Writing About Reading….Continued

I’ve spent the majority of the day working on my next unit of study for reading.  I am using Calkins’ Literary Essays unit of study in writing as the basis for my reading unit.  I had forgotten just how long it takes to write mini-lessons.  I’m on my fourth lesson and about 3 hours have gone by!  Of course, I am extending that time be even more just by coming to blog. Four minilessons down, so that covers me for the week, at least.  A lot of thinking going on over here, revising the plans I laid out over the summer.  It seems the best-laid plans never work out.  No matter how well I plan in July/August, each class brings new surprises and new information.  Inevitably, those plans are reworked, rearranged, and tweaked a lot.  Hey, at least teaching is never boring! 

Books I Have Recently Added to My Wishlist

Here are the most recent additions to my Amazon Wishlist, thanks to reading reviews around the Kidlitosphere!

Squiggles pb: A Really Giant Drawing and Painting Book by Taro Gomi-  Thanks to a review by Mary Lee over at  A Year of Reading, I am dying to get my hands on this book.  I would love to do something similar to her idea of having my students complete the book this year.  What a great, tangible reminder of the class! 

Howtoons: The Possibilities Are Endless! by Saul Griffiths-  I’m not sure where I saw this book mentioned.  I know I did read a brief review of it, but of course I can’t find it right now.  However, I know my kids would love this book.  It’s definitely way up there on my wishlist!

Harry Sue by Sue Stauffacher- I stumbled on a review on Bookshelves of Doom that really sold me on this book.  It is the only one I have ordered so far off the list.  I am considering it for a read-aloud later this year and am looking forward to reading it.  Donuthead has been quietly making the rounds in my class, so I think this novel would be popular.  

The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle-  Again, I can not for the life of me remember where I saw this book mentioned.  It will not be released until March ’08, but it sounds fascinating!  I have a lot of students this year who love dystopian stories and this sounds right up their alley(s).  One of the blurbs I have read compares the story to The Giver, another favorite of mine. Anyone know where I can get my hands on an ARC of this book? 

The Postcard by Tony Abbott- My students this year LOVE mysteries.  Abbott’s newest book (April ’08) sounds like a perfect match.  A dead grandmother, a mysterious phone call, and a strange antique postcard all add up to an interesting summer for the main character.  I would love to preview this for my kids, so I have been trying to hunt down an ARC.  I also know a lot of my students who would love to preview this for the rest of the class.

It’s funny- I have a 12 page long Amazon wishlist.  Less than 25% of the list is my own personal choices.  The majority are books I want to add to my classroom library.  Thankfully, I LOVE reading middle grade/YA literature or else I would be in big trouble. 🙂   I need to start attending more conferences where ARCs are available, I think!   The few ARCs I do have are extremely popular in my classroom.  My students love reviewing books and the allure is even greater when they know it is a book that “no one else has read yet!”  Their recommendations frequently cause other students to rush out and buy their own copy of the book because my classroom copy usually has a waiting list (with 45 students in 2 classes, a waiting list grows quickly!).  Being able to review new books is a great motivation for my students and I want to be able to encourage that!