Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Little Brown Book Groups + Picture Day

About half through book groups, I get obnoxious and insist it it PICTURE DAY!  Today was that day.  Can't you see me with my hands moving together so the groups are in the frame? "Get together! Get together!"  "______ look up!"  "_______ Smile!" All that hassle, but it is worth it in the end.  Kids do smile.  The adults even grin.  And you can't help but think that we've lightened up our authors' days just a smidgen.

I've mentioned before that we received 40 ARCS for students to read and review.  We started a couple of weeks ago and all books in this first round will be finished by the end of break.  Then we will begin Round 2.  It's very exciting.  I've really only heard positive things about the books.  I'm in Peter Brown's The Wild Robot group and it has surprised me.  Although it started out a little slow, it has picked up tremendously and love the discussions and conversations that we have about it.  Who knew a book about a robot and a gosling and all other forest animals, could be so intriguing and thought provoking?  Certainly not me.

I'm also leading The Best Worst Thing by Kathleen Lane. We are about two thirds of the way through and there are still a lot of questions unanswered.  In this group, we have more participants than books so there is some sharing happening.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) one of the girls read so far ahead on the first or second day that I've been able to hold on to her book.  One student in my group already said, "I love this book because you never know what's coming in the book or the next chapter."  This is true.

Mr. Reischer can't say enough good things about Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  We love Jewell.  We Skyped with her two years ago when her Sugar was on our Newbery list and before that I loved Ninth Ward.  I'm excited to know that come this fall we will have another JPR book in our library, and most likely on our Newbery 2017 list.

Mr. Reischer is also leading the One Wish book group.  Again, I have only heard good things about the book.  

Once again Mrs. Gregware from the main office is helping us out with leading a book group with May Day.  After the first day I received a text from a mom in that book group exclaiming how her child already loves the book!  I believe the excitement continues…

We love getting Ms. Zampella involved, too.  Since her group is reading the book about magic, Nothing Up My Sleeve, I wonder if they will do any tricks for us when they share the book to the class after break?

And new this time is Mrs. Warner.  After the first meeting, she went home and took copious notes to share with her group.  I like that in a book group leader!  Here she is with her Fitzgerald Trout group.

Because we didn't have enough books for all of our students, we added in some other books in our rotation. The incomparable Mrs. Warland is leading a group on two Newbery winning books-Number the Stars and Sarah Plain and Tall.  The group loved the intensity and mystery in Number the Stars so much they already finished it and the plan is to read Sarah Plain and Tall over breakSome of the kids are holding maps that Mrs. Warland printed out to go along with their reading.

Mr. Reischer is enjoying revisiting Newbery Honor winner, Pam Munoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising with his homeroom book group. Today when we were together as a group sharing about our books, their faces lit up the room! They love the book so much.  If we ever got Pam to come visit our school, she would meet a whole lot of fans! (Note: EVERY student that was in Mr. Reischer's Echo book group chose to be in this one! Hmmm…ya think we have some Pam fans here or what?!)

And I was lucky enough to revisit So B. It by the amazing Sarah Weeks. My group is loving the book, too.  We've cried, laughed, discussed and are currently planning a birthday party for Heidi with Devil Dogs, tea, Jell-O and jellybeans since her birthday is the same day as our next meeting (February 12).

And since it's my group, of course we had to LEAP!

All in all, a great day for pictures and book group discussions!  I don't know about the other groups, but I do know that most of the time we just talk about the books and if we're lucky we get a page or two read aloud (the kids do love when this happens).  I think out of my three book groups today, only one read.

Happy Reading and thanks again Little Brown for this wonderful opportunity for my students!

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