Sunday, January 22, 2017

Our Mock Geisel and Mock Caldecott Awards

After much reading, discussing and evaluating we are please to announce the winners of our Mock Geisel and Mock Caldecott awards.

Kindergarten and first grade students participated in a Mock Geisel unit: Here are our winners...



Second, third and fourth graders participated in a Mock Caldecott unit. Our winners...



We are looking forward to see how our selections compare to the real winners.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mock Newbery Committee 2017

Yesterday marked our second annual Northview Mock Newbery Committee Meeting and Banquet!  A highly anticipated day.  Thirty-nine fourth grade readers from across our district (three elementaries), began preparing for this in early October.  My fellow teacher-librarians, Carrie Davies, Leah Pietrusza and I selected 13 books for this year's committee to read and consider...and read they did! In total the committee read 349 books!

Like last year, our committee meeting was held in the board room at our administration building. Arriving by bus, the students were greeted by our Superintendent, Director of People, and a school board member.

At each committee member's seat was a gift bag.  Inside, their official Newbery Committee notebook and water bottle, a Newbery book list, a bookmark from Victoria Coe (the author of one of our selections), and of course  a book!  Each student received his/her own copy of a previous Newbery winning book!

After some quick introductions, we were "in session".

Students met throughout the day in smaller subcommittees to discuss a particular book that they had read.  The insightful, meaningful conversations were incredible.

"When I look at this book I feel that the illustrations are what make it great.  We should really think about it for a Caldecott instead of a Newbery."

"This story really drew me in.  From the very beginning I cared...about the characters and the story."

In between subcommittee meetings we were able to hear from some of our distinguished authors! We are so grateful that they took time to share with our students.

Jenni Holm

Peter Brown

Lynn Plourde
After completing their subcommittee work, students took time to collect their thoughts and reflect upon what they had read, what they had heard and what they had discussed.

Taking their thoughts, each committee member was assigned to a group where they would have the opportunity to "champion" their book of choice.  Again, thoughtful, meaningful, insightful, amazing!

"WISH was a story that...well...I can't put it in words (touching heart)...It just grabbed me right here!"-fourth grader

"PAX was really sad at the end, but I understood why.  Pax needed to be with Runt, even though he missed Peter.  He knew Runt needed him even more.  Peter knew that, too." -fourth grader

"MAXI'S SECRETS told you the end at the beginning, and that made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen to get to the end." -fourth grader

"I think PAX was about Love.  Because sometimes when you love something, you have to let it go."
 -fourth grader

"I really like FULL OF BEANS.  I like how the author wrote about a real city...that really existed.  I liked that it was historical fiction.  -fourth grader

"WOLF HOLLOW was really all about empathy, and that's why I loved it!"-fourth grader

Finally, the time had come.  Each committee member cast his/her vote.

The committee chose four honor books!

And the winner of the 2017 Northview Mock Newbery Medal...

Congratulation Mock Newbery Committee.  You represented yourselves and our school district so very well!  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Letter to the Secretary of Education: I Heard So Little and Didn't Hear So Much!


I will not deny that your selection as the Secretary of Education concerns (terrifies) me.  Those concerns have only been intensified after watching your confirmation hearing.  While I was frightened by the things you said, I was even MORE frightened by the things that you DIDN’T say. So, I’m hoping that you can help me understand some things more clearly. I have a few questions. (I did hear you say "thank you for that great question" (several times) so I will accept that response here.)

I heard you talk a great deal about parent/student choice and helping students “escape” from failing schools.  While you may feel that this will help those particular students, I didn't hear you say anything about what you would do to help those students who don’t “escape” (using your words).  How will you ensure that they are receiving the education that they, too, deserve?  

I didn’t hear you mention that.

I never heard you say anything about how you were going to support the “failing” schools (again, your words).  I know that the teachers in those schools are working every bit as hard as (if not harder than) the teachers in your elite schools.  Incredibly unsupported and often lacking necessary resources and training, I would have loved to hear your plans for how you would strengthen, support and champion for those schools.  As educators, we spend a great deal of time, thought, heartache, resources, planning and implementation on populations who aren’t meeting expectations...I guess, in your words, who are “failing”.  We don’t write them off, we don’t quit, we don’t stop.  We try, we adjust, we seek advice, we plan (re-plan, re-plan, re-plan) and do everything in our power to ensure that those students succeed.  I wonder if as Secretary of Education you would extend the same support to struggling schools?  

I didn’t hear you mention that.

You said that you would be an advocate for “all great schools”.  As Secretary of Education shouldn’t you have said:  “I will be an advocate for ALL schools...helping, supporting and doing everything in my power to ensure that they are ALL great.”?  

I didn’t hear you mention that.

Inclusion? Safety? Accountability?

I didn't hear you mention so very, very much.

Our kids deserve the best.  ALL kids.  Our schools deserve the best.  ALL schools.  I heard you mention “some kids”, “some parents”, “some schools”.  But all schools? All parents?  ALL kids?  

I didn’t hear you mention that.

SIncerely, and with Great Concern,