Celebrating the Week

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.

Things I am celebrating:

1. On Tuesday morning, I was rushing upstairs to my classroom after a short meeting and I noticed a few children walking down the hall reading. I love when kids can figure out walking and reading at the same time! I looked closer and realized each of these reader/walkers was one of my students. Hurray, the transformation to lifelong readers is beginning!

2. We had a wonderful surprise in our classroom this week. One of our students had his work shared on an author’s blog! Our whole classroom was so proud! Thank you to Melissa Stewart for sharing this on her blog, Celebrate Science. One little boy now has dreams of being an illustrator for nonfiction picture books. My class has LOVED reading Melissa’s book No Monkeys, No Chocolate.

 Celebrating the Week There's a book for that

3. Back to school means back to my student book club. Our book club is beginning a favourite title of mine: One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. But more than this – some of the girls in my Grade 2/3/4 class wanted to be in a book club too. So I have started a Jr. Book Club and our first book is Charlotte’s Web! Growing new little book club members! I am so excited.

 Celebrating the Week There's a book for that

4. Every week the K/1 class comes up for buddy reading with my students. We always begin with mindful breathing. To look up and see this every week is pure joy. All of the children practice mindful breathing in their classrooms three times a day. The power of two classrooms together is a beautiful thing!

 Celebrating the Week There's a book for that

5. Canadian #booklove. My post, Look to the North featuring ten Canadian illustrators that I love was posted on the Nerdy Book Club blog today.

 Celebrating the Week There's a book for that

This is my first time participating in sharing weekly celebrations. I am so excited to read more of the Celebration posts shared.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Read aloud everyday – in practice

This week in a piece of writing, one of my students shared, “My teacher is a book maniac!” This not only made my day, it made my week. Because the love of books, the excitement over stories and the magic of reading are the gifts I never tire of giving and hope that I have gifted in abundance this year. Every week we share a lot of things. And books? Well, they are at the top of our list! Reading aloud on a daily basis is a priority. We find many reasons to read together.

What did Division 5 read this week? When you add it all up, it’s a lot! 

On Monday we read . . . 

We often begin our mornings with a read aloud (or two or three). On Monday when we had five students absent, we began to wonder if this book might have been up to no good on Friday afternoon. Was is ravenous? Were some children devoured? We had to wait until the next few days to see who returned all in one piece! A fabulous book to humorously explore a little bit of fear . . . . The Book that Eats People is written by John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearling.

We used Thank You Miss Doover to get us in the mood for writing an appreciative and personal thank you letter. Students learned a lot about writing and giggled through the how to train a puppy aspects of the story. Hint: there is paper and it is often yellow after a certain puppy stands on it. I was ordered to place this new book in the humour bin!

(Written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson)

On Tuesday we read . . .

On Tuesday morning I shared some books that were brand new to our school library. When the students saw author Kevin Henkes on the cover of Penny and Her Song, they begged me to read the book aloud. Well, c’mon! Kevin Henkes? How could I say no?

I then shared another new to the library title. The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is the sequel to the fabulous Ice that we read a few months ago. (The book that instantly made us Geisert fans). This new title lets us revisit the island with the industrious pigs and this time, the disaster they face is not a water shortage but a volcanic eruption. Evacuation via dandelion parachutes is absolutley delightful. Our class loves sharing wordless books!

Our Reading Group finished Hurricane, another fantastic information story book by Celia Godkin. Students had many questions about what happens during and after a hurricane. Just how destructive can it be? How do living things survive? This book allowed us to explore these questions and later students wrote about what they discovered. Our latest focus in our writing has been to include supporting details/ evidence. This book offered lots of great information on life in and around a mangrove swamp just before, during and after a hurricane. Writing was prolific!

In the afternoon we read A Butterfly is Patient  (an extension of our plants/seeds/garden theme) and students wrote about their new learning and their background knowledge. Read more here.

 On Wednesday we read . . . 

Wednesday mornings always begin with Just a Second by Steve Jenkins. This is a perfect book to read in little chunks as there is so much to discuss, ponder and dijest. We only have 15 minutes before Ms. S picks students up for their weekly book exchange so we love to share a few fascinating facts to turn on our brains and make us exclaim “Wow!”

 After recess we have one of our favourite events of the week. A reader from the BLG law firm comes to read to us and leaves us with a wonderful new book for our Seymour library collection. This week we listened to Crafty Chloe read by our BLG reader, Dan. Read more here in our latest BLG Reads this week post.

Every Wednesday afternoon, our three primary classes meet for our weekly Social Reponsibility Gathering. Often we share a book with a SR theme or a title that helps us extend our learning over concepts covered in the MindUp curriculum. This week I read the gorgeous Little Bird. A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things. We learned that when we are mindful of our environment and those around us, real magic happens. A nearly wordless book so we were able to tell it together. Just lovely. Written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine (winner of  2011 Prix Sorcieres (the French Caldecott) for this title).

little-bird 12 for 2012

On Thursday we read . . .

Crafty Chloe reminded me of the creative genius highlighted in I Had a Favourite Dress written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Julia Denos. So this new addition to Seymour’s library was our morning read aloud.

In the afternoon we shared stories from Donata Montanari‘s Children Around the World. We enjoyed reading about children’s lives in different countries: their school experiences, their homes, their traditions, the languages they speak, their parents’ jobs and tasks and their favourite pasttimes. This inspired our own writing where students shared information about themselves and their families thinking all the while about what a child somewhere else in the world might want to know. Lots of great writing and wonderful sharing!

Elementary teachers – What did you share in your classroom this week? Do you get a chance to read out loud every day? 

Some great new books from Scholastic

Some popular picture books in our new book displays – purchased through Scholastic book orders.

Mouse was Mad by Linda Urban and illustrated by Henry Cole. How is little mouse going to express his anger? His stomping can’t shake the trees like Bear. His screaming doesn’t echo through the woods like Bobcat. This makes him so mad that he stands perfectly still. He breathes. The other animals join in, breathing too. Suddenly mouse is no longer mad. Hmm. . . Look what breathing can do for you! For a MindUp classroom, this book made a whole lot of sense!

The Very Itchy Bear by Nick Bland is very amusing. The Very Cranky Bear returns – this time bothered by a troublesome little flea.

Biting high and biting low,

This is flea biting Bear under here and over there

Absolutely annoying until Bear flicks flea into the ocean and finds himself all alone and flea finds himself almost dinner for a hungry bird. In the end, these two become appreciative friends.

Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld bring us the award winning bestseller Shark vs. Train. This book is pulled off the shelf almost daily. It is pretty hilarious. In the hands of little toy box raiding boys, shark and train come to life to battle. Who will win in these very imaginative scenarios? In a hot air balloon? Roasting marshmallows? (hint – shark is all wet!) Giving rides at a carnival? Playing hide and seek? (Really they both fail miserably on this one – steam and fins are just too obvious!) Who wins in the end? The call for lunch!

What a book! Details of what happens on a farm day in and day out. Who lives there? The farmers, the cattle, the chickens, countless cats, etc. What do we find? Barns, sheds, tractors, trucks, plenty of equipment . . . And what exactly happens? Enough great details to fill a book that you have to really settle into to finish reading. A great read aloud but also a great book to explore with a friend. Elisha Cooper‘s Farm is a must for the primary classroom.

Today it was a book to read and chase me with, recounting new facts learned. “Ms. Gelson did you know that cats eat grasshoppers? “Ms. Gelson, dirt can look like dark chocolate!” On and on!

I love new books! Happy reading!

Let’s Do Nothing . . . (but read?)

Favourite books I found at VPL today. The public library is a perfect place to hide out with one (frozen) child while the other plays soccer (in this snow!!? Only in Vancouver!) What did we find?

Animator Tony Fucile’s first picture book Let’s Do Nothing has a very alluring title. Nothing? Ah, such a comforting idea after a busy, busy week.

Frankie and Sal are two bored boys. What to do? How about nothing? Great idea! They each sit in a chair committed to exactly that – the act of doing nothing. But, how possible is it?  I read this to my son who hooted at Frankie’s hopeless attempts at doing nothing as his overactive imagination always caused him to do something. (There’s a part about a tree and a dog with a raised leg . . . that was absolutely hilarious to him)  Can’t wait to try this book out on my class. Will they think it is impossible to do nothing? We practice mindful breathing three times a day. Is breathing something or does it count as nothing?  This will be an interesting conversation . . .

Tina Matthews is the author and illustrator of Out of the Egg, the Little Red Hen story – reinvented. We still have all of our “Not I” animals, too busy being lazy to help out. But in this story our Little Red Hen not only plants and nurtures a beautiful shade giving tree, she also has a lovely little chick hatched out of a perfect white egg.

Out of the egg hatched a little red chick.

And this little chick has something new to offer the story – a dose of forgiveness. My daughter read the book and announced to me, “I thought this was going to be a what comes around, goes around story, but the little chick didn’t let it be.”

Giora Carmi made a beautiful book – A Circle of Friends – all the more powerful in its simplicity because it is wordless. A little boy shares his snack with a homeless man sleeping on a park bench.

A shared snack for someone who might need it

The man sprinkles crumbs on the bench for the birds nesting in the tree above him. In the end, the little baby bird drops a seed in the window box of the boy. And soon, a beautiful sunflower grows. Each page is sketched in black and white with one highlight of colour.  All about the circle of kindness inspired from one gesture. My daughter commented, “Mama, this is also a what comes around, goes around book, but in a nice way.” Absolutely!

Happy Reading!

A visit to the public library uncovers. . .

I went to the library and what did I find?  Some “new to me books”! Exactly why public libraries are such lovely places.  You can walk in empty handed and walk out with a bag bursting full of undiscovered treasures.  For free!  At least that’s what happens to me.

Some books I found today that I have to share – first here and then this week, in the classroom! Excited at the possibilities . . . These will need to be more than book talks – all are simple and quick to read – but like a lovely sweet treat – something to savour for some time afterwards . . .

In Leaf by Stephen Michael King, a little boy escapes his Mom’s intentions to give his hair a trim.  While hiding out with his his adorable little dog, a bird drops a seed on his head. A shoot pops up and grows a leaf. Now he needs to carefully tend to this living thing on top of his head. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg . . .

Kathryn Otoshi has created a wonderful book called Zero all about finding value in yourself. I can see this book fitting in wonderfully with extension lessons with the Mindup curriculum where we explore looking at things from a different perspective. Is Zero empty inside?  Or is she open and full of possibilities?

This book is pretty funny,” announces my son. And it is but also a little bit more . . . Penguin by Polly Dunbar lets us look at a child’s frustration when he can’t communicate in the way he wants to with a new friend. And my, my, the things we tend to do as we get frustrated!

Happy Reading!