Tag Archives: Jeff Mack

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #9: “Happy Right Now!” 

Hello everyone!  Sorry for my late post (I usually post my weekly OLLI on Monday)  Hope you all had a restful weekend and enjoyed some time with people in “your bubble”.   Report cards finished?  Well done!

Thank you for the positive responses to my weekly OLLI  posts “Online Learning Lesson Ideas“.  I’m happy that you are finding them helpful for your distance and in person lessons.

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books:

OLLI#1 (The Hike)

OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)

OLLIE#3  (Mother’s Day)

OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)

OLLI #5(WANTED:  Criminals of the Animal Kingdom) 

OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)

OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)  

OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day) 

THE INSPIRATION:

Last week, I came across a lovely quote on Instagram (forgive me, I did not record the source so unable to credit).  It read:  “I used to think that when it rains, it pours.  But now I think – when it rains, it grows.”   What a lovely way of shifting our perspective from the negative to the positive.  I often refer to this purposeful action as “practicing happy”.  While we could spend many hours discussing the negative things that might be “pouring” on us at the moment, instead, we could be “practicing happy”  by choosing to focus on the new “grows” in our lives.

Let’s face it.  It’s been a challenge “practicing happy” during these past few months.  Many of us can connect with that feeling of doom and gloom, negative energy, the dark cloud hanging over our heads… the “If only…s”.   With Covid, the recent protests, the stress of school, family, finances, and so many unknowns – it’s all been a bit much!  Being happy is hard work some days!  But it’s so important that we each try to “practice happy” even for a few minutes each day and encourage our students to do the same – helping them understand that being happy is a choice we all need to make for ourselves.  Instead of wishing for what you don’t have (or don’t have yet), we should make the most of what we do have.

THE ANCHOR:

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Happy Right NowJulie Berry

What can you do when things sometimes don’t go the way you want them to? You have a choice, you can either let it get you down, or choose to be happy in the moment. This inspirational tale gives the reader some insight on making their world as best as it can be and embracing the circumstances we find ourselves in each day.  What I like about this book is, while its main message is the importance of focusing on happy, the author also explores the notion that its okay to feel sad sometimes too.  This book is a perfect choice for exploring emotions and how we deal with them, as well as choosing happiness, even on bad days!

THE LESSON:  

Before reading the story, I like to introduce the concept of “practicing happy” by first exploring the question – “Is this glass half empty or half full?”  If possible, bring in a glass half filled with water to start the discussion.  (If you are doing distance learning, you can do show the glass half full/empty when you are zooming with them.)  Ask the students how they would answer that question.

Explain that some people may look at the glass as being half empty – and wish they had a full glass (negative mindset); others see the glass as being half full – and are grateful for the water they have (positive mindset)

Explain that how someone views the glass, the perspective they take, determines how they feel.   Being happy about a half glass of water is a choice.  Wishing you had more is also a choice.  But which feeling do you want to carry inside you?  If you always look for what you don’t have, then that negative feeling fills you up.  If you choose to “practice happy”, you will feel more positive inside.

Read the story Happy Right Now – or show the story on YouTube.   Invite the students to think about the glass question while they are reading/listening to the story.

After sharing the story with students, discuss the fact that the girl in the story was “practicing happy” , making a choice to be happy for things she had, rather than wishing things were different. She was working on being “happy about right now”!  Explain that this can be helpful when we are feeling like things aren’t working out for us or we are feeling like life just isn’t fair!   “Practicing happy” means not wishing your life away but making a choice to appreciate what we have “right now”.

Choose a few of these and invite students to “practice happy” with these scenarios.

  • I’ll be happy when the coach picks me to be in the starting line up!  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when it stops raining!         But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when my ice cream cone stops melting!    But I am happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I can see all my school friends together!   But I am happy right now because….
  • I’ll be happy when I win the World Mine Craft Championship.  But I am happy right now because… 
  • I’ll be happy when my baby brother stops following me all around.  But I’m happy right now because…
  • I’ll be happy when I’m allowed to walk to school by myself.  But I am happy right now because..

Invite the students to make up some of their own:

I’ll be happy when….. But I’m happy right now because…

ACTIVITIES:

If you are working in your class, create a “Happy Right Now” collaborative poster in the Ask students: “What makes you happy right now?” Model your own (ie – being your teacher, my morning coffee, the smell of my shampoo this morning) Invite them to add and record their own ideas onto the wall poster.  Encourage them to focus on specific small, personal things that make them happy.  This would be different from, for example, Earth Day or Thanksgiving when you might be saying “I’m thankful for the sun.  I’m thankful for the forest”.  Students working from home can contribute by telling you during a zoom conference or emailing it to you.

Read any of the additional anchor books to continue exploring this theme of “practicing happy”.   Invite the students to complete the “Happy Right Now” template.  (see below)

Happy Right Now – Primary 1

Happy Right Now – Primary 2

Happy Right Now – Intermediate

ADDITIONAL ANCHOR BOOKS:  Below are other books about happiness, mindfulness, appreciating what we have, and choosing to “practice happy”!

There, There – Tim Beiser

 

Rain Brings Frogs – A Little Book of Hope – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

 

Saturday – Oge Mora

 

The Three Questions – Jon Muth

 

Hap-pea All Year – Keith Baker

 

Layla’s Happiness – Maria Hadessa

 

Here and Now – Julia Denos

 

I Think, I Am – Louise L. Hay

 

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy – Scott Menchin

 

The Wrong Side of the Bed – Lisa M. Bakos

 

Good News, Bad News by [Jeff Mack]

Good News Bad News – Jeff Mack

 

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I’m wishing you all many happy moments and many opportunities to “practice happy”.  See you next week!

For more lessons on emotions, hopes and dreams, and mindfulness, see my book Powerful Understanding.

 

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Filed under Connect, Growth Mindset, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book

10 For 10 – 2015 Favorite New Picture Books for Reading Power

I am excited to be participating in my 3rd  Picture Book 10 for 10 event!  This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning

Choosing only 10 picture books is a huge challenge for me as there are SO many amazing new ones to chose from.  Keeping with my tradition,  I will focus on new picture books that can be used for Reading Power 2 books for each of the 5 Reading Power strategies:  Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer and Transform.  (You can check out my 10 for 10 2013 post here and my 2014 post here.)

Below are my favorite 10 picture books from 2015 that could be added to your reading power collections.

CONNECT

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  My Family Tree and Me -Dusan Petricic

A celebration of both sides of a family through 4 generations, this book is a beautiful and simple introduction to the concept of ancestry and family trees.  A boy tells the family story of his father’s side starting from the front of the book, and his mother’s side starting from the back of the book. The illustrations are wonderful and I love the diversity shown in this inter-racial family (European father and Asian mother).  This would be an excellent book for children to make connections to their own family history.

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See You Next Year – Andrew Larsen

This beautifully written book is an invites readers to connect to the comfort and familiarity of summer holidays and traditions.  I felt very nostalgic reading this and thinking of returning to familiar places each summer.  Timeless, dreamy, lovely.  Gorgeous illustrations.                                      

QUESTION

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Sonia’s Chickens by Pheoebe Wahl

Sonya takes her job looking after 3 baby chicks on a farm very seriously.  But when a fox kills one of them to feed her own babies, Sonya is devastated.  This book invites many questions – from life on a farm and raising chickens to interconnectedness of nature, the food chain and the circle of life. Gorgeous, rich Van-Gogh like illustrations add to this beautiful story.

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In a Village By the Sea  by Muon Van

This engaging circular story is set in a small Vietnamese fishing village includes themes of family, community, diversity, rural life and nature.   The illustrations are spectacular and I love the way the story is full of surprises, leaving the reader wondering and guessing what is happening.

VISUALIZE

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Beach House – Deanna Caswell

Visualize the joys of the beach and the essence of summer: building sand castles, jumping the waves, and watching the stars come out. Gorgeous illustrations – but don’t show them until AFTER your students listen to the words and visualize!

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The Moon is Going to Addy’s House – Ida Pearle

What a beautiful book! Incredible imagery, with so much attention to detail. Magical story of a young girl driving home as the moon appears to follow her home.  The collage illustrations are exquisite and the words dance across the page.  LOVE this book!

INFER

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Look! – Jeff Mack

I love using books with very little text to help younger students learn to infer.  It was a toss up this year between this book and Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum but the adorable gorilla in this book won me over!  This is the story of a  little boy glued to the TV and a determined gorilla who is trying to get his attention.  Using only two words, (Look! and Out!) Jeff Mack tells an adorable tale of friendship.  Perfect for inferring with younger students.

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The Queen’s Shadow – A Story About How Animals See – Cybele Young

This book weaves a crime story with information in a unique, clever way.  The Queen invites her animal friends for a banquet.  During dinner, a crime occurs – the queen’s shadow is stolen.  The royal detective interviews each character and then a small insert explains the real, scientific fact about the animal’s eyesight that inspired its character’s role in the story.  Readers need to use the clues to infer who may have committed the crime.  Brilliant!

TRANSFORM

Some Things I’ve Lost – Cybele Young

The brilliant Cybele Young has managed to make my list twice this year.  In this amazing book, she literally transforms everyday household objects that have been misplaced into magical, mysterious underwater creatures.  Clever, imaginative and slightly haunting.  And the next time you lose your reading glasses or your keys….

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Last Stop on Market Street –  Matt De La Pena

This book will transform your thinking about compassion, diversity, poverty, gratitude, small moments, paying attention, gratitude, inter-generational relationships, family…. it is a true treasure of a book that will uplift your spirits and warm your heart.

 RUNNERS UP

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Yard Sale – Eve Bunting

This beautiful, tender story about a family downsizing and having a yard sale before they move is one of my favorites of the year.  Many will make connections to having or attending a yard sale, but the heart of this story will transform your thinking about “home”:  it’s not the stuff you have inside but the people you love there that make a home.

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Pool – JiHyeon Lee

This beautiful wordless picture book perfect for inferring,  takes us on an imaginative journey of two shy children meeting for the first time under the water of an over-crowded swimming pool.  Imaginative, surprising, delightful.

Well there you have it – my top 10 picture books for Reading Power (plus 2!) for 2015.  I hope you found some new titles that you can use in your classroom!  What are your top picks of the year so far?

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Filed under 2015 releases, New Books, Picture Book, Picture Book 10 for 10, Reading Power

Top Ten Tuesday! My Top 10 Books about Books!

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I’m excited to join the Top Ten Tuesday posts, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish and inspired by my bookish-teacher-blogger friend, Carrie Gelson – There’s A Book for That.

For my first “top 10′ list, I thought it would be fitting to share my favorite 10 books about… you guessed it – BOOKS!

1. Book George Ella Lyon

An illustrated poem about how books lift you, comfort you, excite you…A great example of how writer and reader come together as the book opens.  Gorgeous illustrations – book love shines through on every page (just look at the girl’s face on the cover as she hugs a book).  “May it hold you.  May it set you free.”

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2. Book – David Miles

Newly released, this book takes readers on a whimsical journey away from screens, gadgets and passwords into a world of knowledge, adventure and imagination – into the power of book. Gorgeous.

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3. Look! – Jeff Mack

Delightful story of a little boy glued to a TV set and the charming gorilla trying to get his attention.  Subtle message told in very few words:  Turn off the TV and read a book!

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4. I am the BookLee Bennett Hopkins

Thirteen poets use thirteen different poems to pay tribute to books and reading.  Great illustrations!

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5. The Lonely Book – Kate Bernheimer

The different and special relationships readers have with books is explored.  Lovely.

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6. What Are You Doing?  – Elisa Amando

A boy notices different people reading – but all for different reasons:  sister is reading a comic; grandpa is reading an instruction manual for fixing the car; tourists consulting a guide book.   A great book to introduce different genres and different purposes for reading.

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7. Miss Brooks Loves Books – and I Don’t!  – Barbara Bottner

A librarian is determined to find young Missy the perfect book.  It takes a while but when she finally does – book joy unfolds.

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8. Beatrice Doesn’t Want To – Laura Numeroff

Beatrice doesn’t like to read, until the Librarian finds a book she CONNECTS to!  A perfect book to illustrate the concept making connections!

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9. It’s A Book! – Lane Smith

Hilarious, witty, clever!  No bells, whistles, passwords or chargers required.  Just open and start reading!  For anyone who hasn’t seen the book trailer – it’s almost as funny as the book!

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10 Dog Loves Books – Louise Yates

Adorable story of a book loving dog who opens up his own book store.  I love how he recommends the perfect book to each customer.  Charming.

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11.  (I clearly can’t count to 10!)  We Are In A Book!  – Mo Willams

Hilarious!  This book was my first introduction to Elephant and Piggie and I have read every book since.  Delightful way to teach concept of print, speech bubbles and encourages readers to re-read the story.  This is possibly my favorite read-aloud book EVER!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which books about books would be on your list?

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Filed under Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Look What’s New for Spring!

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.

It’s been a busy few weeks and I have not had a chance to do a post in a while!  I have, however, been discovering a lot of wonderful new picture books that I am excited to share this week!

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Swimming, Swimming – Gary Clement

“Swimming, swimming, in a swimming pool.  When days are hot, when days are cold, in a swimming pool”.  I love this almost wordless picture book by National Post’s political cartoonist Gary Clement as he shares his childhood memories of summer days swimming in the neighborhood pool with his friends. Delightful illustrations and a perfect book for making connections and inferring.

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I Don’t Like Koala – Sean Ferrell

What do you do when your stuffed animal creeps you out and won’t stop staring at you?  Adam does not like his cute, cuddly Koala.  No matter how many times he tries to get rid of it, Koala just keeps showing up!  A little scary, a little funny – and a great book about facing your fears.  Illustrations are hilarious – a little Tim Burton-ish!

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Look! – Jeff Mack

This clever book uses only two words but tells a great story – the perfect combination for practicing inferring!   A gorilla tries desperately to get the attention of a little boy,  who is transfixed by his TV, because he wants the boy to read to him.  Whoops!  Clumsy gorilla has broken the TV!  Now what will the little boy do?  Great messages in this one! 

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You Nest Here With Me – Jane Yolen

This book has soothing and rhythmic rhymes and the repeating phrase “You nest here with me”. A sweet introduction to different birds and different nests to young children. Gorgeous mixed media collage style of Melissa Sweet (The Right Word) add to the loveliness.  There are so many recent books about birds and nests that I think I shall do a special post just about birds soon!

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The Skunk – Mac Barnett

A skunk starts following a man around the city, resulting in a bizarre chase!  This book is a little weird, a little random but great fun to read.  The best part is that you have no idea what is going on until the end of the story!  Great for predicting and inferring!  Love Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations!

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Yard Sale – Eve Bunting

I loved this book before I even read it. Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo?  Together?  In one book?  Then I read it and I loved it around the block and back again.  I think this just might be my favorite book of the year so far.  Beautiful, tender, heart-breaking, up-lifting story about a family who is down-sizing to a smaller apartment, due to economic circumstances.   The little girl is sad to see so many of their possessions for sale, but learns that what matters most is having each other.  This is a definite Kleenex book.  Love.

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Red – Jan De Kinder

An innocent playground incident grows into a full-blown bullying incident.  This book focuses on the pain of the victim and the victim’s friend who does nothing to help.  In the end, we see and feel the courage of a girl who makes a difficult choice and stands up to put a stop to it.  Beautiful black, white and red illustrations.  This book would be a good one for classroom discussion.

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Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry – Vern Kousky

If you are looking for a book to launch your poetry unit – here it is!  This adorable book that introduces poetry to younger students includes great lines from Dickinson, Eliot, Keats, and Rossetti.  I especially like the message it portrays that sharing poetry can be a joyful experience.  “Otto now knows that poetry should be shared with more than just the moon and the stars. Poetry should be shared with everyone.”

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Enormous Smallness – A Story of E. E. Cummings – Matthew Burgess

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book so much.  I know I say that a lot but ever since I memorized “Maggie and Millie and Mollie and May” in grade 6, I have loved e.e. cummings’ poetry.  This is a gorgeous, illustrated biography of E. E. Cummings. (I loved the different type-set shown  as well!)  Interesting, engaging story of his life, woven together with some of his most wonderful poems. A quiet, sensitive introduction to his life and his poetry.  This book is simple, yet very engaging and I felt his spirit when I read it. 

So those are the treasures I discovered this week!  Would love to hear which ones caught your eye!  Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under It's Monday, making connections, New Books, Poetry