Thursday, December 27, 2012

Graphic Novels

Dear Nerdy Book Club Friends,

My students are reading more than ever. They are completing (and loving) books! I have never had a year where students are reading so much and I credit the 40 Book Challenge (thanks @donalynbooks) for their excitement.

I do worry about something I am seeing in the classroom - some of my readers are sticking solely to graphic novels. I have encouraged this because some of these readers are reluctant and the graphic novels have changed their opinion of reading. However, as we enter the new year, I would like my students to read different genres and read more text-only books. I wonder if I should even be feeling this way?

I have toyed with the idea of having a "No Graphic Novel Month", but that seems to violate the best practices for encouraging reading in my students.

So, I need your help! Have you experienced this? What are your solutions? Is this even a problem in your view? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Ryan @rantryan

Monday, December 24, 2012

"The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" Reader's Theatre

Every year, our fifth grade students perform "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" for the other classes in the school. It has become a yearly tradition that is fun and benefits the students' fluency. This year, I caught it all on video. Check out the videos below of the two classes. I'll let you decide who deserves the award for most convincing Grinch.

Not my homeroom:

My homeroom:

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/24/12

Head over and meet Jen & Kellee at 
for more on this awesome meme. There are many other "It's Monday" links.

Books I Read this Past Week...
This was one of those weeks where I did not read the books I had planned to. 

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea    
(5 out of 5 stars)  

I would recommend this book. It was a fast, engaging read. I want to read the sequel Mr. Terupt Falls Again.

Struck By Lightning by Chris Colfer
(2 out of 5 stars)

I just wasn't inspired by this read. It was full of vindictive, negative characters. I much preferred Chris's children's book The Land of Stories. This one is definitely NOT for young kids. 

Books I Will *Try* To Read/Finish This Week...

Paranorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why I Teach Reading

It was just another typical end of the day at school. Most of the students were packed up and sitting on their desks to begin playing our "end of the day game" silent ball. Erinn, however, had chosen not to play. Instead, she wanted to keep reading the book I had recommended to her the day before - Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.

If you've read Out of My Mind, you know the latter part of the book is moving and shocking and lovely. Erinn found herself right at that moment. She looked up at me, with tears in her eyes, and said, "Oh noooo."

This is why I teach.

Meeting Jeff Kinney

So, a funny story - I was in New York City last December with my mom. We went on a whirlwind trip just before Christmas. One morning, we decided to stop by The Today Show to see if we could end up on television. This was before they axed Ann Curry and I vowed to NEVER be a fan again. (They did you wrong, Ann!) As we arrived, I noticed that one of my favorite authors, Jeff Kinney, was being interviewed outside about donating books to charity for the holidays. I got so excited and my mom would've too, had she any idea who he was. A bit later, a producer from the Hoda/Kathie Lee Booze Hour was asking for people to go the next door studio to be part of Kathie's trivia game. Of course we jumped at the opportunity! My mom never liked Kathie Lee, but hey - she was a celebrity and we were in NYC. As we walked towards the studio where the trivia was taking place, Mr. Jeff Kinney was walking across the street. I chased after him and yelled, "Jeff please sign this for my students! They are such fans." He was so kind and signed my random sheet of paper, even though his handler was scolding him, "We've got to go! We have a flight to catch." We continued on to the trivia game, which was really fun. We sat in the audience and even got some air time, even though we were not one of the actual contestants. Mom said that Kathie Lee was "darling" (Jamie's Seal of Approval) and it became one of the best times we had on that trip.

Flash forward to November of this year and I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Kinney again, at my local independent bookstore Joseph Beth. My good friend Laurie (a co-worker too) and I went. He was so kind by signing our books and even taking a picture with us. I didn't bring up our chance encounter on the streets of New York City, though...I didn't want to be all awkward and stuff like Greg Heffley.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (12/10/12)

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...

Books I Read this Past Week...

Eight Grade is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm    
(5 out of 5 stars)                       

Ghostoplis by Doug TenNapel 
(4 out of 5 stars)

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler              
(5 out of 5 stars. An adult book, but so wonderful. Get your Kleenex. Anne Tyler's writing is so compelling.) 

Paranorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Bad Island by Doug TenNapel