Celebration: Time to . . .

celebrate link up

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

I am now at the end of a two week Spring Break holiday and I am happy to celebrate time to . . .

Do the things I don’t always have time to do! Like:

Reclaim my garden from winter’s coverings and a few years of post-reno neglect. I know that the gardening bug has bit me again full force because my head is full of thoughts like this:

  • “If I make a big fruit salad, I will have more peels to put into the compost . . . “
  • “This rain is so good for the plants I just divided and transplanted.”
  • “How should I mark where I want to put bulbs in this fall?”

Celebration:  Time to . . .

Tackle the to do list This week I cleaned my closet, organized kitchen drawers, compiled receipts and sorted clothes my children have outgrown.

Visit the bookstore! I love nothing more than hours at the bookstore (Kidsbooks here in Vancouver is one of my very favourite places) to explore. I inevitably lose my children numerous times. My daughter is pretty easy to find. She is usually nestled into a corner reading – lost only in a book that has captured her.

Celebration:  Time to . . .

Read a novel with my children and keep reading when they beg for one more chapter 🙂

We are now just chapters away from finishing the highly engaging final book in the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne.

Celebration:  Time to . . .

Write posts that have been swirling about in my head. This week I wrote a post called What also happens here? This post addresses what we don’t often write about as teachers – the upset in the room.

Celebration:  Time to . . .


What have you celebrated this week?

Celebration: Bookish Things

celebrate link up

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

This week I am celebrating bookish things. Unfortunately, my family and I have been ill for much of the week – so my week started with a bang and ended much quieter. Book lovers know though that illness creates opportunity for much reading!

#1 Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Western Washington’s Children Literature Conference (#wwuclc). What an absolutely fantastic and enlightening day!

First of all I was thrilled to meet #NerdybookClub members: L to R Lorna WheatonAdam Shaffer, me, and Shannon Houghton). I know all of these people through twitter and blogging but had never had the opportunity to meet in person. It is amazing how sharing love a love of literature and being passionate about sharing that #booklove has the power to connect. We had much to talk about and share! Hoping that we can all meet again at the next literacy conference in Washington (#wwuclc15)

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

I also did some book shopping. Surprise, surprise! But how could I resist? Our hotel was right across from Village Books and the very same Village Books was selling books by all of the author/photographer/illustrators at the conference.

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

I had wanted to share many things about this conference but being ill has sapped much of my energy. I will let these names speak for themselves: Jennifer Holm. Steve Sheinkin. Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Nic Bishop. I will say that I was completely engrossed in each presentation, in awe of the stories and the passion. I haven’t had such an inspiring or entertaining day for some time. 

I was also honoured to have the chance to introduce photographer/author Nic Bishop. I have been telling my students stories he shared in his presentation all week. My stomach hurt from laughing at his explanations for just how he has taken some of the pictures he has. Before this, I was as curious as my students. We had spent time with Nic Bishop books– many fun ones – Butterflies and Moths, Lizards, Spiders, Frogs, Snakes. I asked the children to explore the books with these questions in mind:

How were these photographs taken?

What skills (besides photography) would the photographer need?

What would be the rewards in this kind of work?

What would be the challenges?

Here are some samples of their questions and observations:

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#2 Kirby Larson If you don’t know that Kirby Larson is pretty amazing, let me just remind you. Yes, because she writes some incredible books. But also because she sends some pretty significant mail. There is a story here that I can’t completely share. I will just say that this package contained a book that was for a child who needed it for many different reasons. Three adults were able to bear witness to the opening of this package. And . . . wow. Books are gifts. Which makes authors beyond the beyond. Thank you Kirby.

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#3 Adrienne Gear is my very lovely book loving Vancouver friend who eats books and adores them as voraciously as I do. But she also shares her incredible teaching talent with others through her Reading Power books for teachers. Adrienne’s literacy workshops are some of the most inspiring and feel good (because she is so charming) workshops I have ever attended. This week, Vancouver Kidsbooks hosted a book launch for Adrienne’s fourth book: Nonfiction Writing Power. Check out Adrienne’s website. Buy her book. I happily have all four in my professional collection. Congratulations Adrienne!

Here is the invite from Kidsbooks for Adrienne’s launch and includes images of all of her books:

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

#4  Books, books, books! When life gives you time in bed, take time to read. I’m sure that’s a saying somewhere . . . Well time I had, so in two days of resting I finished one novel and read 5 more. What could be better than that? I will review these titles in my upcoming #IMWAYR post

 Celebration: Bookish Things There's a Book for That

Hoping all of you had much to celebrate this week!

Charlie and Kiwi

Right at the time I decided to do a unit on birds in the classroom, this amazing book caught my eye – Charlie and Kiwi. . . an evolutionary adventure – created by Peter H. Reynolds and the NewYork Hall of Science.

I purchased a copy for my son who is intrigued by concepts of evolution and on a shopping trip to Kids Books with Ms. Sheperd-Dynes, Seymour’s Teacher Librarian, I convinced her (wasn’t a hard sell!) to buy a copy for our library. Two copies of this fantastic book meant that when Ms. Hibbert came in on a Thursday afternoon, we could each take half the class and share the book. Smaller groups and an interactive read aloud session means more opportunities for students to share questions, opinions and connections to other learning. We strive to provide many opportunities that allow students to develop oral language skills: listening, speaking in turn, adding to what someone else has said, responding to a question, etc. This book inspired lots of talk!

Story Summary: Charlie needs to write a report about a bird for school. He wanted to choose a bird that nobody else would choose and decided on a kiwi bird. But when he announced his selection to his classmates, they were a little confused. How could this strange flightless creature with whiskers be a bird? Charlie needed to know why the kiwi was so different from other birds and why? The next thing Charlie knows, he is zooming through space with his stuffed kiwi bird heading back in time to meet his Great x 5 Grandpa Charles who happens to be an expert on birds! This time Grandpa, Charlie and kiwi travel back in time to 30 million years ago. Charlie learns how the kiwi bird was just right for life in New Zealand and how and why it had likely evolved to be this way.

Grandpa Charles explains. “Little changes in each generation add up to big changes.”

Then the time travellers are whizzing back through time to meet the very first birds 150 million years ago! Charlie learns that the first birds were actually dinosaurs (with feathers!) So the many diverse birds that we have on the planet today all descended from the first birds – dinosaurs and changed and adapted to survive in different environments. Charlie returns to class armed with this new knowledge and a fossil of an early bird and explains to his class how all birds came from the same ancestor: the dinosaur!

Student reactions: Students then had the opportunity to think about what they had learned and share their learning on a Knew-New Connections sheet (adapted from Adrienne Gear‘s Non-fiction Reading Power text)

Here is some of what they shared:

I KNEW this already!

* Birds lay eggs.  Shae-Lynn

*I knew that most birds fly. Reiko

*I already knew some birds don’t fly. Purity

*I knew that kiwis were birds, not just fruit! Catriona

* Birds eat with their beak. Markus

This is NEW to me!

* Kiwis have a good sense of smell. Khai

* These birds have big feet. Jacky

* Kiwis eat bugs at night. Shae-Lynn

*Dinosaurs lived 150 million years ago! Carmen

* I didn’t know that kiwis say keee weee keee weee. Truman

* I learned that Kiwi Bird whiskers help them hunt in the dark. Raelyn

*Kiwis evolved from birds that flew and changed because of danger in the air and better eating of bugs. Catriona

* I thought a kiwi was a fruit, but I found out it was a bird. Mai

This Knew-New Connections response sheet is an ideal way for students to express their new learning and connect their prior knowledge to new information.

We are hoping that Peter H. Reynolds is going to create more books like this! We learned so much!