back to virtual

On Sunday night, the governor of Michigan announced that starting Wednesday, she would be transitioning all 9-12 grade students in Michigan to virtual learning.

This announcement made me happy. My wife is a high school chemistry teacher, and the idea of her being with more than 100 students each day made me feel sick to my stomach.

Today, my elementary felt a little bit like a ghost town. It was quite. Almost eeire. The building didn’t have the normal buzz that you find in an elementary building.

Spending the day with my fifth graders was calming. It always feels good spending time with them, but I think we were all a little nervous about what was in store for us.

About a half hour after the day ended, we learned that starting Wednesday our entire district would be virtual for at least two weeks (at least three for our high school). I can’t really explain what it felt like to learn this news. School doesn’t feel safe, but it does feel nice to be with the kids.

This is all so hard. I hate it.

I’m hoping that the next two weeks will give us a chance to catch our breath. Things have been hard at school with all the cases, and the unexpected heartbreaking moments our district has experienced.

My school is too strong to break, but it has felt a little bit like we struggling to get through the days. We don’t usually “get through the days”, but things have been different the last week and a half.

I am guessing that many of you are struggling, too. Hang in there, and please take care of yourself. You can’t take care of your family or your students if you are not okay.

We ended our day with this beautiful picture book. Seemed like a fitting title for what we are going through this year.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as Told to His Brother) by David Levithan is a fantastic middle grade novel. Readers will be eager from the opening pages to find out how this one ends. I’m guessing that many young readers will read it again to appreciate the brilliant writing. Loved this book.

Purchase the book here!

Book Description (from the publisher)

New York Times bestselling author David Levithan takes young readers on twisting journey through truth, reality, and fantasy and belief.

Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to.

His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.

When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan’s side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?

Check out the first 10 books I read my students this year:

Check out my list of AWESOME 2020 books:

https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2020

Check out the list of books I have read my students during the 2020-2021 school year. 

https://bookshop.org/lists/mr-colby-sharp-s-2020-2021-classroom-read-alouds

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Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids:

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9781338310597

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!)

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9780316507813

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

I started a newsletter! Click below to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/c_gMYT

Thanks for watching. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

colbysharp@gmail.com

Ten Picture Books I Shared with My Fifth Graders in October

This has been a wild month. Most of it was spent teaching in a hybrid model, but when COVID came to Parma we had to go 100% virtual. The plan is to head back to the hybrid model next Thursday. If I’ve learned anything in 2020, it is that COVID doesn’t really care what we want, so we shall see!

Below you will find a video of me talking about 10 awesome picture books I shared with my kids during this wild month.

Here’s a list of the books I talked about in the above video:

I’m Sad: https://amzn.to/37XH27Y

Big Mooncake for Little Star: https://amzn.to/2TBmzgP

Most People: https://amzn.to/34MtWbL

Above the Rim: https://amzn.to/3oKXZsi

The Very Last Castle: https://amzn.to/3kHWOr7

We Are Water Protectors: https://amzn.to/34Ije64

Drawn Together: https://amzn.to/35NgTpI

Lift: https://amzn.to/35SFSaY

The Old Truck: https://amzn.to/31YxHJ1

I Talk Like a River: https://amzn.to/3kIBamD

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Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids: https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9781338310597

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!) https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9780316507813

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

All book links in this posts are affiliate links.

Always Finish the Read Aloud

We got to the point in Tom Angleberger’s The Strand Case of Origami Yoda last week, where I had to make an executive decision as a teacher. Our read aloud was progressing magically, but we were approaching a point in the story where I either had to wait until the next day to finish the book, or I had to move some things around so that we could go all-in and read the rest of the book before the day ended.

One of the things that I love about read aloud is how we can use it as a vehicle to teach kids about the habits that live in the hearts of readers. I do not know any reader that hasn’t loved a book so much that they haven’t stayed up way past their bed time finishing a book. This was a staying up past our bedtime moment. Instead of giving up sleep, we were going to give up some of our math block.

Sorry, Math.

Watching the kids cheer for Tommy and Dwight as the book came to a close, I knew that I had made the right decision. We not only got to finish a wonderful story, but the kids also saw that readers sometimes need to find a way to keep reading.

With about an hour left in the day Ms. Allen, a retired teacher, came into my room and let me know that I needed to head down to the office for a meeting with my principal. Ugh. I hate unexpected meetings. I tend to avoid meetings whenever possible. Right before I walked out of my room Ms. Allen said, “I hope you’re not in trouble.” Famous last words.

When I got down to the office, I realized that this wasn’t about me. It was about our school. I wasn’t the only one at the meeting. My principal, Ms. Haney found someone to cover each classroom, so that we could all meet together. It was eerie. She let us know that we had some positive COVID-19 cases in our district. We one hour left with our students, and then the next two weeks of school would be 100% virtual. The look on the faces of our staff was of heartbreak. We were all completely in shock. I think that we had developed this false sense of security during the first nine weeks of the school year, and on some level I think we felt like the year would just sort work without any interuptions.

We were wrong.

I got back to my room after the meeting, and took my kids outside for our afternoon mask break. It was weird knowing that we were about to be virtual. The kids had no idea.

Once we got back to our classroom, I was able to tell them the news. For some dumb reason, I thought that they wouldn’t think it was a big deal. It’s just two weeks, right? I was wrong. They were shook. Lots of tears. I didn’t really know what to say, so I said, “It’s okay, fifth graders. It is only for two weeks.”

That was the wrong thing to say. A fifth grader looked me dead in the eye and said, “That’s what everyone told us in March.” Her words just hung in the air. She was, of course right. We hope that it is safe to return in a couple of weeks, but the truth is nobody has any idea what is going to happen.

I’ve been thinking a lot the first few days of distance learning about finishing The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Some of my readers have been reading the second book in the series Darth Paper Strikes Back. I feel drawn to sharing stories with them about kids in school. I’ve always loved “school stories”, but the normalcy they bring right now feels important.

We’ll continue to find extra time to read, and I’ll continue to be the teacher that tries to get them to fall madly in love with books. In a year of unexpected endings, I’m thankful that we were able to finish our read aloud together, on our own terms.

I hope everyone out there is doing well. These are some pretty wild times. Please stay safe, and always finish the read aloud.

Chapter Books I Love To Read Aloud | Volume 2

Please let me know in the comments what books you LOVE reading aloud to kids? In this video, I talk about five books that I have loved reading aloud to my elementary students.

Below you will find the first video in this series. Reading aloud is so much fun, and I’m finding this little series as a great way to talk about some older books which I REALLY love doing. I think that I probably focus WAY too much on the shiny new books her on my blog and on my YouTube channel.

I share a lot of my thoughts on read aloud in the video below. In the video, I talk about the who, what, when, where, why and how of read aloud.

Thank you so much for tuning in!

Books I’d Like to Read Aloud Someday

Last week, while make a video about my favorite read alouds, I kept coming across books that I’d love to try reading aloud. I mix it up quite a bit each year, but I’ll never be able to read aloud all the books to kids that I want to.

Since I can’t read every book aloud to kids, I figured that the next best thing would be to make a video where I go on and on and on about the wonderful books I want to read aloud.

Here’s a video that I did about five of my favorite books to read aloud to kids. It seems like most of my videos lately have been about reading aloud. I feel like reading aloud is holding on to its magic during this difficult time.

Check out the first 10 books I read my students this year:

Check out my list of AWESOME 2020 books:

https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2020

Check out the list of books I have read my students during the 2020-2021 school year. 

https://bookshop.org/lists/mr-colby-sharp-s-2020-2021-classroom-read-alouds

*************************

Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids:

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9781338310597

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!)

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9780316507813

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

I started a newsletter! Click below to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/c_gMYT

Thanks for watching. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

colbysharp@gmail.com