What I am Reading Right Now: 10/18/14

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I should probably avoid this book, as Gone Girl would not let me go to sleep at night. This is Flynn’s debut novel, about a reporter with a rough past brought back to her hometown to investigate a murder. Here is what Stephen King said about it (need I say anything else?):

To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven’t read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris’s All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. Sharp Objects isn’t one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights.

How We Learn by Benedict Carey

The author is a science reporter for the New York Times. His background gives him instant credibility. Carey provides a counter argument to the most recent books by journalists Paul Tough and Amanda Ripley, both who suggested an incredible work ethic in order to get ahead academically. The author proposes the idea of giving our brains a break in order to process what we have learned. Sleep, daydreaming, and mixing up our learning environment are more important than we may have realized.

“Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire” by Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone)

I was aware of the billionaire siblings’ attempts to privatize education. Even so, I was shocked at the lengths they went to make their fortune. This is an excellent piece of investigative reporting. All my questions about them were answered, except for, “How are these guys not in jail?” (Actually, I think I know the answer to that question, too).

Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin, Jr. (author) and Lois Ehlert (illustrator)

My daughter is in kindergarten. Her class just finished a unit around the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by the same author and illustrator. We found this title at our public library. It is an excellent read aloud for kindergarten, using numbers to organize the story. In addition, information at the end of the book explained what butterfly each caterpillar depicted would become. Similar to The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The Global Read Aloud: Week 2 by Mrs. Akey and her 2nd graders

My son’s class is doing a Peter Reynolds author study for this online event. Their blog post contains pictures of the class throwing the airplanes they made – their way to bring the theme of the title (friendship) to life. Even better is that Peter Reynolds himself wrote a comment on their post, expanding on his book.

“Teaching the Writer’s Craft” by Penny Kittle (Educational Leadership)

How did I miss this article when it came out this past April?  A colleague recommended it to me recently. Our leadership team is considering using it for an article study at our upcoming professional development day.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

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