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Jen Robinson
San Jose, CA
Dedicated to growing joyful learners: bookworms, mathematicians, scientists, artists, + more
Interests: joy of learning, education, children's books, hiking, reading, walking, red sox baseball, wine tasting, mysteries, literacy
Recent Activity
Thanks for that perspective, Tanita. I have never taught art, so I was just going on the fly. But I've seen enough on growth mindset and the perils of exaggerated praise that my instinct was to be cautious. I was pleased with her reaction, too. And she was thrilled when the Van Gogh picture book showed up, though she still thinks that Starry Night is his best work. Who can argue with that?
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I this post, I describe a recent incident with my daughter that shows that she is starting to appreciate art (in the form of Van Gogh's Starry Night). Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks for taking time to comment, Mandee. I loved this book before my daughter was old enough to appreciate it, that's for sure. I love that you read it to your 8th grade students. I'll bet they find the ending delightfully dark.
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In this issue of the Growing Bookworms newsletter I have three book reviews (two middle grade books and one for adults) and two posts about my daughter's latest literacy milestones (doing crossword puzzles and understanding the ending of an ambiguous books). I also have one post about playful learning: throwing away the instruction manual. I also have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter, and two more with quotes from and responses to links about to the joy of learning. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
My daughter and I are big fans of Peter Brown's picture books, particularly The Curious Garden and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. So when Brown's first middle grade novel turned up, I put it on the top of my to read stack. The Wild Robot is a quirky but lovely little book. It's about a robot who ends up on an island populated only by animals (following the sinking of a container ship). The animals are initially frightened of Roz, but she takes time to learn their language, and eventually makes her way into their hearts. This process is helped by Roz's adoption of an orphaned gosling. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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I this post, I share my daughter's evolving degree of reading comprehension, as she for the first time understands the (dark) implied ending to Jon Klassen's "I Want My Hat Back". Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include Bank Street Book Awards, the Cybils Awards, book lists, reading aloud, science fiction, kidlitosphere, foxes, introversion, parenting, play, technology, education, schools, libraries, STEM, and testing. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Today I have three more articles related to children's need for play and maintaining the spark of the joy of learning. The first is by Laura Goodman, about trying not to quench the spark of imagination in kids. The second is from Deb Pierce, encouraging parents to let kids engage in "messy play". The third is a post by Petra Bonfert-Taylor, shared by Valerie Strauss in Answer Sheet, asking parents and teachers NOT to complain to kids about being bad at math. All three struck me on a personal level. I hope that you find them useful. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I hope you like it, Brenda!
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In this post, I share the way my daughter prefers to play with her new Amusement Park Engineer kit: sans manual. Playful learning at its best. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I think that Lily and Dunkin belongs in all libraries that serve upper middle grade and middle school kids. I believe that this book has the potential to open people's eyes about what it's like to be transgender, and also about what it's like to be mentally struggling in some way. The quirky trappings of the book, and the purity of the first-person perspectives, keep Lily and Dunkin from reading like an "issue book". I also appreciated Gephart's soft touch in the resolution of Lily's bullying - there is no magic wand ending that situation, which I think is realistic, but we do gain a bit of insight into the challenges of the primary bully. Highly recommended, and a book that will certainly stay with me. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks so much, Tameka! I agree - there's definitely still something very nice about print. It is nice to think of my daughter doing crossword puzzles (and of course reading books) for years to come. Thanks for brightening my day!
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In this post, I describe my daughter's latest literacy milestone, attempting to do crossword puzzles. Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Today I am featuring three articles that all highlight the importance of unstructured play for young kids. In the first, an anonymous teacher touts the benefits of play for kids. In the second, teacher Bethany Hill proposes that "homework" for elementary school kids should consist mainly of reading, playing family games, and spending time in unstructured play. Now that's an assignment that my family can get behind! In the third post, Scott Wiley shares his thoughts on a portion of David Elkind's book The Power of Play, specifically focusing on when kids are actually developmentally ready to learn concepts that are rule-based. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include book lists, the Cybils Awards, race in books, diverse books, growing bookworms, reading aloud, National Poetry Month, book selection, libraries, eBooks, bookstores, Judy Blume, James Patterson, nonfiction, testing, middle school, growth mindset, education policy, STEM, and schools. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
What If Everyone Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica is a collected series of essay about education from the perspective of what kids need developmentally. Being more an essay collection than a structured book, it's a little bit repetitive when read straight through, and lacks any overall conclusion. However, the essays make many, many excellent points. I highlighted passage after passage. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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In this issue of the Growing Bookworms newsletter I have two book reviews (one early chapter book, one young adult book) and two posts about my daughter's latest literacy milestones (using books to feel closer to someone far away and sending text messages). I also have one post about learning math via the Scholastic Reading Club flyer. I also have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter, and two more with quotes from and responses to links about to the joy of learning. Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
It was not nearly as sad as I feared, Brenda. I enjoyed it, and even have my husband reading it now.
Anyone who enjoys suspenseful books that also make the reader think will enjoy The Leaving. It is well constructed and intriguing, with flawed but likable characters and surprises throughout. Highly recommended. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
She's already an addict, Tanita. It's going to be ugly :-)
It's a great premise. Fun characters, too. I hope for many more books in the series.
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In this post I share my daughter's latest milestone on the path to literacy: sending texts using words. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. It was a bit of a light week for links (perhaps because I'm still catching up after back to back travel and houseguests), but I do have links relating to book lists, baseball, the Cybils Awards, Beverly Cleary, National Poetry Month, accelerated reader, testing, common core, teaching, and ebooks. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Today I have three play and learning-related articles to share with you. The first is about how universities can learn (and in some case are learning) from preschools about the benefits of a more playful approach to learning. The second is a Washington Post piece that shares prepared remarks for a speech by the new Secretary of Education about how our public education system needs to return to a more well-rounded approach. The third is a piece by a psychologist about the benefits that kids derive from play. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Definitely easier with tech now, but still hard on kids when a parent is away. My husband tries to FaceTime when he travels (which luckily is not frequent). But I do love that she turns to books for comfort.