Monday May 18th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo perfectly captures what happens when a new, impatiently waited for title arrives in our classroom library! An instant list posted to the cover and a happy little smirk for the first reader!

Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

I wasn’t able to post a #IMWAYR post last week so this post captures two weeks of reading.

Favourite picture books (fiction and nonfiction)

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

One of those read alouds that must begin again as soon as it ends – this isn’t the story it first appears to be. Adorable, hilarious and full of delight.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Have You Seen my Monster? by Steve Light

There are monsters everywhere – look very closely. You might also find a triangle, a circle and a quatrefoil. Yes, really.

Have You Seen my Monster? Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

A chicken. With arms. Wings? Nope, none of those. Henny learns to embrace her unique possibilities. Quirky but sweet.

Henny Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Is your stuffed animal watching you? This little koala just might be. An odd little book about a stuffed creature that is not beloved but is everywhere.

I Don't Like Koala Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I, Fly The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

Wow, such learning happens when a fly arrives to plead his interest quotient to a bunch of children studying butterflies. Such voice! I can’t wait to share this with a class.

I, Fly Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva

So very, very clever.

Outstanding in the Rain Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. I am in more than a little bit of awe.

A Fine Dessert Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne. Papa Emu plays a starring role in this nonfiction title. Read my review here.

Emu Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites by Kellen Hatanaka

There is a commercial I have seen a few times that celebrates a driving experience that has the children in the back seat fully plugged into their devices while the parents sit peacefully in the front seat pleased as can be to be avoiding noise, arguments, etc. from their children. While I will admit to ordering my children at times to “Be quiet!” I don’t want them zoned out on a device while we are in the car. I would prefer that they are watching the passing scenery, drawing or listening to an audio book. Even, oh my goodness, using the time to think and be. So I love this book that honours the view out the window and connection to the world as we travel through it. Tuned out to be tuned in is not my idea of the way things should be. Look out the window and notice! This book gives one a great starting point for lots of examples.

Drive- A Look at Roadside Opposites Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

In novels, I read . . .

A graphic title

Zita The Space Girl by Ben Hatke

I don’t always love graphic novels with lots of adventure and action. But this one? It’s a keeper! I now want all three titles for my classroom collection.

Zita The Space Girl Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Yes, it is really as good as you’ve heard. Beautifully written, beautifully imagined. An absolute must, must read!

Echo Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

I read this in almost one sitting. One family, almost completely cut off from the rest of the world have their lives shaped and controlled by a step-father’s prophecies about the future. What happens when the one who protects might also put you at risk? How can one boy live a double life? Haunting. Upsetting. Utterly addictive.

Watch the Sky Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

A story about family and connection, grief and moving on. Ari and her older brother Gage are basically homeless – couch surfing and staying in shelters while trying to turn their lives into something stable with a real future. The secrets, the instability, the worries are huge. Can they keep their little family together and still hope for the future? I couldn’t put this one down.

 Paper Things Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Shadowhand Convenant by Brian Farrey

I read this title aloud to my children. We read the first in the trilogy about a year ago and were completely captured by these unique characters in such a fresh fantasy story. This story continued to keep us guessing right until the last pages.

Shadowhand Covenant Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 188/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 10/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 40/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 18/50 books read

Up Next? Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin My children and I waited (and waited and waited some more) for the 3rd title in The Books of Beginning trilogy to be released. Finally, it is here and so we are happily reading The Black Reckoning by John Stephens. The Emerald Atlas was published in 2011 and The Fire Chronicle published in 2012 so as you can see, our wait was long!

Celebration: Little appreciations

This week I am celebrating the little things. The little things that are noticed every day. Quietly appreciated. Simple and soothing. These are the things that just make everything right.

 Celebration There's a Book for That

Five little appreciations currently on my mind:

  • Picking up holds at the public library. Each book contains more than a story, it holds nuances of experience. Even though I don’t know the other readers who have already or will still read each story I read, I feel like we are sharing something.
  • Garden spaces that I walk by everyday. Right now front yards, back lanes and boulevards are exploding in colour and various shades of green. I particularly love the lavender, huge allium heads bursting out and hosta leaves unfurling.
  • Coffee jostling in our school cafeteria every morning. Staff shift in and out to grab coffee. There is time for snippets of conversation. Morning smiles and hugs from students eating breakfast remind us all about the strength of our school community.
  • Writers in my room. So many students have so much more confidence. Voice is developing. The ideas that are communicated are full of wisdom and curiosity and new perspective.
  • Laundry on the line. I love watching clothing shift with the breeze, the smell of course evokes decades of memories and the slight screech of the clothesline as I reel in clothes reminds me to slow down and be in the moment. There is something about doing a task that I have been doing since I was a child that is so grounding.

I celebrate these lucky little things that are mine with much appreciation.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.celebrate-link-up

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Emu

Recently I shared details of my fascination for Australian animals when I wrote about Big Red Kangaroo written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne. I immediately preordered their next title – Emu which was just released in North America in April (Candlewick Press 2015) Little did I know that I am absolutely enchanted by the emu but after reading this nonfiction book, I am. Fully and completely! These tall, flightless birds are the second largest birds in the world and are found only in Australia.

Emu NFPB 2015 There's a Book for That

Byrne’s illustrations are so appealing. The emu’s feathers look as if they have been dipped in gold dust under the Australian sun. Grassland is dry and rugged. Shadows of trees, black silhouettes in the burning sunlight or pale blue hints of branches and leafy canopies. Papa emu has a starring role in this story of emu hatchlings from birth to adulthood.

I learned so much! Some highlights:

  • The emu father is completely responsible for raising the emu fledglings. As soon as the eggs are laid, the female has nothing more to do with hatching or raising the young birds.
  • The male emu spends 8 weeks on the nest, seldom leaving. During this time, without food or drink, he can lose up to 22 pounds.
  • Emu chicks are born with brown and cream stripes perfect for blending in to the grasslands where they find food and shelter
  • Adult emus can outrun most predators and will fight only if cornered.
  • Adult emus are often solitary but are known as inquisitive birds.

I can see this book being used in a variety of ways in the classroom. Read it aloud and have students

  • compare ostriches and emus in a venn diagram
  • list fascinating facts and complete a new knowledge web or organize information into an informative paragraph
  • draw and label an emu habitat
  • draw and label (with important details) the emu’s body
  • chart various ways emu fathers protect their young from predators (strategies for evading eagles, coyotes and goannas are explained in the book)
  • complete an emu art piece in its habitat – I can see gorgeous pieces being done with watercolours and chalk pastel for accent
  • inspire an inquiry project to discover what other species have males that take on such an important role in nurturing and raising young

Rich topics of discussion this book will inspire: nesting habits of birds, survival in various habitats, Australian animals, Australian eco systems, predator/prey dynamics, raising young, etc.

I really hope that author and illustrator have plans to collaborate again and create another book about a different Australian animal.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Celebration: It all adds up

We all know that finding reasons to celebrate becomes even more necessary when there are lots of reasons to despair. Words have associations for me. Despair is a drain in a rainstorm. Celebration is light but full of energy. Leaps. Twirls and whirls.

Moment by moment. Tiny and full. We can choose to walk through our weeks gathering the energy to remain in the place to celebrate.

There is some sadness in my room. Some weighty things that are hard. But I collected the light and there is much that is joyful. It all adds up to many reasons to smile.

Sharing some of them here :-)

We had a week of hiphop dancing with the brilliant Kimberly Stevenson from The Happening Dance Studio here in Vancouver. One morning I arrived at school to see an impromptu early morning rehearsal going on. Students all helping each other with their steps.

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

How I love the artists in my room. We have started hanging up our whale art inspired by the book Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim. Placed next to each other, we have a beautiful under the sea collage happening.

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Buddy reading is always a highlight of our week. I caught this little guy mid bellow – the best kind of carried away laughing there is!

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Here are my dancers! Showing me their silly just before our big performance. Dance teacher Kim is right in there with us. How we adore her!

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Some little notes of gratitude for Kim :-)

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Flowers for Mamas.

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Community. Posing with black and white hearts and a little bit of playground play on Friday afternoon. These pictures are for a thank you to Kim, our hip hop teacher which will be on our class blog.

Celebration: It all adds up There's a Book for That

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.celebrate-link-up

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection

Many thanks to Alyson Beecher, Melissa Stewart and Margie Culvers who answered my call when I asked for favourite titles on the theme of endangered and extinct animals. Their suggestions helped me collect more books to share with my students. We have been reading through many of these titles and it has led to lots of writing, talk and rich questions.

I thought I would share my list with all of you here and welcome suggestions for more titles if you have some to add. Please share in the comments section. I chose 20 titles that I have, will or could share with a Grade 3/4 class.

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins

Almost Gone Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Abayomi The Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma- The True Story of an Orphaned cub Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

can we Save the Tiger? Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

 Ape Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

SkyDiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Tale of a Great White Fish: A Stugeon Story by Maggie De Vries illustrated by Renné Benoit 

Tale of a Great White Fish Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Higgins Bond 

Place for Butterflies Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

sloth Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ice Bear (In the Steps of the Polar Bear) written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Gary Blythe

ice bear Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan

here come the humpbacks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Wandering Whale Sharks by Susumu Shingu

Wandering Whale Sharks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Galapagos George Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jimmy the Joey by Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly

Jimmy the Joey Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! Written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Annie Patterson

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange  *creatures that are NOT endangered but survivors POEMS

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Monday May 4th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo was taken during my book club meeting on Thursday at lunch. We had a visitor from a Grade 1 student who decided to read a picture book to the group. He started with Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and then moved onto Todd Parr books. He had a captive audience who loved it! We watched the magic of picture books delight students of all ages :-)

Monday May 4th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayr

This has been a busy Sunday and I have only a few moments to share some of my reading for the past week. So I am just sharing a quick selection of titles I have read: an early picture book, a nonfiction title, an early chapter book and a novel.

What’s Your Sound HOUND the HOUND? by Mo Willems

I love these simple picture books for beginning readers. They are perfect for our buddy reading collection.

What's Your Sound Hound the Hound? Monday May 4th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

This was our Friday p.m. read aloud. A beautiful, lyrical story with stunning paintings by Wendell Minor. Students appreciated the happy outcome and the detailed back matter for additional information. We just did art pieces featuring humpback whales so students are feeling particularly connected.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue Monday May 4th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Life of TY Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle

Love this chapter book series! The cat under the bed, full bladder, Dustbuster scene is hilarious!

The Life of TY Penguin Problems Monday May 4th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

This is some book. Emotional. Meaningful. Centred on family and truths and lots of sugar.

 Twinkie Pie Monday May 4th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next? I am reading Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard and have started Jack by Liesl Shurtliff as a classroom read aloud!

Reading and responding: A Boy and a Jaguar

When I first read A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien, I closed it, took a deep breath, opened it up and read it again. And then I began to think about sharing it with my students. Soon, I thought about it so much, I bought a copy for my classroom and finally, as part of a study about endangered animals, I am reading it aloud.

As we do in our room, we are taking our time with this title. There is much to share and discuss. We are now two thirds of the way through and our word list (recorded on a sticky note on the inside cover) is getting long: voice, stuttering, broken, fluently, promise, protected area, hunters, capture and release, Belize, endangered, wild . . . 

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

So far, we have talked a lot. What is it like to stutter? What makes a difference for Alan? Why does being around animals have such impact? What is his promise all about? Why does he feel so broken?

Students were honestly appalled that Alan was excluded from his classroom community. Many of them talked a lot about this. Lots of questions. Lots of upset.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

The children also felt sad that Alan continued to feel “broken” despite learning to speak without stuttering.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

On this page, one child shared: “I think he has been told this so many times about himself, he doesn’t know how to feel differently.”

When the talk is powerful, the writing is powerful. Full of both passion and compassion.

Some student responses from this part in the story:

“I think he feels sad and lonely. His parents help him buy help from doctors. I wouldn’t want to be judged. I think the boy feels comfortable around the jaguars and hopeful and happy. He feels right talking to animals.”

“Alan was a little boy. He was stuttering. My class, we talked with each other about how he stuttered. It is sad having no friends. He is probably very lonely. Maybe he just sits on a chair and reads a book and minds his business. I think he goes to the zoo to see the jaguar and maybe this makes him stop stuttering.”

“If I was the boy, I think I know the cure because if he doesn’t talk when he talks to animals, so when he’s talking to people, he should imagine an animal. I think he should try practicing by talking to his parents. Of if he is shy, he could face his fears. I think he can always feel sad at school because he keeps stuttering and he has no friends.

“This book is about how Alan stuttered and his teacher would put him in time out or away because she thought he was broken. So he thought he was broken. But the good thing is that he could talk to animals without stuttering and he could sing. I wonder if he still stutters now? I think he can talk to animals because they don’t make fun of him and he really liked talking to jaguars. His Dad took him to the big cat’s cage probably so he can be happy because he likes talking to jaguars.”

“Alan’s life was hard when he was young. He stuttered. There was no cure and he was told he would be a stutterer for life. He figured out that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals. Maybe if he told the teachers that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals, he would get through a special course with animals involved.”

“We’re reading a new book and I really like it so far. It’s called A Boy and a Jaguar. It’s about a boy who is a stutterer and he has a hard time talking to people but he can speak smoothly when he’s singing (but he says it’s not very good) and he can speak fluently when he speaks to his pets. Yes, that’s right, pets with a “s”. He’s got more than one pet. He’s got a turtle, a snake and . . . I forget the rest. It must have been hard for him thinking that he doesn’t fit in and that the teachers say he’s broken. When they say that to him, he questions himself “Am I broken?” But deep down Alan has to remember that he is not broken. He’s different in his own way. Everybody is different and the same and that’s why you don’t judge someone because if you put yourself in a stranger’s footsteps, you would actually know what their life is like. Alan makes a promise to his many pets that when he finds his voice, he would help his animals and animals in general. It’s toughing to read about a boy and that animals change his life. That’s why we shouldn’t treat animals horribly.”

We continued to read about how Alan went to Belize and studied jaguars. He was given 15 minutes to present to the government of Belize that they should make a protected area for jaguars. We stopped here and wrote again.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

Some more writing:

“I wonder if he is worrying because he won’t be able to convince them? Is he going to stutter when he is talking? I wonder if he is saying to himself, ” I have to do this.””

“I wonder if he still studies animals. I feel bad for the animals because they’re being hunted still today. I hope that Alan did not stutter to the government. I’m worried in 15 minutes he will stutter. I think he gots butterflies in his stomach and I think he’s nervous.”

“Alan goes to the Smoky Mountains to study black bears. Then he does his promise because he found his voice to go study and learn more about jaguars because he was the first person to study jaguars in Belize. That country is really poor so it will take lots of convincing power to build a jaguar sanctuary. I think he will think what he is going to say through and not stutter but maybe a minor stutter. I think he is nervicited (new word).”

“It’s sad to hear in this book that jaguars are in danger. I hope they don’t get extinct. Why do people do this? They kill animals for a shiny trophy? That’s not fair. Animals are just like humans. They care for their babies like humans do. Animals drink water, they eat like humans do. Humans are killing more animals than animals attack humans. Did you know that humans kill hundreds and hundreds of sharks year after year for their skin, their fins and even for medicine.”

“If I was him, I would write a script before I go to speak to the government because then I can speak properly and it has a better chance of no stuttering. I wonder if Alan will stutter? I wonder how Alan feels because I think he’s very nervous and worried.”

“When Alan knew that the hunters were on the loose, he wanted to find somewhere for them to be safe so he went to the Prime Minister. He only had 15 minutes. He seemed pretty nervous. He kept his promise that he made to animals. Hunters were trying to kill the jaguars so they are endangered. I hope that the Prime Minister says yes. It says he feels broken. At first I didn’t understand but then I thought and I got it. I think he feels pretty sad that animals like jaguars are dying.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

I look forward to the continued conversations and thinking from my students as we finish this book this week.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015