Category Archives: Surprise Sunday

Layering “Texts” to Deepen Understanding as Students Read (Secretly modeling how to be passionate about inquiry) by Shelli Thelen

History is an important window for all students to view the world through. As a child, I learned about American history and ancient civilizations. I was not interested in history as a student until we began to learn about more contemporary events that occurred in the 20th century. As a fifth-grade teacher of social studies […]

julie-k-1 February 19

A Gift I Give Myself by Julie Potvin Kirchner

When I got home from NCTE last November, there were several colleagues surprised to hear I had paid for the entire trip, with the exception of the cost to cover a reserve teacher, out of my own pocket. They wondered how and why I would choose to do this. The reasons are many and continue […]

i-was-born-with-a-reading-list-necklace February 12

So Many Books, So Little Time: Tips for Reading Strategically by Donalyn Miller

We own too many books. I’ve confessed this before, and it surprises no one. Don and I spend too much time sorting, culling, dusting, moving, and shelving books. Without constant maintenance, our book collection would take over our lives and home. We have tried to control our book hoarding tendencies, but it’s a losing battle. […]

My son, Evan, and I showing off our hiccupotamuses after Aaron Zenz’s author visit February 05

Inspiring Readers and Writers with Author Visits by Jim Bailey

Everyone has a favorite day of the school year.  It could be the first day, a special performance, or a tradition that is unique to your school.  For me, my favorite day is an easy choice:  the day of our annual author visit.  This year our guest author was Marc Tyler Nobleman.  He wowed the […]

eyes wide open January 29

MINDS WIDE OPEN by Paul Fleischman

The year was 1950.  As a lark, the tiny magazine that my father wrote for published this photo of an alleged 27-inch alien who was said to have crashed outside Mexico City.     The picture had come from a flying saucer fanatic and was so obviously faked that the staff thought no reader would […]

img_8713 January 22

Freedom of Speech by Donalyn Miller

  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” –First Amendment, U.S. Constitution     The United States […]

nerdy-monster-logo December 11

How to Nominate Books for the Nerdy Book Awards in a Few Easy Steps

Do not forget that you can nominate up to five books in each category for Nerdy Book Club Awards, but you need to do so no later than December 20, 2016, at midnight EST. Think about the books that drew you and your readers in over the past year. Double check to make sure they published […]

the-art-of-holding-on-and-letting-go December 04

Facing My Nemesis, Finding My Voice by Kristin Bartley Lenz

English was always my favorite subject and I dreamed of being a writer, but I had an altercation with one of my high school English teachers. Basically, we pissed each other off. We had a misunderstanding; she exploded in anger in front of my peers and demanded an apology from me. My response: “I don’t […]

nerdy-nov-27-2016 November 27

Top Ten Picture Books to Use to Teach Digital Literacy by Erin Marone

According to Common Sense Media, children spend an average of six hours a day with media while teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day with media. With screen time at an all time high, it is important educators tackle digital literacy topics within their curriculum such as balancing time off and online, standing […]

lair-of-dreams November 13

Reading with Your Ears: An Audiobook Poll by Donalyn Miller

Traveling to visit schools and conferences, I spend a lot of time in rental cars. Continuously searching for a radio station becomes tiresome and long drives can be lonely and boring, so I load a few audiobooks onto my phone before every trip. Well-performed audio productions bring a book alive and engaging narrators provide companionship. […]