Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thinking About George

              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, those who link up share fabulous non-fiction picture books. I am grateful for all that I've learned through reading non-fiction picture books. 

        I looked for this at my library because I saw reviews a long while ago, but I never read it. And it seems to be a good time to see what a picture book can tell us about being President of the United States. George Washington set the bar high!
Big George: How A Shy Boy Became President Washington - Anne Rockwell and Matt Phelan

Here's what I learned about President Washington's traits that feel right for being President:

He was a learner: When George was eleven his father died, and he went to live at his half-brother Lawrence's place, Mount Vernon. There he spent time reading in Mt. Vernon's large library and was especially drawn to a Roman farmer who put down his plow because he was needed as a leader. George thought it was admirable that this man, Cinncinnatus, gave up what he loved in order to serve his country. George would remember this later.

         He also was a learner in sports, was an avid horseman, swordsman and fencer. He was taught all the things a Virginia gentleman was supposed to know by Lawrence. He learned a bit from traveling with Lawrence, too.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Busy, Busy - Fun, Fun

       I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.

         I've been away, no blogging since last Wednesday, and it's been a marvelous five days. I visited my son, daughter-in-law and grandson Carter in Lubbock, Texas to see them all of course, but especially to see Carter and his marching band. Marching band is a very big deal in this town of Lubbock, I think all of Texas. One nice thing is that it's as big a deal as football, and they are not cutting music programs!

      I haven't been to a Friday Night Lights game in a long time, and this time they showed me more than I've remembered from years ago! The parents of Carter's marching band have a rolling grill and a trailer because they feed the kids before every game, and most times they feed the opposing team's band, too. That's 600 plus people! I couldn't take pics of the kids without permission, but there are pics of my son and daughter-in-law, on the "Grill Team". I was the person giving helpings of tortilla chips, and loved having small chats with all those wonderful high school kids, showing such gratitude for being fed, having such a great time with their friends before they marched across the road to the stadium, and then at half-time at the game. These kids do all that they do, plus practice every day (either morning or after school) and have been doing this since the beginning of August. I admire their dedication and grit, working to make as perfect a "show" as they can.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Loving Photographs

              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, those who link up share fabulous non-fiction picture books. I am grateful for all that I've learned through reading non-fiction picture books. 

I finally received this from my library. It had many holds, hopefully giving hope to children who are "antsy" in school as Ansel Adams was. Fortunately his father went against convention and understood that his "wiggly" son, often in trouble in school, needed to be active and outside in a lively place so he could be "antsy". Ansel's father pulled him out of school and hired a tutor and a piano teacher. Ansel was finally free to spend a lot of time on the dunes where they lived near the Golden Gate bridge. He loved nature, a hint of how much of its beauty he captured later with a camera.
     There were other inspirations as he grew up, but seemingly the biggest was a first visit to Yosemite, and the surprise gift of a camera. One could say he was "captured" by it, as he later "captured" his photo subjects.
           Ansel returned to Yosemite often, eventually meeting and marrying a young woman whose family lived there, and making it their home, too.
      I loved the illustrations which are a mix of collage paintings that include some of the sites Ansel photographed. There is a detailed piece about Ansel Adams and a list of resources in the back matter.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Authenticity Means Something!

       I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.

         When I taught, the search continued to find ways to use the students' individually chosen topics in authentic ways. The topics varied, and often research had to happen first so that the student could find a direction that would be something of interest, something that will help the community, or one group. For example, one student who studied child psychology gave a series of lectures about the stages of emotional development to her classmates and to other older classes, to help them understand their own growth. Imagine the kind of learning she had to do in order to deliver something of interest and something helpful to her classmates! Another student began studying cartooning, and developed a number of key characters in a four-cell strip. He copied and distributed these to every student in the school, and began a dialogue with the classes of students as his audience. He asked what they thought of the drawings, the content, the characters. And he asked for ideas they would like to see. I guess you see where I'm heading, that learning through a topic of passion and finding ways that one can learn by offering something of value is meaningful both to the learner and the recipients of that learning. One final example involved those in the class who wanted to learn how to start a business. A group who volunteered helped set up a used bookstore in the school, found a place to house the books, advertised for 'gently used' books, set prices and store hours, and managed the inventory. It was a wonderful opportunity for those who loved the idea of being business entrepreneurs.

        This weekend my daughter and son-in-law gave a pumpkin carving party for mostly neighborhood friends and their children.They found old worn out trophies and spray-painted them orange. They found a few neighbors without children to serve as judges, offered lots of treats, and the party happened! Here are a few pics of the results, and one picture of Ingrid with the judges. She opted to be one of the judges instead of entering the contest, created a jack o'lantern for a "model" and set the categories ahead of time. They were categories like "most creative", "funniest", "scariest" and a few others. As the pumpkins were completed, she gave them a number and took notes in her journal. When the other judges arrived, she was ready to share what she knew already, and to take notes for them as they all decided on prizes. She loved being part of this group, contributed as she could, and I believe felt very empowered as part of the group. FYI- she read to the adult judges the winners' names so they could hand out the trophies! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's Monday -More Books To Love

 Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. My TBR list grows longer each week!

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   

       I just bought this book, and I am so pleased that I did. I don’t know how much to share because it is a beautiful surprise of a story. The poem in rhyme by Joyce Sidman trails through the story, about a night when a mother arrives home, sits with the children for a while, and then you see her getting ready to go again, off to the airport. She appears to be a pilot.  You’ll need to read the book to discover what happens next. The scratchboard and watercolor illustrations by Beth Kromme are exquisite, carrying the story along as time moves from late afternoon through the evening, till morning.

        This is a clever book that shows a grasshopper ordering other insects to bring it a rock. It wants to pile them high so it can sit on top, and be the king. There is some making fun, there are delightful expressions on each of the insects, and there is a wonderful ending that shows everyone has something to contribute.