Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 2017

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 2015

With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

60% chance of rain: Slice of Life #27

Tomorrow we return to work after two weeks away. I have a rough plan for the day. I went in twice over the break to clean and organize so an extra strong coffee and an early arrival should ensure that the day will flow.

Mostly, I have been checking the weather. What is going to be going on mid afternoon? Because by mid afternoon, we will all need a break. Despite my plans to ease back and take it slow, by 2 p.m., we will need to move. The kind of moving that involves fresh air, the chance to yell and the chance to run.

This is the most important thing on my day plan tomorrow.

Math is on there. We will do some number puzzles. Some partner games. Remind ourselves that we can do some tricky equations and problem solve without picking up a pencil. Pages of unanswered questions are not going to stare us down.

There will be time to write. About a picture book we need to finish. About our break if we so choose. Or to the author of the novel we finished for book club. The beginning of a story? There will be some options. But here, we will put pencil to paper.

Of course, we will read. And of course, I will book talk. We need to rev up the book excitement once more. So Reading Workshop will be extra long. Time to record our spring break reading. Time to reacquaint ourselves with the contents of our book boxes. Time to shop the shelves. Lots of time to read!

I will read aloud. Little bits all throughout the day. Our novel of course because it’s been two weeks and I was begged not to stop the last time I read it. Two weeks! A picture book for #classroombookaday because it’s not a regular day without a picture book. The title we were reading about residential schools and didn’t quite finish. There is time for this.

We need time to visit. Time to smile at each other. Time to walk in circles. Time to notice. Just time.

This is not a day for starting new. Not a day to be overwhelmed. It’s a day to do some work and get outside and run off the back to routine energy that won’t quite feel right. The most important part of our day will be to get out of the building. As a group. To race about and laugh and whoop.

And there’s a 60% chance of rain.

Hoping everyone brings a rain jacket.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

Missing primary: Slice of Life #26

Missing primary: Slice of Life #26

Confiscated lego. Paper hearts. Lineup drama. Finger spaces between words.

The land of primary. I miss it.

I miss the affected sneers and huge put on grumpy faces.

I miss the toothless smiles. Rosy cheeks. Shy grins

I miss sticky out pony tails and falling out braids.

I miss the giggles. The shushing. The tattling and the denial.

The wide eyes and the gasps at the smallest of things which often turn out to be the biggest of things.

Unabashed asking.

“Are you married?” “Who’s your husband?” “How much money do you have?”

I miss the repeating. The asking and telling again and again and again.

I miss sparkle dresses. Hairbands. Droopy tights. Polka dots.

I miss yellow rain jackets. Broken umbrellas. Muddy layers.

I miss new reader pride. Pages that take forever. Not breathing through one long stretched out sentence.

I miss little hands reaching for mine. Spontaneous singing. Silly little poems.

I miss stompy feet that seek out puddles. Dancing. Prancing. Spinning in circles.

I miss messy play. Toppled towers. Imagined lands. Race car lanes.

I miss the ease of imagination. The willingness to believe. The joy.

Paint splotches. Standing on chairs. Untied shoelaces.

I miss the love. The mush. The gush.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

Shopping: Slice of Life #25

Shopping: Slice of Life #25

I spent much of the day shopping with my daughter. We went with things we needed in mind and came back with none of it. Ironically, we celebrated how well we did. Part of me celebrated that it was over.

I love the idea of shopping much more than the actual experience of it. The usual outcome: less money, tired feet and uncertainty about a bunch of things I will not care about in a day. Doesn’t seem worth it. Perhaps this is age.

I find I am usually only attracted to the colour and pattern of new styles hanging in windows. The styles themselves? Much less often. I like greens I wouldn’t wear. Florals on black. Rusty colours I could give amazing names to – burnt something or other, sienna, cactus flower. I’m not sure what any of those might be but I like to imagine. Again, the idea of all of this is quite wonderful. Much more wonderful than the doing of it: the traipsing from store to store, choosing things, trying things on, standing in lines.

The actual styles often confuse me. How can one hem on a pair of jeans be so popular this season when nobody thought twice about it in another? This no shoulder thing? Oh my. Wrapped skirts, wrapped shirts, wrapped this and wrapped that look all too confusing. And the silhouette of boxy cropped shirts. Yeah. Well.

This is me. Old, I remind you. Can’t keep up. Can’t be bothered to.

Not to say I don’t like fashion. I do. But my fashion sense seems to be summed up by this rule: find something that works and hit repeat. When I shop, I gravitate towards the same things over and over in slightly different variations.

Really long sweaters. Huge scarves. Sleeveless tunics. Dresses I would never wear with bare legs. I like linen. Jersey. Cotton. Never wool. Wrinkles that should be there. Too much grey. Natural colours – muted, nothing bright. Anything printed in serious moderation and ideally, amusing. Ravens on scarves. Giraffes on a silk sleeveless blouse I found at the consignment shop. A blue dress with tiny white stars that can be mistaken as dots. The perfect black everything: summer dress, silky T-shirt, slouchy cardigan. All of this worn over skinny jeans. Ideally soft and worn in. I am constantly searching for the army green jacket that will be my favourite. I have some that come kind of close. I buy too many sandals and not enough closed toed shoes even though it rains here for half the year or more. I have too many over sized bags. No small purses. But I do own the perfect tiger eye ring I have been wearing for decades.

My favourite things have come with me through years and have stories. I keep coming up with new reasons and ways to wear them so that they remain my favourites. Other things that don’t seem to fit my style, I am happy to give up after a season, wondering why I ever liked it to begin with.

My purchases today? Another pair of skinny jeans – soft and grey. A blue linen like dress perfect to wear over pants. Something black and sleeveless – you might call it a dress. I call it a tunic. Sandals for my daughter. Even though today was all about rain. So we also bought her a summer dress. And shorts.

Of course.

How well we did!

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

So far: Slice of Life #24

So far: Slice of Life #24

A spring trip to an island. A month of writing. Staring at the sea. Mornings full of words. Walks for the sake of wandering. Somewhere between now and years from now and long ago.

This March feels so like last March.

Yet it is so very far away.

I have come from held together with faith and fear and wishes. I walked months and months being sure sometimes of just the next step. In other moments I was certain about years worth of knowing. Both things pulled me through. Walking forward and pure conviction. I was wise and true and right.

This would carry me.

And it did.

Despite all of the future ambiguity, I knew what I knew. And it was something.

I eventually packed boxes and boxes of books and a few other things.

Plants. Special rocks. A wooden boat that was sailing me out.

I brought along the knowledge that had carried me. I spent last March writing about it all. Collecting it in one place. Giving it titles. Exploring its depths and how far it stretched. Unravelling it on the page, I could sift through and pick up the shiny bits.

Hold them up to all kinds of light. Dim. Fading. Bright and true.

I was calmed. Delighted. Constantly sad. Full of grief. Restless as hell.

I made certain that other things didn’t accompany me. Particular things. I turned literally in circles looking down and brushing off to make sure nothing attached like a sticky burr full of wayward seeds ready to find new growing ground.

Nothing was going to cling unannounced to make me stuck going forward. Or make me stall when I needed to flee. If I could have made some things tangible, I would have boxed them in crates. Wrapped them in twine. Stuck on labels: “To stay” “Not wanted” “Discard”

My words from a year ago speak to me in so many different ways. I remember the secrets they were trying not to keep. I am struck by their searching. I smile at their joy. Over and over and over again they celebrated all that I loved about the children I taught for two incredible decades.

So far.

One year is so far away.

Now that I can mark time like this, I can use it to make travel back and forth be a safe journey.

There is there and there is here.

I can wander back and return all in one piece.

Wandering through a month of writing. Brings me so far.

Between now and not so long ago.

 

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

Rain: Slice of Life #23

My family and I are tourists in another city. We spent the morning wandering. Down near the water. Through alleys and main streets. In and out of stores and shops. Drawn in by something in the window, the smell of fresh baked bread and one dappled Great Dane pup that charmed us all. We didn’t buy much. Coffee. Then lunch. That bread for our dinner. Books of course. Always books. One perfect chocolate each in the chocolate shop. Raspberry. Ginger. Butter Cream.

In the bookstore, I read Rain by Sam Usher. This is one gorgeous book. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. Torrential rain that can’t be escaped has never looked quite so beautiful. The weather today called for rain and I was reminded that we had been spared. Our walk was pleasant. The weather mild. The sun made in and out appearances from behind the clouds. We had our second cup of coffee with sweets sitting outside on a back alley patio admiring planters and wondering where stairs led and what was behind each door. No rain today.

After lunch, we dropped bread and books back at the hotel and set out to walk for hours in the nearby park.

Within minutes it was drizzling. We come from rain. Drizzle is nothing. Most things we wear are meant to endure some water. This is the Pacific Northwest. Wet. Damp. Misty. Clean. We know rain. This was a meek attempt. We barely hesitated. Truth be told, we marched boldly over hills we didn’t know drawn by quacking ducks and a daffodil path all in bloom.

The drizzle picked up.

We raised hoods and quickened our step. There is always the shelter of trees.

A family was feeding the ducks. Which you aren’t supposed to do. But wow, those ducks. Mallard iridescent greens. Fifty ducks toddling across the grass is a sight to see.

A deluge replaced the drizzle. Huge drops. Soaked through in minutes, we ran to a structure where we could stand under a roof to escape. The wind picked up. There was no warm.

The next ten minutes was a back and forth between our fourteen-year-old son and us.

“We’ll just wait here until it lets up.”

“Oh my God. Let’s just go back now.”

“It won’t stay this steady.”

“Like we aren’t always in the rain.”

One duck waddled about in a nearby bush. Unbothered.

We got colder.

Eventually, the seeped in wet was too much and we stepped back into the downpour. Lessening now, because it does let up.

We know rain.

The cold and soaked feeling is familiar. As is the brighter green. The sweet smell of wet soil. The sound of rain splatter in the streets.

A warm room and dry clothes fix everything.

A view of a misty city.

Full of puddles.

The aftermath of rain that can’t be escaped.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22

I like quiet

Dreamy books whose words are soft and slow and sure

Spring flowers that calmly reveal themselves

The pale pink of the cherry blossoms

Falling on the sidewalk like pink snow when the wind picks up

Covering the mud and the cracks and the everyday gray

For those few magical hours

Willing everyone who walks there to be slower

Enchanted

I like quiet

White clouds that drift across the sky line

Not bothered that it is the slivers of blue that are celebrated

Branches that sway to a noiseless rhythm

Laundry on the line

A stack of books

A pile of leaves

One yellow slug at the beginning of the path

Quiet

Long scarves that wrap up like a blanket

Music that is a barely there blur

Rings that don’t clink but twist and turn

In habitual circles

Noticed or not

Tiptoes

Whispers

Expressive eyebrows

Knowing smiles

Quiet

Quiet like warm coffee that is drunk not slurped

An empty room before everyone shows up

Waiting

Knowing.

Remembering

Thoughts that lead you away and within

A watchful crow

Silent instead of squawking

Morning light that wakes the world

The smell just before it rains

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.