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Volume 4 Number 3

Happy 7th Anniversary Teachers.Net...
A First Day of School Script Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Using A Discipline Approach to Promote Learning Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
My Poor Teacher Can't Spell! 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Testing, 1-2-3! Postcard from Planet Esme - News from the world of children's books by Esmé Codell
March ~ The Perfect Time for a Fresh Start! Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Need Something? Ask! Teachers As Learners by Hal Portner
There's a Book Inside of You Waiting To Come Out! eBook Authoring by Glenn F. Dietzel
Stop Underage Drinking Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Debates in the Classroom---A List of Ten! The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
Saving Drowning Babies is Not Always the Best Policy! Ed-Tech Talk by Dr. Rob Reilly
Art Sites The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
March Articles
March Regular Features
March Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Esmé Codell...
Esmé is the author of the highly acclaimed and bestselling Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year, which received favorable reviews from magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, People,The New Yorker, Elle and Kirkus. Educating Esmé won Foreword Magazine's memoir of the year, and the distinguished Alex Award for outstanding book for young adult readers. Her abridged diary appeared in Reader's Digest. She has been a keynote speaker for the International Reading Association and the American Library Association. She gave a "virtual" keynote for the National Education Association's "Stay Afloat!"online conference for first-year teachers and was dubbed "Generation X's answer to Bel Kaufman and Frank McCourt" in February's NEA Today. Esmé was a featured speaker at the National Museum for Women in the Arts and has appeared on CBS This Morning and CNN. Esmé's public radio reading, "Call Me Madame," produced by Jay Allison for the Life Stories series earned her first place for National Education Reporting from the Education Writer's Association. Her performance prowess was also seen on CSPAN's Book Talk and heard on NPR's Voice of America. She is a children's literature specialist who graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern Illinois University in 1992, and is certified in the field of K - 8 Elementary Education with an endorsement in Language Arts. She has five years of teaching experience and five years of experience as a children's bookseller. She runs the popular children's literature web site, Planet Esmé (
Postcard from Planet Esme
by Esmé Codell
Planet Esmé (
Testing, 1-2-3!

Get those #2 pencils sharpened, folks, It's the bleary, weary time of year again! Never mind that you're classroom's so crowded that the fire marshall can't fit inside to give you a ticket, or that half your class only speaks Portuguese; we must all face the day of reckoning. Yes, it's time for standardized testing, in which your abilities are assessed on whether or not the children have eaten a good breakfast and listened to enough Mozart. Does it all seem questionable? If you're not sure of the answer, it's wisest to choose "C," C for children's literature, that is! These hilarious and hard-hitting picture books will go far to raise spirits (and possibly test scores) by putting the whole riot in perspective, so please share these with your favorite administrator, the kids in the classroom and friends in the teacher's lounge.

The school community in Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley really knows how to prepare for an exam. With the The Instructional Performance Through Understanding (IPTU) test looming on the horizon, parents give their children pop quizzes during bedtime stories, "brain food" is served at lunch, and stress-reducing yoga is the new curriculum in gym class. The stakes for the test are high, but luckily, the children are keeping it real even when poor Miss Malarkey's fingernails are bitten down to the nubs. High-stakes testing can in fact be very damaging to children's self esteem and the stress can affect performance and health. This savvy and subversive book will go far to relieve a lot of tension in both the staff room and the classroom.

Another fine, fine children's book for this time of year is A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, illustrated by Harry Bliss. A well-meaning principal is so enamored with the climate at his school that he decides to hold school on Saturdays. And then Sundays. And then holidays. Meanwhile, Tillie's little brother was not learning how to skip, and Tillie's dog was not learning how to sit, and Tillie herself was not learning how to climb the tree in her backyard. So when the principal considers holding school all summer, it's time to set the record straight. Clever illustrations (children brushing their teeth at the lockers, a boy carrying a volume titled This Book Is Way Too Hard for You, and children passing each other boxes of tissue to cry into as the principal makes his announcements) bring home the point that maybe it is possible too much of a good thing, and that there is all kinds of learning, some of which doesn't take place even in a fine, fine school.

Finally, go easy on yourself and laugh while you consider What Teachers Can't Do by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Doug Cushman. A small dinosaur observes that his poor reptilian pedagogue doesn't seem to know the answer to 2+2, can't buy her own apples and can't be tardy. But in the end, teachers can't wait to come to school every day, to teach the children that they love. So celebrate all that you can do, and do do; the positive affects of all your authentic assessments, daily read-aloud and encouraging words are beyond measurement, and fill in the empty circles in children's lives cleanly and completely every day!

Starting next month, Postcard from PlanetEsme will feature an outstanding brand new read-aloud suggestion, so please check back. Until then,

Happy reading always!

Esme Raji Codell, Site Director A Wonderful World of Children's Literature!

Also of interest:

Books Make You Hoppy!
Spring has sprung, and you can add more bounce to your reading ounce by incorporating these new bunny nooks into your storytime:

Bunnies on the Go: Getting from Place to Place by Rick Walton, illustrated by Paige Miglio (great for transportation units)

A Bunny for All Seasons by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Meilo So (I know it's early, but I vote Caldecott contender here! Integrate into learning about the calendar)

Sleeping Bunny retold by Emily Snowell Keller, illustrated by Pamela Silin Palmer (furry fairy tale!)

More Spring Stories can be found at

Sisters Doing It For Themselves!
Celebrate Women's History Month with a few heroines:

Far Beyond the Garden Gate: Alexandra David Neel's Journey to Lhasa by Don Brown
(first Western woman ever to enter the forbidden capital of Tibet!)

Beatrix by Jeanette Winter
(small jewel of a picture book celebrating the life of Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit…ties in very nicely with "hoppy stories!")

Maria's Comet by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Deborah Lanino
(inspired by the life of Maria Mitchell, America's first female astronomer, now in paperback)

When Marion Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Brian Selznick
(dazzling presentation of the life of Singer Marion Anderson)

Holding the Reins: A Ride Through Cowgirl Life by Marc Talbert, photos by Barbara VanCleave
(photoessays for intermediate readers and listeners give a hats-off to modern girls working in the wide open range.)

More books that celebrate females in fact and fiction may be found at is a non-sectarian site dedicated to getting great children's literature into the hands of great children. We accept no advertising; links are provided as a service to our guests at the discretion of the site director.

For a printable version of this article click here.

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