Reflections on Purl by Pixar

Viewing the new PIXAR short entitled PURL, I watched it in many ways.

As a mom of two adult daughters, wondering about their work force experiences.

As a teacher, whose work force is mostly all women. Yet, I know decisions are made that affect me by a “Bros” world. And never have I sat as the lone woman around the conference table, striving to solve a problem with a bunch of Bros.

As some of my male middle-schoolers ask, “How do you know Purl’s a girl?” Their innocent question made me glad I shared the video so a class conversation could occur.

As some of my other middle-schoolers  saw it as a video about fitting in, changing to fit in and having the courage to be oneself when someone is around that is like me.

As a Reading 6 teacher, currently teaching using the TCRWP Social Issue Unit of Study for Middle School, I saw how work place discrimination and gender discrimination were explored through examples of discrimination.

What do you notice TODAY using the lens of social issues?



Reading Notebook pages by four Reading Teachers, made during a Professional Development meeting, while sitting around a conference table. (Next time, we need to include a “bro”!)


Just finished/Currently/Up next

Inspired by a fellow slicer who described her email signature today, I decided to steal her idea and do the same. You can read Cindy’s post here.

When I started teaching Middle School this year, I saw other ELA teachers posting in their signature three line that listed book titles related to their own personal reading. Their modeling pushed me to follow suit. At the moment, this is what is included below my signature when I send out emails:

Just finished: As Brave As You  by Jason Reynolds
Currently reading: The graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time
Up Next: The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
As Brave As You  by Jason Reynolds
I ordered this book as part of my Social Issue Book Club Unit. Then when a student book club were discussing the trouble in the story and couldn’t agree on parts of the book, I decided I needed to read it. The book is a page turner and I finished it in a day. Once back at school on Monday, I shared my notes with the group and had them reread a few parts with me to help clarify what was happening. Soon we were all finding evidence in the book related to the social issues of blindness, guns, and dealing with a death in the family. My 6th grader book clubers and I all recommend this book!
The graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time
A few weeks ago, I was at the independent book store, Politics and Prose and saw this graphic novel. I had just heard about the movie coming out soon and thought I’d refresh the story in my mind by rereading this story from my young in graphic form. In the back of this book, the author’s acceptance speech given in 1963 when she won the Newbery Award for writing this novel was included. 1963 – that’s the year I was born!  Now this story felt more special to me. Then on the way to work last week, I heard this story on NPR all about the making of the movie (I recommend taking 7 minutes to hear the story). I loved learning that a 5th grader in the 1960s spent her life determined to make this book into a movie. This week I am going to finish reading the graphic novel version and then go see the movie, too. Fantasy and graphic novels aren’t usually my go-to but for this story, I am engaged!
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
TODAY this book is released!!!!!!!!!!
I read The Wild Robot to my 6th graders as part of the Global Read-aloud  in the fall. We LOVED meeting Roz. Now Roz is back!!! I ordered the sequel on my kindle so I’ll have it without taking time to visit a bookstore tomorrow. Thank you, Peter Brown for writing more about Roz! (If you haven’t met Roz yet, I recommend that you do soon!)

What are you reading?

March 26 – To slice – definitely not in Kansas anymore!

Yesterday I shared lines from three of my favorite movies (inspired by my daughter’s trip to Austria to see where the Sound of Music was filmed (another all-time favorite film of mine).

When I recall my favorite films, I recall these lines:
1. “M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E”
This is a line delivered v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y by the priest in The Princess Bride as Princess Buttercup and her not-true love are being united in marriage. I’m reminded now that Buttercup is played by actress, Robin Wright, the same actress that plays Claire Underwood so well in the series, House of Cards. If I was asked to compare these two characters (say like as a PARCC Literary esssay response!) I do think similarities and differences exist. In both, the female character is striving for true love only to be manipulated by the men around her. I think I’ll rewatch this movie soon with House of Cards in mind. (I don’t need to rewatch House of Cards – it is fresh in my mind as I sliced about it on Day 3 HERE )
2. “Let’s be independent together.”
This line is delivered by Rudolph to the misfit dentist-wannabe, Herby. They decide to go off to find the Island of Misfit Toys and cleverly say this line. I’ve always loved this line. It seems to be the opposite because being independent implies going it alone. Yet, it always feels better to me to not be alone, to be part of a community, whether it is family, school, work, friends. Even as I enourage my student writers to be independent, I know by being together as a writing community, we are stronger. Hey, maybe that is what SLICERS are – being independent together! I also relate to these two misfits who are both so brilliant in their own way, yet feel inferior. Don’t we all feel that way at time? I know I do.
3. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
This is stated by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. It is that magical moment in the movie that I still recall so vividly as I watched it on TV as a child. That moment when the movie transformed from being in black and white to being in COLOR! The streets of yellow immediately appear so vibrant. The colors everywhere so bright. And clearly, Dorothy and her dog were “not in Kansas anymore.”  
Looking back at all three of these films, I see connections. If asked to discuss the theme across these films (say like on a PARCC ELA assessment), I would highlight the theme of a journey and each of the above lines could be my text evidence. In one, the journey to find true love. In another, a journey to fit in. In the third, a journey home, because there is “no place like home”. 
Not to sound too sappy, but being part of THIS writing community for 26 days plus 31 last year has been such a worthwhile journey, one where I am finding my true love while being together as I write independently. To slice – definitely not in Kansas anymore!

March 25th – What movies stick with YOU?

My daughter is on Spring Break and she went to Europe to see her sister in France and included a trip to Salzburg, Austria. Yesterday she posted pictures to facebook with this statement:

The Sound of Music was my favorite film, growing up. I must have watched it over 100 times over the years. I even distinctly remember that I turned 7 on a Tuesday and therefore obviously wanted a pink parasol, just like Marta. Yesterday I explored the locations where the movie was filmed. So amazing!


Stories, whether read or viewed, do stick with us.
When I recall my favorite films, I recall these lines:
1. “M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E”
2. “Let’s be independent together.”
3. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
(Can you identify the movie? Answers tomorrow!)
What STORY sticks with you?
What LINE sticks with you?!