I can't believe how far I have come as a teacher in the last 5 years! This first entry is the culmination to some incredible growth I have made as a teacher. Let me go back and fill you in, briefly, I promise!
I have been teaching for 24 years, I have been a book lover for a few more than that. My career has been spread between 3rd and 5th grades, the majority at 5th. I have always loved reading and have tried to pass that on to my students every year. About 10 years ago, I set a goal to read all of the Newbery winners from that year. The winner that year was A View From Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg, one of my favorite authors. Since then I have added not only the winners to my reading lists, but as many of the honor books as I can finish as well. Then, about 2 years ago, I challenged myself to read as many possible winners, before the winners were announced as I could. I didn't get through too many and my success rate was pretty low. Last year I proudly claimed an honor book, Hattie Big Sky, as one I had read pre-awards announcement.
Also about this time I began team teaching with a great friend, Maria, who is one of the best teachers of language arts that I know. My need to read even more for kids was pushed and this year I have read about double what I read last year. I can proudly state that I read 2 of 4 Newbery winners, and 4 of 5 Caldecott winners.
All of this reading was in preparation for a new role I have taken on at my school this year, that of librarian. Some may call what I do media specialist, but I can't really do that, because that would indicate I use a variety of media. My focus is on books, and lots of them! When I began preparing for my new job I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish, you are reading one of them. I wanted to start a blog about books. My colleague Karen came to me asking if I was interested and I jumped at the chance to share the load with someone who knows more about good teaching than I'll ever forget! So on Groundhog's Day 2008, we sat down at a Panera with Mary Lee of A Year of Reading and got started.
Our goal as we write these blogs is two fold, one, we want to talk about good books, I may even throw a bad one in here and there, and two we (Karen mostly) want to help you with ways to use them with your students. Both of us share a love of reading and both of us have a passion for sharing that love with kids. We are both in the business of creating life long readers.
For my part in this adventure I will be reviewing as many books as I can, hopefully you will find my thoughts and opinions helpful in finding good reads for your students. Look for my "Picks From the Pit", a term I'll have to explain later.