About carriegelson

Elementary teacher passionate about all things literacy.

Monday May 22nd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.  Or two 🙂

These two are pointing out that we just have the first six titles in this series and . . . don’t I feel like doing a little book shopping? Because there are more titles . . . Hint. Hint. How can I resist?

#IMWAYR

Kids and books are everywhere during buddy reading!

#IMWAYR

#classroombookaday photo We have been travelling the world learning about biomes, ecosystems, evolution, endangered animals, etc. Love nonfiction books!

#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

Books I enjoyed:

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle written by Jude Isabella and illustrated by Simone Shin

This Citizen Kid title would make an excellent read aloud in the classroom. One very special bicycle makes its way from North America to West Africa.

Melvis and Elvis written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

My children were raised on Dennis Lee! I love sharing his work in the classroom too and this title will find a spot next to all of our other Dennis Lee titles in the poetry section on our shelves. Lots of silly here!

The Case of the Stinky Stench written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney

Another full out fridge adventure. Some suspicious stenches accompany Josh Funk’s delightful rhyming text. Another winner!

My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas by Katherine Dearlove and illustrated by Lori Joy Smith

Can’t wait to share this one in my classroom. Perfect title for students to navigate.

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This might be my favourite title so far by Kelly. Four main characters and some delightful supporting roles (love Virgil’s Lola). Unique characters here. Individual. Lonely. Determined. A highly, highly recommended middle grade read.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 26/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 129/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 20/50 books read

Up next? I have a few titles on the go including Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt and See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Monday May 15th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week.  It’s been a few weeks since I have posted so here are a few . . .

A student brushing up on the original fairy tale as she begins the story of Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Some serious Scaredy Squirrel fans read together during buddy reading!

Here are a few #classroombookaday photos to share

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

Books I enjoyed:

Town is by the Sea written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith

I am not sure if it is humanly possible to illustrate this book more beautifully. I almost couldn’t breathe looking at these pages. The story is lyrical and full of vivid images. The beauty of the seaside is a sharp contrast to the reality of the daily life in a mining town.

The Fog written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Kenard Pak

Well. Where to begin with this book? There is so much that is clever and charming but there are heavier themes to explore for each reader to discover. I can’t wait to kid test this one and see what the reactions will be. Very worth getting your hands on this title!

Caring for Your Lion written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Troy Cummings

A wonderful mentor text for the primary grades. Often the text and the pictures don’t completely match and this is hilarious and scary all at the same time as we follow the step by step instructions of how to look after a mail order lion. I shared this with a group of Grade 1 students who were thrilled to share what animal they might like to order in the mail!

The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper

Another wonderful Elephant & Piggie recommended title. I loved this book and then I read this post by Travis Jonker and loved it more. (If fidget spinners have taken over your school – read the link for a smile)

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

We LOVE Super Narwhal in my classroom! Love, love, love. It is the perfect blend of amusing, informative and just plain cute.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold 

I read this in one sitting. An ideal read aloud for a Grade 2 or 3 classroom. There is so much here. Bat, his family and a little orphaned skunk make up a cast of characters that you must meet.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

This book is flying through my Grade 4/5 classroom. Friendship issues, fitting in, sibling stressors and growing up. The perfect middle school title. A graphic novel.

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Some fantastic elements that middle grade readers will love. For me personally, too much magic. But I can see young readers devouring this book. Recommended for Grade 6 and older because of the romance themes and nasty friendship dynamics.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This YA novel is hard to put down. Fabiola Toussaint joins her aunt and female cousins in Detroit. Newly arrived from Haiti without her mother who has been detained by immigration, Fabiola has much to navigate in this new world full of dangers and threats and uncertain security. Highly recommended.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 123/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 10 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2017: 14/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 18/50 books read

Up next? I have a few titles on the go including Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

Monday April 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Typically, I have more than one to share!

I love happening upon keen readers perched all over the room.

Monday April 24th, 2017

I am the #1 Reader spotter. I find them no matter where they hide!

Monday April 24th, 2017

Buddy reading spots

Monday April 24th, 2017

Lots of #classroombookaday photos to share. Can you see a theme in each collection?

Monday April 24th, 2017 Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 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

Books I enjoyed:

Out of Wonder Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjorie Wentworth illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Here, I am speechless about this book. I can’t wait to begin reading poems from it aloud to my students. It will be inspiring more words. More poetry. More imagining. BUY this book! Your classroom or library need to have this title.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe I featured this title here.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Going Places by Ellen Potter with illustrations by Qin Leng

This series is so popular with a few of my students. It has appeal for independent readers from a really broad age range. I had Grade 2s who loved this series. Now I have Grade 4s who love these books. This fourth title is a lot of fun. I love Piper’s bold conviction.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz with illustrations by Brian Floca

I am pretty certain that most pet lists do not include crocodiles. This one turns out to be pretty amusing and wonderfully, hilariously heroic.

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key 

An incredible adventure story that will have you on the edge of your seat. A Gulf Coast Hurricane creates conditions absolutely terrifying for 13 year old Cort and his two neighbours he is trying to keep safe.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson 

Jade is a black student on scholarship at a mostly white private school. She questions the supports and opportunities offered to her as she struggles to figure out what she wants in her future. This title explores so many relationships: family, friendships, mentor/mentee, student/teacher. Jade’s voice is one that will weave questions into your head that will remain there for some time. Loved all of the things this book made me think about.

Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee 

This little book is all kinds of tender indeed. It holds you up through the heartbreaking and consoles you through all the hard. A beautiful middle grade read about friendship and grief and all the many ways to hope.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 112/365 books read

Progress on challenge: On schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 16/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a bunch of things including Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: This is How We Do it

We all have a curiosity about how other people live – especially people from different places around the world. People just like us but yet, completely different. Children love the conversations we have in classrooms about what it is like in other countries where we once lived or places we have visited.

It’s the daily routines that are as interesting as the unique sights and physical characteristics of the land.

The tiny details. The things that make sense but seem so unusual.

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like? Do you have pets? What are the conveniences in your home? The hardships? What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? What is served for dessert?

These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe (Chronicle Books May 2017offers a glimpse of the daily lives of seven children from around the world. Each child is between ages seven and eleven. All of these wonderful details are here:

  • What’s for breakfast?
  • What does your home look like?
  • What do you wear?
  • What is school like?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What is your family like?
  • What do you do with your friends?
  • What do you eat for dinner?
  • Where do you sleep?

All of these questions and more are answered in detail by Kei from Japan, Ribaldo from Peru, Kian from Iran, Oleg from Russia, Ananya from India, Romeo from Italy and Daphne from Uganda.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: This is How We Do it

I shared this with my own children, who at age fourteen, were still very intrigued by all of the details. Some of the things they found especially interesting:

  • Breakfast foods like egg yolks mixed with sugar and milk in Italy and miso soup, consumed in Japan. Soup in the morning was a shock.
  • In many countries, students call their teachers by their first names. My children went to an Elementary school where this was done but it isn’t common here in Canada.
  • How late some children ate dinner. “What time do they go to bed?”
  • The differences in homes and sleeping arrangements.
  • That in Japan, children have to clean their own classrooms.
  • That kids in Peru have coffee with their dinners.

What makes this book so wonderful is revealed in the final pages. These children featured are real. We meet them in a photograph with their families and find out through the author’s note that all the details of their lives are based on their actual lives shared through photos and details given to author/illustrator Matt Lamothe.

I appreciated the balance of boys and girls and that the children who were chosen came from families who had lived for generations in the same country. Lamothe points out that these children can be seen to be representative of their country but of course only to a limited degree. All families and children are incredibly unique. I also appreciated that there was not a child from North America! While all families are depicted are two parent families, not all are two parent, two children families. There is some diversity in terms of number of children and ages of the children. One family has a tiny baby and so may still be growing. Another family mentions four older, grown siblings that no longer live with the family.

What an absolutely brilliant idea for a picture book!  An ideal book for classroom and school libraries. Children will delight in all of the details. Recommended for Grades 1 to 6.

A detailed glossary in the back explains unfamiliar terms.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2017. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

Thank you to Fernanda from Raincoast Books for this review copy

Spring Update #MustReadin2017

t’s time for our first #MustReadin2017 update!

How are you doing with your list? Making progress? Only read a few? Distracted by other titles? Please share!

Like, last year, I made a list of 30 titles and made a commitment to try and read most of them. Ideally, at least 20 is my plan. My #mustread lists serves as launch pad for my reading year. I am happy to revisit the list when I am in a reading slump or not sure of what to read next. Other times, new titles are on my radar and I don’t even think twice about the list. When I need it though, it’s there full of reading inspiration.

I am happy to report that four months into 2017, I have read ten titles. So, it looks like I am exactly on track – a third of the way into the year and I have read one third of my list.

Here are the titles I have completed with a little bit of raving about each one.

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes (MG)

Celebrate as Garvey is able to find himself and move beyond the self-doubt, the teasing and bullying and the pressure of his father’s expectations. A novel in verse.

Saving Red by Sonya Sones  (YA)

YA. A novel in verse. Many themes are covered. Mental health, homelessness, family.

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (MG)

Incredibly researched, full of magical and historical details. Not surprised this title was honoured when the Newbery honor titles were announced.

Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb  (MG)

So many things are explored: trust, loyalty, commitment, forgiveness, judgement, prejudice, love. A powerful middle grade read.

every-single-second

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon  (YA)

This book is a story of being ridiculously human. About hope and faith and choices and kindness. About family and responsibility and dreams.

the-sun-is-also-a-star

Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz (MG)

An emotional MG read about one young girl’s OCD that begins to spin out of control. Highly recommended.

finding-perfect-elly-swartz

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (MG)

This book explores the Iranian Hostage Crisis, dealing with middle school while still figuring out America and all of the complexities of family and friendship a 12 year old girl from Iran might experience. And it’s super funny and touching and so wonderfully written!

it-aint-so-awful-falafal

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart (MG)

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. Kids are devouring this book in my class. They pass it back to me and agree, “Some parts were creepy!”

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan (MG)

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together.  Short is a story 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!

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen (MG)

This middle grade novel will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Weevil and Ani are very likeable characters and it is easy to cheer for them. Mystery, adventure and interesting character dynamics.

I also read and loved Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones which was on my #MustReadin2016 list and I never got to it. Placing these books on a list like this really does help me keep them in mind!

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2017 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2017 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2017 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2017? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists. This is a community of inspiring readers!

Next update will be on September 7th 2017!

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

 

Monday April 3rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Typically, I have more than one to share! 🙂

Here are students making lists of books they want to read after I book talked some titles.

Monday April 3rd, 2017

Two boys lost in their books. I love the recently book talked titles with a huge list of names above them. Many students want to read these novels!

Monday April 3rd, 2017

A Ben Hatke story being shared during buddy reading.

Monday April 3rd, 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

On the blog:

The Slice of Life posts wound down. 31 days of published pieces!

Gentle: Slice of Life #31 Choose to be gentle as we teach

It’s that Good: Slice of Life #30 A reading classroom

Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger’s biography for nonfiction Wednesday

No Surprises: Slice of Life #28 Back to school after 2 weeks away

60% Chance of Rain: Slice of Life 27 Hoping for sun

Books I enjoyed:

Hoot and Honk Just Can’t Sleep written and illustrated by Leslie Helakoski

An adorable title all about being true to your nature and happiest where you belong.

Farmer Duck written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

The 25th anniversary edition of this classic tale! All of the farm animals help hard working Duck when the farmer persists in his lazy ways.

Milo and Georgie written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Milo and Georgie move with their Mom for her new job. Each approaches the move and all things new in very different ways. Georgie embraces the thrill of discovering a new place and all of the details of her neighbourhood. Milo vows to never have fun again and stations himself firmly inside his house. A wonderful story about what it’s like to have to deal with a move as a child.

 

Bad Guys: Episode 2 Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey

We can’t get enough Bad Guys! Loved meeting Legs in this episode.

Bad Guys: Episode 3 The Furball Strikes Again by Aaron Blabey

This may be the biggest adventure yet. Lots of hilarious drama!

Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

All kinds of difficult friendship dynamics are explored here. Love this series. Wish this third title wasn’t the last.

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

A true adventure story. This middle grade novel will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Weevil and Ani are very likeable characters and it is easy to cheer for them. Mystery, adventure and interesting character dynamics. Can see my students becoming addicted to this title after just a few chapters.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 18/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 100/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 9 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 10/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key

Gentle: Slice of Life #31

Sometimes with all of the busy and all of the rushing and all of the stuff we have to do in schools, we can forget to be gentle. Sometimes gentle is the most important choice we make.

It’s the most necessary thing we can do.

It matters.

A morning can begin with loud and disruptive and off task and when all of our attention goes to those things, we might miss the one child who needed the room to be especially quiet. Who needed a little bit of time. Who needed a moment of special attention.

Yesterday, I found this child still in the cloakroom when everyone else was lining up for the library. He was sitting at the desk meant for quiet work hiding his head in his arms.

I could have shooed him off. Insisted he get in the line up. It was my prep time. I had lots to do.

But the room is his as much as mine. He needed it more than me right then. I told him I would be back and brought the class down to the library.

Gentle.

When I returned, he hadn’t moved. I gave him choices not questions. Did he want me to walk him to the library? Would he like to come and make coffee with me? Both choices involved him getting up and moving. He nodded at the coffee so we grabbed supplies —mini Bodum, a jar of coffee and yesterday’s cup — and headed out of the room.

In the staffroom kitchen, I talked as I completed simple tasks. Boiling the water. Filling the Bodum. Mindlessly reorganizing the spoons.

“Do you think the dishwasher is clean or dirty? I wonder if my favourite cup is hanging on the wall? I think I have some granola bars in the room. Are you hungry?”

He found me a cup I had used before. Peeked in the dishwasher and realizing it was empty, put my dirty cup inside. The wrong way up. I opened the dishwasher and showed him how it worked – where the water came from, how it swirled around. He ended his silence.

“How do you turn it on? What does this button do?”

We talked. Made a single cup of dark coffee. Side by side puttering by the sink.

Gentle.

“I have some things to do. Do you want to go to the library or stay with me?”

Little eyes peeked at me as we walked down the hall.

“You.”

I set up some prep work and handed him some math materials,

“Why don’t you do some more math?”

We worked side by side.

I sipped coffee. His energy returned.

He began recording equations on the white board. I offered him an entire day’s worth of attention within twenty minutes. Praise. Smiles. Little corrections.

It poured rain outside. Our temperamental heater kicked itself on. The class across the hall was quiet.

Coffee. Math. Quiet.

Gentle.

Somedays, they need more. Somedays, they need us to acknowledge all of the little things they might do. Somedays, they need especially to matter. Somedays, they centre themselves on our smile. Calm. Safe. Welcoming.

Gentle.

I got everything done. This little guy reset his morning. He went downstairs at recess and played games in the basement avoiding the rain. Content. Secure.

Today, I opened the novel I am reading to the class and found a homemade paper bookmark with my name on it. “Books are loved,” it says.

I held it up to look more closely and noticed him at my elbow.

“I made that for you,” he grinned at me.

Be gentle.

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.