Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Green Earth Book Award

I wasn't able to do my regular It's Monday! What Are You Reading? post because I am out of town, but rest assured - I am reading! I finally finished one of the new "required" books this summer - an addition to our curriculum that must be taught to all fifth-grade  students in my district next year. I cringe at the idea of anything being "required", but in the end, the book had more positives than negatives. I can see my kids liking it and it does delve into some pretty cool science content. Check it out if you would like. It is called Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley.

Spadefoot toads are awesome. They come out from underneath the ground once a year, during a hard rain. They only appear for a short time to lay/fertilize eggs and back underground they go. They have tiny flesh appendages on their feet, that look like small shovels/spades, which helps them burrow into the ground. Check 'em out!

Night of the Spadefoot Toads was honored with the Green Earth Book Award in 2009. I had never heard of this award, but I learned about it at this website: Green Earth Book Awards.

Pretty cool to know there is a book award to recognize environmentally-minded books. This will be a great way to hook the kids! 

Do you celebrate the Green Earth Book Awards, nerdy friends? And if not, WE SHOULD!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Honored by a Liebster Award Nomination

I have not been blogging for very long. Honestly, I am not sure you can even call this a true blog. (I do try though!) During the school year, I don't seem to have as much time for blogging, but having a place to share my thoughts on teaching and reading has been an exciting experience. Without this blog, I would not be able to interact with awesome people like Gigi McAllister. 

I have recently been honored by Gigi, author of one of my favorite blogs The Late Bloomer's Book Blog, with a Leibster award nomination. This award is given to new "up and coming" bloggers with less than 200 followers. (I think I might have 5 - ha ha.)

I really want to thank Gigi for giving me a boost of confidence. She has a great blog so please check it out here. She shares awesome book recommendations and also talks about her family. I've learned a lot from her and I know you will, too. 

Rules for participating in this blog award are as follows:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me. 
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself. 
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees. 
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an email to communicate the nomination.

Gigi, here are my answers to your thought-provoking questions:

1. What are some of your hobbies?
Clearly I can't start without mentioning reading. I read...a lot. Twitter has also become quite a hobby - a very useful one! I enjoy working out and running as well and completed my first half marathon last summer. I don't collect anything - unless you count books =)

2. Use 3 words to describe yourself.

My three words would be: sensitive, committed, thoughtful

3. If you could meet one person, who would it be and why?

There are so many people that I consider heroes, for various reasons. It's hard to pick just one. If I seriously had to choose, I'd probably choose Betty White. I think she is the funniest lady ever  and our naton's last remaining "Golden Girl".

4. What is one of your pet peeves? 

Great question, especially for a person who has a ton of pet peeves. My number one pet peeve is anyone who doesn't recycle. I think recycling should be required by law. Having to pay for recycling makes no sense to me. People should have to pay for how much trash they put on the curb each week.

5. What is the hardest thing about your job?

I think teaching is a hard job, but what a wonderful one it is. I can't imagine doing anything else. Of all the aspects of the job, I find grading to be the most difficult. Being an ELA teacher requires a significant amount of grading and I often find myself playing "catch-up" the entire year.

6. What is the greatest thing about your job?

The time I spend reading aloud to my class is the greatest thing about my job.

7. Do you have a favorite book or series?

Currently my favorite series is the Lunch Lady graphic novel series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. My all-time favorite series is probably the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. My all-time favorite book is Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

8. Why did you start blogging?

I originally started blogging several years ago as a place where students could log on and comment on articles I posted. I found other means of doing that and last summer (after joining Twitter), I began to talk more about my reading on my blog.

9. If you could travel to anywhere, where would go?

My mom and I have always talked about visiting London together. It is the one place in Europe she would like to go and hopefully one day we can.

10. In the next year, I hope to...

Professionally, I have three main goals (among many other new changes): I'd like to begin using Evernote, do my first Skype with an author, and want to share/use my blog with my students more. Personally, I would like to move to a bigger city. My dream is to live in New York City someday.

11. What are you reading right now?

I just began reading Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles, who is one of my favorite authors. I requested it on Net Galley and was pleasantly surprised when I was approved. If you haven't read See You at Harry's yet - run to the nearest library and pick it up!

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I used to be a child model.
2. My middle name is spelled Mychal.
3. I met Jeff Kinney after an appearance he did on The Today Show. He signed a receipt that I had in my wallet for my students.
4. I grew up in one of three Depression-era planned villages, created by FDR's administration. (Greenhills, Ohio)
5. I served for two years as a Scholastic Book Clubs Teacher Advisor, helping make book club flyers more appealing and useful to teachers across the country. I received three trips to NYC and other wonderful swag for that role.
6. I read Post Secret every Sunday morning.
7. Hearing birds chirp in the morning is one of my favorite sounds.
8. I hate hot weather and wish it was fall/spring all year long.
9. I don't cry...or haven't in a looooong time.
10. I am an only child and enjoy(ed) it immensely.
11. My cat's name is Dallas.

Here are the 11 questions for my nominees:

1. What is one blog you never miss reading?
2. What kind of music are you into?
3. What is a book you would recommend that may be new to be many readers?
4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
5. What's the first thing you notice about others?
6. If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you envision playing you?
7. What kinds of vacations do you like?
8. Favorite candy and why.
9. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
10. Where's a place you'd like to visit, but haven't yet?
11. Do you believe in Zodiac signs/horoscopes?

I'm pleased to nominate the following bloggers for a Leibster Award. Next to their name is a link to their blog. Please check them out - they're awesome =)

1. Kristin at Buzz from Becker

2. Renee at Thoughtful Corners
3. Suzanne at Suzanne Classroom
4. Eric at Your Kids Teacher
5. Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning

It will be great to get to know these bloggers more!

Monday, July 22, 2013

An Amulet Movie? YES! Also, our library reminder!


READER ALERT! The Amulet series, written by Kazu Kabuishi, find him on Twitter @boltcity, was probably the most popular read in grades 4-6 last year. Kids couldn't get enough! Can you believe this awesome news? It will be made into a movie eventually! We heard this news directly from the author himself on Twitter, as you can see in this screenshot. READERS REJOICE!

Also, Mr. Kibuishi gives a hint on when to expect Amulet #6:


Don't forget that Seipelt teachers will be at the Milford branch of the library THIS THURSDAY from 4-6 p.m. That's July 25th from 4-6 p.m. Hope to see you there! We'll be there checking out books, recommending books, and encouraging reading. If your child brings their completed READ! board for July, they will get a prize.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/22/13

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

Books I Read this Past Week...  

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarret J. Krosoczka
5 out of 5 stars

Babymouse # 1 by Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm
5 out of 5 stars

Bird and Squirrel On the Run by James Burks
4 out of 5 stars

Fangbone # 2 The Egg of Misery by Michael Rex
4 out of 5 stars

Foiled by Jane Yolen
3 out of 5 stars and not for my fifth-graders!

Currently Reading/Want to Read This Next Week...  

I have several more Lunch Lady books to go. @StudioJJK - I'm savoring them in anticipation of LL #10. Oh yeah, didn't you hear?

I am challenging myself to a lot of reading this week. I have been busy doing other things and I miss my reading time! I am sure we've all been there, #nerdybookclub pals.

The Adventures of Jo Schmo #3 by Greg Trine

The Incredible Rockhead by Nickel & Jennings

Otis Dooda by Ellen Potter
Find her on Twitter @ellenpotter

Fangbone #3 by Michael Rex

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier

Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon M. Draper

Bigfoot Boy #1 by J. Torres and Faith Erin Hicks

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

and I am sooo excited about this one - my newest approval on Net Galley. Can I tell you how much I LOVE Net Galley? No, actually, I can't! Visit and sign-up for a free account at: Net Galley

Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles, only the most awesome and kind author!
Find her on Twitter @JoKnowles

What are you reading, friends?

The Watsons Go To Birmingham TV Movie ALERT!

One of my all-time favorite books ever! =)

Hallmark Channel has announced that The Watsons Go To Birmingham, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, will World Premiere on Friday, September 20 (8pm ET/PT, 7C).

Produced Tonya Lewis Lee, the upcoming film adaptation of the historical fiction novel of the same name by Christopher Paul Curtis, is directed by Kenny Leon (Lifetime's Steel Magnolias remake).

The film's cast includes: Anika Noni Rose, David Alan Grier, Skai Jackson, LaTanya Richardson, Wood Harris, Bryce Jenkins, Pauletta Washington and Harrison Knight.

The book was Christopher Paul Curtis' first novel, and it received a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Golden Kite Award.

The project is part of "Walmart and P&G Present Walden Family Theater," a new series of family movies created by Walmart, P&G, Walden Media and ARC Entertainment.

The film's first trailer is contained within the extended featurette below.

Source: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/79731046.html

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Graphic Novels Can Help Kids Love to Read

Yesterday on Twitter, a friend (@katsok) posted a publication from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. 

First of all, I never knew such an organization existed! It excites me to know there is a movement out there to spread the good news (and benefits) of graphic novels and comics.  

With art by some of my favorite author/artists (especially Raina Telgemeier!!), this publication will be a resource I use this coming year to help the parents of my students understand the learning benefits of graphic novels and comics. 

I have sometimes encountered resistance from parents about offering graphic novels and comics as reading material. I often hear, "That isn't a real book" or "It has too many pictures. Are they really reading?" I always explain to them how I have seen reluctant readers begin to love reading because of amazing graphic novels. However, this publication will allow me to further support how graphic novels are not only good for reluctant readers, but any reader (even an advanced reader). Graphic novels help improve critical thinking, sequencing, and memory skills among many other benefits. So much of what our kids read today is a mashup of many types of text structures, formats, etc. Graphic novels help our students navigate the world of modern reading. 

Enjoy the digital version of this publication and hopefully you'll find a use for it in your classroom this year.


Raising a Reader! How Graphic Novels and Comics Can Help Your Kids Love to Read

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/15/13

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

Books I Read this Past Week...  

I had a great week, due to the amazing nErDcampBC conference in Battle Creek, Michigan, and a few wonderful books that I read. 

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
5 out of 5 stars

Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarrett J. Krosoczska
5 out of 5 stars

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
5 out of 5 stars

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
5 out of 5 stars

Currently Reading/Want to Read This Next Week...  

The rest of the Lunch Lady series. I requested them all from the public library! =) I'm addicted!

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Fangbone # 2 by Michael Rex

Fangbone # 3 by Michael Rex

Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley
I'm having a hard time finishing Spadefoot Toads. My district adopted a set of books that we are required to read with our students next year, as part of a new Common Core reading program called ReadyGen. It has it's nice qualities. I guess I just don't like being told what to read, just like my students!

What are you reading, friends?

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/8/13

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

Books I Read this Past Week...       

Fangbone #1 by Michael Rex
Excellent, funny graphic novel. I had been recommending this all year to my students because of a friend's recommendation, but I finally got to enjoy it myself. The plot is crazy, but hey, it's fun! (4 out of 5 stars)

Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret by Wanda Coven
This book was very cute overall. I felt the writing was very descriptive, especially as Heidi shares her views of the school she is attending and a new bully she encounters. Heidi certainly has a secret alright, but I'll let you read it to find out. A great choice for readers Grades 1-3.
(3 out of 5 stars) 

I am in LOVE with the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka @StudioJJK. It is smartly written and encourages literacy within the book plots. Simply a winner! I can't wait to read all of the others!(5 out of 5 stars - for both)

My author of the moment is former Cincinnati teacher (and National Teacher of the Year) Sharon M. Draper. She is so talented and her talent really comes across in the second book of The Hazelwood High Trilogy, Forged by Fire. I love how she spins an entirely new story about Gerald, but intricately weaves in important events from the first book, Tears of a Tiger. This is a powerful book that will make you feel lucky for your stable, caring family. I can't wait to read the last book in the series!
(5 out of 5 stars)

Main Books I Will Read and Hopefully Finish This Week

Foiled by Jane Yolen

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking

Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

Friday, June 28, 2013

Where's Waldo? Blue Manatee Bookstore Contest!

Find Waldo in Cincinnati

Beginning July 1st, Waldo will be hiding in 25 local businesses around Cincinnati. Come in to blue manatee and pick up a passport, or download one here and you'll know where to look. Take the passport to the locations, find Waldo, and have a member of their staff sign or stamp the passport. When you have 10 signatures/stamps, return the passport to blue manatee to receive a sticker and a coupon for $1 off Waldo books. Keep searching and find 20 or more Waldos and be entered to win prizes from our participating businesses. Prize drawings will take place at our Find Waldo Local Wrap-Up Party on July 31st at 5:30, which will be hosted by Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. 
Waldo FAQs:
What is it?: A city-wide search of local businesses and attractions for Waldo, the famous stripey-shirted character from the Where's Waldo? books.
Who can participate?: Children!
When? The entire month of July.
Where? 25 locations around the city. All addresses of locations are listed on the passport. 
Where can one get a passport? At blue manatee, blue manatee's website or one of the participating locations. 
What's the Grand Prize? A set of Where's Waldo books as well as gift certificates and merchandise from our participating stores.  
What if someone finds Waldo? Each location will sign or stamp their box on the Waldo passport when Waldo is found. 
What if someone finds all 25? They will be recognized at the Waldo Wrap-Up party at blue manatee on July 31st at 5:30, and will be given a prize of some sort (TBD).
What do we do with the passport when 10, 20, or 25 Waldos are found? 
Passports are to be returned to blue manatee for all prizes. Those with 10 Waldos can receive a sticker and a $1 off coupon to be used at blue manatee.
Those with 20 Waldos are entered to win the Grand Prize. Those with 25 Waldos are entered to win the Grand Prize and will be recognized at the Wrap-Up Party.
Do participants need to be present at the Wrap-Up Party to win? No, but it will be a lot more fun if they're there to receive the prize!