March Reading Madness Round 2

The Winners Are In!  Time for Round 2!

Your votes have been counted, and we are moving to round 2 of SURN’s March Reading Madness!  Please take a minute and vote for your favorite books.  Only the books with the top votes will advance to round 3!  Please also share with your colleagues and students for more fun!

March Reading Madness Schedule:

March 3 – Round Two
March 10 – Round Three
March 17 – Quarter Finals
March 24 – Semi-finals
March 31 – Final Championship

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:

Click to enlarge image.

Click to enlarge image.


Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about two minutes—it is super quick!

More Information on the Books:

White Dolphin

Ruth and the Green Book

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The Book Whisperer

Accessible Mathematics

The Energy Bus

Teach Like a Pirate

Mindset

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

To Kill a Mockingbird

Mr. Peabody’s Apples

It’s Time for March Reading Madness!

Welcome to SURN’s March Reading Madness

Twenty books go head-to-head in this exciting twist on March Madness.  Welcome to SURN’s first annual March Reading Madness!  Starting on February 24th and continuing throughout the month of March, you get to vote on which book you think is the best.  There are six rounds over the course of the next few weeks, and only the books with the top votes advance to the next round.  Excited about your book?  Don’t forget to vote!

March Reading Madness Schedule:
February 24– Round One
March 3– Round Two
March 10– Round Three
March 17– Quarter Finals
March 24– Semi-finals
March 31– Final Championship

bracket

Click to zoom in

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:
 

How to Vote:

Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about two minutes—it is super quick!

More Information on the Books:

White Dolphin

Ruth and the Green Book

Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Pete the Cat

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Wonder

Lightning in a Jar

The Book Whisperer

Accessible Mathematics

The Energy Bus

Teach Like a Pirate

Camp

Riding Freedom

Mindset

Lean In

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

When You Were Little

To Kill a Mockingbird

Mr. Peabody’s Apples

A review of “The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi”

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Book Review by SURN Logistics Planner and Research Assistant, Tia McClenney

I have studied Nazi Germany since I was 7 years old but Neal Bascomb’s “The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi” introduced me to an aspect of the war to which I hadn’t been exposed. The novel went outside the general presumption of WWII and Nazi Germany and instead gave an astounding look at government and spy operations in capturing a well-known Nazi leader. The novel provokes questions among the reader, influencing consideration to what goes into the development of division, war, and its aftermath.

I was gripped by the logistical operations of the Holocaust, with Bascomb going outside of what was done and instead explaining how it was done, enlightening the importance of prosecuting such a high ranking Nazi leader and all involved. It gave a look into how many were surreptitiously connected in implementing Hitler’s Final Solution – an operation that ultimately resulted in 11 million deaths. Have you ever questioned how this was so tragically achieved? “The Nazi Hunters” gives a look into the answer.

I also valued how Bascomb provided a remarkable glimpse into the progression of a spy operation and likely, this is what will amaze readers the most. The detail that goes into (and even what doesn’t go into) a spy sting is fascinating – though it is difficult to use such a word surrounding the premise of this particular operation. “The Nazi Hunters” further provided an acknowledgment of how much happens in the world around us while we remain unaware. This aroused further questions in my reading such as how often is someone’s death written off as a homicide, but is actually the result of a spy operation; or how often is a person’s disappearance written off as foul play, but is actually the result of a spy operation? Having a glimpse into a spy procedure was eye-opening to say the very least.

Outside of the basic theme of the novel, it had a robust undertone of passion. It enthused me to read of humans so determined to achieve a justice that wasn’t even directly their own. – Despite the obstructions, the failures, and even the times when the men stood alone in wanting to continue their mission, the desire to bring justice to a wrong consistently dictated the operation. The book provided a story of passion for human goodness without even having to state the word.

There are many other aspects of Neal Bascomb’s ““The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi”” that will captivate the reader and ignite a realm of emotions. Though the novel is based on a time many decades ago, it begs the question of how much of the story is still prevalent in our world today. What do I mean by that? Come to your own conclusion by reading the book!

What Does Reading Mean To You?

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
–Frank Serafini

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
–Kofi Annan
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“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
–Maya Angelou

“The more that you read, the more things you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!”
–Dr. Seuss

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
–James Baldwin
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Use these quotes as a jumping off point to discuss the importance of reading with your students and colleagues!

SURN Literacy Study Group

The SURN Literacy Study Group is a group of literacy specialists and other educators from SURN school divisions who meet monthly to explore strategies to enhance literacy and literature teaching at all levels. Led by Dr. Denise Johnson, Assistant Professor at The School of Education, LSG participants take part in discussions surrounding the do’s and don’ts of teaching reading and writing. Highlights of the group from past years include: designing professional development for teachers, coaching, writing conferences, informal assessments, and reading and writing across content areas.

What do current SURN Literacy Study Group participants have to say about the group?

“I loved being able to connect with others around the area to discuss topics and to gain knowledge of how other divisions are addressing similar issues/structures”

“This group has helped me to grow as a literacy leader and go “beyond my comfort zone” in advocating for “best practice” and “research-supported pedagogy.” It promotes a climate of trust where district representatives are able to discuss challenges and what strategies/practices could best help meet these challenges. This group of professionals is diverse, edifying, resourceful, and supportive.”

“I also think the sharing of resources is invaluable.”

Some key topics to be addressed this year include:

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Does your division have a representative attending the Literacy Study Group this year? If the answer is no, what are you waiting for? Email surn@wm.edu to make the most of your SURN experience!

Visible Leading for Secondary English Language Arts

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The SURN Visible Leading for Secondary English Language Arts teachers focuses on scaffolding college and career readiness skills in English classes. Through the workshops, teachers consider how they can best address college and career readiness learning outcomes in their own classrooms through learning experiences focused on student engagement in authentic writing, choice reading, and project based learning with a purpose. The following resources are excellent starting points for school and teacher reflection on college and career readiness in their own schools and classrooms. Use these links to reflect on your own practice, start a conversation with your colleagues or student, or get ideas for new strategies to implement in your school or classroom.

Blendspace Learning Module: Virginia College and Career Readiness for Secondary English
http://blnds.co/1tLAgt1

This SURN learning module guides you through a brief overview of the VA college and career readiness initiative, video reflections by SURN teachers who have been a part of the implementation process, and other resources that have helped to inform the implementation of the CCR English Performance Expectations into Virginia English classes and SURN workshops.

The Virginia Department of Education College and Career Readiness Initiative Website
http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/
The VDOE website provides the CCR performance expectations and course information for English and Math and the data, resources, and research that support the statewide initiative.

The National Council of Teachers of English Position Statement on Leisure Reading
http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/leisure-reading
Independent, self-selected reading has a positive impact on students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and engagement. Policymakers, administrators, teachers, and families need to foster efforts to increase opportunities for leisure reading in and out of the classroom.

The National Day on Writing
http://www.ncte.org/dayonwriting/about
On October 20, 2014, teachers and students across the US participated in the National Day on Writing. They spent time writing across different modes, for different audiences, and for different purposes. Find out more about the event, and more importantly, examples and resources for supporting authentic writing experiences in school every day.

College and Career Readiness Workshop

Motivating adolescents to read can be a challenge for educators; however, we know that there are four factors that make a significant positive difference when it comes to adolescent reading. Students who have knowledge goals for reading, choice in what they read, interesting texts, or opportunities to collaborate are not only more motivated to read, but also have increased reading comprehension and achievement (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). On Tuesday Oct. 7, 45 secondary ELA teachers gathered together at SURN for our first of four workshops in the 2014-15 school year. This workshop series will focus on building student engagement and literacy practices in order to best prepare students for college and career. Each teacher left the workshop with two contemporary YA books – one fiction and one nonfiction – to help to jumpstart literacy efforts this year. Below are the titles from which they were able to choose.

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Elementary Nonfiction Literacy Workshop

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On September 23rd, 33 third through fifth grade elementary teachers attended SURN’s Elementary Nonfiction Literacy workshop.  Participants attended from across 14 different SURN school divisions.  In addition to the 33 participants, four teacher-leaders from SURN member divisions attended to provide leadership and support for participants.

During the first session of the three-event Elementary Nonfiction Literacy initiative, participants identified key components of student engagement, participated in a sample lesson that integrated content-area knowledge with nonfiction reading skills, and engaged in over 10 different activities that promote student engagement and learning.  Participants also learned more about SURN’s Visible Leadership model and how the Elementary Nonfiction Literacy workshops fit into SURN’s larger goal of distributing leadership from central office and into each classroom.  This distribution of leadership capitalizes upon a shifting focus toward student engagement by putting John Hattie’s research on high-yield teaching and learning strategies into practice in classrooms and empowering all faculty and staff to engage in dialogues surrounding these strategies.

In addition to a wealth of new ideas and opportunities to network with colleagues, participants of SURN’s Elementary Nonfiction Literacy session left with the Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy book as a resource to begin putting new ideas and strategies into practice.  Participants will reconvene in February and again in April to reinforce and add to strategies that increase student engagement.

SURN Book Recommendations

DONE_book recommendations MIRIAM infographic

SURN Book Recommendations

By Dr. Jenny Hindman