage”

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. A cool quote or poster, a picture, student work, a video—you know, Whatever.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.


Saw this posted on Twitter the other day and had to share it on my own Facebook page.

And now I have to share it with you.

I just did the math… and almost choked on my eggs when I realized that this song is NINETEEN years old. Really?

In order to appreciate the parody, you need to watch some of the original (though I do confess it made my daughters run from the room). Check this:

Pretty awesome, right? Now watch this sweet parody:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/66169135″>M&D 2013 Sabotage</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3892124″>Mike and Duane Show</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My favorite moment (and @LibraryFanatic’s/Sherry Gick’s) is at 2:30 when the Librarian whips a book Frisbee-style at the thief. Awesome stuff.

Let me know what you think. After you watch it a few more times…

Summer Whatever Wednesday= Summer Reading Postcards #4 & 5

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.


If you’ve been following along, you know that students have started mailing back that Summer
Vacation is for READING postcards that I passed out to them at the end of the year. I posted on Postcard #1 and #2 & 3. Last week, two more came in. Thanks to Connor and Stephanie for following through. Let’s have a look shall we?

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1.

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More info here.

2.

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Read up on it here.

3.

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More info here.

Patterson has great, interactive sites for his books. Enjoy.

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Patterson interviewed on NPR. Check out what he had to say.

And you may want to follow his YouTube channel for gems like this:

&

&


[This last one is just for you, Connor. ]

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1.

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Read the summary here.

You can also visit the author’s website.

2. [See first postcard]

3.

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Here’s the book summary.….
And a trailer for a movie based on the book:

Isn’t this FUN? Keep those postcards coming. And don’t forget to send me your summer picture of you reading a book. Mail to: SummerReadingPic@gmail.com.

4.6 {Whatever Wednesday} Hook up with a BOOK!

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.


I was bumbling around the www yesterday and I happened upon the website for

CentRappReg LibraryThe Central Rappahannock Regional Library serves Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland, VA (@crrlnews)

There I came across the poster below. It seemed like the perfect thing to share on a WhateverWednesday. Hook Up With a BookHello February!

Hook Up with a Book!

You MUST go to the site and read the blurb that goes along with this. So great. And perhaps you’d be interested in filling out the questionnaire? (Yes, that is a working QR code on the poster.)

Who knows–you may fall in love with your blind (book) date:

Blind Date with a Book

12.19 {Whatever Wednesday}: Be Someone’s Umbrella

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.


Maybe a little sappy–but when, at the end of Wonder, Mr. Tushman talks about showing more kindness than is necessary and being the “face of God” to those around us, this is what comes to mind.

Be someone’s umbrella today.

12.12 {Whatever Wednesday}: It’s a Book

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.


My colleague sent this to me:

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Hysterical!

And it reminded me of:

written & illustrated by Lane Smith It's a Book

I love my technology—but sometimes, a book should just be… a book.

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!