Word Nerd

Colby Sharp loves all things books. When he’s not reading with his third graders, he might be hosting book-related Twitter chats, reviewing titles on his website (mrcolbysharp.com), or blogging at the Nerdy Book Club, which Sharp cofounded with Donalyn Miller and two other educators. This summer, he will facilitate Nerd Camp, an Edcamp PD conference with a literacy twist.

The Basics

School: Parma Elementary School in Michigan
Career Path: After spending time reading with kids at a local elementary school during his senior year of high school, Sharp decided he wanted to become a teacher. He attended community college and then transferred to Western Michigan University, where he received his bachelor's degree in elementary education.
Teaching Philosophy: "I just want to make learning fun and exciting."
The Job: This is my dream job. It’s the small, rural town where I grew up. It’s fun to see so much of myself in my students.”

Cool Project

Skype With Authors: To help make meaningful connections with books, Sharp’s students often Skype with authors. “To have an author talk to your class for 15 or 20 minutes, it’s a magical thing,” Sharp says. He recommends starting at children’s author Kate Messner’s website for a list of writers who will Skype for free. Then, prepare for the virtual visit. “Talk about the author, read the author’s books, discuss Skype etiquette, and have good questions,” Sharp advises.

Most Powerful Professional Development

“My classroom. Every day is professional development for me. I’m learning how to be a better teacher from my students and from what they’re giving me. We don’t see that—learning from our audience—as the ultimate PD
as much as we should.”

Three New Books on His Bookshelf

1. Wolfie the Bunny By Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
“Of all the books I’ve read to my students this year, this is the one they loved the most.”

2. Roller Girl By Victoria Jamieson
“The latest in a long list of amazing graphic-novel memoirs.”

3. The Question of Miracles By Elana K. Arnold
“The death of a best friend and a big move leave Iris Abernathy in need of a miracle.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Colby Sharp