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Launching Readers Workshop with Books as Mirrors and Windows

bOOKS AS mIRRORS AND wINDOWS Dr. Rudine Simms Bishop, in her 1990 article, wrote about the importance of literature as “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” Our students come to us during this unique year, in the midst of two pandemics; a global health crisis and the urgent battle to dismantle systemic racism. As we… Continue reading Launching Readers Workshop with Books as Mirrors and Windows

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#KidsNeedMentors Leads 4th Graders to Out of Place by Jennifer Blecher

The 2019-2020 school year was filled with a vision for our participation in #KidsNeedMentors -- virtual writing coaching from Jennifer Blecher, a school visit, and snuggling Out of Place into our ambitious read aloud stack. What we did accomplish: Touring Jen's writing space & meeting her dog on FaceTime.Mailing her our finished narrative writing pieces.Drafting… Continue reading #KidsNeedMentors Leads 4th Graders to Out of Place by Jennifer Blecher

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Reading to Students in a Remote Environment

If you walk through an elementary school during the first week of school, at almost any time of day, you will hear teachers reading aloud to their students.  Teachers use books to teach lessons about friendship and about being an individual.  We use old favorites, such as Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester to teach… Continue reading Reading to Students in a Remote Environment

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Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Clean Getaway, acclaimed Dear Martin author Nic Stone's debut middle grade novel, is sure to be a hit in schools this year. William "Scoob" Lamar embarks on an adventure of a lifetime with his Grandma, G'ma. As he leaves his single dad behind, Scoob has no idea what will be in store. His traveling adventures… Continue reading Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

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We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Last year, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins was one of my students’ favorite beginning of the year read alouds. Kindergarten, first, and second grade kids giggled with delight and fell in love with Penelope the dinosaur and her struggle to not eat the delicious children in her class. This year, Ryan… Continue reading We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

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I Am One by Susan Verde

This Tuesday marks the book birthday of I Am One: A Book of Action, the latest collaboration between writer Susan Verde and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. Their partnership of these two creators is legendary in my third-grade classroom. From The Water Princess and The Museum to the pair's I Am... collaborative series, each of their titles draws in readers. Elementary readers… Continue reading I Am One by Susan Verde

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Going Up by Sherry Lee

Going Up by Sherry Lee reviewed by Susan Kennedy As we are going back to school in whatever form that is taking, hopefully we are returning to writing. I love writing with students and hearing them storytell their narrative plans. Returning to school this fall, I hope we'll start with some narratives: small moments, memoirs,… Continue reading Going Up by Sherry Lee

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A Place Inside of Me written by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon

Zetta Elliott’s newest picture book is just what I need to launch the school year after a summer of Covid-19 and protests.  The title alone, A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart, makes me take a deep breath. As I return to in-person learning, I hope to heal hearts from this… Continue reading A Place Inside of Me written by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon

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The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf

As soon as one of my sixth grade book clubs finished The Boy in the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf, they immediately took to the internet to find other books by the same author.  When they found The Star Outside My Window, they begged me to order it right away! Student Thoughts:… Continue reading The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf

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Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke

“My hope is that this book will help teachers strengthen the bond they have with their students, and that their students have with each other.” Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke, you nailed it! I’m confident in making the statement that Educators around the globe are engaged in a very personal, heart-wrenching battle against self. As… Continue reading Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke

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You Are a Beautiful Beginning, written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

A newly published literary treasure! Released just days ago, You Are a Beautiful Beginning is a charming book that shares the message of optimism, self-acceptance and hope. Laden’s predictable pattern of using sentence pairs is accompanied with Garrity-Riley’s highly engaging and busy illustrations. Together, the words and pictures tell the journey of a young child… Continue reading You Are a Beautiful Beginning, written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

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When Stars Are Scattered

By Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed This compelling story of two young brothers' survival in a refugee camp after fleeing their warn-torn country of Somalia is based on the lives of Omar and Hassan Mohamed. When Stars Are Scattered vividly paints a picture of what a refugee camp is actually like: the struggle for food,… Continue reading When Stars Are Scattered

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We Should Be Looking for Rainbows by Lynsey Burkins

“After the storm, the sun comes out, and a rainbow fills the sky!”- Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future by Various (Author), R. J. Palacio (Introduction) As we approach this new school with uncertainty and unrest I can’t help but to find ways to center myself with hope. This will… Continue reading We Should Be Looking for Rainbows by Lynsey Burkins