Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year Thank You: A Twitter #FF

"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world up in your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it." John Updike

As we put another year behind us I cannot help but think of the impact my colleagues on Twitter have had on the work I do. Each day these people inspire me, make me think, cause me to question, and send a million of good resources to my fingertips. I've been building my personal twitterverse for a little over a year now. They are a diverse group of people who bring me a valuable, well-rounded, collection of information. I suggest you check some of these people out!

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter every Friday is #FF (#FollowFriday), a day when people pass along the names of others who make a difference for them in the Twitterverse. I'm always interested in #FF suggestions from the smart people I follow on Twitter, especially when they give information about the person they are suggesting. However, I always have a hard time participating in #FF because I follow so many great people and worry I will leave someone out. the risk of leaving someone out (my apologies ahead of time)...

Here is my #FF end of year tribute to my tweeps.

For the most part, these are educators living near me and teaching in local districts. I'm fortunate to be able to, not only follow these people on Twitter, but see them regularly. They are a smart group, and continually inspire me. @frankisibberson, @KatieDicesare, and @MaryLeeHahn are responsible for putting me on the path to my current Twitter addiction. Most of the tweeps in my area are terrific literacy leaders. You won't want to miss @Jreaderwriter, @karenszymuziak, @karenterlecky, or @mandyrobek either.

The Movers and Shakers:
These people are "must haves" for your Twitter list. Odds are you already follow them, but I'm going to talk about them anyway. These are the people who seem to have their pulse on the internet. I'm pretty sure they don't sleep. They share great links and seem to be developing a professional online community that is amazing: @gret @ShellTerrell @tomwhitby @teachingwthsoul @web20classroom @ktenkely @tonnet @NancyTeaches

Smart Educators to Follow:
These are educators that constantly share what is happening in their classrooms and in education in their area. They tweet valuable resources, ask great questions, and thoughtfully respond to conversations on Twitter: @Grade1 @paulawhite @whatedsaid @4thGrdTeach @DoeMiSo @KathyPerret @ccampbel14 @4thGrdTeach @dlpd17

Literacy Tweeps:
These colleagues are smart literacy resources. They tweet about books and all things literacy. They not only demonstrate leadership in literacy, but keep me thinking and growing as a literacy educator: @lorilovesbook @the1stdaughter @alybee930 @mentortexts @bluskyz @ReadingCountess @PaulWHankins

Early Childhood Tweeps:
As a first grade teacher, these early literacy colleagues always remind me the importance of preserving the child in my learners. They have great suggestions for working with young learners: @LiteracyCounts @maggiecaryn @teachmama @poulingail @Teach_Preschool @playactivities @JenDobson27

Links to Great Resources:
These people not only filter great tweets and pass them along in the Twitterstream, but they locate smart information on the internet and share it regularly. These colleagues are important for locating resources that will help improve our classroom practice. @kevcreutz @joycevalenza @ghewgley @elizbtheastman @soltauheller @rmbyrne @lizbdavis @cybraryman1 @djainslie @GaryBrannigan @Struggle2Learn @MissCheska @courosa

Always Ready to Help:
It seems every time I put out a call for help, these are some of the first to respond. You should add these "first responders" to your list: @cyndiejacobs @nsharoff @m_yam @weemooseus

English Language Learners:
If you have English Language Learners in your classroom, you'll want to follow @MultiLingLiving @KarenNemethEdM @judiehaynes @PreKlanguages

These Tweeps Keep Me Thinking:

New Tweeps I'm Enjoying:
These are educators I have just started to follow, but am already enjoying. I'm looking forward to more conversations with: @PrincipalBerry @surreallyno @ccoffa@ColoReader @kbkonnected @ruth_ayres @RdngTeach @EdTechSandyK @EdTechSteve

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What in the World Are You Reading? (Picture Books Around the World)

Note To Readers, Please Help:
I'm hoping those of you who read this around the globe can help me to discover books around the world. Tell me about the picture books children in your country enjoy reading. You are welcome to add to the comments on this blog, send me information via Twitter (@justwonderinY), or maybe this is an opportunity to Skype? Thanks, Cathy

For the Love of Liter
A mom recently commented on her child's booklog, "You have so many good picture books." Twenty years of teaching, a supportive district, and a few library cards will definitely fill the room with picture books. It's true. Our classroom is filled with books by authors like Mem Fox (Australian author), Mo Willems, Jan Thomas, Eric Carle, Todd Parr, Robert Munsch, Kevin Henkes, and Eileen Spinelli. Students love reading about characters like Tacky by Helen Lester, Froggy by Jonathon London, Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis, Bear by Karma Wilson, and Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton.

We are so fortunate in the United States to have so many beautiful picture books, but lately I've been wondering what kids around the world are reading. What are the books they love to hear? What are the books they go home to enjoy?

Children in a Global World
Each day I wonder about connecting students globally. In my classroom I have students who regularly visit family in countries around the world. Each day I read posts and tweets from teachers everywhere. I hear about teachers connecting classrooms in other countries through Skype and other web 2.0 technologies. The ease of travel and the use of the internet have both contributed to a more global society. In this world, it seems necessary to help my students understand different cultures, to learn about students around the world, and to connect with others.

Can You Help?
So I was wondering about picture books around the world. Picture books can be a lens into the lives of others. Who are the authors children around the world love to read? Who are the illustrators that call children to reach for books on the shelves of their homes?

I did what I have come to do often when I start wondering these things; I asked my colleagues on Twitter. Here's what I have collected so far:

Educators Aviva Dunsiger (@Grade1) and Kathy Cassidy (@KathyCassidy) suggested these authors from Canada:

Louise Winsor (@Louwinsr), educator:

Karen Collum @KarenCollum, Australian Picture Book Author

@AllanahK recommended:
Thanks to all of my colleagues on Twitter who replied to my request. I value all you share.