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:

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

Quiet–Five Minute Friday

I went back to work this week.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but what I found the most unsettling at work was how quiet it was.

Transitioning back into my position when the school year started nine weeks ago means I have a lot of catching up to do. There’s observing and listening and reading work I need to do to understand what’s been happening in my absence. I also have a new office space that needed to be organized and set up. This work was all very quiet compared to the work I’m usually doing, and it was a bit unsettling.

I found myself on a few occasions, sitting in my new office, looking around and feeling a bit overwhelmed by how quiet it was, so I’d pop into a classroom to be with students or walk down the hallway to “eavesdrop” on the work teachers and students were doing. I know that the quiet will be soon be replaced by a schedule crammed with teacher meetings and classroom work (I can’t wait!), but I’ve also realized that quiet is a good thing–I’m getting to hear and observe what I might otherwise have missed if I was jumping in quickly to add my ideas. Hopefully, I can remember to hold onto a little quiet in the coming weeks…

5-Minute Friday

I recently stumbled upon a website called “Lisa-Jo Baker: tales from a Gypsy Mama” http://lisajobaker.com/. I honestly don’t remember how I found it or what I had been searching for–I’ve been doing a lot of web searches lately at three or four in the morning when I’m up feeding L but not quite awake. The searches range from “cloth diaper systems” (we’re starting as soon as I get our system set up!) to “3 month old sleepier than usual” (she was taking lots of naps). So, I’m not sure what led me to Lisa-Jo Baker’s website, but I found myself reading and I subscribed to her email. That’s how I found out about her 5-Minute Friday writing challenge where she posts a word or topic and invites others to just write for five minutes. The idea is that on days when you don’t want to write, just push yourself, just write for five minutes. I could use that today (after the excitement of putting my first post out there, I was a little nervous to try again, hesitant to pick a topic). So, thank you, Lisa-Jo. Here goes….

Race…

Before Louisa was born, I was always in a hurry. In a hurry to get to work because I pressed snoozed one too many times. In a hurry to get from my classroom to a meeting to another classroom. In a hurry to make one more chart, send one more email, make one more copy. And it wasn’t her birth that slowed me down, but the car accident I was in 7 days before she was born.

In my pre-motherhood life, I never could say “no”–not when it came to work. I didn’t want to say “no”. The busier I was, the better. I loved (and still do love) sharing my ideas, being involved, and helping my colleagues. Teaching excites me. I could talk about curriculum or students or a single lesson for hours. So, even when at 37 weeks, my doctors admitted me into the hospital to monitor the baby and my fluid levels, I still wanted to work. I stopped teaching, but wanted to finish the work that I could. It literally felt like a race to the finish. Could I get it all done before the baby arrived?

That’s why I was at work that Tuesday. I was meeting with my two of my colleagues to look ahead at coming year’s calendar and units of study. It was a meeting I had scheduled so that I could support them in their planning before my impending leave…We met all day, but then I left right at 3, which wasn’t typical, but I had errands to run. Yep, I just had to order the new bureau for our bedroom and then from there, I’d be running to get my nails done. All part of getting ready, right?

Well, it was rush hour as I headed back through the city from the furniture store. I looked down, or over, for a moment and realized, “Oh, I have to slow down–there’s a car in front of me.” But, instead of hitting the brake, I hit the gas and crashed right into that car.

I won’t and can’t describe how terrifying that car accident was. My car ended up being completely totalled, but everyone involved, thankfully, walked away with very minor injuries, if any. I spent the night in the hospital because I did have a few contractions. But the baby was okay–actually, the baby and the fluid levels, ironically, looked the best they had since my 37 week appointment.

That next morning, I finally realized I couldn’t race anymore. I had to let go, at least for a little while. Since then, life has redefined “busy” for me…it’s not running from here to there. “Busy” this week was getting outside three times in one day with my daughter 🙂 I’m sure “busy” will take on yet another meaning when I’m back at work, but I think (I hope) I won’t be in such a race.