Monday March 5th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This week I have a few to celebrate.

This reader is checking out a student written book that is part of our collection. Writers and readers go hand in hand 🙂

I know Mock Caldecott is a special thing in our room when last year’s students pop in to find out who our winners were and then stay to read the books!

Here are my fairy tale fans all sitting at the same table reading the same series! Pretty cute!

Our #classroombookaday titles, as always, have been inspirational.

Art, words and discussions were incredible after these titles.

Again – the impact of these books is evident in comments and writing.

One child was very moved by the book Red: A Crayon’s Story. She writes:

“I really like this theme because it really pours our feelings out. It’s like you have a big bucket on your head and the theme walks to your head and your feelings swish around and you start to be emotional and I love that. The book is telling you to express yourself and be your own person or colour. Cause that’s what makes us unique.”


I haven’t posted in a while – some good excuses include – heading to Bellingham (on a very snowy Friday) to attend the Western Washington’s Children Literature Conference.

Amazing authors and illustrators included Kevin Henkes, Sophie BlackallPam Muñoz Ryan and Benjamin Alire Sáenz. They are all wearing tiaras here – for a you kind of had to be there – kind of a reason.

We also attended nErD Camp Bellingham on Sunday and it was a pleasure to spend the day with so many educators, librarians and literary wonders. We always love hanging out with nErD camp Bellingham founder Adam Shaffer.

Classroom Highlights 

There has been art with Maggie in the Art and Discovery studio.

Science with UBC students during UBC reading week. Students shared science and we shared favourite books of course!

Lots and lots of math thinking as we explore multiplication and division concepts.

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 loved:

There’s a lot of them . . . some not yet released so mark your calendars!

Hello Hello  by Brendan Wenzel (available March 20th, 2018)

Beyond wonderful. This title features numerous animals connected by sometimes simple and sometimes surprising common features. The author’s note explains that many of these creatures are in trouble and need human awareness and action to remove them from the endangered and critically threatened lists. Ideal for young young readers as well as school age children. Highly recommended.

Watch this amazing trailer – you’re going to want this book!

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 extraordinary female illustrators

I fell in love with this book at the mere concept. It’s nonfiction perfection – inspired poetry, additional information and incredible illustrations by some of my favourite illustrators out there. Hood chose her subjects – often girls and young women – that might not yet be known or are not all know well in order to introduce readers to inspiring role models. Well known girls and young women like Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai are also included.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

The same author illustrator team that brought us Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? is back! If you know this book, you are already sold!

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (released in June 2018)

Another inspiring woman who young readers will want to know more about. Add this one to your biography collections. Katherine Johnson is the mathematician who ensured that the Apollo 13 returned safely to Earth. Such a story! Written in an engaging style ideal for Elementary readers.

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter written by Mark Gonzales and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

A beautifully written letter from father to daughter, this book celebrates culture, identity and family roots. A celebration of diversity and self. Just gorgeous.

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (released April 2018)

A must have for library and classroom collections – perfect title to complement our studies of shapes found in the world. Another beautifully illustrated title by Amini. This book is absolutely stunning. A celebration of both shapes and traditions. So pleased to include it in my classroom library.

The Boy and the Blue Moon written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Ashley Crowley

Blue like you haven’t quite imagined. Text and illustrations are the perfect complement. One part magic, another part imagination, a big splash of whimsy all seeped and soaked in the bluest of blues.

George the Hero Hound by Jeffrey Ebbeler (coming March 20, 2018)

Sometimes a farm comes with a dog. George knows his way around the farm but is under appreciated until he does something heroic. Charming and amusing.

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Celebrates the magical and beautiful way words can collide and come together.

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay 

I love this entire series of Lulu books. Perfect for the Grade 2 to 4 classroom. Lulu’s patience and persistence is admirable and readers will be rooting for this dog from the sea!

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess (Young Adult)

This truly is a story of rock and roll, fathers and sons, addictions and recoveries, loves and loss. A beautifully executed novel in verse.

Knock Out by K.A. Holt

House Arrest – this book’s companion novel- is a book I haven’t stopped raving about. Both titles are written in powerful and personal verse. I couldn’t put either one down. This is the story of little Levi – just a baby in House Arrest – now growing up and ready to have his own story. But when you have always been the one to protect, how do you find your way and engage with the world in big and brave ways?

Up next:The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 4/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 51/300 books read

Progress on challenge: on track

#MustReadin2018: 6/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 7/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 7/40 books read

Monday November 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Sharing reading and learning from the past 2 weeks.

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This one was taken when we went to visit the Grade 3 & 4 class down the hall while they were having Camp Read. Tents, shoes and books everywhere! Every student in my classroom brought along a favourite picture book to share. Nobody Likes a Goblin is being devoured by these two readers.

Our #classroombookaday titles from last week allowed us to have some serious conversations about the world.

Writing was rich. Some students shared some very personal writing connected to their own experiences with leaving their countries because of war. We have started to talk about books as mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors (from Rudine Sims Bishop) and students instantly began to use this language to describe their connections to the books.

We watched a short video of the actual Kunkush, the cat who inspired Lost and Found Cat and students reread the book many times looking at the photographs in the back and having serious discussions.

This week with #classroombookaday, we laughed a lot!

Some of these titles inspired students to create their own retellings!

Which made one author very happy (and flattered)!

Classroom Highlights 

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

One student is working on a How to Draw book! How great is this?

More #classroombookaday thoughts

In the Art and Discovery Studio, students are working on paintings about significant places. I love the stories these pictures hold.

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:

Windows by Julia Denos and illustrated E.B. Goodale

This will be one of our Mock Caldecott titles. I could read this book endlessly. It is so calm and quiet and the little details . . . Just divine.

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato

Warmth of family traditions. Rich descriptions. Stunning illustrations. This one is fabulous!

What If You Had Animal Eyes? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

This series is such a favourite in my classroom. I loved this one in particular. Would be great to pair with Steve Jenkins’ Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World

Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain by Hilary McKay

I can’t get enough of these Lulu titles. I have now ordered the entire series for my classroom. This one was particularly endearing. I could just imagine children planning hedgehog runs. A wonderful transitional chapter book.

The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

A younger middle grade title than Sonnenblick typically writes but some pretty serious threads – bullying, domestic abuse, addictions, poverty. For readers who like books with lots of issues and rooting for the underdog, Maverick is a character they will want to meet.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

I had a hard time putting this one down – the mystery makes it addictive. But this book is beyond a mere mystery. Matthew is the last one to see the toddler who goes missing on his block. But he sees everything from his upstairs window. Matthew’s OCD makes it difficult for him to venture out of his home. Matthew wants to help find the child but this means he needs to face numerous fears and delve into grief and worries from his past.

Up Next? Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 57/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 280/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 49 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 35/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 40/50 books read

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.

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