Welcome to Word Savvy Weekly(ish)! Right after I send this, I'm heading out to run a ten mile trail run for which I'm vastly undertrained. I've done

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Welcome to Word Savvy Weekly(ish)!

Right after I send this, I'm heading out to run a ten mile trail run for which I'm vastly undertrained. I've done this before - not this particular trail run, but the under-training thing. It's kind of a runner's thrill-seeking, if you think about it. I'm not going to bungee jump or get a tattoo, but I will try to run farther than I should be able to. Good times.


I'm so excited because this week's From Both Sides of the Desk is inspired by a reader question, which is, "How do you provide coaching on hygiene without making a kid feel bad?" My job in the middle school provides me with lots of practice at just this, and today I'm sharing the nitty gritty. Bet you can't wait.

I also have a book stack of #TBRs from my school's library. The kids (and teachers) get to check out a bag full of books and not return them until August. How cool is that?!

Planning your own summer reading? I've got Super Links to help.

Yay! Let's do it!

Book Stack 7

I got some great #ToBeReads via the Summer Book Bag program at our middle school library. Instead of letting the books sit idly on the shelves all summer, the librarian puts together personalized reading capsules for anyone who wants one. Super awesome.

I blurbed the three YA fiction titles for Literary Quicksand's Sunday Brunch post, which should be up this morning. I can't remember where I first heard of the nonfiction title, I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, but it's the story of two kids who begin a pen pal relationship via school assignment. Caitlin, an American, and Martin, of Zimbabwe, share the story of their long-standing, life-long friendship. I'm sort of worried this book will have a smarmy, American Exceptionalist feel. It might, but for some reason, it keeps catching my eye.

Both Sides of the Desk

Your kid is getting older and stinkier. Maybe some blackheads dot her forehead and chin. Perhaps his hair hangs in strings. Maybe the same t-shirt appears in the rotation too many times between washings. You get the idea: Your beautiful child is getting a little gross.

How do you respectfully coach a kid on hygiene without making him feel badly about himself?

Here's what's worked for me with my students and my own personal middle schooler:
* "Gosh, you're getting so tall! I can't believe it! Have you passed me yet? Let's measure." Celebrate the amazing growth, and then, while you're laughing about how big their feet have gotten, throw in an offer for a shopping trip. "Hey, while we're talking about it, there's lots of new stuff you might need now that you're getting older. How are you doing on deodorant and face wash?"
* I keep my own deodorant in the kitchen. I've also got an extra stick in my supply closet at school, and kids frequently see it. This is a weird habit, but I've got a reason for it: It gives me an opportunity to discuss deodorant's use. "Have you noticed that sometimes you just need to reapply after lunch? Yeah, me too. And especially after P.E. I keep mine right here; you can put yours in your locker." It's also helpful to be transparent about your own showering schedule. "Dad showers every day, but with my dry skin, I stick to every-other. What's working for you these days?"

I totally lifted this next one from a teaching pal, Amy. It's the "I'm your biggest fan" speech. "Hey, I've got a tip for you because I'm your biggest fan, and I've noticed that you have so many strong friendships. Now that you're getting older, your sweat has a stronger smell. Have you noticed that about any of the other kids? Well, I want to make sure your friends notice all the great things about you, so I think it's time to get serious about clean clothes and deodorant."

It's easiest at school to have a whole-class discussion, using some of these lines as starters. I'll even say, "Phew! I can tell you've come from P.E. Let's make sure we're hitting the deodorant and putting on a clean shirt, ok?! Ok!" But, sometimes the 1:1 conversation becomes necessary, and these breezy lead-ins work for me. Can you picture using any of these lines? Reply and let me know!

Links 1

On the Blog

People seemed to like the sad story about how Shef is too cool for his family this week. This is surely a natural phase in development. You'd rather stay home alone than go out to dinner and a movie with your parents. I also did tips for planning a summer reading list, a topic that's holding me captive, as there are only five teaching days left of the 2015-16 school year. #NotCounting #TotallyCounting

On the Internet

Speaking of tips for summer reading, beyond the Modern Mrs. Darcy guide I linked in that previous post up there, I'm excited about this list of Middle Grade titles from The Horn Book. It's got The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz on it, which I happened to notice was Jenny Sawyer's (one of my very fave YA reviewers) favorite book of the year.

In Veganism

Another update from our family's foray into veganism. For the sake of transparency, let me say here and for all time: I Love Cheese. Meat? Okay, I'll probably give it up. Butter and cheese? No flipping way. I've tried the meatless balls with nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute, and I'm actually quite sure I prefer parmesan. Is cheese really that bad for the environment? I'll google it.


That's It

Thank you so much for reading! Have a comment, suggestion, or a question? I'm right on the other side of reply, and I'll be ridiculously and maybe a little annoyingly thrilled to get your message. Just ask my spouse.

Don't forget to send this to a pal if you think he or she (or shall we try the gender neutral pronoun "ze"? Can we get that to catch on already?) might like it. Because I like arbitrary measures of success, I'm hoping to raise my number of subscribers by 8 individuals this week. Can you help?! I would be so grateful.