Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Bonus Swap

         Jone McCullough is our host today, inviting everyone over to share some good poetry.  Visit this Poetry Friday at  Check It Out where Jone is celebrating the beginning of the school year. Thanks, Jone!
        I received wonderful poems from the swap organized by Tabatha Yeatts this summer. Finding a new piece of mail that I knew was not an advertisement or a bill was an extra treat. One time recently, I received mail that was extra, a bonus, a wonderful blog-gem from Donna Smith. If you aren't sure what I'm referring to, look here and scroll down! Donna's created a new kind of poem, a personal connection for those fortunate enough to receive one. I am grateful that I know Donna through her lovely words, and for this 'extra' gift! If you'd like one more back-to-school poem, see Donna's post here!

         You can click on the image to enlarge, but I've also included it here to be sure you can read the poem.

Time found with
        Little barefoot grandchildren -

              thoughtful, wonderful,
              friends of ravens and books; 
        Interesting characters
              sharing important stories 
              and quite different ideas, 
              examining their world;
        Young independent creatures, 
              followers of fireworks,
              celebrating life pleasures 
              and unexpected adventures, 
              learning riddles and rules;
It’s a grand, untouched tapestry 
        with young portraits
        and older reflections 
               of time enjoyed,
               of love remembered.
        ©Donna JT Smith, July 31, 2014 

                Thank you Donna!

Have a satisfying Labor Day Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Non-Fiction - Always Good!

Alyson Beecher hosts Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday at her blog, Kid Lit Frenzy.  Because the students at my school study individual topics, the need for great non-fiction that will help in their research is vital. I've learned much from other blogs in this group, about books, authors, and illustrators. Thanks for hosting Alyson!

Sophie Scott Goes South – written and illustrated by Alison Lester
                     I know this is an imagined story about a little nine year old girl who gets to travel to Antarctica with her father on his ship, an ice breaker on its way to Mawson to make the final delivery before the community is cut off, and to deliver some scientists and other wrokers who will spend the winter there. Yet, Alison Lester based the book on her real life experiences and includes much information, about the ship, the animals who live there, what the workers do, and bits about the harsh weather there. During her own voyage, Alison contacted schools all over via e-mail about her trip. Some of the pictures that children sent her are included in the book, along with small sketches that explain some things, photographs that explain others. It’s a “full” book of information given in the text as well as the illustrations. What an adventure to be able to experience such a voyage on the Aurora Australis!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Linking Up-Jigsaw Art

       Time to link up at the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesday Slice of Life! Thanks Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Beth!

             I'd like to share an activity that I enjoyed doing every few years for a community, getting-to-know-you, art project. This will be displayed on a large bulletin board, and unfortunately I don't have a picture of one we did on paper. What I do have are photos of a large table that sat in front of the sofa in my room, but also served as a worktable for kids who liked to work sitting on the floor. It was a long black table, and one year I had twenty-four students, exactly right. And I had quite a few good planners and artists. One student measured and drew out the puzzle, and we drew names to see who would do each piece. The ideas is that you must coordinate with those people whose pieces you touch, and for this one, at the most it meant three people. If you used something like the template I'm sharing, those "inner" students need to do even more collaboration. Here are some photos and a puzzle template for planning.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's Monday - Books Everywhere!

         Thanks to Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting this group!

         It's been a terrific week, loving the books I've read, and discovering more. It's busy, but still some time to read! I hope you're having fun reading to (and with) students if you're back in school!

The Secret Hum of a Daisy – written by Tracy Holtzer           
          For those who believe that children get over a loss fast, this book is for them. For anyone who has had a loss, adults too, this book is for them.  Young twelve year old Grace has not only lost her mother, she’s had to say goodbye to many communities while her mother, estranged from her own mother, wanders from town to town, until a tragic accident takes her life. Grace has to say goodbye not only to her mother, but to the good home where she and her mother had been living. Being taken in by her grandmother is not at all what she wants, and Tracy Holtzer describes a mix of strong emotions all through the story as Grace figures things were not exactly how her mother had seen them. Anger, sorrow, and happiness too all play a part in this beautiful story of a young girl grieving and being helped by her grandmother and the small community she eventually calls home. It’s a great read!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Celebrating - Always Something!

           It's good to look for celebrations, for they are many, every single week. Thanks to Ruth Ayres, we also get to share them with others every Saturday. Check HERE for the links. And tweet at #CelebrateLu

          "In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction." Audre Lord

           I do have things to celebrate. It's been a good week for me, but I also know it's been a hard week for many others in our world. I hope that good can come from the talk, peace for those parts of the world who haven't had it in a long while.

       Although many of my colleagues have been in to work in offices and classrooms for several weeks, even sometimes in the summer, our beginning official day with staff was Wednesday, and it was terrific. We shared, did a few activities, but mostly we walked and talked, played and talked, and ate and talked. Here is where we were, a beautiful lake in our near foothills.