Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback

This week I celebrate the winding up of our #MockCaldecott process. The books are read. The voting complete. The winners selected. The evaluations written. Now these titles are read, reread and treasured. They are pieces of our reading lives.

I can’t quite figure out how to share just how much this entire process exceeded my expectations. There is normally a LOT of picture book love in my classroom. This took it over the top. In the very best of ways.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

We read each book together as a class over a two week period. Talking. Noticing. Savouring. Rereading.

And then it was time to vote. A rich and thoughtful process. Students revisited many of the titles and carefully considered their votes.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

Students rated each of our eleven titles on a scale of 1-5 for 3 questions:

This book is a book kids will really appreciate. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations in this book are excellent in quality. 1  2  3  4  5

The illustrations are a great fit for the story being told. 1  2  3  4  5

I loved watching students and adults talk together and share what they noticed.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

As students each selected 3 favourites to write more about, I witnessed collaboration and celebration.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

And . . . quiet independent reflection and rereads.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

Our actual winners were as follows:

Same & Dave Dig a Hole took the medal. We awarded honor status to The Farmer and the Clown, Quest and Draw!

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

These titles received a LOT of love. Like the biggest smile of approval EVER! 🙂

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

And student created stickers . . .

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

Titles that didn’t receive medal/honor status got another kind of love and devotion:

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

And when author/illustrators communicated with us via twitter, it was pretty magical!

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

Comments about favourite titles ranged from favourite parts to insightful observations. Some highlights:

Same & Dave Dig a Hole

“I like the part when they always pass by the big diamonds. Maybe they are too lazy to dig for a long time.”

“I really like when they dig straight down but they miss the pink diamond. The book had very good details. It’s like Sam and Dave fell in a new galaxy. Or like time travel.”

“I love how the dog could smell the diamond.”

“Sam and Dave is a great digging book because the dog can smell gems: one small, two medium three big, four enormous!!”

“That was the biggest diamond that I ever seen in a book!”

Draw!

“I like it because it is wordless. I love wordless books. I think he likes adventures and to do new things.”

“It has great illustrations and so much imaginations! We do lots of imaginations in our class.”

The Farmer and the Clown

“My favourite part is the friendship between the farmer and the clown.”

“My favourite part is when the clown washes his face and then he looks like a cute little baby.”

“My favourite part was when the clown needed to go and the farmer switched hats with him. It showed that on the next page.”

Quest

“This book is awesome! It has so many colours. I like how they draw something and then it comes true.”

“I choose Quest because the illustrations goes with the book. It’s a continuation of the book Journey and this time, they’re working together.”

The Girl and the Bicycle

“My favourite part is when the girl buyed the bicycle for her brother. I like when the girl dropped her bike and hugged the old lady.”

The Right Word

“I really like how the illustrator uses a lot of collage and nothing gets wasted.”

Sparky!

“Sparky was so lazy. He only knew how to sleep. He was an odd pet.”

“All the pictures are about cute and lazy. The pictures really fit with the plot. Sparky is very cute. I like how Sparky is always sleeping. The girl plays games but Sparky always loses.”

“I like the part when the sloth just sat there.”

The Promise

“I wouldn’t appreciate the colours in the ending as much if it didn’t have those dull colours to compare the bright colours to. It was a very good story.”

Reflecting on our learning was taken as seriously as exploring book details.

 Celebration: Mock Caldecott Results and Feedback There's a Book for That

I asked students to think about three questions. I shared some of their answers under each question.

What did you like about our Mock Caldecott process?

  • Some of the books kept me thinking
  • We got to vote on our favourite books (it’s very hard).
  • I like when we looked at the details
  • It is like a treasure hunt with books!
  • We noticed amazing things!
  • How we got to be judges and that is awesome.
  • I liked listening to all of the stories.
  • I get to rate all of the books!
  • We got to see new books that we haven’t seen before.
  • That we got to be learners and thinkers. I hope we do it again.

What did you learn about your own likes/dislikes/preferences with picture books?

  • I used to like books that were only black white but Quest made me change my mind.
  • I like when there’s a happy ending.
  • I like when they surprise us.
  • I like when there are muted colours and then the next page everything is bright.
  • You can learn a lot with just one picture book.
  • I used to dislike wordless books. Now, I like wordless books.
  • I like bright picture books more than plain picture books.

What did you learn about illustration and illustration styles?

  • Some books – you have to notice the small details.
  • Some illustrators do spotlights of do a small picture and leave a big white page
  • The illustrations have to fit with the plot.
  • They are very creative in books. They do that so kids will think about it.

My favourite response might be this one: “I noticed that all the kids had fun!” this is my celebration – the joy the Mock Caldecott process brought to our room. We are, more than ever, a reading community.

celebrate-link-up

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.

Celebration: Time to Read, Winter break style

The holidays have arrived. For book lovers everywhere this means TIME – uninterrupted, guilt free time to read and read and read! This is my celebration this week – my anticipation of time with books to be lost in and inspired by story.

My favourite holiday note was this one from Rebecca in my class. It is so wonderful that our first term was full of so much special reading. Better still that Rebecca chose to highlight it in her note to me. What I love about the holidays is that I get lots of time to feed my own reading cravings – which lets me come back in January, refreshed and ready to create more time for “special reading” with my students.

I am a reader. My students are readers. We are a reading community!

Celebration: Time to Read, Winter break style There's a Book for That

Currently, I have very ambitious reading goals that I am horribly behind with. I waver between being certain that I will still meet them and considering myself incredibly foolish to even think it is possible. But, I celebrate my ambitious plans to try! I have a goal of reading 100 novels this year. I did it last year. This year the prolonged teacher’s strike ruined my relaxed summer reading and I fell behind.

Last night I finished two novels and this morning I read a beautiful novel in verse. A little surge of hope happened! How it stands now: I have finished 82 out of 100 titles to meet this goal. 82 done. 18 to go. 11 days. Hmmm. . .

Here is my current TBR pile. I will need to finish these titles and 3 more. Possible? Unlikely! But I am willing to try! Think of the fun in the possibility! Each book read only enriches my life. So no harm in trying 🙂

Celebration: Time to Read, Winter break style There's a Book for That

Wishing all of you some quiet time to read and enjoy a book or two (or eighteen if you have a goal like mine!) Elisabeth Ellington, I know you hear me!

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.

celebrate-link-up

Celebration: The Ups

It’s December weeks before the holiday break. Lots of people are sick. Stress levels, excitement levels, anxiety levels all peaking. Not everything is smooth sailing. There are ups and there are downs and not a lot of in the middle sailing along.

So “the ups” feel a little more precious.

This is what I celebrate this week. Those moments that I wanted to tangibly capture in my arms and whirl about. The quick instances and the longer, in it, “grooves” that we managed.

All that was good and kept me smiling at the end of every day.

Because, really, I so love what I do.

I celebrate the moments of buddy reading with the K class. This happens Wednesday afternoon but those little Ks light up every time they see my class in the hall. This week I just stood in awe and watched the singing, the story telling, the chanting, the guessing and all of the literacy connections happening.

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate that during our Turn and Talk discussions (all about predictions and wonders) for our new nonfiction title: Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins one child whispered to me:

“Ms. Gelson we’ve only read half a page and already we know so much!”

I was impressed that my students could come up with so many details on how different animals rely on vision to go about their daily lives.

eye to eye Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate that math looks like this: engaged, confident, excited.

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate that one little reader who used to be up and wandering last year in Reading Workshop is now firmly planted in his favourite spot at the carpet and reading his way through the Henry and Mudge series. Hurrah when a reader finds the fit!

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate Monster Art. Students took their monster characters and “shrunk” them and then “built them a house.” I especially celebrate the fact that my students pick up a felt (or crayon or pastel) and just draw. The risk taking of no pencils first is a wonderful thing!

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

This one worked right side up or upside down. I celebrate unique perspective!

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate munching on cheese strings and mandarin oranges while writing “commitment notes” to join a Junior Book Club we are forming.

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

And always, I celebrate all of the moments of book love that infuses everything we do:

The engagement while reading favourite authors

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

The little one who “sneaked” our poetry title to read on her own “I didn’t read ahead. I just read the favourite parts so far.” Joyce Sidman has us entranced on a regular basis!

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

The growing confidence we share in Reading Workshop book talking favourite picture books to each other. It’s a process. We’re getting there. But it all begins with the exciting flash of the favourite illustration.

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

The devotion to favourite authors embedded in this book review. (Look midway down the page)

Celebration: The Ups There's a Book for That

I celebrate all of these moments. I especially celebrate that if I now tried to make a list of the “downs” of the week, it just really doesn’t matter. Mostly, I’ve already forgotten. Because, really, wow, look at what we’ve got going on!

Thank you so many times to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.

celebrate-link-up

 

 

 

Celebration: Friday favourites

Some mornings we just have no idea. I left for work Friday in the pouring rain. In the dark. Feeling tired. Not looking forward to a weekend of report card writing. It seemed to be a Friday to finish. To get on the other side of. Instead, it was a Friday of wow moments. My smiling started before the first bell had even rung and it just got brighter. This was a beautiful teaching day. A day of funny. A day of focus. A day of inspired moments.

Sharing five favourites.

#1 Why is it so important to have a classroom library full of fantastic books? Because of moments like this. A student who brings her little sister in early to read to her.

“Should I read you this book? Okay, sit down. Let’s start.”

My classroom is a room for readers. Present, future and past. Nothing is better than that.

Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

#2 Reading Workshop is in full swing and full of conversations that make me know it is all coming together. I had the pleasure of listening to this reader read aloud to me today. We talked about fluency. It went something like this (I took notes!).

Me: “Your reading is becoming so much smoother. You are changing your speed, your tone, your volume. It is so enjoyable to listen to you read. What do you think has helped you improve so much? What has worked?”

S: “It’s not just me. It’s you. Because you talk about all of those things and you show me when you read aloud. You teach me when you show me. And Reading Workshop really helps me. I get to read so many books and all of the words in so many books.”

Me: “So you like all of the time we have to read everyday? It makes a difference for you?”

S: “Yes. There’s a lot of books in here. Kids need lots of books.”

Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

#3 We finished reading The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry today. Our discussion was so thoughtful and mature. It stretched into a conversation about nonfiction picture book biographies and reading preferences. I was so inspired, I think it will become a blog post. I love learning from my students.

Update: It did. Nonfiction conversations: Talking nonfiction picture book biographies with kids

 Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

#4 Math was wonderfully focussed today. We worked on representing  and solving multiplication equations with multiplies of 100. Students recognized that 300 x 3 (300 groups of 3) can be switched to 3 x 300 (3 groups of 300) and more easily solved. “I’m doing the switch thing,” they kept announcing. So, wonderful. A productive math class. And then part way through lunch, 5 girls showed up. “We’ll be quiet. Can we do more math?” How do you say no to that?

Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

#5 Every year my Mom makes hats for every child in my room. And all of the Ks and all of the 1s at my school. She also knits hats for my sister’s K classroom and the K classroom across the hall from her. Yes. Really! My students got their hats today and wore them all afternoon. We wrote poems about our new hats. We kept them on through Choices time at the end of the day. These girls are writing songs. With their hats on. I think it improved the creative process!

Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

At the end of the day, I asked for some group pictures. Just smiling is never enough for my class. We have to pose doing various emotions. I call them out, they eagerly comply. “Show me silly.” “Show me excited.” “Now do tired.” “Big smiles.” The photo below is “shocked”

Can’t get much cuter.

Celebration:  Friday favourites There's a Book for That

This week I celebrate fantastic days that come out of nowhere. Days that make me so happy I do what I do. Days where I get knocked over by the awe and joy I feel for my students.

celebrate-link-up

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

Oh, how I love my class! I love the talk, the writing, the words, the questions . . . All of it.

I celebrate this long and winding conversation with my students:

Me: “I’m so excited I’m going to see an author/illustrator this weekend!”

A student: “Do we know who it is?”

Me: Gives various clues

Eventually . . . .

Various students: “Marie-Louise Gay!”

Me: “Yes. I hope to get her new book signed at the author breakfast I am going to.”

A student: “Signed to us right?”

Me: “Of course.”

A student: “Do you know Elise Gravel or are we just writing to her?

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

Me: “We are getting to know her. She’ll know you better after we send our letters and fan art.”

A student: “Did you send them already?”

Me: “Well, we are still working on everything. I will send it this weekend when we finish.”

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

A student: “Why don’t you just tweet it all?”

Me: “I have sent her some photos. But, I think she will like getting the package in the mail.”

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

A student: “Do you know Katherine Applegate?

Me: “We know her work but no, I haven’t met her.”

A student: “Go meet her. You should. And tell her about how we love her books.”

Me: “I shared some of our letters in a blog post and tweeted it to her. So she knows we love them.”

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

A student: “But you are going to meet Kate DiCamillo right?

Another student: “Can we come?”

Me: “I am going to a conference in the spring and she will be speaking. I will get our copy of Flora & Ulysses signed.”

A student: “You forgot The Illuminated Adventures part”

A student: “And you just met Raina Telgemeier right?”

Me: “Yes, and she signed books to our class. People are reading them right now.”

Many students: “I am.” “And then me.” “I’m next!” “Me!”

A student: “So, who are you going to meet next? Someone we like right?”

🙂

I also celebrate this – – > The lovely Miriam who works with me created these sheets and plastered the room and the school. In our room, we were gifting these words to each other with messages. I received “wisdom” with a comment from one child, “You are always really smart to us.”

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

One of our little learners was inspired and made her own. We found it outside our room at the end of the day – taped up in the hallway.

Pass it on. 

Celebration: Disgusting Critters, Favourite Authors, Pass it on

Conversations about authors and illustrators. Book love. Words with weight. These things I celebrate.

Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.

celebrate-link-up

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom

This week we hosted four student teachers from Simon Fraser University – two on Tuesday and Wednesday and two more on Thursday and Friday. These visits were a part of a week of observations in a variety of classroom settings. I celebrate that my students were so open and welcoming and that we were all able to do some learning and reflecting together.

Always our room is a busy, full speed ahead place but at the end of the week, what was “learned”? I think we managed to pass on a few snippets of wisdom. I love that my students can be teachers. Miriam and I learn from them everyday. This week, I think they gave these SFU students lots to think about.

A few highlights:

Busy, active, exciting – these things need to happen everyday. But, so does calm. Things we do: quiet time, mindful breathing, gratitude circles, an afternoon walk and quiet, reflective play. It can be simple. Buttons, cardboard, markers = 10 minutes of magic.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Have a classroom full of books and lots of time to read them. Every day. Reading is quiet and solitary and social and joyous. Make time for all of it.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Great practice time for anything might involve “equipment” beyond a pencil. The handing out and collection of “stuff” needs to be well organized and logical. Let all of that process be smooth, and practice time can look like this.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Let students collaborate and communicate while they learn. Talk, support, ask questions. And then, celebrate!

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Don’t be afraid to tackle subjects and things that are emotional. We shared a sad video connected to a picture book that we read this week: Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Yes, we had a few tears but we also had some great conversations. The resulting writing was powerful:

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Invite others in to share their expertise. Our Let’s Talk Science volunteers visited Friday morning for their first visit of the year. We learned about the three states of matter and that when a solid becomes a gas, it is called sublimation. How? Well, there were lots of bubbles, coloured water and . . . dry ice! Fun and fully hands on.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

The big tip here? Let the “experts” do their thing and the kids have fun and learn lots. The classroom teacher’s role? Support, management, enthusiasm. Help it all go smoothly so everyone wants to do it again!

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

And of course, always be prepared. Have everything you need. Be safe. Look like you mean it.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

There were some other tidbits I passed on – things about paper (and aversions to it), creative interpretations of the IRPs and the power of clicky shoes. But it was the students doing what they do best that allowed the most powerful “teaching” to happen. And this is what I celebrate this week!

celebrate-link-up

Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.

Celebration: Two Weeks in

It’s a strange feeling to be writing October on the board but yet, after a prolonged strike, we only have two full weeks of school under our belts.

Usually two weeks into a school year means routines are still being practiced and set, schedules are not fully organized, new staff are building relationships with the students and “school stamina” is steadily increasing.

While this is all happening in my classroom, it also feels like we are all a little ahead of the game. Is it a typical beginning of October? Not quite. But for a variety of reasons, we have hit the ground running and I couldn’t be prouder. Maybe, it is my excitement to be back and fully immersed in all of the learning. Maybe it is the exact same thing for the students. A lot has to do with the fact that I have again looped a class of students from a 2/3/4 into a 3/4 so that 17 children were in the room last year. Whatever it is, we are back in a big way and this is what I celebrate: our enthusiasm, our passion and our commitment to learning.

I thought at first that I was going to highlight all of the academics we have so quickly embraced, but as I was selecting pictures, I realized that our strength and our growth is always such a balance of learning, community and joy.

As I often do, I will let these photographs tell our stories.

Our week began with an all day field trip up Grouse Mountain into the rain and the clouds. Despite the weather, the kids were troopers.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

On the mountain, our experiences included time in art galleries and a session in the Feast House with an artist. Students were respectful, curious and engaged.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for ThatOur first classroom art activity was a Picasso inspired cubist self-portrait project. I love the playfulness it brought out in the children.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

Finished portraits are bright and beautiful. These two portraits are not only stunning, they are also of two new friends in our classroom 🙂

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

One of the best parts of our week is our gratitude circle where everyone shares small and large things that we feel grateful for. Always, it is a lovely exercise in sharing and listening.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

I have been taking individual photos of everyone in our class for a photo project we are working on. Of course, with a camera we can capture all of the energy that is who we are as a class community. Some of my many girls reveal their personalities. Oh yes, girl power.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

We have leapt fully into the land of 3 and 4 digit numbers – building, comparing, ordering, representing. Math is busy and messy with students and materials everywhere – just how we learn best!

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

Within the first few minutes of Reading Workshop, these boys have staked out prime reading real estate. They are doing all of the things we have been talking about when we ask what independent reading looks like: find a comfortable spot, have a collection of interesting things to read, build stamina, etc.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

We welcomed a lovely guest to our room Friday morning and some of us wanted to share some favourite picture books. The image is a little blurry because it is an action shot. These girls didn’t just read the books, they acted them out! Love the spontaneous enthusiasm.

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

A new year and a new grade means new writer’s notebooks and the introduction of felt tipped pens. Using the pens was a recommendation from Colleen Cruz in a session some of my staff and I attended last fall here in Vancouver. As you can see, they sure allow the ideas to flow across the page!

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

Some more busy little writers sharing ideas and the excitement of our new pens!

Celebration: Two Weeks in There's a Book for That

Two weeks in and wow, we have much to celebrate!

celebrate-link-up

Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community.