Saturday, February 28, 2015

SOLC # One - Looking Out The Window


      It's an exciting day, March 1st, day one of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. It's my fifth year, wonderful itself, but this time I'm slicing with my class. Welcome them please at the classroom posts at Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog. My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog.

  I'm one of the concierges for the Classroom Slice of Life, with Margaret Simon of Reflections on The Teche, an old Slicer friend. In fact, I just read her first post, so filled with advice for those doing this with their classrooms. Go right over to see what she shares! 
        And as she said on her blog, some day we'll actually meet.  Please ask questions of either of us if you need help! 

Celebrating Small Things Made Big

                          Time to celebrate and share with Ruth Ayes at Discover, Play Build.  
                                                       Tweet at #CelebrateLu!

               There are many little things that I find to celebrate each week. The first thing that occurred to me this evening is the Roman Numeral number that accompanies Ruth's post each week. This week, it says LXXI, seventy-two. I haven't missed many. Just imagine, for seventy-two times, we've written notes of celebration, and each one holds multiple things for which we celebrate.  That's a ton of celebrating! 

          This week, my first week back from a week's winter break, I celebrate:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poetry Friday- "Sounding" The End of February

           The wonderful Heidi Mordhorst of My Juicy Little Universe is our host for Poetry Friday, and the last thing I heard from her is that she was hearing murmurs from those bulbs "below below/the frozen ground" in a poem titled Nine Below. I hope that warmth has finally come her way! From reading her post for Poetry Friday, looks as if she's going to be celebrating her birthday month of March with a great challenge, too. Head on over for more from her, and to all the other poetry links.

         Poets are winding up this birthday month of Laura Shovan, Author Amok. I've had a great time writing, and imagine that Laura enjoyed her birthday "gifts".  I certainly did. One more poem on Saturday, then March arrives-hopefully like a lion so I can believe that spring will arrive soon. Here is another poem I wrote this month, the sound to me of a bit of a ringing rat-a-tat-tat!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Highlighting A Book About To Be Born!

          Come Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy.  

Tweet at #NFPB15

         NO! All these books are not about to be born. Only A Rock Can Be will arrive on your doorstep (if you've pre-ordered) on March 1st. But maybe not, since March 1st is Sunday, but nevertheless, be sure you order it now! Water Can Be and A Leaf Can Be have been out a while, and they are marvelous. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Last Before The First

            Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy and all this blogging community for the Tuesday Slice of Life!  Looking forward to the SOLSC, and this time with my class!

          I'm one of the concierges for the Classroom Slice of Life, with Margaret Simon of Reflections on The Teche. Please ask questions if you need help! I'm getting ready, my assistant at JK's Slice of Life (first time slicing today), my students are, too and my colleague, Max, of Teaching From Behind.  We.Are.Excited! I hope you are, too, and will join us! My students would love to connect with yours. We're in Denver, Colorado, happy to meet others all over the world!

             My time this week will be filled with questions because students are selecting their new units for the rest of the year. My school supports each student in choosing a specific unit (oldest students choose more) and the teacher builds the curriculum for that student around the choice. Today we began. We not only work on content and great questions, but interesting and innovative products in which to communicate our answers. The big questions from me: What will you ask of your topic? And what product type might you want to practice/learn about?

Sunday, February 22, 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. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki, our lists grow (and grow)!

Gaijin – written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
           Koji Miyamoto, whose father has returned to Japan because his parents are ill, celebrates his 13th birthday on Dec. 7th, 1941, not a good time to be half-Japanese in the U.S. This graphic novel tells the story of this young adolescent and his white mother who are sent to what was called a re-location camp, first right outside San Francisco at an old race track. Their new home is a stall in a horse stable. Koji’s anger at nearly everything builds from the beginning. First they must sell all their belongings except for two full suitcases, and the ‘junk’ man pays them only $50. Sadly, the insults continue, fighting at school, then at the camp, a gang also harasses. Somehow, Koji doesn’t even fit in this group. He has freckles! The plot holds the reader’s attention through conflict between Koji and his mom, Koji’s fights and then the joining of the local gang. Friendship with an older man is like a lifeline; he gives Koji advice and helps him out of trouble more than once. It’s a good complex story that will hold young adolescents’ attention and hopefully help them understand the terrible times in war, even in America.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Vacation Celebration

           Time to celebrate and share with Ruth Ayes at Discover, Play Build.  
                                                       Tweet at #CelebrateLu!

           After I posted last Saturday, after doing a few errands, I took the first nap I've had in a long time. I needed it, it was the beginning of our winter break, and it started snowing that evening. I know those of you in the east and southeast don't want to hear about celebrating snow, but because I didn't have to "go" anywhere, it was heavenly.

           I've been writing a poem a day for a challenge offered by a blogging friend, Laura Shovan, Author Amok, who sets a challenge each February because it's her birthday month. It's been wonderful to have the time to write without hurrying.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poetry Friday Is Here!

               I'm giving a large shout-out to Laura Shovan this Poetry Friday because it's her birthday month, and this year her challenge of writing to a prompt each day is filled with sound! I've written with Laura each February since 2013 when she had us writing to picture postcards, and find myself unable to stop no matter how busy I am. It's interesting to me that most of my students insist they don't want any kind of prompt, but this year they're going to be blogging every day in March with me. Perhaps a few "ideas" will suddenly become helpful. 
             I love poetry, and am rarely sure that I've written something worthy, but it gives me joy, and Laura is supportive and admiring to every one of us who share. Here are the words from her invitation: The point of this exercise is to practice the habit of writing regularly, even if it's just for one month. I post the responses as they are sent in so that we can focus on generating ideas, rather than on polishing for publication. 
             It feels good that I am able to write and contribute, and the added bonus is to read all the other marvelous poems others share. If you'd like to join in for at least a few days, check out Laura's blog, Author Amok.  A few weeks ago I also thanked other PF bloggers who host poetry challenges, and I love writing for their posts too when I can. You can read about those others I thanked here.  I learn so much by reading others' work, especially today, Poetry Friday.

          Here are two favorite poems I've written to the sound prompts from Laura. 

Feb. 3rd - sound here


He’d been sharpening
his voice all the day,
as actor after actor
No one made the cut.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Feb. 13th - sound here

A Different Kind of Noise

No screech from eagle owls at night,
they do not need such noise,
not quite a hoot, but smallish huffs
while flying with the boys.
They’re on the prowl to dine at dark,
use eagle eyes for spying.
Their talons’ reach proves deadly quick
and means some creature’s dying.
Some fear the eagle owls at night,
and cower with their noise,
not quite a hoot those smallish huffs
while flying with the boys.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

        Because it's winter, and has been quite a challenging one in the past few weeks for those in the eastern and southeastern US, and because we here in Denver are supposed to have our first 'big' snow on Saturday-12 to 18 inches (it's 60 degrees here now), I give you "sound" to warm your hearts, Billie Holiday singing "I've Got My Love To Keep You Warm". Happy Poetry Friday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Non-Fiction Picture Book 10for10

It’s time for the wonderful Non-Fiction Picture Book Sharing, otherwise known as #nf10for10, started and hosted by Mandy Robek, Enjoy and Embrace Learning, and Cathy Mere, Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community. Get ready to add many wonderful books to your TBR lists!

This year, share at the new Google Community Cathy and Mandy have created HERE!

         Students in my school each study their own chosen topics and the curriculum is built around them. One challenge is to help broaden their outlook of what makes a good way to communicate what they discover. I teach a mixed group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

         Here are Books I’ll Use With Middle School to help them present research in new ways:

What Do You Do With An Idea? - written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
          I’ve shared this many times, and believe it’s inspiring to all who have that one idea that’s been boiling around and they’re unsure about their ability to make it work. This is what I want my students to know, that they should go for it!

No Monkeys, No Chocolatewritten by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young and illustrated by Nicole Wong  
          Clear and interesting information, tells the story backwards, from the cocoa bean and all the other interrelated pieces that must happen in order to have chocolate. Another way to say it is that connection happen in all sorts of places. Also, there’s a little worm on each page following along with funny asides.

Picture Books - Beautiful Nature

          Come Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy.  It's fun to discover new picture books about many, many topics!

Red Knot, A Shorebird’s Incredible Journey - written

and illustrated by Nancy Carol Willis
        I love going to the beach every summer and watching the shorebirds as they poke along the edge. This book tells of the incredible journey made by the red knot, a species of shorebird, that travels 20,000 miles each year, from the Arctic tundra for its nesting site, to the southern tip of South America, and back again. More information about this amazing bird is at the back. Nancy Willis tells an interesting story and shows most of the action in her beautiful illustrations.

Handle With Care, An Unusual Butterfly Journeywritten by Loree Griffin Burns and illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz
      Others have raved about this book and finally I  got it from the library. What a clear story about butterflies and their journey from the egg. And this book adds more because it is also the story of a group in Costa Rica who are raising butterfly pupae for museums all over the world so that everyone can learn about butterflies. The explanations are told in a story with added information on each page. The photographs serve as illustrations showing the stages from egg to butterfly and those at the business doing different jobs at the farm. There is a glossary and additional information in the back-matter.

         I seem to be reading more nature books recently. Perhaps it's beginning, that yearning for spring!

Happy Reading!