Saturday, January 31, 2015

Past-Future Celebrating

              This week, celebrating what's past and what's on its way with Ruth Ayes at Discover, Play Build.  
                                                       Tweet at #CelebrateLu!

               I had a guest post/poem share on Thursday at Michelle H. Barnes' blog, Today's Little Ditty. You can find "What Does A Child Know" here. Everyone might want to write one of the 'deeper wisdom' poems. It wasn't easy, but fun!

               It was a good and busy, busy and good, did I say busy? kind of week.  Our Expo, time-to-share-learning-so-far-this-year evening is coming on Feb. 12th! Tri-folds and large foam core boards, boxy dioramas and paintings, bridge-building and cloning carrots all are in the mix. I am tired, but quite proud of the work accomplished all week, in the midst of other work like math, blogging, all kinds of sports games and music lessons, etc. We're on our way!  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Poetry Friday - wishes

Thanks to Paul Hankins at These Four Corners for hosting Poetry Friday this week!

              Since I've begun teaching a class again I feel as if I need to 'sneak' in poetry. The reading and writing both has lessened in time and in commitment. I know I need to be patient and wait. There are posts each week that keep me somewhat satisfied, and I am grateful. I do not always share what I write, but I do read the posts with prompts and ideas for writing from Laura Purdie Salas, Tricia-Stohr Hunt, Michelle Heinrich Barnes, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and David H. Harrison's Word of the Month. And from them I write! Of course I also read all of your posts too, filled with beautiful poems you've written and shared. Thanks to everyone for keeping me writing and reading.           

Visiting Today's Little Ditty

     Today, I'm running over to visit Michelle H Barnes at her blog, Today's Little Ditty. Thank you, Michelle for the invitation. This time I'm happy to share my answer to the deeper wisdom challenge given by Joyce Sidman, Michelle's guest for the month. You can find the challenge here. Come visit! 

photo credit: marumeganechan via photopin cc

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Non-Fiction Picture Books - Great Reading

Come Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy. It's great to find terrific nonfiction books available! Thanks for hosting, Alyson!

Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank
written by Paula Yoo and illustrated by Jamel Akib
            A biography of the “Banker To The Poor” for younger students is welcome, to help explain the serious problems of those who are both poor families in the world, and who are preyed upon by moneylenders. This story shares the path of Muhammad Yunus from childhood to the position of economics professor back in his homeland, Bangladesh. When he began to be more and more interested in the extreme poverty of a nearby town, and the mothers whose families were starving, but still making crafts to try to earn a little money, he began the dream of small loans, which became a worldwide enterprise, the Grameen Banks. It’s an inspiring story, and the pages illustrated by Jamel Akib add to the interest of the story.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Examining Reading Habits - Great Conversations

Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy and all this blogging community for the Tuesday Slice of Life!  

Tweet at #sol15

 My Reading Habits – Wondering What Students Do, Too

Sometime early in the year, I’ve always liked to have students write about their reading habits, what they’re currently reading, what kinds of things they read besides books, what they love and what they don’t.  I write too, to let students know how diverse reading habits can be.  Those who are avid readers will see that I’m usually reading several books at a time, as they do, and those who are less enthusiastic will see that reading behavior doesn’t just mean books. 
This time because I have a new class, I want to find out more about the habits of these new students. I already know some by the books they're choosing and the research they've finished, but I need more so I can give them a big nudge for the rest of the year.

Here’s a sample of my reading during a regular day:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monday Reading

           Link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. and Sheila at Book Journeys.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR.

         Number one read from my MustRead2015 list!
The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp - written by Kathi Appelt

         I love the voice Kathi Appelt gives to her characters, animal and human. Her story-telling style is wonderful, makes me want to sit with the story teller and listen! This story is about a young boy, Chapman who lives with his mother in Sugar Man Swamp, running a "sort-of" breakfast/lunch place, trying to make ends meet. Chap misses his grandfather Audie very much, a lover of all the critters in the swamp, but especially the Sugarman. There are those true blue scouts, two thoughtful and adventurous raccoons; Gertrude, a large diamondback rattler; and wonderful villains, human and animal. Another thing I loved is the marvelous images Kathi writes page after page, like "Hope swam like a fish right up into his chest." and the very next page: "The little fish of hope that Chap had just experienced swam right down the toilet." I know middle readers will love the adventure, be able to predict some things and be surprised by others.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Week of Moments

              Celebrating small things is a gift each day. And to share with Ruth Ayes at Discover, Play Build each Saturday is one of those gifts we get to open each week! Thanks Ruth!
                                                       Tweet at #CelebrateLu!

I've been finishing reading the Poetry Friday Posts, and the final one, by Jone MacCullough, is a William Stafford poem, Noticing. One line reads: "and splendor discovers/itself in this world out of such quiet things".

Here are some 'quiet things' I discovered this week, perhaps a bit noisier than Stafford writes:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crane Watching - Connections

         Tara Smith at A Teaching Life is the host for this winter's Poetry Friday. Thanks Tara. I hope the sharing today warms us all up!

           I enjoy reading the poems sent to my inbox every day, good to read, to wake me up with some wonderful words. And once in a while there is a strong connection, which happened this past week. We in Denver are in one of the flyways of the migrating sandhill cranes, and a long time ago, whooping cranes. Sandhill cranes are the most prolific cranes, while whooping cranes have made a comeback according to the International Crane Association from 21 to about 599.
           Years ago my class participated in a crane count in the southwest area of our state. We wrote curriculum for school children and were literally in the field every morning, counting, counting, and observing behavior. One morning we sat quietly behind corn stalks, watching behaviors. At that time, among the numerous sandhill cranes, there were two "odd" ones, a little taller, whiter, with a brighter red head, a whooping crane! I was hooked, and have followed their plight, and comeback, since that experience. 
Greater Sandhill Cranes

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beetles - Crashing the Party!

I participate in the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy. For learning about the terrific nonfiction books available, be sure to visit all the blogs that link up!

Scientists In The Field: Beetle Busters, A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It - written by Loree Griffin Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
            Ever since the book about the vanishing little brown bat I've been hooked on these books. They're so filled with useful information, so interesting to read and try to apply the learning to other problems specific to our own area, also to figure out what problems may be as close as the neighborhood. If you lived in Worcester, Massachusetts, you would understand, because the work there to help track and destroy this beetle is there. The beetle was moved from Asia because of a mistake in planting trees, a plan to use the trees which were not wisely chosen, and the export of wood in the guise of shipping pallets. The information about the beetle, how trees grow, and the "hopeful" solving of the problem is excellent. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

SOLC Is Coming!

              Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy for this Tuesday Slice of Life!  
Tweet at #sol15

          The SOLC is coming; the SOLC is coming. That Two Writing Teachers "gang" have begun to write about prizes and volunteers. Time to start the back of the brain thinking! And that means I'd better be making my lists of what, or maybe how, who, when, why, and where!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Monday - Reading This Week

           Link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing ReadersSheila at Book Journeys started a meme to share all kinds of books read each Monday, then Kellee, Ricki and Jen formed theirs for only children's lit. Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR.

          I’m so fortunate that my library almost always has the books I want. Here are a few that I’ve managed to check out and read recently. Happy Reading this week!

What Forest Knows - written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by August Hall
            Poetic words by George Ella Lyon, beautiful illustrations by August Hall create a book of seasons in a forest, a book to keep in the classroom and read at each appropriate time. For winter: “Forest knows waiting, holding on.”  and “Forest knows waking, opening up.”  This book's "look" reminds me of Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston and Jim LaMarche

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celebration Saturday - Late

Celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build! It's the little things that make good days. Thanks to Ruth, we all get to do this together!

               I'm late, it's been a long week filled with fun and other stuff that's both good and not so good, depending on the day, but I know there was a bright spot every day. Here are some pictures that are part of that.

Students reading, and then POSTING their reviews on the new
blog! If you'd like to check the posts out, here's the link: The ice skating is of the class
(or their skates) before the holiday break.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Poetry Friday - Memories

            Irene Latham is also celebrating Martin Luther King Day with three wonderful poems, as she hosts the Poetry Friday roundup at Live Your Poem.  Thanks, Irene!

At my school, in addition to students studying individual unit topics, each class wings its way through the year investigating a class unit topic. The class I am now teaching is studying power this year. When I started teaching this group, they had already examined energy power. Lately, I have moved them into more abstract examinations of power, like the analysis of power in fairy tales. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Non-Fiction - more beauties

I participate in the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy. It's enhanced my knowledge of the wonderful nonfiction available so much. Be sure to visit all the blogs that link up!

                I suspect many of you might have already read these two wonderful books, but I hadn’t, and finally had the pleasure of reading them.

The Pilot and the Little Prince, The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery– written and illustrated by Peter Sis
           It’s a good, good book to introduce this famous man of our past to younger students, and even older students will love the book because of its story, and because of the illustrations. Gorgeous, innovative and filled with more information than seems possible, Peter Sis has told some of the exciting and interesting story of Saint-Exupery.

Slicing and Seeing

Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy for this Tuesday Slice of Life!  
Tweet at #sol15

        Whenever I discover the chance, I like to emphasize that writing and reading involves lots, LOTS, of visualizing. Sometimes I find that students don't exactly understand. Some students through the years have been surprised to learn that when others read, they imagine the scenes, the characters, the action. They plod along, understanding much of a plot, but really don't appear to have the facility (or have never developed) the making of pictures in one's mind. I "imagine" that many of you have lessons in your repertoire that you use to help students visualize what they're reading, which also aids them in improved comprehension, prediction, and connections. I have a few, too. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's Monday!

        Time to share the latest books and link up with our hosts: Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing ReadersSheila at Book Journeys started a meme to share all kinds of books read each Monday, then Kellee, Ricki and Jen formed theirs for only children's lit. Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR.

  I read a few books this week thanks to my colleague who loaned them to me. I’m in the midst of reading and making notes for the Cybil’s poetry group, so my reading time for extra reading, in addition to school, is much less. But the poetry is wonderful!

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop - written by Lewis Buzbee
              It's been a read to savor, a few weeks reading, but I did enjoy this book about book stores, including the history of long ago merchants who spread their few 'hand-written' scrolls on a rug at the market places of the east, the changes made with the discovery of sheepskin versus papyrus, and then of course the printing press. It was also interesting to hear how bookstores and sales reps really work, and throughout the book, the sheer love of books was there, and the love and description of book stores and small tales of big acts in them. Over and over again, Lewis Buzbee returned to book love. I suspect if you are reading this, you too love books, and will love this one.


First Week Blogging-Diving In!

Digilit Sunday
           Link up with Margaret Simon at Reflections on The Teche to find others who're sharing what they're doing with technology, whether in the classroom, with students, or personally.

Yes, my students created their own blogs last week, on blogger. They're on their way! The expectation is a slice by Friday and a brief book review of the previous week's book by Wednesday.

The Best Thing: the writing! While I've emphasized that the slices really can/should be brief, the students have written about a myriad of topics, and done it well. Although some of the editing can be better, this is a start, and I'm taking notes of what needs attention in the coming weeks. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Celebration - Fun To share!

Come Celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build! Here at the end of the week, it's a good time to stop and reflect, to find those lovely moments to celebrate in the week. Thanks to Ruth, we all get to do this together!

             Hard to believe I've been back to work for a week, a long, long week, but by Friday, everyone seemed to have their "mojo" back, and it was a terrific day of work and hanging out, playing together. Students progressively became more energetic from Monday through to Friday. We all actually did well on Monday, although we were tired by the end of the day. Here are a few pictures that highlight the week:
Snow Sunday!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Poetry Friday-Swap Appreciation

            Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Come read and love the words shared!

             For Tabatha's winter poetry swap, some of us were paired, and some in a 'round robin' sort of way. This time, I sent to Keri Collins Lewis of KeriRecommends, and she sent a surprise to me. Keri and I don't know each other well, but occasionally read each other's posts. I know she's in love with haiku and that she lives on a farm in Mississippi, and keeps bees. It always sounds like an idyllic place to be, and I enjoyed imagining what it must be like, and also wondering what I could send her. Only a guess, perhaps a little serendipity, and a dash of magic could manufacture such wonderful gifts. There's a bar of honeycomb soap from Keri's own Prairie Blossom Bee Farm, and a beautiful ceramic heart with four little birds placed on, just so. I rather figured Keri loved nature, but she might not have known I do too. And I use only natural soap. What a treat it was to open her box and find these:
And it was even more wonderful to find this:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Non-Fiction Rocks-2015 Begins

        I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but am ready to start the challenge of Alyson Beecher at Kid-Lit Frenzy, to read and share non-fiction picture books that are not only beautiful, but filled with good information in text and illustrations. It’s easy to fall in love with these books, and easy to learn something from each one. Here are the first books I want to share in 2015.
Come visit all the others who link at Alyson's blog! Tweet at #NFPB2015

No Monkeys, No Chocolate – written by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young, illustrated by Nicole
            With a couple of cartoon bookworms adding humorous asides in the lower corner of the book, Stewart & Young tell the terrific story of the inter-relations of all those animals that help us get chocolate. They tell the story backwards, from the cocoa bean itself, to the midges that pollinate the flower, the leaf-cutter ants that are stopped from destroying the tree’s leaves by female coffin flies’ eggs, which turn into maggots that eat the ants’ brains. I hope you’re getting this picture, because eventually this complex path ends with monkeys! Remember, “no monkeys, no chocolate”.  The authors tell the story, helped along with detailed and interesting illustrations by Nicole Wong.  This would make a wonderful mentor text for students who are studying “how things grow” and “what they need”.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Slicing (and Coloring) My OLW

              Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy for all the support last year. I wish you all a beautiful new year of both learning and possibilities! It's good to be in this community and hearing from so many about their lives, professional and personal.

It's the Tuesday Slice of Life!  Tweet at #sol15

          I wrote about my 2014 One Little Word in December, contemplating what it has meant to me, and starting the path to a new one. You can read that post here. I loved the word "wander". It felt comfortable and freeing, helped me make choices without worry, helped me take risks. This year I want that feeling too, but came across a few sentences one day, and the way this person wrote made me realize that I could use the word "PAINT" as a verb. The new year, every year, has often felt like a blank piece of paper to me. I've used Eve Merriam's poem Metaphor often at the beginning of the school year (find it here) and that poem has informed many of my teaching years. 
           Although I didn't post last week, I did read your posts, and noted all the One Little Words shared, and have continued to do so, wondering if I was missing some important word. Although I saw that all of you were inspired for 2015 by your word, I didn't see even one that whispered to me. The possibility of painting my year enthralls me. There are all those wonderful "what ifs" that come to mind, all those colors! So, PAINT it is.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's Monday-First of 2015

                  First Monday of 2015, time to share the latest books and link to our hosts: Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing ReadersSheila at Book Journeys started a meme to share all kinds of books read each Monday, then Kellee, Ricki and Jen formed theirs for only children's lit. Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR.

           This story tells about a young boy who plays and loves the violin, but whose father is the manager of a losing team in the Negro Baseball League. He insists his son has to get outside and stop playing his “fiddle” inside, thus Reginald has to go along to become the team’s bat boy. During the time he isn’t needed, he begins to practice his violin. Magic happens because the players relax and begin playing better. The story helps young children have a beginning look at this time in 1948 when the end of this league is coming. The better players are slowly moving to the white leagues. (Jackie Robinson was first.)  The weaving of a father/son conflict with the history is told well. It’s a good and interesting story. Lewis’ illustrations are lovely watercolor showing a variety of scenes that accompany the story.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Celebrating The Days

          Thanks to Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build we celebrate, whether small and large, new and old.

Tweet at #CelebrateLu

I haven't written for two weeks about celebrating those little things that mean so much. I was busy doing little things. It's nearly time to return to work, and once I start, that will be celebrated, too. I've been into school once and will go again on Sunday to finalize all the plans. 
My days have encompassed celebrating: Christmas with family, eating with family, shopping with family, greeting the new year with family. I've read favorite Christmas books, and other books that caught me unaware they were so good. I've cooked a little, mostly stew and pie, and eaten a lot, and  I've chosen my ONE LITTLE WORD, to share later. I've bundled up in below zero weather, watched snow from home without needing to go out, and written more than one poem. It's been a superb break of days that are different from the usual, and I think that's the best thing to celebrate, new/different/diverse/unusual. The past days' memories will linger as I leap  into the usual routine, and that too is good. Am I celebrating life? Yes, I suppose I am. 
Happy New Year Everyone!

Christmas! Carter is wonderful to take on these girls! They received Anna and Elsa
costumes for Christmas.

Ingrid, Carter and I tried out a new ice cream shop I discovered. Yum!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Poetry Begins the Year With Acclamation

      Tricia Stohr-Hunt is our host today for 2015's first Poetry Friday. Find all the links at her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect.
      It's a thrill to know a secret, and earlier in the week I knew one, the seven finalists for the Cybil's Poetry Award. Congratulations to those poets here in the following list, and to the long list of lovely nominees here. What wonderful gifts of poetry you gave us last year!

      Now, as a Round Two Judge, with all the others in the group, we have the large challenge of choosing a winner overall of all the following books of poetry listed below. I'm happy to work with the following judges to help make the job a little easier. (I hope!)

Our leader: Jone MacCulloch at DeoWriter or Check It Out

Renee La Tulippe at NoWaterRiver

Diane Mayr at Random Noodling

Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Laura Shovan at Author Amok

        You can find descriptions of each book below here, at the Cybils site, and at our host, Tricia's site here, too.

The Finalists!
Water Rolls, Water Rises: El Agua Rueda, El Agua Sube by Pat Mora, illustrated by Meilo So

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems From The Water Hole by Irene Latham, illustrated by Anna Wadham

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Chuck Groenink.

Voices from the March: Washington, D.C., 1963  by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson,

Hi Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth