It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/9/13)

From Evernote:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/9/13)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Since last week was the first week of school and we had a super-busy weekend at home, I didn’t read as much as I had hoped to. Hopefully, as things settle down, I’ll be able to get into a routine that includes more reading each evening!

I did, though, set up the entrance to my office to be a place to share new and old favorites with my colleagues. Here are two pictures:

What I Read This Week:

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Of course, I had to read this after reading all of the blogposts about this new picture book! And it didn’t disappoint. It took me a moment during the first read to understand what was happening, but I love that about the book. I quickly shared it with a few teachers and can’t wait to see how their students respond to the story!

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Another much-read-about picture book, I laughed out loud as I read this story. A great story about friendship and trying new things–perfect at the start of the school year.

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan

A beautiful story, another tearjerker by Patricia MacLachlan, about a boy and his grandfather. I love how Patricia lets us into her characters’ lives through conversations and a child’s observations and thoughts.

The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar

I’ve been dipping into this book as I try to learn more about how best to support other teachers at the start of the school year. There are some great prompts and questions for coaching conversations as well as helpful ways to think about the different lenses through which we can observe and give helpful feedback.

What’s Next in My Reading Stack:

The First Day

Today was the first day of school. For me, it was my first day of school since 2000 that I was not beginning the school year in my own classroom with a new group of students. (I’ve been a full-time instructional coach since last November when I returned from maternity leave.)

Instead, today, I had the privilege of getting to be a part of nine classroom’s first days. While at first I felt as if I were intruding on the “magic” of the first day, I soon fell in love with my new stance as an observer, as another set of hands and pair of eyes for my colleagues, and as someone who knows many of the faces that were new to their teachers.

Here are a few of the wonderful “firsts” I saw and heard today:

~Sixty kindergarten families, students and their parents, waiting for their classroom orientations in our school’s lobby. So many proud parents holding their children’s hands as they embark on a magical year of learning and discovery.

~Teachers prompting students to write using all they know to write their very first piece of writing of the year and students quickly and quietly moving their pencils across the lines on their papers.

~Teachers reading favorite picture books to launch the day, launch Math Workshop, launch Reading and Writing Workshops and to kick-off the first conversations of the year. Books included: Chrysanthemum, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, One Green Apple, and The Math Curse.

~Third graders squealing and giggling as their teacher read Lulu and the Brontosaurus and she read the phrase “she was a pain in the b-u-t-t”. Followed a few moments later by students joining in as the teacher sang Lulu’s song about finding a brontosaurus for a pet.

~Fifth graders sharing that a few problems they tried to solve were a little difficult since they just came from vacation and couldn’t remember everything from fourth grade so quickly;)

~Fourth graders turning and sharing with a neighbor a “Math Curse” problem from their summer with glowing faces as they excitedly tried to create creative and tricky stories.

~So many students and teachers making a fresh start, hope in their eyes and voices as they reflected on the past and started sharing goals and dreams for their new year together.

Here are a few hopes I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of–could we have any greater hopes for our students?!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/2/13)

From Evernote:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (9/2/13)

Being new to Twitter and relatively new to the blogging world, I just discovered this "meme" and am excited to attempt my first time participating. It will be great to find new titles that others are reading, share what I’ve been reading, and make reading plans for the week ahead.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

What I Read This Week:

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

This is the book that the fourth grade teachers I work with are planning to use as their first read aloud of the new school year. The main character, Anna, who is in the fourth grade figures out over the course of the story how to be and make friends…something that many fourth grade girls are figuring out. The book is also a nominee for the Rhode Island Children’s Book Awards, and I’m excited to share it with many of our students.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

I’m very in the late in the game when it comes to reading this beautiful story. I was hesitant to read it because, just like a movie that gets rave reviews, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to al lot the great things I had heard….But, I finished it in two sittings and loved it. I’m so excited that one of our fifth grade teachers has decided to kick-off the year with this book, as I think the fourth graders who read Charlotte’s Web last year as a grade will find many connections between Ivan, Stella, Bob and Ruby and Charlotte, Wilbur and Templeton. The story moved me to tears and I’m so glad I finally made the time to read this new children’s classic!

The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan

I am a sucker for anything written by Patricia MacLachlan, especially Baby, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Edward’s Eyes, and Word After Word After Word. See, I’m about to list a dozen of her books:) This story of a young boy learning about himself and his family is both magical and beautifully written. Not sure if it ranks at the top of my PM list, but I loved reading it and can’t wait to share it with my colleagues who also love her work.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Another teacher I work with was carrying this very large book around with him a few weeks ago and I was intrigued. The size alone is intimidating, although very appealing for many young readers. I just had to check it out;) After reading the blurb and seeing the first few pages, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. Would I really be able to follow a story half of which was told only in picture? And the answer…a definitive YES. I loved this book and found myself "closely reading" the illustrations and trying to figure out how the characters were connected. As a former New Yorker who loved getting lost in its museums, I loved being transported into the Museum of Natural History.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

One of the third grade teachers is thinking of starting the year with this funny book. My daughter’s nickname is Lulu and so I found myself both laughing out loud and cringing at the main character’s behavior. I loved the songs and the story and can’t wait to see how this book helps her start to build a community of readers who love to read and laugh together.

What’s Next in My Reading Stack:

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan

Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graffiti

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

And for my adult book club, I need to get started on:

Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

On Behalf of My Daughter

Yesterday, I was at the mall doing a bit of back-to-school shopping for myself and as I was browsing the racks and simultaneously chatting with my 14 month old daughter, two of the saleswomen at the store noticed her pigtails and pink shoes and exclaimed, “Why aren’t you adorable? Hi, cutie!” I prompted Louisa to say hi, and she smiled shyly, and then I continued looking through the rack of blouses. The saleswomen kept chatting with one another, remarking, “Oh, doesn’t she make you want to have another?” To which I found myself smiling, because, yes, for my husband and I, our daughter does make us want to have another baby. But then, their conversation continued and I felt my inner mama-rage set in…

“Oh, but girls are so hard. I’d take five boys before I’d have another girl,” one of the women commented. “Ugh, I know. Girls…” I gritted my teeth and quickly pushed my daughter’s stroller out of earshot and to the other side of the store.

Can I tell you that I can’t even count how many times another woman, another mother has said that same thing to me–in front of my daughter? Boys are so much easier. I don’t want girls–they’re way too hard.

I know that most of the women saying this are not ill-intentioned, and I’m sure, they love their daughters, nieces, and granddaughters just as much as their sons, but I cannot tell you how maddening these comments are as the mother of a young girl. And how it boggles my mind that it is socially acceptable to say this to me (as a proud mama) and in front of my daughter…

We live in a world where most families still prefer sons, where in some countries daughters are given up (or worse) just because of their gender, and one in which women still have to fight for equal pay and recognition for doing the same work as a man. I worry that, although women’s rights are so vastly different than a century ago, our daughters will still grow up in a society where they will be up against double-standards. I worry that if our daughters hear from the very beginning–from other women–that they are more difficult or not wanted as much as boys, aren’t we setting them up to already have to prove themselves otherwise? Aren’t we already setting the stage for negativity and low self-esteem issues that many young girls battle?

And why are they more difficult? Maybe it’s that some studies show that girls are often more verbal at a younger age and so start voicing their opinions and ideas before their male counterparts? Is it because of what we foresee as the scary teenage years–the years in which they will be potentially moody and hormonal, and struggle with friendships and body image, and possibly sexual relationships? What about boys–shouldn’t we worry about those same things for our sons?

I honestly don’t know what it is that makes us say these things about our daughters, but as the mom to a strong-willed, curious, funny little girl (and an aunt to some pretty strong-willed, curious, funny boys), I don’t want my daughter to ever think she is less than. And so I write this plea to think twice before making what might seem like a harmless comment, on behalf of my daughter.