Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And So It Begins

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.


  1. Woooo HOoo!
    Love the blog:-)
    Love the look:-)
    So happy you have it!!!!

  2. For some reason it seems appropriate that this blog begins on Groundhog Day...don't really know brought it up! I know you will enjoy writing it and I will enjoy reading it! I look forward to many smiles. Congrats on the new adventure.

  3. Congrats on your first blog I can't wait to continue reading and talking about great books.

  4. Bill,

    Glad to see you "made the plunge" (in a jumping in the pool kind of way rather than the plunge the toilet kind of way) and got into the blogging game! I've loved "blogging" with my kids in Africa and hope to start my own blog before we move.
    I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts "from the pit".

  5. Glad you call yourself the "librarian." I've just decided to get my "media specialist" endorsement, but prefer to think of it as being a librarian as well. It's all about the books...