Tag Archives: Kevin Henkes

Top 10 Tuesday – Favorite Middle Grade Chapter and Graphic Novels Part 2 2022

A few weeks ago, I posted Part 1 of my list of favorite middle grade chapter and graphic novels with a focus on upper middle grades (mature grade 6 – 8) You can read that post HERE. I intended to post Part 2 last week, but 7 workshops and webinars in 5 days got in the way! So here is Part 2 – which features books I would recommend for lower middle grades (grades 4-6). And once again, I had trouble counting to ten!!

Abby In Between: Ready or Not – Megan Ebryant

Very excited about this first book in a young middle-grade series about nine-year-old Abby as she navigates all the chaos that can come from growing up. I loved Judy Blume books when I was growing up and this one certainly had a modern Judy Blume vibe! It’s a great book to introduce the topic of puberty as I feel it offers a realistic portrayal of the emotions, experiences, and feelings of a young girl. I appreciated the understanding doctor and the un-embarrassed mother.

Growing Pangs – Kathryn Ormsbee

Another coming of age theme in this cute graphic novel that includes topics like homeschooling, theater, friendship, summer camp, OCD, and anxiety. They say “books are mirrors” and I really like that there are so many authors this year writing “connect” books for middle graders who are trying to find their place in the world and be proud of who they are.

Surely Surely Marisol Rainey – Erin Entrada Kelly

This is the second “Marisol” book in a new series (I haven’t read the first one) featuring the quirky, unathletic Marisol Rainey. Marisol Rainey’s two least-favorite things are radishes and gym class. Well, I made so many connections to this book! I was the kid in elementary school who was terrified of gym class and picked last for every class sport. Basically: I was Marisol. Turns out Marisol has more spunk and grit than she thinks! Humorous and heartfelt story of friendship, family and fitting in for fans of Clementine, Judy Moody, Billy Miller,  and Ramona the Pest.

Step – Deborah Ellis

Canadian icon Deborah Ellis has written a collection of short stories featuring children who are all about to turn 11-years old — and how that event changes them. The series of stories are about children from all over the world and feature magical and mysterious themes. I LOVED this book and thought of so many wonderful ways you could use it in a classroom! A perfect book for an interactive read aloud to model questioning, connecting and transforming!

Odder – Katherine Applegate

Sea Otters + Katherine Applegate + a novel in verse = middle grade gold! How can you NOT fall in love with this adorable sea otter? Like her other books, beloved author Katherine Applegate knows how to weave important issues into her books with such respect and grace wrapped up in gorgeous writing and endearing characters. This book could stand alone as an amazing read aloud. But I could see it being the anchor to a class inquiry unit around endangered species, conservation, climate change, ecosystems, animal surrogates – the list goes on! Great information included in the back notes. This book will be released on Sept. 22nd.

Oh, Sal – Kevin Henkes

I love Kevin Henkes books so was excited to see this continuation of his Billy Miller series, told from Billy’s younger sister Sal’s voice. Henkes, once again, writes from the voice right of a nervous child worrying about trivial things that are very important to her. The whole story takes place over the course of a single day but with lots of space to explore Sal’s many emotions. The book is illustrated in black and white and a great choice for fans of Ramona, Ivy + Bean, and Dory Fantasmagory. A strong grade 2 reader would enjoy this story, up to beginning grade 4.

Max & The Midknights: The Tower of Time – Lincoln Peirce

A funny new graphic novel series (this is #3) about Max – a Knight in Training by the author of Nate the Great. This book is jam packed with action and adventure, pictures and personality, fantasy and fun!!! In this continuation of Max’s story, she meets her twin Mary, and the two journey (along with the other Midknights) to learn what happened to their parents. We also learn how Max got her name!

Nat Enough – Maria Scrivan

Nat Enough is a coming of age graphic novel (first in a series) about a young girl finding her place in middle school. Her best friend from elementary school is hanging out with the ‘cool kids’ now, and Natalie feels like she is “not enough”- not pretty enough, not talented enough, not cool enough. Certainly a lot of connections will be made with this one!

The Ice Cream Machine – Adam Rubin

Such a clever and original idea! This book is a collection of six short stories in a variety of genres and settings, all featuring ice cream! I enjoyed how each of the stories were a different genre, great for introducing genres to your class and great anchors for writing! Kids will make lots of connections to the book. I appreciated the author’s notes at the beginning and end of the book so don’t forget to share those if you are reading this story aloud.

The Bird & Squirrel On The Run – James Burk

I so enjoyed this colorful graphic novel featuring two unlikely friends – a nervous squirrel and a carefree bird, who join together to escape the menacing cat that wants to eat them.  Kids will enjoy the silly humour and colorful illustrations. LOTS of fun!

Mr. Wolf’s Class – Aron Nels Steinke

Another fun graphic novel – this one is about the first day of grade four and everyone is nervous — even Mr. Wolf! Despite the characters being colorful cartoon animals, the book had a realistic feel to it. All the student animals are unique and have their own challenges, hopes, goals. I think kids will really enjoy this first book in a new series.

PAWS: Gabby Gets It Together – Michelle Assarasakorn & Nathan Fairbarirn

This new graphic novel series is about best friends, cute dogs, and all the fun (and trouble) that comes with them. Funny and heartwarming – think Baby-Sitters Club for pets!

Omar Rising – Aisha Saeed

I enjoyed this book by the author of Amal Unbound. In this book about injustice in education, young Omar gets accepted to a private school on scholarship but is expected to work for free, cannot play in extracurricular events, and must maintain an A plus average. Most scholarship boys do not make past their first year so Omar decides to challenge this unfair system. An uplifting story about working together to make a change; the story is hopeful and empowering.

Outside Nowhere – Adam Borba

Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! It’s about a funny, slacker kid who gets himself fired from his summer job at the pool and then gets sent to a farm in the middle of nowhere. But before long, magical things start happening at the farm. It’s weird, wonderful and whimsical! Would make a wonderful read-aloud.

The Trouble At Turtle Pond – Diana Renn

This is a eco-mystery is about making friends and saving endangered turtles – perfect for animal lovers everywhere! Strange that a mystery can also be heart-warming – but this story was. I think because of Miles, the loveable main character, who I was cheering for after the first page. A great mystery with important environmental lessons and a great characters.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you found one or two new books to add to your classroom or school library! Happy reading, everyone!

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Filed under 2022 releases, Activism, Coming of Age story, environment, Friendship, graphic novel, making connections, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Novels, Top 10 Tuesday

Adrienne’s Online Learning Lesson Idea (OLLI) #23 – Snow Similes

I originally created OLLIs (Online Learning Lesson Ideas) when schools first shut down at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.  It’s hard to believe that it is now 2022 and we are STILL enduring the “chaos of Covid” in our schools! While some provinces are continuing “in person” learning, I know there are many districts across Canada who have moved to virtual learning. (Shout out to my teacher friends who are working online at the moment!) These OLLIs can be used both in person and virtually person.  Either way, I hope you find some ideas that you can use with your students to lighten your load just a little with one less lesson to plan!  

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books in case you missed any of them:

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) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

OLLI #15 ( 100 Things That Make Me Happy)

OLLIE #16 (Leaving Our Heartprints) 

OLLIE #17  The Sounds of Snow

OLLIE #18 – Celebrating Women Trail Blazers

OLLIE #19 – The Six Senses of Spring

OLLIE #20 – Thank you, Earth!

OLLI #21 – Mother’s Day Poem

The Inspiration:

Across British Columbia over the past few weeks, particularly in the Lower Mainland and the Interior, we have just experienced an unusually LARGE dump of snow. For those who know me, know I LOVE snow! To me, snow always brings a sense of magic and beauty to the world. While the icy roads may be slick and the shoveling a back-breaking nightmare for many adults, most children associate snow with outdoor fun with family and friends. So why not bring some of that fun into the classroom and use snow to help younger students learn to write similes?

The Anchor:

A Thing Called Snow – Yuval Zommer

Watch YouTube Read-Aloud HERE 

A Thing Called Snow is a charming story of a fox and hare who were born in the spring and have never seen snow. They set about asking various Arctic animal friends what snow is. Each animal, in turn, uses a different simile to describe snow for the two friends: “Snow is white, like your fur.” “Snow is fluffy like your tails.” “Snow is sparkly like your eyes.” “Snow is cold, like your noses.” Lovely story of friendship, community, and snow!

The Lesson:

  • Ask students how many of them enjoyed some time in the snow over the holidays. Model your own “snow story” – sharing something you did in the snow.
  • Invite students to share a snow story with a partner. Invite some to share out with the class.
  • Tell the students to imagine someone who had never seen snow before. How might you describe it to someone?
  • Write the words “Snow is…” on the board. 
  • Invite students to think about how they might finish this sentence. Create a list of describing words, recording their suggestions. (i.e. Cold is: white, cold, fun, slippery, icy, slushy, dangerous, sparkly, beautiful, quiet, wet)
  • Explain that these are called “describing words”. Describing words help to add interesting details when we are talking or writing about something.
  • Tell the students that you are going to read a story about two animals who have never seen snow before. Invite them to listen for the different ways their friends describe the snow.
  • Read the story A Thing Called Snow or share the read-aloud YOUTUBE video.
  • After reading, invite students to recall how each animal described snow. You might need to go back to the pages to review.
  • Record the descriptions on the board or shared screen
    • Snow is white, like your fur.
    • Snow is cold, like your noses.
    • Snow is fluffy, like your tails.
    • Snow is sparkly, like your eyes.
  • Ask students what they notice about the way the animals described snow. (they used the word “like”)
  • Explain that this is a special thing writers sometimes do when they are describing something – they compare it to something else. When they do that, it’s called a simile. You can make similes by thinking of something similar!

Let’s see if we can write our own similes about snow! I might not say “Snow is white, like your fur” because you nobody here has white fur! But let’s try to think of other things that are white. Who can help me?

  • Model a few examples: Snow is white, like eggshells. Snow is white, like marshmallows.
  • Invite the students to try add some other similes.
  • Continue with the other adjectives (cold like… fluffy like… sparkly like…)
  • Invite students to create their own similes – Snow is slushy like a slurpee. Snow is quiet like the night.
  • Pass out SNOW SIMILES template and have students record their similes on the page.

Lesson Extensions

  • Snow Stories are excellent topics for personal narrative writing. I call these retelling of personal experiences “Event Stories” because they are sequential events and most often begin and end within a single day. Students can use this template to sequence their snow stories. Remember to have them fill in box ONE (How did the event start? i.e. I went to the park to play in the snow) and box SIX (How did the event end? i.e. We walked back home) before filling in the sequence of events that occurred in between. For complete lesson, including introducing transition words – see Powerful Writing Structures – pages 60-66.
  • “How to” writing – works very well with snow activities (see Powerful Writing Structures – 95-104) Students can write instructions for “HOW TO” do different snow activities. i.e. How to Make a Snowman (see anchor book below) How to Have a Snowball Fight, How to Make a Snow Angel, How to Make a Snow Fort, How to Toboggan Down a Hill, How to Get Dressed in Winter.

All You Need for a Snowman – Alice Schertle

Additional Anchor Books:

Here are some additional snow books, all of which I recommend for the beautiful descriptive language. Remember to check YouTube for the read-aloud if you don’t have a copy with you. Always choose the author reading their own book, if available!

The Best Winter Themed Picture Books for Kids

When the Snow Falls – Linda Booth Sweeney

Snow – Cynthia Rylant

The Snow Dancer – Addie Boswell

The Best Winter Themed Picture Books for Kids

Winter Dance – Marion Dane Bauer

A Day So Grey Maria Lamba

Winter is Here Kevin Henkes

For more ideas for snow writing, see my blog about the sounds of snow HERE.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Stay safe and remember, the most important thing we can give our students during these next few months is CARE, CONNECTIONS, and COMPASSION!

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Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #19 – The Six Senses of Spring

I originally created OLLIs when schools in my province of British Columbia shut down last spring due to Covid19.  While we are now back in class, I know there are many districts still juggling virtual and in-class support.  These OLLIs can be used both in class and virtually person.  Either way, I hope you find some ideas that you can use with your students to lighten your load just a little this year!  

Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books in case you missed any of them:

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) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

OLLI #15 ( 100 Things That Make Me Happy)

OLLIE #16 (Leaving Our Heartprints) 

OLLIE #17  (The Sounds of Snow)  (This post is temporarily unavailable)

OLLIE #18 Celebrating Women Trail Blazers

THE INSPIRATION:

Spring break might be over for some of us, but the season of Spring is just beginning. I love the freshness, the colors, the sounds, smells and feelings of hope and renewal that comes with this time of year. And since I have been immersed in poetry of late (due to the new poetry book I’m writing), what better way to celebrate the new season than a little poetry lesson?

THE ANCHOR BOOKS:

This week’s OLLI lesson, unlike the previous ones, is not dependent on a specific title. Any book about spring will do! New spring picture books come out every year and this year is no exception (including Todd Parr’s new book!) The first books listed (below the lesson) are new releases (#warmbookalert) and the later ones are some of my favorites from previous years. If you don’t have a hard copy, don’t forget to check YouTube for a read-aloud. (always preview full video before showing your class!) If you prefer, you can always show the video with the volume down and read it yourself! I’ve tried to include some video links for the titles whenever possible.

THE LESSON:

  • Begin with the “ONE WORD” activity. Write the word “Spring” on the board or chart stand. Invite students to think about a connection, a visual image, and a feeling that comes into their mind when they think of this word.
  • Give them 1 minute to think and 2 minutes to share (with a partner)
  • Invite students to share their responses with the class, while you record the words in a web on the board around the word “spring”
  • Explain to the students that one of the things you notice most about spring is how everything feels as if nature is waking up from the darkness of winter – flowers grow, leaves grow, baby animals are being born, grass is greener, it stays lighter longer. Tell them that spring also wakes up our senses – there are more colors and smells and sounds and “feels” in springtime.
  • Choose one of the anchor books (see list below) to read aloud. Invite students to be listening for the “six senses” of spring.
  • Write “Six Senses of Spring” on the chart stand or board. Explain that scientists have 5 senses but writers add emotion and feeling into their writing. Make a 6 box chart and write the name of each of six senses (or draw a symbol) at the top of each box: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, emotion(feeling)
  • Beginning with sight, invite students to brainstorm things they see in springtime (flowers, grass, baby animals, blossoms, rain, mud, etc.)
  • Move into the next box and do the same. Depending on your grade level, complete the chart as a class or pass out “The Six Senses of Spring” and invite students to complete the page either by themselves or with a partner.
  • Download the Six Senses of Spring student template HERE
Sight
flowers
kites
grass
chicks
puddles
Smell
grass
dirt
blossoms
flowers
dirt/mud
Taste
ice cream
jelly beans
chocolate eggs
barbeques
Sound
rain
wind
birds
kids playing
baseball
Touch
rain
grass
Easter eggs
baby chicks
puppies
baseball bat
kite string
Feeling
hope
energetic
excitement
happy

  • Once the chart is complete, students can use their ideas to create a simple list poem. Model how to select three ideas from each box and add a verb (action word) to it. Encourage “triple scoop” verbs! End each stanza with the sense “I _______ spring”. (see below for an example of the start of a poem) Students may “borrow” a few ideas from your example but you would like to see how unique and clever they can be!

The Six Senses of Spring

Flowers blooming

Blossoms bursting

Kites flying

I see spring

Rain splashing

Bees buzzing

Chicks chirping

I hear spring

  • Students can add illustrations to their poem and share them out loud with a partner, their buddy, or with the class.

THE ANCHOR BOOKS

Busy Spring – Nature Wakes Up – Sean Taylor Youtube Read aloud – HERE (story starts at about 1.23)
Happy Springtime! by Kate McMullan: 9780823445516 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books
Happy Springtime! – Kate McMullan
Cover Image
Spring Stinks! – Ryan T. Higgins YouTube Read-Aloud HERE
The Spring Book Todd Parr Youtube Read Aloud HERE
Spring for Sophie Yael Werber
YouTube Read Aloud HERE
Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring – Kenard Pak
YouTube Video HERE
Abracadabra, It’s Spring! – Anne Sibley O’Brian Watch YouTube Here
Spring is Here! Heidi Pross Gray
Toad Weather – Sandra Markle
Worm Weather – Jean Taft
YouTube Read Aloud Here
When Spring Comes: Henkes, Kevin, Dronzek, Laura: 9780062331397: Books -  Amazon.ca

When Spring Comes Keven Henkes

Youtube Read Aloud HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_kNU3XpMew

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And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fagliano Youtube

Read Aloud HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPa3OqwlOA

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms – Julia Rawlinson YouTube Read-Aloud HERE
Over and Under Book Series

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

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Hoping your students will enjoy writing their spring poems and that you have discovered a new Spring picture book to brighten your classroom or library!

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Filed under OLLI, Poetry, Seasons, Springtime

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #15: 100 Things That Make Me Happy

Hello, everyone!  Well, it’s mid-January and the January blues may be creeping in!  Time for another OLLI and time to spread a little happy in your class!  For those getting ready for 100th Day – this lesson will be a perfect fit! For those who aren’t – there is never a wrong time to focus on gratitude for simple things that bring us joy! 

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) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)

OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)

OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)

OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)

OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)

THE INSPIRATION:

As primary teachers prepare to mark the 100th day of school, I thought this lesson would be one way to mark the day by finding and spreading a little “happy” (x 100!) in your classroom!  Mid winter blues, Covid, (will it ever end???) – we could all use a little happy in our lives!  Finding joy in everyday things and demonstrating gratitude is something can all practice.  Even if you don’t celebrate 100th Day in your class – this lesson can be adapted to any grade and great chance for you and your students to “find some happy”!  

THE ANCHOR:

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz

100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz

A lovely, charming, rhyming list of things that make most of us happy.   I love this book for so many reasons: the abundance of gratitude for simple things in life, the whimsical rhyming that makes it easy for kids to read and reread, the feeling of joy that comes from thinking positive thoughts with our students, and, of course, the connection to “One Hundredth Day” celebrations.   You can find the online read aloud – HERE

The Lesson

  • Begin with the “one word” activity by writing the word “happy” on the board.  Invite students to think about the word. Specifically, ask them to make a connection, create a visual image, and attach a feeling connected to the word.  (because this is a feeling word, invite them to think of other words that might be connected) 
  • Invite students to share their connection, visual image, and feeling with a partner.  Ask some to share and record their ideas onto the chart, around the word “happy” to create a class web.  
  • Tell them you are going to read a story about “happy”.  Invite them to pay attention to their thinking because you will be coming back to the word after you have finished reading
  • Read the story or show the video of the read-aloud.  You can find the online read aloud – HERE
  • After reading the story, invite the students to “re-visit” and “re-think” the word “happy”.  Has anything changed?   (you may want to steer them in the direction that this book made you think about how easily happiness can be found in small, simple things.  This book also made you feel thankful that there are so many things in the world that can bring us joy – we just have to notice them)
  • Invite the students to brainstorm a list of things that make them happy.  Remind them that the happiness in the book was found in things other than material things (toys, video games, etc.)  Encourage them to include experiences, places, and people as well as objects on their list.  
  • Invite students to share their list with a partner and then invite them to share out as you record their ideas to make a class list.  
  • IF you are celebrating 100th Day – this could be the start of creating a class list “100 Things That Make Us Happy”.   Students could contribute their ideas as you record them on a large class list.  
  • Pass out the template Things That Make Me Happy.  Model your own, showing how you draw a picture and write about it underneath.   
  • You can download the Primary Template HERE 
  • You can download the Intermediate Template HERE 
  • You can download additional Happy Lists HERE (short list) and HERE (long list)
  • Depending on your grade, this could be incorporated into a writing lesson, using “magical detail words” (See Powerful Writing Structures – page xxx).  After students write what makes them happy, they can add a detail using the word “Once, When, If, or Sometimes”    example:  Reading a book makes me happy.  Sometimes, I sniff the pages to fill my lungs with book joy.   OR  My dog Maggie makes me happy.  When I come home, she always meets me at the door and wags her fluffy tail.
  • Students can share their happy pages with a partner.  
  • Create a class book or display on a bulletin board: “Div. 5 is Finding Happy!” 

Additional Books About Happiness and Gratitude: 

Below are some of the other recommended books that encourage us to “look for happy” and be grateful for the little things.   

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

100 Things I Love to Do With You – Amy Schwartz

  100th Day Worries – Margery Cuyler

The Favorite Book – Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Hap-Pead All Year – Keith Baker

My Heart Fills With Happiness – Monique Gray Smith

A Good Day – Kevin Henkes 

This book is also great for TRANSFORM for younger students.  What makes a bad day?  What makes a good day?  

All the World – Liz Garton Scanton

Thankful – Eileen Spinelli

The Thankful Book – Todd Parr

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this lesson brings a little happiness into your classroom and into your heart!

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, Feelings, Gratitude, Gratitude, Lesson Ideas, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Writing Anchors

Adrienne’s OLLI – Online Learning Lesson Idea #10: Dusk Exploring!

Hello everyone!  This will be my LAST OLLI lesson for the school year as I believe classes are wrapping up this week.

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) 

OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!) 

Before my lesson, I just wanted to say WELL DONE, everyone!  You did it!  You juggled online and in person teaching AND supported your family AND wrote report cards AND learned how to ZOOM and so many other things!  Great job!!!

THE INSPIRATION:

Summer is here!  School is almost over!  The days are longer (last night it was starting to get light at 3:30 am – yes, I was awake!) and the weather hopefully warmer. (Can you say “NO MORE RAIN”?)  With some restrictions being lifted, we want to encourage children to spend more time outside enjoying the outdoors during the summer.  I have many happy childhood memories of playing outside in the summer with my sisters.  The endless days and evenings playing in the back yard, riding bikes to the park, the back alley, the neighbour’s house – outside until the streetlights came on or my mum called us in for supper – whichever one came first.   This week’s OLLI, I wanted to share a lesson that is an ode to these outdoor summer adventures!

THE ANCHOR:

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Dusk Explorers – Lindsay Leslie

This beautiful new book invites children (and parents) to enjoy playing outdoors on a summer evening.  The story winds through the neighborhood streets, with lyrical, descriptive language and encourages readers to head out for bike riding, tree climbing, playing, and wonderful exploring.   It’s like a hit list of childhood’s best memories!  I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t want to try out all the outdoor “dusk explorer” activities after reading even just the first pages of this book.  Beautiful illustrations by Ellen Rooney.  This book came out in early June (warm book alert!) so it is not one that I was able to find as an online read-aloud, unfortunately.  But if you order it soon, you could read it online to your class before school breaks for summer.

Watch the book trailer HERE: 

THE LESSONS:  

This is one of those books that can inspire MANY different reading and writing lessons.  Below are just some of the ideas I thought about while reading this book.

NOTE:  I would recommend discussing the word “dusk” (and “dawn”) with students before reading this story!  In my experience, some have never heard of the word!

  1. VISUALIZING – Because of the author’s use of sensory details, this is a perfect book for visualizing.  I would read this story and invite students to listen for different sensory words and images.

Click HERE for the Six Senses Visualizing Template

Click HERE for the Single Image Visualizing Template

TIP – When practicing visualizing, I don’t show the pictures to the students the first time I read.  I want the words from the story to help them create their own visual images.

       2. BECOME A DUSK EXPLORER –  It’s hard to read this book without wanting to immediately run outside and start exploring your neighbourhood!  I think the author really wanted readers to feel that outdoor summer excitement so think this would be a wonderful “enjoy your summer” send off activity to give your students!

After sharing the story, invite students to make connections to their “dusk exploring” experiences.  Ask what their favorite “outdoor” games are?  (climbing trees, running races, kick the can, hide-and-seek, lane-way hockey or basketball, firefly catching)

Tell the students that now that summer is here, there will be more time for outdoor adventures.  Invite them to become “dusk explorers” in their neighbourhood this week.  Use the “Dusk Explorer” template to record things they saw, heard, played, felt.  Encourage them to try something new like a new game.

Click HERE For the Dusk Explorer template.

NOTE:  Remind them to ALWAYS be with a parent or tell a parent where they are going.

3. WRITING – I will definitely be adding this book my list of Writing Anchor books  as it is such a great example of an author who uses senses to create images.  I was also excited to find a video from the author, Lindsay Leslie, talking about writing sharing how to develop sensory details in writing.  It’s a video I would definitely share with students!

Watch the author talk HERE: 

After watching the video, reflect on what the author was saying.  I like to explain that in science, we talk about “the FIVE senses”, but writers actually use “SIX” senses – adding the sense of “emotional feelings” in additional to physical feelings.

Invite your students to go outside at dusk one evening this week.  Have them sit quietly in one spot and pay close attention to their senses.  What are you noticing?  What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel? (physically), feel? (emotionally).  Have them record their observations on the Six Senses of Dusk template.   Invite them to write a descriptive paragraph, using as many of the sensory words as they can.  Remind them not to just write a list “I saw… I heard…” but to use similes and interesting detail words in their descriptions such as “sometimes”, “once”, “if”, and “when”.

ie – I see the pink clouds, fluffy like cotton candy.  Sometimes, I pretend the clouds are animals playing in the sky.  

Click HERE for the Six Senses of Dusk template

For younger students, they could write about dusk using the 5 finger planner:  TOPIC, DETAIL, DETAIL, ONE TIME…, FEELING.  (one sentence for each of their five fingers)

ie.  I like to play outside when it’s dusk. (topic)  The clouds are pink like cotton candy. (detail)  The leaves rustle in the wind. (detail)  One time, my brother and I played badminton until we couldn’t see the birdie. (one time).  I like being outside when it’s dusk.  

For more mini lessons for adding details, see my new book Powerful Writing Structures.  

Additional Books to Support the Lesson:

I hope you find one or two ideas you could share with your students this week, either online or in person.  Below is a list of more summer books – some new releases and some old favorites.  Many of these would also make great anchor books for writing sensory details.   Check YouTube as some of these are available as online read-alouds.

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And Then Comes Summer – Tom Brenner

A lovely, lyrical ode to summer fun.  Great for making connections and sensory details.

Summer Song – Kevin Henkes

So excited about this brand new book – the last of Henkes’ seasonal series.

Summer Color – Diana Murray

Love this book for younger and older students – beautiful details of nature.

Summer Days and Nights – Wong Herbert Yee

Beautiful small moment details about summer with great sensory words.

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Rules of Summer – Shaun Tan

Master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan’s book about summer rules is weird, mesmerizing, dark in places but a great choice for older readers.

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Hooked – Tommy Greenwald

Beautiful descriptions of fishing, some dad bonding, and I love David McPhail’s illustrations.

Jules Vs. the Ocean – Jessie Sima

Brand new book about a young girl who attempts to build elaborate sandcastles to impress her older sister.

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Down Under the Pier Nell Cross Beckerman

Beautiful descriptions of the inter tidal zone with a dreamy, magical “endless summer” feel.

Cannonball – Sacha Cotter

Love this new summer story about family, overcoming fears, and the importance of being oneself, all in the pursuit of performing the perfect cannonball!

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The Little Blue Cottage – Kelly Jordan

Lovely story about returning to that special summer cottage year after year.

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball – A Nighttime Insect Celebration – Loree Griffin Burns

Love this idea of having a summer event to celebrate nighttime moths!  Stay up late one night this summer and discover the amazing world of moths in your own back yard.  This would be a great summer family event!

 

Teacher friends… you have been through a lot of challenges these past few months and have faced them all with determination, dedication, open minds, and open-hearts. You have supported your students through through all the ups and downs, the online and in person, and all the “wash your hands” and “don’t stand so close to me” moments!  And in case it wasn’t clear before, you have shown the world just how important the role of a teacher is in the life of a child.   Thank you.

I will be continuing to post book lists over the summer, and will return with more OLLIs in the fall!  Thanks to everyone who has been using and sharing my posts.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer, everyone!

Enjoy your holiday – you have earned it (x 100!)

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Connect, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Picture Book, Seasons, Summer

Favorite Middle Grade Novels of 2019 (so far!) for summer reading!

It’s summer!  Time to relax, re-charge, and….. READ!  At this time, I like to put out a list of favorite middle grade novels for summer reading.  I haven’t blogged about middle grade novels all year, but I’ve certainly been reading a lot of them!  Whether you know a child,  tween, or teen who might be looking for some great summer picks or you are on the look-out for a new book for next year’s read-aloud, there is something here for everyone: Sci-Fi, family, friendship, mystery, global issues, immigration, bees, wolves, foxes, and frogs!  What trends have I noticed in MG novels this year?  Stories written in multiple perspectives with extraordinary character voices.  Some very powerful books – well worth checking out!  Happy summer reading, everyone!

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Operation Frog Effect – Sarah Scheerger

Mrs. Graham, my new teacher hero, explains the butterfly effect to her class:  “It’s the idea that a small change in one thing can lead to big changes in other things…Anything and everything we do—positive or negative, big or small—can influence other people and the world.”   Talk about making connections!  I said the same thing to the grade 7’s this year when we started our unit on our developing a positive Social Footprint.  This book is getting a LOT of attention right now and I’m not surprised!  I was SO impressed with the way it addresses many difficult issues, but in a light-hearted format which kids can relate. Told through eight perspectives and through letters, graphic novel-like illustrations, poetry and movie scenes, this book explores how young people can come together, speak up and make a difference.  It is both delightfully entertaining while also sending a powerful, positive message.  A MUST read!  LOVE!

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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise Dan Gemeinhart

Rodeo and Coyote are a father/daughter duo that live on the road in an old school bus called Yager. They have been roaming the U.S. for five years – ever since a tragic accident that left them both devastated.  This is another “buzz” book that should really come with tissues because I cried happy and sad tears the whole way through.  This story is about family, friends, grief, and adventure.  Amazing, lovable cast of characters, incredible voice, beautiful writing.  It’s perhaps a bit too early to call it my favorite middle grade read of 2019, but at this moment, it is definitely in my top three!

New Kid – Jerry Craft

Wow!  This FANTASTIC middle grade graphic novel is a must have addition for any school/classroom library. Approaches subtle & overt racism in an accessible & understandable way through the lens of the “new kid” at a private school.  Portrays serious “fitting in at school” issues and one I could see sparking a lot of rich discussions.  Major kid and teacher appeal!

The Bridge HomePadma Venkatraman

An absolutely wonderful and heart-wrenching middle grade novel that takes a bleak look at the plight of lower-caste street children in India.  Similar to when I read “A Fine Balance”, this book will stay with me for a long time.  Based on true experiences of two extraordinary sisters who escape an abusive home life and the street boys who become like brothers to them.  In spite of the immense suffering and loss, this is a story filled with hope, beauty, compassion, and love.  Told in the voice of a girl writing to her sister, this book was hard to read at times, but even harder to put down.  This book is one of two choices for the Global Read Aloud this year.  I highly recommend it.

Pay Attention Carter JonesGary D. Schmidt

When Carter Jones opens the door one morning, he discovers a butler, complete with coat tails and top hat, sent from England to assist his family of 6 after their military father is deployed overseas. We “infer” that life is rather chaotic in the house with four kids and a now single mom.  I did not know what to expect with this book but was surprised at how charming, emotional, and unique it was.  While not particularly transforming, I enjoyed the narrative voice of the middle schooler, learned a lot about the rules of cricket, and found it to be both humorous and poignant.

Count Me In – Varsha Bajaj

This book is not released until August but put it on your list or in your cart now!  It is a powerful story about Karina and Chris, two middle school students who, despite their differences, become friends after Karina’s grandfather starts tutoring Chris after school.  When Karina’s grandfather is brutally attacked by a stranger shouting hate filled words and claiming her Papa does not belong in America, Karina and Chris question how such hate could be directed someone who has lived in this country for 50 years.  Similar to  Wishtree, I really appreciate how this book deals with important and current issues on racism and immigration but at a level and book length appropriate for a younger age group.  Perfect read-aloud for grade 5-6 level to spark discussions about hate crimes, immigration issues and using social media to raise awareness.

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The Simple Art of FlyingCorey Leonardo 

Again, I did not know what to expect when I started reading this one but was surprised by how quirky, whimsical and playful it was.  This story is told from several points of view, but mainly from the perspective of Alastair – a grumpy African parrot born in a pet store who is looking for a grand escape to a better life for himself and his sister Aggie.  For fans of The One and Only Ivan, this is a wonderful middle grade story that I think many children will love.  Great characters with great voices.  I enjoyed that the three points of views (Aggie, Fritz, and Alastair)  are told through three different genres (Aggie writes letters; Fritz writes journal entries; and Alastair writes poetry).   Tender, poignant and refreshing.

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Scary Stories for Young Foxes – Christian McKay Heidicker 

I LOVE THIS BOOK!  And don’t let the cuteness of foxes mislead you – this book is scary!  And kids like scary.  Warning – Foxes die in this book.  But don’t let that dissuade you from it.  Because it’s BRILLIANT!  So so SO good!  The writing is incredible –  weaving 8 distinct stories together.   It reads like you’re one of the foxes, listening to the storyteller, travelling through tall grass, wind between trees in the forest, smelling purple, jumping over large barriers, and feeling everything Mia and Uly feel.  I can’t even explain how good this book is.  You MUST read this one!

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The Bee Maker Mobi Warren

In a recent blog post, I featured books about bees – but hadn’t discovered this one yet!  WOW!   This book is highly creative and kept me turning the pages to find out what happens.  Part science-fiction, the main character time travels from a Texas farm in 2039, where the bees have almost disappeared, to ancient Greece to search for a way to save the bees and ends up saving a boy in the process.   This one really sticks with you and I found myself thinking about the story even when I wasn’t reading it.  A page turner with deep themes – this one will appeal to a little older MG tween as well as adults.

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A Wolf Called Wander – Rosanne Parry

Attention animal lovers!  Inspired by the true story of the famous wolf, known as OR7, who wandered 1,000 miles, A Wolf Called Wander is about family, courage and a poignant journey of survival.  I fell in love Swift, the wolf – his voice and his sheer determination to live no matter what loss and adversity he faces.  (Again, I found myself thinking about dear Ivan.)  The writing is brilliant – gorgeous language that filled my soul.  Beautiful illustrations and an extra factual section about wolves and their environment are added bonuses.  Beautiful.  

Shouting at the Rain – Lynda Mullaly Hunt

From the author of Fish in a Tree and One for the Murphyscomes another poignant, moving, beautifully written story of changing friendships, belonging, loss, love, and forgiveness.  So many themes to explore here!   Here is another example of a writer who develops amazing, strong characters – I don’t think there was one character  in this book I didn’t believe in.  Delsie, our narrator, is strong, independent, kind, and accepting.  I felt like I wanted to be her friend!  She deals with friendship problems,  mean girls, abandonment issues, and struggles to define what, exactly, makes a family.  (not to mention, she loves tracking weather and HATES to wear shoes!)  Another winner by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

The Night Diary – Veera Hiranandani

I absolutely love the writing in this book!  Told from the point of view of a 12-year old Nisha through her diary entries to her mother who has passed away, this story is centered around the confusion, frustration, fear, and sadness experienced during of India’s Partition in 1947.  I learned so much history from this book.  Great characters, suspense, adventure, and heartache interwoven into a story of a family caught in the midst of horrendous cultural/political conflict–Hindus against Muslims.  Amazing sensory writing – I felt the wind, the dust, smelled the spices, felt the pencil in Nisha’s hand.   This would make an excellent choice for a grade six or seven read-aloud or Lit Circle book.

Other Words for Home – Jasmine Warga

“I just want to live in a country where we can all have dinner again without shouting about our president or rebels and revolution.”   An emotional, heart-breaking, and brilliantly written story told in verse about Jude, a 12 year old Muslim refugee facing racism in America. This book deals with the struggles and the heart ache of leaving everything you know behind and searching for your identity when facing an  unknown country and culture.  I would definitely use this book in a grade 6 or 7 class for Literature Circles or a class novel.

Sweeping Up the Heart – Kevin Henkes

What does lonely look like?  Feel like?  Sound like?  I can see some people feeling this book was a little slow – “nothing really happens”.  But there is something so very fragile and sweet in this gentle story of Amelia and her longing to be noticed, loved, felt, understood.  As teachers, we come in contact with many Amelias.  Touching and poetic, this book may not appeal to everyone, but for a thoughtful reader willing to explore loss and loneliness, it is a stunner.   Lots of beautiful subtlety in Henkes’ writing – he leaves lots of space for the reader’s thinking.  I found it heartbreaking and beautiful.

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Caterpillar Summer – Gillian McDunn

A stunning debut novel so full of voice and heart!  Instead of spending the summer with her best friend, Cat is shipped off to her grandparents with her brother Chicken, and given the responsibility of caring for him.  Oh, and did I mention she has never met her grandparents before?   So much to love about this book!  I love smart, thoughtful,  compassionate Cat and her sweet, creative brother Chicken.  I love that each and every character experiences some kind of transformation.  I love that the “bad guy” in this book is real and not “typical” or “cliche”.   I love the interpersonal relationships of the characters.  I love the visual descriptions and sensory details.  I love the themes of family, friendship, community, responsibility, and forgiveness.  I guess I love this book!

The Benefits of Being an Octopus – Ann Braden

I almost forgot to include this book because I read it several months ago – but it is a MUST read and share book.  (Thanks to Kim Fedoruk for reminding me about it!)  An eye-opening, transforming, and compassionate look at poverty and empathy,  and the right to be treated fairly and equally.  Zoey doesn’t have much of a chance to worry about what other grade 7’s might be worried about – things like homework and crushes. She’s too busy helping her family just scrape by, and taking care of her three other siblings.  According to Zoe – she’d literally have to be an octopus with eight tentacles to juggle all the tasks she faces every day.   Zoey has far more responsibility than anyone her age should ever have, and reading about her made my heart ache. Her character is so strong, complex and believable.  And the writing…. the writing is so beautiful and filled with so many amazing quotes.  This book is not to be missed.  I would recommend this book for your more mature middle grade readers  (end of grade 6 or grade 7) but every adult should read it, too.

And there you have it!  My favorite Middle Grade novels so far this year!

Thank for stopping by!  Hope one or two books have caught your eye!

 

 

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Filed under 2019 releases, Bee Books, Friendship, graphic novel, Grief, Homelessness, Identity, immigration, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Point of View, Poverty, Sci-Fi

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Books to Celebrate the Moon!

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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 the “Super Blood Wolf Moon” and lunar eclipse tonight, I thought it would be a great time to feature a few of my favorite moon books!

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Taan’s Moons – Alison Gear

Starting with my sister’s book – Taan’s Moons – of course!  A beautiful collaborative story written by my sister, Alison, and a group of kindergarten children from Haida Gwaii.  Gorgeous felted illustrations by Kiki van der Heiden.  This book is about cycles – of moons, of seasons, of bears, of life.  I may be a little biased, (since I know the author so well!) but this is a beautiful book.

When the Moon is Full – Penny Pollock

Most of us have heard of September’s Harvest Moon, but did you know that January’s full moon is called the Wolf Moon, because Native Americans believed that wolves become restless in January? March is the Sap Moon, because its warm days and cold nights cause the syrup to run in the maples.  This beautifully illustrated collection of poetry follows the monthly path of the moon with traditional Native American names for each month. Gorgeous hand-colored woodcuts by Mary Azarian.  There is also a question and answer section in the back of the book. A great book could be used with primary grade children when studying the phases of the moon and to pair with Taan’s Moons to compare how different indigenous people view and name the moons.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back – A Native American Year of Moons Joseph Bruchac

In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons.  In this story, a grandfather tells the story of the thirteen moons to his grandson. Each moon story has been chosen from each of the thirteen Native American tribal nations in different regions of the United States and each gives the reader a true sense of the the belief of Native American to notice the world around them.

Moon:  A Peek-Through Picture Book Britta Teekentrup

Such a clever way to learn about the day to day changes of the moon.  In this brand new picture book, readers will learn the lunar cycle through clever peek-through holes, each revealing the moon in a different size and shape.  SO beautiful!

A Big Mooncake for Little Star  Grace Lin

Such a gorgeous book!  A young child bakes a Mooncake with her mom. She’s told not allowed to eat it, but, she does nibble on it a little bit everyday.   A unique and intriguing way to explain the phases of the moon.  Simple black and yellow illustrations evokes a soothing feeling of nighttime.  Love Little Star’s and her mother’s black pajamas with big yellow stars on!  Don’t forget to check out the end papers!

 The Boy and the Blue Moon – Sara O’Leary

Shhhhhh….. there is magic between these pages.  Start with a little boy and a cat on a nighttime adventure…Sprinkle a little touch of Where the Wild Things AreOwl Moon, and The Little Prince... weave together some facts about phases of the moon, the solar system and dreams.  Oh… and don’t forget some spectacular illustrations.  What can I say?  Sara O’Leary (A Family is a Family is a Family, This is Sadie) continues to create these whimsical, magical books that beg to be shared.  And this one just might be my favorite.

When the Moon Comes Paul Harbridge

The author shares his own childhood memories of playing pond hockey on frozen backyard rinks.  Whether you are a hockey fan or not, this book celebrates a sense of adventure and the magic of time spent outdoors.  Gorgeous figurative language makes this a wonderful anchor book for descriptive writing and capturing small moments.  The illustrations are stunning.

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Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

This classic book about a young girl and her dad going owling one night by the light of a winter moon is one of my go-to books.   I use this book so often when I am teaching descriptive writing and using the senses.  Jane Yolen’s  quiet, poetic language never gets old.

Moon Alison Oliver

While not really about the moon, this one is well worth reading!  A young girl who is overwhelmed by her daily “To Do” checklist learns how to embrace her inner wild child after meeting a wolfy friend one night.  A great message for us all to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our lives,  get out, and enjoy play time in nature.  The illustrations are beautiful, with lovely hues of “night” colors and great expressions.

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story – Hena Khan

I learned a lot about the traditions and celebrations of Ramadan.   This book centers around a young girl named Yasmeen and her family during Ramadan.  It starts by intruding the importance of the moon and how the new moon meant a new month in the Islamic calendar.  The book explains about what a traditional Ramadan is like including fasting, parties, prayer delicious foods, and presents.  Great authors notes at the back.  This would make a perfect anchor for learning about different cultural celebrations.

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The Moon Inside Sandra V. Feder

This beautiful picture book is about a girl who confronts her fears and therefore gains a new friend, the moon. The mixed media illustrations make the moon come alive- and the reader is drawn to the yellow which is as comforting for us as it is for Ella.

Kitten’s First Full Moon – Kevin Henkes

Simple, sweet story with Caldecott-winning cuddly charcoal style artwork by the great Kevin Henkes.  A kitten mistakes a full moon for a bowl of milk and the ensuing adventure is full of mistakes and disappointments but a welcome treat is waiting for her at the end of it all!

The Moon Book – Gail Gibbons

I love the simplicity of Gail Gibbons’ introductory science books.  Packed with fascinating facts about the moon but presented in an accessible, easy to read format with her signature colorful illustrations.

Dear Sun, Dear Moon – Deborah Paggi

A delightful collection of letters between the sun and the moon, each singing one another’s praises.  The sun is praised for starting each day by waking all forms of life, both animal and plant, while the moon is praised for the brilliance of its glow at night, enabling animals to see and forage for food and seek shelter.  I LOVE this book so much and will definitely be using it for a writing lesson on voice and personification.

Moon Wishes – Guy and Patricia Storms

If you were the moon, what would you do? This whimsically illustrated and lyrical picture book from Guy & Patricia Storms answers this question with things such as “…wax and wane over the Earth’s troubles,” and “…be a beacon for the lost and lonely.”  I loved the language in this brand new book by Groundwood (released next month) and a will be a perfect anchor book for writing.

What’s your favorite moon book?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Filed under Moons, New Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? New Books for Back to School 2017

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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

Back to school means lots of new books for new lessons!  Here are a few of the great new titles I’ve been reading!

Imagine – John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Amnesty International illustrated by Jean Jullien

John Lennon’s iconic song has been transformed into a beautiful picture book and has been published in partnership with Amnesty International for the International Day of Peace on September 21st.   Like the song that inspired it, Imagine invites people to imagine a world at peace, a world of kindness.   As Yoko Ono says in her foreword, “Every small, good thing that we do can help change the world for the better.”   An Imagine website has been launched in nine countries and five languages. Visitors, including young children, can submit their own messages of peace, read those from around the world, and share messages of peace and hope on their social media programs.  Please consider inviting your students to participate.

Carson Crosses Canada

Carson Crosses Canada – Linda Bailey

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey is a delightful book celebrating Canada! Annie and her dog Carson are on a road trip across Canada from BC to Newfoundland to visit Annie’s sister. Along the way, they stop and visit many amazing sites and see the unique landscape of each province. This book is lively and fun with simple text and bright, whimsical illustrations. I loved the map of her journey and the end papers! This would make a great anchor book to introduce a unit on Canada in your primary class or celebrate Canada 150!

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Picture the Sky – Barbara Reid

So excited to see this companion book to Picture a Tree.  In her classic colorful Plasticine style, Barbara Reid explores the stories of the sky – from the weather, to the stars,to the seasons, and to our imagination – in all its moods and colors.  The sky is all around us, but it is always changing.   This book is perfect for visualizing!

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In the Middle of Fall – Kevin Henkes

This wonderful new book by Kevin Henkes will have your senses tingling!  The colors are vibrant and simplistic, it features adorable woodland creatures, and is everything you could want in a book about the changing seasons.  I also liked the fact that it focuses on mid-late fall, when all the changes have already happened.   Great anchor for writing as well – lots of triple scoop words and similes – “the apples are like ornaments”.   I love fall and I love this book!

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Nerdy Birdy Tweets – Aaron Reynolds

Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds Is an important book to read to students. Nerdy Birdy learns a valuable lesson about the impact of social media on friendship and the dangers of and posting things about someone else without their permission, Great anchor book to start the conversation about digital citizenship and being responsible and respectful when using social media.

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Lovely Jess Hong

A celebration of diversity – in all its shapes and sizes!  Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly – we are all LOVELY!  Colorful, bold illustrations and simple text.  This is a great book to build classroom community!

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Hello, Harvest Moon – Ralph Fletcher

If you are looking for an anchor book for descriptive, sensory language – look no further!  Ralph Fletcher’s new book (companion to Twilight Comes Twice) follows the moon as it rises and describes all the things it shines on.  Gorgeous illustrations and filled with rich, descriptive language and literary devices.  I would definitely use select pages from this book to do a “Found Poetry” lesson.  (Children highlight favorite words from the text, then use the words to write their own poem.  Additional words can be added.)

“With silent slippers
it climbs the night stairs,
lifting free of the treetops
to start working its magic,
staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow.”

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There’s Nothing To Do!  – Dav Petty

Loved this third book in the Frog series!  (I Don’t Want to Be a Frog! and I Don’t Want to Be Big! are the first two).  This Frog cracks me up, and all three books will have kids laughing out loud.  This book features Frog dealing with boredom and, while his friends make lots of suggestions, turns out that sometimes nothing is the best thing to do! Sweet message and great voice.

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Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt

Wow!  LOVE this book.  The story follows two young children who are curious about why they look the way they do wand why other people look how they do.  It is a celebration of diversity and humanity, about love and compassion for one another, despite color of skin or our appearance.  I’m using it tomorrow with my grade 2’s and 3’s as we explore self identity.  Love the deep-thinking questions and the powerful message.

THinking Cap

Sarabella’s Thinking Cap – Judy Schachner

Loved this book for so many reasons.  One – the illustrations are GORGEOUS (I predict a Caldecott nomination!) Second – the story about a girl who has trouble focusing because she spends so much time in her “Imagination Pocket” – is one that many children will be able to connect to.  Third – the supportive teacher who helps her design her own “thinking cap” which helps transform her creative imagination into something visible.  A wonderful story celebrating daydreaming, imagination, and one great teacher!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lots of great books out there for you to share!  Hope you found one that you can share in your classroom!  Happy reading, everyone!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2017 releases, Canada, Connect, Diversity, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Writing Strategies

IMWAYR – First New Picture Books of 2017!

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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

I haven’t posted a IMWAYR for a while…but I have been reading LOTS of new books!  So this Monday,  I’m happy to be sharing the first picture books of 2017!

A Greyhound and a Groundhog – Emily Jenkins

Delightful word playful, tongue twisting story about an energetic greyhound and a rolly-poly groundhog.  Charming illustrations and so much fun to read out loud.

Pen Pals – Alexandra Pichard

An octopus and an ant are paired up to write letters for a school project in this charming picture book.  Charming letters and lovely surprise ending.

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day – Lane Smith

This book will be released on Valentine’s Day but I had a chance to read an advance copy and I loved it!  Lane Smith is such a clever writer.  This book is a delight – funny, charming and sweet.  All the animals and insects are having a perfect day, that is, until Bear comes along!

XO, OX A Love Story – Adam Rex

Charming book about a smelly ox and a refined gazelle writing letters to each other. Whimsical illustrations and beautiful prose and a perfect one to add to your Valentine’s collection.

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Hug it Out! – Louis Thomas

Fun story about siblings who are made to “hug it out” whenever they fight.  So to avoid another “icky hug”, they agree to call a truce.   Great story for conflict-resolution and for making connections to siblings spats!

Wolf in the Snow – Matthew Cordell

Care, kindness, cooperation, and discovery fill this delightful, almost wordless picture book about a little girl who gets lost in a snow storm, paralleled with a wolf pup who is lost in the same storm.  Oh, this  is a lovely book.

Egg – Kevin Henkes

This graphic novel format for very young readers is about 4 different colored eggs – three of them hatch and one doesn’t.  What to do?  Simple repeating text, large bold illustrations – another winner by Kevin Henkes.

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling – Timothy Basil Ering

This is truly an unexpected and heart-warming story that I adored. It is fantastical tale of a farmer, a gentle old lady, a dancing dog, and one brave, tiny duckling.   Gorgeous illustrations and thrilling adventure story – this book is a must read and must share. (Loved Frog Belly Rat Bone – but I think I love this one more!)

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

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Filed under 2017 releases, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Valentine's Day

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.

cold-snap

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.

Image result for mitten tree art lessons

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

Image result for cardinal bird art for kids

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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Filed under Art, Top 10 Tuesday