Sunday, June 26, 2011

Visiting NYC for a TCRWP Institute?

Are you looking for some after-institute fun?  I have some of my favorites listed here for all of you.

Casual dinner with a great view?
Take the 1 train to 59th street and enter the Shops at Columbus Circle.  Then take the escalator up to the third floor for Bouchon Bakery.  This will be close to Times Square (walk down Broadway after dinner for good Times Square at night photos) and provide some time for shopping too.

Going down to SoHo?
I have a few favorite places in this neighborhood.
My new FAVORITE NYC restaurant is The Dutch.  It is on the corner of Sullivan and Spring Streets.  You can take the downtown A,C, or E train to Spring Street.  Get there at 5:00 if you don't want to wait.    This restaurant is close to The Angelika, a small movie theatre that plays limited released films.  It might be a great after dinner, air-conditioned treat.

Dinner and a show in midtown or Times Square fun and an inexpensive place to eat:

I love Memphis.  This musical is inspiring and filled with great music.  Before or after the show, you can get dinner in one of may great restaurants on 8th and 9th avenue.  Here are some good bets:

Vynl on 9th ave and 51st street

Eatery on 9th and 53rd street

Toloache  on 8th and 50th street

El Centro on 9th and 54th street

Are you looking for something a little sweet after school or after dinner?  Try some of my favorite bakeries:

Crumbs for cupcakes.  Various locations.  There is one on Columbus Ave near 98th Street, another on 75th and Amsterdam, another on 52nd and Broadway, and several other locations in NYC.

Levain Bakery  Hands down, my favorite cookies in NYC.  This bakery is tiny so be careful to look for the little sign.  You'll find them on 74th street just off the corner of Amsterdam Ave. (right around the corner from a market)

Magnolia Bakery  I love the banana pudding from Magnolia.  And the ice box cake too...  Yum.  Go here if you are headed to Rockefeller Center (see the plaza, the Today show, the Top of the Rock, etc.).  There are other locations, but this location on 49th street and Avenue of the Americas is a good one.   You can also find them on Columbus and 69th Street.

Check back throughout this week for more fun NYC ideas!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Reads for Teachers and Coaches

Hello Friends,

For many of you this month signals the end of one school year and the beginning of another.  I want to give you a great big THANK YOU on behalf of the students you teach!  

As you sort through placement cards, cumulative records, and report cards for this year's class, you can't help but think ahead to the kids who will gather at your meeting area in September.  Even if you have 4-8 weeks away from school this summer, I know you will be thinking of the year ahead.  That's what we do.  So, with that in mind, I have a summer reading list for you - filled with lots of fun reads for you, both professional and to help you connect again with your own reading life.

I get several text recommendations from Amanda at her blog Reading Myself Into the Word.  This year she gave me two of the books I put on this list.  Thanks Amanda!

Now, on with the list!

Barefoot How To

My favorite NF book this year was a tie between Born to Run and Play.  Both books inspired me to think hard about the parts of teaching that feel playful to me.  Born to Run is not just a book for runners.  It is for all of us who need a story of hope and a story of defying odds.  It is also a great example of how a writer turns a simple question or wondering into a big project, one that reaches to several continents and helps readers meet a cast of interesting people who will live with you as you read.
 Product Image Play (Reprint) (Paperback)

Play is a must-read if you are thinking about recapturing that child-like joy over the summer and carrying it with you into the next school year.  It is written by a doctor who has investigated the science of play, emotions, joy, and productivity.  It is easy to read and gives you opportunities to think about the kind of play you want to put back in your life if they are missing.

I should also say that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was one of my favorite reads this year.  I admire Rebecca Skloot's tenacity as a writer with each and every page I read.  She weaves beautiful narrative passages and information text in a way that we can all read, react, and synthesize.  If you need a good book club book this summer, I love this one.

This summer, I am planning to read the NF text, Moonwalking With Einstein.  Read along with me and post your comments!

I also love to have some humor in my tote bag or on my nightstand.  I highly recommend the book People Are Unappealing.  It is a memoir, filled with short stories of a young woman's life in Brooklyn, NY.  You will laugh out loud when you read this book.  I think it is perfect for reading at the pool, while the kids are taking a swimming lesson, or on a plane ride.

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I am also planning to read Bossypants by Tina Fey this summer.  I am sure we'll get some good laughs in that one.  If you missed Let The Great World Spin or Freedom last summer, and/or want a great fiction read, I can recommend both.  Both have interesting text structures and plot lines that push you to read, "just a few more pages."

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I also want to tackle a few professional books this summer.  Katie Wood Ray's book In Pictures and In Words has been on my list as well as Engaging Young Writers: Preschool - Grade 1 by Matt Glover.  I'm also in the middle of Comprehension Going Forward.  I think all three of these will be a good shot in the arm.  I love each of these authors (the third book is a collection of authors) because reading their books makes it seem like I am in a conversation with each of them.  They have a great ability to talk directly to their readers and give honest and practical advise.  

Happy Reading Everyone!