Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Reading

I love the time to read in the summer! It is great to catch up on the titles the kids have recommended, discover new titles, and browse the public library.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dog in Charge

Dog In Charge
Author: K. L. Going
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012
Love, Love, Love this book and so glad it has found a forever home on my shelf! I can't wait to share this book with the kids. I'm going to have to buy a case of books to give them to all my animal loving book friends.
Why do I love this book? Let me count the ways..... in no particular order because that just wouldn't be possible. 
1. Santat ~ he uses vibrant colors
1. Santat~ sneaky illustrator and you must pay attention
1. Santat~ you could erase the words and still tell the story
1. Santat ~ facial expressions
1. Going ~ use of perspective! According to the author bio she has 2 cats.
1. Going ~ Dog! She has to have a dog or maybe she has read a lot of dog books? 
1. Going ~ use of voice. She makes it easy to "hear" the dog's voice.
1. Going~ Reminds me of my babysitting days which thankfully worked out in the end (mostly)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quiet by Susan Cain

Tonight my teacher book club met to discuss Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking. I loved contemplating these concepts. You can't see that my post it notes have post it notes.

While there are thought provoking questions on the website they didn't quite fit our classroom focused conversation. (Official Power of Introvert Questions) Here are the questions, I adapted and tweaked from the official Reading Group Questions to fit our classroom perspective.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What impact might this have in your classroom and teaching style?
Have you considered giving a “personality” test to your students in the past? Will you consider it for the future? How might this information impact the classroom?

What role might Guidance Counselors play in developing understanding of personality preferences?
What are the ways that we can empower/assist introverts in the classroom develop leadership skills?

What introvert role models might we highlight in our classrooms?
How might you change a lesson/unit to accommodate the Quiet?

How do you work with Quiet parents? What role might social or electronic media play in fulfilling those needs?
What are the favorite restorative niches in your classroom?

What considerations/changes if any might you include at the beginning of the school year to address the needs of the introverts in your class?

How are the needs of extroverts and introverts alike and different? How do you meet those needs?

What role might the focus on 21st Century skills play in meeting the needs of introverts and extroverts in the class?

How might a Flipped or Blended classroom meet the needs of introverts and extroverts if at all?

Does being an introvert or an extrovert define a student?

Our discussion was interesting, thought provoking, and all over the map in typical teacher style.

I was excited to see that perhaps we can find innovative methods of utilizing technology to engage introverts. If only we had been able to make movies, art displays, or anything other than show and tell in front of the whole class back in the day. Oh, what torture show and tell is for the shy introvert! And may I just say to my former teachers, show and tell did not make me a more comfortable, confident, better public speaker. I also didn't benefit from hearing my classmates in part because this created a constant state of fear.

If you haven't had a chance to read Susan Cain's book, it is a worthy addition to the bookshelf.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Ride: The Legend of Betsy Dowdy

Author: Kitty Griffin
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2010

I stumbled on this book at the public library recently. The story caught my attention because it is a local legend from Currituck Sound of North Carolina and I've never heard of Betsy Dowdy.

I will share the book and might even start off the year with it because:

  • my kids are familiar with this area of North Carolina
  • strong female protagonist
  • character shows courage and bravery in the face of adversity 
  • character shows persistence and tenacity = GRIT (heard an NPR episode tonight on the importance of Grit)
  • coincides nicely with the celebration of Constitution Day (September 17, 2012)
However, I'm not a fan of the illustrations. Marjorie Priceman is a two time Caldecott Honor award winner but, the style and art technique do not add or enhance this telling. The characters were harsh which made it hard to connect visually and emotionally. The image of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolves invaded the story line with the cloak and mysterious eyes hiding in the woods. Don't let the art work keep you from enjoying the quest of Betsy Dowdy. Be creative- read aloud the story, withhold the pictures, or share images of the wild ponies of Currituck (readily available online but remember to preselect). This will also lend itself nicely to discussions on Paul Revere and Jack Jouett. If you aren't familiar with the story of Jack Jouett, check out this link

Friday, September 7, 2012

Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters First 100 Years

Authors: Sarah and Elizabeth A. Delany with Amy Hill Hearth
Publisher: Kodansha International 1993

This book jumped off the shelf of my public library. It just appeared magically in my pile. It was a busy summer and it was hard to get to all the books I wanted to read. You know how it is. This book was in the pile but not rushing to the top of the list.... until I came home one day and found this from my Mom-
This yellow flag caught my eye as I walked in the door.

I started reading it that night because anything that can make Mom laugh out loud- well it is Not to be missed.

And, I agreed there were parts that made me laugh out loud and parts that made me sad, stronger, and more connected to humanity. The strength and accomplishments of these women who did extraordinary things in the face of unbelievable challenges. Run, don't walk to the library or bookstore to pick up this book and meet the Delany women and family. Be Inspired!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist Book One)

Author: R. L. LaFevers
Illustrator: Kelly Murphy
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin for Children 2009

Nathaniel Fludd was left by his parents several years ago with a governess named Miss Lumpkin while his parents explored. The original plan was to send for him at the age of 8. Years passed without word until a lawyer shares that his parents have been declared lost at sea and that he will be sent to live with a distant cousin on his father's side. The cousin Phil A. Fludd is not at all what Nathaniel or the reader anticipates and just like that a drastic change happens.

I enjoyed this book and think it will be a perfect read for my 2nd graders. It is a challenge to find books that meets their level of reading sophistication while recognizing their overall innocence. This book fits that bill with simple story lines and just the right amount of complexity. The introduction of beasts such as the phoenix, dodo, and non-beast such as a gremlin named Greasle will keep readers engaged. The book does have a flaw in my opinion and I'll be interested to hear what the kids think. The book takes a left turn when trying to rescue Phil Fludd from the Bedouin that was implausibly convenient. I'm not a fan of this story technique (remember Dan Brown's character leaping out of the crashing helicopter and landing safely because of a square yard of fabric??). I am hopeful that the series has developed more fully. I do have a large willing suspension of disbelief  but it can be exceeded and this pushed that boundary.

However, I am already thinking perhaps we should start a Beastology Anthology or something and encouraging the kids to research griffins, unicorns, basilisks, manticores... which means I'll have to dig around first. I just saw a book the other day that might provide just the right framework for such an assignment. Hmmm, I'm going to have to check out Michael Hearst's book Unusual Creatures: A mostly accurate account of some of Earth's strangest creatures all over again. The illustrations and style of Unusual Creatures along with the fictional nature of Nathaniel Fludd, now that could be Fun! 

Want more? Here is the webpage to explore more things Nathaniel Fludd. (linked here)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Stopping by the Library

Dashed into my public library the other day to pick up one book for school. This is a bit like dashing to the grocery store for milk and walking out with a full cart. My arms couldn't hold all the books I had not planned to checkout but did. Here's a sampling of what I'll be doing over the next week.