Monday September 18th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

Here are a few from this past week. Little readers. Lots of books.

Monday September 18th, 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.

It has been weeks since I published a #IMWAYR post. I have been busy falling in love with my new Grade 3 class and settling back into fall routines. So I am sharing weeks of reading and just highlighting my absolute favourites.

Of course, in this past week I read The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and we completed some incredible dot art displayed as a community art piece.

Monday September 18th, 2017

This display still needs the themes we are taking on from The Dot – these are the take aways the students came up with. Take aways that launch our year together.

Our #classroombookaday titles were all about friendships and relationships.

Monday September 18th, 2017

Be a Friend inspired a discussion about qualities we would like in a friend.

Monday September 18th, 2017

On the blog:

I completed the fifth and final post in this blog series: Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 5: Sourcing 

I also shared a #MustReadin2017 update post.

Books I enjoyed:

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs written by Carol Murray and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

I will be sharing this title in the next few weeks to inspire some of our own poetry, fact finding and art. The perfect mentor text!

The Bad Seed written by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald

I know I shouldn’t have smiled through reading this. This is really one (cute) Bad Seed. Unless, he isn’t . . .

Why Am I Me? written by Paige Britt and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

I loved this lyrical, beautiful book full of questions and musings about self, identity and the wider world. I bought a copy for our classroom collection.

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel 

This title is pretty special. Sparse words, gorgeous illustrations and a message of strength.

Now by Antoinette Portis

Being in the moment has never been celebrated with such lovely wonder and beauty.

Another Way to Climb a Tree written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Oh this book. Sweet. Inspiring. Creative. A perfect mix of text and illustrations.

Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn

Teaching early primary? Want a book for your math collection about sorting and categorizing? This is your book.

Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay

I absolutely adored this title and ordered a number of titles from this series for my class!

Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Oh Miss Millie. I wish that I could come along for these walks. I loved the pace of this book. How it is quiet. Personal. Emotional.

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Another title from O’Connor that I can’t wait to read aloud. Thinking this might be a read aloud in my class later this year. So much here – this books explores the amazing and the challenging about family and friendships and allows us to question what matters when it comes to home and security. What is important enough to wish for?

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami

Truly an ode to sharing the love of books and reading. A young middle grade novel about persistence and learning how to fight for what you believe is right.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 49/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 211/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 48 books behind schedule. Oh my!

#MustReadin2017: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

Up Next? I am starting A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Monday August 28th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

In a few weeks I will have students again to snap some pictures of but for now – here is a photo of our first planned read aloud – getting some moral support from a friend.

Monday August 28th, 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.

I haven’t posted an #IMWAYR post for a few weeks as we have been travelling so this post highlights some favourites from a few weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Sharing a nonfiction title: A Bear’s Life

For picture book 10 for 10: Beautifully Quirky titles

These next 2 posts are part of a 5 part series on my blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 3: Additions

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 4: The details

Books I enjoyed:

Today by Julie Morstad

Of course, this is Morstad stunning. I can see individuals or small groups getting lost in these pages.

How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh? by Alison Limentani

As much as a . . . A wonderful book about comparing mass.

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This wordless title won my heart. Graphic panels. Sweet characters. Generosity and kindness. What more could you want in a picture book?

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered. Of course, this will be a new addition to our nonfiction library this fall. A must have for classrooms and libraries.

The Darkest Dark written by Chris Hadfield and illustrated by the Fan Brothers 

A little boy’s relationship with the dark, the sky, the universe. Astronaut Chris Hadfield tells his story and the Fan Brothers bring it to life. Wonderful!

A Small Thing . . . but Big written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Brave acts are made of many small moments. Lovely.

Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey

A fantastic title to share with young readers dealing with how to be with each other in play. Themes of friendship, relationship, being brave, standing up for yourself and others. Perfect for classroom discussions or library story time.

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

I absolutely adored Charlie. His journey is a must read experience.

Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

This middle grade novel is not an easy read. Mississippi in the 1950s for a young black girl was about nothing easy. Rose is a character I can’t wait to follow and so was thrilled to see that Jackson has a second title being released next year.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

I have heard the hype. I have seen the tweets about the ending leaving too much unanswered. I loved every bit. This book captured me. I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one early morning sitting. Would love to read this aloud to a class but think it is better suited to an older class (not Grade 3)

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 197/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 41 books behind schedule. I need another bookstore visit!

#MustReadin2017: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 32/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited

I read a lot of nonfiction aloud to my class. I never get to as many titles as I intend to – the “must share” stack is always growing. It’s not necessarily due to lack of time. I make lots of time for nonfiction reading. It’s that I believe nonfiction read alouds need to be rich reading experiences. And so, they require time. Time for questions. Time for discussion. Time to think and absorb and ponder. We “stretch out” our read alouds over days and days – reading, writing, talking, drawing. I celebrate the time we take with each book because I know the learning is rich.

I thought I would make this post for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday be all about the celebration of and learning from our nonfiction reading this year.

Here are (most of) the titles we read together in this “stretched out” style. We also read many other nonfiction titles – some in their entirety, some just a few pages here or there.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

I chose some particularly important learning to highlight here.

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

In this title we learned that a love for animals can be deep and a promise to protect them can be deeper. Alan Rabinowitz is a huge inspiration for my students. They felt his anxiety growing up stuttering and were inspired by his commitment to his work.

 A Boy and a Jaguar A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Ivan’s story prompted discussions of animals in captivity, of human cruelty, of just “why?” Lots of conversations. Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

 Ivan A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

This title allowed students to explore a question they had never before considered – just how do butterflies get to museums and science centres all over the world? But it did more than that. It gave students a close up view at the miraculous life cycle of a butterfly and allowed them to see the beauty in every stage.

 Handle with Care A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

This book gave my students hope. It energized them. It reminded them about the power of an individual to impact a community. When we closed the book, students made comments like this one: “I like Kate so much. It happened a long time ago but her soul probably still speaks for trees. She was one person who did so much.”

 The Tree Lady A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

This title let us talk about extinction. It allowed students to grasp the true vulnerability of so many species. We read this after reading various books about endangered animals. Reading about a special creature that actually became extinct prompted both outrage and sadness. “So many animals could disappear because of humans . . . ” one child observed solemnly.

Galapagos George A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Tiny Creatures The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton

This title prompted a lot of “Wows” and a lot of hand washing! 🙂 It is so important for students to wonder about the world they can not easily see. The power of something very tiny is a very big idea.

 Tiny Creatures A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

This title opened up the conversation about inspiration. What inspires an artist? What inspires any art? One child commented, “The book was about what inspired Matisse. Maybe we have inspiration all around us too.”

Iridesence of Birds A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Our learning climbs up the walls, surrounding us all year.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

We learned. Some things. A lot of things, in fact. Not close to everything. It’s a huge amazing world out there. But wow, did we learn.

We wondered. We pondered. We talked and listened. We developed our curiosity. We considered things from new perspectives. Most importantly, we considered our place in the world. What do we impact? What can we impact? What do we notice? What do we not yet understand? What do we plan to find out?

A year of reading nonfiction.  I have described reading nonfiction titles with a class as building shared knowledge, one learning layer at a time. How exciting it was to build this developing understanding of the world with this group of children this year.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015Looking for nonfiction titles to read aloud? Check out this list: Nonfiction Picture Books for Reading Aloud

Mock Caldecott 2015

While every year I celebrate Caldecott winners with my students, this is the first year we are having our own Mock Caldecott competition. After perusing numerous other Mock Caldecott lists and lists of Caldecott predictions, I narrowed it down to eleven titles to share with my class. There was a LOT of rethinking and eliminating titles. In the end, I tried to choose a varied list that conveyed different moods, feelings and responses.

Mock Caldecott Choices 2015 There's a Book for That

Here are the books we are sharing, reading and swooning over – shared alphabetically by illustrator:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Quest by Aaron Becker

The Promise written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

Draw! by Raúl Colón

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

Our process is simple. We read and talk about each book individually, enjoying the interactive read aloud experience. Then, I hide the book away until we bring them all out again and spend some time looking closer at each title with Caldecott criteria in mind.

Like others who are running a Mock Caldecott with their classrooms, I adapted the criteria into a child friendly rubric.

Each child will have an opportunity to rate each book using a 1 – 5 scale (with 1 being not at all to 5 being agree absolutely) responding to these three statements:

This book is a book kids will really appreciate. 

The illustrations in this book are excellent in quality.

The illustrations are a great fit for the story being told. 

An opportunity to comment on favourites will also be available.

By next week, we should have shared all of the titles and will be prepared to rate each book. We will do this over a morning where we can reread, look more closely at the actual criteria and have lots of discussions with other students and the adults we have invited to participate in this process with us. More details on our class blog: Curiosity Racers.

We will then announce our medal winner and 3 honour titles.

I am not sure if it is the children or the adults who are more excited but our room is buzzing even more with picture book love. At times I am sure I can hear the hum 🙂

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Iridescence of Birds

I am so excited to once again be participating in a weekly sharing of amazing nonfiction books that we can use to enhance the learning in our classrooms and our own reading and learning lives. Hurray for #nfpb2015!

This year, at least once a month, I want to try to share how I am using particular texts with my students or what we are reading in the world of nonfiction.

Today, we read the beautiful picture book biography: The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

This book, by the way, is on the Mock Caledcott list I am doing with my class. I think I love the illustrations more with each read.

This title is like one long answer to the book’s first page:

“If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray”

It goes on to highlight beautiful images and memories of his childhood home and experiences. Simple. Calm. Subtle. Slowly, we are drawn into the colours, the sensations, the possible perspectives of a young Matisse. This isn’t a story of adult artist. It is about a boy absorbing the beauty of his world.

This title is truly a treasure. Read it over and over and find yourself lulled by the lyrical words and the beautiful hues of Hooper’s illustrations.

I loved this interview with Hadley Hooper on the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. 

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Iridescence of Birds There's a Book for That

Before I shared this title with my class, I “read” them the gorgeous wordless title Draw! (another title on our Mock Caledcott list) The author’s note at the back talks about Colón‘s journey to adult artist. The children were intrigued by his long history of drawing and who he counted as influences.

Draw!

Before sharing The Iridescence of Birds, I posed this question to my students: 

“I wonder where an artist gets his/her inspiration?”

This question mirrors the beginning of MacLachlan‘s author’s note at the back of the book:

“Why do painters paint what they do? Do they paint what they see or what they remember? “

We looked at some images of Matisse’s work and talked about what we noticed.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Iridescence of Birds There's a Book for That

Students began to answer the question about where an artist’s inspiration might come from. Their ideas were fairly general:

  • from their childhood
  • from the places and people around them
  • from the time that they lived (we helped with this idea)

After reading the book, I asked the students to think about two questions:

  1. What were specific things that might have influenced Matisse in his later work?
  2. What was the author’s purpose in sharing this story?

We needed to picture walk the book a number of times again and read the text from particular pages so that the students could share specific and not vague answers. I pointed out that yes, his childhood had been an influence, but what specifically had the author and illustrator highlighted? I think this digging deeper past a quick answer is so important. This book in its beautiful simplicity of text, allows us to reread multiple times and focus on the specific details.

Finally, the students came up with this list:

  • the red rooms (floors and walls)
  • the fruit he got to put in bowls
  • the putting flowers into vases
  • there was always a cat
  • the painted plates his Mom made
  • the scenery he thought about or saw when he looked out the window
  • the pigeons – how they moved and what they looked like
  • his experience of mixing paints

They had some interesting comments about the author’s purpose. I love that when we read picture book biographies, they make connections between a particular individual’s story and their own experiences (past, present or future).

“It started off all grey and it gets more colourful. They showed how he changed his “place” himself to be more beautiful.”

“Kids like art. It’s fun. You can be inspired by reading about an artist and his life.”

“They wanted us to learn more about a famous artist.”

“The book was about what inspired Matisse. Maybe we have inspiration all around us too.”

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015