Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#CyberPD - Week one

Desert Panels (M.A. Reilly)


I am out west.
In the desert.

It’s bloody hot and I sometimes feel beautifully lost in this large, large unfolding span of sand and mountains, hills and rocks, settled beneath big, sloping skies.

Every thing shifts in time.


Nevada is cruel in ways that hold my attention.

I read the opening chapters from Sara Ahmad’s Being the Change on the plane, the drone of engines sounding. Ive clocked 22,000 steps since landing and I began to wonder if the desert isn’t an apt metaphor for this reading, this text I am composing alongside her words.

Embrace other.
Become (other)wise.
Dwell in unfamiliar geographies.

To be the change requires rubbing up against ambiguity and knowing it is not a small matter to unknow what have been truths, to be vulnerable with others.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Book Resources

I am in the process of designing four units of study with a group of public school teachers who work in the Bronx. One question I am asked (and was asked) is: How do you find so many great books? I decided to put together a response that they and you can access of resources and book companies I often use. 

Websites for Reviews of Children's Books

Favorite Independent Book Publishers of Children's Literature

  1. Annick Press:  Annick Press publishing children’s book for ages 6 months to young adult. They are “committed to publishing Canadian authors. You can find submission guidelines on their site. I have bought The Streets are Free and When I Was Eight. Both titles I would recommend. 
  2. Arte Público Press and Piñata Books - Two picture books from Piñata Books I recently bought, Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water and Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas. I have bought lots of books from Piñata over the years.
  3. Barefoot Books: This publishing house was begun by two moms.  They are very conscious of sustainability.  I just bought The Barefoot Book of Children and La Frontera: Mi viaje con papá / My Journey with Papa ( a must read!).
  4. Bharat Babies A new publisher for me. They publish books about India (culture/religion). 
  5. Boyds Mills Press Every time I go to their site I find a book I want. Just saw, Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop
  6. Chronicle Books The masthead to their site reads, "see things differently."  I think that summarizes well the books they produce.  They do help me to see the world differently. Brendan Wenzel's Hello Hello is stunning. 
  7. Cinco Puntos Press Last purchase was All Around Us.  I’m still puzzling over it—a good thing. I have purchased from them for a good amount of time. 
  8. Enchanted Lion Books I like everything about this book publisher. I love their books. Their site is under construction. This is A Poem that Heals Fish was great. I think they publish some of the finest children’s books. Visually amazing books.
  9. Fifth House They are a bilingual publishing house often producing books in English/Cree. Dragonfly Kites is my latest purchase.
  10. Fitzhenry & Whiteside: I have been buying their books for at least a decade. Cathryn Sill's About Birds remains a favorite.
  11. Groundwood Books/House of Anansi. This is one of my very favorite publishers of children's books. The quality of illustration, story, and diversity is stellar. I recently bought A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILYTHE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF THE HOUSE SPARROWON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GARDENTHEY SAY BLUE, and THE FUNERAL. I'd recommend all of these highly. Their books make me think.
  12. Just World Books I came across them when I purchased Gaza Writes Back, which I would recommend. Highly political press. 
  13. Kids Can Press - I enjoy the books they publish and use a lot of titles in the curriculum I design.  Last purchase was WILD BUILDINGS AND BRIDGES.
  14. Lee & Low Books: My go-to publishers. I have been buying their books for years. The quality, range and diversity are exceptional.
  15. Magination Press (APA): Appreciate the healthy picture books they produce without getting too preachy. Latest purchase, When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community.
  16. Orca Book Publishers If I remember right it was my search for Julie Flett books that first led me to Orca Book Publishers. They have quirky titles that fill in collection well. City Kids is a favorite. 
  17. Pajama Press - They published recently one of my favorite books, My Beautiful Birds. They are new to me.
  18. Shen Books Now an imprint for Lee & Low. Their Cinderella stories are outstanding. 
  19. Tara Books Their books are not ordinary. I like to browse these books as they are artful. For example, the fold out book - A VILLAGE IS A BUSY PLACE! is a great example  of form and content mixing. 
  20. Tilbury House I am never disappointed with purchases of their published books. They are always stunning, artful, compelling works. Rogério Coelho's Boat of Dreams is one example. Wow. 
  21. Tradewind Books I love Julie Flett's books (authored and illustrated) and purchase all her books. Last purchase, A Day with Yayah. This has become one of my favorite publishing houses. They have an eye for choosing authentic and compelling books.
  22. Tundra Books: Last thing I bought there was From the Heart of Africa
  23. Wings Press  These are books I read as an adult reader.  Last purchase, Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives / Fronteras: Dibujando las vidas fronterizasInspiring. 

Here are a 30 blog posts where I recommend books.

  1. 250+ Children's Books Featuring Black Boys and Men
  2. Raising Activists: 100+ Books to Read in K-12
  3. Children's Books Focusing on Special/Exceptional Needs, Strengths and Graces
  4. Children's Books about the Middle East
  5. K-3 Global Multicultural Poetry for Shared, Choral, Paired, & Echo Reading
  6. Global Multicultural K-8 Books Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Legacy
  7. New Global Picture Books
  8. 97 Page Book of Primary Grade Comprehension Lessons With an Emphasis on Multicultural Books
  9. Forget the Stop Watch and Tune into Literature: Recommended Global Multicultural Texts for Developing Fluency (and a Love for Reading)
  10. Global Multicultural Books for Comprehension Instruction in Kindergarten
  11. Poetry Books for Grades 3-5
  12. Global Books for the First Grade
  13. Sensational Second Grade Books
  14. Global Multicultural Picture Books: Teaching Reading Comprehension in Grade 3
  15. Global Books for Grade 4
  16. Fabulous Global Books for Fifth Grade
  17. Books for Grade 7
  18. Books to Teach Writer's Craft with in Middle School
  19. Global, Multicultural Poetry Texts (Print and NonPrint) for Grades 7 - 12
  20. Reading Memoir in Grades 8-12
  21. Recommended Nonfiction for Middle School Learners
  22. Exploring LGBT Books for Children & Teens
  23. Cultural Characters: Or Why My Color Doesn't Wash Off -  Book & Instruction Suggestions
  24. 30 Children's Books about Standing Up and Making Change
  25. Latino/a Books for Elementary Children, Part I
  26. Latino/a Books for Elementary Children, Part II
  27. Latino/a Books for Elementary Children, Part III
  28. Books about Labor and Unions for 4th -12th Graders
  29. Selecting Read Aloud Books in K-5
  30. Updated 2014 Global Back to School Books

    inks to Book Lists "Best..."

    New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books, 2017

    New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books 2016
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2014
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2013
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2012
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011
    The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010

    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2018
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2017
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2016
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2015
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2014
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2013
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2012
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2011
    Outstanding Science Trade Books 2010

    Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People (access 2000-2018)

    2018 Book Recommendations: Children’s Books (NCTE)

    Orbis Pictus Award for 2018
    Orbis Picture Awards 2000-2017

    Book & Media Awards (ALSC: Newbery, Caldecott, Belpre, etc.)

    Friday, June 8, 2018

    28 Interesting Books About Maps and Cartography

    from Clarke, Victoria, Ed. (2015). Map: Exploring the World. London: Phaidon Press.

    Cartography as Art Texts

    1. Berry Jill K. (2016). Making Art From Maps: Inspiration, Techniques, and an International Gallery of ArtistsRockport Publishers. 
    2. Berry Jill K.& Linden McNelly. (2014). Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and TravelQuarry Books.
    3. Clarke, Victoria, Ed. (2015). Map: Exploring the World. London: Phaidon Press.
    4. Garfield, Simon. (2013). On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks.  Avery.
    5. Goodwin, Valerie S. (2013). Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage-A Visual Guide.  C&T Publishing.
    6. Harmon, Katharine. (2016). You Are Here: NYC Mapping the Soul of the CityPrinceton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
    7. Harmon, Katharine. (2010). The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
    8. Harmon, Katharine. (2003). You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
    9. Harzinski, Kris. (2010).  From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press.
    10. Hornsby. Stephen J. (2017). Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press;.
    11. Jacobs, Frank. (2009). Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic CuriositiesViking Studio.
    Geography/History/Political Science
    1. Baynton-Williams, Ashley. (2015). The Curious Map Book. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 
    2. Harley, J. P.  (2002). The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography. Edited by Paul Laxton. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins Press.
    3. Marshall, Tim. (2015). Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World. New York: Scribner.
    4. Varga, Vincent. (2007). Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations. New York: Little, Brown and Company

    Informational Texts

    1. Brotton, Jerry. (2014). A History of the World in 12 Maps. New York: Penguin Books. 
    2. Brotton, Jerry.  (2014). Great Maps.  Washington DC: DK.
    3. Field, Kenneth. (2018). CartographyRedlands, CA: Esri Press.
    4. Reinhartz, Dennis. (2012). The Art of the Map: An Illustrated History of Map Elements and Embellishments. Sterling.
    5. Riffenburgh, Beau. (2015). Mapping the World: The Story of Cartography. London: Andre Deutsch.

    Literary & Film Maps

    1. DeGraff, Andrew. (2017). Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great MoviesEssays by Andrew Jones. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books. 
    2. DeGraff, Andrew. (2015). Plotted: A Literary Atlas. San Francisco, CA: Pulp.

    Literature for Adults

    1. Chatwin, Bruce. (2012). The SonglinesNew York: Penguin Classics.

    Picture Books/Informational Books for Young People (Grade 4-8)

    1. Hibbert, Claire. (2017). Around the World in 80 MapsFirefly Books.
    2. Mizielinska, Aleksandra & Daniel Mizielinski. (2013). MapsBig Picture Press.
    3. Morrison, Taylor. (2004). The Coast Mappers. Boston, MA: HMH Books for Young Readers.
    4. Nuñez, José Jesús Reyes. (2017). Children Map the World: Commemorating the International Map YearRedlands, CA: Esri Press.
    5. Ross, Val.  (2009). The Road to There: Mapmakers and Their StoriesNew York: Pemguin.

    Thursday, June 7, 2018

    #PoetryBreak: Cartography for Beginners by Emily Hasler

    Storm Warning (M.A. Reilly)
    Cartography for Beginners
    for CL

    by Emily Hasler

    First of all, you will need to choose the correct blue
    to indicate water. This should not be too watery.
    You must remember: people do not like wet feet.
    If there is no water to indicate, no matter,
    you must still elect a blue. Let me recommend
    eggshell, at a push, azure. Choose a symbol
    for church/temple/mosque/synagogue. Choose
    a symbol for pub. Dedicate your life
    to the twin and warring gods of Precision
    and Wild Abandon. People do not like
    to be lost. Buy Mandelbrot's 1967 paper
    on the coastline paradox, put it on the highest shelf –
    but get a stepladder. Take a little licence with rivers,
    especially their curves and estuaries. Add
    an oxbow lake if at all possible. If the area you
    are mapping has no seas/lakes/rivers/streams,
    I have to question why you are bothering. You
    won't get to use that lovely blue you spent so long
    deciding upon. Do the Norfolk fens instead. Better
    yet, East Anglia in its future state, quite utterly
    submerged like a sodden Constable. Come on,
    get your coat, I'll show you. You won't need your shoes.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    #PoetryBreak: Map by Wisława Szymborska

    Citra-Solv and original photograph (Digital Print, M.A. Reilly, 2016)

    I woke today from a dream about maps.

    Wisława Szymborska
    Flat as the table
    it’s placed on.
    Nothing moves beneath it
    and it seeks no outlet.
    Above—my human breath
    creates no stirring air
    and leaves its total surface
    Its plains, valleys are always green,
    uplands, mountains are yellow and brown,
    while seas, oceans remain a kindly blue
    beside the tattered shores.
    Everything here is small, near, accessible.
    I can press volcanoes with my fingertip,
    stroke the poles without thick mittens,
    I can with a single glance
    encompass every desert
    with the river lying just beside it.
    A few trees stand for ancient forests,
    you couldn’t lose your way among them.
    In the east and west,
    above and below the equator—
    quiet like pins dropping,
    and in every black pinprick
    people keep on living.
    Mass graves and sudden ruins
    are out of the picture.
    Nations’ borders are barely visible
    as if they wavered—to be or not.
    I like maps, because they lie.
    Because they give no access to the vicious truth.
    Because great-heartedly, good-naturedly
    they spread before me a world
    not of this world.
    Translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh
    NewYorker April, 14th, 2014

    Monday, June 4, 2018

    #PoetryBreak: Across Kansas by William Stafford

    Geometry (M.A. Reilly)

    Across Kansas

     - William Stafford

    My family slept those level miles
    but like a bell rung deep till dawn
    I drove down an aisle of sound,
    nothing real but in the bell,
    past the town where I was born.
    Once you cross a land like that
    you own your face more: what the light
    struck told a self; every rock
    denied all the rest of the world.
    We stopped at Sharon Springs and ate--
    My state still dark, my dream too long to tell.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018

    Why Play Must Walk Hand-in-Hand with Schooling: Responding to NAEP and The Atlantic

    from collage journal
    Well, we may first tell what the map is not. The map is not a substitute for a personal experience. The map does not take the place of an actual journey. The logically formulated material of a science or branch of learning, of a study, is no substitute for the having of individual experiences. The mathematical formula for a falling body does not take the place of personal contact and immediate individual experience with the falling thing. But the map, a summary, an arranged and orderly view of previous experiences, serves as a guide to future experience; it gives direction; it facilitates control; it economizes effort, preventing useless wandering, and pointing out the paths which lead most quickly and most certainly to a desired result. [Dewey, John. The Child and the Curriculum (Kindle Locations 188-193). Kindle Edition.)


    I love this brief video of Christy Hale accepting the 2013 Boston Globe Honor Book award for her book,  Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building (published by Lee & Low Book Publishers). Hope you'll listen as she's so observant and wise. 

    Hale says.
     "...there is little distinction between the building play of children and the innovative work of architects.When a child drapes a blanket between two chairs to make a fort and Japanese architect Kenzo Tange engineers the world’s longest suspension roof for Yoyogi National Gymnasium, both use the same design thinking. When a child stacks cup on cup, up and up, and Argentinean architect Cesar Pelli builds the world’s tallest twin buildings (the Petronas Towers), both reach for the sky. Play is the answer to how anything new comes about,” developmental psychologist Jean Piaget said.

    I have been knee deep this last month designing K-3 ELA units that focus on engineering, design, architecture.  None of it will matter much if play doesn't accompany the reading. I'm halfway through designing a kindergarten unit that features Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building and Robert Louis Stevenson's lovely poem, "Block City." I want to recommend that play with blocks, water, and sand accompany the more common ELA learning, but I wonder just how many kindergartens still have these in light of our national obsession with school reading and school math. 

    My friend, Jane Gangi sent me a link recently to an article about the NAEP results and how flat reading scores remain. In "Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years,"  experts, like Daniel Willingham, shine a light on the common sense notion that prior knowledge matters when reading be you 5 or 50. 

    The author of the article, Natalie Wexler, writes:

    Willingham explained that whether or not readers understand a text depends far more on how much background knowledge and vocabulary they have relating to the topic than on how much they’ve practiced comprehension skills. That’s because writers leave out a lot of information that they assume readers will know. If they put all the information in, their writing would be tedious. 
    But if readers can’t supply the missing information, they have a hard time making sense of the text. If students arrive at high school without knowing who won the Civil War they’ll have a hard time understanding a textbook passage about Reconstruction.

    Reading the article brought me back 7 years ago when I was working for a client. The curriculum director was quite upset because I was teaching faculty that prior knowledge plays a role in how we make sense of the world--be it a written text or a lived experience. At the time, ELA Common Core Standards author, David Coleman had been busy discussing pre-reading strategies. To me, his language was reckless and many administrators took his words to heart and banned providing students with any background knowledge at all.  


    We know this is a disservice and in fairness to Coleman I suspect his rhetoric was not intending to harm learners. But the interpretations of what he said, surely did do that. One only has to look at NAEP scores to understand that outcome. Yet, that reckless language and what followed never seem to get mentioned.

    Knowledge matters.  It mattered in 2011 and it matters today. Be it general, content-specific, procedural, or schematic--knowing is important when we want to learn more. I think of it like that lovely line in Frost's poem about the woods: Way leads on to way. 

    Knowledge though isn't simply a matter of assigning a topic and studying it.  Our understanding of the same 'topic' shifts and often deepens and perhaps becomes even more complicated as we age and/or as we learn. This is why Wexler's curricular advice in the article should have been pulled. (Are there education editors at Atlantic?) Wexler concludes:

    The implication is clear. The best way to boost students’ reading comprehension is to expand their knowledge and vocabulary by teaching them history, science, literature, and the arts, using curricula that that guide kids through a logical sequence from one year to the next: for example, Native Americans and Columbus in kindergarten; the colonial era and the American Revolution in first grade; the War of 1812 and the Civil War in second grade, and so on. That approach enables children to make sense of what they’re learning, and the repetition of concepts and vocabulary in different contexts makes it more likely they’ll retain information. Not to mention that learning content like this can be a lot more engaging for both students and teachers than the endless practice of illusory skills.

    The best way? Image "engaging" 5-year-olds in the study of the genocide of indigenous people. Or treating 6, 7 and 8-year-olds to a steady diet of war, war, and war.  This 'advice' fails to understand the more iterative nature of learning and assumes learning can be encapsulated and digested like an antacid. Meanwhile, developmental appropriateness is sorely missing.


    Dewey told us a hundred years ago that the child and the curriculum are co-specifying. He wrote:

    Classification is not a matter of child experience; things do not come to the individual pigeonholed. The vital ties of affection, the connecting bonds of activity, hold together the variety of his personal experiences. (Dewey, John. The Child and the Curriculum (Kindle Locations 39-40). Kindle Edition.)

    Experience and content need to walk together. The child's recalled experience that makes sense of this new 'content' is the 'vital ties of affection' that we, who work with children so often forget and educational publishing companies and pundits never really knew. 

    Christy Hale gets this. She concludes her speech by saying, "Children, architects, artists, and writers all know that play and work are one." 

    In our desire to create STEM-proficient learners and better NAEP performers, let's not forget play. It seems ironic to me that play could ever be left outside like some poor relation. In the engineering and design processes, play is the foundation--the trial and error, the reimagining, the rebuilding from earlier attempts, the false starts, the lines of flight.  

    Play is the embodiment of the vital tie of affection that gives rise to meaning.  It's as essential as breathing.