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

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I worry a lot about teaching writing because I want learning to happen without erasing any joy. I want ideas to flow. I want enthusiasm to reign. I want doubts to stay far away. I want little writers to build their skills in a space that is safe. I want the idea of writing to become (or remain) a purely positive experience. Even if it’s hard. Even if it’s work. Even if we don’t have it all figured out.

I certainly don’t have it all figured out. Heck, I think I admit so frequently that I haven’t got a lot figured out that it might be time to really wonder about my credibility! BUT, I like to write about what I notice and sometimes it seems that there is enough great stuff happening right in front of me, that maybe I might have a thing or two to share. Lately, here’s what I have observed. We are growing writers. So far, it has been pretty organic. We aren’t bogged down in details and the “how to of it all” at this point.

We have jumped right in. We are immersing ourselves. We are beginning.

Here’s a peek into how:

There is daily time to read. Writers are readers. We need to give our reading writers time to fall into a story. There is so much learning happening when we let our students have time to read.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I read aloud often! Young writers need to be exposed to many, many read alouds. All different kinds of books shared with their classroom community. Picture books. Nonfiction picture books. Novels. Poetry. Writers definitely blossom in a room that celebrates stories.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

read books that are specifically about writing. Writers need to talk and learn about the process. Picture books invite them to learn from characters who are also figuring it out.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I provide time to reflect and to write about what writing means. My students  acknowledge that the process takes some work.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

Writing is honoured.

I often am reminded about how deeply children think about the writing process. I love how bravely my students write. It’s about ideas on a page. We don’t get obsessed about correct spelling or mistakes. We embrace our right to imagine and tell our stories.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I introduce students to authors – if in real life, all the better! Local author Bree Galbraith came and read her latest picture book to our classroom. Milo and Georgie got lots of love! And Bree fielded numerous questions in an engaging discussion about writing books, being a Mom, cat allergies, idea generating and favourite words.Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

After getting some input from the students about some future and in-process stories, Bree got some spontaneous hugs!

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I loved listening in on the stories being shared. Bree gave beautiful space to each child who shared with her.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

Our book is now signed!

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

I encourage students to write to everyone for all kinds of reasons

A Guest Teacher might be coming? How about some welcome letters?

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

Our engineer helped us out with a new Food Waste bin. We all wrote him thank you notes.

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

That visiting author? We miss her already and couldn’t wait to write her letters.

Sunday Reflections: Growing WritersSunday Reflections: Growing Writers

Sunday Reflections: Growing Writers

A writing centre and materials for writing are must haves. Ours is a shelf full of paper, notepapers, pens and coloured pencils. We also bring out felt tipped pens to write with so that we can love our mistakes instead of erasing them. We write during Writing Workshop but students also write when they have free time, during choices time and even during the lunch hour. Many are collaborative stories with multiple authors and illustrators.

I was just gifted a The Kind Book co-written by three girls. Each page has one word and an illustration. Check out the rainbow end pages! These kids know books and no detail is missed.

Sunday Reflections: Growing WritersWe are about to make books to share what we have learned about insects. Once we’ve done a little more research, there will be art, poetry, facts and book love. Everyone is excited.

We can do this!

We are writers!

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

Monday May 19th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

My favourite picture books of the week

If You Listen written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Stefano Vitale 

How do you know someone is with you even when they are not physically there? A little girl needs reassurance from her mother about how to cope with missing her Dad who is no longer with her. Did he pass away? Has he left the family? It isn’t clarified. The important aspects of the story are how to deal with loss, grief and acceptance of love (whether immediate or far away). First published in 1980 and redone in 2002 with these gorgeous illustrations.

If you listen #IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Once Upon a Balloon written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant 

An intriguing story about imagination, sibling dynamics and an act of kindness. This title explores the land of “what if” and the power of belief just as much as it celebrates the story telling whims of an older brother who knows he has a captive audience in his younger sibling. The ending brings an entire other aspect to this story and allows the reader to think about what it is to be kind and compassionate.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Awesome Book of Love! by Dallas Clayton

Love, love, love. Not any one kind in particular but simply love that is huge and all encompassing. My favourite line?

“or just being around when the others have gone or about letting go when you want to hold on.”

A true celebration of love.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Set by the lake in Tanzania, a mother speaks this lullaby to her child as they see father off in the morning and greet him again at the end of a busy day. Vividly illustrated. A story of routine, daily chores and family love.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Tippy-Tippy-Tippy Splash! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Candace Fleming has such fun with language in this story of Mr. McGreely and his annoyance with the rabbits that make him so angry. Always trying to better these “wily twitchwhiskers” Mr. McGreely finds himself always outdone. Finally, he figures out a way to work with rather than against these “flop eared” foes. Silly and fun, a sequel to Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Moonday by Adam Rex

Absolutely odd. Stunning illustrations. It will either work for people or it won’t. The cover enchanted me and I felt persuaded to come along on Rex’s imaginative journey asking, “What if the moon ended up perched in your backyard?”

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Samsara Dog written by Helen Manos and illustrated by Julie Vivas

Not necessarily a picture book for younger children. Emotional and thoughtful. Based on Buddhist concepts of Samsara and Nirvana, this story tells the tale of a dog who lives many lives, learning and growing in each of them. Finally, he lives the life that allows him to feel deeply, to know much and to give fully.

#IMWAYR May 19th, 2014 There's a Book for That

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

Amazing nonfiction – Shackleton’s story of the Endurance’s attempted voyage to Antarctica. Uniquely illustrated by Grill. This book is ironically a book about exploration that needs to be explored for its every detail. Read this aloud to my children (who are eleven) and we were all captivated. I had to own this book as soon as I heard about it and was in no way disappointed.

Shackleton's Journey #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

I finished two novels and am now avidly reading Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 

Completed:

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee 

This was a #MustReadin2014 title

Vulnerable. Beautiful. Sad and full of grief while at the same time magical and full of hope. What a story.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin

I don’t know where to start with this book. The reader must suspend belief and be transported by the sweet song of a young girl and the power of a beautiful voice to heal so much that is wrong. A book full of many examples of choices with huge consequences. Hauntingly beautiful. A story about the power of grief to overwhelm and surround us. Full of so many different kinds of moments- worrisome, sweet and lovely, angst filled. Upper middle grade. Highly recommended.

Nightingale's nest #IMWAYR May 19th 2014 There's a Book for That

Next up? After finishing Golden Boy, I plan to begin A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 38/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 249/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 63/65 complete