Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Percolating Continues!

I am well into my goal of reading, learning and growing this summer.  As Celina said the Arts PD we took part in last week was amazing.  It has me thinking more and more about CCSS in relation to English-Language Arts, which will have me moving into more great books, but first a recap of what has drawn me in these past few weeks:

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban – This was such a sweet and endearing book.  I loved how the main character Mattie Breen takes on the “Custodial Arts” and interacts with her genuinely thoughtful Uncle Potluck.  My favorite line was in the acknowledgements—“This novel, like my first, began as a picture book – a shy girl, a gregarious uncle, and the magical possibility that if we have the courage to speak about what matters most, a real friend might appear, and listen.”  The COURAGE TO SPEAK is a big idea I plan to contemplate all summer, and an appreciation too for Celina who is always willing to listen!

Wonder by RJ Palacio – This book was highly touted on Twitter and I love my PLN because they could not have been more right about a book – IT WAS AMAZING!  I can’t wait for Celina to read it so we can brainstorm a ton of ideas for using it in the classroom with our kids.  I loved Auggie’s courage and the different points of view, but most the precepts that Mr. Browne shared with his class, especially “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” By Dr. Wayne Dyer (this could be our whole social-emotional focus in September!) and “Audentes fortuna iuvat.” (Fortune favors the bold.) by Virgil as we have certainly been called BOLD many times over the last year.

The Passion Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching and Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold – This book has been especially transformational to my thinking and also reaffirming to what we do in our multiage classroom.  Whenever we have pursued student led and goal driven instruction it has been a huge success, and really without pursuing this multiage experience I am not sure I would have recognized the power in stepping back and letting students soar with just standing in "the wings" so to speak.  I can’t wait to apply more of these amazing ideas into our classroom next year! 

So next on the side table/Kindle I am planning to read Choice Words and Opening Minds by Peter H. Johnston and taking part in the amazing #cyberPD that is planned online (see ).  This is just the kind of collaboration and communication that fuels my thinking and enthusiasm for teaching and learning.  In the wings (aka. reading intermittently at the same time) I also would like to finish Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth and Christopher Lehman to better think about implementing the Common Core using the Arts Immersion techniques we learned last week.  In the LITERATURE FOR KIDS pile I am reading aloud the book A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz to my boys at home and THEY LOVE IT!  Next we will read aloud The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, which seems like the perfect different perspective book for two boys who have grown up watching the Disney Princesses flourish via VHS and their older sister. 

Today and every day I am grateful that there are books to be read and lawn chairs to occupy – just bring on the sunny days of July because despite the lazy days of summer I am still percolating! ~Ann


  1. You are reading good books this summer.

    1. Thanks Adam! Feel free to send other good recommendations. I will set up my boys to check out your Guys Read blog as well. So far my daughter picked up A Hero's Guide first, she said she was going to give us her girl perspective on it. Should make for some lively discussion!