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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
Fortune Falls is an isolated small town in which superstitions become reality. Step on a crack, you really will break your mother's back. Breathe in the air in the cemetery, you'll die. Following a fairly new policy, the young people in the town are sorted after they turn twelve, via a test, into Lucky or Unlucky. Luckies have smooth sailing ahead. Unluckies are sent off to Bane's School for Luckless Adolescents. Sadie is due to turn twelve soon, on Friday the 13th (not a day that is kind to the Unlucky), with her luck exam to follow shortly. If she doesn't pass, she'll be separated from her mother and five-year-old brother, as well as from her long-time best friend (now a Lucky), Cooper. Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks, Brenda! I've been surprised by how much joy she gets out of paying for things herself. Though I guess I shouldn't be. I still remember when I paid off my student loan, and when I paid off my first car loan. And I was in my 20's for both of those moments. The fish will be a good project for later in the summer, I think!
Thanks so much for your continued support, Judy. Feedback like yours keeps me wanting to share these posts in the first place (that and the fact that I know I'll enjoy looking back over these in the future). I will certainly write about the fish when the time comes. She has done a bit of gardening already, though not yet with these seeds. I don't have much of a green thumb myself, but luckily our babysitter does. One of the three seed packets ending up being given to her friends' mom as a gift, but I'm sure the other two will get planted one of these days. Will report if there's anything interesting.
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My daughter and I had an entertaining day recently, with an experience that I thought was both educational and empowering for her. It started out when she was looking through her Girl Scout Daisy handbook. [Have I mentioned that she ADORES Girl Scout Daisies? It is true.] She found an exercise that her troop had not gotten to this year, in which participants are supposed to list something that they want, and figure out how long it will take to save for this item. Continue reading
Posted yesterday 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, #ReadingWithoutWalls, diverse books, gender norms, reading choice, reading aloud, summer reading, parenting, schools, #EdTech, free speech, Sherlock Holmes, print books, play, recess, growing bookworms, physical education, and STEM. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Exactly! With my daughter it's "Moh-mee" in this exasperated tone.
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The other day I was reading my daughter one of our favorite new picture books: Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. (I really must review this one - it is delightful). Lately she's been chiming in here and there when I am reading a book, and correcting me if I miss something. (The latter occurs frequently when I am sleepy.) But this time she took it a step further, and started making requests for me to change not WHAT I was saying but HOW I was saying it. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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In this issue of the #GrowingBookworms newsletter I have two book reviews (one picture book and one middle grade) and three posts about my daughter's latest milestones (one regarding literacy, one math, and one art). I also have one post about the virtues and difficulties of not overscheduling kids. I also have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter, and one more with quotes from and responses to links about to the joy of learning. Not included in the newsletter, I shared an announcement about a new award from Hallmark for great picture books. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Yes, I thought so too re the ending. Middle grade appropriate, too :-)
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Today I have two articles about wanting kids to have intrinsic, vs. extrinsic, motivation for reading, and two that address the lack of play in early elementary school classrooms today. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
The Big Dark, by Rodman Philbrick, is an apocalyptic survival story for middle grade readers. On New Year's Eve, narrator Charlie Cobb is outside with his family and friends watching for an expected dramatic display of the Northern Lights. Following an enormous flash in the sky, however, the residents of Harmony, NH (population 857) discover that nothing requiring electricity or using a battery works anymore: not cars, not generators, not flashlights. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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In this post, I share my daughter's latest milestone on the path to numeracy, counting backwards as she tries to collect a particular number of recyclable cans. Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
You're welcome, Judy. And I agree that having Betsy on the judging panel bodes well for the award.
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I received an email today about a new award for picture books from Hallmark, complete with a cash prize for the author and illustrator of the winning book. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 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. I have rather a full slate of links this week, because I was catching up after traveling last week. Topics this week include the Children's Choice Book Awards, book lists (many!), the Cybils Awards, growing bookworms, Summer Reading, libraries, schools, celebrity children's books, picture books, growth mindset, play, education gap, Facebook, gender, Roald Dahl, and STEM. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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My daughter's latest milestone on her path to literacy involved making real-life safety rule signs, inspired by Officer Buckle and Gloria, and my own careless behavior. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Today I have quotes from five articles that I've recently shared on Twitter that I think are particularly worthy of additional discussion. Two are about raising readers in general, and giving kids choice about what they read in particular. One is about GPAs, grit, and finding your passion. The last two are about homework and teaching with the interests of child and family in mind. To me, all of these articles touch on the central questions of how we can make reading and learning more joyful and rewarding (and less painful) experiences for kids. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
This is not a picture book! by Sergio Ruzzier is about a yellow duck who is initially outraged to discover a book that doesn't have any picture. His insect friend is baffled (calling the very idea of a book without pictures "wacky"), but asks if Duck is able to read the book. He is! Inside the book he finds words that are funny, sad, wild, and peaceful, among others. Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks so much for the feedback, Mrs. M~. I especially value your perspective as someone who has wrestled with similar issues, and from what seems to be a similar philosophical viewpoint :-). I think that my my own ability to recognize and name my need for quiet time helps to give my daughter permission to do the same thing - though hopefully I'm not over-influencing her on that front. Such a tricky balance! But I definitely agree with you on the general trend to over-schedule kids - my strongest childhood memories are of that puttering around/exploring time, not of planned events. I wish for that for more kids, though it's harder to come by today.
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I try not to over-schedule my daughter (who just turned six). This is harder than I ever would have imagined. There are so many things she could do, should do, wants to do, and/or could learn from in some way. We are constantly seeking the balance that is right for her and for our family. Sometimes things get a little out of whack (for example, when seasonal activities don't line up quite right), but we keep trying. Continue reading
Posted May 9, 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. Lots of events this week for some reason (maybe just because it's the first week of the month). Topics include Arbor Day, Children's Book Week, early readers, KidLitCon, play, National Readathon Day, poetry, graduation, Growing Bookworms, Teacher Appreciation Week, summer reading, teaching, student engagement, and testing. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I'm glad! :-)
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 May 5, 2016 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.