Tag Archives: civil rights

What I Read the Week of February 10, 2013


Chu's DayChu’s Day by  Neil Gaiman

I was really torn on how to rate this Chu’s Day. The illustrations are absolutely precious. Lively and fun, that’s what I found myself focused on. The actual story, not that exciting. Chu finds himself in situations throughout the day in which he really needs to sneeze. Thankfully, he is able to stop his sneezing, which prevents massive chaos. His luck does eventually run out and that chaos does ensue. I can definitely see how little kids would giggle endlessly with an animated storyteller, but that’s about the extent of this book.

Andrew Drew and Drew

Andrew Drew and Drew!  by Barry Saltzberg

I loved Andrew Drew and Drew!  It’s a fun story in which Andrew is always drawing and he never knows where his pencil will take him.  while Andrew’s drawings have simple beginnings, they evolve into surprising creations.  Saltzberg uses paper in a unique way, folding to add more paper thereby giving Andrew more room to draw.  Students will go back to this book repeatedly, looking for inspiration to their own doodles.

StuckStuck by Oliver Jeffers

In Stuck, Floyd is flying his red kite when it gets stuck in a tree.  Being the problem solver he is, Floyd immediately sets about to get that kite down, no matter what.  His tactics are a bit unconventional and unfortunately not very successful.  There are a few times in which you think, “Oh, great!  He’s finally figured it out,” only to discover, that no, he really hasn’t.  This is definitely a laugh out loud kind of book and one that could even promote some discussion about how to solve some problems.


No Dogs AllowedNo Dogs Allowed
by Linda Ashman and Kristin Sorra

I’m always on the hunt for a good wordless picture book.  With the right one, you can do so many great instructional things.  And No Dogs Allowed is a wonderful find. While it’s not absolutely, completely wordless, it is the detailed and vivid illustrations that tell the story of a waiter who insists that no animals visit his restaurant.  What he doesn’t realize is the number of people who have pets and the variety of pets that people have.  It is only when his restaurant sits empty that the waiter realizes he just might have to change his mind about animals.


Lions of Little RockThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levin

If I could give six stars to The Lions of Little Rock, I absolutely would.  Everybody knows the story of the Little Rock Nine.  What most people don’t know is what happened to public education in Little Rock, Arkansas, the following year.  Rather than allowing integration of the high schools to occur, the school board closed the four high schools, leaving thousands of children with no access to education for the 1958-1959 school year.  Kristin Levine tells the story of this one year through Marlee.  Marlee is a 13-year old math genius who rarely talks and has no true friends.  That all changes on the first day of school when the new girl, Liz, befriends her.  Through Liz’s friendship, Marlee finds her voice and uses it to find a sense of reason in a turbulent time.   The Lions of Little Rock would be a great literary addition to a unit on the Civil Rights Movement. Levine does an amazing job of bringing in the multiple perspectives of this era and the conflicts it created, often within the same family, creating opportunities for lively discussions.

Other books I read this week:

Doug Unplugged I'm Not Reading  Nightsong  The Giant and How He Humbugged America   Bigger than a Bread Box

For this week, I’m listening to the audio book of  The Wednesday Wars.  I also checked out quite a few picture books from the public library.  It’s going to be a busy week, and I wanted some fast easy reads.  I am going to take a break from children’s novels and read a couple of the Miss Julia books.  They’re fun and easy . . . perfect for this upcoming week!


Gifted Education as a Civil Right


Really, when you stop to think about it, gifted education is a civil right  for those who need it.  Just as special education and bilingual/ESL education are a civil right for those learners.  Unfortunately, gifted learners are often the last group of students to receive either positive attention or funding.  And when there are cuts, often gifted education is a victim to the decreasing budget before the any other special population services.  And right now we are in the perfect storm where the educational rights of gifted learners are at an even greater risk, thanks to NCLB ($1.1 billion indsutry since 2001), current economics, competing priorities, and thirty years of myths concerning gifted learners.

Thanks to Deborah Mersino who led this session and made the audience think about what our role as gifted educators really is.  Our responsibility is far more than the students sitting in our classrooms right now.  Our responsibility is to advocate for the the gifted so that our sparse funding is not cut anymore.  While we might not be able to make the progress we want to during a lean times, we certainly don’t want to lose the ground we have already gained.  Since competing priorities and NCLB will not be going away, as advocates, we have some pretty amazing tools at our disposal that we must embrace.  Though the digital age can be overwhelming for those of us who are not digital natives, it also has the potential to be a great ally.  With tools like Skype, Twitter, various blogs and wikis, Facebook, and YouTube, there isn’t a valid reason for us not to get our message out.  All of these tools can be used to network with other advocates, as well as share resources and strategies.  Even better, the internet can be used to educate those who don’t understand what gifted is all about and debunk all of those myths that have been out there for an entire generation.

A couple of YouTube videos that illustrate this point are Telenor The Essay Commercial  and NB3 21C Education in New Brunswick.  They are both so powerful that I don’t even need to comment on them.  I’ll leave that to you, the reader.

Whether you are a parent or an educator, I encourage you to embrace the digital age and find a way that you can support gifted learners through online collaboration.