This lovely ad from The Teaching Professor informed me that I should plan my curriculum by placing grading at the center of my planning. It used the terms testing and grading and assessment interchangeably, but it did want to sell me on a seminar on using tests to improve student learning.
You see, I do not use tests. Not. At. All. I could if I elected to do so. But I think I can see what students are learning by asking them to apply what they are learning in textbooks and other sources directly to REAL books for children, tween, and teens. I would rather my students perform real world tasks than take tests.
And that brings me to the tweet today from a friend whose child received the summer reading list for AP English along with the directions to analyze the various texts (all canonical) in multiple ways (I think the suggestion was to use 13 different "techniques."). When did summer, a time when kids should be able to read for pleasure, become a time for analysis of classic texts? When did we come to believe that AP kids did not need to read difficult (dare I say rigorous) texts without some sort of scaffolding for the analytical component? Who would prefer to kill a love of reading by assigning dissection over the summer rather than asking kids to read and offering suggestions? Or maybe teaming with the public library?
Please, as summer approaches, think more about how we can foster a continuing love of reading. Consider how we can ensure kids have access to books more readily. Deliberate on the element of CHOICE. after ALL, I plan to participate again in #bookaday. I will select the books to read freely. I will have access to a community online that can make recommendations for me as well. No dioramas or book reports, maybe a tweet or a blog post. Maybe not. I will have books to take along with me, audiobooks, eBooks, GNs, the whole spectrum. I am psyched for this challenge. If I do not read a book a day, there will be no sledge hammer blow to my skull. Instead, there will be encouragement and understanding.
So, by all means ask kids to spend time reading this summer. But do so bearing in mind that we can either support readers or murder them. The choice is ours.
- Current Location:home
- Current Mood:concerned
Courtesy of the creek walk near the library...on a beautiful spring day. :) Happy Memorial Day weekend all! (Any relaxing and/or fun plans?)
Forms, colors, densities, odors — what is it in me that corresponds with them?
- Walt Whitman
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
- Current Mood: hopeful
- Current Music:Without a Trace score music
Author Interview: Tim Tingle on How I Became a Ghost from The Edmond Sun. Peek: "My great-great-grandfather...was 10...when his family began the long walk (The Trail of Tears) to what is now Oklahoma. I wanted to write a book based on these family memories that a young reader would enjoy, with humor and discovery, with snow monsters and shape-shifting panthers."
Author Insight: The Write Mood from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "Sometimes the simple act of writing becomes challenging. How do you make yourself write when you aren’t in the mood? Do you ever reward yourself at milestones?"
African Youth Literature: What Visibility in the International Market? by Mariette Robbes from PaperTigers. Peek: "While catering for their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally and to have business with publishers from others countries."
Seven Questions for Literary Agent Gemma Cooper from Middle Grade Ninja. Peek: "If you expect publishing to be in its own weird timezone, then you won’t be as surprised when it goes through stages of being crazy-manic and then deathly quiet. Be patient and go with it."
The Cabinet of Curiosities: short fictions for the young and mischievous. Highly recommended.
New Voices Award from Lee & Low. Peek: "...award-winning publisher of children's books, is pleased to announce the fourteenth annual New Voices Award. The Award will be given for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500."
The Core of the Verse Novel from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "Because experimenting with new methods and styles is the best way to stay fresh in the midst of a long career?"
Tips for Tackling BEA from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "...we know a lot of you are headed to NYC to attend. We've thought back on past experience and each of us has come up with some last minute tips that could help if you prepare and have an enjoyable show."
Diversity on the Page, Behind the Pencil and in the Office by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "In doing research for books, he (illustrator London Ladd) recommended that creators develop a relationship with others so that they can understand them better. 'It would enhance your work,' he said."
Kidlit Cares for Oklahoma from Kate Messner. Peek: "...because Oklahoma needs help right now, given the magnitude of damage from this week’s EF5 tornado. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort now. If you donate at least $10, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a signed book."
Parragon Publishing India Unpacks High School Horror Fantasies from All About Book Publishing. Peek: "Parragon is one of the largest visual book publishers operating out of 35 countries worldwide. The company has tied up with the best printing facilities in the world and its books are printed in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Europe, USA and other locations."
Pack(ag)ing It Up from Gwenda Bond. Peek: "No one I know who's done this kind of work has any illusions about the downsides going into it. Though I have heard horror stories about people it has worked out pretty awfully for or who were made to expect things that didn't materialize. But I will also say that not everything I've heard is a horror story."
Interview with Award-winning Author Don Tate by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek: "Speaking earns decent income and allows for promoting my books. But it also steals valuable time away from book making."
Is Our Culture Becoming Too Critical and Open? from Jody Hedlund. Peek: "...we're seeing an increase in readers sharing their thoughts about books more publicly (instead of privately or in the confines of book groups). And hence with the increased openness, we're also seeing more negativity (as well as positivity)." See also an Open Love Note to Debut Authors about Hurtful Online Reviews.
Turning Story Opening Don'ts Into Dos by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "If you want to start with action, you’re probably a plot type person. Go ahead! You do need to show your main character in an interesting situation (notice I didn’t say dangerous, just interesting) where their own personality shines through."
Deepening Character: a Conversation with Cliff McNish from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: "We’re prepared to forgive even villains a great deal if they make us laugh. It works doubly so for our heroes. Keep them seeing the amusing side no matter what happens."
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards
By Lena Coakley
The 2013 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced on Thursday at North Kipling Junior Middle School in Etobicoke, Ontario, where students gathered for a celebratory presentation.
Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category: A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Marie Lafrance (Kids Can Press).
Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books).
Aubrey Davis, Marie Lafrance and Susin Nielsen are all first-time winners of this award.
The winner of Ball by Mary Sullivan was Joy in Manitoba, and the winner of Nothing But Blue, Me, Penelope and Country Girl, City Girl, all by Lisa Jahn-Clough was Deena in New York.
This Week at Cynsations
- Eric A. Kimmel on Marketing Manuscripts to Publishers
- New Voice Polly Holyoke on The Neptune Project
- Event Report: Lindsey Scheibe & Riptide
- Event Report: Joy Preble & The Sweet Dead Life
- New Voice Laurie Boyle Crompton on Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
This has been one of my favorite work weeks ever!
I had an opportunity to review copy-edits on Feral Curse (Book 2 in the Feral series) from Candlewick Press and Walker Books (writer in action). And I had the opportunity to celebrate Austin debut YA author Lindsey Schiebe (reader in action) and connect in person with two amazing groups of teens and the librarians who lead them to reading success (author in action)!
|Members of the Wolves Cedar Park High School Reading Group arrive in style at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin.|
|Reviewing the set-up with librarian Chris Kay (see her photo report on the event!)|
|Chatting with Cedar Park readers about reading and writing|
|Answering questions about the writing life|
|Wow! I was presented with a gorgeous plaque! What a thrill!|
|Posing with the top readers at Cedar Park High.|
|Dinner with blogger JennRenee, Greg Leitich Smith and public librarian Jane Dance at Louisiana Longhorn Cafe (we had fried and grilled alligator as an appetizer) in historic downtown Round Rock.|
|Chatting with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club|
|Posing with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club.|
|Bethany Hegedus, me, Jo Whittemore, Nikki Loftin & Cory Putnam Oakes at Lindsey Scheibe's launch for Riptide!|
Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing for the Long Haul from Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches. Peek: "I have a respectful patience for the inner artist but always hold her accountable." Learn more about Janni's Writing for the Long Haul blog series.
Congratulations to Greg Leitich Smith on the upcoming re-release of the Peshtigo School books (Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo & Tofu and T. Rex (originally published by Little, Brown) from IntoPrint Publishing, LLC! See more information.
Congratulations to Lindsey Lane on the sale of "Particles" to FSG! From Publishers Marketplace: "exploring themes of loneliness and interconnectedness from multiple viewpoints, set in or around a remote pull-out on a rural Texas highway where a particle-physics-obsessed teenage science genius disappeared..."
- The Ultimate Spaceship Face-off
- Tracing the Career of Judy Blume
- Time Management: Seeking Discipline
- David Lubar: First Public Stand-up Comedy Performance (PG)
- First Native American Actress to Walk Cannes Red Carpet
- What Parenting Books Can Teach Us About Critiquing
Join Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tracy Wolff, Mari Mancusi, and Emily McKay at 1 p.m. May 25 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.
I think it is good every once in a while to remind ourselves of the rules of logic (see great list above, for instance). I know that as I am reading some of the posts about CCSS, I wonder if somehow we have missed including LOGIC and reasoning as a skill. Kids need to know how to read something with faulty logic, to spot the truncated syllogisms (one of the favorite things I taught 8th graders all those years ago). Review the rules above and then read this post about CCSS: http://www.navigationnorth.com/the-w
See how the pencil is almost unrecognizable (and if you have not read this book, correct this oversight immediately)? And so it is with this posting. It waffles back and forth about methods for teaching. Most insidiously, it suggests that these standards were a collaborative effort that included all sorts of folks. I am not sure I can even call that twisted logic; I know that requests to participate, to have a seat at the table, were rebuffed (in much the same way they were here in Texas when the ELAR curriculum was written without any input from literacy organizations at all). This author asserts that teachers are not being told how mastery of skills is to be assessed. Apparently, the TEST part has escaped this person's attention. And apparently, this person has not seen the mountainous volumes of PD handouts and books and materials that ARE mandating instructional methods.
There are more flaws, of course, but I wonder if perhaps we could use posts such as these to demonstrate to our students how NOT to construct a logical argument, how NOT to be persuasive? Hmmm, I might just have come up with a HOW that can address the WHAT and show that the WHY is not as strong a foundation as we are led to believe.
- Current Location:home
- Current Mood: contemplative
I've talked about this before, my terribleness. I have even posted some of my terribleness on the internet. By the time I went to college, I had over thirty manuscripts in various stages of finishedness laying around my house and ancient computers and word processors.
I wrote novels about talking dogs, missing unicorns, IRA men with hearts of gold, enchanters with hearts of gold, missing dogs, missing IRA men, kids in suburbia who were secretly kings and queens, fairies who were secretly kids in suburbia, missing kids and fairies in suburbia . . .
Terrible. They were all terrible.
But like I said. I've talked about all of this before. I wrote a lot of terrible books. Today, however, in honor of Entertainment Weekly sharing the prologue of The Dream Thieves, I am going to share with you a very particular terrible book from my teens.
The Dream Thieves.
Well, it wasn't called that, back then. It was called The Llewellyn Society. And Gansey was an old man. And Ronan was named Sean. And Noah was named Adam. But it was the same. Mostly. Sort of. Except that I wrote this version longhand. Oh, and it was terrible.
Here are some more terrible bits that sort of stayed the same in the real version, only I made them less terrible.
And a typed version from a few months later:
And like I said. Here is the prologue of the real version, and an interview, over at Entertainment Weekly.
I hope you find it not terrible.
(And as a reminder, you can pre-order a signed and painted in version of it over at Fountain Bookstore)
(and here is what I am painting in each of them:
- Current Music:"Better Off Dead" - ZZ Ward
During the week, I try to follow a similar schedule to the kiddos'. Since I'm having them spend time in reading/writing/math and music, I'll do the same. Maybe I'll actually learn something about the guitar this summer (or maybe I'll just play around on the piano, like I did last summer). I'll definitely use the reading/math/writing time to both read and write (well, let's hope). We'll also be outside for part of each day, playing tennis or basketball or going on a hike. Just like a school day, we stop around 3-ish, and they get 'free' time. ;) It worked pretty well last year, so I'm excited to spend time with them again.
We don't have any weekend plans (yet), though we are heading to Glenwood Springs to visit some caves (E is very excited -- her 'passion' project was on caves) and take a cool hike near there.
So, for any of you who also have charge of kiddos during the summer break, what types of things do you do to keep everyone busy and relatively happy? :)
Laurie Boyle Crompton is the first-time author of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) (Sourcebooks, 2013) and looks forward to the release of Adrenaline (FSG/Macmillian, 2014) and The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High (Sourcebooks, 2014).
From the promotional copy of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains):
When comic-obsessed Blaze stands up to her evil ex, he posts a racy picture of her online and a battle of epic proportions ensues.
Before she knows it, Zap! Thwack! Pow! Blaze becomes the target of intense bullying.
She must learn to channel her inner-superhero if she hopes to gain the ultimate victory; rescuing herself.
Read an excerpt of Blaze.
How do you psyche yourself up to write, to keep writing, and to do the revision necessary to bring your manuscript to a competitive level? What, for you, are the special challenges in achieving this goal? What techniques have worked best and why?
As a debut author I’m in a unique (and extremely blessed!) position of having three books under contract with two different publishers so I have pressing deadlines all over the place.
It works well that I’ve always been able to convince myself that my own deadlines are ‘real’ which is probably helped by the fact that I’m a little bit gullible.
When I find motivation lagging I try to tune in to the inspiration that drove me to write the story in the first place. That initial spark is something that should continue to burn throughout the process.
I also try not to think about the book going public. When you write edgy YA, imagining your mother or grandmother reading your work can tend to stifle creativity. Of course, this game of pretending nobody will ever read the book grows harder as the process draws closer to publication day.
The writer’s worst enemy in the late stages is a little thing called perfectionism. The final read-through can be brutal since it’s the last time for making changes. It’s difficult to let go and release your book into the world, but there comes a point where you just need to decide on the word you have changed back and forth with each draft and accept the fact that you won’t be able to tinker with this story anymore. Then the best thing is to turn focus to the next project.
How did you go about connecting with your agent? What was your search process like? Who did you decide to sign with? What about that person and/or agency seemed like the best fit for you? What advice do you have for other writers in seeking the right agent for them?
I love talking about my wonderful agent! The day I signed with Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency was the day things turned around for my writing career.
Mind you, I still had a long path before getting that first publisher yes (and six months later the second one!). But I’m constantly telling writers they need the right agent, not necessarily the right now agent.
I learned this lesson the hard way. After working on my craft for a number of years I got my first offer from a reputable children’s agent and I was thrilled. Finally, here was someone who would get my book in front of editors! I was on my way! But on my way to where? It turns out I was in for three years of heartbreak and insecurity.
That agent happens to be great for some people and we split on the best of terms, but looking back it should’ve happened much sooner. I do not in any way blame that first wrong agent for those early manuscripts not selling, no agent sells every manuscript they take out on submission. But there were many signs along the way that we were not a good fit.
We parted ways. Within two months I had an offer from a new agent at an established agency on Blaze (then titled "Fangirl"). She seemed very nice and said all the right things, but I didn’t quite feel that love that I’d heard other authors talk about. I let the offering agent know that I had a few other partials out and here is the other piece of advice I try to tell any writer who will listen: in addition to contacting those agents with partials, I also wrote to all those with queries who I hadn’t heard back from, letting them know of the offer.
This actually turned into a few full requests, including one from my absolute top choice; Ammi-Joan Paquette. It turned out, she hadn’t received my original query but she was intrigued by my book and asked to see more. As things progressed towards her offer of representation, I came to understand that agent love that other writers talk about. And I certainly feel it still.
So authors, when you get an offer take the time to contact those agents you’ve queried! At the worst it will save busy agents time reading a query for a book that’s already spoken for. And at best, well, you just never know.
Visit Laurie's LiveJournal.
Enter to win a signed copy of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton (Sourcebooks, 2013) from Cynsations at Blogger. Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America, U.K. and Australia. Enter here.
Look what’s happening this Sunday, 26 May at 10AM1
Sydney Writers Festival
Pier 2/3 Club Stage
Walsh Bay, Sydney, NSW
This event is free and no bookings required.
FUN AND GAMES WITH LIBBA BRAY AND JUSTINE LARBALESTIER
Moderated by fancy NYC literary agent Barry Goldblatt (also known as Mr Libba Bray).
I imagine this will involve juggling and poker. Even though I always lose to Libba. She’s a total card shark. I bet me and Barry can get Libba to pop out her fake eye. I love it when she does that. We’ll also tell the very weird story of mine and Libba’s second meeting. And talk about that wild, wild weekend in Austin.
SO MANY THINGS FOR US TO TALK ABOUT.
I hope you can join us. Be sure to ask Libba embarrassing questions. She loves that.
- 10 am? Excuse me? How can I be expected to be witty at TEN ON A SUNDAY MORNING? I should still be asleep! Or possibly contemplating a decadent brunch. It’s inhuman having a panel this early.