Tag Archives: Kate Messner

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Picture Books to Inspire Winter Art!

Happy New Year!  We are heading back to school SO early this year… and I believe it is going to be a long, cold, and snowy month ahead!  If you are looking for some creative ways to integrate some great winter picture books into your Art lessons, you may find some inspiration in this week’s Top 10 list!

1.Once Upon a Northern Night – Jean E. Pendziwol

Lovely, lyrical lullaby celebrating the magic and wonder of an icy winter night.  This book can inspire some lovely winter tree art.  I love this idea from First Palettte to use a marble and paint  inside an empty coffee cup to create the “snowy” effect!

Snowy Day Collage craft

2.  Cold Snap – Eileen Spinelli

A charming neighborly tale about a small town determined to beat the deep freeze. Great book for your unit on community and for making CONNECTIONS!  (Vancouver is in a deep freeze this winter!)

Add icicles to a simple cut-out house or tree art by applying white paint and letting it drip down.  Or use glue and glitter to create the icicles.  (Thicker paper or card stock works best.)  I found this lesson on a blog called Reading Confetti.

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3.   The Mitten Tree – Candace Christiansen

Touching message and beautiful, wintery illustrations.  This is the story of one woman’s generous heart, giving back, and random acts of kindness.  Perfect for sharing with your students.  The purples and blue palette can inspire your students to create their own patterned mittens.

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4. A Perfect Day – Carin Berger

One of my favorite winter picture books with gorgeous mixed media collage illustrations is the perfect inspiration for some snow-angel art!  Based on the book, students paint a snowy background, and create paper snow angels.  Read more about this lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

snow-angels

5.  Snowmen At Night – Caralyn Buehner

This book is a huge favorite with so many students!  The frolicking rhyming text and vibrant illustrations are delightful to read over and over.  I love following the different snowmen through their adventures – such personalities!   Inspired by this book, have your students create an “arts and crafts” collage by first making a tissue paper background and then adding a mixed media snowman.  This is another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. 

Alternatively, here is a different lesson, based on the same book.

Image result for snowmen at night art projects
6.  Snowflakes Fall – Patricia Maclachlan

This book is a tribute to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and childhood home of illustrator Steven Kellog . The  falling snowflakes described in the poem celebrate life’s uniqueness, beauty, joy, fragility, sorrow and renewal. Handprint Snowflakes can be found at : healthymamainfo.com

7. Over and Under the Snow– Kate Messner

This delightful book takes you down into the “secret world” of animals who live under the snow.   I love the link to science and the way this book introduces readers to different habitats and behaviors of winter animals, both common and uncommon.

This book can really lend itself to a “layered” art project – sky, above the ground, and under the ground.  Another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

Winter Habitat art projects by third graders

8. Old Bear – Kevin Henkes

Old bear is dreaming and reflecting on the cycle of his life and the cycle of the seasons, his home in the forest and the beauty of his world.  This is a wonderful book for early primary students learning about the seasons.  I love the illustrations in this book and they will certainly inspire some lovely “old bear” art!

On black construction paper, students make leaf prints to create their background. The “Old Bear” is painted on white painting paper, then textured and outlined with black paint.  To make the bear “pop” off the page, have students leave a small edge of white around the bear when cutting it out.  Once the bear is glued on, the white outline on the black background creates a snowy 3D effect.

Image result for old bear kevoin henkes art

9.  No Two Alike – Keith Baker

Another one of my favorite wintery books!  Two little red birds discover “no two snowflakes are alike” as they explore a snowy landscape together.    Sparse, rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. This is a gentle, quiet book.

When I was younger, I loved borrowing “how to draw” books and learning the steps to draw animals.  While some think this type of art is too restrictive and confining, there is something quite satisfying about learning how to draw something accurately!  You can find a great step-by-step lesson on drawing cardinals at artprojectsforkids.org

draw a cardinal

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This layered art project begins with painting a background of sky and ground.  Birch trunks are glued on top of the dried background. HINT:  Space the trunks unevenly across the page and have some of them “leaning” in different directions.  Cardinal birds are painted on a separate paper and cut out when they are glued.  Last step is “fingerprint” snow flakes.

10.  Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

The sensations of walking in the moonlight on a cold, crisp winter night is captured beautifully in this classic story of a girl and her father who are searching for an owl in the woods on winter’s night.

 Light, shadows, contrast, perspective and lines are some of the artistic techniques that are highlighted in the gorgeous illustrations. I particularly love the way John Schoenherr plays with shadows on the snow in his illustrations.  I found this Torn Winter Tree art project on artprojectsforkids.com that would be a great lesson for grade 3 and up.

And this lesson from the same site called “Sharpie Winter Landscape“, using sharpie pens, also produces a dramatic winter moon effective.

Sharpie Winter Landscape

 Thanks for stopping by!  Hope that you found a lesson or two to try!

What is your favorite picture book inspired art lesson?

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Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Favorite Middle Grade Novels (Gr. 5-8) of 2016 (So Far!)

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It’s Tuesday, so I’m posting my own version of the Top 10 list!  I’ve been getting several requests from teacher friends for recommendations for middle grade read-alouds so I have put together a list of my top ten favorites from 2016.  There are so many extraordinary books to chose from and always difficult to narrow it down to just 10 (I ended up with 12!) Please note that even though I have included it on a list of my favorites, before reading aloud to your class, please read it through yourself to ensure it is a good fit for you and your class.

OK… grab a Kleenex box and here we go….

1. Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo

From one of my favorite writers comes a simple, strong and whimsical story of three friends during the summer of 1975.  A tale of friendship, perseverance, poverty, loss and growing up. I loved the characters, all of them – Love Raymie. Love Beverly. Love Louisiana. LOVE Louisiana’s Grannie.   While this is not my favorite KD book, it is high on my list of favorites of 2016.

2. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain – John B0yne

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes another story depicting the horrors of WWII.  After his father, a drunken German soldier, is killed by a train and his French mother dies of consumption, seven-yr. old orphan Pierrot is eventually taken in by his aunt, a housekeeper in large mountain retreat in Austria. While younger readers may not realize without some prompting, adult readers quickly infer that the home is that of Adolph Hitler.  I read this book in one sitting – could not put it down.  I would suggest pre-reading it to ensure appropriate content for your class, as there are some violent and tense scenes.  For older students, it would stimulate discussions around innocence corrupted, the attractions of power, and the resilience of youth.

3. Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Oh, this book.  This book.  A boy, a fox, a war – tender, so beautiful, so emotional.  So many ideas and themes are wrapped around the words: friendship, love, trust, betrayal, loyalty, war, peace.  Please read and share this book.

4. The Seventh Wish – Kate Messner

I highly recommend this book as a read-aloud in a grade upper elementary class.  A modern day fairy tale about a young Irish dancer who, trying to make some money to buy herself a new dance dress, catches a magic fish that grants wishes if she’ll let it go.   Sounds a little simple – but this book is so much more.  At times you will laugh, at times your heart will be breaking.   This book looks at family dynamics, addiction, middle school, and Irish dancing with insight and tenderness.   I follow Kate Messner on social media and know that she received some backlash from some schools about her including the subject of heroin addiction.  While I understand some may not be comfortable with this subject matter, I admire the way she presents this real-life problem gently and honestly.

5. The Wild Robot – Peter Brown

What would happen if a robot happened to arrive on an island that is humming with wildlife?  How would it survive?  And so begins this unique, unexpected and delightful survival story that somehow manages to hit many ‘hot topics’ including: disability, climate change, civilization, violence in nature, gun violence, balance in nature. While this sounds heavy handed – it’s not!  Peter Brown has created a very readable, authentic story with a unique voice given to all the creatures on the island.  This book is powerful and gentle and would make a great read-aloud in a grade 4-5 class.

6. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day – John David Anderson

The story of a brilliant teacher who sees the good in every single student, especially the little things that others don’t see. When her career gets cut short because of a cancer diagnosis, three boys decide to give her a good-bye party to remember.  I love the different voices in this book, as we discover through each boy, just why Ms. Bixby is so special to them.  Yes, you will cry – but you will also laugh along with your students.   I love this book.

7. Maybe a Fox – Kathi Appelt

Wow.  This story of grief and loss is haunting and magical; sad and heart-wrenching.  It is the story of two sisters, Jules and Sylvie, who are being raised by their father after their mother dies.  I loved the exquisite writing; I loved characters; I loved the fox; I loved the way the human world and the animal/nature world intersect; I loved the way death and grief (one of the sisters dies early in the book) are treated with dignity, grace and love. I cried and so will you.

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8. Hour of Bees – Lindsay Eager

I feel like a broken record but this book is extraordinary and lingers with you long after you finish it.  It has a wonderful setting (N ew Mexico desert), a fantastic group of characters, and completely enchanting magical elements. Oh, and did I mention beautiful writing? Instead of spending the summer before junior high with her friends in Albuquerque, Carolina is stuck in the New Mexico desert, with her mom, dad, little brother, half-sister Alta, and Grandpa Serge who she’s meeting for the very first time. Serge is suffering from dementia, and the family has come to help sell his house and move him to a seniors facility.  Caroline is drawn into Grandpa through his magical stories of the desert and soon the line between reality and magic becomes blurred.  Original, thought-provoking and beautifully written.

9. When Friendship Followed Me Home – Paul Griffin

Here is another book that takes you on an emotional roller coaster – one minute I was laughing, the next I was tearing up.  WOW.  Ben is a twelve year old, former foster child who has finally found a loving home and mother. Ben rescues a scruffy dog he names Flip and befriends a librarian’s daughter named Halley. When everything in Ben’s life suddenly changes, he discovers the true meaning of family and friendship.   I loved the characters in this book and the writing and dialogue is beautiful and authentic.  It’s a tear jerker and tackles some difficult issues, including foster care, physical abuse, cancer, and grief.  Recommended for mature grade 6 and up.

10. Save Me A Seat – Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

This book is a realistic story set in a school and told in two different voices, making it a great choice for a read-aloud.  Joe and Ravi are struggling at school for completely different reasons: Ravi is a recent immigrant trying to fit in and Joe has some learning difficulties and is often bullied.  Over the course of a week, Ravi and Joe find common ground and a bond in their differences. Great book for making connections.  I loved the authentic voice and diversity of each character.  The added bonus was learning a bit more about their cultures from the descriptions of food – from school lunches to meals at home.   There are even recipes included at the end!

                                              AND BECAUSE I HAD TROUBLE COUNTING TO TEN…

11. The Land of Forgotten Girls – Erin Entrada Kelly

The school where I teach is attended by many Filipino families, so I was excited to read this book about two Filipino sisters. It is another heart-breaker but also a celebration of stories and sisters. Sol and her younger sister Ming live in poverty in Louisiana with their abusive stepmother after their father returns to the Philippines. Sol tells fairy tales which interweave with the plot and help give the sisters strength. A moving book for middle grade readers that highlights themes of sisterhood, friendship, survival and imagination.  As a mother, I found it difficult to read in parts, but the book is ultimately hopeful with strong female characters.

12. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary – Laura Shovan

Wow – this book, written in verse, is extraordinary, creative and unique.   You really need to read it to appreciate how amazing it is.  From start to finish, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary is completely delightful in every way. Through the voices of 18 very real and very lovable fifth graders, we experience their individual stories as well as the collective story of their class during a very momentous year in the history of their school – their school is being torn down.  So many authentic, diverse voices of family, culture, friendship and personality.  A perfect book for making connections and a must read-aloud book!

 There are SO MANY amazing new novels to read and share with your class this year!

Thanks for stopping by.  Would love to know which book has caught your eye!

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Filed under 2016 releases, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Read-Aloud

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Picture Books to Celebrate Spring!

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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

Well it’s spring break and time so I have had some extra time to READ!   I love the start of a new season and spring books are a chance to celebrate the sights, sounds and smells of outdoors, colors, flowers, gardens, bugs and animals. These books are wonderful anchors for lessons to inspire writing, art, science activities and wonder walks!  Below is a list (yes, it’s quite long!) of fiction and nonfiction books celebrating spring, including  many wonderful new titles and some of my old favorites!   I have listed the books from most recent (2016) to oldest (1949!!!)   While some may be out of print, check your local or school library for the older titles.

When Spring Comes – Kevin Henkes (2016)

Kevin Henkes brand new book is a sweet, gentle ode to spring that focuses on both nature and a child’s activities.  The writing is filled with amazing images to help the reader feel, smell see and hear spring, making it a perfect book for visualizing.  I also appreciate gentle repetition and alliteration makes it a great anchor book for writing techniques.  Gorgeous illustrations!  Love this one!

Abracadabra, It’s Spring! – Anne Sibley O’Brien (2016)

Another 2016 release, this book includes many examples of the signs of spring hidden under large flaps perfect for story time with younger primary students.  Vibrant, colorful illustrations!

Hop – Jorey Hurley (2016)

A follow-up to the beautiful book Nest, this book follows a similar pattern of using only one verb per double page spread tells the story of the day in the life of a rabbit family.  Soft Spring-colored illustrations help to tell the story.

Puddle – Hyewon Yum (2016)

This wonderful book will inspire your next Art lesson!  A young boy is frustrated because the rainy day is preventing him from going out and having fun.  That is, until his mom encourages him to draw a picture of himself jumping in a big puddle.  Eventually, they venture out to experience the puddle jumping together.  Imaginative, simple and fun!

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Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK! It’s Spring! – Marion Dane Bauer  (2015)

This book came out last year, but I only just discovered it!  This book explores the SIGHTS and SOUNDS of Spring as a boy, a  bear, and other woodland animals take a night time walk to investigate strange noises and observe the arrival of spring.   I enjoyed the repeating phrases and liked how it mentions the not-so-nice parts of spring  (mud, slush, etc) as well as the beautiful part of spring –  animals waking up, birds hatching and flowers blooming.

Flowers Are Calling – Rita Gray  (2015)

An introduction to flowers, animals, and the ways flowers attract pollinators.   Stunning illustrations and great information about nature’s interconnections. Interesting to read and gorgeous to look at.

Finding Spring – Carin Berger (2014)

 Multidimensional and magical!  This is a gentle story filled with information and visual clues exploring the change of seasons.  You will LOVE the warm, joyful art in this charming book!

 

Spring Is Here – Heidi Pross Grey (2013)

I Love how this wonderful book about the spring  ties family activities and nature together.  Gentle text, soft illustrations.  This is a book I use as an anchor for inspiring spring writing! 

And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fogliano (2012)

This book makes my heart smile.  Simple, sparse text, gorgeous, expressive illustrations.  A boy and his dog. tired of the brown of winter,  plant seeds and patiently wait for them to grow.   “Please do not stomp here. There are seeds and they are trying.”   This is one of my favorites.

Sorting Through Spring – Lizann Flatt (2013)

Nature comes to life to help children grasp “big ideas” in Math in this clever series.  In this book the concepts of patterning, sorting, and probability are explored.  This series of four books about Math concepts in seasons is perfect for the early primary students.  Other books include Counting On Fall, Sizing Up Winter, and Shaping Up Summer.

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Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms – Julie Rawlinson (2009)

Although not as charming for me as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, I still am fond of this dear little fox who is, once again, confused by seasonal changes. In this story, he thinks that falling tree blossoms are snow and tries to get the animals to go back to their wintertime activities.  Cute read-aloud and colorful illustrations.

A New Beginning:  Celebrating the Spring Equinox – Wendy Pfeffer (2008)

A reprint soft cover edition of the classic book which can be paired with The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice.   This informative nonfiction book is filled with information describing seasonal changes.  I like the section that highlights the many cultural celebrations and festivals that welcome and honour springtime.

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Who Likes Rain? – Wong Herbert Yee  (2007)

Rain is a big part of springtime in Vancouver so this is a perfect “connect” book for my students!  Rich with rhymes and repetition of sounds, this story is about a young girl exploring the sights and sounds of rain.  This is the first in a four book series about the seasons.  Delightful illustrations!

HandSPRINGS – Douglas Florian (2006)

Douglas Florian is my favorite children’s poet.  His clever wit, playful way with words, and whimsical illustrations make his poetry books favorite read-alouds in my class.   This is one in a series of four poetry books about the seasons.

Spring’s Sprung -Lynn Plourde (2002)

In this 4 book series, which also includes Wild Child (autumn), Summer’s Vacation, and Winter Waits, Lynn Plourde uses personification to tell the story of each season.  In this book. Mother Earth rouses her three daughters, March, April and May.  They are so busy arguing with each other that they forget their job is to make the world beautiful.  Gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhyming text!

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Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant  (1999)

I adore Cynthia Rylant and hold a special place in my heart for the Poppleton early reader series.   have such fond memories of reading them to my boys when they were young and have read them over the years to many primary classes.  This is a level three beginning reader that includes three delightful stories with simple-to-follow plot lines all about Poppleton the pig and his friends, Cherry Sue the Llama and Hudson, the mouse.  In this book there is a story about spring cleaning, buying a new bike and, my favorite – sleeping in the backyard in a tent and “paying attention” to Spring.   If you have not read any of the Poppleton books, you are MISSING OUT!

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The Happy Day – Ruth Krauss  (1949)

Woodland animals awake from their deep winter’s sleep to discover the first sign of spring’a flower blooming in the snow.  This timeless book was first published in 1949 and was a Caldecott honour book in 1950.  The illustrations in this book always makes me smile.

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book or books have caught your eye?

What is your favorite book to celebrate the coming of spring?

 

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Filed under 2016 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Seasons, Springtime

Top 10 Tuesday – Ten Favorite Snowy Titles

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Here in Vancouver, the winter season brings mostly rain.  So when the snow does fall, as it did this morning, there is great excitement at school.  These are the opportunities to “cash in” on the winter excitement by reading and writing about SNOW!

Here are my top 10 books (some old, some new) to inspire snow writing, snow art and lots of snow connections.

1. Snow – Sam Usher

Delightful addition to your winter collection with an added bonus of grandfather-grandson relationship, toys that come to life and an unexpected ending.

2. Perfect Snow – Barbara Reid

This is the BEST connection book about a snowfall in a school yard and two boys’ plan to build a snow fort at recess.  Amazing signature Plasticine artwork by Barbara Reid.

3. Snow – Cynthia Rylant

I use this book to inspire writing and as an anchor to teach similes and personification.   It is filled with gorgeous language, gorgeous illustrations and I love Cynthia Rylant.

4. Over and Under the Snow – Kate Messner

Amazing link to science and winter habitats, this book looks at life under and over the frozen ground.  Great inspiration for an art lesson too!

5. Stella, Queen of the Snow – Marie Louise Gay

Oh, how I love Stella books!  Sam asks questions about the snow; Stella gives delightful answers.

6. The Snow Angel – Angela Mcallister

A snow angel comes to life.  Lovely story with a little excitement and mystery.

7. The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats

No list of snow books would be complete without this classic tale.

8. A Perfect Day – Carin Berger

A charming, delicate, happy book. The illustrations are detailed and precious. Lots of connections and a great inspiration for art.

9. Once Upon a Northern Night – Jean E. Pendziwol

Gentle, lyrical poem about the wonder and beauty of a northern winter night.  Soft snow, twinkling stars, frost etched on a window pane.  Gorgeous.

10. Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost

One of my favorite winter read-alouds.  Calm. Peaceful.  Perfect for visualizing.

10. The Snow Speaks – Nancy White Carlstrom

Gorgeous poetic language describes the magic of a first snowfall.  This is one of my favorite anchors for descriptive writing.

So there you have it!  (Yes, I cheated again!  There are actually 11 books listed! )

What’s your favorite snow or winter book to share?

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Filed under Top 10 Tuesday, Winter Books

Top 10 Tuesday – Favorite Nonfiction Connect Books for Primary

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It’s Top Ten Tuesday!  This week, I’m featuring my favorite Nonfiction “Connect” books!

When practicing “making connections” with your primary students, try alternating between fiction and nonfiction books so your students learn that we can connect to both stories and information.  When reading stories – we can make connections  to characters, feelings and events;  when reading information, we can make connections to background knowledge and experiences.  

Try using the “KNEW-NEW” connection after reading a nonfiction book to your class – “What was one fact from this book you already KNEW and one fact that was NEW information?”  Kids love the “KNEW-NEW”!

Here are my top 10 Nonfiction “CONNECT” books for Primary students…

  1.  The Handiest Things In the World – Andrew Clement

Connections to all the things our hands can do.

2.   With A Friend By Your Side – Barbara Kerley

Connections to the value of friendships all around the world.

Families Around the World – Margriet Ruurs

Connections to families and cultures.

3.   You and Me Together:  Mom, Dads, Kids Around the World – Barbara Kerley 

Connections to the strong bond between parent and child.  Stunning photographs!

4.  I, Fly:  the Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are – Bridget Haos

Connections to fly facts.

5. A Chicken Followed Me Home: Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl – Robin Page

Chicken connections!

6. Senses at the Seashore – Shelley Rotner

Connections to the sounds, smells and sights of the beach.

 7.  What in the World?  Numbers in Nature –  Nancy Raines Day

Connections to sets of numbers in the nature.

8.  Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain? – Harriet Ziefert

Connections to rain facts.

9.  Water Is Water Miranda Paul

Connections to the journey of water.

10.  Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt – Kate Messner

Connections to the hidden wonders in the garden.

What are your favorite Non-fiction books to teach and practice making connections?

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Filed under Nonfiction, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Reading Power, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Professional Books for Summer Reading

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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

With summer just around the corner and the school year coming to an end, I’m excited about the thought of having a little  more  time to catch up on summer reading.  Part of that includes my pursuit of the latest and greatest professional books that will help me in my goal of “reflecting and refining” my teaching practices.  Here are the books I’m excited about reading this summer…

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The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers – Jennifer Serravallo

First on my list is Jennifer Serravallo’s new book from Heinemann.  I first learned about this book from my wonderful far-away teacher friend Sharee Gaiser.  She shared the book with me on Facebook and told me she was making many connections to my book  Reading Power.  So now I’m excited and curious about reading it!  Jennifer Serravallo has a few other books that also look interesting – one on small group instruction and another on conferencing.  Watch a short video clip of Jen talking about how her books go together.

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Grammar Matters: Lessons, Tips and Conversations Using Mentor Texts K-6 by Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty

I often have teachers ask me for references for grammar books.  While I am not a big supporter of grammar excercises in isolation, children do need to learn correct usage and structure of the language within the context of their writing.  So when I saw this new book by the authors of Mentor Texts, Nonfiction Mentor Texts and Poetry Mentor Texts – all three are well used books in my professional collection – I was very excited!    This book is a handy reference for helping students learn about parts of speech, idioms, usage issues, and punctuation and, like their other books, uses specific mentor texts (picture books) to support the lessons.  Who knew I could get excited about teaching grammar?!

59 Reasons to Write: Mini Lessons, Prompts, and Inspiration for Teachers Kate Messner

 “One of the greatest gifts of writing is the way it nudges us to look more closely not only at the world but also at ourselves.”   I  love everything Kate Messner writes -her picture books, her novels and her professional books.  She is my hero!  This book grew out of Messner’s popular online summer writing camp, Teachers Write.  It is her strong belief that if we are going to help our students to be writers, we (teachers) need to be writers ourselves.

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The Unstoppable Writing Teacher – M. Colleen Cruz

Isn’t this a GREAT title?  And cover?  And if that weren’t enough – forward by Lucy Calkins?   “Veteran teacher and author Colleen Cruz takes|common concerns, struggles, and roadblocks that we all face in writing instruction and helps us engage in the process of problem solving each one.”  This one is a MUST read for me this summer!

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Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners.

Creating Cultures of Thinking:  The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools

by Ron Ritchhart

Yes, it still is and always will be about thinking for me!  I discovered this author by accident when I was presenting at SENSE Charter School in Indianapolis last month.  Making Thinking Visible was sitting on a table and I was immediately drawn to the title because thinking and metacognition is at the center of all that I believe.  I’m looking forward to hearing his message in both of these books.

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Reading Nonfiction:  Notice and Note – Signposts and Questions – Kylene Beers & Robert Probst

 I met Kylene Beers and Bob Probst at a reading conference in Saskatchewan last year and heard them speak about their previous book Notice and Note: Strategies for Close ReadingIn this book, I learned about their term “signposts” – places in text that alert readers to significant moments readers need to “notice and note”, then question and explore them through their own interpretations.  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of their new book, which will not be until October (but I’m including it on my list anyway) and learning about Nonfiction “signposts”!

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Well Played: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number Games and Pictures Gr. 3-5    

             Linda Dacey, Karen Gartland, and Jayne Bamford Lynch

I make an effort to move out of my comfort zone and read ONE non literacy book every year.  I am the first to admit that Math is not one of my strong subject areas so this book looks like a perfect choice – and it has “thinking” in the title!  (This book comes out June 30th)

So there you have it…. my list of professional reads for the summer!  I may not get through them all but I’m going to try!

What professional books are in your TBR pile this summer?

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Filed under It's Monday, Professional Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? May Day Reading!

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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

Reading is a great distraction so after a difficult few weeks, I’m happy to focus on some of the wonderful new books I’ve had a chance to read.

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How to Read a Story – Kate Messner

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

I have been waiting for weeks for this book to come out and it’s finally here! This is the most wonderful, charming, delightful book about reading I have seen in a long time. Not only is it an excellent anchor book for instructional writing, it is a beautiful book about the importance and pleasures of reading. This book would be a perfect one to start the school year and would also make a wonderful baby shower gift! Wonderful, entertaining illustrations enhance the text. (The only step that was missing for me was “Sniff the pages”!) This is a MUST have classroom book!

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The Cow Tripped Over the Moon: A Nursery Rhyme Emergency – Jeanne Willis

Such fun reading this hilarious book which follows an ambulance as it comes to the aid of characters in nursery rhymes!   Paramedics rescue the cow who tripped over the moon and cracked Humpty Dumpty – delightful!  Rhyming text and fantastic illustrations –  This book is idea for sharing and would be a great addition to a nursery rhyme unit. 

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Ballet Cat – The Totally Secret Secret – Bob Shea

Initially,  I didn’t think I would like this book because the illustrations didn’t appeal to me at first.  But after reading the story, I realized how they compliment the quirkiness of this delightful story.  Sparkles the Pony and Ballet the Cat are trying to decide what to do together but a secret may get in the way of their decision.  This is a wonderful beginning reader similar to the Elephant and Piggy books.  Lots of important themes in this simple story:  overcoming problems that arise when friends who have different interests and want to play different things; how to talk  about your feelings and showing empathy. Love the “talking bubbles”!

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This is Sadie – Sara O’Leary

Sigh.  I love Sadie.  I love this book and its simple message about the power of imagination.  Sadie is an adorable, whimsical little girl who doesn’t ever leave her room, but whose glorious imagination takes her to far away places, exotic places, magical places.  From sun up to sun down, silent Sadie has glorious adventures.  This book is so so lovely.  It had a soft, lyrical quality and phenomenal illustrations. (I could not stop running my fingers over the pages!)  This book is my new treasure book.

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Good Morning To Me! – Lita Judge

Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Flight School (loved that book!), this lively book tells the story of a cheerful, energetic parrot named Beatrix who can’t wait to start the day.  So she wakes up all her sleepy animal friends using her “outside” voice.  This book is fun, but I found the comic style panel illustrations a little busy and would be challenging to share with a whole class.

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Where Are My Books? – Debbie Ridpath Ohi

What is happening to Spencer’s books?  Spencer loves to read but when his favorite books start to disappear, and are replaced with flowers and nuts, he doesn’t know what to do. A fun, slightly odd but engaging story with a surprise ending. (Liked but didn’t love)

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Daddy Sat on a Duck Scott M. Cohn

Perfect timing for Father’s day – this book is a hilarious tribute to “real” dads.  What are those loud, strange noises?   A young girl is convinced they are wild beasts and not her dad.  Fun, heartwarming look at bodily functions that many children (and parents) will make connections to!  I only wish it wasn’t written in rhyming verse as I felt it took away from the content.

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 Butterfly Park Elly Mackay

Gorgeous, captivating, unique, charming!  My favorite book this week.   It tells the sweet story of a little girl who moves to a new town and discovers a place called “Butterfly Park”.  The only problem is, there are no butterflies to be found anywhere.  So the young girl sets out to find the butterflies, inspiring the entire town to join in the search.  Wonderful message about working together to build community and make a difference.   The paper-cut out illustrations are truly amazing!  This is a keeper!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know which book(s) caught your eye!

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Filed under Beginning Chapter Book, Friendship, It's Monday, making connections