Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Books I have borrowed

Our curriculum support specialists (CST'S) shared some incredible ideas for organization and assessment with our staff today. I came away with some borrowed books about science notebooks. Here is what am reading this weekend. Great for inquiry!

Science Notebooks by Brian Campbell and Lori fulton

Science Workshop by Wendy Saul

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How do you find balance?

It is Saturday and my brain woke me up around 5:30am. My body was telling me to stay in bed but one thought stood out among the zillions dancing in my brain:

I haven't exercised in days.

Believe it or not I purposely have been allowing myself to sleep in and slow down this week. Life has been too busy and I felt the need to listen to my heart and turn it down a notch. It has worked (in some ways). I haven't been as rushed with my own children in the morning. My have approached my classroom with a "slow it down" attitude instead of a "we have to get it all done" attitude. BUT... I haven't been sleeping. My nights are restless and I wake up early with what I am thinking is stress. No exercise= no way for me to release stress. AHHHHH!

I thought about a conversation I had this week with a friend who was battling with BALANCE. I am too. It feels like September is one of the hardest months. What would I do without the weekend? I get to read a little, write a little, clean a little and rethink how I will try to juggle and balance life for the week ahead.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Poetry Friday

Found a poem that amazed me today as I was reading a newsletter sent to my husband and I. The poem was written by a 12 year old boy named Jason Meyer. It touched me and I wanted to share it with you.


My life is a book,
Each chapter unfolding as I go.
The chapters each give an outlook.

In the first chapter I cry over a lost toy,
the next chapter I am filled with joy,
I 'm making a friend the next,
And the friend leaves after a few more.
Even after losing a friend, I'm never alone.
For thou art always with me.
The one who plays a big part.

I have been taught many things,
But there is one I will never forget.
There is always someone there for me.
Whether my parents are gone or they are there.
God and them both will always be there for me.

This is all a conclusion
To one part of my life and beginning to another.
When some thing new starts a new chapter begins.
Each lesson is a paragraph and when this life is over,
I will have a cover and a title.

Jason Meyer, 12 years old

Sunday, September 9, 2007

New back to school books

I know school has started for most of us but I didn't want to forget about those newer books I've added to my back to school collection. I reserved these at the library after reading about them in a link provided by Big A little a in her weekend review earlier this month. Here they are:

The Bus Stop by Janet Morgan Stoeke
I love the pictures in this happy , rhyming story. It feels like one of those books you want to read again and again. Short amount of text on each page and new characters to meet all on their way to the bus stop! If you enjoy books by this Minerva Louise author, your sure to enjoy this catchy find.

Lissy's Friends by Grace Lin
Learn how to fold a paper crane, learn how it feels to be new, learn how to make a new friend...Grace Lin gives us so many lessons in this beautifully illustrated book. Lissy is a likable new girl who is a little shy and finds comfort in her craft for creating origami creatures. Her mom, of course, encourages her to go outside with the other kids to play after school. She ventures out with her paper companions until they fly away with a strong wind. It is then that she meets Paige, who brings back her paper crane and their friendship unfolds.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dog Books

What is it about dogs? Many of the teachers I work with have dogs and adore their pets. I admit I am not a dog fanatic (sorry...I will pet dogs, hug them and talk to them but have no desire to own one). Along with loving dogs, I've noticed the appeal for dog stories among the primary teachers as well as the kids. I am hoping the kids will help me create a basket of dog stories for our classroom library. I am thinking my dog and animal lovers will really enjoy this basket! Here are a few I have in mind. What am I missing?

Bad Dog Marley by John Grogan
Unloveable by Dan Yaccarino
Let's Get a Pup! Said Kate By Bob Graham
Bark George! By Jules Feiffer
Why Do I have to eat off the floor? By Chris Hornsey
Polly Molly Woof Woof By David Llyod
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Good Dog Carl By Alexandra Day

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Knowing where to start with word study

One of the best ways to initiate conversation about words is to actually read about them. I can't help but teach with picture books when noticing words, thinking about words and beginning conversation about words. After spending a week getting to know my students, I feel like I have a better feel for where we need to begin with word study. Here are a few of my favorite books I will be pulling for word study this month:

the alphabet tree by Leo Leo
This story reinforces the understandings of letters, words and sentences. Leo's characters explain that the little leaves of the alphabet tree each have a special letter. The wind comes to blow and the leaves begin to stick together (making words) and soon the words begin to learn (from a friendly caterpillar) that they have the job of coming together to express important things like...peace on earth and goodwill towards men. This book invites kids to think about the words they already can spell. I am thinking I will talk with the students about how we might create an alphabet tree in our classroom. I will be looking for what words my students can spell quickly and easily on their own leaves. I anticipate moving forward and exploring the kinds of words the kids created (names, high frequency, colors, familiar places, numbers, etc.)

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian, Ann Seidler and Richard Martin
I remember reading about this oldie but goodie in The Reading Teacher. I was lucky enough to buy it at a second hand kid's clothing store in their used book section. What a find! I love this book as much as the kids do. The story, about a town trying to feed a hungry monster who they can't understand, invites kids to solve rhyming riddles throughout the book. The invented rhymes and repetition allow the students to truly take part in this humorous story. It is filled with opportunities to solve and read rhyming words together. I think this book begins our journey with rhyme because I don't want to forget to really ask my students what rhyming words look like and sound like. This thinking will help us gather rhyming words from many texts so that we can brainstorm our findings about rhyme.

Q is for Duck by Michael Folsom
This alphabet book challenges my students to make simple inferences about how a letter and word are related. Can you guess why Q is for duck? Ok, think about what you know about a duck (kids say..."a duck is white, it waddles, swims in a pond, says quack"). Now think about how the text tells us Q should connect some way with what we know about a duck. Quack begins with q. Maybe q is for duck because ducks quack? I love to read this book aloud and begin to experiment with inferences.