Monday July 25th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. My classroom is certainly not full of children and I have repacked many books so that floors can be waxed and shelves can be gathered. So it also looks like it is not full of books! This is what the stack of classroom collection titles looked like when I left them a week ago. Tomorrow I head in to put my read aloud titles (fiction and nonfiction) away in another area of the room where there are shelves and cupboards. Another stack of books in that area awaits me!!

Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

And here is my reading spot last week – out on the balcony with my morning coffee on Pender Island. Just beautiful.

Monday July 25th, 2016 #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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

IMWAYR 2015

On the Blog:

We spent the last week away and so not much blogging has happened. I did manage a few posts since my last #IMWAYR:

Still processing my move in this Slice of Life: Giving away the Guilt

A “listen along” review of Ah-Choo! written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams

Books I enjoyed:

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

I was lucky to have been passed an ARC of this lovely little title when I introduced Melissa Sweet in Bellingham in the spring at the Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference. I saved it (well, there was much peeking) until we went away this summer so I could read it in one sitting. It is fantastically good which, if you read the book is over the top wordy to just say what should be said in plain English: Go buy this book when it is released (October 4th, 2016) and then pass it on to everyone you know to read. That’s how good. As usual, Sweet knocked me over with her detailed illustrations and precisely chosen quotes and text.

Some Writer! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

I have wanted to read this book for a while but avoided it because I was afraid of the stress of experiencing this natural disaster through a young character’s experience. There were some difficult scenes, made especially hard because connecting to the characters happens quickly. A really well done title.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 

This is more of a YA novel even though the young main character of Anna begins the book at eleven years old. This book is philosophical and dark. Full of the challenges, violence  and absurdities of war but wrapped up in the story of only a few characters. As they travel over land, the reader travels in their heads. Such an introspective title. I quite enjoyed it.

Anna and the Swallow Man Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

This book is part fairy tale, part fantasy, part sadness, part mystery. Except not really. It might not be any of those things. It is a story of Finley Hart and one summer where she is sent to live with her extended family she doesn’t know. Captivating. Captured an endless summer feeling – with being at a home with cousins and grandparents and new found friends. Although, there are darker elements. Can see this being a fantastic book club title. Highly recommended.

Some Kind of Happiness Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Yes, really, as good as all of the raving. I fell hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Pax-Sara-Pennypacker Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Some picture books:

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min

I shared more details in my post a week or so ago. See link above.

 Ah-Choo! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

I love how this title celebrates style but also honours the joy of play. Especially wonderful? The characters are beautifully diverse! I loved the illustrations.  Even though this title plays with the Mary Had a Little lamb rhyme, it is the celebration of children that stands out to me here. I can see little ones adoring this book and wanting to hear it multiple times!

Mary Had a Little Glam Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Of course this inspires all kinds of imagining about potential art projects with found objects. for this reason, this title is relevant right into high school even though the story would best be shared during a story time session.

Rain Fish Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliot with illustrations by Mary Peterson

Who doesn’t want to literally lay their hands in the dirt after experiencing this book? Perfect for a classroom of primary students to launch a gardening unit. Introduces the concept that there is much happening in the soil (insects, worms, seeds, etc. )

Dig In! Monday July 25th, 2016 #IMWAYR

 

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 28/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 191/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Cover Ah-Choo! Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

I am delighted to share this rhyming ABC story about the search for the perfect pet – one that doesn’t cause a little sister to sneeze endlessly. A perfect story time title!

I had intended to have my students write reviews of this book but June got ahead of us and we ran out of time. So, next best thing? I recorded our read aloud experience and am sharing the highlights here. Listen in!

Kids: “The end pages are cool! Do you know who all of those footprints belong to?”

Text: “I asked my mom if I could have a pet, or even two. But every time I brought one home, my sister went . . .

Kids: “A-Choo! I know it’s A-Choo! Can we do all of the sneezes if there are lots of them?”

Kids: “Is the sneezing going to be loud? My Dad sneezes really loud.”

Kids: “Some people squeak when they sneeze.”

Kids: “Read more!”

Text  “ . . . . I tried a feathered Emu, plus a Ferret, Goose, and Hen. . . “

Kids: “Hey,  I know what the text is doing! It’s in order! Like the alphabet! ABC order.”

Kids: “And it rhymes. On every page.”

Kids: “Let’s guess the next animals. But what starts with an I . . . ”

Kids: “Igloo!”

Kids: “That’s not an animal! I don’t even know any . . .

Note: The authors introduce us to an Ibis which is a gorgeous long beaked black and white bird. We looked it up!

Kids: “Is the sister allergic? Is that why she sneezes?”

Kids: “Yes, that’s what the book is about.”

Kids: “Maybe she is just sick?

Kids: “No she’s allergic. But can you be allergic to everything like fur? hair? feathers? claws?”

Kids: “Not claws!”

Our conversation then took us on a tangent about what kids are allergic to with animals. Scales? Spit? Snot? Fleas? Sweat? A fascinating topic for 7 and 8 year olds!

Kids: “Can we read?”

Text: ” . . . . . . . Umbrellabirds, and Vultures’ wings caused one big . . . “

Kids: “There are so many birds! Hold on if there are vultures did something die?”

Kids: “Gross! What?”

Kids: “Just read!”

Text: “A Warthog, Weasel, and a Wolf, a Xantis I named Jack, a Yaffle and a Zebra too, I had to take them back.”

Kids: “I don’t even know what a Yaffle is! What is a yaffle?”

Note: A yaffle is a green European woodpecker. We looked that up too! And if you also didn’t know ( as we didn’t) a Xantis is a kind of yak!

We won’t spoil how this ends but suffice it to say this title has huge kid appeal – lots of joining in, lots of guessing and lots to talk about. I imagine this book would have been very popular for buddy reading if we had had extra time in the year! It will go in the buddy reading bin for September!

Ah-Choo! is written by Lana Wayne Koeler and Gloria G. Adams with illustrations by Ken Min (Sterling Children’s Books 2016)

Ah-Choo! Listening in on a read aloud

Thank you to Ardi from Sterling Publishing for a review copy of this title.

Looking for more pet books to share? Some books that would love to be read along side this title.

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

One Word from Sophia

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Prudence-Wants-a-Pet

Spare Dog Parts written by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Ashley Spires

Spare Dog Parts

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

pet for petunia

If I Had a Gryphon written by Vicki VanSickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

If I Had a Gryphon

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zachoriah Ohora

The Pet Project Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

Giving away the guilt: Slice of Life

Giving away the guilt: Slice of Life There's a Book for That

In the last weeks of school I was smiling. Often. Such a decision to leave after staying year after year. I had grieved months ago. I was ready to move on. Ready, while at the same time, firmly attached.

“But aren’t you – well . . . sad?”

I was asked this endlessly. I should have expected this question over and over and over again – being in the middle of leaving a place where parts of me are woven into the walls. Where parts of it are layered onto my skin, like extra pigment, invisible but discernible. Where particular children hold weight in my heart and have carved out acres in my memory.

Working in my school was about so much. Showing up. Bearing witness. Keeping people safe. Caring deeply.

I felt like every day I was handed leaf skeletons in a roaring windstorm and expected to keep them intact. I moved through days knowing that fragile pieces would break and tear away. I spent much time reattaching, repairing damage and having faith that we could heal a shattered mess. And then do more.

Teaching was a part of what I did every day. Leader. Guide. Mentor. Yes, these things. But more often I was metaphorical items from the workshop. The glue. A level. A clamp. Quick drying cement.

I carried stories, tricks and little bits of magic. Charms to help a silent child share. A broken child heal. An empty child begin to fill up.

Responsibility. Urgency. Weight. These things nudged me, yanked me, shoved me through each day. At day’s end, I sifted through the moments and picked some to polish. To place on a table so the sun would find them in its warm, hazy, sure afternoon light.

Leaving is not just finding another place. It is walking away from all of this. It has meant grappling with wanting to feel the happy and light of what is new while I know I am needed where I was.

But I am giving away this guilt. Stepping out of a long gown heavy with layers and gathers. There is a noticeable thud when it hits the floor. I step out one foot at a time and stand firmly on solid ground. Sure. I let the layers float next to me before they drift away. I give my blessing. I have honoured this robe of time and history. I acknowledge that it has power to haunt me. Fiercely. I have accepted its strength. It has conceded that I will let it go. Pardoned me. Forgiven me. Letting me go too. We are gently, but certainly, releasing each other.

I am beginning to be elsewhere.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

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

Monday July 11th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. These were taken during our last week together in June. And these mark the last photos I will take at the school I have taught at for so very long. A little bittersweet.

Reading Elephant and Piggie and giggling along with Piggie and Gerald

Monday July 11th, 2016

Revisiting Dog and Bear stories during buddy reading.

Monday July 11th, 2016

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

On the Blog:

I have been moving: packing, befriending boxes, making messes and thinking of what’s next. So blogging continues to be only here and there but I did manage two Celebration posts in the last few weeks.

Celebration: Readying the room for students

Celebration: Moved! 

Books I enjoyed:

You are One by Sara O’Leary with illustrations by Karen Klassen

Simple and sweet in a lovely not over the top way. The text captures the essence of being one – wow, a lot happens in a little one’s first year. Klassen treats us to images that breathe additional mood and joy into these snippets of this 12 month stage. Babies are beautiful, many ethnicities are captured. Would make a beautiful keepsake gift.

You Are One Monday July 11th, 2016

Ideas are All Around by Philip C. Stead

Every encounter and observation on a simple walk triggers thinking and memories and leads to stories. An ideal mentor text for idea generating.

Ideas Are All Around Monday July 11th, 2016

Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr

I was gifted this at our final assembly in June and will happily include it in my Todd Parr collection. Bright, amusing and full of celebrations of the teacher/student connection.

Teachers Rock Monday July 11th, 2016

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Ratchet has mechanical talents I know I will never have. Ever. Very wonderful to see in a female character. A story about finding many things – friends, identity, family connection and reasons to be committed. An impressive debut novel.

this-journal-belongs-to-ratchet Monday July 11th, 2016

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Oh, these characters. DiCamillo’s characters absolutely charm me every time. There is sadness here but it’s life sadness and the learning and the revelations in these characters makes this such a rich MG read.

raymie nightingale Monday July 11th, 2016

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 24/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 179/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 26/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 21/50 books read

Up next? I am reading  Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

Celebration: Moved!

I have been writing about leaving, packing, saying goodbye and boxes for months. Months and months. And months. All of this writing means lots of processing. Processing means I am in a good place. Calm. Happy. Excited about what’s new. Able to be okay with leaving.

But, to fully arrive, I need to pay tribute one last time to the moving. This time, the actual move. One box at a time. Yes, again, those boxes!

Forgive me book lovers, posts about books will be returning very soon! But when there are lots of books + a move, the end result = lots of boxes.

And this is something to celebrate!

My old classroom with box towers and stacks of things to move.

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

This was the major load in the truck. We also took some things in our vehicle and then the truck went back for a few more things. I always have wanted a bookmobile! But this is not exactly what I pictured:-)

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

Filling a room with boxes. There are stacks like this along two more walls.

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

And then the unpacking begins . . .

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

Every box had a base layer of books in it so I spent some time amassing all of the books in one location. Basically, turning partially full boxes of books into completely full boxes of books. Now that nobody needed to carry them, I could do this.

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

Setting out the books will be last – once I figure out shelves, systems and spaces.

Celebration: Moved! There's a Book for That

Of course, this was and isn’t a job for just me! I have lots of gratitude for my family, the movers, the building engineers at either end and my amazing husband. All of them have helped and continue to help. It’s a dusty, dirty, exhausting job and I couldn’t do it without my team!

I continue to unpack, think about room design, source book shelves and imagine how students will share this space with me. I celebrate this happy mess full of all kinds of possibility.

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

Celebration: Readying the room for students

Celebration: Readying the room for students

Last week I wrote about boxes in my celebration post. Today, I am still talking boxes. When moving happens, boxes happen. They are collected. Taped together. Filled. Numbered. Labelled. Stacked. As the box towers got bigger, the leaving became more and more real. Soon the boxes contained most of what was coming with me. The stuff not yet packed tempted me to abandon careful organization and just shove it all in and seal it up. When really, I needed to handle item by item and commit to letting it go. The stuff that needs to stay? All that is more about history than future. Those last piles of things are the most exhausting.

I have done all of this box maneuvering while still teaching children every day. Arrive at 7:30 a.m. to top up and seal those last boxes I couldn’t finish the previous evening. Ready the room for children. Pour another cup of coffee and open the door to students at 8:55 am. Teach and work with kids all day. At 3 p.m. dismiss the students and begin packing again. Each box went much the same way: a heavy but thin layer of books at the bottom, then stacks of lighter things. Everything in the room considered for its shape, its weight, its depth and whether I needed it the next day to work with the students in the room.

Finish packing at 7 p.m. and spend up to an hour clearing up, readying the room for students again. Clear tables, bin up the things I pulled out and didn’t pack. Find new areas to stack boxes. Keep work areas clear. Leave for home around 8 p.m. – remedy the missed dinner, acknowledge the exhaustion, drink endless cups of water, visit briefly with my family, sleep. Wake multiple times in the night to worry about what still needs to get done.

I have done this routine for 2 full weeks. Each day packing up a room and then readying it again for children in the morning.

In the last few days were the goodbyes. The tears. The never ending hugs. The love.

Every afternoon for the past 2 weeks, these three girls stayed behind at 3 p.m. to show me a dance they had choreographed in my honour. It involved lots of giggles and some original poetry reading. Each day a new routine. All for me. What could be sweeter?

Celebration: Readying the room for students

On my last day with students, I fed them all day. Morning baking. Popsicles after recess. Popcorn with their buddies in the afternoon. Eating kept some of the emotions in check. Here we are sharing a calendar made for me with student photos.

Celebration: Readying the room for students

We ended our last day together with a gratitude circle. It was truly beautiful. I told them I am grateful for all of it. The laughter. The learning. The hard stuff. The tears. The joy.

“Even the not listening?” one child asked.

“Yes, that too.”

“The crying even?”

“The crying even.”

“All of it?”

“All of it.”

And I am. I celebrate my year with these students. I celebrate 21 years at this little school. I celebrate that I am brave enough to move. And that I have a new space to ready for students this September.

And a whole lot of boxes to unpack. One at a time.

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

Monday June 27th, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This will be one of my last ones from my current school so I will share two!

Here are a bunch of writers writing thank you cards to donors who donated books to our school library. Writing about the books prompted much rereading.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

I love this buddy reading photo with the little listener camped out in the box.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

For our #classroombookaday, I have 3 weeks to share.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

These titles “a boy and his bunny” etc. inspired many searches to figure out which book came first.

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

And some art pieces!

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That Monday June 27th, 2016 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 2015

Life has been busy, busy, busy. Applying and interviewing for jobs. Accepting a new job. Packing up. Writing reports. My husband down for the count with a bad bout of bronchitis. Not much impacts my reading life but for the last few weeks, it was put on hold. Yet, I have a few titles to share.

On the Blog:

Celebration: The new – I did get a job!

Celebration: Going with it Packing, boxes and perspective

Books I enjoyed:

Bear and Bunny written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

I recommend this title just for the napping illustrations. Adorable.

Bear and Bunny Monday June 27th, 2016 There's a Book for That

There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

Dreamy. The illustrations here . . . it went instantly on to my Mock Caldecott 2017 list.

There is a Tribe of Kids

Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and her Flying Machine by Heather Lang and illustrated by Raúl Colón

Stunning illustrations and such a story of Ruth Law and her dream to break flight records. She had vision, perseverance and talent. An amazing biography to share.

Fearless Flyer

Oh, Brother!

A fantastic story to talk about blended families. A great find at my library.

Oh, Brother!

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Beautiful on so many levels. A story of grief, friendship and a transformative summer.

Summerlost

Reading Progress updates:

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 22/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 174/400 books read

#MustReadin2016: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 26/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 20/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo