Archive for the ‘Personal Reflections’ Category


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I came across this video last night and just had to share it. I loved it!
“With a Piece of Chalk” would make a wonderful discussion or story starter.

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I have always known that online bookstores track the titles I’ve searched for or bought and then suggested additional titles when I re-visit the site.
But recently I read an article in the Wall Street Journal, Your E-Book Is Reading You, about the practice of tracking everything about my reading. I really didn’t realize how much about my reading could be tracked: how fast I read, what I highlighted, whether I finished the book, etc.
Of course, you could turn off the Wi-Fi…but how many of us do that?
Never thought about all this before…did you George Orwell?

At first, I thought…WOW…what an invasion of privacy. But then I thought…well, the book company already has my name, email, credit card number and more, so what difference does it really make? And maybe if a little more info about our reading habits is revealed, some better books will be printed.
For example….not every celebrity can write a children’s book.
But don’t get me started about that!

It also happens that the NBC Today Show had a segment on tracking e-reading today as well. Take a look.

So…what do you think about all of this?

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The smell of Turkey roasting…mashed potatoes and gravy…cornbread dressing…pumpkin pie…and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
A holiday tradition in our house.

As long as I can remember, I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. Who can forget the Kermit the Frog, Horton the Elephant, and Clifford the Big Red Dog balloons?

Now Melissa Sweet has written Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade for children in K-3. The book tells the story of puppeteer Tony Sarg, the man who first invented the helium balloons that have become the trademark of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Have fun using the Activity Kit that goes along with the book.

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Yesterday I got a copy of Wonderstuck by Brian Selznick. By this morning I had read and looked at all 608 pages.
I didn’t think Brian Selznick could top The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but I was wrong. This book is equally remarkable and certainly a contender for many book awards.
Readers can find plenty of reviews of the book….all probably better written than one I could write. My blog is for book news and sharing book-related teaching resources.

But the one thing I want to share that really caught my attention in the book was the Panorama of New York City. When I read and saw that part of the book, I thought to myself…”Wow, I’ve actually seen that.”
In 1964 my grandparents took my brother and me to the World’s Fair in New York City. That trip has been one of my fondest memories. I remember seeing many remarkable things…from the giant Earth sphere to the Ford Magic Skyway to Michelangelo’s Pietà. But I also remember visiting the Panorama of New York City at the fair, and this book brought back all of those amazing memories.

Your students are going to love this book…just as much as adults will.

Teaching Resources for Wonderstruck

  • Activity focuses on fingerspelling.
  • Book Website includes a video of Brian Selznick discussing the creation of the book.
  • Guide includes what you need to know, a summary, discussion questions, and a related booklist.
  • Reading Guide includes questions for discussion and activities and compares it to The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

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The Boston Globe recently published an article on shielding children from scary stories. The books mentioned in the article reflect classic, enduring themes that occur repeatedly in stories from the past and present. It’s true that we sometimes censor parts of the books we read to children. I recall doing the same thing when inappropriate language appeared in a book I was reading aloud to a class. But do we really think these stories are harmful to the emotional health of children?

Be sure to read the article and give your thoughts and experiences.

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It’s hard to believe that The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, one of my favorite books from childhood, is 100 years old this summer.
I can remember reading it one summer lying on the floor in front of the screen door while the cool breeze from the garden blew over me.
Introduce this classic novel to your students.
Teaching Resources:

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