Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Nerds Wife

I mentioned Twitter on my previous post.  Another great thing about being in the Twitterverse is discovering freebies and giveaways!  I don't participate in these very often, but this one was just too tempting!

What I learned today:  The Nerd's Wife is giving away two books.  One is a signed hardcover of Anna and the French Kiss.  I read this earlier this year and absolutely fell in love. (A five star for sure!)  The second book is a ARC of Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Both are by the amazing Stephanie Perkins.   I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flip Snack

I honestly cannot understand why more educators are not on Twitter.  It is an amazing resource!  I am officially making it my mission to get more people Tweeting!   

What I learned today   I ran across this short video that explains Flip Snack, a site that turns pdf documents into flip books.  I can't wait to try it! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Literature Map

I've said it once. and I'll say it again, I love ilearntechnology!  I always find something to whet my whistle.

What I learned today:  Literature Map is cool!  Put in an author's name and voila! a magical web of new authors' names appear. Here is the one I created for Jenny Han. In her informative post, Kelly describes how teachers might utilize this resource in the classroom.  Literature Map kind of reminds me of the Book Seer, a site that provides a reading list based on the book you just finished.   

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Nine Day Queen

If you have not subscribed to historyteacher's channel on youtube, I highly encourage you to do so.  There are a variety of videos to choose from, and they are a fun and interesting way to learn history.

What I learned today:   Sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey, great- niece of King Henry the VIII, reigned England for nine days before giving up the throne to Mary.  She was tried for treason and beheaded.  This little video teaser prompted me to put Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir on my TBR list.   

Blogging Break

After a long blogging break, I'm finally back to writing.  Why the absence?  I'm not sure, but it may have something to do with my thinking that posts need to be perfect, and so I put it off, and off, and off... However, I have recently been reminded that “It is not necessary to commit to perfection, but to progress." (A Higher Standard of Leadership:  Lessons from the Life of Gandhi by Kashavan Nair p. 103).  So here I am, sharing my learning again. 

I've decided to try a new format for my blog.  Hopefully, this will help me stay on track.  It will be short and simple, and updates will be more manageable for me.  

What I learned today:  Thanks to Donalyn Miller, I learned a new vocabulary word, epistolary.  She recently tweeted, " Deadly by Julie Chibbaro. Epistolary novel about the 1906 NY typhoid epidemic and the search for Typhoid Mary."  I had no idea what this was so, of course, I Googled it.  I discovered that an epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents.  This immediately brought to mind a couple of examples in my own collection, Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock and The Jolly Postman: Or Other People's Letters by Janet and allen Ahlberg. Griffin and Sabine is a love story written as a series of hand painted postcards and letters.   The Jolly Postman invites readers into a wondrous world with a variety of correspondence between classic fairy tale characters.   Honestly, I had forgotten about this genre, so I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Deadly.   Are there any other epistolary novels I should add to my TBR pile?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"The surface of the earth holds a message for you.  You just have to look a little closer..."   This is what popped up when I visited geoGreeting for the first time.  Intrigued, I pressed the "click to view button" and my eyes lit up as I read a message made up of letters from places all over the world.  I was then invited to create my own message, which I did.  (Click here to see the geoGreeting I made.) This little gem is ridiculously easy to use and will be fun to share with teachers and students this year.  

Summer of 100 Books

Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, issued a challenge to her followers in June. She challenged us to read a book a day during summer vacation.  Being a huge fan, I was excited to join her in what she called the "ultimate staycation."

I began the challenge on June 7th reading two books, If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.   I finished Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater today, and it was my 100th book.

Throughout the summer, I read 33 fiction and non-fiction picture books.  Two of my favorites were Mom and Dad are Palindromes by Mark Shulman and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me was my first verse novel, and by reading it, I rediscovered my love of poetry.  It led me to choose 4 others:  Carver: A Life in Poems, Crank, Out of the Dust, and Who Killed Mr. Chippendale: A Mystery in Poems.

10 fantasy and science fiction titles made my summer list.  I adored Shiver and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Life As We Knew It is still keeping me up at night.  

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and The Outsiders were my favorites out of the 14 realistic fiction books I finished, and Countdown, Flygirl, and The Book Thief stood out as the best of the 15 historical fiction titles. 

When I looked at my list of books, I was surprised that 17 were biographies, because I'm usually not drawn to non-fiction. However, Driven, A Photobiography of Henry Ford, Up In the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman, and The Boy Who Invented TV:  The Story of Philo Farnsworth were all fascinating, and I learned something new from each one. 

2 more books, Writing About Reading and The Right to Literacy in Secondary Schools: Creating a Culture of Thinking made their way onto my professional bookshelf. 

Although I tried to read mostly middle grade and young adult fiction, I did manage to squeeze in a 4 adult titles.   The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was beautiful, and I can't wait to discuss it at book club this year.   I stayed up all night reading Confessions of A Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim.  

So there you have it!  100 books in 66 days.  (My complete Book-A-Day list can be found on Goodreads.)   

I want to thank Donalyn and all the other book-a-day readers for their enthusiasm and encouragement.   I appreciated your comments and suggestions.  You have all inspired me to take my passion for reading and learning back to school.   It was a great summer staycation, and it will be a great year in my learning life.