Monday December 11th, 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. I love this photo of Ms. B who works in my classroom (and her helpful page turning assistant) reading a book to a group of avid listeners.

Proud Mama and new reader of the chapter book series Heidi Hecklebeck. These moments 🙂

Our #classroombookaday titles last week were all about persistence and working to solve a problem.

This week we highlighted sibling relationships.

I loved reading student writing about these books.

Again, we noticed the importance of persistence!

Classroom Highlights 

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

We did counting collections this week and used lots of spaces and containers to count a myriad of things: seashells, buttons, bread ties, bottle caps, etc.

As we have explored addition and subtraction equations with unknown numbers we have used numerous materials including Cuisenairre rods, unifex cubes and number charts to help us visualize and represent problems.

We did lots of learning in these past two weeks and lots of playful explorations with our classmates. So much creativity is expressed through play.

In case you missed it – I have compiled my list of gift book recommendations for 2017: 25 amazing titles! Read about them here.

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:

The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein

One boy. One whale tangled in a fishing net. Should the boy disobey his father and risk potential danger to save the whale? Such a story.

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter written by Eugenie Doyle and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Such interesting details and routines are involved in putting a farm to bed for the winter. A family works together to complete each important chore.

Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam

A breathtaking wordless title.

You’re All Kinds of Wonderful by Nancy Tillman

A celebration of finding our gifts and honouring what is unique about each of us.

Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

What a fun way to learn about bees! Follow along as a reluctant bee enthusiast becomes convinced of the wonder and importance of bees. Entertaining and informative! A must have for school and classroom libraries.

Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien

Read to celebrate the wonder of the world. Use as a mentor text for poetry writing. This book will be read again and again. So excited it is now part of our classroom collection.

Chasing Augustus by Kimberly Newton Fusco

I adored Fusco’s earlier middle grade novel Beholding Bee and have now met another memorable character in Rosie. After her Dad has a stroke, Rosie finds herself living with a grandfather ill prepared for a granddaughter. She also finds herself without her loveable dog Augustus. Determined to find him and bring him home, Rosie battles the world.

Up next? I am reading The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

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 November 13th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. I love this one taken at 9:02 a.m. on our new reading bench my husband made for the classroom. Many students arrive and immediately find a spot in the room to read. This little space tucked next to the graphic novel shelf is a new favourite place.

Students continue researching insects for a science/poetry project we have been working on. I love listening in as they discover fascinating facts and share them with each other!

Our #classroombookaday titles allowed us to talk about war, peace and hope.

Classroom Highlights 

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

Our class made this wreath for our Remembrance Day assembly. Poppies that didn’t fit on the wreath now wind up tiny bulletin boards between the windows.

I shared more about our discussions about peace and our reactions to our read aloud stories here: Sunday Reflections: Tuesday Crying

Some meaningful writing came out of our thinking about these  #classroombookaday titles.

Math was all about getting organized as we record our counting by sequences.

This practice helped us to be more organized when we participated in counting collections activities on Friday.

Books I enjoyed:

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. This title is bound to become a favourite for children of all ages.

The Prince and the Porker written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts

I really love this illustrator which is what drew me to picking this book up at my library. Such a fun version of The Prince and the Pauper. The rhyming text and food adventures will delight young readers/listeners.

Charlie & Mouse (Charlie & Mouse, #1) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I am always thrilled when illustrated transitional chapter books are published that are really good. And this is really good. Sibling antics. Silly stories. Hilarious illustrations. Reading gold.

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy (Charlie & Mouse, #2) written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes

I think I loved this title even more. Endearing and lovely.

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) 

This is A.S. King’s first middle grade novel and as a super fan, let me say, I couldn’t be happier. This is the story of Obe, a boy who cares about the land he lives on and its history within his family. Watching the land his family once owned be developed is a devastating process and Obe finds some interesting ways to make meaning of his loss. Then he meets Marvin Gardens, a creature like nothing else that has ever existed. And . . . what a story. Would make an incredible classroom read aloud or book club selection for middle grade readers. Highly recommended.

Up next? I just picked up a stack of titles I had on hold at the public library. First one I will begin? Likely The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 55/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 274/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 42 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2017: 39/50 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 October 23rd, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

Love how this little brown bench is a magnet for readers!

Our #classroombookaday titles helped us to talk about bullying and all of the assumptions and complicated feelings that happen when someone is unnecessarily cruel and others bear witness.

Classroom Highlights 

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

Students had so much to say about all of our #classroombookaday titles this week. Their written responses were also rich. One sentence can be so powerful when the talk leading up to it has been so layered.

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 didn’t get a lot of reading done this week. Part of the reason – I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the largest ever Professional Development Conference hosted in B.C. – a Super Conference with over 6 000 attendees. Two days of learning (Friday and Saturday) from some amazing educators and presenters. On the Saturday I presented two workshops and was honoured to share my love of nonfiction picture books and my passion about Reading Workshop with those who attended my sessions.

Further reading to complement both of my sessions is posted on this blog: Reading Workshop Resources and Nonfiction Resources. A comprehensive book list for nonfiction titles is here.

I presented in a gorgeous room with a beautiful view of the water (not seen in this photo) but wow, there were a lot of seats!

Books I enjoyed:

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

So excited about this book! I brought it along to share at my session. What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations. Jaime Kim is fast becoming a favourite.

Older than The Stars by Karen C. Fox and Nancy Davis

It’s hard to believe this book does what it does. Told partly in a rhythmic repetitive poem and partly in longer sections of text, the origin of the universe – the big bang theory – is explained for young readers. I will be sharing this with my students soon.

Today Is the Day by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Based on true story of an orphanage in Africa that helps children celebrate their birthdays – some who don’t even have a registered birth. Extra details in back matter. These stories by Walters and Fernandes are so special.

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief written by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker

This title explores the complicated emotions of loss and grief. How do we hold on to our memories? How powerful is forgetting? Why does it seem to get easier and then harder again? In this title, a young girl participates in a number of things to help her hold on and remember the one she lost. She makes a memory box, asks others to talk and share their own memories and begins to enjoy new experiences (making new memories). While this book has a gentle, soothing feel, it doesn’t pretend that having somebody die is easy. Many pages reveal the confusing, contemplative, lonely feelings involved in grief. This title would be an ideal title to share in the classroom to initiate discussions about grief or to read with a child experiencing loss.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 249/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 45 books behind schedule.

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 35/50 books read

Up next? I am still reading Refugee by Alan Gratz Wow, what a book!

 

Monday October 16th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

This one is a favourite. Dory Fantasmagory fans being bothered by an even bigger Dory fan, their teacher (me!) being all excited that Dory is getting lots of love! I did leave them in peace after my happy dance.

Our #classroombookaday titles supported our study of insects and arachnids. The book love went to fly vomit and squishy spiders.

Classroom Highlights 

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

Writing has been a beautiful thing in our classroom. My post on Sunday shared how we are Growing Writers. There are some beautiful samples of student writing shared there.

Part of our celebration of writing was having author Bree Galbraith visit to talk with us about writing and to share her book Milo and Georgie. Students didn’t want to stop talking with her!

I think my favourite question she was asked was this one:

“Did you get an opportunity to be a writer or did you just do it?”

And they loved the read aloud! It looked something like this. (Read aloud rendering by Amelia)

We also have some incredible art happening! Thanks to Maggie in the Art and Discovery studio, we had the opportunity to paint our portraits with water colour paints. I love all of the portraits so much! Each one has such personality shining through.

Lots of math happened this week. A favourite activity was playing this game to practice our doubles facts. Thanks to Carole Fullerton for so many fantastic math games!

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:

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares

Wordless. Caldecott buzz. A huge story in these beautiful pages.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Another fantastic title to share with students to give them a sense of the refugee crisis. In this true story, we meet a family who has fled Iraq with their beloved cat. An incredible story of the cat and family being reunited.

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wilde and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

A favourite author and illustrator pairing.  A precious book is protected as a family escapes from war and tries to hang on to important history. 

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures written by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

The second title in this series by Jess Keating. So. Much. Fun. Keating makes learning an adventure in the wow and wild!

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A new favourite nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Students will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1) by Hilde Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak 

Can’t wait to share this new Branches series with my students. Written by a young writer with the support of her Dad. This author really does write a newspaper detailing crimes in her community,  A great mystery series!

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I read these books and I laugh. Out loud. Often. I think about these books later and I laugh. Again out loud. Just so beautifully amusing. I LOVE the story of the suit Dory sports on the cover.

The Year of the Book (Anna Wang #1) by Andrea Cheng with illustrations by Abigail Halpin

A wonderful series bridging between transitional chapter books and longer middle grade reads. Grades 3 and up.

A Tale of Two Kitties (Dog Man #3) by Dav Pilkey

I couldn’t resist reading this one before it makes its way into my classroom library and is never seen again.

Swing it Sunny by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

Sequel to Sunny Side Up. I know many of my Grade 4 and 5 readers from last year will be clamouring to read this one. It is well done with incredible details from the 70s.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 244/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 43 books behind schedule. Closing in on 40!

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 32/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 34/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Refugee by Alan Gratz

Monday October 9th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week.

Loved reading aloud this title on Friday as I had a little walking skeleton dressed for the occasion!

Monday October 9th, 2017

Our #classroombookaday titles focussed on story telling and becoming writers. So glad I chose to share these titles so early in the year. Some highlights from our learning included:

  • The middle is where all of the good stuff happens.
  • Tell more!
  • Write the stories around you.
  • Illustrations also tell stories. Pictures have important details.
  • Everyone loves to share stories!

After reading Ralph Tells a Story we were inspired to make a list of story ideas in our writer’s notebooks. I can’t wait to read about overflowing bathtubs, funny families and big and little adventures!

Monday October 9th, 2017Classroom Highlights 

In this recent post Dear Blog Readers,  I explained how I will be sharing more of what is happening in our classroom each week. Some highlights:

On Wednesday and Thursday evening we hosted Goal Setting Conferences with parents and students. It was really lovely to meet families (including older and little siblings) and participate in meaningful conversations about learning, happiness and engagement. I loved this drawing left behind by one little brother. It reminded me to listen with big ears!

Monday October 9th, 2017

Kindergarten students have so much to share. I love to pop in to the K classrooms on my prep to see what is happening. One little author/illustrator read me her animal book. 🙂

Monday October 9th, 2017

One of my students wants to be a poet. She shared her notebook with me this week. During Choices time one afternoon, she was working on her writing. She turned to a new page and exclaimed, “I love when a blank page turns into a story.” Her supportive Mom had taken her to the public library this week and helped her to sign out some poetry titles!

Monday October 9th, 2017

We have been writing to the people in our school community. I love this letter to our school engineer:

“Parm Thank you for everything. Our light is broken Parm. Can you fix it please and pretty?”

Here are our wipe off math mats patiently waiting for us to return from music and recess so we can continue practicing decomposing numbers to add.

Monday October 9th, 2017Little mathematicians at work! Overheard: “Let’s try that one again. I think we’ve almost got it.” Math is social! When we work together our learning multiplies.Monday October 9th, 2017Students are now taking the lead solving math riddles. This student is crossing out numbers on the 100s chart that have been eliminated by specific clues. Her classmates are so attentive!

Monday October 9th, 2017

After choral counting, we notice so many patterns! My job? To record all of the thinking that is shared.

Monday October 9th, 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.

Books I enjoyed:

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat

Kind of impossible to talk about this book without giving anything away. I will just say this. I read a LOT of picture books. I often find books that touch an emotional nerve or inspire a sense of awe or make me laugh out loud. I am amazed at the calibre of titles that continue to be published. But I don’t often find myself completely surprised. This book surprised me. The ending caught me off guard and I loved it!

La La La: A Story of Hope written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim

Well, wow. This book – with only these three little repeated utterances: La, La, La and some more than expected and then some illustrations – pulls off an experience that is pretty incredible. I read a bit of criticism in the reviews about this being a challenging title to share as a read aloud. I think in a room with an adult who knows his/her readers and where there is space for wondering and talk, this book would be amazing. I need to get my own copy and prove it very soon.

La La La- A Story of Hope 2

The Wish Tree written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Chris Turnham

In search of a wish tree . . . There is much here about unwavering belief, hope and kindness. A magical experience.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won

I am not quite sure what could be better than a book about book love. Such a celebration!

Hooray for Books!

Imagine by John Lennon with illustrations by Jean Jullien

A gorgeous picture book of the famous song by John Lennon. I will be sharing this as November 11th approaches. An important book to inspire conversations about peace.

Animal Camouflage: Search and Find by Sarah Dennis and Sam Hutchinson

Can’t wait to put this title out for some of our Soft Start mornings. I know students will pour over it as they learn about continents and various animals. Just beautiful.

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

I was so excited to finally have the chance to read this book and I couldn’t put it down. It was full of surprises and the ending just about knocked me over. I now feel like my students who read Mighty Jack last year and then whined all year about the second in the series not yet being published. Consider this my first whine: WHEN is Book 3 coming?

Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis

Wonderfully quirky, gentle and true. The unbelievable becomes believable in this middle grade novel about a girl who literally has a bee hive in her hair. Not a bee hive hair style. A hive of bees who take up residence. Really. She also has a missing brother. A there, but not really, mother. A boy named Birch waiting to be her friend. And . . . those bees. Loved this book!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 52/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 231/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 49 books behind schedule.  Under 50 this week!

#MustReadin2017: 24/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 29/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 33/50 books read

Up next? I have a lot of transitional chapter books on the go as I get ready to book talk more titles for my classroom!