Monday September 15th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

The picture books I enjoyed this week:

Loula is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve

How delightful is this little title? Loula is done with her brothers (triplets! can you imagine?) and has decided she is running away to Africa. Luckily the family chauffeur knows the way . . . Full of adventure and kindness.

 Loula is leaving for Africa #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 15th 2014

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid

Such a treat for the senses. Calming and inspiring at the same time. Surprised it’s taken me a while to get to this book. Now, of course, I want my own copy.

 Picture a Tree #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 15th 2014

The Big Adventure of the Smalls by Helen Stephens

I know that if we had had this book when my children were teeny, it would have been part of our nightly story time ritual. A read again and again and again title. What child wouldn’t love a sneaky adventure in and amongst an adult dinner party?

The Big Adventure of the Smalls #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 15th 2014

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings Written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Just so beautiful. The text, wow . . . The illustrations, swoon. So thankful I purchased this title. It now sits on my night table so I can reread favourite poems and passages. While I love all of these poems rather passionately, Starting Now might be my favourite.

What the Heart Knows #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 15th 2014

I also finished Revolution by Deborah Wiles

I have been raving about this book all day – at a rally for public education, to a friend on the street and then to my mother in law at dinner. Wow.

Where do I start with this incredible story? Maybe the best bet is how I captured its essence in less than 140 characters. Easily one of my favourite titles of 2014.

Revolution #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 15th 2014

Next up? I am reading Hostage Three by Nick Lake

I will admit that my nerves are still shot and I am not doing the reading I would like to be doing. I am worried about my students. (more here) I want to be working. I am tired of walking around a sidewalk. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Strikes are terrible. Plain and simple.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 61/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 416/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 106/65 complete

Celebration: Acts of Kindness

So, let’s get the big questions over with quickly:

Still on strike? Yes. (23 days on the picket line now . . . )

Still sane? Debatable.

Still celebrating? Indeed. When I can’t do this, it is really bad.

This week I celebrate the small and big acts of kindness that have helped me get through, helped me smile and helped me feel gratitude to the wonderful people in my life – some friends and some strangers.

In no particular order (and I am sure I have missed a few), here are the kind gestures that I treasured this week.

 Celebration: Acts of Kindness There's a Book for that

  • A very dear friend took me for lunch at her son’s restaurant. Delicious food, impeccable service and a lovely few hours of conversation and connecting.
  • My husband gets up every morning and makes me strong coffee, even on the days when my morning starts much earlier than his.
  • Another teacher that I actually first met on twitter has been sharing some wonderful insight and optimism with me this week. I even have permission to call her at 4 a.m. if I can’t sleep with worry over all of this and she will “talk me through” it. Wow.
  • I get almost daily Luna kisses from this beautiful dog (pictured above) as she is out for her daily walk past our school/picket line. Isn’t she gorgeous? I appreciate that her owners always say goodbye with some variation of this, “Well, nice to see you but hope we don’t see you again.” While it is wonderful to connect with new people (and animals), these circumstances are far from ideal.
  • I have another favourite visitor that walks by and stops for a visit everyday. This one is of the little person variety and is usually accompanied by Mom or Dad and adorable baby brother. We talk books, brothers and various other things. She arrived one day in a gorgeous outfit (from India I think) that her Dad had bought for her. I commented that she looked much more amazing than me and that I would love a similar outfit in my size. The next day she looked me up and down and said, “I think today that you look much better than I do.” I have carried this wonderfully genuine compliment with me all week!
  • I am especially grateful to one man who walked by with his dog and at our request “stayed near” for an extra 5 minutes. It was yesterday on the picket line early in the morning. Nobody was around and our line consisted of three women. We asked for this “support” because behind him we spotted a gentleman walking down the sidewalk who had made some nasty comments to us back in June. While he stayed with his dog and talked, the man walked right by. Unfortunately, after he left, the “unpleasant” man returned. We had to endure an ugly three minutes or so of verbal aggression and physical intimidation. It was bad. But, our “people” rallied around us and now we will have a male teacher on the early morning shift next week (if we are still out . . . ) In all of this, the kindness of strangers shone above the cruelty of one.

celebrate-link-up

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. Despite our busy days, time is always found to share what we celebrate. It’s like passing a virtual gratitude stone!

Monday September 8th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I read a real range of titles this week. My favourites:

Everybody Bonjours! written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy

A simple little picture book that is a great reminder about how important it is to learn a few words of the language when one goes to visit a new country. Being able to greet people with a hello and a big smile goes a long way.

Everybody Bonjours! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid

Perfect for those readers just beginning chapter books. Judy Moody helps her friend solve a mystery. Well sort of . . . A wonderful surprise at the end. I bought a handful of copies of this book and in the spring my students held a little reading club to read this title together. Hope more in the series are on their way.

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission written by Judith Viorst tand illustrated by Kevin Cornell

I adore Lulu. I love her cheeky nature, her creativity, her misbehaviour and her unintended failures. Of course, Viorst writes with such voice. Another delightful book in this series!

Lulu's Mysterious Mission #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

I learned so much from reading this book: how inspirational and transformative Tesla was with not only his invention of electricity but also how much his inventions have shaped modern life as we know it. I also had no idea about his rivalry with Thomas Edison and how Edison treated Tesla who had viewed him as a hero. Fantastic scientific notes in the back of the book give so many more details for the eager reader. Perfect title for intermediate students.

Electrical Wizard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

I am very excited to share this book with my students. It is the perfect introduction to microbes – making sense of a confusing concept in a way that allows students to understand aspects of the microscopic world. Wonderful illustrations by Sutton compliment the engaging style Davies writes in.

Tiny Creatures #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Yikes, I am slipping on my reading goals. One would think being on strike would afford me a lot of time. Unfortunately, I use up a lot of time reading articles, blog posts and twitter communications about B.C. Education trying to figure out what the heck is happening. Not sure why I bother sometimes. The constant and unchanging news? We are on strike. Yes, there is lots of drama and mud slinging, but in the end, I spend too much time walking circles on a sidewalk.

I am however almost finished Revolution by Deborah Wiles. It is so very, very good.

Hoping for more reading time next week. My mind needs distraction!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 411/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 106/65 complete

Celebration: Voice

I think if you arrive at my blog on a Celebration Saturday and I am sharing news that the strike has ended and I am back in my classroom, you will have to close your eyes and plug your ears. Somehow, I will have figured out how to install a brass band and fireworks exploding everywhere as soon as you click on the link.

But today, is obviously not that day. Monday, I will be on a picket line for the eighteenth day since May of this year (rotating strike days with full scale walk out beginning mid June) and have sat through two study session days organized by my union, which confirmed, if I hadn’t figured it out that we are really truly on strike.

There are weeks where I shed a few tears trying to dig deep and find something to celebrate.

But. Breathing deep, here I go. I still have the power to find things despite my sadness.

 Celebrate: Voice

This week, I celebrate voice. There is so much feeling out of control in prolonged job actions. This week, I was invited into the CBC studios a few times to talk about how low income children are faring during this strike. I am very concerned about my students and their well being. It felt many shades of right to be able to talk about it. I am grateful to both CBC television and CBC radio for sharing this aspect to the strike that many might not be thinking about. The impact on children, especially those most vulnerable, matters.

I do have the clip to the radio segment. If you want to listen, the link is here.

celebrate-link-up

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. Despite our busy days, time is always found to share what we celebrate. It’s like passing a virtual gratitude stone!

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 3)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

This is the final list (3 of 3) where I share thirty titles (ten at a time) of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers. The first ten are here and second ten are here.

Even though I teach primary students, I often come across fantastic nonfiction titles that older students (Grades 4-8) might enjoy. Hope some of these titles are ideal for a reader you know.

The final ten:

 Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Tracking Trash  Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns (published 2007)

Tracking Trash  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin (published 2012)

Island  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez (published 2013)

Electrical Wizard  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Birds of a Feather written by Francesco Pittau and illustrated by Bernadette Gervais  (published 2012)

birds of a feather Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins (published 2011)

Just a Second  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier (published 2010)

 Dave the Potter  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (published 2008)

 River of Words  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis (published 2006)

 The Journey  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry (published 2013)

 Tree Lady  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives written by Elizabeth Rusch with photographs by Tom Uhlman (published 2013)

Eruption  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers 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 2014. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 104/65 complete!

Monday September 1st, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?imwayr

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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

Lots of picture books in my reading week. The ones I loved:

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

I always think that when I read a really fantastic wordless title that I should have many words. But my review is just about raving. This book has everything I love, love, love about picture book magic. Sigh. Soar. Divine.

 The Girl and the Bicycle #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher

I always love books about connections between grandparents and grandchildren. This book is nostalgic and tender. Just lovely.

Mr. Frank  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Give and Take by Chris Raschka

Well, well, well . . . This book holds some great potential for some fascinating philosophical discussion inside of its 32 pages. How far can greed go? What is selfish? Is there a line? What about giving? Can we give too much? Such an interesting little book.

Give and Take  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

My Pet Book by Bob Staake

Bright, book adoration. What can be better?

My Pet Book  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

This book went on a wish list of mine after reading some great reviews. Now I have read the book and am sure I need to get it into my classroom! Delightful is the best way to describe this title. I adore the unique creatures. I am impressed by Julia’s problem solving finesse. And who doesn’t love a journey into someone else’s imagination? Such fun.

 Julia's House for Lost Creatures  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

I did a lot of book store therapy this week. Not book shopping because that is not currently in the cards but bookstore “being” – perusing titles, recommending to friends, making lists. I actually laughed often while reading this book. And I need some laughs. A book that throws the usual “human = owner animal = pet dynamic” on its head. Giggles are underrated.

I'm My Own Dog  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

I loved the illustrations in this book. An incredible hat that grows to accomodate a number of birds come to nest. Themes of loneliness, making friends, growing community.

Mr. Brown's Fantastic Hat  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I also read some fantastic nonfiction titles:

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Everything about this title is inspiration. What a story, first of al,l of a poet that had to share his perspective with the world. This book is full of art and words and images. It nudges the reader – go . . . write . . . share . . . create. A beautiful, beautiful book.

 A River of Words  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Who Was Here? Discovering Wild Animal Tracks by Mia Posada

Loved the guess and read to find out aspect of this story. Would be perfect to share a few pages at a time.

Who Was Here?  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Bizarre Dinosaurs: Some Very Strange Creatures and Why We Think They Got that Way by John Updike and Christopher Sloan

Whoa dinosaurs are wild creatures! This title shares photos of fossils and digitally modeled images along with scientific explanations of why dinosaurs were structured the way they were. Fascinating.

Bizarre Dinosaurs  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I am sick of typing it so you must be sick of reading it but the mess of BC Education is still happening. We still have no contract. The mediator declared an impasse. Tomorrow is NOT the first day of school as it should be. So my reading time has continued to be interrupted by things like remembering to breathe. I am almost finished and thoroughly enjoying Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Hoping to be able to escape into more books this week after picket line shifts and beginning to home school (temporarily I hope) my own children who should be beginning Grade 7 tomorrow.

Happy Reading to all of you. Thank goodness for the land of books!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 406/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 104/65 complete

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat.

If you are a teacher in B.C. right now, you can’t think. Coherence is next to impossible. Logic? Out the window. Just breathing and moving at the same time? Quite remarkable. As I type, both parties involved in the BC Education dispute are holed up with experienced (thank goodness times a thousand) mediator Vince Ready trying to get a negotiated settlement. Which would mean we might actually make it back to school in the month of September. After months of striking, it is more than time. I am not so good at sitting by while huge discussions are happening that impact my life, my children’s lives and the lives of each my students and their families. But sit by, I must.

And the best I can do, is make a list. List making is like one foot in front of the next. One, two, three, four . . . So here we go . . . While everything hangs in the balance and I can barely breathe, I am going to make a list that allows me to slow down and celebrate. Inhale, exhale, here we go.

Right now, I celebrate how very much I love my job. How being a teacher brings me joy. How lucky I am to be part of a classroom community. Let me be back here soon!

I celebrate . . .

 Energy

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Balance

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Pride

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Mentorship

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Expression

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Focus

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Engagement

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Current obsessions

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Play

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

Embracing our Inner Goofy

Celebration: Inhale, exhale. Repeat. There's a Book for That

All of it? The magic I desperately miss.

Do your thing Mr. Ready.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. Despite our busy days, time is always found to share what we celebrate. It’s like passing a virtual gratitude stone!

celebrate link up