Sunday, September 30, 2012

Popular Humor Authors

Dan Gutman: The Genius Files, My Weird School Series

Katherine Applegate: Roscoe Riley Series

Nancy Krulik: George Brown Series    


Trudi Trueit: Secrets of a Lab Rat Series

Tommy Greenwald


Andy Griffiths

http://www.penguingroup.com

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Tooth Mouse

I suppose I never thought much about tooth tradition and especially about the fairy being a rodent! In Tooth Mouse the reader is introduced to the mouse who delivers money to French children in exchange for their baby teeth. I love how the author Susan Hood uses French words and sayings throughout the text in context, not requiring French skills to understand the words. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are beautiful. Using warm and romantic natural light greens, browns, and pinks, give the illustrations a dreamy and soothing feel. The pink and white tooth littered end papers feel decedent and I appreciate the list of various global tooth traditions on the last end page.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cynthia Lord Visit

Cynthia shares her childhood book influences and explains that writers develop their craft from reading a lot.
Newbery Honor Medal recipient Cynthia Lord talks about her book Rules.

Signing RULES for 4th and 5th graders. They read it as a summer read and were so excited to talk to her about it.
 Students in grades K-3 enjoyed Hot Rod Hamster and a sneak peak at her new Hamster book coming out next year! Thank you Island Readers & Writers and Catherine Johnson Fund for making these kind of events possible.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray is a historical novel for young adults, and the d├ębut of Ruta Sepetys, an American author, and daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. Her father fled from Stalin, while many of his countrymen were deported to labor camps, and their homeland, along with other Baltic states, was assimilated into the Soviet empire. This story tells a story that demands to be told, because it can, and that means something. Love, as the narrator uncoils, and hope, will be the traits that protect and fuel the human heart and experience through times of trial and triumph.. This story reminds me to remember all the humans before me, now, and in the future who will really have to dig deep to survive the circumstances that find them.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Schema Trees


My 5th graders made "Schema Trees" to welcome fall, and to share their knowledge and love for particular people, objects, and the natural wonders of their worlds. The trees are their arms and hands and the leaves were made by leaf rubbings with bees wax crayons and a watercolor resist.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Read Aloud Picks

My 5th grade students are all enjoying Wonder. They agree that the main character Auggie exhibits a sense of strength and poise through tough moments, and that they admire him for it.

I am reading Lawn Boy to my 4th and 5th grade students as a way to meet some of the Economics standards. This read aloud is a fantastic way to introduce vocabulary and concepts such as, supply and demand, monopoly, gross income, and capital. Gary Paulsen uses humor and realistic experiences to hook the reader and learn topics in context.


I always seem to be reading aloud books that are told in an animal's voice. I love animals and believe that when kids are taught to think about experiences from an animal's perspective, they develop an empathetic and respectful attitude about them. I read The One and Only Ivan in one day this summer (it was that kind of book) and am thrilled to be sharing it with my 4th graders (5th graders are requesting this book next too). This book is special and when I read it aloud my students chant "Don't stop reading!", when they sense I am about to stop.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Writer's Notebook & Jason Spooner

I am sorry for the delay in a new post. My first week of school and start of my doctorate studies has been twirling and swirling me around in circles in all directions! It is Sunday night, I finished my plans for next week, am celebrating a New England Patriots win, and settling back home after a visit to Portland....I really think society needs to think about a 4 day work week...Mondays should be included in the weekend.

Jason Spooner


Starting Writer's Notebook last week was a highlight. We worked on the strategy of writing from a list.

Students developed their own Which would you be questions and recorded them on their notebook page.


  • A word or a sentence?
  • A sweet pickle or dill pickle?
  • A poem or a novel?
  • A spot or a stripe?
  • A hammer or a nail?
  • Denim or cotton?
  • Cheddar cheese or Swiss?
 
Students also made a list of "Bad things" (Things they would NEVER want to write about). 
 



 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raina Telgemeier

I just finished DRAMA. About a middle school student with a passion for theater. She works on the drama department's stage crew and seems to find as much drama off stage as she does on. Let me start by saying, clearly the show GLEE has demonstrated the hype around middle school and high school theater departments and programs. It has found a following from reality tv fans to small town show choir programs and it is a "scene" observers and participants can equally comprehend. I liked how Raina showed the level of depth and knowledge that participants in the arts have and need to acquire. The story line seems to focus more on complicated relationships than I think it needed to, and by the end I felt confused about the inner story. Because of the maturity of the characters and their reactions to events in the story, it felt more like this was more for high school readers than middle school.
Raina does a series of graphic novels inspired by Ann M. Martins's The Baby-Sitters Club books, which showcase middle school friends who have a babysitting business, and a lot of adventures and tangles along side it. This was my introduction to Raina's work and her vibrant and detailed illustrations grabbed me in and made me an instant fan.

Raina's challenging quest to be a "normal" sixth grader is a bumpy ride! One night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. Braces, surgery, embarrassment...all this and middle school.