Monday March 30th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo was taken during Nonfiction Reading day in Reading Workshop. The adults in the room were circulating and listening as children read aloud from their nonfiction texts and posed questions about what they were reading. We are working at moving beyond commentary and connections to asking questions which extend our learning. Slowly but surely . . . I love the connection in this photo – it is so wonderful to have these few moments of one on one time with students. I try to bring in as many adults as possible during Reading Workshop time.

Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

This week has been about lots of literacy related things! We had Camp Read on Friday and I highlighted many of the amazing things we did here. Lots of reading and lots of yoga!

Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also got to go book shopping. Plan to share more about some of these books in the next few weeks.

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.


My favourite picture books of the week:

Marilyn’s Monster written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Matt Phelan

What do you do when everyone gets a monster and yours never arrives? Marilyn grows impatient with the endless waiting. This book wormed its way into my heart. I left it at the bookstore but it seems to be calling me. I may have to go back for it.

Marilyn's Monster Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin 

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. Sometimes finding where you are meant to be is starting with the who. Utterly sweet.

Room for Bear Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn

Just where can this bear go to be “bearish and big”? Finding the perfect place is certainly not easy. Charming.

Where Bear? Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

How does Kadir Nelson make pictures like this? Saturated in colour and signs of spring, this story reveals many things about the amazing power of seeds to grow – vegetable seeds, seeds of generosity . . . .

If You Plant a Seed  Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien

Oh this Hoot Owl is one big talker. Hilarious. This would be a perfect read aloud. I can see the children shouting and shaking their heads even now. Little Hoot Owl, wannabe big hunter eventually finds the perfect prey.

Hoot Owl Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Fish Named Glub written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

There are small questions and there are big questions. When a small fish poses the big ones, many people find some important answers.

A Fish Named Glub Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes 

It turns out that this particular lion is perfectly suited to the library. Quiet, helpful and very, very needed. My students adored this title.

Library Lion Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

It is so easy to judge when we are looking through the incorrect lens. A beautiful book about identity, acceptance, self-expression and what a waste of everyone’s time labels really are.

Red A Crayon's Story Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

In other reading, I finished:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I don’t have a quick summary of this book but yet I am not ready to write on and on to include all that I am thinking. I will just say this: How the heck did Jennifer Niven fill up my heart and leave me feeling so light while at the same time, leading me through sadness I did not want to wade into? Somehow, she did just that.

All the Bright Places Monday March 30th, 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 15/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 124/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 7/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 28/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 12/50 books read

Up next? I continue reading We Were Here by Matt de la Peña and will be starting Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero next. This week I also started rereading Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick as it is our new title for my student book club. What a book this is!

Celebration: Camp Read

Sometimes a day just must be celebrated with lots of details. Today was that day. It was Camp Read at my school. All day, all literacy, all the time.

There was an author visit. We got to do yoga twice. Once outside. We had buddy reading for a second time this week. Lots of independent reading. Lots of reading aloud. I mean, really, could this get much better?

Our day began with the magical book Dream Boats written by Dan Bar-el  and illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin. This is a beautiful book to read aloud. It is lyrical and full of gorgeous images.

DreamBoats Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

After I read the story, Miriam led us through some yoga experiences where we got to ride on our own imagined dream boats. Who says you need a boat to go sailing? Or even water.

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That  Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

We then got to go and meet author Dan Bar-el and listen to his engaging presentation. One of my students got to introduce Dan and then she spent the entire presentation in awe of his hilarious voices and dramatic retellings of his books.

“How does he do those voices? Really – how does he make his voice do that?!”

Such a fun and entertaining author visit! The children talked about it all day!

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

After recess, we had a very special guest reader come to our classroom. Our school secretary Sally came in and read us the charming book Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

Library Lion  Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

It was so wonderful to share the story experience with an adult who is very dear to us but isn’t often in the classroom with us.

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

After reading some of our current class novel Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles, we headed outside to read Silence by Lemniscates.

Silence  Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

A book like this must be followed by some mindful, quiet listening. And then some yoga.

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

Sun salutations.

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

Growing “seeds”

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

Group balance

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

After lunch we read more books – one aloud – Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov – and many on our own.

Papa's MEchanical Fish  Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

We also had a visit from our little reading buddies. Which is always delightful!

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

Celebrate this week

 Celebration: Camp Read There's a Book for That

This week, I celebrate a beautiful day full of literacy. A day that highlights that so many of our days are full of literacy. Surrounded by stories. Inspired by books. Definitely worth celebration.

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.


Garden themed Books

Division 5 is participating in the Growing Chefs program and learning all about growing plants, urban agriculture and the wonder of vegetables! Our windowsills are full of seedlings and we are indulging in many garden themed read alouds to learn more about the magic of gardens, growing and green. The following is a list of books that will be part of our reading:

The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne

An informative information story book that details the lifecycle of the Queen bee. Touches on hive life, pollination and human behaviour towards bees.

Deborah Hodge‘s Watch me Grow and Up we Grow (photographs by Brian Harris)

These books have special meaning as Deborah Hodge gifted them to our class when she visited in the fall! These books immerse us in the world of gardening and growing! One focuses on life on a small farm and the other looks at growing food in the city.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering

 In Cement Land, the promise of a packet of seeds is huge admist the gray drab world. Highlights the magic of watching seeds transform into plants!

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

Can a package of flower seeds bring happiness and beauty to a family during the Great Depression?

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam lives in the city and nurtures a struggling garden into a majestic green world. The power of a garden to invade (in the best of ways) stark city life.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

We each need to do something to make the world a more beautiful place. Miss Rumphius spreads lupine seeds throughout the countryside and the resulting flowers have a transformative effect on everyone who stumbles upon them.

Westlandia written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Wesley creates Weslandia, his own civilization using the plants he grows from some mysterious seeds and the products he makes from them.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long

Poetic text and beautifully detailed illustrations introduce us to the wonder of both familiar and unfamiliar seeds.

The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

When Theodora’s Grandfather must leave his beloved garden when he moves to an apartment, granddaughter and grandfather create a beautiful garden from seed to flower through the power of art and love.

ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet books for you and me!

The alphabet. The basis for all we write and read. Let’s celebrate our letters! We can do it with rhyme, with nonsense, in quiet or noisy ways. Our letters tell many stories. Some wonderful books to celebrate the A, B, Cs!

Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet by Ross MacDonald

Noisy letters. Yippee! Wahoo! Ding Dang, Eeek, Fwip, Grunt, Honk Honk and on it goes. This book delivers our 26 letters marching across the pages with much exuberance and the aid of a vintage printing press. Noisy! But gorgeous!

LMNO peas created by Keith Baker

These little green peas inspire many different ideas for occupations. Painters. poets. plumbers, pilots, parachutists? That covers the “P”s! Want to guess the “S” occupations? Come on! This is a great way to share this book as a read aloud!

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Nobody does nonsense better than Dr. Seuss! He is the King of Silly 🙂 My class loved this book and begged me to read certain pages over and over so we could try to recite particular pages together as a class. A taste. Big M little m: Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight . . . mighty nice

Alphabetter written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Graham Ross.

This book invites the reader to do many things on each page. First, enjoy a story that weaves through letter by letter.

Alberto had an alligator, but he didn’t have a bathing suit.

Benoit had a bathing suit, but he didn’t have a clarinet.

Second, search each page (sometimes you need to search and search and search) for a hidden letter. (a on A page, b on B page, etc)

My Little Sister Hugged an Ape written by Bill Grossman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

This alphabet book has much more text than others and carries us along in delightful rhymes. The little sister, on a hugging spree,  hugs animals from A to Z. Fun!! And then some more! A sample:

She gave an OCTOPUS a hug. Those eight long arms felt nice and snug,

Gripping my sister in eight different spots. And tangling themselves into eight different knots.

The Dangerous Alphabet written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Gris Grimly

Follow not just letters through the pages. This is is a superbly edgy journey through the land of adventure. Pirates. Monsters. Bats. Creepy tunnels by boat. Eyes are watching you. Will you make it to safety? Follow two children and their pet gazelle through a world beneath the city. Beautifully creepy.

H is for “Help me!” – a cry, and a warning . . .

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

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

This book could be a very simple, run of the mill ABC book. B is for Ball, C is for Cat, etc. But. . . a very impatient moose cannot wait for his turn and M is very far away when we begin with A! Full of moose mishaps, much humour and a lovely act of kindness. This is easily one of the most shared book during buddy reading time in my room.

Bruno Munari’s ABC

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

First published in 1960, travel through interesting pairings and graphically interesting pages.

A piano, a Package, Peanuts, a Pear a Pea Pod for a . . . (turn the page) a Quail.

Each page flows and connects in the most interesting of ways

Flora McDonnell’s ABC

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. Bright, bold and beautiful.

Caveman a B.C. Story by Janee Trasler 

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

A hilarious tale told one word at a time in ABC order. Much humour and much to infer.

These books are not just for our children learning their letters. Read them right into the intermediate grades. They let us guess, wonder and delight in the magic of language – from one letter to long strands of text! Enjoy!

Chicken Cheeks

Today during free time, I had a student complain about another’s students poor language. He spelled out a word he had overheard and the two of us agreed, not a great choice to express one’s self in the context of a classroom. It’s much more fun to play with language, so that it makes us laugh. Not so great when it offends us.

In one of our morning stories, we laughed a lot. And with the request, “Read it again!” we got to engage in a whole bunch of giggling all over again!

Chicken Cheeks, written by Michael Ian Black and written by Kevin Hawkes, is a hilarious book all about animal rear ends. Yep, you heard correctly. Behinds. Of animals. And all the different names they have. Chicken cheeks. Turkey tushy. Rhinoceros rump. My favourite to say: Penguin patootie. The one we recited as a class multiple times: Duck-billed platypus gluteus maximus.

Moose Caboose

Each page has a picture of an animal’s wazoo (that’s another one!) and a descriptor: Hound dog heinie, for example. Lots of fun in and of itself. But, as you flip to the final pages you realize something else is going on. These animals are boosting each other up trying to reach a honeycomb. Seems like they are in luck until the attack of . . . Bumblebee bums!

The joy of words and the fun they have when we roll them around in our mouth!

What’s it like to be sister number three?

We seemed to be all about girl power this weekend at the library – maybe because it was just my daughter and I, but our big stack of books seemed to include a lot of books about very cool girls – some books new to us and some old favourites.

Two books to talk about featured the youngest sister in a family of three girls. Not fairy tale stories where everything comes in threes including sisters – but books from the here and now that explored themes of identity, self-esteem, and acceptance.

Award winning, Suki’s Kimono is a family favourite at our house. We love how Suki possesses a joyful inner spirit and how she lives in the moment not worrying about what the world might think.  Suki adores her blue cotton kimono – for the memories that it holds and the way it makes her feel. She vows to wear it on her first day of school despite the disapproval of her older sisters and manages to maintain the magical happy feeling of wearing this special kimono throughout her day even when questioned and taunted by classmates.  Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.

Look at that cover. Aren’t you just rooting for Velma before you even know her issues or struggles? Kevin Hawkes, illustrator, helps create a wonderfully unique character in Alan Madison’s Velma Gratch & the way cool butterfly. Velma arrives in first grade in the shadow of her two older sisters known for their seemingly perfect qualities – athletic abilities, spectacular spelling and marvelous math. Velma wanted to be noticed but for what? She chooses some quite foolish ways to stand out: running the slowest, singing the loudest, muddling her math . . . None bring quite the effect she is hoping for. Slowly, Velma learns to recognize a passion – science. When her class begins to learn about butterflies she twists wonderfully new words around in her mouth – metamorphosis, conservatory, migration. Not only does Velma come into her own as a butterfly expert, but on the class field trip to the conservatory, Velma is noticed by a monarch who lands on her finger and doesn’t leave for days.

Velma releases her monarch with the others from the conservatory a few days later, waving goodbye as they begin their journey south. Velma has gained a little power of flight herself as she floats home between her sisters, happy and confident.

Isn’t it wonderful when the youngest members of a family can teach everyone a thing or two?