Monthly Archives: October 2014

Celebration Saturdays – Fall Celebrations

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I am happy to be joining Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes and others to celebrate and appreciate the goodness of the past week.

Well, school started and I hit the ground running and have not really come up for air for many weeks!  But there are lots of things to celebrate so I am happy to pause for a moment and reflect on the goodness!

1) My class – I celebrate my class and the time we spend together, however brief it is!  It is a bit of an adjustment having younger students (Gr. 2-3) but they are so lovely and enthusiastic!  We begin each “Marvelous Monday” with an APP – which stands for Attendance, Passing Rock and Precept.  The passing rock is a lovely way to build community and get to know each student. We pass around a small rock and share a thought on a topic.  The precept comes from the extraordinary book 365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.   I love quotes and I like to start our day with words of wisdom to ponder.  Last week the quote we recited and reflected on was:  “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

2) Teaching Partner –  I celebrate my wonderful new teaching partner – Katie (Ms. Pallen).  She is working so hard getting to know the school, staff and students and is really adding such a positive energy to the school.  She has a strong literacy background so I know our students will be surrounded with great books all year!  She also teaches our class yoga – what fun!

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3) Todd Parr Poster – I celebrate Todd Parr!   A few weeks ago, I entered a contest on Todd Parr’s website.  He was giving away 5 autographed Reading Posters – and I won one!  (a few hundred of his followers had entered the contest so I felt VERY lucky!) I was thrilled and can’t wait to share the news with my class.  We had made Todd Parr inspired art and I sent him a photo of some of the students’ work.  He wrote back and said my class was VERY talented!  I couldn’t agree more!

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Todd Parr inspired Art by my wonderful class!

4) Workshops – After many cancellations during the teacher’s strike, I celebrate the fact that my workshops are back in full swing.  I feel so fortunate that I am able to teach children for part of the week and then am able to share my experiences with other teachers.  I have enjoyed spending time in many schools and districts including a day of demo lessons at Peachland Elementary school (SD 23), an afternoon session on Literature  Circles, sharing lessons from Nonfiction Reading Power with three schools in Kelowna and the first of a series on Effective Writing Instruction and Assessment with an amazing group of teachers from SD 5 (Southeast Kootenay)

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Teachers from three schools in Kelowna learning and sharing ideas about Nonfiction Reading.

5) Friendships – I celebrate Donna and Lisa!  Just over a year ago, I met two amazing educators in Kelowna – Lisa Wilson and Donna Kozak.  We became fast friends and I love spending time with them when I visit their school district.  We always have great conversations about literacy, learning and life and best of all, we laugh a lot!

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Love my visits with Donna and Lisa!

6) Thanksgiving – I celebrate family.  The stars aligned for Thanksgiving weekend.  I was in Kelowna working, my in-laws are there and BOTH my boys had sports tournaments there! It was a little hectic racing from hockey rink to baseball field 4 times in one day but great we were all in one place at one time (a rare occurrence when both your children play different sports) and got to share Thanksgiving with extended family.

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Baseball in the fall sunshine!

7)  Sweden – My books have been translated into French and Chinese and this spring they will be released in Swedish! (can hardly believe it!)   Nothing is confirmed yet, but there is a possibility I might be attending a big teacher’s conference in Sweden in April that will coincide with the release of the books!  Stay tuned!

8)  Fall –  I celebrate Fall – my favorite time of year.  Fall is a feast for the senses.

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9) Sweet 16 – Saving the best for last – my greatest celebration is for my oldest son, who turns 16 today.  I am so very proud of the young man he is growing into and the abundance of joy he has brought us since 9:48 am on October 18, 1998.    Happy Birthday, Spencer!

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October 18, 1998

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October 18, 2014

Thanks for stopping by!  What are you celebrating this week?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Fall Favorites

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Happy Thanksgiving for all of you reading this who celebrated today.  Fall is by far my favorite season – the colors, the changes in nature, the celebrations. I love to stock up on Fall books for the classroom and have collected many favorites over the years. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Fall Leaves – Loretta Holland

Wow – this new book is beautiful and innovative!  The artwork is stunning – bright, vibrant yet almost hypnotic.  The book is part poem, part play on words and part scientific facts.  The text can be read on two levels: each page has two large words, like “Flowers leave” “Birds Leave,” “Leaves Twist,” and “Fall Leaves.” , so the book can be shared with younger children like a poem. Then a few sentences that give more scientific explanations for older students.  This book would be great for inviting questions – questions about words, happenings, meanings.  A must have for your fall collection!

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Winter is Coming – Tony Johnston

Another newly released title, this book is among my favorite new fall books.  The illustrations are stunning and I love the quietness of this book.  The girl in this book is an observer and I love how she sits quietly and observes the changes around her one fall day, recording what she sees in her notebook.  Lots of references to the changes in the season and to animals preparing for winter.   A perfect book to inspire your students to go outside, sit quietly, and record what they see around them.

Awesome Autumn

Awesome Autumn – Bruce Goldstone

This amazing book came out last year and I’m excited to be able to share it again. It is a colorful celebration of the season, focusing on all aspects of the season – clothing, food, different types of leaves, celebration and a great section on the senses – sights, sounds, smells and feelings of fall. The photographs are bright and colorful and includes fun facts and activities.  Lots of great classroom connections with this book!

In November

In November – Cynthia Rylant

This has long been one of my favorite books to share with students in fall by one of my all time favorite authors.  A perfect anchor book for visualizing and for modeling creating images through the senses.   Cynthia Rylant describes the changes in nature and the connection to family and beautifully captures the beauty and the blessings of fall.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves – Julia Rawlinson

While many of the books on my list focus more on the observations and descriptions of fall,  this book actually tells an adorable story!  Fletcher is worried when all the leaves begin to fall off the tree and does everything he can to help, promising the tree he will somehow get them back on.  But when every last leaf falls off, Fletcher is discouraged.  Love the surprise wintery ending and the joy it brings Fletcher!

The Little Yellow Leaf

The Little Yellow Leaf – Carin Berger

A visually beautiful with a touching story.   Although he is watching other leaves swirl down from the tree, Little Yellow Leaf is not ready to fall.  He is alone and scared until he sees another “clinger”.  This is a story of friendship, of facing your fears and taking risks.  A quiet and thoughtful fall book – and the collage art is amazing. 

Fall Mixed Up

Fall Mixed Up – Bob Raczka

This fun, interactive and highly engaging books makes for an entertaining read-aloud!  Page by page, we explore the scenes, events, colors and changes of fall.  But what makes this book different is the mistakes that are “hidden” throughout the book!  Kids laugh out loud when “squirrels fly south for winter” and “Geese hibernate”!  Clever and fun!

Autumn is Here!

Autumn is Here!  – Heidi Pross Gray

This book makes you want to curl up by the fire and cozy up with a blanket!  Beautiful full color watercolor illustrations and whimsical text – this book is perfect for exploring the changes in nature and family life as autumn approaches.  Lovely repeating text and soft rhythms – this is a great writing anchor for K-2.   I love that this is one of four season books by the same author!

Wild Child

Wild Child – Lynn Plourde

This is one of my favorite fall read-alouds.  In the rhyming text,  Mother Earth trying  is trying to put her wild child, “Autumn” to bed.  The child keeps giving excuses not to go to bed – wanting something to eat, a song, pj’s.   Younger children will make connections to “bed time excuses” but I love using it to for older students as an example of  personification and alliteration.  Stunning illustrations and beautiful prose.  The book ends just as Autumn is falling asleep and Winter appears.  Lynne Plourde has written 3 other companion season books that follow the children of the seasons.

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Autumnblings – by Douglas Florian

No fall collection would be complete without a poetry book by the great Douglas Florian!  His poems are playful and funny and I love his painting illustrations.  I also like to use his books as anchors to introduce students to different types of poems and techniques; from alliteration and personification to acrositic and concrete poems – I will always find an example in his poems. He has a poetry collection for every season and this particular book is one of my favorites – I love to start the morning with a poem!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a new fall book to add to your collection!  What are your fall favorites?

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Favorite Grade 3 Read-Alouds!

 IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Reading aloud to my class is the favorite part of my day… I love the quiet anticipation before I start reading and the collective “No!  Don’t stop now!  Just one more page!”  when I close the book.  I have been asked recently by several teacher friends for recommendations for class-read alouds.  So I have been searching through my novel tubs and have decided to post a list of a few recommended read-alouds for different grades.  I welcome readers to also share their favorites!

And so I will begin my favorite read-alouds for grade 3’s… I have tried to include a mix of old and new, poignant and fun, appealing to both boys and girls!

My Father's Dragon (My Father's Dragon, #1)

My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett

This book was published way back in 1943 but is still one of my favorites!  It tells the adventure of a run-away boy and his attempt to rescue a baby dragon who is being taken advantage of by the animals on Wild Island.  Clever and fun – and a great book for practicing predicting.

Toys Go Out (Toys #1)

Toys Go Out – Emily Jenkins

This simple, sweet story, reminiscent of “Toy Story”, takes us behind the scenes to the adventures of 3 toys that live in a little girl’s room. Great for introducing character traits as each toy has its own distinct personality. 

The Magic Finger

The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl

No read-aloud list would be complete without a Roald Dahl book!  His books beg to be read aloud!   There are so many I could include (Fantastic Mr. Fox is another I love) but I enjoy reading The Magic Finger.   It is short and funny and perfect for this age group.  It tells the story of a little girl who has a magic finger. Whenever she gets angry – she points her fingertip and takes revenge!  The story centers around her neighbours, who are duck hunters. Hunting makes this little girl very angry – so she uses her magic finger and turns the family into… you guessed it – Ducks!  It’s short and simple and fun – but a serious message that is worthy of discussion.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat – Jonathon Bean

This book is quirky and fun!  Great plot, entertaining characters and unpredictable ending!  Your students will LOVE this book!

The Year of Billy Miller

The Year of Billy Miller – Kevin Henkes

Fast-paced and funny – your students will make lots of connections to family, friendship and school!  Great black and white art.  Heartwarming – I actually teared up at the end!  Love Billy Miller!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo

This is such a beautiful story and Kate DiCamillo’s writing is exquisite (Triple scoop words on every page!)  Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who is passed from owner to owner, enduring both love and tradgedy along the way.  This book is about opening your heart to being loved and it will stay with you for a long time. 

The World According to Humphrey (According to Humphrey, #1)

The World According to Humphrey – Betty G. Birney

This book is told from the perspective of Humphrey, the hamster, class pet in Room 26.   He reports on the daily comings and goings in the classroom as well as his weekend sleepover’s at various student’s houses. Cute, fun book – kids will want to read the Humphrey series after this!

Harry the Poisonous Centipede: A Story to Make You Squirm. Lynne Reid Banks

Harry and the Poisonous Centipede – Lynne Reid Banks

The story of Harry, the curious, adventure seeking centipede, who disobeys his mother’s orders and attempts to crawl up the drain pipe with his friend to the forbidden world of the “h00-mins”.  Fun, fast paced, and high on the “gross scale”!  Interesting facts about centipedes woven into the story make for an interesting link to science.

The Hundred Dresses – Eleanor Estes

This is a tender, heartbreaking story about Wanda, who wears the same faded dress to school every day but claims to have a hundred dresses at home.  Because of this, she is ridiculed and teased by children at school.  This book was published in 1944 – long before the word “bullying” was a common term – but the story is timeless and deals with the issue beautifully.

There you have some of my favorites – what about you?  What are your favorite read-alouds for gr. 3’s?

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