About carriegelson

Elementary teacher passionate about all things literacy.

Monday July 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have been in my classrooms for a few hours here and there. Look at how lonely my empty bookshelves look. They are patiently waiting to be filled up as I begin reading with a new room of readers!

Scrolling back through photos from June 2016, I am reminded about how excited I am to work with primary students again.

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.

Books I enjoyed:

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Jason Chin is incredible. I believe that more and more with each book I read. Take a journey back and forth through time as you hike down, up and around the Grand Canyon.

Fabulous Frogs written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Tim Hopgood

These illustrations are absolutely fantastic! An ideal book to share in the primary classroom. Learn about the diversity of frogs and all kinds of cool and interesting facts.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

I immediately passed this book on to my husband because, quite simply, everyone should read it! These characters. This isolated setting. The mystery and intrigue and simplicity that makes a can’t put down story. Highly, highly recommended!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

And such voice! Amina is an incredible middle grade character. This would have been a beloved title for my Grade 4 and 5 class this year. Amina struggles with family pressures and expectations, friendship dynamics and finding her confidence. So much to this novel.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 39/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 162/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 43 books behind schedule (Yikes!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 23/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 28/50 books read

Up next? I am in the middle of many books and hope to be writing about them next week.

 

Monday July 17th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have none to share this week (no students until September!) so instead will share a few photos from our week long vacation to Pender Island (we’ve been home a week now) where I got lots of reading done AND lots of wandering through nature.

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.

Books I enjoyed:

Life! by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Brendan Wenzel

Well, wow. Reminds me a little of All the World by Liz Scanlon. Awe inspiring and soothing all at the same time. And Wenzel – whoa, this guy!

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Oh so clever! A very chatty conversation in the middle of a wordless book. A.k.a. a really hopeful wordless book interrupted by many words. Hilarious!

South by Daniel Duncan

When you find a little lost bird that needs your help, you had better sail south. Endearing.

Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano with illustrations by Laia Aguilar

Camille has a battle dress. Say no more!

Winter’s Coming written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon 

Almost nonfiction, this title teaches young learners about the seasons and how animals adapt and react to winter. A longer read aloud. I ordered a copy for my classroom.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd in Elise Gravel style. That little smelly thing is pretty darn cute. A graphic style novel that kids will love!

Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten

This is an almost there title. Quirky, clever and definitely odd. Elements of Coraline and a darker Toy Story. I think this will have huge appeal for some interesting readers – I am just not sure who they will be. I think my 4s and 5s of last year would have embraced this graphic novel. I am not sure if my new Grade 3s will manage it. The story line is somewhat confusing and it is dark, though wildly imagined.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 157/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (Week 3 and this number hasn’t changed . . . )

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein because I have also started reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Process: Slice of Life

Yesterday was my first “summer” work day back in my classroom. Living so close to my school, I can go in and putter around for a few hours here and there or dedicate entire days to getting specific tasks done. I wandered around the room yesterday transforming it from its fairly tidy end of June state to a complete pulled apart mess.

This is always the beginning for me – making it look much worse before it gets much better. I watered and repotted plants, leaving some stranded on tables waiting for a larger pot or a perfect new spot or both. Some surfaces got wiped down. Unsorted papers were stuffed in a few places waiting for a dedicated day, an empty recycling bin and a very strong coffee. Some furniture was shifted. Needing a second or third look before finding a “new year, new spot”. Again waiting. I need to clear some surfaces and clear out completely for a few days when the building engineers do the summer deep clean. Then I can come back in and again pull things apart before putting them back together.

Every year. The same process. Pulling it apart. Settling on the new. Organization. Systems. Flow. This process needs to happen each year. Shake it up. Smooth it out. Wonder and shift.

It happens with my classroom library as well. Every summer the shake up happens. I take my carefully organized library, turn it on its head and put it back ready for a new group of learners. To honour that writing too is a process, today’s slice is all about these classroom library tasks. Not the details but the beginning of the details. I have been thinking about doing a blog series about the maintenance of the classroom library that needs to happen each year. Today my writing is the skeleton of that series. The very beginning. The just ideas stage. The lists and tasks are both my schedule to follow and the beginning of a series of posts. I think. Process: Slice of Life

How does a blog post or a blog series happen? Just like many pieces of writing. Shaking it out. Sorting and shifting. Making a mess. Lining it up. Flushing it out.

This slice is not a finished piece. It is the beginning of the process. Lists. Ideas. Thinking on the page.

Here we go.

Classroom Library: Summer tasks Maintenance

  1. Returning displaced (why is it where it is) materials: class collection, read aloud collection. What’s changing? Weed as go (not so much weed out but moving to new places) Talk about different collections and reasons for organization (bins, labels, stickers, areas)
  2. Weeding – What goes? (less this year because of major work done last year) What changes? More dramatic this year because of grade level change. Beginning the list of “holes”/what’s missing? How are other titles stored? Can I have a lending library? Where? How? (Are number 1 and 2 two posts or one?)
  3. What gets added? Books not yet labelled (deciding what part of collection they will go into) Reorganizing to make space. How do I store books that don’t immediately get put into the collection. Book talk bins. Bins not yet labelled.
  4. The big organization is full of the little tasks – genre labels, systems, switching out bins and baskets. What materials does this involve? (stickers, labels, etc.) Location, location, location. Big shelves. Little people. Literally accessing the books. Stools?
  5. What is missing? Wish lists. The beginning of the noticing.  Diversity? Who are my readers? Will the books provide windows and mirrors?
  6. Bookstore visits. What am I looking for? What am I purchasing? What remains on the wish list. Priorities (definite gaps, Mock Caldecott titles, expanding nonfiction collection)
  7. Seeking out help. What titles specific to this grade level are must have titles? Importance of reading community. Blogs. Goodreads. Direct questions on twitter. Continued thinking about future readers (this links to #5) #7 and #6 should be switched.
  8. The ongoing piece of things. Is this separate post? Woven within? The lists I keep as I complete all of these tasks. Ideas of books for specific themes? To complement units and inquiry. Possible directions. Art ideas. Read alouds?

My intent with this series is to talk about what’e involved in maintaining a classroom library that meets the needs of its readers. It is work! Fun work but work.

Feedback? If you are reading this post, I would love some feedback. Would this be an interesting series for classroom teachers to read? Should I write it? What would you be particularly interested in reading about? Questions? Ideas?

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 10th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. I have no students to celebrate during the summer so I searched back through the archives to find a buddy reading moment. A room full of reading together is always my favourite!

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.

Books I enjoyed:

Little One by Jo Weaver

Gentle with amazing illustrations. A mama bear shows her cub the world and then they find their den to hibernate for the winter. Seasons. Nature. Connection.

World Pizza by Cece Meng with illustrations by Ellen Shi

Don’t wish for world peace when you might sneeze! What happens when everyone in the world shares the gift of food? (in the form of tasty pizza) Great conversation starter in the classroom. How do we connect? What makes us happy? How can we share?

The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid written by Kara Lareau and illustrated by Matt Myers

Perfect transitional reader. I want to get this series for my Grade 3 classroom this fall. Themes of friendship, bravery and taking responsibility.Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

This novel has so many elements I love – a connection between the generations, interesting family dynamics, introspective musings. Well written, emotional realistic fiction for MG readers.
The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats

Fantastic historical fiction set in the Pacific Northwest. The Mercer expedition brings war widows and young women west and Jane comes along with her father’s young widow and her younger brother. Washington is vastly different than what was expected. Adventure, a strong female character and lots of interesting history!

the-many-reflections-of-miss-jane-deming

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Based on the author’s childhood. One of the best MG titles I have read this year! Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have come to New York from Cuba and slowly Ruthie is adjusting. Then a car accident lands her in a body cast and isolates her from her new world. Full of poetry, art and beautiful relationships.Highly recommended.

lucky-broken-girl

I read One Crazy Summer when it first came out and was delighted to read the next two books in the trilogy back to back. I adore Delphine, Vonetta and Fern and learning more about their family was an absolute treat. I loved both books!

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 37/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 150/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule (This hasn’t changed in a week! But it hasn’t got worse. All the novel reading means no picture books!)

#MustReadin2017: 18/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 27/50 books read

Up next? I am reading What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

Monday July 3rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Here are a few from the past week. This will be the last week of student photos for a few months as summer break has started.

This one was taken on the last day. This buddy reading duo migrated to the stairwell. I love the connection books foster.

Here is a student browsing the shelves to put together a list of recommended titles. I put all of these suggestions together here and will add some of my own as the summer progresses so my students have a central spot for book recommendations. We spoke a LOT about summer reading during the last few weeks of school.

#classroombookaday titles were books I wanted to ensure I had a chance to read aloud to this class. We had some fantastic discussions as I knew we would.

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.

Books I enjoyed:

If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

This is definitely a YA title. It has all of the themes of a romance themed teen novel: coming of age, rocky friendships, identity and self-esteem worries, family complexities and relationship highs and lows. It also has a main character who is a young trans woman who has just transitioned.  Hope that copies of this book are in high school libraries.

Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast

I read this charming little novel in one sitting this afternoon. Set in the downtown east side of Vancouver (where I taught for 21 years) and set in the early 1970s, this is historical fiction with some what-if elements. I loved the opportunity to wander through story, time and place

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Possibly one of my favourite novels in some time. Incredible. Powerful. Necessary reading for anyone who happens to currently be human. Some things I particularly loved: Starr’s strength and voice, the cast of supporting characters and the close love of family. A wow book, deserving of all the hype.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 32/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 143/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 39 books behind schedule Clearly, I need a picture book reading spree!

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 25/50 books read

Up Next? I am reading Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Hotel by Kimberly Willis Holt

 

Monday June 26th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week. Here are a few from the past week.

A row of readers.

Monday June 26th, 2017Getting comfy.Monday June 26th, 2017Pouring over I Yam a Donkey! during buddy reading.Monday June 26th, 2017#classroombookaday photos. I have a few to share! We have explored lots of themes in this last month!

So, I have been missing in action here for about a month. Lots of reasons – all about being busy, busy, busy. My daughter’s dance year end show and competitive season has been a very enjoyable full on commitment (involving many full weekends). Any extra time has been about the year end stuff – report cards, class organizations, supporting friends who are switching jobs. And . . . I have been filling my own fitness schedule with lots of dance – Zumba classes, an Adult Hip Hop and a month ago, I started Adult Tap. So much fun! I took years of tap dancing when I was a child and it is all coming back to me. I am looking forward to a summer full of dance, gardening and reading catch up. Hurrah for the #bookaday challenge.

Other relevant news – I am returning to my primary roots and will be teaching Grade 3 again in the fall. Very excited to transform my room from a Grade 4/5 class back to a primary room. Especially excited to once again, work on the classroom library!

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 2015Books I enjoyed:

Dragon was Terrible written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Absolutely charming and ever so naughty, this dragon. I am now on the lookout for a classroom copy of this book. Who can tame this dragon? It is no easy feat. But the journey is beyond hysterical!

Give Me Back my Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long

Two friends argue over one green book. As their argument progresses, the reader learns all about the components of a book and enjoys some humorous twists. 

Goldfish Ghost written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Lisa Brown

This title might be passed over by some as a little too out there and dark. I think it is quietly clever and speaks to some important themes: the cycle of life, belonging and companionship. A Well Mannered Young Wolf written by Jean Leroy and illustrated by Matthieu Maudet

It seems that good manners do not serve wolves very well. Loved this one!

Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina

Oh, how I want this title for my Grade 3 classroom library this fall! Juana does NOT love learning English or a bunch of other things. But she also is very specific about what she does love. All is detailed in this wonderfully illustrated early chapter book. Hoping for more of Juana in the future!

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

How I adore Alex Petroski – an 11 year old who records his world on his iPod to sent into space to show what Earth is really like. His journey to capture the essence of Earth reveals all the details of his vulnerable and complicated existence. HIGHLY, highly recommended!

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

A young adult realistic fiction read. Two sisters. Two parents that haven’t delivered. A lot of pain, neglect and figuring it out. My fourteen year old loved this one.

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

Shane has moved to a new city with his Mom and his classmates at his new school only know him as Shane, a baseball playing guy in middle school. But Shane’s past surfaces and how he navigates the upset and stressors of this is handled so believably. An important book for our school and classroom libraries – this one about a trans child transitioning from female to male.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 29/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 139/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 36 books behind schedule (yikes!)

#MustReadin2017: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 23/50 books read

Up Next? I have a stack of novels from the library and am part way through If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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