Sunday, February 26, 2012

Awesome Literacy Conference!

On Saturday, I attended the Dublin Literacy Conference (#dublit12 on Twitter if you want to read the feeds).  It was AMAZING!  I went once, five years ago, when I was a first year teacher.  I didn't really know what it was all about and I have to say I was not impressed then.  I had heard all these great things about it, but nothing really stuck with me that year.  Maybe it was just an off-year.  When I heard that Donalyn Miller (for those teachers in a hole-I'm talking about The Book Whisperer here!) was the keynote speaker this year, I knew I HAD to go.  I got my registration in early and made sure to sign up for the last session of the day that she was holding called Bring on the Books.  I was super excited!  And it was everything-I mean EVERYTHING it was cracked up to be!  Check out my GoodReads shelf for suggestions I got from Donalyn herself.  When I got home Friday night, I realized I had left my copy of The Book Whisperer at school, so I dragged my behind back in there at 8 pm just so I could have it autographed!  One of the first thing Donalyn said in her keynote was regarding her students reading without the use of AR.  I loved this, and made sure to tell her that I was thrilled my school got rid of AR this year and my students are still reading-actually moreso than they have in the past.  She signed my book:  "Celebrate Reading Freedom!"  How awesome is that?!  

The afternoon keynote was Sharon Draper.  She was just as amazing!  Sorry, I just don't have any other words!  I was not really familiar with Sharon Draper.  I knew she wrote a lot of books with multi-cultural protagonists.  I also knew she wrote a lot for high school kids.  She was actually a very funny and interesting speaker.  She is also a former teacher.  She wrote her first trilogy while she was still teaching!

The morning opened with a reading and song from Eric Litwin and James Dean, the author and creator of Pete the Cat.  Since I don't teach primary, I was not familiar with them either, but they are two groovy dudes!  I heard their breakout sessions were fantastic.  I bought my son Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes and we've probably read it and sang the song at least 20 times since yesterday afternoon.  In November, they are releasing a Pete the Cat Christmas book.  I already know one item on my son's list!  

If you live in Ohio, you definitely need to add the Dublin Literacy Conference to your to-do list for next year!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Author Study Unit!

I have been very busy the last few days working on an author study unit.  Since February is Black History Month, I am doing an author study of African American authors.  The authors we are focusing on are Angela Johnson and Faith Ringgold.  There were so many to choose from, but I decided on Angela Johnson because of her African American & family themes, plus she is an Ohioan!  Faith Ringgold was a given for me because I am just in love with her books and illustrations!  I have posted my first Angela Johnson author study in my Teacher's Notebook shop.  The first is a week-long unit using the books The Leaving Morning, When I Am Old With You, and Tell Me A Story, Mama.  I will be posting another unit soon using some of Angela Johnson's historical fiction books.  Lastly, I will post my Faith Ringgold unit.  The Ringgold unit will be available in two weeks.  

This is the first author study that I will be doing in my classroom.  I did a mini-author study on Eve Bunting last year, but not to the extend that I am doing with my African American author study.  With the first Johnson author study, we are going to focus on common themes, making connections, point of view, and author's craft.  I love how this unit has shaped up and I am excited to begin on Monday.  If you are interested in purchasing this unit, please visit my Teacher's Notebook shop!  

What author studies have you done in the past?  I am excited to create more units in the future!