minibooks for miniwriting adventures


This week we are making mini-books on any topic students feel moved to write about. Sometimes writing is a lot more fun when you take it down a notch. Don’t let the tiny size fool you though, this assignment could pack a big punch. Mini-books on the life cycle of a fruit fly? Busy buzzing and learning.  A guide on calculating perimeter will measure up even at a small size. Quick summary on the importance of washing your hands in flu season? The story will stick with you instead of the germs. I can’t wait to see what little libraries happen for classrooms soon. Maybe we will even see some sequels!



visual journals for student reading logs with choice

img_8846You know what is so 1987 that is still happening in classrooms all. the. time? Reading logs that are LAME. There are so many choices, from google forms, docs, keep and slides to flipgrid to…paper with CHOICE. Our reading programs in the library sometimes must include a log to prove required minutes (the company sets the terms to earn free tickets). But why should we limit choice on logs when we can encourage reading reflection that engages and does the job of documenting growth? I decided to do my own reading log for what I am reading this summer (ok, I left off at least one title that students probably just don’t need info on). It was interesting and I learned that a student would have to reflect on the themes and major points in the book to write/draw a thorough sketchnote or visual journal. I decided to try to “connect” some of the books by putting words or phrases in common between the two books. If course, I could expand that to make more of a venn diagram with images approach, but this is my first rodeo with this type of documentation. Imagine the amazing pieces you would have from students by the end of the year! What an amazing reading portfolio instead of snooozee……reading logs. I don’t even draw well and I still gave it a stab- only your perfectionists would decline- so maybe they could COLLAGE. So exciting. I may try that next!

sketchnote and visual journal reading

visual journal


if you wanted more animagi here’s your new series

8c673361b23494e18762b89e004effbcAs a Harry Potter addict who can’t get enough magic, I am here to recommend a series of books for the magic lover. Simon Thorn by Aimée Carter is a great upper elementary to middle school read with a familiar magical element- people turning into animals. No wands involved, but you have to be of a magical bloodline.  Like other magical worlds, members of this one find out as teenagers what their abilities are and how to harness them. Like J.K. Rowling, Carter takes on themes of prejudice and discrimination by showing characters affected by others’ negative beliefs.

The best part? Seeing all of the different communities of animals, reptiles, and more that can switch back and forth between their human or critter forms (I don’t want to offend the insect kingdom, not everyone turns mammal).

The best part of reading this series might just be trying to sort book club members into kingdoms. We’ve already sorted ourselves into Hogwarts houses… let’s try animal kingdoms next! I can’t decide if I would want to turn into a dolphin (sharks are scary) or a black widow spider (she’s pretty tough) or a golden eagle so I could soar (pigeons are looked down upon btw).  I recommend all three books in the Simon Thorn series for nonmuggles looking for their next read. If you haven’t started you get to binge read three before the next release!