Monday October 9th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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

Loved reading aloud this title on Friday as I had a little walking skeleton dressed for the occasion!

Monday October 9th, 2017

Our #classroombookaday titles focussed on story telling and becoming writers. So glad I chose to share these titles so early in the year. Some highlights from our learning included:

  • The middle is where all of the good stuff happens.
  • Tell more!
  • Write the stories around you.
  • Illustrations also tell stories. Pictures have important details.
  • Everyone loves to share stories!

After reading Ralph Tells a Story we were inspired to make a list of story ideas in our writer’s notebooks. I can’t wait to read about overflowing bathtubs, funny families and big and little adventures!

Monday October 9th, 2017Classroom Highlights 

In this recent post Dear Blog Readers,  I explained how I will be sharing more of what is happening in our classroom each week. Some highlights:

On Wednesday and Thursday evening we hosted Goal Setting Conferences with parents and students. It was really lovely to meet families (including older and little siblings) and participate in meaningful conversations about learning, happiness and engagement. I loved this drawing left behind by one little brother. It reminded me to listen with big ears!

Monday October 9th, 2017

Kindergarten students have so much to share. I love to pop in to the K classrooms on my prep to see what is happening. One little author/illustrator read me her animal book. 🙂

Monday October 9th, 2017

One of my students wants to be a poet. She shared her notebook with me this week. During Choices time one afternoon, she was working on her writing. She turned to a new page and exclaimed, “I love when a blank page turns into a story.” Her supportive Mom had taken her to the public library this week and helped her to sign out some poetry titles!

Monday October 9th, 2017

We have been writing to the people in our school community. I love this letter to our school engineer:

“Parm Thank you for everything. Our light is broken Parm. Can you fix it please and pretty?”

Here are our wipe off math mats patiently waiting for us to return from music and recess so we can continue practicing decomposing numbers to add.

Monday October 9th, 2017Little mathematicians at work! Overheard: “Let’s try that one again. I think we’ve almost got it.” Math is social! When we work together our learning multiplies.Monday October 9th, 2017Students are now taking the lead solving math riddles. This student is crossing out numbers on the 100s chart that have been eliminated by specific clues. Her classmates are so attentive!

Monday October 9th, 2017

After choral counting, we notice so many patterns! My job? To record all of the thinking that is shared.

Monday October 9th, 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.

Books I enjoyed:

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat

Kind of impossible to talk about this book without giving anything away. I will just say this. I read a LOT of picture books. I often find books that touch an emotional nerve or inspire a sense of awe or make me laugh out loud. I am amazed at the calibre of titles that continue to be published. But I don’t often find myself completely surprised. This book surprised me. The ending caught me off guard and I loved it!

La La La: A Story of Hope written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim

Well, wow. This book – with only these three little repeated utterances: La, La, La and some more than expected and then some illustrations – pulls off an experience that is pretty incredible. I read a bit of criticism in the reviews about this being a challenging title to share as a read aloud. I think in a room with an adult who knows his/her readers and where there is space for wondering and talk, this book would be amazing. I need to get my own copy and prove it very soon.

La La La- A Story of Hope 2

The Wish Tree written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Chris Turnham

In search of a wish tree . . . There is much here about unwavering belief, hope and kindness. A magical experience.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won

I am not quite sure what could be better than a book about book love. Such a celebration!

Hooray for Books!

Imagine by John Lennon with illustrations by Jean Jullien

A gorgeous picture book of the famous song by John Lennon. I will be sharing this as November 11th approaches. An important book to inspire conversations about peace.

Animal Camouflage: Search and Find by Sarah Dennis and Sam Hutchinson

Can’t wait to put this title out for some of our Soft Start mornings. I know students will pour over it as they learn about continents and various animals. Just beautiful.

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

I was so excited to finally have the chance to read this book and I couldn’t put it down. It was full of surprises and the ending just about knocked me over. I now feel like my students who read Mighty Jack last year and then whined all year about the second in the series not yet being published. Consider this my first whine: WHEN is Book 3 coming?

Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

Wonderfully quirky, gentle and true. The unbelievable becomes believable in this middle grade novel about a girl who literally has a bee hive in her hair. Not a bee hive hair style. A hive of bees who take up residence. Really. She also has a missing brother. A there, but not really, mother. A boy named Birch waiting to be her friend. And . . . those bees. Loved this book!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 231/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 49 books behind schedule.  Under 50 this week!

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 29/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

Up next? I have a lot of transitional chapter books on the go as I get ready to book talk more titles for my classroom!

Celebration: And then this happened . . .

Some weeks we can make a list of things that happen – often all in a day happen – that add to the already stressful end of term. It’s report card season. That is enough right there to put me over the edge. And then . . .

  • The heat in my classroom stopped working twice. 15 degrees celsius (that’s 59 fahrenheit for you in the U.S.) is too cold in a classroom!
  • A mouse was spotted in our cloakroom.
  • The upstairs printer stopped working and it was days and days before it was fixed (in “report cards are due and need to be printed week,” let’s remember)
  • I got phone calls like this, “T will be late. He just threw up in the downstairs hall.”
  • Our upstairs hallway had too much noise much too often. Upset kids. Kids not managing. Racing about. A few high pitched screams. Our door has to be constantly shut to keep our attempts at calm and learning inside the room.
  • Painters showed up and my door was painted and had to remain open all morning to dry (sigh, see above)
  • Pest control (bless him) showed up in the middle of a read aloud to close up holes. This involved a drill. But, still, bless him.
  • It rained basically all week. Sopping kids. Sopping socks. Sopping shoes. Freezing room.
  • There is more. I won’t reveal the details but there were instances that involved pencils in the ceiling, smushed oranges in the hallway and a day of no substitutes for two teachers.

Yup, it was a week.

And then, this happened:

I read a week’s worth of books on grief, loss and the cycle of life and students loved them deeply. Voting for favourites involved discussions like this:

“I don’t know what the word is . . . that feeling when you didn’t cry and you feel so much and oh, it was just so good.”

“It’s sad. But it’s happy. Oh, wow, I loved that book.”

Celebration: And then this happened . . .

Our intermediate resource teacher taught kindergarten all day when no substitute was available. He found me at recess with an insistent plea: “I need some books!” I passed him a pile including Brian Won‘s Hooray for Hat and suggested he make hats with the kids.

He did one better. A hat parade arrived at our door in the afternoon and the K class performed the book and charmed my Grade 4 & 5s. 🙂

Hooray for Hat!

Celebration: And then this happened . . .

Hooray for Hat

Math looked like this. Everywhere I turned.

Celebration: And then this happened . . .

I bought the third book in a series and passed it to the reader who had been waiting.

“You really are that Book Woman,” he told me.

Celebration: And then this happened . . .

I had to rush downstairs Friday p.m. to deal with a discipline issue. I returned later to find the pile of papers that had been scattered all over the carpet piled up and the white board erased. Oh, my lovely Emily!

Celebration: And then this happened . . .


Report cards are handed in. The heat is working again. I woke up to sunshine and to gratitude for the fact that teaching children means that the little moments they give us will outweigh everything else that might be going wrong. Always. Guaranteed.

What better thing to celebrate?

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!

Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.


Picture books to help you giggle

To celebrate picture book month, I am sharing peeks into the wonderful conversations I get to have with children about particular picture books. When I thought about writing a picture book post today, no conversations leaped out at me to share. I have no students here at home on a Sunday morning and I have been reading my own children the amazing novel Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. But . . . just yesterday evening, I was talking to Vancouver kindergarten teacher Sharon Hales about how great Elephant & Piggie titles are. She is a huge fan! (Great taste!) And, of course, I asked a few times – “Have you read . . . ?” “Do you know author . . . ?” 

Hmmm, this was a conversation about picture books . . .

So I started thinking, if I were a kindergarten teacher, what would be must own picture books for my classroom library? Books guaranteed to inspire giggles and choruses of “Read it again”? Quickly, I started a list on a scrap piece of paper. I ran out of room! This post is the result. 🙂

Grab one of these, grab a child or a kindergarten/early primary class and prepare for smiles and giggles!

Picture books to help you giggle There's a Book for That

And because once you start laughing, you need to laugh some more:

Picture books to help you giggle There's a Book for That

Picture Books to help you giggle:

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Z is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky 

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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

Brief Thief written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

Warning: Do not Open this Book! written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld 

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Interrrupting Chickenby David Ezra Stein

Chester by Mélanie Watt

You’re Finally Here by Mélanie Watt

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

Such a joy to share these favourite titles – perfect for the younger set but appealing to happy readers of all ages!

Are you in the picture book mood? Share some favourites! It’s Picture Book Month!

pb month logo

Monday August 25th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


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. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I thought I would have finished many more books this week. Problem is I can’t sit still. If I am still, I think. I think about how we are still on strike. How September is going to begin with us in limbo here in B.C. No teaching, no learning. Just sad. So I spent time I would usually be reading, doing other things. Sorting. Organizing. Puttering about to keep moving. And less reading was the result. Ridiculous really because reading is one of my favourite things but it’s been a hard week knowing that there is no resolution in sight. Taking a deep breath and trying to dive back into books.

Still, I read some great titles!

The picture books I loved:

 A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

Oh wow. This book. It’s gorgeous. It’s special. It’s a must own and must share. A story of a boy who finds his voice and shares it in the best of ways.

 A Boy and a Jaguar #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

This book was sent to me by the wonderful Alyson Beecher and it marched into my hands and begged to be read. Delightful. Charming. It whispers, “Hey, there is an art project just begging to happen here don’t you think?” Yep!

Hooray for Hat  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

The Long,  Long Journey The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

I am always fascinated by migration stories. This title highlights the journey of the godwit’s migration. Almost unbelievable. Beautifully illustrated.

 The Long, Long Journey  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long

Perfect read aloud for little ones – addresses feelings of jealousy, wanting attention, accepting the new kid. Always relevant.

  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

In New York by Marc Brown

A great introduction to an incredible city.

In New York  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

I also finished

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Reading this book was kind of like stumbling into an eclectic antique store and picking up interesting items to examine. Stacks of sentimental. Little bowls of charm. Artifacts full of whimsy. Sorrow. Longing. Joy. Magic. What a book.

a snicker of magic  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That August 25th, 2014

Up next? I am now reading Okay for Now by Gary D. Shmidt with my children and plan to start Revolution by Deborah Wiles later today.

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 394/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 100/65 complete