Mem Fox’s Books Selected for Global Read ALoud 2017 #GRA17

Picture Book Author

Australian author Mem Fox has been a contender for a few years, so I am thrilled to have her be the chosen focus of our picture book study. With her enthralling storytelling, her many books focused on the ordinary and not so ordinary, and the perspective she brings her impact on the Global Read Aloud community promises to be profound.

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Update on the Global Read Aloud Gives Back 2016

2016 marked several milestones for the Global read Aloud; we had more than 1,000,000 students participate and we created The Global Read Aloud Gives Back as a way for students to do service learning.  The very first non-profit we chose to give back to was Palms & Souls, a micro non-profit that focuses on sustaining a communicty center in Jocotenango called the El Buen Samaritano Community Center.  One of the major needs was for books for the sixtythree kids that regularly use the community center and we thought this was a perfect mission for the Global Read Aloud community.

Throughout our six weeks, students raised money for the book drive and in order for a small library to be built at the community center.  I am now so happy to reveal how it went as Reidun and Ryan Bures just returned from their trip.  So how did we do?

As Reidun wrote in her newsletter:

“On March 31, students entered the El Buen Samaritano library for the first time. Initially, they went towards the chairs in the corner and just looked with wide eyes. But once Ryan said “You can touch them,” the floodgates opened. There was pointing, sharing, touching, and READING. Little hands grasped onto brand-new covers and the smiles were endless. Some students even hugged the books. It looked like they had never seen so many books in one place. Honestly, I’m not sure if many of them had ever seen a new book before. This brought tears to my eyes, not only because I knew these stories were going to be educationally and emotionally empowering to these students, but I also knew that each of these books contained such a tangible expression of your long-distance love. These books were sent from schools all across the world, from our family, friends, and strangers. They were sent with notes from the University of Wisconsin medical students, and from friends in Florida and Georgia. Words can’t describe the power of that moment. We have been motivated by believing in the potential of these 958 books to truly impact our 63 kids, and it is so gratifying to see it come to fruition. So we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Your gift has provided these kids with an invaluable tool for enhancing their academic achievement while opening their minds to the innumerable joys of literature.  “

And what does this look like?  Here are a few images from their trip, see if you can spot your favorite books.

IMG_1453.JPG

DSC06367.JPG

DSC06340.JPGIMG_1487IMG_1486IMG_1485IMG_1483IMG_1473IMG_1453IMG_1449IMG_1432IMG_1417

Thank you to each and everyone one of you for making a difference in the lives of these 63 children.

 

Which Mem Fox Books Shall We Read? #GRA17

Mem Fox has quite a wonderful collection of picture books and so it is no small task determining which books shall be the ones we read together.  We do run into different distribution challenges depending on which country you are joining in from.  I am trying to work around it as much as I can.  So please take a moment to vote for your top 6 here.

If You Are New to the Global Read Aloud – Read This #GRA17

Every year, the Global Read Aloud grows even bigger.  It is quite astounding honestly.  But with growth also comes more questions, thus this blog post to hopefully help all of the new facilitators that have signed up for this year!

To see basic information, such as chapter breakdowns, start date, and hashtags, please go to this page.

Before the project:

How do I get the books?

Since headquarters is just me and my ideas, there is no way for me to purchase the books for you.  I am sorry.  So please do get the books ordered on your own.  To see this year’s books and order them, please go here. 

Why should I be a part of the Google Group?

I use the Google group to email you any information that you may need, as well as updates on author participation and such.  If you have not received emails from me yet, check in your spam folder.  And if you got this information via your email – wahoo, you are a member of the Google group.  (And no I don’t share your email or information with anyone).

What do we use Edmodo for?

Edmodo is used as a safe space for teachers to connect, ask questions, and share ideas.  Please join your respective Edmodo group to connect with others doing the same book as you and to find people to connect with you.  Edmodo is also used during the GRA by teachers, but that is something they set up between their classes.  To see the teacher groups for Edmodo, go here.

How do I connect using Edmodo?

After you have joined your group and I have approved you (which I do on a daily basis) there are two different ways; you post a connections wanted post in your group, or you respond to one.    If you post a connections wanted post, please make sure people have a way to get in touch with you such as email or Twitter handle.  One you have found the connections, please alert people that you have found them.  Also, please reach out to all people that respond to your post, even if it is to say you have found someone already.

If you respond to a connections wanted post, make sure you describe your classroom and give them a way to contact you.

What should I post in my connections wanted post?

It helps if you do age group, location, experience level, as well as what types of tools you feel comfortable using or would like to use.  That way people can respond with similar dreams.  You can post anything else that you think is helpful as well.

What if I don’t want to use Edmodo?

Then you can look for connections via Twitter using the hashtag #GRA17 or post on our Facebook page as well.

How many connections should I be looking for?

You decide. I like to have one solid connection for each of my classrooms and I like to have our ideas cemented before the project starts, that way I know for sure I am connected with someone.  However, I also like to look at what else is going on during the project, so checking in on the Twitter hashtags, seeing what other people are sharing and such.  Some people like to have several connections ready in case one doesn’t work out.

Should I read the book(s) beforehand?

Up to you.  I like to read them to make sure I am choosing the right book for my students, and I like to think about the discussions/projects/connections we will have.  But there is no rule.

During the Project:

What tools should I use to connect with others?

Again, up to you.  Here is a list of great tools I have used in the past.  You can also decide with your connection(s) to try something completely different.  If you have an idea for a tool to use please share it with others, this is how the project becomes so awesome!  If you are using Kidblog or something that requires others to go to your site to connect with you, then make sure your site is open to the public so others can view it and comment.

Are authors always involved?

No, not always.  Every year, since Katherine Applegate chose to get involved, I reach out to the authors’ whose books are chosen and ask if they have time.  Some do and some don’t.  I am incredibly grateful to the authors that take the time to be a part of the project as it enriches the experience tenfold for participants, but I do not pick books based on that criterion alone.  Sometimes incredible books are written by incredible authors that lead very busy lives, and that is okay too.  What matters is that we have the amazing books to read aloud and share.

What technology can we use to connect?

Anything that you have access to.  One of the strengths of the project is that you do not need to use a specific type of technology to be a part of it, in fact, you can even choose to not use technology and use regular mail to connect with someone.  All that matters is that you connect with someone.

To see great ideas of what to do during the project, go here

How do I find someone to connect with?

Use Edmodo, Facebook or the hashtag on Twitter to find others.

While I do not generally facilitate connections, please contact me if you are having problems finding someone to connect with.  I can usually help.

Where do we share?

Anywhere you want.  We have our Twitter hashtag for sharing as well as our Facebook page, but people find they share best wherever they feel most comfortable.

What should we read when?

Weekly breakdowns will be posted soon. Don’t worry if you get behind (I do every year!).  Just don’t read ahead.

Are there lesson plans?

No, however, many many people share ideas on the Edmodo groups or on Twitter.  I also have a Pinterest page where I try to share as much stuff as I can.

What are things you can do with your students?

The sky is the limit.  I see people use Skype for discussion calls or to guest read aloud.  Many use Padlet to share surveys, students work or other things they create.  People use Kidblog to have students write about the books and then have others comment.  People use Twitter to share projects and also to participate in a slowchat that will happen for some of the books.  People use WriteABout to create writing communities.   To see more about some tech tools, please go here.

How much should we do?

As much or as little as you want.  You can share as much with the world as you feel comfortable doing or as little.  Some choose to simply read the book aloud to their class knowing that they are part of something bigger without connecting with others, others choose to go as big as possible.  Find your comfort zone in this and make it work for you.

Do I have to use technology?

No, you should connect in some ways.  Technology makes that easier but you don’t have to use it if you can’t or do not want to.

Can I make shirts or other things for my students to show we participated?

Shirts and other merchandise are sold here.  Before you create something for your own students, please reach out to me first, the name “Global Read Aloud” is trademarked.

After the project:

We finished the book, now what?

Hopefully, the connections will continue.  Many, myself included, use the Edmodo groups throughout the year to find others to do  projects with.  I do not shut down the Edmodo groups, nor do I lock them down.  The Facebook community can be used for anything as well, it does not just have to be GRA related.  So please continue to use the space to do projects and share ideas.

Are you reading books for next year?

Yup!  The minute books are selected for the year, I start my search for the next year’s amazing books.  If you want to know more about the process, go here.  If you are an author and want your book considered, please go here.

I hope this was helpful.  If you still have questions, please leave them here or contact me via email or Twitter.

Edmodo Groups for Global Read Aloud #GRA17

Every year, I have used Edmodo groups for teachers to share ideas, make connections, and post any random questions they may have pertaining to the book they are doing for the Global Read Aloud.  Edmodo has worked well for many teachers as a way to communicate with others and to find inspiration.  While you do not have to join the Edmodo group to be a part of Global Read Aloud, or use it with your students, many have found it as an easy way to be connected and to connect with others.  If you would rather join the Facebook page, go here 

To Join Edmodo if you do not already have an account:

Follow these three simple steps to create a Teacher Account:

  1. Go to www.edmodo.com.  The “Teachers” button will already be selected by default.
  2. Fill out the registration form and select the “Sign Up” button to complete the sign-up process.
  3. Check your e-mail for a confirmation to view the next steps for setting up your Edmodo Account.

To join the Edmodo GRA groups when you have an account, please click the link for the group you need:

 

Mem Fox 

Fenway and Hattie

The Wild Robot

A Long Walk to Water

A Monster Calls

How do I connect using Edmodo?

After you have joined your group and I have approved you (which I do on a daily basis) there are two different ways; you post a connections wanted post in your group, or you respond to one.    If you post a connections wanted post, please make sure people have a way to get in touch with you such as email or Twitter handle.  Once you have found the connections, please alert people that you have found them.  Also, please reach out to all people that respond to your post, even if it is to say you have found someone already.

If you respond to a connections wanted post, make sure you describe your classroom and give them a way to contact you.

What should I post in my connections wanted post?

It helps if you do age group, location, experience level, as well as what types of tools you feel comfortable using or would like to use.  That way people can respond with similar dreams.  You can post anything else that you think is helpful as well.

What if I don’t want to use Edmodo?

Then you can look for connections via Twitter using the hashtag #GRA17 or post on our Facebook page as well.  There is also a Google Doc where you can post and search for a connection.

How many connections should I be looking for?

You decide. I like to have one solid connection for each of my classrooms and I like to have our ideas cemented before the project starts, that way I know for sure I am connected with someone.  However, I also like to look at what else is going on during the project, so checking in on the Twitter hashtags, seeing what other people are sharing and such.  Some people like to have several connections ready in case one doesn’t work out.

And the Winners Are….Global Read Aloud Choices 2017 #GRA17

I have been losing sleep weighing all of the incredible choices that have been submitted and proposed for this year’s Global Read Aloud.  Many conversations have been had, books have been test read aloud, and while a few are the books chosen by the most votes, some are not.

Picking our books for the Global Read Aloud is never easy, in fact, I think it gets harder every year since we try to match the incredible experience from the year before.  Every year so far, we have been able to do so., and I hope this year is no different.

With an emphasis on perspective this year, I feel that all of the books and picture book author chosen will help us see the world in a new light.  Will help us make connections.  Will help us build community both within our own classrooms, but also with all the thousands of classrooms that will participate.  As usual, I hope you like them, I hope you read them, and I hope you read all of the amazing contenders as well.  Deep breath here.

The chosen are…

Picture Book Author

Australian author Mem Fox has been a contender for a few years, so I am thrilled to have her be the chosen focus of our picture book study. With her enthralling storytelling, her many books focused on the ordinary and not so ordinary, and the perspective she brings her impact on the Global Read Aloud community promises to be profound.

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Early Readers

 I first fell in love with Fenway and Hattie after meeting the author, Victoria Coe, at ILA.  Her enthusiasm for Fenway and his perspective as a dog made me read this book the very next day.  Fenway and the story of how he sees the world is one that is bound to make us laugh but also see our world in a different view; what can happen when we simply change our perspective?

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade

 Every year this age group gets the most votes and every year this feels like one of the hardest decisions.  One book kept coming back to me night after night; the story of Roz and the perspective she brings to community, empathy, and the acceptance of others.  I hope that The Wild Robot by Peter Brown helps up all see the world for how similar we all are, rather than our differences.

Middle School

Again, a popular voting category and one that I hold dear to my own reading experience as this is typically the book I read aloud.  With a fear of others, of refugees, of anyone that does not look like us, supposedly does not think like us, I wanted to read a book aloud that will allow deep conversations, connections, and a collaboration between different subject areas.  While this A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is not new, it is still incredibly relevant for the perspective it brings to us as we uncover the story of Salva and the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Young Adult

I have read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness aloud with a small class this year and have been blown away by their conversations.  This book, which has been made into a movie as well, is sure to make kids think, make them share, and also make them reflect on how they treat others.
So there you have it.  I hope you like them, I do, a lot.  This year’s project kicks off October 2nd, you can sign up right here on the website, and remember; the age designations are not set in stone – read the books and select the one you think will work best for your students.

Vote for Picture Book Author Study for Global Read Aloud 2017 #GRA17

It’s starting to be that time again; voting for the Global Read Aloud 2017, and as always, I start with the picture book author study.  The chosen author/illustrator will have six of their books featured over the six weeks of the project with thousands of children reading them and connecting through them.

We are lucky to be surrounded by such incredible talent when it comes to the world of picture books and picking the right one will be no small task.  So place your vote for the preliminary round, you have until Friday, March 10th.  All of these contenders would be an incredible choice.