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Volume 4 Number 5

Too many people in the general public continue to think that teaching is a job that anyone can do. Wrong! Teaching is a special calling. Teaching is a mission.
Overworked and Under- appreciated - A Tribute to Teachers...
Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market, Part 1 Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Listening Lessons -- How to Help Kids Learn and Comprehend Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Streamlining the Writing Block 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Extreme Reading! Postcard from Planet Esme - News from the world of children's books by Esmé Codell
Springtime Learning Clubs---Simple Solutions to Spring Fever! Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
SGID: Teachers Learn From Student Feedback -- Small Group Instructional Diagnosis Leads to Increased Learning Teachers As Learners by Hal Portner
There's A Book Inside of You! - You Reflect On Your Idea eBook Authoring by Glenn F. Dietzel
Hassles on the School Bus Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
It's That Time Again, Ginny's List of Ten The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
I Retired From 'Teaching' Back in 2009 and Now I'm Back! - Reporting from the future (Part 2) Ed-Tech Talk by Dr. Rob Reilly
Language Arts Sites Part 1 The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
May Articles
May Regular Features
May 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 (
Extreme Reading!

Teaching is an extreme sport come Spring, when a young man's fancies turn to thoughts of recess. Nothing short of bungee jumping will capture the attention of your resident daydreamers, so may I suggest…bungee jumping! Vicariously, that is, using Gary Paulsen's wild new read-aloud, How Angel Peterson Got His Name And Other Outrageous Tales About Extreme Sports. Another harrowing writing feat from the Ernest Hemingway of children's lit, we are forewarned early on, "…None of what we did should be done by anybody except heavily insured, highly trained professionals under adult supervision on closed courses with ambulances, doctors and MedEvac choppers standing by." So put on a helmet and begin reading this memoir of Paulsen's 13th year, in which boys wrestle bears in an effort to impress girls, a penny-pinching young lad inadvertently takes up hang-gliding in an effort to protect his investment, and a confident troupe sets out to break the world speed record on skis in the flatlands of Minnesota. Ouch, these stories are so good they hurt, and should be considered gut-wrenchingly funny until some kid decides to imitate one of the stunts. Paulsen optimistically dedicates the book "to all boys in their thirteenth year; the miracle is that we live through it." Pray for such a miracle and recommend this book which will perform the equally miraculous stunt of getting pre-teen reluctant reader boys turning pages fast enough to break a world record.

Primary students will find the pace is picked up in Zoom! by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko (published by Scholastic). In this picture book, Lauretta has decided that her wheelchair is too slow, and her mother obliges to take her shopping for a new one. Unfortunately, none of the choices suit the young hot-rodder, until the saleswoman kindly offers to let her test drive a particularly soup-ed up model for a day. Lauretta's need for speed lands her a ticket from the local police along with a scolding from her mother, but when her brother cuts his finger, it's up to deliver him to the emergency room in a hurry. Robert Munsch is a master of combining completely outlandish situations with completely realistic dialogue, mercilessly tickling the funny bones of any listener; this title is one of his most exciting as well (Munsch fans, you know this is saying a lot!). The surprise ending and completely over-the-top illustration is guaranteed to end any story time with a wheely big laugh.

And finally, be sure to add the new Scholastic Visual Sports Encyclopedia to your permanent reference collection. From synchronized swimming to BMX biking, rules, equipment and plenty of play-by-play are illustrated in glorious 2-D. The variety and clear explanations are sure to inspire even your most ravenous bookworms out into the Spring sunshine to stretch their motor skills. Grab a ball, jump in a pool or strap on an on-line skate and join them; you'll do the season, your students and your system justice if you treat "spring" as a verb as well as a noun!

Rooting for you as you head for the finish line!

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

Also of interest:

Meet Esme in person!

This month's "postcard from really is a postcard, as I'm on the road! My schedule for the book tour for my new novel for 9-12 year olds, Sahara Special, is now posted at

Hope you find that the book makes the grade, and I also hope I will be able to meet you in person if I come through your town!

Great new gardening books!

Pick any of these from your picture book shelf and watch a love of reading blossom!

  • Pick, Pull, Snap! Where Once a Flower Bloomed by Lola Schaeffer, illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George
  • Fold out pages and elegant illustrations carry readers from seed to bloom.
  • Mirabelle by Astrid Lindgren, illustrated by Pija Lindenbaum
  • A mysterious stranger gives a mysterious seed to a lonely little girl. What will grow from it? From the author of Pippi Longstocking!
  • The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering
  • A young boy builds a monster out of parts he finds in the junkyard to protect some precious seeds. A quirky environmental parable.
  • Flora's Surprise by Debi Gliori
  • A little bunny plants a brick, with surprising results. A fresh choice for fans of Ruth Krauss's classic, The Carrot Seed.
  • Muncha, Muncha, Muncha! By Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
    No matter how high Mr. McGreely builds the garden wall, three clever rabbits manage to sneak in. Your students will enjoy finding them in their hiding places! Lots of refrains for joining-in and a strong story about problem solving will give you plenty to harvest in story-time discussion.

For many more books about gardening and things that grow (besides your lovely students), please visit

For a printable version of this article click here.

Gazette Articles by Esmé Codell:
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