Reading Response: 1,2,3 Predict #YaLit

I chose to do 1-2-3- Predict for this week’s reading response. I finished the book shortly after I did my reading response and my prediction was similar to what happened but not quite.IMG_1315.JPGIMG_1314.JPGIMG_1313.JPG


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats #YaLit


I was just a kid when I read The Snowy Day by Keats and at the time I did not realize the impact the book had on the world of children’s books. It wasn’t until my Children’s Lit. course that I learned that this book was the first children’s book to be published that had a black protagonist and this book was published in 1962. This book went on to win the Caldecott medal in 1963 which was a big deal considering the prestige of this award and the year that this book was published.

Since then many awards have been created for authors of different races and ethnicities but why we don’t see this books in the classroom or the library? The problem isn’t the teacher or the library the problem is simply that books by authors of different races are not getting published. We are not seeing these books in classrooms because they aren’t being published. According to an article in the New York Times Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?, only 93 of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013 were by black people. Why is this? Some publishing companies claim it is because there is no market for African American books but they couldn’t be any less wrong. There probably is no market because there are no books. How can you expect to have a demand for something when there is nothing to demand?

This causes authors that wished to be published to self-publish. Self-published books already have enough bad press that most self-published books don’t get read even if they are worth it. What J.K. Rowling had given up and self-published, Agatha Christie, Frank Herbert, George Orwell, Louisa May Alcott? Would we have read their works or considered not worth it because they were self-published? Ever heard of Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny or The Tale of Peter Cottontail? Beatrix Potter had to self publish her books and now they have become a house hold name. Do not ignore authors that self-publish because you do not know the reasons behind that. It’s like the old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, which you should never do because some really great books can have awful cover art. Don’t judge a book just because it is self-published without reading it first; then you can tell me it is an awful book.

Teenagers/kids of different races need books that they can relate to. I am going to be honest and say I don’t really relate to black kids in Harlem because that is not where I grew up and I’m not black. I can’t understand those books like someone who is black and grew up Harlem. I read books I can relate to same as anybody else but what happens when there are no books to relate to? Readers are born when they find books they can relate to and that hold their interest. If kids of different ethnicities can’t find books to relate to and therefore do not become readers then we, the United States of America, have failed them.


What is #ds106? #DigLit

What is the hashtag ds106? What is DS106? For the official definition I would recommend going to the ds106’s  About Page. My definition is this: a way to digitally put your ideas out there.

DS106 started out as a class project and turned into a global project that anyone can participate in. DS106 promote a daily challenge similar to the some 30 day challenges that I have seen. My cousin’s wife is currently doing a 30 day challenge of posting works of art she created to Facebook. I tried doing a photography 30 day challenge once on Facebook but I didn’t make it.


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I really like the diversity of this daily challenge because it’s every day, you can participate whenever you want and quit whenever you want, and every challenge incorporates some kind of technology. It’s a great way to learn new technology and get out of one’s comfort zone. I am most comfortable with pictures and writing assignments but I am excited to participate in other categories such as audio or video because I have never explored that kind of technology. I have made one terrible movie on iMovie and used other websites such to make videos for fun, but I have never been serious about creating a digital footprint.

You are not limited to the daily challenge either. There is an Assignment Bank, where you can go to look at past assignments or make your own.

You can participate in these challenges on Twitter, Soundcloud, Flickr or on you blog (you need to register your blog first so that the ds106 can feature your challenges on their website.

This is a great course (yes, it is technically a college course but you can participate without being the class), that can utilized for just the individual or for a classroom.

I am going to participate in the daily challenge for thirty days starting March 1st. I already know this is going to be hard for me to do everyday because even though these challenges are relatively short I have a lot of other homework to do. I am not going to let that deter me I just need to be serious about participating everyday and seeing this as an assignment and a fun 30 day challenge.

Yves Tanguy #DigLit

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Yves Tanguy was born in Paris, France, January 5, 1900. Tanguy never had any formal training as a painter in fact he spent his youth sailing with the Merchant Navy. In 1923 he returned to Paris where he would spend his days sketching at cafés. After seeing a painting by Giorgio de Chirico he decided to become a painter. He joined the Surrealists in 1925 and began to employ automatism to create his paintings. What makes his art stand out from his fellow artists was that none of his depictions had much grounding in reality. When we look at paintings by Ernst, Chirico, Marguerite, and Picasso we see images that are easily identifiable. When one looks at a painting by Tanguy what you are seeing is the unconscious in its purest form. Tanguy may have been influenced by rock formations near Brittany where his mother lived but is an influence not a representation of reality.

“If Tanguy’s style is realistic, his visual poetry is abstract.” (Tompkins)

Tanguy was probably one of the only surrealists to really employ automatism to create his works. A person can see recognizable shapes and objects in most other surrealist art but not in Tanguy’s. He reached deep into his unconscious and brought forth art that did not change much over his life, if anything it got darker and more intense.

Imagery Numbers was probably one of Tanguy’s last paintings before his death in 1955 and it really shows how more disturbing his paintings became.


Imagery Numbers, 1954 Yves Tanguy

Photo CC

Tanguy met Kay Sage, his future wife in 1939 in Paris. He followed her to the United States following the start of World War II. They got married in 1940 and made their home in Woodbury Connecticut where they turned their home into a studio. Tanguy and Kay spent the rest of their lives in Woodbury where he died of a stroke in 1955.

I like Tanguy’s work because it is really is the essence of surrealism and what the Surrealists were trying to accomplish as an art movement, but I prefer the works of Magritte, and Dali who I will hopefully be talking about in the next two weeks.


A Large Painting Which is a Landscape, 1927

Photo CC of WikiArt


The Certitude of the Never Seen, 1933

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The Satin Tuning Fork, 1940

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Indefinite Divisibility, 1942

Photo cc of Wikipedia


Through Birds, Through Fire, but Not Through Glass 1943

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My Life, White and Black 1944

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References and Cited Sources: this is a great link to go to and scroll through some of Tanguy’s art.

Tomkins, C., & Duchamp, M. (1966). The world of Marcel Duchamp, 1887-. New York: Time.

Rubin, W. (1968). Dada, Surrealism, and their heritage. New York: Museum of Modern Art; distributed by New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, Conn.

Crispolti, E. (1970). Ernst, Miró, and the surrealists. New York: McCall Pub.



Reading Response: Book Review of Little Peach by Peggy Kern #YaLit

WARNING: This review contains spoilers so read at your own risk. 

This last week at the bi-weekly meeting of the Avengers book club we chose to read Little Peach by Peggy Kern for our next meeting. This is a relatively short book with a powerful message that goes beyond it’s pages.

This is the story of Michelle (“Punky” to her loving grandfather). This is the story of how she became a prostitute at the age of 14 in New York City. How does this happen and why does this happen?

I did a project on human trafficking for my state FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) project and I took this project to Nationals, with my partner Taylor. This started out as my friend’s project because she wants to spend her life fighting to end human trafficking. I joined her in this project and learned more about human trafficking than I had known before. The biggest misconception about human trafficking is that it happens overseas. Human trafficking happens in our own backyards and to people we know. It doesn’t have to be Asian girls overseas it could be innocent 14 yr. old girls who are lost, alone and taken advantage of. That is how pimps or”daddies” find their targets-girls who are easily taken advantage of. I watched a testimonial of one girl who despite being a straight A student, cheerleader, and headed to college, ended being targeted by a human trafficker. They started “dating” and he convinced her to move to New York with him and become a “dancer”. After stripping for a couple of months he started pressuring her to sell herself for sex because it made more money. This is how it starts-not violent and scary. It starts innocent and simple. They gain your trust and then they use it against you.

Michelle was lucky enough to escape at the end of the story through the help of Daniela who worked for CSW. But there are countless others like Kat who are not so lucky. They go missing and are never found again. Kat said in the book that her, Peach and girls like them aren’t missing because no one cares that they are gone. That is how these girls fall between the cracks because there isn’t anyone to care if they go missing and that is just the sad truth. That isn’t true of all girls who trafficked but it is true for a majority of girls.

I highly recommend reading the author’s note at the end of the book to read about Kern’s research and the names of the victims she interviewed. She wrote her book based off these testimonies so while this book may be “fiction”, it tells the all too real story of forced prostitution and human trafficking.

If you would like to read more information on human trafficking I would recommend visiting this website Shared Hope International.



Creating a classroom with a personalized learning approach #DigLit

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While I was doing research for this week’s post I came across an article written by a former teacher of mine. Creating a Culture of Leaner Autonomy by Brian Anton. Mr. Anton was my sophomore history teacher and it is interesting to see how far he has come. It is also crazy to think how small the world really is and how social media can bring people together. I haven’t seen Mr. Anton in 4 years, but I just happened to find an article written by him while doing some research. This is the link to Mr. Anton’s Student Driven Social Studies Classroom webpage. This is the link to his profile on twitter, Mr. Anton’s Twitter Profile.


Mr. Anton mentioned in his article the students that just came to class and did the work to pass and I was one of those students though I am loathe to admit it. I have always considered myself a good student who worked for my grades but that is not entirely honest. Most of the time I did the work for the grade not for myself. Which is why I am interested in personalized learning and flipped classrooms.

I strongly disliked lecture classes where I would take notes, take a test and move on because I never did learn anything. There was no focus on what I was interested in learning, how I was interested in learning the material and how I wanted to present my findings. Education has lost the ideal that learning should be about the student and not about the content. As of late educators have become so focused on scores and numbers not the student and making sure students are actually learning the content instead of just doing enough to get a good grade. In her book Book Love by Peggy Kittle, Peggy gives countless examples of students who never actually read the assigned book instead they used spark notes, class discussions, or summaries on the internet. What happened to students wanting to learn for leaning’s sake? When did school become about tests, scores, and doing just enough for a good grade?

Personalized vs. differentiated vs. individualized learning by Dale Basye is another great article that explains personalized learning and then how to bring together all three different approaches. When kids take responsibility for their learning they are more excited to learn and more willing to learn. Kids will most likely doze off or pull out their phones if I stand in front of the class and lecture on symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird. If I ask them to choose a novel instead and pick a literary element to focus on I guarantee that more students will be excited to study and learn. There will always be a need for teachers because students don’t know everything but I don’t think student learning should be the teacher’s responsibility alone. When I choose to learn something, such as my ILP (Independent Learning Project) I put time and effort into it because I chose the subject and it is something I want to learn about. I have autonomy over my learning and that makes it way more enjoyable than if my teacher had assigned us a topic to learn about.

Students need that autonomy and we as educators should give it to them.

These are some personalized learning managers I followed on Twitter.

Jin-Soo Huh twitter profile-Jin Soo Huh is the personalized learning manager for Alpha Schools.

Stephen Pham Twitter Profile– Stephen Pham is also a manager of personalized learning in San Francisco, California.


Current Book Count: 564 #YALit


(Take the total minus 26, the letters in the alphabet)


Just the other day I tweeted that my current book count was 563 (Now it is 564, got a new book the other day). That’s not my TBR list or my Read list-no that is the number of books I own, give or take a few. I’ve been dreaming of a classroom library since I decided in 7th grade that I was going to be an English teacher when I grow up. I already have some ideas of my check out system and I definitely know I will be reading aloud to my students everyday because it has proven to help with literacy and cultivate a love of reading in students. I loved it when my English teachers read books to the class because we then discussed the book as a class. It was like my classroom was a book club that got to meet everyday.

I am not sure how I want to organize my books because that has been constantly changing. When I was a kid, not a teen, I organized them according to author because I am a little OCD. When I was a teenager I continued to organize according to author but my two (sadly only two) bookshelves were divided into classic and contemporary. Of course I naturally ran out of shelf space and my floor became home to many of my books. When I got into college I decided there needed to be a change. I created an excel document in which I keep track of the books I own by author, publication company, publication date, hardback/paperback and any other interesting information, e.g. Newberry, family book, library discard, missing the dust jacket, etc. Then I had to sadly box up my books in plastic boxes because there was literally no more room for them.

My current shelving system is this: books I have already read get placed in the appropriate box (I color code the boxes and my excel document so when I need a specific book I can look up what box it is in), and any books I haven’t read get placed on my shelf. Once they are read they go into a box until the day I own a thousand bookshelves and can organize to my hearts content. A good portion of these books will end up in my classroom library because all school libraries are lacking, I know from firsthand experience.

I love the idea on Mrs. Anderson’s blog post Creating and Managing a Classroom Library about having students donate books and then putting a label in the book saying who donated it and their graduation year. That is the ultimate legacy in my mind because we will never know how our books will impact someone. There are really great tips on this blog post for growing your own classroom library and some great testimonials for a classroom library can be found on her blog post Is “getting along fine” good enough?. If the answers from her poll don’t convince English teachers they need a classroom library then I don’t know what will.

My middle school English teachers had classroom libraries but non of my high school English teachers did and I think that if they did more of my fellow students would have been readers. Monitoring your student reading is important as well because having a library isn’t enough if they aren’t checking the books out and reading them. Peggy Kittle in her book Book Love gave some great ideas for monitoring student reading that she uses in her classroom. One idea is having students calculate how many pages they can read a week and then having a reading log which they fill in each week with how pages they read that week. She took it one step further and helped them calculate how many books they could read that semester. Goals really do motivate people especially students. I have a similar idea that keeps track of student reading-have students turn in a weekly or bi-weekly, depending on their reading rate, book review. Not a book report but a review of the book that can be posted up in the classroom or put in a binder where other students can read it. I find book reviews extremely helpful when deciding on what books to read and being able to know what their fellow classmates think of a book could be helpful. It’s not only a way for me to monitor student reading but a way for them to create something to help fellow readers.

Most kids don’t go to the public library for various reasons but probably because their parents can’t take them or they don’t have the time. By having a classroom library you are giving students access to books and giving them a place to discuss the book. Talk to your students about what they are reading and never hesitate to recommend books. Some of my greatest reads have from recommendations.