Margin Notes

LITERACY EVENTS OCTOBER 2022

Sep
29

October 2-8

News Media CanadaNational Newspaper Week Every year, during the first full week of October, newspapers across North America celebrate National Newspaper Week to recognize the people who work tirelessly to bring the news to their communities. Newspaper journalism – both local and national – is critically important, especially in the reality in which we live. Now, more than ever, newspapers matter.

October 24-28

Media Literacy Week is an annual event promoting digital media literacy across Canada, taking place each October. Schools, libraries, museums and community groups organize events and activities throughout the week.

 

October 3-November 14

The Global Read Aloud

The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be.

OCTOBER 26 – 7:30-8:30 PM ADT

Kelly Fritsch & Anne McGuire authors of We Move Together. We Move Together follows a mixed-ability group of kids as they creatively negotiate everyday barriers and find joy and connection in disability culture and community. A kinship text for families, schools, and libraries to facilitate conversations about disability, accessibility, social justice, and community building. This event is free to the public. Register for tickets

 

For more events, please check out our Literacy Events Calendar.

DANCING AT THE PITY PARTY: A DEAD MOM GRAPHIC MEMOIR BY TYLER FEDER

Sep
27

Heartbreaking, honest, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, this graphic memoir shares Tyler Feder’s story of losing her mom to cancer and just wanting the world around her “to get it”. Written 10 years after her mother’s death, Feder begins with the shocking diagnosis of late-stage cancer, takes us through the horrors of cancer treatment, and “the worst day”. And then the aftermath of the arrangements, “the new normal”, and living life without her mother.

The graphics in this memoir, such as “things that died with my mom” and “the little things that get me the most” provide an intimate understanding of the journey of grief and loss, and make you appreciate the author for sharing what many people are unable to share.

This story is a friend for anyone experiencing the loss of someone they love, and a guide for anyone who knows someone who is.

 

CRAFT STUDIO: CARRIE SOTO IS BACK

Sep
22

What I Was Reading:

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel, Carrie Soto is Back, tells the story of retired tennis champion Carrie Soto who decides, while watching a young player tie her record for winning the most Grand Slams, that she will return to the game and reclaim her title.

In this scene, Carrie faces a challenger at the French Open:

Moretti strides onto the court in a white-and-navy-blue tennis dress, waving to the crowd. She blows kisses to the stands. She is sponsored by Nike, so it’s no surprise that she is covered in swooshes from head to toe. When she turns to look at me, she gives me a big smile.

I nod at her.

She starts strong after winning the toss. But I’m stronger.

15-love becomes 15-all. 30-love becomes 30-all. Deuces become ad-ins and then back to deuces and ad-outs.

Three hours in, we are now in the third set. 6-6.

The crowd is cheering. I look up at my father who is sitting elegantly behind a flower box.

It’s now my serve. I need to hold this one and break hers. And then I’m on to the quarterfinals.

I close my eyes. I can do this.

When I open my eyes again, I’m looking directly at Moretti. She hovers over the court. Her hips swaying side to side as she waits for my serve.

I breathe in and serve it straight down the middle. She returns it with a ground stroke to the center. I hit it back, deep into the far-right corner. She runs for it, fast and hard. There’s no way she’s gonna make it.

But then she does. And I can’t return it.

It’s fine. It’s fine. I can feel my knee twinging, but I have plenty more to go.

I look up at my father again in the player’s box. He catches my eye.

I can feel the hum in my bones, the lightness in my belly. I serve it again, this time, just at the line. She dives and misses it.

I hold my game and then begin my assault on her. By the time I get to match point, she’s exactly where I want her. I set her up so she’s on the far side of the court. I return it to her backhand and that’s it. She’s done.

 

What Moves I Notice the Author Making:

  • The way the writer plays with time by speeding up and slowing down the action really stands out to me in this passage.
  • After a scene-setting paragraph describing Carrie Soto’s opponent, the rest of the passage is organized into a series of short paragraphs—many are only a single line—that reads like a list.
  • The description of the first three hours of the match comprises only a few lines. Short sentences with a pattern of repetition (“15-love becomes 15-all. 30-love becomes 30-all.”) reveal the progression of the play.
  • At the third set, with a 6-6 tie, Jenkins Reid slows the action down and builds suspense by including detailed description of the narrator’s thoughts and observations, the serve, and the subsequent rally.
  • Jenkin Reid’s use of sentence break in the line “But then she does. And I can’t return it,” intentionally slows the reader’s pace by emphasizing the pause between the two thoughts. Separating one sentence into two is another interesting strategy for controlling the action in a scene. This also seems to be a pivot point in the passage as the details become more compressed and the action accelerates.

Possibilities for Writers:

  • Notice and name other interesting craft moves in this passage.
  • Watch for interesting pacing strategies in other texts you read.
  • Develop a scene and experiment with time by using some of the Taylor Jenkins Reid’s techniques.
  • Try organizing ideas into a series of short paragraphs to give your writing a list-like quality that conveys many details in a concise structure.
  • Revise a draft in your writer’s notebook by incorporating some of the craft moves you notice in this excerpt.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: THE TRYOUT BY CHRISTINA SOONTORNVAT

Sep
20

“Stand tall. Be loud. If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything” 

This is a must-read middle-level graphic novel memoir hot off the press as it was released just this month. The Tryout follows the author’s story of growing up as an Asian American in a small Texas town. With essential themes of racism, failure and friendship, Christina retells the memories of navigating the social scene of middle school, the pressures put on a friendship and the relatable tale of trying to fit in.  

In her author’s note, Christina talks about the hesitation to include how it felt to deal with racism and her identity as an Asian American. She notes other discrimination that happened and how she had “accepted and internalized that that’s just the way things were.” With that reflection, she also acknowledges that sharing these stories is how we bring change. Readers see the racism disguised as jokes, mispronunciations, exclusion and obvious name-calling. 

The story centers around Christina and Megan’s friendship which was formed from shared experiences being minorities in a predominantly white town. They are both drawn into the social status of cheerleading and tryout for the squad together. The pressures of the upcoming cuts cause some conflict that is handled well and both girls experience growth and newfound confidence in the process.  

Readers are left with a description of growing up in Texas where Christina refers to the town as merely the setting and goes on to share the spotlight of her story – the characters.  Every middle schooler should read about her experience and see themselves in the characters, images and emotions.  

PHOTO ESSAYS

Sep
15

Photo essays are a powerful form of multimodal writing. I fell in love with them when I was introduced to James Mollison and his incredibly important books: “Where Children Sleep” and “Where Children Play”. These books show, through pictures and words, the inequities of children’s lived experiences around the globe.

When I show these photo essays to teachers and students, they are equally struck by how profound a form of writing it can be. This usually leads to students wanting to write their own photo essays.

So, together as a class, we co-constructed “What makes a quality photo essay?”. We read lots of examples – both in book form and digitally – and answered the following questions:

What do you notice about the photo essay?

How would you define “Photo Essay”?

What makes a quality photo essay?

Some of the books we read were:

Where Children Sleep by James Mollison

James and Other Apes by James Mollison

Before Their Time: The World of Child Labour by David L. Parker

Earth Then and Now: Amazing Images of a Changing World by Fred Pearce

We also looked at digital photo essays that I compiled on a SWAY so the students could view them on their own devices.

Since students will be creating digital photo essays, it’s important that you show them different online tools that they can use. Canva, SWAY, Powerpoint, and Piktochart were the ones we explored.

I find that the photo essays students create tell a lot about themselves and how they view the world. Spending some time on personal photo essays at the beginning of the school year would be a great way to explore identity.

AKATA WITCH BY NNEDI OKORAFOR

Sep
13

“One night, after the power went out, I lit a candle as usual.  Then, also as usual, I got down on the floor and just gazed at its flame.

My candle was white and thick, like the ones in church. I lay on my belly and just stared and stared into it. So orange, like the abdomen of a firefly. It was nice and soothing until…it started flickering.

Then, I thought I saw something. Something serious and big and scary. I moved closer.”

 

Akata Witch is told through the eyes of Sunny, a twelve-year-old albino girl born in the United States, but who now finds herself living in Nigeria. Not surprisingly, Sunny is often seen as an outcast. An outcast at school because of where she was born and how she looks.  An outcast in the community because of her lack of knowledge about Nigerian culture. Even an outcast at home because she is a girl, an unwanted girl.

Sunny’s days are filled with trying to navigate school, prejudices, staying out of the way of bullies, and not upsetting her parents. Especially her father. This changes when she befriends a quiet boy in her class named Orlu and his friend Chichi. Slowly Orlu and Chichi introduce Sunny to their world of Nigerian magic, and she learns she is in fact a leopard person; Nigerians who can conjure and perform juju (magic). Soon Sunny is visiting mysterious villages where books and devices for creating juju are purchased, disappearing through keyholes, and accepting challenges issued by their leopard person teacher.

Sunny is equal parts fascinated, terrified, and frustrated by her new life and what she is learning about herself, her family’s past, and the challenges she will need to face when charged with finding and defeating Black Hat Otokoto. The man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children in order to gain powerful juju strength.

Okorafor crafts a well paced suspenseful narrative that provides readers needed background knowledge by enlisting excerpts from the “Free Agents” handbook that Sunny reads to learn about her newfound abilities. If you have readers in your class who enjoy supernatural fiction and want to try something new, Akata Witch, the first book in the Nsibidi Script series may just be a great book fit.

To read more about Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch and the sequels Akata Warrior and Akata Woman click here.

 

 

LITERACY EVENTS SEPTEMBER 2022

Sep
07

Here are some literacy events taking place in September 2022.

September 8th

International Literacy DaySince 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today.”

 

September 15th – ish

International Dot Day “Imagine the power and potential of millions of people around the world connecting, collaborating, creating and celebrating all that creativity inspires and invites. I hope you will join the growing global community of creativity champions using their talents, gifts and energy to move the world to a better place.”

 

September 18-24

Banned Books Week “Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The theme of this year’s event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

Check out these events, and more, on our ASD-W Margin Notes Literacy K-12 SharePoint.

 

SUMMER SORA SERIES RECOMMENDS EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY ELLA BY AMBER HENDRICKS

Aug
31

Extraordinary Ordinary Ella was written in 2020 by Amber Hendricks. This book is a must read as it talks about Ella, a young girl struggling to find a talent. At such a young age, and all through adolescence, kids are pressured to find their purpose. This book teaches them that it’s ok to take your time and enjoy life rather than worrying about the little things. 

This picture book provides a lesson for all ages and will leave readers thinking about this topic in a new way. This title is inspiration for young people as they grow up, giving them a female role model with a young perspective. It helps give readers the encouragement and confidence they need to grow in life. This book is a great representation of how extraordinary, ordinary is and can be.  

SUMMER SORA SERIES RECOMMENDS I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST BY MASON DEAVER 

Aug
24

Deaver writes a book that the world needs to read with insight into a non-binary mind and life. The story follows Benjamin De Backer as they come out as non-binary and are not accepted by their parents. This story gives space to relationships that include a non-binary person while quietly including the addition of a mixed-race relationship. 

While the reader feels the devastation of the rejection by Benjamin’s parents, the book does provide examples of supportive allyship. There are characters like the sister and her husband, the boyfriend and the art teacher that really highlight how to be there for someone in a situation where the queer person was kicked out of the house.  

Readers may see themselves or peer into a new world as they follow the loss of hope with battles faced and then the glimmer of new dreams with a fresh chapter in life. The themes around love, friendship, hardships, adversity and hope surround the characters in this read. 

 

SUMMER SORA SERIES RECOMMENDS THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS BY MARIEKA MIJKAMP 

Aug
12

This Is Where It Ends is a beautifully written novel following the events of a school shooting. Readers follow the lives of the people closest to the shooter and how they are affected throughout his terror. The reader is placed into the lives of five separate students and learn the relationship they had with the shooter and how it feels to have no power in a terrifying situation. 

This novel highlights the life of public-school students and the constant fear that they face with the rise of school shooting. It shows that no one is safe in this kind of position, not even family. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and makes you wish you had another book to follow each of the characters.  

Tyler Browne is the shooter. This is a familiar name as you flip the pages and immerse yourself into this story. This Is Where It Ends puts the fear that the students feel within you. Your heart will break for anyone who has been affected by, or lost a child to, school shootings. Rather than chapters, the plot follows a timeline, the 54 minutes that feel like a lifetime to the students and teachers at this school. There are many trigger warnings of course, with school shootings and the loss of children or student.  On the same note, there are gory details about people being shot – which is hard for an audience to read when they are so deep into the story.  

A reader who enjoys reading fiction that reflects current events should definitely read this title. 

My name is Chloe Despres, and I am a grade 11 student at Leo Hayes high school. I enjoy reading and writing during my free time and being with my family. Reading has become a new passion of mine and consumes my time, as does Book Tok. I work a lot so hanging out with my family and my dog is my escape and calm!