Sunday, April 5, 2009

Carl Anderson, Great Colleagues, and Button Up!

I feel like I haven't blogged forever, but today was a fabulous day, and I just had to share it!

I was fortunate enough to hear Carl Anderson (Assessing Writers) talk today about writing conferences with our students. What an incredibly smart man he is! I took many notes, and can't wait to confer with my students next week -- I'll try to be better at finding the right entry point for a conversation with each person. (If you haven't had an opportunity to read his book, it really is a must read!)

But, not only did I get to hear Carl speak, I got to spend quality time with some other very smart educators, and whenever that happens, it truly energizes me! Franki (A Year of Reading) and Katie (Creative Literacy) were my carpool, and we all talked a mile a minute on our way there. Once we got there, we ran into Stella (My World - Mi Mundo) and Kristine (Best Book I Have Not Read), as well. In addition, three other people I had met at a Mexican restaurant a couple of months ago to discuss Assessing Writers were there -- Mandy, Rita (Katie's mom), and Lisa. We had had great fun having our book conversation with chips, salsa, and margaritas, and learned so much in the process -- it was wonderful to see them again (though the chips and salsa were missing!). Finally, I got to reconnect with an old friend/colleague (Molly) and met a new friend/colleague (Shelly).

The icing on the cake, though, were all the books available for us to peruse. It wasn't quite as good as a trip to Cover to Cover, but there were some wonderful books available, and a lot of new, good poetry. After all, April is Poetry Month! I haven't purchased a new book in over a month, so I was feeling the need to buy, and I did indulge that feeling. :) I'll be sharing some of my new titles over the next few weeks.

The first one that just "leaped" into my hands was a delightful book called Button Up! : Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle, and illustrated by Petra Mathers. With every turn of the page, we find an article of clothing some child might have: Emily's Undies, Joshua's Jammies, and Jack's Soccer Jersey, just to name a few. What delighted me so was that each article of clothing is telling their story of how the child they belong to uses them and wears them. Great mentor text for perspective and voice!!

We also learn a little about the history of some apparel items. For instance, "Hand-Me-Down Sweatshirt":
"I've been lost and recovered,
been torn and sewn,
been dribbled on, tumbled in,
rained on and blown.

I started out Wendell's
was passed down to May,
she passed me to Karly,
I'm Andrew's today."

As I read the poems out loud to myself, I could envision which students in my class will be drawn to this book when I introduce it to them, and will want to perform it in some way for our Poetry Friday celebrations. I can't wait to see what they they come up with as their share!

This book is a gem, and I will be able to share it with students for many different reasons, but the clincher for me was that one page is titled, "Wanda's Swimsuit". My mom's name is Wanda, it's not a common name, and she hates to swim -- I was meant to buy this book!


  1. I thought it was a great day as well. I would have loved to talk to your carpool more. I would love to pick a day in June to schedule Cover to Cover with a lunch!

  2. I'm sure the 48 Hour Challenge will be coming up then -- maybe a good opportunity to gather again! Last year was so much fun!

  3. Karen, It was great seeing you on Saturday! I hope we all get together are all such wonderful people!

  4. You just made my day...I made your blog! It was a fabulous two days with Carl and lots of great thinking about writing. I always enjoy our professional conversations and catching up. Life if good.

  5. KAren- Always wonderful being with loved Button Up as much as I did!! I read many of the poems aloud to the kids today and they were loving them!!