EVERYONE’S a Reader and Writer in Rm. 202!

I hope by now you’ve read at least part of our journey with #classroombookaday this year.  I hope you’ve heard how much it’s impacted the readers in my room to LOVE books, to LEARN authors and illustrators (so that now we can name them by their work as we see them in new texts!), to SHARE their favorites with us so we can all hear them, and how much FUN we’re having reading and reading and reading every day.

Well…one of the things that I guess I didn’t expect to come out of this is the strong connection to WRITING that has come out of this challenge.  The reading part made sense, but I love how it’s inspired so many kiddos to write the books that we read!

Of the 316 books we’ve shared 19 OF THEM have been written by Rm. 202 friends!  The best part is how the excited of one author had lead to so many more.  Of course, some of that is the “famous” factor, and getting their book on the door, but really a lot more of it is just that the writing bug is contagious!  Many of the books we’ve written have been inspired by the books we’ve read.

Check out the smiles of those writers–don’t they look proud?

I think I mentioned something the other day about how the suggestion was made to give our Rm. 2o2 authors an author box in our library for their books.  This finally happened on Thursday, and two of our authors now have a special place for friends to find their texts!

Isn’t that cool?  Ella joined the club and started writing fashion magazines she wanted to share.  The boxes are empty because the books are all being read! Perfect!

Now…aside from the WRITING that keeps coming up, there are lots of kiddos who have been asking to READ to us recently, too!  They are excited to share their reading skills with the rest of us!  And boy, are they amazing!

Ciyah was the most recent one to join the party and shared Green Eggs and Ham with us.  She was a super reader and did a great job! (Ayonna read Anna’s New Glasses to us the other day, too, but somehow I didn’t get a picture of it! What was I thinking??)

And somehow, I don’t have a video of her reading the book, but I do have a video of what happened when we all started reading it together!

I know I’ve said it over and over but I’m saying it again–the reading and writing that has been inspired by our participation in the #classroombookaday challenge BLOWS MY MIND!!  Can’t wait to see who we add to our reader/writer list next!

Don Tate is Coming!!

We have a love of diverse books in Rm. 202 (thanks to some book gifts from our district, some great blog posts I’ve read this past year and thanks to Eyeseeme and their amazing bookstore FULL of books with diverse and powerful characters), and so we were DELIGHTED to hear about how Don Tate is coming to visit our school at the end of the month!

As with most of our visiting authors, Mrs. Meihaus works hard with teachers and kids to get us familiar with the author’s (and in this case illustrator’s) work beforehand so we have something to base our new learning upon.  We can also really raise the level of excitement and anticipation as they day draws near and help kiddos think of what they might want to talk to our visitor about when they are here.

We gathered in the library classroom and Mrs. Meihaus introduced us to our new friend, Don Tate.


She started with a short bio, and showed us some of his books.

While he has written several books, he is mainly know as an illustrator.  Our next step was to learn more about how he tackles his images.  We uses primarily paint, and we learned more about the differences in how illustrations look when he uses watercolors versus acrylic paints.  He also has some images that include pen and ink on top of those colors.  We took a look at many of his books with our partners and tried to identify how they were similar to each other.

What’s great is that this was easier work for us because we’ve been working on “getting to know” authors and illustrators all year with our #classroombookaday challenge.  I LOVE that my kiddos can see a book and name who wrote it or drew the pictures just by sight.  I love that they can name and appreciate the people who took such time and energy to create the amazing texts we read and enjoy.  They had great ideas about what they saw that was the same in different images and could name the medium he had used to create them!  Great job, Rm. 202 kiddos!

Before we left, she read one of the books I’d been wanting to share with the class anyway–Ron’s Big Mission— and we loved it.  What an inspiration to hear about a little boy who did whatever it took to get a library card, and what a tragedy that in AMERICA he was not able to get one.  I think it’s important to tell his story.  Reading took him so far in his life!


Mrs. Meihaus shared many titles with us, and while I’d LOVE to read them all, there are LOADS of other books in our to-be-read pile that we want to get to, as well.  Here’s the plan for the ones we’ll share this week and next in preparation for his visit (and just because they’re GREAT BOOKS!):

We are excited to meet our new illustrator friend in person and talk with him about how he does his great work!  Stay tuned for more of the story after he visits us on January 31st. 🙂


Yes, I’m jumping on that bandwagon. 🙂 (It’s only taken me a couple of weeks to finally get on! LOL)

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve seen many posts and tweets related to people’s #OneWord2017 (it’s likely the reason you clicked on this post in the first place! 🙂 ).  As a practice I try to really think through things before I try them out, but then again, I guess I am also “that person” who tries things because I want to see how they’ll work out–especially when it’s related to a blogging/Twitter challenge.

So…here we are with me explaining my #OneWord for 2017.  And from the get-go, it seems like my #OneWord is different from the many I’ve seen online so far.  I have seen many tweets with words like BELIEVE, AWAKE, JOY, INTENTIONAL, etc., and I totally see great connections between those words and things I would also like to make happen this year.  I’m taking an little bit different direction, though, and choosing this as my #OneWord2017:


It’s different, no?  Well, that’s kind of just like me, right?  Let me explain what I was thinking when I picked this word.  I purposefully chose a word (and picture) that sent me in loads of different directions with its connections and impact and am hoping it can apply to all parts of my life (not just my professional one).

So…I’m hoping that OUTSIDE will encourage…

  1. …me and my students to get literally outside.  I have always thought that being part of nature and playing is important to creativity, health, etc., but haven’t yet fully embraced it and gotten my kids (at home and at school) outside as much as I’d like.  Two years ago I made a commitment to extra recess every morning because of that reason, but then for a variety of reasons went backwards on that decision.  Here’s to picking it up again.  Anyone wanna come play in the woods with us tomorrow?
  2. …me and my students to think outside the box.  I know it’s a bit cliché, and many even subscribe to the idea of “Don’t think outside the box, think like there is no box!”, but for me this goal can apply to many things.  It can be applied to so many different scenarios from reading books we hadn’t ever thought of, trying a new strategy for presenting information, sharing our thinking or even how we structure our day.  Because it’s so open-ended, I think it will be easy to find ways to take on the challenge and change my thinking.  Who’s up for jumping out of that box with me?
  3. …both my students and me to venture outside our bubbles.  While this goal sounds a lot like the previous one, my intention is that this applies to the people with which we’ll interact over the next year.  I want both myself and my Rm. 202 friends (my colleagues and family members and friends as well) to be challenged to reach out to new people, to seek out different perspectives, to strive to understand others’ cultures and ways of life.  I am becoming aware that now, perhaps more than ever, surrounding yourselves with people who look just like you, think just like you and act just like you can be very dangerous.  When we are only privy to what we already know and already think, we can quickly begin to see the rest of the world as “other” and then quickly begin to shelter ourselves even more.  Unfortunately, we also miss out of great things that the rest of the world has to share with us.  We miss out.  Diversity makes us all better.
  4. …me to get outside the walls of my classroom.  Just like when you stay in your “bubble” as a person, being in the “bubble” of your classroom and never venturing out means you’re missing out on the greatness that is blooming in other people and places in your school.  Other teachers are doing things in new ways, with new ideas and finding new avenues to inspire students and you (I) owe it to my own students to do whatever I can to plug into it!  Maybe it takes away some of my planning time, maybe I’m uncomfortable because I’m introverted, maybe I’m fine with how I’ve always done things (which, by the way, is not my own thinking, but I can see how others function that way), maybe I just don’t want to…but it is my duty to push past all of those “maybes” and try stretch outside myself (and the comfort of my four walls).  And who knows?  Maybe there’s a new friend, new strategy or new experience waiting for me that I don’t even know about yet.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Ok…for now that’s where I am.  Ready to reach OUTSIDE and see what’s there for me this year.  I’m excited by the prospects and looking forward to where I’ll end up.  I hope you will go along for this journey with me.  And while we’re at it–how would YOU interpret OUTSIDE? How would you write about it if it was your #oneword2017?  I’d love to hear your thinking and add your thoughts to my list! 🙂