Who doesn’t want their students to feel like superheroes? We all want to empower our kiddos to feel like they can do ANYTHING...even when that “anything” is a little scary. This book sets that scene perfectly! Written in quasi-comic book style, Superhero vs School, by Ethan Long, tells the take of Scotty, our caped hero! … Continue reading Superhero vs. School
Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol My first introduction to author and illustrator Vera Brosgol was her middle-grade graphic novel, Be Prepared.* I loved her autobiographical story about sleep away camp and was delighted to learn she had written a picture book. In Memory Jars, which was released earlier in 2021, we meet a young girl… Continue reading Memory Jars
Summer is behind us. For some, this is the first or second week of school. For others, it’s a prep week. For me, it’s prep, as well as Kindergarten orientation and screening. Like some of my colleagues, I’m most comfortable with a solid set of plans to start the year. This year, as always, I… Continue reading Mindful Mr. Sloth by Katy Hudson
At heart, the Anti-Racist writing workshop imports a pedagogy of deep listening—Felicia Rose Chavez I highly recommend this book for all educators who teach reading and writing. While Chavez works mostly with adult students, and much of her focus in the book is about making thoughtful, purposeful changes in a college-level writing workshop, her basic… Continue reading The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom, by Felicia Rose Chavez
Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight. Illustrations by Sandhya Probhat. As an elementary science specialist I am always on the lookout for picture-books that bring science ideas to an accessible level for my students. Celestial patterns, like seasonal daylight, lunar phases, and constellations are particularly valuable. The ever-changing day and night sky… Continue reading Usha and the Big Digger
The book jacket is a poster that can be used for a variety of things. Here I am introducing new feeling words. I have so much to say about the true power of this book…So many incredible things that have already happened with my students because of this book. But the thing I’m currently feeling… Continue reading Big Feelings ~ are you feeling them?
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, as Elton John lets us know in his 1976 hit by the same name. If only Sir Elton had the advantage of reading the picture book, How to Apologize, by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, perhaps he could have found a solution to his relationship struggles.… Continue reading How to Apologize
Written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Alea Marley Abby is a relatable character who anxiously awaits her friend’s arrival to her house for tea time. She spends time meticulously preparing her table and refreshments, as this is how she regards Phoebe Dupree's standards. Abby describes Phoebe as “speedy...smart...brilliant...sings like a bird…”. Abby works diligently… Continue reading Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea!
Book love is contagious. Kids catch it from their parents, siblings, teachers and friends. Goodnight Moon was my daughter’s favorite book. Before she could speak she would grab a copy of it and climb up into my lap for me to read it to her. A while back my husband gifted me this t-shirt. No… Continue reading Make New Friends, But Keep The Old.
With the beginning of a new school year (especially this one) comes the often unspoken worries and fears that accompany the unknown of a new grade, new classroom, new teacher, and new classmates. My first job as a classroom teacher is to quell these anxieties and begin to lay the groundwork for our class community,… Continue reading My School Stinks! by Becky Scharnhorst
by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander When my ten-year old son came home from his school book fair with Becoming Muhammed Ali, by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander, he had no idea that he was about to become immersed in Alexander’s poignant poetry and Patterson’s powerful prose. Never having read a novel in verse before,… Continue reading Becoming Muhammed Ali
Milo’s Museum was recommended by our counselor during my time as a remote teacher of fourth graders. Initially I thought it might be better for younger students, but the depth of conversation it promoted left me feeling very inspired. I broke my lesson into four parts: IdentityA Sense of Belonging DiversityAction Identity For identity, I opened… Continue reading Equity Work with Milo’s Museum by Heather Rader
Last week, author Meg Medina shared a link to an article on Twitter--Why Adults Should Read Middle Grade Books: The value in returning to these books as adults is in reminding ourselves what it’s like to be a kid, to gain a different perspective on the world, and to expand our understanding of different experiences… Continue reading Coming Soon: September 2021 Releases!
By April Jones Prince Two Books In One! Welcome back, everyone! I have to say this has been the best reading and writing summer of my life and I thought that was what I’d blog about this month. Wrong! When I opened up April Jones Prince’s You Are a Reader!/You Are a Writer!: Two Books… Continue reading You Are a Reader!/You Are a Writer!
Beginning the year feels BIG to me, and I want it to feel BIG to kids too. To prepare, I reread my notes from a professional development session about deeper learning, and I paused at this list: AntiracistCurious and CreativeAdaptable and CourageousEmpathetic and Equity-MindedAdvocates, Collaborators, and LeadersAbility to Build a Life of Possibility This list… Continue reading Launching Reading and Writing Workshop with the help of Ekua Holmes
If you’ve just started school or are seeing the first day come over the horizon at the end of the month, you’re probably building community in your new classroom by learning about and celebrating each other. Add Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder to your collection of identity-affirming read alouds for primary readers! Feder’s playful… Continue reading Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder
Perfectly NormanBY Tom Percival I was first introduced to Perfectly Norman, by Tom Percival, during a demo lesson this summer. A candidate for a kindergarten position shared this story as an interactive read aloud with a group of rising first graders and as soon as the demo was over, I ordered a copy of this… Continue reading Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival
At this time of year, I consider the beginning of a new school year. There are many obligations given to me as a literacy educator in a school district, but along with those noble ideas, I always set an intention for the focus of my work for the year, my personal work, my inner work,… Continue reading Setting Intentions: The Author’s Craft
Companion to the Newbery Medal Winner "New Kid" The first page of this graphic novel by Jerry Craft makes the theme perfectly clear: Be kind. Be fair. Be you. While this sounds like a simple request, "Class Act" shows the struggles students face while navigating racial and cultural differences. The prestigious Riverdale Academy has students… Continue reading Class Act by Jerry Craft
For the past one and a half school years, as the use of technology as a teaching tool exploded, the issues of equity and differentiated learning have been served up in every conversation. The umbrella under which these practices lie in personalized learning. We all agree that learning is a highly individual endeavor. This summer,… Continue reading Equity in Education
I can’t believe it’s already August! After a full year of teaching remotely, this was the first summer where I really, truly unplugged from school and didn’t do any work. No professional development, no emails, no brainstorming lessons and activities. I’ve spent the past month and a half soaking up the summer with my three-year-old… Continue reading New Grade, New Books!
Hi Friends, Thanks for reading and thinking along with all of us at TBR Blog. It is time for summer break. We will see you again in August with new books, new ideas, and new insights about teaching and learning. Happy Reading and Happy Summer!
I have already gotten MORE sleep in the past week than I have since March 2020 so now it is time to dive in to my summer stacks! I am so glad that my library is open again for browsing! I have missed this so much this past year and I have found some really… Continue reading Summer Stacks and Sunsets
This year was one for the books in so many ways! As always, at the end of the year I sit back and reflect: What worked? What didn't? What should I do again? What do I need to do better? This year's reflection was almost as tough as the year itself. Sure, I gave myself… Continue reading One for the Books!
Like many educators, I look forward to summer not just as a time to rejuvenate and recharge, but as a chance to learn and grow by reading all of the texts that I didn’t have time to get to during the school year. This summer, my professional text stack is quite tall as we are… Continue reading Digging into that Summer Stack!
It's so good to be back with all of you. The year was odd and many days I spent taking it one day at a time. Next year, I am moving grade levels and buildings. I will be opening a brand new school in our district and teaching third grade again. This was just what… Continue reading My Professional Summer Reading Stack
Every June, I am curious to learn each reader's favorite book enjoyed in fourth grade. After watching and listening and recommending all year long, I am left wondering what the #1 title in their stacks of 30-40 independent reading books is. Last week, I invited my crew to take out their stack of monthly "Shelfies"… Continue reading An Unexpected Heart Flutter
Normally, I like to create top-ten lists, but for this post I'm including twelve books. I already was one past the ten limit when I attended my critique group last night. Everyone began raving about a title and I couldn't leave it off the list. Here we go! This book released in May this year.… Continue reading My Summer Reading Stack
As school comes to an end, I can't stop thinking about what these first graders will remember about this school year. I want to know their thoughts. Did they feel welcome, included, and valued? Did they feel that I listened? I can't help but wonder what I could have done differently to honor each one… Continue reading Listening and Collecting Feedback
I started my career as a first grade teacher and spent ten years in the primary grades before transitioning to becoming a literacy specialist. Even so, when my district asked me to go back into the classroom this year to help provide cohorts small enough to teach in person, I did have that sneaking fear:… Continue reading What I Learned from Going Back to the Classroom…and What I’m Reading This Summer to Learn More
After last month's post on supporting students' summer reading, I wanted to share some of the texts in my own summer reading stack. While summer is a great time for beach reads and reading for fun, I am also planning to explore some newly-released professional texts. Here are a few that are on my radar.… Continue reading Professional Reads for Summer 2021