What are your thoughts?
I was recently tagged in a Facebook post and encouraged to take a look at a video. At first, I was giggling, but quickly, I found myself shaking my head, letting out a sigh, and wondering why teachers are not featured on national television show for all of the wonderful contributions they make on a minute by minute (play by play) basis in the lives of students ... This parody brings to light just how off balance our society is regarding those who are worthy of praise (and big salaries). What if America valued the learning gained by students as much as they valued the yards gained by athletes?
What are your thoughts?
It is an honor to be affiliated with the International Literacy Association (previously International Reading Association). They always plan a wonderful conference and this year was no exception!! The city of St. Louis, Missouri was host to this year's annual conference. The Cardinals were in town all weekend and the city was clothed in a sea of red. It was a lot of fun to be in the midst of the masses - those out and about seeing the downtown sites and those inside the convention center learning about best literacy practices!
The ILA conference began with two highly inspiring and motivations speakers: Shaquille O'Neal and Shiza Shahid. Both of these individuals have a passion for education and literacy in particular!
"There's nothing small about basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal's commitment to literacy. His passion for learning led him to earn a doctoral degree in education, and he knows the power that literacy has to transform lives, firsthand." He exuded such passion for educators and for growing young readers and writers... Did you know he writes books for children?
Social activist Shiza Shahid cofounded the Malala Fund, where the global ambassador leads the organization in its work to empower girls through education. This inspirational champion works tirelessly to support the Fund's goal of creating a world in which every girl reaches her true potential." Her commitment to doing what it takes to ensure girls receive an education was heartwarming! As she said..."One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world." I believe that too!
Thanks to ILA for selecting our instructional unit for publication in the Bridges line (a second Bridges unit and international conference presentation for us!) - we are grateful to have our work touted as "quality literacy instruction" by some of our literacy heroes...Dr. P. David Pearson (Literacy Research Panel, chair), Dr. John Guthrie (Literacy Research Panel member), and Dr. Diane Lapp (Literacy Research Panel member)
My coauthor, Leni Fragakis, and I have decided we will have another go at instructional unit development for the ILA Bridges line. Our first unit targeted K-2 and the most recent unit addressed the ELA CCSS standards for grades 3-5. It only makes sense we center on the 6th-8th grade band next time! Stay tuned....
Kaplan Early Learning Company offers many wonderful educational products and I am honored to have played a role in developing authentic texts sets for classroom leveled libraries! It was refreshing to see that exhibitor station receiving a lot of traffic...hooray for authentic literature for children!! Kaplan was gracious enough to sponsor my presentation and even gave me with the opportunity to share my recently published titles with conference participants - THANK YOU, KAPLAN!
My husband surprised me on my birthday a couple of weeks ago with a little something special...an adult coloring book and a 64 pack of colored pencils (with a built-in sharpener!). Not that I do not take delight in the the Disney Princesses coloring book and a pack of Crayolas when my niece is in town, but how absolutely wonderful to have more intricate drawings to attend to and fine-tipped utensils to fill in tiny crevices!
Adults around the world have awakened the child inside them and I think it is fabulous! Coloring is a great way to de-stress and regroup after a tough day at work. By labeling it an "adult" coloring book, we are given permission to color! Turning inward, relaxing, and embracing creativity to bring the designs to life with color and personality is highly therapeutic. While others have also created adult coloring books, it is Johanna Basford's Secret Garden that has taken the globe by storm (as evidenced by the 1 million copies sold in a very short time); outselling the most popular cookbook in France...oui!! oui!!
"I love the idea of chic French ladies shunning saucepans for coloring pencils." - J. Basford.
I think part of the rise in popularity of adult coloring books may be that busy, overworked adults yearn to tune out the world for a bit. Retreating into the pages of a coloring book is a way to escape from the day's stresses... mimicking a simpler time when bill paying, parenting, and draining workdays were non-existent.
I believe there is great value in the act of coloring for children... and for adults. Like writing, coloring is a creative act. Everyone has a creative soul... it just needs to be unleashed, encouraged, nurtured, and celebrated. What would happen if coloring (inside the lines, optional) became a curriculum standard? What a delightful, interdisciplinary, and developmentally appropriate (regardless the age!) benchmark that would be! I love the parallels between a coloring book creator and "reader" AND a children's book author and reader: they are both collaborative acts, transactions, between the creator/author and the reader...the child brings the color...brings the meaning...
Time to add a little color to your life!
I am a reader, a writer, and a dreamer. It is my joy to share quality literature for the most discerning of all readers...educators, children, and the child in all of us.
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