English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: kjaxon

Featured Bloggers Make 6: Jamie B, Elizabeth, Mallory, Sarah, Abby, Kelsey & Sierra

Featured Bloggers Make 6: Jamie B, Elizabeth, Mallory, Sarah, Abby, Kelsey & Sierra

This make cycle was a little different from the rest this semester. Because we are no longer working with our reading buddies, we focused more on finishing our YA novels and Miller, as well as picture book presentations. The Young Adult novel I chose was Stargirl. I decided to read this book because I vaguely remember how popular it was when I was younger; I wanted to see what the hype was about! Now that I have finished the book, I’m glad I did. The book depicted the struggles of love and the life of a high schooler. I really admired Stargirl as a character more than any other character I have ever read about. Everyone wants to be accepted and liked, especially in high school. That is, except for Stargirl. She walks around school not minding what anyone thinks of her, which is awesome. She wears what she wants and carries around a ukulele and sings Happy Birthday to people. I love that she is so unique and care-free, with her free-spirited personality. If only more people could be like her. She always sees the best in people and situations, regardless. It broke my heart at the end when Leo convinced her to change and try to be “normal” so that more people would like her, and stop ignoring him.

We had a few Picture Book Presentations. My favorite was The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock. I loved the illustrations and the story that was told. This little boy fell in love with painting after his aunt gave him a paint box, a noisy paint box in the opinion of the main character. I admired the way the story ended with him painting the way he wanted. Instead of doing the traditional paintings of houses and flowers just like everyone instructed, he preferred and fell in love with abstract painting. I sense a pattern here, with Stargirl and Vasily. Both characters want to do what makes them happy regardless of the expectations of others and I love it.

For this week’s Makes, as a blogger, I observed what groups were doing since these makes were done in class. I really liked what the Stargirl group did. They gathered pieces from Dr. Jaxon’s previous classes and put together an outfit for 

Stargirl. After her outfit was complete, she went out into the real world (Chico State Campus) and sang Happy Birthday, very bravely, to a complete stranger. I loved this Make because it related to Stargirl and what she would have done if she was on campus. She wore a headband with a sunflower in her hair. She carried around pompoms and had a quote on her back which read:

“I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it. I change it.”

One of my favorite quotes in the book because it describes her spot on.

As I observed other groups, I liked how the readers of Going Bovine made the best of their Makes, considering that none of them really liked the book. They each made posters, and included quotes or passages that they did not quite understand from the book. With this, they did research so that they can have a better understanding of the meaning of the book.

Author Bio: My name is Jamie and I am a senior at CSU, Chico. I’m excited to start my career as a second-grade teacher. In my spare time, I love to take outrageously long strides on the beach as the rays of the sunset reflect swiftly off my boyfriend’s beautiful olive eyeballs as we listen to the waves crash ever so beautifully. When I’m not doing that, I like to do arts and crafty things and eat filet mignon.


During the past two weeks in our English class we have been focusing on young adult novels. Our class split into five different groups and each group read a different young adult novel. These books include Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, and lastly, Going Bovine by Libba Bray. I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: I absolutely fell in love with this book and would highly suggest it to any adult reader.

My book is about two teens who fall in love. Eleanor throughout the book is faced with family issues. She also has troubles fitting in at school because she is the new girl in town. Park and Eleanor soon become friends and fall for each other. They’re romance soon ends abruptly.

Throughout these past two weeks, our groups have had many deep discussions about our books. My group tried to relate ourselves to Eleanor or Park while growing up. Many remembered that feeling of meeting someone at school that likes you and you like them back. We also discussed if we would let our students read these books. My group decided that since there are a few cuss words and adult subject matter that we would prefer that high schoolers read the book Eleanor and Park. If any younger age student wanted to read this book I would definitely make sure the parent knew that this book included adult content.

This past Tuesday, our class made our make assignments in our groups. My group decided we would make an updated song playlist that Park would give Eleanor. Our goal was to find 10 songs that we thought worked perfectly. The reason why we decided this is because throughout the book Park would make Eleanor mixed tapes.  My group also tried to stick to newer songs. We all listened to songs and then when we found one we liked we wrote it down on a piece of paper; we collaborated to make the perfect playlist. Once we had the list on paper, a member in our group made a Spotify playlist. Here we had combined over 35 songs!

My favorite make of our entire class was from the group who read Stargirl. This book is about a teenage girl who is eccentric. She goes about life in her own way; she doesn’t mind what others think of her. Throughout the book if it was someone’s birthday at school, she would sing them happy birthday with her ukulele in front of the entire cafeteria. The group who read Stargirl had one of their group mates dress up as Stargirl and then walk around campus singing happy birthday to random people.

 

Author Bio: Mallory is from Carmel, California. She is majoring in Liberal studies, to pursue her goal to be an elementary school teacher. She loves working with young kids so she hopes to be a kindergarten teacher or first-grade teacher. She is 21 years old and loves to travel.


The time has come to wrap up the semester. Let’s buckle up for our final reflection/manifesto!

Before we do that, let’s briefly recap our last few weeks. In week eleven, we finished up our class text of Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, which was a really great text to help get us to think like future teachers and to think about how to create a lovely environment in the classroom for children to become wild readers. You also all saw the picture book presentation of Javaka Steptoe by Jaime B. and myself, and, as a class, we also submitted our graphic novel Makes–it was super fun to try out designing a comic!

In week twelve, we all saw the picture book presentation of Barb Rosenstock by Morgan, Katie, and Leslie and then we started to finish our young adult novels. As a class, we have discussed the different books by analyzing the various characters and then we completed our Make 6 in class. Oh! We can’t forget our most recent picture book presentation! Savannah, Taylor, and Tanpreet showed us the author/illustrator Carol Boston Weatherford and read to us the book called Before John was a Jazz Giant. They ended their presentation with an awesome game of Name that Song and it was a blast! It is extremely important to test your music guessing skills, by the way.

Make Cycle 6 was our last one! This Make was for our young adult novels and we ended up doing this Make as a class on Tuesday the 14th. This was a nice way for our young adult novel groups to collaborate together. The young adult novel I read was called Bone Gap, and it was interesting, but very confusing. Bone Gap was written in a form of magical realism. I haven’t read any magical realism books before this one, so this was stepping out of the box for me. There are quite a few things that go on and nothing ever seems very clear. The story is very disjointed. What I know is that there is a girl Roza who gets kidnapped, there are two brothers, a town with gaps(?) and weird random things happen. I just couldn’t get into this book. I never knew what was going on. It was too confusing and frustrating, so I wasn’t able to finish it. I am the kind of reader who likes to know what is going on, so this book was not for me.

Since we did our last Make Cycle 6 in class, I just wandered and observed a few makes and then ended up back at my original Bone Gap group. Katie Larson and Chantal Hernandez created a specific maze that represented the path Finn had to take to find his way to save Roza from her kidnapper. There were also green dot “gaps” shown that lead to other parallel worlds. This is a good visual representation that depicts the magical realism that is within Bone Gap.

I also enjoyed watching one of the Stargirl groups dress up! A perfect way to become one of the characters from the novel!

Author Bio: Sarah is a senior at California State University, Chico, planning on graduating in the fall of 2018 with her Bachelors in Liberal Studies and she hopes to head into the multi-subject teaching credential program in spring of 2019. Sarah enjoys drinking tea, relaxing and watching Netflix at home, but also loves to go hiking and camping when she can. Her goals for the future are to become an elementary school teacher, buy some land, build a house, and travel.    


This week Savannah, Taylor and Tanpreet did their picture book presentation on Carole Boston Weatherford and her book Before John Was a Jazz Giant. They had a really fun activity for our class after reading this book aloud. They split our class into two teams and they pulled up Youtube to play a game where we had to guess the popular song titles and artist from the 2000s. This was such a fun and engaging game that everyone in class got really into, and it was fun to hear some of the songs that I grew up listening to, that I hadn’t heard in a long time.

We also finished up our young adult novels this week and I read Eleanor and Park. Prior to this class, I always wanted to read this book, and I got so emotionally invested in this novel, I couldn’t put it down. This novel follows the perspectives of two teens, Eleanor and Park, living in Omaha, Nebraska, and their two very different lives that shouldn’t fit together, but somehow fit together perfectly. Eleanor is the new girl at school and comes face to face with the school bullies on her first day when she climbs aboard the school bus. She continuously gets shot down the open seats next to people and as she makes her way to the back of the bus, “right into the belly of the beast.” Park not-so-nicely tells her to sit down next to him, and from there on out, Eleanor’s spot was right next to Park. Once they finally started speaking to each other, they clicked. Although Eleanor had days where she would take out her frustrations from her hectic family life out on Park, he never left her. Eleanor lives with her mother, new husband Richie, who kicked Eleanor out the previous year, and her younger siblings Ben, Maisie, Mouse and Richie Jr. Park lives with his mother Mindy, father Jamie and younger brother Josh, in their perfect in every way house. It takes Eleanor some time to start feeling comfortable being around Parks family, and his mother isn’t too fond of her in the beginning because of the wild clothes, that usually consisted of being mens shirts and tattered jeans. Eventually, Mindy gets past Eleanor’s looks and Eleanor becomes more comfortable being around Parks family. Eleanor and Park’s relationship isn’t always perfect, but they always manage to get over their differences, no matter what they are. Their love story is so much fun to read and I found myself getting butterflies when they kissed for the first time, crying when Tina, the bully, steals Eleanor’s clothes during PE and throws them in the toilet, and completely melting when Park beat the crap out of the guy that wouldn’t quit calling Eleanor names. My favorite quote from this novel was when it was from Eleanor’s point of view:

“Did she miss him? She wanted to lose herself in him. To tie his arms around her like a tourniquet. If she showed him how much she needed him, he’d run away.”

Overall this was a wonderful novel about love, but it wasn’t your typical teen love story. I am so happy that I finally got the chance to read this lovely book and I will definitely be reading it again in the future.

For this weeks makes, they were a little different than the previous ones. Our class created their makes in class and I was sitting and observing Brittanee and Jorden. Like many other peers who read Eleanor and Park, they decided to make their own playlists, the way Park and Eleanor did for each other throughout the novel. They both made their playlists on Spotify, and Brittanee called hers, “Life,” and Jorden called hers, “Life of Jorden.” They both chose songs that were relevant to their lives and songs that they listened to growing up. A few of Brittanee’s choices were: “Hick Town,” “Small Town Boy,” “Single for the Summer,” and “Big Green Tractor.” A lot of their song preferences were country songs, so their playlists were like the country versions of Eleanor and Park’s mixtapes. They seemed to have a lot of fun making their playlists. Jorden did mention that she thought making a playlist would be a lot easier, but they both ended up with awesome playlists that I’m sure brought back so many memories for them.

About the Author: Abby is a Liberal Studies major who hopes to teach anywhere from kindergarten to third grade. She has been working for an After School Program in Oroville for over six years and she hopes to someday teach at the same school. She loves spending time with her family, friends and boyfriend and going to Giants games and Disneyland.


This week as we prepared to begin our vacation to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, we also finished our young adult novels, which happens to be our last book that we will read in English 341. I must say that before taking this course I wasn’t much of a “reader” at all. I think I maybe finished one book in high school by choice and other than that I could never finish a book before getting bored of it. This class has really helped me to get into reading and not do it just because I had to finish a book for class, but because I actually enjoyed the books that I was reading. From seeing makes and reading Goodreads reviews of all the book cycles we went through, all of the book choices seemed like great novels. I even hope to read some of the books that I didn’t get the chance to read for class after the semester is over. I really never thought I would be able to get myself into reading this late in my educational career, but I can officially say that I now enjoy reading and I look forward to doing more of it in the future.

This week’s picture book presentation just so happened to be my favorite one yet. Tanpreet, Taylor, and Savannah did an awesome presentation on Carol Boston Weatherford. From the facts and information they gave on her she seems like such an inspiring and awesome author. Her book was very well written and beautifully illustrated but my favorite part of the presentation was the activity. I found the music quiz idea to be so unique and such a fun activity that all ages can enjoy. It can be tweaked for any age group and allows students to understand the point of the book while having fun with a little friendly competition.

The young adult novel that I chose to read was Bone Gap. If I’m being completely honest this is the one book that I didn’t research before choosing to read. I just picked it randomly without knowing anything it was about and just hoped I would enjoy it. This book was way different than I had expected it to be, but after finishing it, I was pleasantly surprised with the book overall. I found the quest for Roza to be quite thrilling and I truly admired Finn for his determination to find his dear friend despite what the town had said to him.

Finn is truly one of a kind and doesn’t let the opinions of others affect his life choices throughout the book. Even with Petey, everyone had put her down for her looks and treated her badly because they said she wasn’t pretty. However, this didn’t stop Finn from falling in love with her. He didn’t care what she looked like, he couldn’t even really see what she looked like, but he judged her based on who she was as a person and loved her for her which to me was a big theme in the book. There’s more to a person than just their physical appearance which is why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The scarecrow wanted Roza solely for her looks but when she cut herself and that was taken away from her he then wanted nothing to do with her. Sean wanted Roza because he loved her for her despite her physical flaw and that’s what matters. I appreciate a theme like this in a young adult novel because I think this is an important message to get across to teenagers crossing into adulthood. It teaches them a good message that they can connect with. I think this is a great book to read in a classroom setting around the high school age and I think a lot of other students would enjoy it as much as I did.

As for the makes I thought this week’s cycle turned out very well. I think it helped to do them in class and make them a group effort instead of an individual assignment. When I was observing the different book groups, everybody seemed to be working collaboratively for ideas, which I think resulted in very well thought out and cool makes. My group decided to make a maze of the town Bone gap which had Finn starting in one corner with a goal to reach Roza in the middle. The maze had different gaps in it like there was in the story which signified dead ends on our maze. I loved this idea because I think students would have a lot of fun making their own mazes that they could swap with other classmates to see if they could get Finn to Roza or not. It shows how the magical realism was used in the story and is a fun idea that could be used as an activity in a future classroom. Overall everybody did a great job of creating things that fit the book they were reading for this make cycle and I was very impressed with the unique ideas and collaborative efforts among our class.

Author Bio: Kelcy is a third year Liberal Studies major at Chico state and is from Merced, CA. Her goal is to one day be a 2nd grade teacher. She loves being with her family and her English bulldog as well as spending as much time as she can relaxing at the beach.


This last two weeks went by very fast. During the last few weeks have had two different picture book presentations. The first group, Morgan, Katie and Leslie, told us about Barb Rosenstock. Barb is a narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture book author. The presenting group read to us one her books entitled The Noisy Paint Box; the book was all about using music and sounds to create abstract art. As a class, we were all given the chance to create our own works of abstract art. I really enjoyed this activity because it is something you can do with all grade levels and it is also something that allows students to let go of the rules for a second and just feel the pen move in their hands. The second picture book presentation was by Savannah, Taylor, and Tanpreeet on Carol Boston Weatherford. Carol Weatherford writes her books in a poetic, musical way. As a class, we were read Before John Was a Jazz Giant and then we played a music quiz.

This last two weeks we have been reading several different Young Adult books. I was excited to be able to read young adult books since they have always been by favorite genre of books. The book that I chose was Stargirl. Stargirl is a story all about figuring out what it means to stand out. It is set in a small town that’s all about conformity, so when a new girl shows up and completely stands out from everyone, she is bound to make an impact. Stargirl quickly becomes the most popular girl at her school due to how positive and how caring she is for others. One of my favorite quotes comes from Leo who is the narrator of the story:

“Of all the unusual features of Stargirl, this stuck me as the most remarkable. Bad things did not stick to her. Correction: her bad things did not stick to her. If we were hurt, if we were unhappy or otherwise victimized by life, she seemed to know about it, and to care, as soon as we did. But bad things falling on her-unlike words, nasty stares, foot blisters she seemed unaware of. I never saw her look in a mirror, never heard her complain. All her feelings, all her attentions flowed outward. She had no ego”

Out of all the books that we have read this semester, this one was by far my favorite. I have had Stargirl on my bookshelf at home since I was young, but never got around to reading it. I’m glad I was given the chance to be able to do so now. I feel that Stargirl is a timeless book: everyone who reads it can find a personal connection to the story. When I was younger, I feel like I would have really connected to Leo about wanting to just fit in and be normal, but as I have grown up, I have realized that we are all unique and those things that makes us different is what makes us special. I feel that Stargirl gives people the motivation to stand out and be more of who they really are. I also feel that Stargirl promotes kindness. She is always kind to everyone even when it turns against her. We can all learn something from Stargirl.

For our makes this cycle instead of everyone doing them individuality and at home, we worked in groups in class to create our take on our stores. Everyone created unique and cool makes. The first one that really stuck me as cool was the Stargirl group.

They decided to dress one of the group members up as Stargirl and have her run around campus just strutting her stuff. One of the things that Stargirl does in the book is go up to people on their birthday and sing them happy birthday with her ukela. So, that’s what this group decided to do. They found a random girl and sang to her and they soon found out that her birthday was the next day. I thought they did a great job capturing what it means to be Stargirl. Check out this awesome video of Stargirl singing.

Another group that read Eleanor and Park decided to make a Spotify playlist that captures who they were. Even though they thought it would be easy, they found it more difficult but they were able to find a few songs that showed who they are. I thought this was cool because it is so relevant to how daily life. I personally can say that I listen to my Spotify every day and to be able to use that in a classroom is a cool idea. It’s also great for the classroom because I feel that music is not relevant enough when it really should be. Overall, all of the makes this week were really cool because we were able to work together and create something unique.

Author Bio: Elizabeth is a senior at Chico State as a Liberal Studies major and Child Development minor. After graduating in the fall ,she plans on getting her credential at Cal State Fullerton and then moving to Massachusetts to be closer to family and to begin her teaching career, hopefully as a first grade teacher. She is originally from Whittier, CA and she very much misses being only fifteen minutes away from Disneyland.

 


Eleanor and ParkWow, first of all I loved this book!  It was very hard to put down.  The love story was pretty realistic, except that there were a few cliche events that took place.  I loved the messages or themes shown in this book.  One theme is courage.  Eleanor shows courage when she ignores constant teasing at school and she also has courage to go back to the same house that presents a danger to herself and others.  Park has the courage to stand up for Eleanor when she is being teased, and he shows a huge amount of courage toward the end of the story when he helps Eleanor (I am intentionally trying not to give anything away).  Along with these acts of courage the reader also sees characters, like Eleanor’s mother, not use courage when it is needed.  Another theme is love, including it’s power and it’s limitations.  The love shared between Eleanor and Park is very powerful and helps both of them in their current situations.  Park gets closer to his father because having a love interest shows that he is in fact a man.  Eleanor is comforted and supported by Park through all of the turmoil of her home life.  However, the reader also sees the limitations of love in the fact that Park is not able to solve all of Eleanor’s problems as much as he would like to.  

“The first time he’d held her hand, it felt so good that it crowded out all the bad things.  It felt better than anything had ever hurt.”

Eleanor also states that he had, at least temporarily, saved her life.  I love that this story goes back and forth between being from Park’s perspective to being from Eleanor’s perspective.  I have a brewing plan for my boyfriend and I to write a short book together highlighting our most memorable times together, switching back and forth like this book does. :D  First, we are going to read Eleanor and Park together though. :)

The ending is somewhat vague, I’m sure on purpose.  There is not complete closure, so I am hoping that there will be a sequel so that the love story will continue!  Left alone, the very last line is hopeful and forces the reader to either choose to think positively or negatively about what probably happened after the last page.  I choose to think positively! :) How could I not?  I believe their love for each other will always remain… I loved this sweet story so much. :)

Carole Boston Weatherford was a wonderful author to learn about this past week.  I appreciate that her books incorporate people of color to show diversity and celebrate a group of people who are, still to this day, often discriminated against.  I especially loved the activity the group decided to lead.  The “name the song” activity was unlike the other activities inspired by different, famous, children’s book authors.  This one incorporated competition and student collaboration.  There were a lot of laughs, so people were clearly enjoying the activity.  I think it was a creative idea instead of having us do another art project. Well done! :)

For the Make 6 Cycle that we accomplished in class I observed a group of students that had also read Eleanor and Park. Instead of doing individual projects they decided to collaborate by creating a Spotify playlist that symbolized Eleanor and Park’s love story.  Therefore, there were many love songs as well as songs addressing hardship because that represents another significant aspect to the story, especially concerning Eleanor.  Also, my group chose songs from this day and age to modernize this love story and make it more relatable to themselves.  Overall, I feel that it was fun to make this playlist, given that so many of my classmates have music as a common interest.  I have never met someone who doesn’t like at least some type of music.  Everyone was focusing on the message behind the songs, so their genre preference was able to be included as long as the words fit the storyline.  I was impressed with the final project. 

In Miller’s last chapter I really appreciated her idea of encouraging the children to have conversations about their reading preferences; reason: engaging storyline, relatable characters, creative writing style, etc.  This will make them realize what they like about the books they read and loved, and how they can have better luck choosing books they will enjoy in the future.  This is creating their reading identity, although their preferences could change over time, which should be discussed.  I like the idea of having the children partner up and tell another student about their reading genre preference, with support from one or multiple books they read recently.  This chapter has inspired me to do this both at the beginning and end of the school year to compare the children’s responses and observe their growth in reading.  “Preferences are not fixed” (p.169).  

I also enjoyed reading the section of this chapter giving the advantages of graphic novels.  ‘The evidence suggests that light reading provides the competence and motivation to continue reading and to read more demanding texts’ (p.6 from Miller’s p.171).  

Another significant topic in this chapter: “Students reread books for three main reasons: they want to absorb a treasured story into their skin, they want to cement their knowledge of topics and ideas, or they don’t know what else to read” (p.175)  As teachers we need to evaluate which reason it is to help us determine whether or not it should keep happening with a certain child.

We had a great couple of weeks.

YA Novel Make Ideas

YA Novel Make Ideas

YA Novel Make Ideas (choose 1-2 things to do or come up with your own idea for a make)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  1. Create a map of the different universes, planets, and settings within the narrative of Ready Player One. How do you envision the different worlds within OASIS? Take a photo of your finished drawing and share in G+
  2. Use our G+ community to find and share as many of the 80’s references as you can find. Upload links, images, video, etc. How does knowing more of these references change your experience of reading the book?
  3. Use the StoryCubes and play. Try using the characters from Ready Player One in your story.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Develop a photo and article collage from 1980’s publications highlighting some of the most notable hits by the bands mentioned in Eleanor & Park. Can you find any 1980’s articles about the bands? Share in G+
  2. Listen to a few of the songs on the list above. How does this shape your reading of the novel, knowing these songs?
  3. Create an updated playlist: what would Park put on a playlist now? Share a playlist with links to come of the song’s videos in G+

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

  1. Draw the town of Bone Gap. Why do you think it is called this? How is the town a character in the story?
  2. Do some searching for teaching resources for Bone Gap and share them in our G+ community.
  3. You might also look for reviews written about Bone Gap and link to those. Write your own short reflection and review in G+

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

  1. Write a letter to your 15 year old self. What would you say to her/him about conforming or identity? What would your 60 year old self tell your current self? 
  2. Get creative and remix the materials from my past students to make your own representation of Stargirl. Take a photo and share in G+

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

  1. Consider finding some supplementary resources that would be helpful for understanding ideas in the book: Don Quixote, Schrodinger’s Cat, Greutzfeldt-Jacob disease aka Mad Cow disease. How might a deeper understanding of these references influence how you read the book? Post links and resources in our G+ community.
  2. Draw your interpretation of a scene from the novel or a character. Share on G+
  3. Check out these discussion questions from the author’s website and choose a few to talk about.

 

 

 

Reminders: Week 13

Reminders: Week 13

Hi everyone,

You should have received a grade update on Sunday morning. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You should see “exempt” for one of your “make” grades: this means you were a featured blogger for that Make Cycle. All of you have a grade as a featured blogger, except Make 6 bloggers coming up this week. For now, Make 6 bloggers (Jamie B, Sierra, Elizabeth, Kelcy, Sarah, Abby, Mallory) show exempt for the featured blog assignment; that will change once you complete the blogs later this week.
  • I’ll add in the grades for the picture book assignment once they are all complete on Nov 30. If you did your picture book presentation, then you have 20 points for that.
  • I will not accept late work with the exception of Goodreads Reviews, which I will take until we complete the last one for our YA novels this week. So, you have until this Friday (11/17) to finish any Goodreads reviews you’ve missed. Grades still left:
    • Picture Book (20 points)
    • YA Make (in class on Tuesday: 10 points)
    • YA review on Goodreads (5 points)
    • Reflection & Manifesto (30 points)
  • 65 points left. Total points for class: 180

No discussion post on the reading this Tuesday; those are completed now that we’ve finished Miller’s book. You need to give all your attention to reading your YA novel so you can be a good group member on Tuesday for the makes. Hopefully, you can finish by Tuesday or get very close…at least 3/4 of the way. I’ll come with a plan for the makes since we also have a picture book presentation.

 
Savannah, Taylor and Tanpreet: let me know if you need any materials for Tuesday.
*Note for featured bloggers (Jamie B, Sierra, Elizabeth, Kelcy, Sarah, Abby, Mallory): please try to get me blogs by Friday, so you can enjoy break. Pro tip: you could get it started in a Google Doc by writing about your YA novel and talking about the picture book presentation we had on Thursday. You could also talk about your overall take-aways from Miller. Then, when you come on Tuesday, you could have your laptop and take good notes about our makes. All you would need to do is polish those notes up and highlight our makes from class that day and your blog would be ready to share. Just a thought…
Featured Bloggers Make 5: Anna-Lena, Leslie, Katie, Teija, Ben, Sydney, & Isaura

Featured Bloggers Make 5: Anna-Lena, Leslie, Katie, Teija, Ben, Sydney, & Isaura

In class Tuesday, we had time to read our Graphic Novels, discuss them, discuss different prompts given to us, and talk about our buddies. My graphic novel was Anya’s Ghost, and I enjoyed it a lot! I’ve already started looking for other works by Brosgol. I grew up reading graphic novels/comics/manga, so this was a very fast read for me and I re-read it several times. As our group mentioned in class, this is a book you need to know your readers/students well for before you recommend it to them because some themes (body image issues) or actions (sneaking out of school to smoke) might impact different readers (ie. young readers) differently. Speaking to people who haven’t read graphic novels like this much before shone that light on me: I was reading things like this by 6th or 7th grade, but as a group decision, we agreed high school might be an okay time to actually recommend it to a student. Still, there may be exceptions where students might be mature enough to handle this book before high school as well!

On Thursday, Sean, Brittanee and Ariel read Matt De La Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street to us and lead us in a group activity where we discussed when we felt sorry for ourselves, what one good thing in the situation was. It asked us to look at the silver lining of unfortunate things that happen to us. I thought this was a great discussion, and I think kids of all ages could participate in this activity pretty well. After discussing our answers and sharing with the class, we took photos for our 8th grade buddies and took some time to respond to them.

On Halloween, we continued talking about graphic novels, specifically those in the link on page 7 of that handy link. We talked about ideas for activities related to our novels like the ‘read-write-think’ activity, or, because all our novels have some very unique characters, (most of whom I gathered were treated differently from other characters) we thought about including activities to celebrate uniqueness in our future classrooms: What makes you different, and how can you come to terms with that being okay? Then we responded to Reading in the Wild as a whole. We opened a Google Doc to share our ideas with the whole class (Wow, there were a lot of us on there at once!). Personally, my favorite take aways were from the earlier chapters. I really liked Miller’s emphasis on reading every day in class to show it is a valued activity that can be included in everyday life. And with all my classes being reading intensive classes this semester, I must say I would be much further behind in my classes (haha) if I hadn’t thought about “Fringe Reading.” Asking for students to read out loud is a good idea, too, but you have to know your students: I was a very anxious kid if I had to read out loud and none of my teachers caught on, making me hate the idea of reading out loud (I’ve come around now, though. Now it’s not so bad). After we wrapped up our discussions on Miller, we gave feedback on what worked well and what didn’t with the book buddies. Working with my buddy was a great experience and I hope I can find a way to do something similar in an ESL classroom abroad.

On our last day with our graphic novels, we had Jamie and Sarah’s Javanka Steptoe presentation and then we drew self-portraits in Steptoe’s style: don’t stay in the lines, make things look different but the same, and that makes them look beautiful in their own way. I thought this was a fun activity, too (I’m a sucker for time to draw in class!). It also encouraged me to think about drawing in a different style, where even my mistakes were okay and were something I could work off of, instead of erasing them and starting fresh. I think it would be a good activity for kids who have a similar outlook on life.

Now! Onto the more interesting topic at hand! You all had such brilliant makes!

First off, I loved that so many people tried their hands at making comics! So, first, I have to give a shout-out to Megan’s Bunny Villain Backstory comic! I was considering reading Flora and Ulysses, and I think this might make me ask for a copy come holiday time. I’ve never used online comic makers before, so I must say this looks really great, and it really got me to laugh! My former housemate had an evil white bunny, and this got me thinking of Dutchess chewing our carpets and pillows among other things… maybe she was power-hungry and not just hungry-hungry…?

Sarah’s Alternate Ending to Anya’s Ghost has me shivering and wanting more panels. What a cliffhanger! And it totally seems like something plausible, which makes it even creepier! (Great use of time lapse in the “gutter” spaces between each panel, too!!) What would a final show-down between her and Anya even look like? Or would she aim to take down someone else now that Anya has disposed of her? Anya’s friend, maybe?

Kelcy’s Alternate scene for Anya’s Ghost’s party scene was actually a scene I was thinking of taking on in a similar way (if I weren’t writing this!), so it was interesting to see what she came up with! I agree that we need to show more girl power, and I especially think this alternate scene would have fit within the story (this part of the storyline was one that could’ve had more of a final conclusion, in my opinion) just fine without changing the overall structure of the comic much. Anya develops as a character who eventually becomes more likable in that she understands other people better by the end of the comic. I think this would’ve been a perfect way to show that change starting to happen in the book, and it would’ve brought in more conversations between girls who look like they have a lot of differences, but might actually have lots of similarities underneath somewhere.

I’ve been waiting all semester for this unit, and I’ve had a lot of fun looking at these Makes. Thank you all for sharing them!!

Author Bio: Anna-Lena is originally from a city in the Bay Area called San Mateo. This is her 6th year in Chico, and it’s her last semester, which she is both excited and very nervous about. She is a total nerd for manga (Japanese comics), Star Wars, Game of Thrones (go Arya!), Korean Hip Hop and Kpop. She grew up bilingually in German and English by speaking German with her mom, older sister, younger brother, and dog, and English with her dad. She works in the ESL Center on campus. Getting to work with a crowd similar to one she hopes to maybe work with in the future has been an incredibly enriching experience for her: she’ll be sad to leave it when she’s no longer a student in the spring.


There is a lot that has been happening in these two weeks: we have finished our graphic novels, we have reached the last chapter of Miller’s Reading in the Wild and we also had our last book buddy response!

For our 5th Make Cycle we read graphic novels. Kim Jaxon provided us a list of various graphic novels to chose from which were: Smile, Anya’s Ghost, El Deafo, Roller Girl, and Flora and Ulysses.The book I read during this make was Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Smile is a graphic novel memoir that shares her 6th grade experience through some of her sophomore year in high school. She shares the moment she got her braces and the frustration of fitting in, going to dentist appointments, the start of  boy trouble and her friendships in school. I think it is a great book for school aged children to relate to their experiences growing up. Telgemeier highlights the awkward stages of what it is like to go through puberty and transition from elementary to middle school. She also discusses the first encounters of boys and first relationships. I definitely related to many of these “issues” that were in the book! For example, when going back to my middle school self, I laughed at the things that I thought were stressful when they were really far from being problematic.

Overall, this book was an enjoyable book to read. Raina Telgemeier captures the emotions that every teenager goes through when transitioning to adolescence. This book has a lot of lessons for children to learn from. For example, Raina realizes that her friends are not very respectful to her and decided to go separate ways and finds a group of friends she’s comfortable with. When her braces are removed, she feels she has “been letting the way she looked on the outside affect how she felt on the inside” (206). She then started to focus on her interests and she then found herself to be happy and accept herself. I think this is a great lesson for school age children to learn from.

Having worked with our graphic novels it introduced the class and myself on how to incorporate graphic novels into the curriculum. For example, a takeaway I got from reading graphic novels is I can amend curriculum where students are asked to do their own comic strip using various websites/links to create their own memoir. I think this is a fun exercise to do with students because it promotes creativity. My classmates attempted to create their own graphic novel/ comic strips for their Makes.

For this Make, Morgan also read the book Smile and I really liked how she posted pictures of herself when she wore braces. I thought this was a fun Make because it showed how she could relate to the author’s’ experiences.

Another Make that stood out to me was Alison’s. Alison read the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. Roller Girl is about a girl name Astrid who is twelve year old. Astrid has been best friend Nicole and they have done things together. When Astrid signs up to join a camp of roller derby, she assumed Nicole will do the same. But Nicole does not sign up for roller derby. Nicole finds her own interests and builds other friendships. Astrid then finds time to know who she is and prepare for the roller game. In Alison’s make she does a comic strip that highlights how it’s normal to grow apart from childhood friends. I think this book relates to many individuals who have a best friend and then lose that chemistry due to growing up. In her story jumper she uses visuals and no words to carry the message of friendships disintegrating. I think this book is great for students to help them cope with future friendships that grow apart.

Book titled 'In Pictures and Without Words'Read this free book made on StoryJumper

In the chapter of “Wild Readers Show Preferences,” Miller captures the idea of how important is to acknowledge the genre students are intrigued in. For example, students might enjoy reading graphic novels, free verse, non fiction, fiction, series, one specific genre or books by the same author, but it is important to expose wild readers to a wider range of books, which helps teachers make recommendations for their similar interest in reading. I agree that having determining what books each student has it “reveals a lot about student’s reading experiences and book knowledge and provides us with information about whether students have read… and comes from wide reading and lots of positive encounters with the books” (Miller 167).

After reading this chapter, something I found intriguing was how Miller encourages readers to reread their favorite book. Rereading strengthens a reader’s retention and comprehension: “students reread books for three main reasons: they want to absorb a treasured story into their skin, they want to cement their knowledge of topics and ideas” (175). I also like the ideas that students should be allowed to read comics and graphic novels because it only engages them to read books and become avid readers.

Coming to an end in Miller’s guidance to help future educators create positive reading communities–to promote lifelong readers–has become a great opportunity to help my future students engage in reading activities. Miller has great insights on various topics on how to get students to participate in reflect in their reading practices to strengthen their understanding and love for literature! In class we shared a Google Doc to help us tie in all the takeaways we got from Reading in the Wild. Having this Google Doc will help us prepare and create our Manifesto/ Reflection Final Paper.

To conclude these two weeks, we also came to an end with our adventure with our Book Buddies in Palm Desert. Reading with 8th grades has been such a rewarding and memorable experience I have ever done in my English classes… or any class before.

For my book buddy experience, I read Butter by Erin Jade Lange. The book has a dark comedy tone. This book was an enjoyable book to read; I was not able to put the book down. The book is about a boy who weighs 423 pounds and everybody knows him as “Butter” due to a bullying incident. Butter’s mom has given up hope for her son to lose weight and his dad sees Butter as a disappointment and has been distant from his son ever since he gained weight. Butter has no friends: he is seen as a obese kid who eats alone.

One day Butter experiences humiliation in the cafeteria. He then makes a website declaring his suicide on New Year’s Eve, saying he is going to eat himself to death. In Butte’s surprise, the whole school encourages him and overnight he becomes popular. Butter starts to have friends and becomes outgoing, talks to his crush. He enjoyed the attention, but he realized that he was only a “show.” No one is interested of getting to know him, besides seeing the “big” kid end his life. The book is a great book for students to read. Some themes of this book are acceptance, popularity, anti-suicide, bullying, which are common situations students experience in school and outside of the school system.

I really enjoyed the opportunity Dr. Kim Jaxon gave my class to read with 8th graders, I think it is a great idea for schools to be open to do. It allows the students to be engaged and be heard. When I get my teaching credentials I will sure hope to have the opportunity to work with future teachers with Kim Jaxon.

Author Bio: I was born in Pomona, CA. I come from a Mexican culture. I am an introvert. I am family oriented. My mom, my three sisters, and my boyfriend are my family. I enjoy reading, running, organizing, binge watch anything on Netflix, eating and sleeping. I am a Liberal Studies Major with a Child Development Minor. I hope to teach in a kindergarten-fourth grade classroom near my hometown.


After a few weeks working with our 8th grade book buddies from Palm Desert we have finally finished. Overall I loved working with Mrs. Bohn’s class. The book I read was Scrawl and my book buddy was Robert. Each week he brought up new, interesting questions that we then discussed. It was a nice way to get to know him and what he finds to be important while reading a story. He even thought of who to cast if the book was to be made into a movie! This is something I never would have thought of but I think it is a great way for students who love pop culture to draw it into their books. Seeing as so many books are now being made into movies another cool idea is for students to read the book and then watch the movie in class and compare the two.

This week in class we finished our graphic novels. We even talked in our book groups how to teach with graphic novels. The book I chose to read was Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. The book is about a teenager, Anya, who is struggling to find a balance between the American lifestyle and her Russian roots. She shows signs of body dysmorphia, which can be upsetting to many readers who may feel a connection to Anya’s struggle. One day on her way home from school Anya takes a stroll through the park. As she is walking, she falls into an abandoned well. At the bottom, Anya becomes fearful when she sees a skeleton, but she is petrified when she sees the ghost of who the skeleton once belonged to. Emily tells the story of her murder and how she ended up in the well. You pity the poor child and grow to like her. However, after Anya finds herself leaving a party without her crush in tow, Emily grows very impatient. Turns out Emily was not murdered but she was the murderer of her own love triangle. Personally this has been one of my favorite books so far. It was a real page turner. After finishing the book my group and I decided that we would recommend Anya’s Ghost for 9th or 10th graders since it deals with such heavy topics. The book covers topics like citizenship, bullying, smoking, partying, religion, and murder. You really feel for Anya and her life. At some point in all of our lives we do not know what we want or the direction we are heading in. However, Anya goes through all of the emotions we feel and comes out a stronger person. It shows two sides of dealing with heartbreak. Anya takes in the embarrassment and pain and turns it into angst. However, Emily took her heartache and murdered two people. The book is a great way to talk about the right and wrong way to handle situations. Also karma got Emily. No one wants to be like Emily. The book also shows how you do not know what people are going through. Everyone thinks that Elizabeth is perfect yet we see how she is in a loveless relationship and unhappy. I took away being nice to everyone (even someone like Dima), never assume what you know someone is going through, love can drive you crazy, and trust no one.

For our graphic novel makes I noticed a cool common trend. Everyone was creative and pushed themselves to think outside of just drawing. There were quite a few people who used websites for comic strips, roller derby team flyers, and collages. Many people who read Roller Girl drew themselves into the book and we got to see how they would have reacted to the bullies. Another book people read was Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Morgan Carrico did an amazing job with her make. She found images of herself from the time she had braces! Morgan stated that she liked the book because of her ability to relate to the main character. Morgan states, “I remember how much I was teased and made fun of for having braces, which looking back on it now I do not understand why I cared so much!” She also talked about how the book teaches young students to be yourself and don’t listen to what anybody else thinks about you. It cool to see yourself as the main character of any book and Morgan really shows us that.

Another make I loved was by Hailee Van Housen. Hailee also read the book Anya’s Ghost like me. For her make she decided to create a comic strip of the teenage high school struggle of day dreaming. Like Anya, Hailee’s character deals with a crush and feeling distracted. Hailee talks about the high school struggle we all have come to know. Her comic strip was a great way to relate back to the book seeing as we have all been know to wander off during class at some point or another. 

This week we also looked at Miller chapter 5. This chapter covered how wild readers show preferences. One cool thing I found was how students polled their favorite books and one of the book on the list was Smile, which was one of our book choices. This was great because it showed how we can use all of the book options from class for our future students. Miller also went into how readers can differ vastly. Some students may prefer one genre or author. This can be difficult if the author only has limited books. It is great to push readers outside of their comfort zones and find new favorites. Miller also goes into how some students enjoy certain series or graphic novels. It is very important for teachers to learn what their students enjoy reading to help push them to go further. One great thing to do is to have students rate their favorite genres on a graph. This was a cool idea because it allows you to see how much they enjoy one topic or genre. If they just had to rate them on a scale of say 1-5 or rank them you cannot tell how much more they like one more than the other. I am so thankful for Miller and her book. I have learned so much from her. I myself have never thought of myself as a reader, but I now have a better understanding of how to become a wild reader. Also shoutout to Miller for all of the amazing worksheets and reading logs in the back of the book!

Author Bio: Katie Larson is a Liberal Studies major at Chico State. Her goal is to one day teach anywhere from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. After college, she plans on moving back to the Bay Area and begin teaching.


These past two weeks we started wrapping up replying to our amazing book buddies and finished reading the books. The book I read was Counting By 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I had to catch up reading it because I had so much school work to do, but I really liked this book. Honestly, I feel like my book buddy could have responded more, but we did have really good conversations and it looks like most people had really great conversations with their book buddies! After a class discussion it seems like almost everyone enjoyed this activity; the only thing we would change would be not having the website this activity takes place on be Padlet. This website is very limited and glitchy: there are probably better options out there to really make this activity work the way it is intended to. Overall I really enjoyed this activity and think this greatly benefited us as future teachers as well as the eighth graders!

After reading Miller chapter 5 here are the most important parts I took from the chapter. First of all, Miller discusses that

“It is easy to connect with students who like the same books we do, but we cannot let our personal reading preferences become biases that limit students’ reading” (167).

She discusses how sometimes her students may vote on a book to read that she is not thrilled about reading, but she needs to let them read it because that is what they want to read.

Another main point in this chapter is types of reading preferences: “Preferences are not fixed. Wild readers move between different types of reading material depending on their needs and interests at any given time. As readers and texts become more sophisticated, tastes may change” (169). Its important to know these different types of preferences so you can help determine books for your students. Another important aspect of this chapter is re-reading books. Miller talks about re-reading books and how she always re-reads her favorite books over winter breaks. It is totally fine to let your students re-read books but you have to “determine why they want to re-read a text” (175). Because in some cases students re-read the books because they love the book, but it’s not a good strategy to let them return to the book because they have nothing else to read. Overall this was a very useful chapter and gave some very good advice about readers preferences. Also this was the last chapter in Miller’s book: this whole book is very useful and has giving us so many useful tips to use in our future classrooms!

The graphic novel I choose was Smile, which is an autobiographical graphic novel written by Raina Telgemeier. This book is about the author and her life from 6th grade to high school. This book is a classic tale of the life of a young girl growing up: it is a great book for anyone because everyone has their fair share awkward moments and challenges growing up. In this case it is about Raina and how she has to have a very long set of braces, and this books goes through the pain she went through mentally, emotionally and physically, on top of going through middle school and starting high school.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but over I really enjoyed this graphic novel, I think it is a book adults can relate to because they have been through event like this already, and students can relate because they could be going through a similar situation right now. Also I think graphic novels are really appealing to students because they are still reading a book, but it is almost all pictures. It still keeps you interested and still requires you to pay attention because there are key points in the pictures and if you don’t look at the pictures you may miss something important!

One of the makes that stood out to me was created by Shannon Tatman; the book she read was Roller Girl. Shannon found pictures that represented the book and made a flyer for Roller Derby tryouts at Cal Skate! This make stood out to me because it is still a graphic and something we could have our students do in our future classrooms!

Another make I really liked from Smile, the book I read, was Morgan Carrico’s make! Smile is about a young girl who goes through all of middle school and the beginning of high school with braces. They were really painful for her physically and even mentally, because well, we all know how these young kids can be! She was really embarrassed and just wanted everyone to like her but her braces made her really self-conscious and some of her friends even made fun of her. She went though a lot and I know a lot of us can relate. I didn’t have braces, but I did have a retainer and it was still a painful and a very self-conscious time for me. I really liked Morgan’s make because it was very brave of her to post something like that, and I feel like we need to help our future student be accepting of themselves and other students! To end I really liked what Morgan had to say about the book Smile: “This book teaches young students to be yourself and don’t listen to what anybody else thinks about you.”

Author Bio: Teija Gregory is a senior liberal studies student with a minor in special education, who is graduating in the spring. She plans on going into the concurrent credential program here at Chico State fall of 2018. She plans on becoming an elementary school teacher hopefully for grades K-3. She is from Rocklin, CA and some of her favorite things include Disneyland, Puppies and Pinteresting! Above she is pictured with her boyfriend Shawn!


These last couple of weeks have been quite eventful. We had a couple of fantastic picture book presentations thanks to Sean, Brittanee, and Ariel, and Jamie and Sarah. Sadly, we also had to bid farewell to our 8th grade reading buddies. I believe most of us had a great experience discussing our books with our intelligent prodigies. Another Chico Halloween has come and gone, probably for the better, although I do hope everyone enjoyed themselves and ate plenty of candy.

Well, moving on from the fun and games, our class was assigned to read and discuss Chapter 5 from Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. Miller is an inspirational teacher, writer, and wild reader, who appears to be fueled by the power of books and reading. In Chapter 5, Miller discusses reading preferences and the benefits of providing choices to her students. After reading the discussion posts by my peers, it is evident they comprehended Miller’s message. Miller stressed the importance of knowing your students reading preferences. I really appreciated a comment from Brittanee G.:

This would lead me to find out what my students are interested in, then I could help recommend books that would interest my students.”

I thought this was amazing because teachers need to know their students in order to help them succeed. It also helps develop a positive teacher-student relationship.

Now, the makes for the graphic novels we read were fantastic! I was really impressed with all of the Pixton-generated makes. Aside from typing, computer-based tasks are quite difficult for me (and I’m not even good at typing), so I find them to be very impressive and creative. Despite this, it was Colleen’s make, “How to Survive Braces,” that stood out the most to me. I’m sure all of us have dealt with difficulties and struggles and imagined, “If only I knew then, what I know now.” Also, we have needed the classic, “It’s going to be okay,” and for some magical reason, it seems to help. Those are the feelings I imagined when I read her make.

I felt many similar feelings from reading the other posts and makes, as well. It’s part of the reason why I liked reading and learning about these graphic novels. Each one seemed to teach the reader a powerful lesson about overcoming social struggles. Smile tackled bullying and accepting one’s self, Flora & Ulysses handled parent-child relationship struggles and the power of imagination, Anya’s Ghost taught you to be strong and stand up for yourself, Roller Girl showed that friendships are difficult when you begin to grow apart, and El Deafo taught us the right way to treat each other, despite disabilities. These were my interpretations and hope they are accurate because the messages are warming: and I would prefer to live in that bliss.

Author Bio: Ben is 23 year old senior at CSU, Chico. After graduation, he hopes to attend University of Nevada, Reno, with the goal of receiving an M.A. or M.Ed. in special education. He plans to work in special education and student support services when completing college. He loves sports, particularly soccer, and most physical activities.


Over that last two weeks we have said our goodbyes to our lovely eighth grade book buddies and moved on to tackle or graphic novels. The book I chose was El Deafo by CeCe Bell. El Deafo is a wonderful story about Cece, a young girl who loses her hearing due to meningitis as a child. In the book, Cece faces many challenges in the “hearing world.” Cece feels disconnected because she can’t read lips, she feels frustrated with others for treating her like she’s mentally incapable, she has difficulty finding true friends and she experiences her first crush. I loved this graphic novel: it was extremely realistic and altogether a super easy read with a lot of real life situations to think about. 

I almost fell off my chair laughing at Alison’s make cycle for Roller Girl (see above). Roller Girl is about a girl named Astrid trying to survive junior high; from what I can tell this book is themed around friendships. Alison discusses how it reminded her of friendships that had faded away throughout life. Alison’s creation was genius. The story she created is purely visual, no words included but you can easily follow. From the beginning, there are two friends and sweet little pup in the back. Then comes the handsome boy and the friends separate: one of the friends away with her boyfriend and the other stuck with the loyal dog. The couple moves on with life and brings a new baby into the world and the old friend is still single with her loyal dog. I’m sure on some level we can all relate to this. I for sure thought I would be collecting cats and wearing muu muu’s growing distant from my friends, but my story didn’t turn out that way. However, that was a fabulous make that really captures what growing apart looks like. 

Morgan Carrico made another make cycle that really caught my eye! Morgan read Smile by Raina Telgemeire: this graphic novel seemed to be a huge hit for the class. Morgan’s make cycle stood out because she shared something personal about how she could relate to the book. I enjoyed hearing about “fitting in” and how we should really just stop and encourage each other to be our authentic selves. We shouldn’t listen and let other opinions of ourselves dictate our lives. I’m seriously excited to read this book. As a young girl, I had seriously crooked teeth, like literally I ate concrete during a game of dodgeball in the hood with boys one day. A little FYI: never laugh with your mouth open and fall face first, the ground will win every time. I spent a year with a retainer that had a key to tighten it, and another year and a half with braces. My face didn’t smile during those years, and when it did kids would call me “snaggle tooth.” Totally cool now because my smile’s pretty sweet, and all those kids went through awkward phases so I guess we’re even. Morgan thanks for sharing!

This week we discussed Chapter five of Reading in the Wild. Miller discusses book preference. A student’s book preference is so important! As a teacher, it’s valuable to understand your student’s book preferences to not only recommend more books to them but to get to know them. Having a book preference will help motivate your students to read. I know Miller talked a bit about how she wasn’t much into some genres her students were but it wasn’t about her so she would never try to steer them away from what they preferred. It was her job and ours as teachers to make those genres available to her students to encourage them to read. Miller also discusses re-reading books and I felt this was very interesting. I had never reread a book until I was forced to re-read Lord of the Rings with a high school class I volunteered in. Miller talked about how rereading a book can help you comprehend the book and notice things you’ve never noticed before. Altogether I feel that Miller showed us the importance of taking interest in your students: when you understand how they work and why they work you can help them have a happy successful education, and cultivate a love of reading for your students. 

Author Bio: Sydney is a senior here at Chico State, majoring in Liberal Studies planning to attend Chico State’s credentialing program fall 2018. She works with K-2nd grade for a local STEM based school. During her free time, she enjoys antiquing, kayaking, and spending time with her “fur” children. 


We have finally completed our time with our book buddies and honestly it was so much fun! My book that I read was Mexican White Boy. My buddy had very good things to say when we had our back and forth conversations and I learned a lot by our short time we had. Even though they were just 8th graders, they would respond like I was talking to a high schooler. I didn’t know if they would put a lot of thought to their writing, but it was really good. I learned that I may have a group of students who will be able to be more advanced in vocabulary than their average grade level and I need to be able to work with that and make sure to challenge them by encouraging their advancement.

Everyone’s Makes look really cool! This is our Make 5 with our graphic novels. I really enjoyed how students made their own graphic scripts. I really liked how Alondra Alviar did her own interpretation of tying a yarn to her key because it is something she won’t leave without. Anya apparently did enjoy the ghost being with her, so she tied the bone to her, and the ghost would go everywhere where Anya went.

I really liked Jorden Weiher’s make as well. She used the characteristics from her novel to make a comic strip of how the character Cece felt. From the strip I can tell that Cece doesn’t really say her feelings out loud but she realizes that she should say them because then people will keep doing what they are doing even if she does not like it. It will still be hurting her or just bothering her.

Author Bio: Isaura is a junior at Chico State and a Liberal Arts major with a minor in Special Education. She loves food and hikes and she is the oldest of three.

Make 4 Featured Bloggers: Alondra, Chantal, Hailee, Jody, Brittanee, Taylor, & Ariel

Make 4 Featured Bloggers: Alondra, Chantal, Hailee, Jody, Brittanee, Taylor, & Ariel

 

Make Cycle 4 had a variety of books. I enjoyed that throughout all of the books everyone’s makes followed a theme. I loved how the makes I chose specifically all had something to them that was relatable in my personal life. Brown girl Dreaming was a touching and moving free verse that Savannah made a Pinterest board for and who doesn’t love Pinterest? Both Tanpreet Sahota and Morgan Carrico collaborated and made a cake for the book The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. I enjoyed how the entire concept of the book was wrapped up in one delicious basketball cake. I also think it’s pretty cool through reading these books that the both of you were able to collaborate from these books and enjoy your cake as you did so! Sierra was also able to create a video that I enjoyed so much!  

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woods is a touching and moving free verse memoir of Woods’ life. It was beautiful writing with quotes that tugged at the heart strings. Savannah Avila made this beautiful Pinterest board based off of the author. Savannah decided to make a Pinterest board for Jacqueline Woods as a child – she included things she thought she would wear, quotes and role models she would find empowering, foods she would like to eat, etc. She says, “It was actually really fun to make and made me think hard about her character in the book!” I was lucky enough to have read this free verse memoir as well. I could relate to a lot in this book and the poems were so touching I am glad Savannah was able to recreate a person who is empowering other through her writing. So yeah, I added my book’s name under my picture on purpose. Good job Savannah!

For this make Morgan read the book The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This free verse novel is more than just about basketball: it’s a book about friendship, family, courage, sportsmanship, academics, fairness and two brothers coming together for the love of the game. Morgan decided to bake a basketball cake that she would bring to Chuck, the boy’s father, celebration of life. The love of the game and the love for their father is what makes the brothers realize that all they have are each other. Tanpreet also agrees and says the cake represents the storyline of all the events that happen just like all the ingredients that make the cake. The book had so much life lessons in the book that can help children learn from them. Just like ingredients you need to make a cake these lessons shaped the main character. Once the cake came together it was like the story came to an end. Good job on your make and awesome collaboration!

Sierra made a video inspired by the story.  She was able to find connections between this story and the story told in the musical Miss Saigon.  She chose two songs to sing and give a brief introduction for both. You did such an amazing job Sierra, good job!

For this week, we read Miller’s Chapter 4 and thought it had some great insightful ideas! The chapter has ideas about how to help keep students motivated, especially during breaks where we notice most children do not pick up books. We need to help encourage our students and find creative ways on how to motivate them on how to stay reading always and learn how to love reading, even if we are on long breaks where there are no teachers. Now it is important to note that sometimes students pick up a book and realize they really don’t like it, which is okay to admit; we as future teachers need to realize that this will occur and to help keep kids motivated help them find a book together that sounds more appealing to them. Not every book is for every student, and that’s okay, we just have to remind our students to keep an open mind when reading, and if still not interested move onto the next. The main goal is to ensure they love reading. We don’t want to destroy that by forcing every student to read a book even if they don’t like it. We want to help find the reader in every student by encouraging them.

Author Bio: Alondra Alviar is 5’7 and stands very awkwardly. She has been in Chico for over four years now and enjoys every day at her beautiful campus. She is a bit shy but she loves people and all living things. She has two younger siblings that look up to her and she doesn’t want to let them down. She is excited to become a teacher in the near future.


Flashback to the past two weeks…

       We have been working with our amazing book buddies! My book is Butter and to be honest I am reading way ahead. It is just such a good book! I really enjoy talking to my book buddy. She is great and we are both enjoying the book. I have to go back and re-read because we are only supposed to talk about a certain section, but because I am so into the book I have to read again so I won’t spoil it for her. We also made bookmarks for them! I hope they all like them. The book mark I made for my bookmark was cute and I hope she loves it! I saw many amazing ones and I can’t wait to hear from them! 

We have been reading our free verse novels and Miller. This is a little summary about Miller and my free verse novel. Chapter 4 of Miller: I really like the idea of planning for readings over break. It keeps the students busy and they get to pick the book that they want. The students seem pretty excited about it. Though personally I don’t think I would be to happy to have to read over break. I also like that they do the reading reflections about the books that they read. There is an example on the chapter that shows a student’s work. He is very honest about the books and it looks like he didn’t really enjoy them. I like how he is being truly honest because when I was in school I felt like I had to lie and say I didn’t like the book because it would probably affect my grade. I have the book Enchanted Air. To be very honest I am not really enjoying this book as much as I enjoyed the other books I have  read so far. This book is about a girl whose mom is from Cuba and her dad is from the United States. She compares both Los Angeles and the tropical island. She talks about her dad and her mom and she also talks a bit about her grandma. To me it seems like she likes Cuba more than she likes LA. She also shares stories about herself like the first time she was on the airplane and her time in school.

In the last two weeks, we also had two fantastic presentations on children’s book authors Lauren Castillo and Yuyi Morales. For the author Lauren Castillo, the presenters Hailee, Jorden and Alison read to us the book Nana in the City. The activity they had us do was to draw a cape and inside the cape draw things that make us feel safe. For the author Yuyi Morales, presented by Ben, Jody and Jodi, they read to us the book Niño Wrestles the World. The activity we did for this presentation was to draw a mask. 

I really liked the makes for cycle 4! It was hard to pick a few to talk about. Leslie Mendoza- Garcia, your free verse poem left me speechless. It made me tear up because I can relate and I know a lot of us can. You’re not the only one who feels fear; I fear too.

We still experience discrimination despite of what are birth certificate says: “U.S citizen”

They call us “illegals,” “uneducated,” “drunks,” “gang affiliated”
They have buried us

It’s hard to dance when there is weight in my shoulders of all the hatred of my beautiful Mexican roots

It saddens me that we have to live that way. I am protected by DACA but us who are currently protected have no idea of what will happen to us as of now.  I have been in the U.S. since I was one, and I know I belong here just like many of us. Thank you for such an amazing free verse poem and expressing the way you feel with us.

The other free verse that I enjoyed was Kimberly Wright’s My Mom and Me. Moms always know best! My mom is also my best friend and I thank her for everything she has kept me from doing like getting snake bites in middle school. She also said, “You’ll thank me later” and I did. Moms are amazing. Your story was very relatable.Book titled 'My Mom and Me'//www.storyjumper.com/book/index/45180346/My-Mom-and-MeAuthor Bio: Chantal Hernandez-Sierra is a Liberal Studies, Bilingual major. She would really like to teach Kindergarten – 2nd grade. She is from Riverside, CA. She enjoys going to the beach and eating a lot of fruit. She also loves sushi, all day, everyday.


This Make Cycle we have spent a lot of time working with our book buddies.  Our class has partnered up with an eighth grade class at Palm Desert Charter Middle School.  We have chosen a few books for each class to read and then we write with the eighth graders about the books.  My buddy and I are reading the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. The book is about a girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy and cannot move or talk. Because of her disability, people assume she is not very smart. Not only is Melody extremely intelligent but it seems that she has a photographic memory.  She tells her story about her struggle to communicate and to show everyone just how smart she really is. I absolutely loved the book and writing to my book buddy about it was very fun.  It was so interesting to see what the eighth graders had to say and the thoughts they had about the books.  We even made bookmarks for our buddies with their names on it and a quote from the book. The quote I chose was, “Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes-each one delicate and different.” I loved this quote and it really summed up how the main character Melody felt about words because she was unable to talk.  

Besides Out of My Mind, I have been reading the book Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  This is one of the free-verse novels that our class is reading.  Since it is written in free verse, it is very different than things that I usually read and I will admit that it took me a little bit to get used to it.  The author, Jacqueline Woodson, is an African-American woman who was born in the 60’s during the Civil Rights Movement.  The book is about her life and growing up in the South where, even after the Civil Right’s Movement, racism is still very much alive. One of the quotes I liked from the book was, “We all have the same dream, my grandmother says.  To live equal in a country that’s supposed to be the land of the free.”  

In previous Make Cycles, a lot of the makes people did were drawings.  This Make Cycle we wanted to try and stray away from that and do something different.  I was really impressed by the makes and a couple really stood out to me.  One of the makes I liked was Abby’s make.  She read the book Inside Out and Back Again.  The book is about a family who has to flee their home in Vietnam.  Abby packed a suitcase of the things that she would bring with her if she had to flee home.  She even put her dog in the suitcase which I thought was very cute. 

Another make that really stood out to me was Sierra’s.  She also read the book Inside Out and Back Again.  Sierra said she made a connection between the book and the musical Miss Saigon.  She made a video of herself singing a couple of the songs from the musical.  Sierra has an amazing voice and was very animated.  She even dressed the part and you could really feel the emotions when she was singing.  I really enjoyed her make and everyone else’s.  It was nice being able to enjoy everyone’s make without having to worry about making my own, especially since this Make Cycle everyone was so creative! 

Author Bio: Hailee Van Housen is a senior at Chico State. A few things that make her happy are puppies, tea, music, and the holidays. She loves school and is so excited to have her own classroom in the future.


Over the last couple of weeks, we have had great conversation with our book buddies as well as finishing our free verse books. I’ll first talk about my fantastic book buddy. My book buddy Natalie is amazing. She has been on top of all of her posts. She will pull multiple quotes from the book and give her opinion on them. Then asks me my opinion. She also poses questions that makes me think about something in the book that I had not thought of. An example of Natalie keeping me thinking is “Or another thought that crossed my mind is that what if the letters are written by Danny but in the future?” Natalie would ask questions like this throughout our time as book buddies. She asks questions about the book that makes you change your thought about something in the book. She kept her mind open when it came to thinking of what the author was trying to portray in the story. I have loved having her as a book buddy. The way Natalie breaks down the book and thinks about makes me very excited. She has so many thoughts of why the author used a certain word to describe something. It’s very interesting to see how and why she was thinking about something that happened in the book.

This week as a class we finished our free verse book. The book I chose to read this time around was Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. This is a story about a little girl Ha and her family fleeing Vietnam during the war with the United States. When reading with story I had a mix of different emotions going through my head. It was a very inspiring book. I think I got hooked by this book because of the stories in this book were real and told by someone who had to actually go through the events. I don’t really like free verse books or poetry in general. When I think of poetry I thinking of rhyming words or lyrics by Shakespeare. But this book may have just changed my thinking about poetry.

Some other free verse books that were read by my fellow classmates were The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This week no one was allowed to draw a picture for their make, so everyone came up with great unique examples that portrayed their make. But a couple of Makes for the book The Crossover were Morgan and Tanpreet’s cake. Their make stuck out to me because I love cake. I think cake is one of the greatest creations ever made. Thank you Greeks for cake! 

One other make from the book The Crossover that caught my eye was the free verse by Jodi Steigerwald. She wrote her own free verse but uses the same layout that can be found in the book. I thought this was a great idea because this gives a sense of what reading the book was like without actually reading the book.

Rhy•thm
[ri-t-hem]
movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by
the regular recurrence or natural flow of
related elements;
the repetition in a literary work of phrase

As in: Jazz music has a
Unique kind of Rhythm to it unlike
pop music which has the same
Beat and Rhythm

As in: My Mom has absolutely
No Rhythm but my
Dad can sway like a palm tree
In the wind to the beat of a song

As in: Every poem has it’s own
Rhythm but The Crossover
Has a hip hop groovin’
Type of Rhythm

Brown Girl Dreaming had some amazing makes as well. One that I thought was great and I could use in my classroom was Katie Larson’s. I love the idea of reading this book and having my students pick a moment in their life and show the connections that happens with that one single moment. This would allow my students to express themselves as well as seeing how one choice they made had so many different connections with it. Since I am a blogger this week I didn’t create a make for my own book, but Abby Teer created a make for the book we read. She took a picture of the things should put in a suit case and take with her if she had to flee. I thought that this did a great job making you think about how Ha and her family were feeling. How could you put everything important to you in just one bag? You have spent your life in one place now you are fleeing it and leaving things behind. How do you choice what to leave or take?

This last week also read chapter four, “Wild Readers Have Reading Plans,” in the book Reading in The Wild by Donalyn Miller. This chapter was about reading plans. One quote that stuck out to me from this chapter was “Students who read on an inconsistent basis never develop an attachment for reading.” This tells me as a future teacher that I need to make sure I have my students not only reading in my class but as home as well. In the same section it continues to talk about how we need to make sure students are finding time in their schedules to read. So, in my future classroom, I think I’ll have some sort of time at the begin on the week to have my students plan out the times they think they will have to read. The chapter talks about different types of reading plans. It has short term and long term commitment plans. This chapter also offers challenges for readers. I think that I am going to start The Newbery Challenge. I have set some parameters for this challenge. I want to start in the year 2000 and read every book on this list until present day. I have looked over the books so far I have read about 10 of them, so I know I have a starting point for this challenge.  

Author Bio: Brittanee Garcia, who has two brothers, is pictured above with her little brother Tim. If she is not at school or with her family, you can find her in the pool teaching swim lessons at WaterSprites. She has been there for a little over two years. If she’s not at work, she will most likely be at the dog park with her fur baby, Buster.


The book that I chose to read for my free verse novel was Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. I have never read a book written as a series of short poems. I found it a little awkward at first, but after reading several pages, I started to get used to the flow. It has so much detail and emotions that it feels like I’m reading the little girl Ha’s personal diary. The novel is about a 10-year old little girl named Ha who has lived in Saigon, Vietnam, until Ha and her family are forced to leave their home in Saigon because of The Vietnam War. The name Ha means Golden River referring to where her mother and father used to walk together. Ha lost her father, so just her mother, two brothers and she decided leaving their home was the best decision before one of them loses their life. The author does a great job explaining Ha’s point of view and experiences with great detail. I found this book interesting, but I’m not sure if I would recommend it to a friend because it was a sad novel and I don’t care for the war. Ha thinks that she left all her troubles and hardships behind in Saigon, but their struggles have just begun as they board a Navy ship headed to the United States. Ha, and her family’s luck and faith start to improve at the end of the book.

In reading chapter four of Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, she emphasizes how crucial it is to create and maintain your own reading list along with short-term and long-term personal goals to become future wild readers. Miller expresses that having a reading list builds anticipation for another great reading experience and drives their enthusiasm and desire to continue reading. She also argues that “Students need to make their own choices about reading material and writing topics,” which would have made a huge difference in my attitude towards reading growing up. I really like Miller’s idea about students setting their own reading goals to accomplish over holidays or summer vacations. After they return from their break, they can reflect back on their reading goals and what they accomplished during their break. I also agree with Miller’s views that constructive criticism is helpful, but too much could do more damage than good. I feel that teachers should be developing some ideas to teach the students how to respond to sometimes hurtful constructive criticism. I think students need to have a better understanding of constructive criticism, so it doesn’t sound so negative or possibly offending them when receiving their feedback. I feel Miller does a great job emphasizing that empowering your students will help them feel more confident so that they can push themselves beyond their comfort level. Miller discusses that while reading behavior and exploring in different chapters helps readers build lifelong reading skills and habits, but making short term and long term reading plans will help them expand their reading lives and knowledge. I like Miller’s quote that said, “knowing what book to read next would keep me reading, I’m excited every time I do read and especially finish a book of my own choice, it feels good but if I don’t have another one to start or the next one I start isn’t good, then I usually take a long break from reading.” I guess with that thought to become a wild reader you need always to have the book you are currently reading along with several other books you’re going to read in the future with an active list of interesting books that you’re looking forward to reading. She expresses that setting personal goals for the students to read a specific number pages or even a certain number of books in a certain amount of time will keep the readers driven and engaging in the material that they’re reading or looking forward to reading in the future. As a future teacher, I plan on helping my students to develop and sustain an active reading list.

We finished up our free verse novels this week, ending cycle four with these next level “Makes.” Everybody was asked to take their cycle four Makes to the next level with no drawings because drawings dominated our last cycle. I was reviewing and admiring all the new Makes when Sierra Dallugge’s Make caught my eye with her creative soldier costume. We both read Inside Out & Back Again. Sierra created a musical video inspired by the free verse novel: her video was called “Miss Saigon.” Sierra has a great singing voice and acting skills. Sierra did an excellent job with her costume and introduction to her songs. I really enjoyed watching her musical; it reminded me of a Disneyland musical (see link above).

The next Make that caught my eye was Kimberly Wright’s free verse story book called “My Mom and Me.” I found her story touching with a great lesson about parenting and trying to keep the one you love safe. Most children don’t realize how fortunate they are to have caring parents that love them enough to say, No. The link to Kimberly’s story “My Mom and Me” (see above).

It was a tough decision but the last Make that grabbed my attention was Alison Zuris colorful Make for the novel Inside Out & Back Again. Alison created a beautiful collage of emotional narratives told through Há’s eyes and heart. The collage includes five memorable parts of Saigon that impacted Há’s journey. Alison describes at the beginning of the book they celebrate Tét, which is at the top right and bottom left of the collage. Alison expresses throughout the story Há’s papaya tree is significant to her and a part of the home she dearly misses, located at the top left. In the center of the collage is a newspaper announcing the Vietnamese surrendering and catalyst for Há’s narratives of the fall of Saigon. And at the bottom right of collage is a picture of a boat full of people fleeing Vietnam just like Há and her family did at the beginning of the book. I agree with Alison that these images were essential parts of the story and show the different colors of Há’s life. All of these vibrant pictures show memorable parts of Ha’s life of joy and numbing conflicts she faced as a young girl.

Author Bio: Jody grew up and currently lives in Sutter, which is a little town at the base of the Sutter Buttes. He is a Liberal Studies major, minoring in special education at Chico State. He decided to go to Chico because they have one of the best Liberal Studies programs in the area and the campus is close enough to commute to every day. He enjoys spending time with his family, animals and going to Disneyland. His hobbies include hiking, camping, and traveling. He decided to be a teacher because he believe that education is the key to success in life and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of students. He is looking forward to becoming a special ed teacher and his primary goal is to become a principal of a school in the future.


These last two weeks have been full of different assignments that were mainly lots of reading for our free-verse novel and our book with our eighth grade buddy. I loved reading the book Butter because it was funny, happy, and sad. It really made you think about suicide and to be there for each other. For my free-verse novel, I read Inside and Out and Back Again. This novel is about a young girl named Ha from Vietnam where she is faced with having to flee Saigon because of the Vietnam War. Throughout the book, it discusses how Ha and her family are trying to find a safe place to live far from the war. It was hard for me to read at first because I’m not crazy about poetry and I would rather just not read it. Towards the end of the book, I ended up loving it. This novel had such a good message and I found myself not putting it down.

After wrapping up the rest of last week with Make Cycle 4, I loved seeing everyone’s makes. I noticed there were lesson plans, videos poems, and even a cake that was made. For the novel The Crossover some people thought that writing a poem was the best activity to do. One poem that really stood out to me was by Jamie Ledesma. I absolutely loved this because it’s true and people should live by it. In the book, the two brothers were in a fight, and the brother Jordan would not accept his brother Josh’s apology. Later on, the dad passed away and Jordan realized that he needed his brother more than anything. No one should have to live with regret and should just apologize because anything can happen at any time. Even though this book sounds sad, I would love to read it.

The book Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, was about the author and she discusses how she grew up in the 1960s and 1970s while living in the South. She talked about her family and her birth, while also exploring other moments in her life. Katie Larson had a fun lesson plan that stood out to me that sounded fun for a class to do.

As a teacher, she would love to have her students think of important key moments in their lives while thinking about Jacqueline’s life and the moments in hers. Thinking about the emotions they felt and how it affected who they are today. It can get students thinking of the future and how to connect with others. This activity would even make me think of the events that shaped me into who I am today.

Also this last week, we read Chapter 4 of Reading in the Wild. One takeaway from Miller that I thought about for awhile was actually in the beginning where the author asks what our future plans will be for reading. I never was one who loved to read, but now going into teaching, I understand that I’m going to be doing it a lot and need to start reading more. A goal I have before I become a teacher is collecting as many children’s books as I can: whether it be from yard sales, used bookstores or even family members. As a teacher, an activity I would want to do with my students is to encourage them to try to read over their breaks. An example I liked was included in “Community Conversations.” She would have her students discuss what books they will read over break and having the students swap books with one another. I just love that idea! Another big take away was making “Commitment Plans” (143). This is a good way for students to challenge themselves on their reading. An idea I thought of doing with my future classroom, was having the students challenge themselves each week on how many more pages they can read in their book or how many more books they can read in the next week.

I just want to encourage my students to love reading!

Author Bio: Taylor Holmes has lived in Chico for 21 years, graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and transferred from Butte College to Chico State this last spring. She decided to pursue a career in becoming a teacher because she loves kids and has lots of cousins and family friends who are teachers. She also had the best teachers as role models and she could only hope that she could be the same for her students someday. She loves the outdoors and exploring new places when she’s not at school.


The past two weeks in class have been full of lots of reading and learning. We have been reading and conversing with our 8th grade book buddies from Palm Desert and I have really been enjoying it. My book buddy is so sweet and he asks great, intellectual questions. Plus, I have really enjoyed the book that we have been reading and it is totally not something that I would have picked outside of school to read, but I am really glad that I have gotten the chance to read it. We have also spent time reading our free verse books, which has been fun, too. I liked the storyline of the free verse book that I read, but I didn’t like the way that the free verse books were written. It was really hard for me to stay focused and I couldn’t follow the story. I loved all of the advice that Miller had offered in chapter 4 of her book with the challenges because goals and challenges motivate students to do better and push themselves. After reading each chapter in Miller’s book, I find myself more and more excited to become a teacher and to help my students become wild readers.

Miller’s chapter 4 was about encouraging students to create reading goals for themselves, especially over summer, Thanksgiving, and holiday breaks so that they don’t lose their momentum. Even though sometimes these goals aren’t always accomplished and that is okay, it is important to have students set reading goals so that they are motivated to continue reading even without the structure of a classroom. I really like that she was very open with her students about her not completing personal book challenges herself, it reassures the students that it is okay for them to put a book down in the middle of it, or to not finish a challenge you had set for yourself. I really liked her idea of the summer challenge to read an average of one book per day. I think it is a great way to keep students going with the reading and they don’t always have to be difficult books so it isn’t always time consuming. She does a really great job at motivating her students to be wild readers.

The free verse book that I read was Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. The main character, Ha, has lived in Saigon, Vietnam her entire life. She has lost her father, but still has brothers and her mother. The Vietnam war has come to their town and they have basically no other choice but to leave because they are scared to stay and risk their lives. They have finally boarded a Navy ship in route to the United States. So far, the boat ride has been a struggle and very hard for everyone.

All of the makes for this week’s free verse book were so great and creative. After Kim encouraged us to stay away from drawing this week because of the amount of drawing makes last time, everyone really stepped it up and came up with some very creative ideas. When I had created makes the last two times, I had a really challenging time coming up with ideas and am always so impressed with what they come up with.

There were a few in particular that I really liked. The first one was Abby Teer’s; she read the book Inside Out and Back Again and her make was a picture of her bag that she would bring if she had to flee the country, just like Ha had to do in the story. Another make that I really enjoyed was Savannah Avalia’s. She read Brown Girl Dreaming and chose to create a Pinterest board for the main character, Jacqueline Woods. In the Pinterest board she found quotes, food, etc., as to what she thought Jacqueline would have enjoyed when she was younger. Both of these ideas were really creative and very different. They both did a really great job at analyzing the book and the characters from the book.

Author Bio: Ariel is a senior Liberal Studies major who is graduating in the spring. She hopes to begin the multiple subject teaching credential program at Humboldt State in fall of 2018. She plans on becoming an elementary school teacher and hopes to teach lower grades, somewhere from 1st-3rd grades, but isn’t too picky. Ariel has a real passion for teaching and can’t wait to begin her career!

Featured Bloggers: Megan, Sean, Jamie L, Morgan, Tanpreet, Jodi, & Shannon

Featured Bloggers: Megan, Sean, Jamie L, Morgan, Tanpreet, Jodi, & Shannon

Megan Lago: These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of literature and collaboration. We began the week by meeting our eighth grade reading buddies from Southern California.  This will be a really great way to gain an understanding of working with students to understand a book more thoroughly. This is a very exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to see what everyone gets out of it. We have now had the opportunity to correspond twice with our buddies. I have personally been pleasantly surprised by the insightful conversation that I have had with my buddy so far. I think I may have underestimated the eighth graders.

We finished up our chapter books this week and ended the cycle with makes. This cycle the makes seem to be dominated by drawings. For Out of My Mind many chose to draw the scene in which Melody’s fish leaps out of its bowl to its death. Without speech or control of her movements, Melody was unable to save the fish: she attempted to keep it breathing by tipping the bowl covering it in water.  Her mother made the assumption that Melody knocked the fish bowl over to kill the fish rather than to save it. This was a pivotal scene because it demonstrates the frustrations Melody experiences due to her cerebral palsy. Iparticularly liked the picture of this scene drawn by Kimberly Wright because she added melody to the fishbowl representing how Melody related to the fish feeling trapped.

Regarding the book George, a story about a young trans girl struggling with the ability to self identify, I really enjoyed Tracie Sunseri’s drawing. In the drawing she shows a picture of a scene from Charlotte’s Web with the name Melissa in the web in pink. In the story, George wanted to play the role of Charlotte but was told she could not due to her biologically being a boy. I also liked how Tracie drew George’s shadow as a female representing her true identity.

I enjoyed Katie Larson’s painting of her idea of what the forest in The Girl Who Drank the Moon looked like based on the book’s description (see Morgan’s blog below). This reminded me that we all have a unique picture reel going on in our heads while we read and thought it was really cool that Katie shared hers.This is something students can easily do regardless of artistic ability that can help them immerse themselves into the story.

We also read chapter 3 of Miller’s Reading in the Wild. I along with all of my classmates were particularly interested in the concept of a reading community. As Miller tells us, being able to share reading experiences and discuss themes is a key aspect of encouraging lifelong reading. Another important theme was the fact that one teacher alone cannot foster a love of reading. Parents must share the responsibility. Miller shared a few ways to get parents involved including loaning classroom books and teaching how to incorporate reading into family routines. Something I was particularly intrigued by was the passage in which Miller explains how she accidentally killed the joy of a few boys in her class reading a slightly risque book about male puberty. This hit on the idea that reading communities do not always have to involve the teacher: books involving embarrassing topics such as that of this particular book are acceptable to remain between the boys. Finally I loved the emphasis on access to books. It’s such a simple concept but a vital aspect to any students reading career. Students surrounded by books are more likely to pick one up, even if they aren’t avid readers. Miller’s book has been nothing but wonderful. I can tell that she has a passion for reading literature and wants to share more than just the requirement to read for school. It is a surprising interesting read especially considering it is a textbook used in a college classroom. I really liked that Miller included a passage about embarrassed readers. She really knows kids! Image is a huge aspect of a child’s life, even at a very young age. Before my nephew even got into school he was embarrassed to share things he had learned. This book helped me make the connection of why. Somewhere along the line, I’m guessing from a TV show or peer he picked up the idea that knowledge was lame. Even though he has a strong desire to learn he didn’t want to be judged for it so he repressed that desire. This is why it is important for students to see people they look up to and respect enjoying reading.

Author Bio: Megan moved to Chico about 8 months ago from Solano County. She discovered she wanted to be a teacher early because she has a butt load of teachers in the family and was exposed early on. She honed in on special ed after becoming a para-educator for her home county and realized she has a special desire to work with my mod/severe students. When she’s not enthralled in education, she is outside doing adventure things or hanging with her delightful roommates.


Shannon TatmanFor the Make Cycle 3’s blog, Tanpreet, Morgan, and I decided to come together and create one blog. We each read a different chapter book to be able to show just how Cycle 3 brought us all together, which is what I primarily enjoyed about creating one blog post. I was able to hear about two of the other books that were enjoyed throughout this cycle. Morgan read George, Tanpreet read The War That Saved My Life, and I read Out of My Mind. With my chapter book, I kept a box of tissues next to me as I read more and more about an 11 year old girl who was very intelligent, but the issue was that no one ever understood just how smart she was. Melody unfortunately has Cerebral Palsy, but throughout the book each chapter explains just how difficult it is to live with a disability. Regardless of all the difficult challenges she is put through, this book does a wonderful job at showing how even if you can’t verbally say what’s on your mind, it does not mean you are not smart. Melody does an amazing job telling her story by showing everyone she loves just how smart and patient of a person she is.

As for the work we have done throughout this cycle, we were given book buddies, which was quite exciting to be able to share our thoughts with our 8th grade book buddies. As we post and talk about our books with our book buddy, we are able to create a connection with another student and figure out just how to create lesson 

plans about certain books with our future students. It’s a great way to gain experience and create conversation about a book we have hopefully never read. We kept busy finishing up our chapter books, responding to our book buddies and talking more about their certain job they had for this week’s reading, and as well as a class we all created our makes for our chapter books we read. We had a lot more drawings for this cycle of makes, but all of them were very creative.

There were a couple of makes I wanted to highlight because they caught my attention, such as Ben Anderson’s drawing. drawingIt seemed so simple when looking at the drawing, but I know for a fact that if given the chance to figure out what to draw for this book I would have so many thoughts on how I could represent the main character Melody. In this drawing I love the fact that even though it is so simple, it gets straight to the point on just how Melody truly felt. It was like she was playing a game of telephone, where no one would get the correct answer on what she was really trying to say. She was unable to speak for part of the book, and sometimes that really frustrated her, causing misfortunes between her and other loved ones throughout the book. We all as individuals get frustrated at times when we’ve tried to explain something multiple times to someone else, and they still don’t seem to quite understand. That’s exactly how Melody felt every day, and she was quite intelligent too.

The other make that caught my attention was Chantal’s. I thought she did an awesome job at taking her book and creating a lesson for it. She decided to take from the book and create her own story about a time she felt unaccepted for who she was, such as how George felt in the book when he couldn’t be himself. I think this does an amazing job at showing just how every student at one point can feel unaccepted for who they are. It’s great to reflect with students on this matter because it shows us how to appreciate one another, how to come together as a class, and all while showing their own story. Also if not wanting to connect it to the book, we can connect it by showing how they understand certain words as well. It shows a great connection to vocabulary, as well as showing a sense of creativity through drawings. As for all the other makes that were created for this cycle, they were all well done and I absolutely loved looking through them all, and getting a chance to write about all the hard work that was put into each project.

Now while we had some amazing makes the last bit of work that we also focused on for this week was Miller’s Chapter 3. As I read more of her book, I just hope and wish that I become just as amazing of a teacher as her. The way she inspires her students to read and open up offers a lot of encouragement to become more active readers. One aspect to chapter three that I absolutely loved was when she talks about how we as teachers have to bring the classroom together by creating a sense of community for our students, “I envision my classroom as a supportive place where my students and I take risks and learn” (89). Sparking us all to write about how we can start to prepare now to become the teacher Miller writes about throughout chapter 3. We all want to become an amazing teacher one day, we just have to accept the fact that it is all a learning process, and that each class we take will help us grow.

Author Bio: Shannon is in her third year at Chico State as a Liberal Studies Major while minoring in Special Education.She is from Sunny San Diego and on her spare time you can find her at Disneyland or maybe just watching a good ole Disney movie. She also enjoys to be outdoors, travel, and spending time with her family and friends when able too.

 


picture of TanpreetTanpreet Sahota: The book I read during this make was The War That Saved My Life. The book was really appealing to me because I am usually interested in books about war and history. I didn’t expect this book to have so much meaning and lessons within the book.  This book takes place in London just before World War II. Ada, the main character, doesn‘t know how old she is, her last name, or really anything about life outside the room where her mother has kept her in terrible conditions for as long as she can remember. Ada’s mother is embarrassed at the thought of people knowing she has a disabled daughter and was born with a clubfoot and gets around by crawling, so Ada has no dealings with other people, except to wave from her window. Her younger brother, Jamie, who’s about to start school, is more mobile and sometimes steals food for his starving sister. Their mother beats them both regularly and often doesn’t give them enough to eat. Suddenly, as World War II and a possible German invasion loom, the kids are evacuated to the countryside, where they’re so filthy and lice-infested that nobody wants them. When a local woman is forced to take them in, their lives change in unimaginable ways, including having clean clothes and regular meals. Also, there’s a pony. As the kids experience love and kindness for the first time in their lives and learn to pitch in with the war effort, Ada can’t get away from her biggest terror: that their new happiness will last only until their mother finds it more convenient to take them back to their old life. It was great to see the emotions Ada went through that some children can go through but might not know it. After reading this book it will be good for children to see what the children of the war had to go though. This would be a good way for children to see other children growing up in other circumstances and always living in fear for the unknown.

After seeing all the fun little activities that we can do for the book I really enjoyed quite a few of them that work perfectly for a lesson.  I liked what Alison Zuris did with creating the pony Butter. drawing of ponyAda had such a great connection with the pony and this was a great representation. This would be fun if the kids could make something that has an impact on them in their real life. It can be something small like a dog or an animal or even a person they look up to.  I love that it is such a simple idea but has so much meaning to the lesson. This can represent how Ada would have butter to be with in hard times and can help children create something that helps them and has an impact on them too. I also really liked Teija Gregory’s because she recreated the cover or the book. I believe that the cover of the book really represented how Ada would view her past with the dark colors but also represented her new life with the possibilities of hope. It also shows that as there is a war going on that she is able to have a new hope and outlook on a new life that she might not of had without the war happening. This is a really fun make because it represents so much in a small painting.

There were also so many other great makes from other books that were read. I really enjoyed reading the makes from the book George. I was very curious about the book itself because it already seemed to have so much meaning. I really liked the one where he is a boy but thinking of who he really wants to be.

Author Bio: Tanpreet is in her fourth year here at Chico State and is a liberal studies major. She is from Roseville and was born in England 21 years ago. She loves to travel and just explore new places in the world. She cannot wait to be a teacher and just have an impact on children.


Morgan Carrico: The book I read for this make cycle was George. I first started out reading, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and after a few days of reading it I discovered that the book was not meant for me. My table mate Sean kept telling me that I should switch books and start reading George, and I instantly decided to make the switch. And that was the best decision. If I am being honest, I would normally not chose to read a book like this but I decided to branch out and read it to expand my knowledge on a topic like this. I think that this book is something that I as a future teacher would love to have in my classroom library for my students to read. There is a chance that we may have students who are in our classrooms that may be going through the same struggles that George is going through. I think it would be so special to be able to reach for the shelf and hand the child this book and know that they can relate to this character. The book is about a transgender boy named George, who really just wants to be Melissa. Throughout the book you get to see all the different struggles she goes through with wanting to reveal to her friends and family that she is really wanting to live as Melissa. Throughout the book she struggles with the fact that her teacher will not let her be Charolette in the school play. This role in the play is “typically” played by a female student, but George is struggling to tell people that he wants to be Melissa. I think some child is facing something in their lives that they may be struggling with deep down inside. It is important to note that as future educators we should never serve things as gender specific; this means that girls and boys are interchangeable and should be able to do whatever they please without any restrictions. I think it is important to make your classroom a safe place for your students. Make them comfortable enough that they feel they are able to come up to you and tell you anything that they may be struggling with or find concerning.

This weeks makes were actually really interesting to look at. I noticed this week’s common theme for the makes was arts and crafts. As I scrolled through Google plus, I noticed the common theme of everyone sticking to drawing something. I found this to be rather interesting as opposed to last weeks make cycle. Last week I think people were way more creative and willing to step outside the box. Maybe this week, my classmates were not really motivated with their chapter books, or maybe struggled more with coming up with something creative to do. Even though Allison said that she struggled when creating this make, I still think that she was very successful. I loved the way she wrote about this make, and her creativity to use a clever pun which made me laugh. I could easily see this as an outdoor activity that you could use with your class when reading The War That Saved My Life. Even though she stated in her make that she wished it would have gone differently, I still love this make.

Another make that I personally enjoyed was the make by Katie, who read The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I love that instead of drawing on a piece of paper, she decided it would be a good idea to paint on a canvas. 

Katie's drawing

I love the different colors used to represent the sky, and the fact that the moon is that main focus of the painting. I think that this is a fun arts and crafts project that your students can do when reading any book. Have them draw or paint a picture representing a specific scene from the book, just to see how they picture it in their heads.

When it came to the makes for the book, Out of My Mind you can see the common theme was the drawing that is represented on the front over.  For the book George, I think that people had really good drawings for their makes.

I love the detail and thought that went into creating this make. I would use this as a lesson plan in my future classroom, especially when reading a complex book such as George. I like how this make was created like she was a student who was receiving this assignment from her teacher. This teacher’s students to read about a story where someone is going through a period of time where he/she may feel trapped or need help. This creative activity gives students free range to think of a time where they may have being struggling to tell someone something like George had. Overall, this make was hands down my favorite, and something I would use as an assignment for one of my future classes.

Author Bio: Morgan is a senior this year at Chico State. She is a Liberal Studies major and is so excited to enter the credential program next year at Chico State, which will put her one year closer to being able to teach in her own classroom.She is from a small town in the dry central valley called Ripon. Ever since she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. She grew up watching her grandma work in different elementary school classrooms as a child and knew that is it was something she wanted to do.


Jamie Ledesma: In our second make cycle I read the book George. I thought it was such an awesome book. It is about a little boy named George who wants to be a little girl. I will refer to George as a she. George wants to be named Melissa. George fantasizes about hanging out with girls and doing girly things. George is really shy and timid and does not hang out with many people. Her only friend is a girl named Kelly. Kelly is very social and outgoing. No one knows that George wants to be a girl. It kills him inside not to be able to tell people because she is not be able to be who she wants to be. She is living as someone that she is not comfortable with. By the end of the book, George finally tells people that she wants to be a girl. Everyone accepts her for who she is. Her mom tells her that she will love her no matter what. Kelly lets George borrow her clothes, but by this time she is going by Melissa. Now Melissa feels so much better because she can finally be who she wants to be.

In the first week of our make cycle we had a group presentation. I actually was one of the presenters. The book presentation for that week was about David Weisner. Traci was another presenter for the book presentation. I think she did an awesome job presenting the activity. The activity was to make a story based on the pictures that were shown. I believe that this is a great activity to do with students. This activity is engaging and it could bring out creativity in students. No student is going to have the same story or ideas, everyone is going to have something different on their paper. This is a good way for students to practice creative thinking and critical thinking.

In the second week of our make cycle we read chapter three of Reading in the Wild. Donalyn Miller is a great teacher and she has many ideas that are very inspiring and that i could use in my classroom. I love how Donalyn Miller makes reading fun in her classroom and she makes her classroom like a community. Everyone respects and cares about each other’s ideas. If the parent encourages their child to read, the child is going to be more willing to want to read. She mentions it is important to make the parents aware and give them tips on how to encourage their children to read. By doing this you are fostering a reading community.

A passage in the book that I enjoyed was on page 126 of the online book where Miller talks about homework. She talks about how many students report they do not have enough time to read because of all their homework and I believe that this is true because I know I do not have that much time to read with all my homework. She also talks about research that has been done on how homework is not even effective and that teachers should not give so much after school homework, especially if it is busy work. I believe this is true, if you are just going to assign busy work, I think it should just not be assigned, so the children have more time to read. I believe that teachers should give their students time to read inside and outside of the class. If this is encouraged then I think more students would want to read.

Then another part of our make cycle was our makes. I chose a couple that I really enjoyed. The first make I was fascinated with was Alondra Alviar’s make. She read A Girl Who Drank the Moon.  I thought there was very much thought to it. I enjoyed how her make was about an important part of the book. The boy escaped because of paper birds and was able to be free, seems like an important part of the book. It seems like it is the only happy part the book.

Another make that I really enjoyed was Kimberly Wright’s make (see above). She read the book Out of My Mind. She drew the fish jumping out of the fish bowl, which is a scene from the book. Then she also included Melody in the fishbowl. I think this captures just how melody feels. She is trapped in her own body and she can not express how she feels. Everyone thinks she is dumb and she can not do anything about it. I think that her drawing really captures how Melody feels, trapped.

Author Bio: Jamie is shy at first, but when you actually get to know her is very loud and outgoing. She has two siblings, one older brother and one younger sister; they are shown in the photo above. She has been a swim instructor for two years at Water Sprites swim school. She is not a big reader, but is trying to get into it now. This class has made her read more than ever in her college career. Jamie cannot wait to be a teacher and make a difference in little children’s lives. She cannot wait to graduate and become a teacher!


 

 

 

Sean Gamer: For our second make cycle, we were given several options of different chapter books to read in our English class. I chose the book George, by Alex Gino. After choosing and reading the entire book, all I could think was I wish I could have had a friend like George. In the book George, George is a male who identifies as a female. George tells her story in the first person of how she truly feels and her relationships at home and school. George in the book is very shy and timid and does not want to come out to the world as female yet. With the help of her social friend Kelly, George begins to learn more about the trans community, the important people in her life, and herself. At the back of the book, the author Alex Gino is asked questions about why he wrote the book, what he wants readers to understand about the LGBTQA+ community, some background about his personal life, and has a very positive message about the character George. Although I did not expect this, George has become a hero to me. Although she is not a real person, she has a story that needs to be told and I think this is a great book for anyone who would like to learn more about the trans community.

In addition to reading our chapter books, we were asked to read Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. Miller has a plethora of wonderful ideas of how to start a library but also how to maintain a classroom idea. In elementary school, a classroom library was used as a punishment. If we were being too loud in class our teachers would ask us to pull a book off the shelf and read. If we had to stay in for lunch or recess we had to sit at our desk and read a book. I don’t believe reading should be a punishment. I want a classroom library for my students. They can pop in and borrow the book and bring it back when they are done. Miller gives students the independence to read the book how they want to read the book. I wish my teachers were like that. Reading is cool. She emphasizes the importance of reading to build conversation and have the ability to not only talk about books with other peers, but recommend books to peers as well (Miller 98). As future teachers, we need to be reading and start our book collections. I cannot wait to suggest a book to a student. Perhaps, that student will like the book and want to read more from the author.

It was a treat to see my classmates’ artifacts they have created from this cycle. I was infatuated with the masterpieces that reflected the chapter books we read for the past two weeks. There was a lot of art and I think that was the a good way to tie in what we found most interesting about our chapter books. Everyone in the class offered a unique perspective to what they read. My first example I would like to showcase is Colleen’s play bill drawing. I think this is a unique way to introduce a significant detail in the book George.  This is something that can be done in a classroom and each student can design their own interpretation of what the play bill could have looked like in the book.

There were an abundance of drawings for this make cycle. That is why the origami paper crane made by Alondra Alviar stuck out to me. In the book, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Alondra gives an insight about Luna and Atain’s story. I think with plenty of visual aids, a teacher can do this as an introduction before reading the book. Nice work Alondra.

I was also very enlightened by Alison Zuris’ butter on a stick idea. It was so adorable. Alison explains to us that she made this horse on a stick in her front yard because Ada in the book, The War that Saved my Life, develops a strong connection with a pony. Alison’s original idea was to make a stuffed horse, but this idea can be done in the classroom. It is also adorable!

Author Bio: When he’s not in the classroom, Sean loves to play tennis and run. He also loves to be on the beach and explore upper park. He can’t wait to become a teacher and have his own classroom.


Jodi Steigerwald: The book I chose to read for this Make cycle is The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I really enjoyed reading this book because Kelly Barnhill does an amazing job at transporting the reader to a completely different universe. While reading, I found the words that she used for some of the main terms used throughout the book really interesting and specific. An example of this is how she names the sad, controlled town “The Protectorate.” The age group that Barnhill targets to read the book is fifth grade- middle school kids, and personally at that age, I would never had thought to connect the word “Protectorate” to the actual meaning of the word. By using a term a slightly more magical word, she helps students unintentionally connect words to their meaning. Barnhill also uses very descriptive language throughout the entire book. The illuminating language creates a bubble of fantasy for the kids who read the book. Because of this, this book would be very useful for kids who are having trouble picking up a book and reading it until the end.

A part of Miller’s chapter three that really stood out to me and made a lasting impression was her graffiti wall. Her idea to have kids write down their reading influences is a great idea. All kids have different styles of what they like to read. Having students fill out this worksheet is a really helpful for the teacher to keep track of how students’ tastes in books evolve or stay the same. Miller is a very well read teacher in the way that she can recommend a book to any kid in her class. Having this worksheet, a teacher can start recommending books on certain subjects to kids, or even start seeking out books that are on a subject they may not be well read in.

This week of Makes was really fun to look at! I really enjoyed looking at all the different ways that people enjoyed and interpreted their chapter books. I think the Make process is so interesting to look at because of how many different ways the people in our class decide to do makes. I really enjoyed the make by Kimberly. I thought she drew a really cool picture for the book Out of my Mind. I thought it was really creative how she drew Melody inside of the fish bowl with Ollie, her fish. This is such a creative way to show how Melody feels trapped in her own body. This drawing is also a way to help people understand how Melody wishes she could do the same thing as Ollie and escape out of her body.  Another Make I really enjoyed was Alondra’s origami paper bird. I thought it went along perfectly with one of the turning points in the book when the Madwoman escapes.

Author Bio: Jodi is a 2nd year at Chico State. She is a liberal studies major and wants to become a Kindergarten- 3rd grade teacher. She has 3 older sisters and a younger brother that are scattered in between California and Texas. Her 2 dogs, Ronni and Murphy, are her pride and joy.

Featured Bloggers: Alison, Colleen, Tracie, Kim, Jorden & Savannah

Featured Bloggers: Alison, Colleen, Tracie, Kim, Jorden & Savannah

Alison Zuris

This first make cycle was such a wonderful and different experience in comparison to my other English classes throughout my college career. Our first week began with a major focus on our series books which mostly consisted of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was in one of the many Series of Unfortunate Events groups and had some interesting discussion over the course of the two week make cycle. Most of our conversations centered around the themes of these books and whether or not we would include them in our classroom. The general consensus was that yes, we would include them in a class library as we all enjoyed them as children and thought that the educational aspect would be beneficial. One of conversations brought forth the issue of child neglect, which is the central conflict of all the troubles and adventures the Boudelaire children take part in. I see the different caretakers and villainous Count Olaf to be a reflection of the foster care system and that many children do not have the safety and security of a stable home life. I know that there are good people who take in foster children–this is reflected in that not all of the caretakers of the Boudelaire children are evil. Throughout the series there are many people who love and care for the children just as there are kind people in the foster care system. I feel that these books will help my students develop compassion for those less fortunate and give validity and a place where kids who may not have the best home life to see their own stories being told.

My favorite part of class for both weeks of the make cycle was the quiet reading in class. In Donalyn Miller’s book, Reading in the Wild, she mentions that when she sets up the structure of her classroom for the school year that no matter her lesson planning, she tries to never shorten the in-class reading time. I feel this value reflected in our own class and find it so important. Our lives are so entirely chaotic that giving us (and our future students) a space where they can just be and read and go on their literary adventures is just simplistically beautiful to me.

With our first week of the make cycle came our first picture book presentation! The author discussed was Peter Reynolds and the book we had read aloud to us by the presenters was The Dot. This book cultivated a nation-wide movement in schools to celebrate International Dot Day where children are encouraged to make their mark in the world and participate in creative activities together centered around dots. I really enjoyed this presentation because we got to make our mark and create pictures and works of art starting with a dot. The presenting group did a lovely job of introducing their author and beginning our Dot-work with their own picture that they drew along with us. I am excited to implement this activity and International Dot Day into my own classroom. After finishing our pictures, we took a group photo and tweeted out to Peter Reynolds.

The beginning of our second week of the make cycle got off to an exciting start. We got to take a look at our 8th grade buddies’ Instagram and our upcoming book list that we will be reading alongside the 8th graders. I’m so excited to be reading along with these students and to see how their teacher provides a learning space for her students. Taking a look at some of 8th graders segwayed into discussing Donalyn Miller’s prolific collection of books and the understanding of her student’s tastes when providing them with book choices. Kim brought up an excellent question: how are we going to know which books our students will enjoy? Basically, we are never allowed to stop reading books. Ever. BUT! Isn’t that great though? I think reading what a student reads is essential in understanding their view of the world. With book choice came book purchasing…Where do we begin? The best places to start the book collection would definitely be yard sales and book sales at local libraries. The 8th grade teacher our class is partnering with had a Gofundme page earlier this year to help with the cost of purchasing books for all her students. At the beginning of this semester, Kim purchased 30 copies of Love That Dog so that we could all read it together as a class. The bottom line is that there are ways to start our libraries now for our students, and beginning as soon as possible (like, yesterday) is our best option.

Another strength Miller has as an English teacher is her allowance for book choice. So often in our own experiences we were not allowed to choose our book lists. Miller even allows her students to not finish a book if they really can’t get through it. She does, however, point out that it is wise to keep an eye on the readers who rarely finish a book as it could be a sign of some other struggle besides a dud book. The class discussion centering on choice was so interesting because our own struggles as young readers was disliking the forced reading with no choice. However, now as adults some of us struggle with so much freedom of choice that we often don’t know where to begin.

Our second week ended with a very touching picture book presentation where we had Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes read to us as a whole class while we simultaneously took part in an activity. Chrysanthemum tells the story of a little mouse named Chrysanthemum and the struggle with bullies over her name when she begins school as a little mouse. For the activity, we had paper hearts that we would crinkle every time something negative was said about Chrysanthemum’s name.  The presenters, Anna-Lena and Sydney, explained that this activity is often used at the start of a school year to show kids the effects their words have on other people. Although we did un-crinkle our paper hearts, we could still see the crinkles left on them as proof that words leaving lasting impressions even if we no longer believe them. I loved this activity and book and would definitely add it to my class. The book is already on my GoodReads list for my classroom.

The ultimate culmination of our first make cycle together were our makes! I was so excited to take a look at what everyone made and was not disappointed. I chose three makes to highlight for the blog and all of them are from A Series of Unfortunate Events.PhotoThe first is Sean’s Wanted poster of Count Olaf. I thought this was so clever, and I especially loved that he actually posted it on a pole like a real Wanted poster. The idea behind Sean wanting kids to hunt down and expose Olaf showed a real love for the story, and it was an idea that seemed so original.

The second make that really caught my eye was Jamie and Brittanee’s. It might be because I am craving pasta and nothing other than pasta seems important right now, but I loved that she made the dish the children made as a team. One of the things the Boudelaire children do best is solve problems with one another, and I think making the pasta they made was a great way to pay homage to that particular trait the children have.

The third make that I found to be really creative was Megan and Jody’s dictionary of Sunny’s baby phrases that Lemony Snicket defines throughout the books. I admire their skill at hunting down the amount of phrases to define. I also would literally have never thought of this and thought it was a really interesting idea to collect Sunny’s phrases.Photo

Overall I really enjoyed this first make, and am so excited for the rest of the class to unfold. Looking through everyone’s makes made me really excited to do my own in the coming weeks!

Author Bio: Alison is a born and bred Northern Californian and loves comfy sweaters and coffee almost as much as she loves Jane Austen novels. As a kid, she would often get in trouble for reading late into the night, and is excited to rekindle her love of reading with her students. Wanting to be a teacher since she was a little girl, Alison cannot wait to graduate in the spring and pursue her career.


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Colleen McGowan

In order for a series book, or any book for that matter, to be good, it has to have a hook. For the reader to want to continue to read the books, that hook has to be one hell of an attention grabber. The Series of Unfortunate Events has that attention grabber in the form of three orphans who continuously have horrible things happening to them. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are shipped from new home to new home after the tragic death of their parents. Catastrophic events continue to follow them everywhere they go, some of those events come in the form of a person, Count Olaf, a sociopath after the fortune that the orphans parents left them in the event of their death. Even though these books seem morbid and unfortunate, Snicket manages to highlight the importance of family and being there for each other in the worst of times. These books have suspense, moments of joy, moments of sadness, and just about everything that a book needs in order to keep the reader interested. As a child, I loved reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. When we would take some time in class to read, I would immediately get lost in the story, imagining myself going through what Violet, Klaus, and Sunny went through. Snicket’s use of descriptive language allows the young readers to broaden their use of the English language while gaining confidence in their reading ability. In addition to this, Snicket includes a very strong message behind deciding to write Violet as an inventor and Klaus as a reader and Sunny as a biter. He wants children to be open to being anything and anyone that they want to be. Girls can be inventors and engineers, boys can be readers, and young babies can bite.

Throughout this make, we have been reading Donalyn Miller’s book Reading in the Wild, specifically her perspective on self-select reading material. In chapter two, Miller explains that allowing students to choose their own books rather than forcing them to read one of your books lets children gain self-confidence in their reading ability, lets them figure out what kind of books they enjoy reading, improves reading achievement, and fosters a love of reading that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have elementary school teachers who gave me the freedom to pick my books. However, when I entered middle school, I had by far one of the worst English teachers of my school career. She picked books out for us, forced us to take exams on the reading content, and failed us if we simply did not like the book. She made me read the book Animal Farm, which I absolutely hated. In fact, I hated it so much that when we had to write a paper on the book, I wrote a paper on why I hated the book. Evidently, she failed me and forced me to take summer school. That was the moment I stopped reading for fun. Now that I am in college and I have had the opportunity to read all of these children’s books, I am reminded of why I used to love to read. Reading and understanding Miller’s perspective on getting children to read has given me the opportunity to reflect on my past experiences and learn from the mistakes of my teachers.

We also took time to discuss the different books that we were reading. One of the most captivating books that they talked about other than A Series of Unfortunate Events was the Weenies series book. This book is a collection of short, scary stories that collectively scare children into being good kids. One of the stories that my classmates discussed was about a young boy who went into an ice cream parlor. When he sees a girl walk by, he tries to talk to her but the mother said that the boy and the ice cream parlor burned down years ago. Personally, I would find this kind of book very interesting, but a bit too scary to read as a kid. The following class we discussed the other book series called Babymouse. This series is a comic book that follows the life of a young mouse who is simply trying to fit in. This book is great for a child who is a bit hesitant to read because it includes that comic book style of writing. Finally, the last book series for my classmates to read about was Origami Yoda, a book with different children narrators who put on an origami yoda and are suddenly able to give great advice. This book is great for those children who love science fiction and reading from different narrators. After discussing all of these great books in class, I was very excited to see what kind of makes people would be doing on Sunday.

Before I saw how the makes would look, I was rather hesitant on the idea of the makes. I was not even sure how people would do them and how creative they would be. After looking at the end result of everyone’s makes, I love them all.

PhotoOne of my favorite makes was from Jamie and Brittanee because they made the pasta that the orphans made for Count Olaf in the first book of A Series of Unfortunate Events.When I read this book as a kid, I made my mom make it for me for dinner. I love how Brittanee commented on the fact that this shows children that they can truly do anything they put their mind to.

Another make that I loved was from Sierra Dallugge. She decided to do make her own movie trailer about the book Origami Yoda. Her review was a fun and creative to do a make, which is a quality that all teachers need to have.

This first session of makes and series books has been a fun and new way to read and write in the classroom. I can’t wait to see what is in store for our next set of makes.

Author Bio: Colleen is a liberal studies major with a minor in special education. She would like to teach 4th- 6th grade, but is open to teaching any grade level. She didn’t realize that she wanted to be a teacher until she started working as a camp director in her home town, San Rafael. She has a younger sister who studies art at Humboldt and a dog with too much energy. She loves to travel and last year she studied in Dublin, Ireland where she worked with refugee children who needed that extra support in their new home. 


Tracie Sunseri

For the past two weeks we have been engaged in reading our series books. A majority of the class choose to read A Series of Unfortunate Events, but some students opted to read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, and Babymouse Queen of the World. I personally read A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, but from what I can tell from the other books they all seem to be good books for little kids to read. They all are intended for a different audience so no matter who you are trying to choose a book for, one of these series will work for them.

The overall idea that I have gotten from my classmates who were reading the other books, they all seemed to enjoy their books. The group who was reading The Curse of the Campfire Weenies by David Lubar described the book as being “very weird” with “creepy stories” but they were great for “reluctant readers” and lots of students would love them. The few students who read Babymouse Queen of the World by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm  described it in one word: Pink. But they did say the overall message behind the story was to encourage the readers to “be yourself.” For the The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angelberger, they enjoyed how the stories were short yet descriptive and it was about a loner kid who has inspirational ideas, but only when he has Origami Yoda on his finger. These all seem like interesting books that I would love to have in my classroom one day.

Like I said I choose A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and I will admit I had not expected the book to be what it was. I know that this book is a popular story to read but despite the warning the author leaves you on the back of the book jacket, I still felt that the story can’t be too bad because it is a children’s book. I was wrong. This book has very dark content included and throughout the whole book I was questioning why teachers would encourage their students to read this series. My group and I commented that despite the dark theme of the book there were some positives to this series. One positives that we discussed was that it had lots of advanced vocabulary.

“The word ‘standoffish’ is a wonderful one, but it does not describe Count Olaf’s behavior toward the children. It means ‘reluctant to associate with others,’ and it might describe somebody who, during a party, would stand in a corner and not talk to anyone. It would not describe somebody who provides one bed for three people to sleep in, forces them to do horrible chores, and strikes them across the face. There are many words for people like that, but ‘standoffish’ is not one of them” (Snicket 74).

The author makes sure that the readers understand what he is trying to explain to them and doesn’t want any misunderstanding when using the bigger words in his book. This is a good technique to use in stories for younger kids because many times if a student comes across a word that they don’t understand, they will either stop and look it up in a dictionary, which will disrupt their reading, or they will continue reading and ignore the word. This allows the students to learn new words and not disrupt their reading experience.

Another positive we found in the book was that this series provides many positive role models for the students to look up to. The three main children in the book, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are constantly looking for a solution to their problems that they find themselves in, instead of focusing on the negatives. Violet is the eldest and makes sure to look out for her younger siblings while also having a fascination for inventions and is always trying to find an easier method to getting something done. Klaus the middle child loves to read books and he is willing to stay up all night to finish a book that he is enthralled with. Sunny is the youngest of the siblings and even though she can’t speak yet, her siblings are able to communicate with her which shows how close the three of them are and will continue to be. As future teachers, we need to find these sort of role models for our students to look up to in their reading. So many stories that they read are filled with fantasy and unrealistic expectations of characters and life experiences so we need these type of stories that have aspects that the children can connect to when they read.

In the past two weeks we have also had two Picture Book Author Presentations about Peter H. Reynolds and Kevin Henkes. For Peter H. Reynolds we celebrated International Dot Day by creating a picture based in dots. It was a nice exercise because I know kids are usually afraid to draw because they say they can’t draw lines or they don’t think their work is real art, but his book shows us that we need to embrace creativity everywhere and even a small dot can be art. The other author we explored was Kevin Henkes and he is the author of Chrysanthemum. I have read this book a few times as a kid and have even worked in a school where the teacher used it as a first day of school activity involving their names, but I have never done an activity like we did in class. The story is about a little girl who at first likes her unique name but then the students at school start to make fun of her name and she begins to regret having a unique name. For the activity we each got a paper heart and every time a mean thing was said we had to crumple the heart. This is an extremely powerful message that we need to teach kids that if they say something mean, it will leave a lasting mark. Even when we unfolded the heart as if to apologize the effects were still there. I am defiantly going to use this activity in my classroom one day because it is a strong way to get the message across to the students.

At the end of these two weeks we all split up to make something that represents our books. Everyone did an amazing job at capitalizing on the themes involved in their books but there were four that I wanted to highlight personally. The first being Brittanee Garcia and Jamie Ledesma who choose to recreate one of the foods that the children made in the book. This is a great activity that you can do with your own students if you choose to read this story with them. I like how Jamie mentions that “this scene sets out and shows there perseverance and determination. They did not know how to make anything, but they found a way to complete the task they were told to do.” This brings the story into the real world and allows the students to understand how those children might have felt while getting a nice treat.

Another project that I enjoyed was Elizabeth Harmer’s Stained Glass window drawing. PhotoImmediately upon looking at it see lots of colors which draws you in but upon further reflection you notice the words inside that fill up the outline of Count Olaf’s silhouette. This is very inspiring and creative and I loved how she connected the students to a stained glass window because they are broken but yet still able to pull themselves together to fix their own problems.

Another that I thoroughly enjoyed was from Sierra Dallugge and her puppet friend Theodore. This was an inspiring way to take a boring book review and make it fun and interesting. I loved the back and forth between the two and what I really enjoyed was that it didn’t look rehearsed and it flowed nicely. You can tell that she had prepared enough to be able to discuss the book without needing notecards or a script. This would be a cute thing to do in class as a way to have students show that they understand the book, and I bet lots of kids would love to be the part of the puppet.

The last project that I want to highlight was that of Jody McCurry and Megan Lago. They created “An Unfortunate Dictionary of Sunny Baudelaire’s Words” and it was very creative. The amount of work they must have gone through to put this together is astonishing and I think my favorite part is the introduction that shares some similarities to the back cover of the book. All of the project that were made were very inventive and I can not wait to see what else we make as the semester goes on. These were great but as we venture further we will become more daring and try even more crazy things and will end up with amazing results. So to end my blog I want to give everyone some advice: use this time to try things you would have never tried before. Soon we will be teachers and we will tell ourselves that we don’t want to try something new in fear of it not working so take this time now to try it out so you can use it later.

Author BioTracie is a Chico State Senior majoring in Liberal Studies with a minor in Special Education. She is an avid reader who loves all things Disney and Harry Potter. This future teacher is excited to graduate this spring and start using all the tools she has been given in her own classroom. “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.”


picture of JordenJorden Weiher

I think this was a GREAT first make cycle. The conversations in class sparked interest and were full of great ideas. I can’t believe how creative everyone was with the makes, they were awesome!

Class conversations about Miller’s chapter 2 were one of my favorite things in this cycle. We talked about finishing books, AR reading tests, and how we grow a library for our future classrooms. This conversation sparked so many questions. Should students be forced to finish a book if they start it? Should AR tests still be used? Considering we 19-24 year olds remember them as a child, meaning they are how old?! Personally, my favorite part of the conversation was how in the hell do we get a class library? Also, paper books are better than digital copies. You never have to worry about a paperback book glitching and not turning on that day. Paper books are the way to go! Also I want to give a shout out to Sydney. You had such great things to offer to our class discussion. You made me think of ways to engage my future students and how to help my students become great readers. So thank you!

I for some reason decided to keep all the books that I collected growing up and they are in my attic, but I know that I don’t have nearly enough to start a library. I can’t imagine the future teachers that have no books to even start with! So where do you find books that don’t break your bank? Yard sales and thrift stores. Grab all the books!

I read the series book Babymouse: Queen of the World, it was an interesting book, but I am not sure I would ever read it as a whole to my class. I might share it with a student that I thought would be interested in a graphic novel. It was cute and had a great message, and for some students it would be a great. Both the picture book presentations were great! Peter Reynolds, International Dot Day activity was so fun and I felt like we got to be a part of something that we could all use in our future classroom. On the other side of the spectrum was the Chrysanthemum activity, it was so eye opening, yet so sad. It would be a great activity to use in the classroom and show students how words hurt. Both of these make me so excited for the future picture book presentations.

The makes from this cycle were all so creative and look great, but a couple of my favorites were, Jamielyn’s little burn book, Brittanee and Jamie’s meal (Can you share the recipe?), and Sierra’s video with the Theodore. All the makes were crazy imaginative and I am so excited to see how much better they get over the course of the semester. image of burnbookThe burn book was a creative way to showcase the main quotes and events that happen in the story. The burned edges were a great touch to add more depth to the project. I thought it was awesome! I am so interested in the meal that Brittanee and Jamie made. It has been such a long time since I read a Series of Unfortunate Events. Was that the actual recipe from the book? Did you try it? What is in it? I just have so many questions! So creative and so fun! Sierra’s video was great. I can just see students watching the video and then wanting to read the book. It was a perfect trailer for the book, and Theodore was a great added touch and he was so cute!

Author Bio: Jorden is from Escalon and is finishing her last year as a liberal studies student at Chico State. She hopes to become an elementary teacher back in her hometown of Escalon.


Kim Wright

The first make that I chose to highlight from this week was Sean Gamer’s. Sean chose to make a Wanted sign with Count Olaf’s face on it. He explained how he felt that the Baudelaire children were close with each other because they didn’t really have anyone else in their lives after their parents died, and he related to that because him and his siblings are also very close. He felt that the children deserved some closure for the awful things that Count Olaf did to them and so he wanted to make a Wanted poster to help them find him, and as Sean so eloquently said,

“I want the kids to find him and push him off a cliff.”

Sean did a very good job of creatively expressing his hate for Count Olaf into this poster.

The second make that I chose to highlight was Brittanee Garcia’s. She actually made something that was of very good use to her: food! She explained how in the book, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf forces the children to make a pasta dinner for him and his friends. She says that this task would be difficult for these children, but since they were able to work together so well, they were able to successfully make the dinner. I agree with her statement that this book teaches a lot of different lessons to children, like working together to solve problems. That is why this Brittanee’s creative make and I’m hoping that she enjoyed her pasta dinner just as much!

The last make that I would like to highlight is Jamielyn Borrego’s. She made a collection of quotes and passages from the book about the terrible fire. She then burned and tore and made these papers look like they had actually been in a fire. I loved her creativity with this and I feel a student would really like making something like this (as long as they do it safely with adult supervision). This booklet is a good way to focus on just the fire in the book and the extreme sorrow that came from it. I really liked this make because the fire is the centerpiece of this whole series; it was the catalyst for the rest of the book. I think this make was very creative, yet intellectual and was overall executed very well.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to read and look at everyone’s makes. I feel that everyone put in a lot of hard work into creating something interesting for the class. The three that I chose of highlight were some of my favorites because of their uniqueness, creativity, and overall successfulness in the final project. I am excited to see what my classmates will come up with for the rest of the makes this year.

Author Bio: Kim is in her third year at Chico State. She is majoring in Liberal Studies and plans a career as an Elementary school teacher. When she is not in school, you can find her playing volleyball for the Chico State team.


Savannah Avila

I read the first book of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. In a nutshell, the book follows the lives of three very unlucky orphans who are sent to live with a distant relative plotting to steal their fortune. I was really happy to read it again as an adult because it gave me a different perspective on it than when I read it as a child. From a teacher standpoint, I think this book appeals to so many different students. It shakes up gender roles a bit and gives strong role models for getting through hard times. Lemony Snicket also does a fantastic job of making the reader feel equal to him. I think this is especially key for younger readers because he gives them a plethora of new vocabulary and that feeling of being grown up. To sum it up, this whole series will definitely make the cut into my classroom library.

As a class, we watched the Mac Barnett’s TED talk about why a good book is a secret door. Mac Barnett is an award winning children’s author and in my opinion, a genius. I think this talk is a serious highlight of this make cycle because it gives such meaning to the word “wonder” and an insight into what books a student will want to read. My favorite part of this talk is his evidence of how, we, as readers can know something isn’t real but also know it is real. For instance, three summers ago I went to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios in Orlando and even though I knew it wasn’t real, I was so elated to be there. I still tried the butterbeer and held the wands because J.K Rowling made them feel real.

Barnett says, “we know these characters aren’t real but we have real feelings for them.”

To me, that encompasses the magic of books.

Now, time to shout out some awesome makes! This week was so hard to choose, they were all so creative and amazing. Everyone who drew or made art, I commend you to the highest degree. I can’t draw very well so it’s always mind blowing to see people who can.

One make that stood out was Megan and Jody’s dictionary of Sunny Baudelaire’s (from A Series of Unfortunate Events) words. If you don’t know, Sunny is a baby who speaks strictly gibberish but Lemony Snicket gives meaning to those words. Megan and Jody did an excellent job of playing Lemony Snicket here and gave definitions to Sunny’s words. Not only did they embody Snicket with the definitions, but with their introduction as well.

They warn readers that “you will avoid wasting any more of your precious time on this useless collection of baby babbles that could only be of interest to an English 341 class or a group of children.”

Not only do Megan and Jody do a great job with their make, they thought of something so unique!

Another make that I want to shout out was Benjamin’s origami yoda (from Origami Yoda).Photo This make was simple but so clever. I think this would be a great activity for a class to do while reading the book. I also really liked what he had to say about what origami yoda represents and that’s a level of consciousness. Something we all have inside us but often forget about, explains Benjamin. I think that would be a really important and valuable lesson to kids.

I couldn’t pick just one make from the Babymouse series; I really loved everyone’s pictures. They were all unique from one another with different themes or settings incorporated. I learned from Alondra’s make that the book includes directions on how to draw babymouse which would be a great class activity. One thing that was interesting about all these makes is that they all included Babymouse’s famous heart on her clothing.Photo

The last make I want to highlight is Sydney’s comic book from The Weenies Series. I loved the drawings and felt it showed the chapter perfectly. I think she had a very good idea about having students make comic strips for this book because the chapters are so short; it’s a great alternative to writing a summary.Photo

I had a great time looking at everyone’s makes and am excited for more to come!

 

Author Bio: Savannah is a liberal studies major with a special education minor. She knew she wanted to teach special education in the 5th grade when her teacher would let her go help out in the special day class. Since then, it has been her passion. She took a gap year before coming to Chico State and taught outdoor education at Shady Creek Outdoor School as a student naturalist to students ranging from 4th-8th. Her goals are to eventually get her master’s as well as her PhD so that I can help teach the next round of educators. 

Week 7: Online Work Plan

Week 7: Online Work Plan

 

Week 7 Online Work Plan: Chapter Books, Reading in the Wild, Book Buddies, Reviews, and Makes, Oh My!

Okay nice people, read below carefully. Lots of moving parts to keep track of next week.

In a nutshell (longer descriptions and prompts below):

  • By Tuesday, Oct 3: Respond to two prompts in our G+ community. One prompt about your chapter book and one prompt about Miller chapter 3.
  • By Thursday, Oct 5: Read your 8th grade book and respond to your book buddy on our Padlet.
  • By Friday, Oct 6: write a review of your chapter book on Goodreads.
  • By Sunday, Oct 8: Make 2 due in G+ community about chapter book
  • Bloggers (Megan, Sean, Jamie L., Morgan, Tanpreet, Jodi S, Shannon): featured blog due to Kim by Tuesday night, Oct 10. Share in google doc: kjaxon@mail.csuchico.edu

By Tuesday night (10/3):

Prompt 1: Do a close analysis of one of the characters from your chapter book:

  • What are his/her physical characteristics?
  • How does he/she interact with other characters?
  • How does he/she interact with the world around him/her?
  • What are this character’s behavioral traits?
  • Choose a sentence or two that is significant for this character. What do we learn about this character from the passage you’ve selected? What do we know about children/childhood from this character?

Prompt 2: Read Donalyn Miller’s chapter 3 and respond:

  • What are take aways for you from Miller’s third chapter? Point to specific places in the chapter that you find interesting, puzzling, eye opening. Then, consider: How close are you to being the kind of elementary teacher who can recommend so many different kinds of books? How will you grow no matter where you’re starting from? What advice does she offer in this chapter or previous chapters that you would consider trying out now?

I would expect you to write 2-3 meaty paragraphs in response to chapter 3. Post in our G+ Community under the category Make Cycle 3: Respond to prompts Chapter book and Miller 3.

Here are some examples of these prompts from my online class you may find useful as models:

From Casey (character analysis):

The chapter book I am reading is The Girl Who Drank the Moon. The character I am analyzing is the enmagicked Luna. Luna is a character who we get to follow from infancy. I am only about half way finished the book and she just turned 12 so the story follows over several years of time. Luna is a young girl with pretty black curly hair, and black eyes that sparkle like the stars. From infancy to when she was 5, she seemed to be a little wild child who seemed to purposely be disobedient because she could not be tamed. She is blissfully unaware of the havoc she creates and the struggle she causes her family. She is curious and adventurous and loves to experience life.

The following sentence wraps up Luna as she was 5 years old: “She climbed, hid, built, broke, wrote on the walls, and spoiled dresses when they had only just been finished. Her hair ratted, her nose smudged, and she left handprints wherever she went.”

I have just passed some parts where the story is starting to develop her as more than just a wild child. She wants an explanation of why she can’t read certain books and why she draws the best when she doesn’t remember it. She wants to discover why her memories fade away. She wants to know what her dreams mean. She has more relatable emotion as the story goes on.

What I know of her character so far is that it represents the real life process of growing up. It is easy to get lost in this magical fantasy world, but she goes through the stages many of us go through. A fussy baby, a mischievous wild child, and a preteen who needs answers. It also mentions that she and her grandmama lie to each other and that is an interesting part of life that happens around that age as well because they were once so close, but time brought a distance between them.

From Tamara (response to Miller):

“Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.” -Neil Gaiman. This quote perfectly sums up one of the main points if this chapter.

Through various avenues, the author talks about how to engage children in reading of all kinds, how to help children make informed decisions on book selections, and keep them engaged and accountable in their readings. All things that are very important when it comes to molding a child into a wild reader. One of the areas I found interesting was when the author explains how important it is for children to choose books for themselves. Sounds simple enough, right? But when it comes to younger children, or even older ones who have yet to dive into the world of reading, making a decent book selection on ones own can be challenging, but it is very important. Choose a book that is too easy and they won’t advance in their abilities. Choose one that is too difficult and they could get frustrated and turn their back on selecting books to read again. Tell them what to read without options and you will stifle their imagination and ability to explore other options out there and make their own reading choices. So many things to consider. This is why I loved the authors “preview stacks” idea and implimentation. On page 71 she says, “I use my expertise as a guide to select several books a particular student might like and offer the child a stack of choices. Students are free to choose any books that interest them or reject them all.” I loved this idea. Especially the fact that it is not a general stack of books that any kid could like, it is tailored to that one particular student that the teacher has come to learn about. She asks questions like, “what genre do you want to read?” “What have you already looked at today?” “What was the last book you finished that you really liked?” and “What sort of book are you thinking about?” These questions help guide the teacher as to what the student is looking for and at the same time, educates the student on how to make an informed book decision. When given the stack of books, not only can this student exercise his/her free will to choose a book, they also learn about HOW to select the book they want to read. This process ensures that as the year progresses, the student will become more knowledgable in their decision making skills when it comes time to select a book. “Empowered and knowledgable, wild readers know they can walk into any library or bookstore and find something to read. Our students must develop this confidence and capacity to become wild readers themselves.” This is the end goal. Knowledgable and empowered wild readers.

After reading this, I know that I have a ways to go (and thankfully a few years until I actually become a credentialed teacher) but I know the direction in which I want to go. I have already started building my library at home, but now I know how to utilize it more efficiently. One thing I need to accomplish is building my repetoir of book knowledge for the upper elementary grades so that I am able to make more informed and knowledgable recommendations when it comes to book choice. Being a (mostly) strict fantasy book fan, I love that this class is taking me out of that area and introducing me to other genres that children (and myself) will like. I absolutely LOVED “The War That Saved My Life,” and have already recommended it to a few of my friends childrens who love reading. And that was considered historical fiction, something I never thought I’d read (not a big history fan at all). Getting out of ones comfort zone, reading-wise, can open up a door to a whole new world and I am excited to be doing so. Starting up the Goodreads account has been fantastic! I stayed up for over an hour browsing reading recommendations and adding to my “want to read” list, and setting a realistic reading goal for the remainder of this year! I know I have room to grow, and I know it will take time, but this class (and English 333) have opened my eyes to a whole different perspective on reading and writing, their connections, and their importance, not just in children, but in me as well.

On a side note, on page 82 of our text, our author gives us the name of an app that she uses to digitalize her library and create a beautiful flow for checkouts/returns/book state, etc. I downloaded it, used my sons school as my home school (though I don’t see how this part matters?), and have it ready to use. I am going to scan in all of my books from my home into it and start my home library (just need to build more bookshelves)! Maybe I’ll even require my children to “check out” a book. We’ll see how that all goes!


By Thursday (10/5) evening (Important! Please don’t leave the 8th graders hanging!):

Read your 8th grade “book buddy” text for at least 30 minutes. Respond to your 8th grade buddy’s post about the book on our Padlet. Ask them questions about the book that they might take up for next week.


By Friday, Oct 6: Finish chapter book and write chapter book review in our Goodreads Community.

 


By Sunday, Oct 8: Make 3 (Chapter Book Make)

Again, just like with the series books, you have a lot of choice in how you decide to share your chapter book. The goal: share your book in a creative way with others so that perhaps they too can get excited about reading the book. Another goal: use the make as a way to think about the ideas/themes/characters in the books we are reading. Try out making something that you might ask your future students to make.

You can create a piece of art, a book trailer or short filmwrite a song, write fanfiction, create a game, create a lesson plan or class activity…lots of possible ways to share. You can upload an image of your artifact, share a link, share a video, etc.

As always, once you create your “make,” you will also write a brief artist’s/writer’s statement explaining what you were attempting to do with this make: how did you approach this artifact? what worked? what did not work out as planned?

Upload/link/paste make and write about your process in our G+ community under the category Make Cycle 3: Chapter Book Makes

Week 6: All the Things

Week 6: All the Things

Friendly reminders for week 6:

Please bring a laptop tomorrow, and really, every time (or let me know and I’ll grab one for you).

Tuesday (9/26), we’ll give feedback on our makes, read our chapter books, look over the books we’re reading with the 8th graders, and join the platform we’re working with for Beth’s class (called Padlet...yes, one more site to join and keep track of. You. got. this.).

Thursday (9/28) we need laptops too since we’ll be responding to your 8th grade partners. Such excite!

In a nutshell for this week:

1) bring laptop

2) bring chapter book

3) Kim brings new books to class and we pick 1st/2nd choices

8th Grader’s book choices:

When ready, give me your choices here

 

Week 5: Reminders

Week 5: Reminders

 

Our reminders for Week 5

  1. Reading chapter 2 from Reading in the Wild for class tomorrow.
  2. Before tomorrow’s class (at least an hour before would be my preference), post a question/quote from Miller chapter 2 and a question that could guide discussion for your series book. Post in our G+ Community. Thanks to those of you who have posted already!
  3. Please make sure you have 1) your series book, 2) Reading in the Wild, and 3) a new book if you have finished the series book (perhaps your chapter book?) with you tomorrow. We’ll take 15 min or so to read.
  4. We’ll sit with our series groups again this week.
  5. On Thursday, bring your laptops. We’ll be posting in our Goodreads community.
  6. I’ll have updates about our 8th grade buddies. We start reading with them next week! We can also follow Beth’s class on Instagram: teachertales_108