Thursday, October 8, 2015

Poetry Friday-Autumn Visitors

Laura Purdie Salas hosts this mid-October Poetry Friday. Visit to enjoy what's shared today at Writing The World for Kids. Laura's been re-decorating her blog, and it looks great.

       According to an article from How Stuff WorksSpiders are beneficial inhabitants of any garden, ecosystem, or home because of their important contributions to biological control of pest insects. Spiders are considered to be the most important terrestrial predators, eating tons of pest insects or other small arthropods every year. Spiders are generalist predators that are willing to eat almost any insect they can catch. They are abundant and found in most habitats. They only need to be left alone!

       During October especially, almost everything I see blares scary spiders. There are enormous ones for decorating the house for Halloween, bags of plastic spiders to freeze in ice cubes and put in drinks, or smaller, furry spiders to "wear" on one's shoulder. Halloween poetry is filled with spider references like "creepy and crawly", "when you fall, I will run for my life,"Spiders crawling up your spine." When I see the scary stereotypes, I understand why kids grow up to be adults who are still afraid of spiders. If only they would only read E.B. White's Charlotte's Web

       Here's a different kind of poem for autumn, inspired from personal experience(s). I am caught between the needs of the spiders' and my own.

Sometimes Autumn Moves Quietly

Without crunch of leaves,
nor flash of color,
or honk of geese,
spiders sidle in-
These Charlottes settle in warm corners,
unwelcome callers
that scurry up my walls.
I catch them,
give gentle goodbyes,
hoping they will find
other winter digs,
just not mine.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nature's Non-Fiction

     Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy.   
      Come read to discover everyone's recent non-fiction picture books.
       Tweet - #NFPB15
               I read a few different kinds of n-f book this week, all of value, some I really loved.

In The Canyon - written by Liz Garton Scanlan and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
                A good introduction to the Grand Canyon for younger children, perhaps some who are studying important geographical sites in the U.S. It introduces the beauty of the vistas, the flora and fauna of the canyon, and people who visit. The story is told by a young girl who rides a donkey to the bottom, sinking into a starry moonlit night when she finally arrives. The text is limited, and in rhyme, but even with the spare wording, quite a bit is introduced, will call for further research. My favorite image is toward the end: "We reach the bottom, look back up./We've dropped into a rocky cup!" And looking up, the walls surround with a starry sky at the top. Wolff illustrations are big and bold with black outlining, quite realistic, yet a little dreamy too. If you look carefully you can see that she has added extra information within the scene. Scanlan has included a note about a personal experience in the canyon, and a glossary of important terms. The endpapers show a map of the canyon.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Reprise-with Footnotes

             Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure each week.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

     Last week I asked a question, and many of you--marvelous teachers all--responded. Here is the  paragraph of my "wonder" repeated.

           Yet, I wonder things, and this has nothing to do with the person with whom I'm now working, but it's a "generic" wonder. How does one teach another to teach? Don't we all have our specific and unique character as a teacher? Is this part of what makes a teacher good, figuring things out through doing, down "in the trenches"?  What is one important thing that you believe helps you, and others, be good teachers? Of course, knowledge of content and procedure is a given. Yet there's more, both elusive and personal.     
When does a teacher figure out that holding an insect is an
important thing to do in front of students? Or is it?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lots of Reading This Monday!

          Visit Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  Others join Sheila to share adult books at Book Journeys

        Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

A Night Divided - written by Jennifer A. Nielsen
          I raced through this story, wanted so much to see it have a good end. You’ll need to read it to discover what happens to this family. A father and mother with two boys and a girl are separated when the father and the middle son cross to the west (before the wall was up) to see about immigrating. They were caught on that side, and could not return. I was nearly grown when the wall went up, and my family spoke about it often, although we didn’t have any personal connection to anyone in the east bloc. The Cold War was a terrible time for many. Jennifer Nielsen has written a good introduction to this time in our history that’s appropriate for middle grade kids. It is not too violent, although there is violence. It seems true to those who wished to stay, but forced to be loyal enough to the government that they often betrayed neighbors and friends. It is hard to believe how strong a twelve year old must be to do what this girl, Greta, in the story must have done. I did a little research, and found children who endured such hardships, although it might be difficult for us to imagine. Greta tells her story, her feelings, her terror, yet continues on to do what she feels she must. Luckily her older brother Fritz does join her in time to work at their goal to escape across the wall to the west. One thing I enjoyed very much was that Nielsen put appropriate quotes at the beginning of each chapter. In the midst of their secret plan for leaving, this quote was at the beginning of one chapter: “To begin is easy, to persist is art.” German proverb. It’s a story one shouldn’t miss reading, and sharing with others.

Lovabye Dragon - written by Barbara Joosse and illustrated by Randy Cecil

           This is the first book when the little girl, so all alone in a castle, meets the dragon, so all alone, and finally they get together. The dragon finds the girl by following the trickle of tears spread by the little girl. The second book, Evermore Dragon, was just published this year, another adventure between friends. It’s a cute sing-songy story just right for young children to follow along when they meet, how it’s discovered that the roar wasn’t a giant, and wasn’t a monster, but the dragon that she wished for all along. The illustrations fill the page in grays and blues, with a touch of starlight, for it seems that most of these adventures happen in the night.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Celebrating Every Day

              I celebrate each Saturday with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build - It's a close community that celebrates together. Come join us!          Tweet at #CelebrateLu

It's rather lovely to find just the words for this Saturday Celebration.  I didn't write them, but sure wish I had.

"Jet" by Tony Hoagland

                 and it is good, a way of letting life
                 out of the box, uncapping the bottle
                 to let the effervescence gush
                 through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

      The week flew, ending today with an absolutely wonderful thing,  meeting Penny Parker Klostermann this morning IN PERSON, and helping her celebrate her book at a local favorite bookstore, The Bookies. She is a blogger friend and I've loved reading her blog, wrote a guest post with Ingrid recently that was lots of fun to create. You can find the post here