About carriegelson

Elementary teacher passionate about all things literacy.

Monday November 13th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. I love this one taken at 9:02 a.m. on our new reading bench my husband made for the classroom. Many students arrive and immediately find a spot in the room to read. This little space tucked next to the graphic novel shelf is a new favourite place.

Students continue researching insects for a science/poetry project we have been working on. I love listening in as they discover fascinating facts and share them with each other!

Our #classroombookaday titles allowed us to talk about war, peace and hope.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

Our class made this wreath for our Remembrance Day assembly. Poppies that didn’t fit on the wreath now wind up tiny bulletin boards between the windows.

I shared more about our discussions about peace and our reactions to our read aloud stories here: Sunday Reflections: Tuesday Crying

Some meaningful writing came out of our thinking about these  #classroombookaday titles.

Math was all about getting organized as we record our counting by sequences.

This practice helped us to be more organized when we participated in counting collections activities on Friday.

Books I enjoyed:

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. This title is bound to become a favourite for children of all ages.

The Prince and the Porker written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts

I really love this illustrator which is what drew me to picking this book up at my library. Such a fun version of The Prince and the Pauper. The rhyming text and food adventures will delight young readers/listeners.

Charlie & Mouse (Charlie & Mouse, #1) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I am always thrilled when illustrated transitional chapter books are published that are really good. And this is really good. Sibling antics. Silly stories. Hilarious illustrations. Reading gold.

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy (Charlie & Mouse, #2) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I think I loved this title even more. Endearing and lovely.

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) 

This is A.S. King’s first middle grade novel and as a super fan, let me say, I couldn’t be happier. This is the story of Obe, a boy who cares about the land he lives on and its history within his family. Watching the land his family once owned be developed is a devastating process and Obe finds some interesting ways to make meaning of his loss. Then he meets Marvin Gardens, a creature like nothing else that has ever existed. And . . . what a story. Would make an incredible classroom read aloud or book club selection for middle grade readers. Highly recommended.

Up next? I just picked up a stack of titles I had on hold at the public library. First one I will begin? Likely The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 55/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 274/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 39/50 books read


Sunday Reflections: Tuesday Crying

I keep thinking about Tuesday afternoon in my classroom. I feel like I should share it. But it feels strange to centre a blog post around a lot of crying. And it is the crying that is significant. There was a lot of crying on Tuesday afternoon in our room. The crying was full of sadness. Some stemmed from grief. Some was about pain – pain from remembering, pain from missing, pain from past and present hurts. It was about loss. Loss of place. Of people. Of security.

Some of the crying was just because there was so much crying. Because we are connected. We are wired to feel, to care, to absorb the pain and emotions of those around us. At one point, at least half the class was shedding tears. In one child it was a single tear rolling down a cheek. In another, little sniffles. In others, full out sobbing with dripping noses and wails.  We all shared in these tears and it was incredible. Incredible and necessary and full of promise. I continue to be in awe of all of that crying.

How can I begin to explain?

It began with a read aloud.

In the days before Remembrance Day, I planned numerous read alouds about war, peace, voice and hope. Remembrance Day was not what it was in my childhood where war was definitely long ago and maybe far away. Today, many of our lives have very recently been touched by war and conflict. I have refugee children sitting in my classroom. I teach students whose families were forced to flee their home countries because of politics, safety and war. Students in my room have experienced recent loss. They have listened to bombs. They have lived in camps waiting for safe passage. They have been part of making a new home in a new place.

So when I read a book about a child living in a war torn place where peace did not exist, I knew it was an invitation. An invitation to wonder. To talk. To share stories. Those things might happen. It was at least an invitation to listen. I was prepared for any of it as in not really being prepared at all. I was just open. What might happen would not be unexpected but I had no idea what to expect. I just knew I had an important book to share.

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope by Michael Foreman (2008) remains one of my favourite titles to share in this context. It is gentle and honest. It doesn’t hide from how hard war is for a child as it portrays a fierce commitment to a hope for a different future.

How do we talk about war and conflict with children? How do we honour peace? Sometimes all we need is a place to start and this book provides that place.

One child broke down in the final pages. She apologized for not holding things in. This book had made her remember her own family’s recent experience with war. We assured her that it was absolutely okay to cry. I had her come and sit beside me and helped her share a little bit of her story with her classmates. By this time, others were also crying. Some children uncovered their own sadness and many tears erupted. Many of us were crying together for many reasons, some with nothing at all to do with the story.

We made space for all of these tears. It is significant in so many ways to sit and cry unabashedly in your classroom surrounded by a class community. The room grew more quiet and still and we honoured all of this crying.

We gathered in a circle and held hands. I asked a child to turn off the overhead lights. We sat together while many children cried. Many watched and absorbed. Nobody needed to tell a specific story. Nobody was told to stop. In letting ourselves be in those emotions, without hushing, consoling and being asked to move on, out little circle of crying became safe and beautiful. Snippets of stories were told. The listening was intense. There was room also not to tell but just to be. Keeping everything in often hurts more than letting it out. A big cry in a quiet room surrounded by others who are present with you is a pretty beautiful thing.

I sat with my students as witness. I looked at each one in the eyes and smiled. I held little hands. I nodded. I knew it was my role to shift the energy eventually, to help us move to what was next. But I didn’t feel the need to rush it. I didn’t let a room full of crying children and contagious tears scare me. I gave it time. I didn’t swoop in to fix or fuss or brush tears away. To stop emotions is to say there is no place for those things here. And there is big space.

Aren’t we lucky?” I said instead.

Aren’t we lucky we can feel so safe? We can cry here and remember sad things together. We are lucky that we care about each other. That we are all here. That we want to know each other’s stories. We are safe here.”

Then I guided.

Stand up.”

“Let’s go.”

“Flick on the lights.”

“Get in line.”

“Open the door.”

We walked down the hall in a large mass. Some still sniffling. Someone brought along our now mostly empty tissue box. We went to the gym and raced around. Did silly stretches. Played a familiar game that let us run and shoot and shout and cheer. And laugh.

Eventually, we headed back upstairs to our room to have ice cream cake. It was somebody’s birthday. What perfect, perfect timing. Apple juice. Cake. Birthday songs and wishes. More giggles.

At the end of the day, many chocolate smeared faces beamed at me. I got a lot of squishy hugs. One child whispered, “Can we read more books like that? It helped me remember my country.”

Yes! Yes we can. Yes we will. Yes we have. (See the list below for titles that I shared later in the week or have in the pile for next week and moving forward).

“I like how that book was so sad. That’s why it was my favourite,” one child explained to me on Friday as he wrote about the books. I asked him why he loved a such a sad book so much. “It let me remember, ” he explained.

So that is our work for this next while. Remembering. Telling and hearing stories. Feeling all the emotions. We have decided to make our exploration of this question: What is peace? the theme of our year.

The little one who was first so moved by this story shared these words in her Reader Response book on Friday.

I liked A Child’s Garden because I remember my country. And I finally take every thing in my heart and share it. I really liked that everyone was caring about my country. My dream and my wish is to go to my country and see everyone. I hope that war is going to finish.

“I finally take everything in my heart and share it.”


This is everything. All that crying in our classroom on Tuesday allowed for this. A lot of crying changed our room. I feel so absolutely blessed and honoured to do this work. To learn from the children I share my days with. To be a part of a classroom community that is safe. That cares. That can sit in the dark and cry together. That has decided to begin answering one of the most important questions that can ever be asked: What is peace?

This little paper was passed to me Friday. It is the beginning of the thinking and wondering that I hope will fill our room.

Here is a list of more titles we will be reading together as a class. This is a beginning. We will find others as our inquiry, thinking and questions lead us other places.

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

The Journey by Fransesca Sanna 

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margariet Ruurs Artwork by Nizar Ali Badr

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood

Why?  by Nikolai Popov

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin

peaceSami and the Time of the Troubles by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland and illustrated by Ted Lewin


Monday November 6th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

On Halloween morning our room was full of readers. Like this witch rereading some favourite picture books.

Book sharing circles and talking about our preferences is always an activity that promotes lots of book love.

Our #classroombookaday titles were selected specifically because Halloween was this week. We had monsters, witches, goblins, ghosts and lots of laughs.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some a lot of sharing from my week in the classroom.

Early in the week, the witches arrived. They are still around grumbling and whispering stories of their terrible Halloween nights or of their anger that Halloween is over. My little authors are telling these stories. Stay tuned!

This little writer is hard at work on her witch story.

In the Art and Discovery studio we drew about our families and things we like to do together.

Then we sat and told the stories of our pictures.It is always a treat when we can end our day listening to our current read aloud The Wild Robot, drawing and doodling as we listen.Sometimes our morning writing is to talk about Roz, the robot, the main character in The Wild Robot.

We were also very inspired by our #classroombookaday titles this week

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:

I managed to read a lot this week so am limiting this list to my favourites from the pile!

Wild One by Jane Whittingham with illustrations by Noel Tuazon

A celebratory romp through the day leaves a little one in an exhausted heap at day’s end. Incredible end pages and fun illustrations – this book is a bed time poem full of all kinds of surprising guest animals. Put it on your list as a gift book for parents of littles.

Jane is Jane from Raincity Librarian, a regular #IMWAYR blogger and I was thrilled to meet her at her Book Warehouse book launch Saturday.

Her she is signing her book that I purchased for a friend having a baby next month!

Creepy Pair of Underwear! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

I will admit to having my doubts that this team could pull off another incredible title featuring Jasper rabbit. But they do! Glow in the dark creepy underwear is pretty amusing.

I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds 

You really will feel calmer after reading this book. The perfect title to have in classrooms that practice mindfulness strategies.

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora

There is a lot going on in this book beyond the lemmings repeatedly leaping into the ocean. A hilarious story about the importance of reading.

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

This may be my favourite Ame Dyckman book so far. So, so very funny. Who could have guessed that a pet unicorn could be so problematic?

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

So a duck and a mouse take up residence in the belly of a wolf. Only Barnett and Klassen could pull this off.

These two not only make incredible books together. They make book trailers to make you giggle.

Refugee by Alan Gratz.

I think the cover recommendation by Ruta Sepetys captures the essence of this book – engaging and important. I would go so far as to add necessary. This is a book I want to hand to everyone. Sadly, it is relevant now just as it was relevant more than 70 years ago. I think this book is either one you will devour in a few sittings or read slowly over time. I took my time. I had to stop to process. To make room for bad dreams. To worry. To cry.

This book.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 54/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 266/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 39/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Me and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King

Monday October 30th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

9:01 a.m. This little reader doesn’t even bother to remove his jacket or backpack before he grabs a book first thing each morning.

Our #classroombookaday titles let us explore the natural world, wild life and how we interact with animals.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

In case you missed it, our class interviewed Sara Levine and T.S. Spookytoothfor the cover reveal of Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones. Check it out here.

Loved the writing that #classroombookaday inspired

All of our self portraits are now complete and ready to be added to a school mural that asks What Does it Mean to Belong? We used Paige Britt‘s beautiful book to explore this theme.

In math, we enjoyed our first experience with counting collections. It’s all about the organizing and the representing on our own papers. Students worked very hard on this task and are excited to try more next week.

Hard at work researching insects and arachnids in preparation for the mini-books we are making.

This week we enjoyed a break from the rain and went outside often!

We played with shapes and shadows.

One afternoon, we made a leaf train and raced up and down it! This student explains.

We took math outside and counted our steps. We recorded each group of ten steps to count totals. We will use this data later this week.

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:

A Day with Yayah written by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Julie Flett.

Incredible title about learning between generations about our natural world. This book raises awareness about endangered Indigenous languages and includes a glossary of words with pronunciations. Local relevance (Interior Salish) Grandmother passes down her knowledge when a family goes to forage for mushrooms and herbs.

Lines by Suzy Lee

This book is beautifully brilliant. Wordless and full of complete surprises and incredible movements (exquisitely implied).

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

Absolutely hilarious! Poor little orange is upstaged by everyone – including a famous philosopher. A book full of rhymes and voice and a lot of silly!

Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay

I adore this young chapter book series. This is the first in the series and ever so charming. Lulu’s love of animals gets her into all kind of (quite wonderful) predicaments.

Lola Levine and the Vacation Dream by Monica Brown 

Follow Lola and her family to Peru on their family vacation in this fifth title in the series. This is another series I am so pleased to have as part of our classroom library collection.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 53/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 253/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 48 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 37/50 books read

Up next? I am chapters from finishing Refugee by Alan Gratz. It is incredible but I am having nightmares. I am also reading The War I Finally Won aloud to my last year’s students two recesses a week. How we love this book! Next? Probably OCD Daniel by Wesley King.

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones

I have a huge collection of nonfiction picture books but there are particular titles I reach for again and again. Titles that engage students of various ages. Titles that intrigue adults. Titles that are at the top of the pile when I pack up nonfiction books to share with a group of educators. These books are the first books I recommend when someone asks me, “Which titles should I buy?” “What titles do your students love?” or “What would be a guaranteed hit?” These books do what kids love them to do – immediately hook the reader and pull them into the pages for an adventure in learning.

Two titles at the top of my go to pile are books written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth: Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons (Lerner Books 2013) and Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers (Lerner Books 2016)

It’s not just the engaging nature of these titles – the way they ask questions – Imagine if . . . What kind of animal would you be if . . . ? What if you only had . . .? The magic is in the asking us to think of ourselves in a completely different way as we compare ourselves to animals. The questions instantly generate more questions and the trying to guess the animals is hugely exciting. As soon as we start asking the questions and revealing the illustrations which give little hints, everyone in the room is hooked.

Here is a question from each book to give you the idea.

What kind of animal would you be if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones? All of a sudden we need to think about purposes of our legs and how we would function without them. What would our arms need to be able to do?

What would you be if your top canine teeth grew almost all the way down to your feet? Hold on – why would we need teeth like that? What could we do if we had them?  What can we do with our canine teeth right now?

When Carol Hinz, editor with Lerner Publishing, asked me if I would like to do a cover reveal for Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones (Lerner Publishing 2018) of course I said yes!

If I could involve my students 🙂

Imagine how excited my students were when they found out that they would be the first kids in the world to see the cover and interior layout of Levine and Spookytooth‘s new book.

They saw it first and here it is for all of you!

“Everybody else can be second,” one student remarked. Which is still pretty exciting!  Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur SkeletonsWe read Bone by Bone and Tooth by Tooth together and I asked the students what they enjoyed about the books. They had a lot to say:

  • “The guessing makes it really fun even if your answer isn’t right.”
  • “You get to learn the names of lots of parts of your body that you didn’t know you had.” “I knew I had them, I just didn’t know the names.”
  • “The author wants us to know that we are a lot like animals but we’re also different too.”
  • “The illustrator knows how to imagine really funny things!”
  • “I think the author and illustrator really care that kids learn things.”
  • “It’s fun to learn like this.”

Have you ever thought about comparing yourself to a dinosaur?

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Skeletons

Kids sure have!  My students immediately were inspired to draw, talk and wonder.

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur SkeletonsIn some ways, we have bones very like dinosaurs (but on a very different scale when it comes to some of the especially huge ones). But we also loved the idea that some bones in dinosaurs are nothing like bones that we have in our bodies. But what if we did have bones like this . . . ? It was hard to keep track of all of the things being said. Soon the room had erupted into that wonderful noise called engagement. Debates broke out about being a herbivore or a carnivore if we were actual dinosaurs. There was stomping about. Pretending to swing tails. Students began sharing what they knew about dinosaur defences. The tub of dinosaur books was pulled from the shelf.

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Skeletons

Does anyone have a question for the author or illustrator?” I asked. Of course they did!

Author and illustrator played along and gifted us with all kinds of amazing information.

Our questions are listed below and are followed by answers from Sara Levine (in blue) and T.S. Spookytooth (in green). Some questions were for both author and illustrator and some were directed specifically to one or the other.

Are you thinking you might want to become a paleontologist? Or are you already part paleontologist? 

SL:  I’m very interested in fossils—especially fossils of animals that are no longer on earth, but no, I don’t think I’ll become a paleontologist. I studied living animals at veterinary school. Right now,I’m a college professor and a writer, and these things keep me pretty busy. But one great thing about being a teacher or a writer is that these jobs give you a chance to learn about all sorts of different things you are curious about. Paleontology is one topic I decided to learn more about so I could write a book and teach a class about dinosaurs.

What inspired you to write about dinosaur fossils? Did you want dinosaurs to not feel forgotten (even if they’re dead they might still care)?

SL: Actually, it was my editor Carol Hinz who suggested I write about dinosaurs. She has a lot of good ideas. I liked the topic especially since a lot of kids are interested in dinosaurs, but there wasn’t a book for kids showing how dinosaur bones are similar to our bones. I really appreciate the idea that I might have written this book so dinosaurs are not forgotten. I think it’s very important for us to remember animals and people who are no longer on earth. We can’t know if they care or not, but writing a book about them for this reason is a very kind thing to do.

Did you test your questions on some kids before you put them into the books?

SL: Yes, I did.

Would you want to be a carnivore or a herbivore if you were an actual dinosaur?
SL: I’d want to be a herbivore. I think having to kill animals to eat them would make me too sad.

TSSI think I would like to be a herbivore. There are pretty cool plants out there, I just worry that they don’t taste very nice. But I’m always up for trying something new.

Did you ever find bones? Or go digging for bones?

SLYes. Sometimes when I’m walking in the woods I find bones of animals. When I do, I get excited—I love trying to figure out what kind of bone I’ve found and what animal it might have been a part of. And I also like to go digging for fossils, which are bones or other parts of animals or plants that have turned to rock. You should go on a trip to do this someday, if you are interested. Sometimes I take my daughter to find fossils, and we have a lot of fun.

TSSDigging for bones wasn’t something that I did as a child, but I suppose it’s never too late to do it as an adult.

How did you draw those bones so carefully? And make them look realistic?
TSS: I visited some very good museums where they have some amazing dinosaur fossils so I was able to get them as accurate as possible. Being careful is probably my number one skill, with drawing a close second, so it came very easy to me. 

What else do you like to draw?
TSS: I really like to draw octopus and squid and anything really that looks a little odd.

Who taught you how to draw?
TSS: I had some good teachers along the way that gave me lots of encouragement, but I suppose I taught myself by just drawing every day and practising more and more.

It seems like you can work together really well. Are you going to keep making books together? Are you friends?

SLYes, T.S Spookytooth and I are friends. I just wrote another book called Eye by Eye: Comparing Animal Peepers for the two of us to work on together. I hope it will become a published book in a few years.

TSSIt would be great to keep making books. We are friends even though we live very far away from each other, but we did meet and we shook hands so in my world that confirms a friendship!

If you can’t really wait for January 2018 for the release of this book, consider this question:

What kind of reader would you be if you left a comment below or shared this post on twitter?

Possibly the lucky winner of Bone by Bone and Tooth by Tooth!

One lucky winner will be randomly selected by October 30th. Canadian and U.S. addresses only please.

You can find Sara Levine and T.S. Spookytooth on Twitter.

Put Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones on your list for January! This is one your school or classroom library needs to have!

Monday October 23rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

Love how this little brown bench is a magnet for readers!

Our #classroombookaday titles helped us to talk about bullying and all of the assumptions and complicated feelings that happen when someone is unnecessarily cruel and others bear witness.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

Students had so much to say about all of our #classroombookaday titles this week. Their written responses were also rich. One sentence can be so powerful when the talk leading up to it has been so layered.

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.

I didn’t get a lot of reading done this week. Part of the reason – I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the largest ever Professional Development Conference hosted in B.C. – a Super Conference with over 6 000 attendees. Two days of learning (Friday and Saturday) from some amazing educators and presenters. On the Saturday I presented two workshops and was honoured to share my love of nonfiction picture books and my passion about Reading Workshop with those who attended my sessions.

Further reading to complement both of my sessions is posted on this blog: Reading Workshop Resources and Nonfiction Resources. A comprehensive book list for nonfiction titles is here.

I presented in a gorgeous room with a beautiful view of the water (not seen in this photo) but wow, there were a lot of seats!

Books I enjoyed:

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

So excited about this book! I brought it along to share at my session. What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations. Jaime Kim is fast becoming a favourite.

Older than The Stars by Karen C. Fox and Nancy Davis

It’s hard to believe this book does what it does. Told partly in a rhythmic repetitive poem and partly in longer sections of text, the origin of the universe – the big bang theory – is explained for young readers. I will be sharing this with my students soon.

Today Is the Day by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Based on true story of an orphanage in Africa that helps children celebrate their birthdays – some who don’t even have a registered birth. Extra details in back matter. These stories by Walters and Fernandes are so special.

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief written by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker

This title explores the complicated emotions of loss and grief. How do we hold on to our memories? How powerful is forgetting? Why does it seem to get easier and then harder again? In this title, a young girl participates in a number of things to help her hold on and remember the one she lost. She makes a memory box, asks others to talk and share their own memories and begins to enjoy new experiences (making new memories). While this book has a gentle, soothing feel, it doesn’t pretend that having somebody die is easy. Many pages reveal the confusing, contemplative, lonely feelings involved in grief. This title would be an ideal title to share in the classroom to initiate discussions about grief or to read with a child experiencing loss.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 249/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 45 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 35/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading Refugee by Alan Gratz Wow, what a book!


Monday October 16th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

This one is a favourite. Dory Fantasmagory fans being bothered by an even bigger Dory fan, their teacher (me!) being all excited that Dory is getting lots of love! I did leave them in peace after my happy dance.

Our #classroombookaday titles supported our study of insects and arachnids. The book love went to fly vomit and squishy spiders.

Classroom Highlights 

My Monday posts now also contain some sharing from my week in the classroom.

Writing has been a beautiful thing in our classroom. My post on Sunday shared how we are Growing Writers. There are some beautiful samples of student writing shared there.

Part of our celebration of writing was having author Bree Galbraith visit to talk with us about writing and to share her book Milo and Georgie. Students didn’t want to stop talking with her!

I think my favourite question she was asked was this one:

“Did you get an opportunity to be a writer or did you just do it?”

And they loved the read aloud! It looked something like this. (Read aloud rendering by Amelia)

We also have some incredible art happening! Thanks to Maggie in the Art and Discovery studio, we had the opportunity to paint our portraits with water colour paints. I love all of the portraits so much! Each one has such personality shining through.

Lots of math happened this week. A favourite activity was playing this game to practice our doubles facts. Thanks to Carole Fullerton for so many fantastic math games!

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:

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares

Wordless. Caldecott buzz. A huge story in these beautiful pages.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Another fantastic title to share with students to give them a sense of the refugee crisis. In this true story, we meet a family who has fled Iraq with their beloved cat. An incredible story of the cat and family being reunited.

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wilde and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

A favourite author and illustrator pairing.  A precious book is protected as a family escapes from war and tries to hang on to important history. 

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures written by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

The second title in this series by Jess Keating. So. Much. Fun. Keating makes learning an adventure in the wow and wild!

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A new favourite nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Students will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1) by Hilde Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak 

Can’t wait to share this new Branches series with my students. Written by a young writer with the support of her Dad. This author really does write a newspaper detailing crimes in her community,  A great mystery series!

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I read these books and I laugh. Out loud. Often. I think about these books later and I laugh. Again out loud. Just so beautifully amusing. I LOVE the story of the suit Dory sports on the cover.

The Year of the Book (Anna Wang #1) by Andrea Cheng with illustrations by Abigail Halpin

A wonderful series bridging between transitional chapter books and longer middle grade reads. Grades 3 and up.

A Tale of Two Kitties (Dog Man #3) by Dav Pilkey

I couldn’t resist reading this one before it makes its way into my classroom library and is never seen again.

Swing it Sunny by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

Sequel to Sunny Side Up. I know many of my Grade 4 and 5 readers from last year will be clamouring to read this one. It is well done with incredible details from the 70s.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 244/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 43 books behind schedule. Closing in on 40!

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 34/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Refugee by Alan Gratz