Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are You a Harry Potter Fan?

If you enjoyed the Harry Potter Series as much as I did, you will be glad to know that the Warner Bros production for Half-Blood Prince comes out July 15. This day can't come fast enough. I was recently at the movie theater and was very excited about #6 after watching the trailer. GO HERE to see it. If you love HP as much as I do it will have you wanting to reread The Half Blood Prince. I have reread each book before the movie but I don't know when I'll find the time. I may have to buy the book on itunes.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Memorial Day is more than remembering. I have read an article or two, watched a video news piece and read some blog posts all dedicated to remembering today. Andy Rooney mentions in his 2008 article that "remembering doesn't do the remembered any good of course. It's for ourselves the living." His words had me thinking about how remembering is just not enough,that a part of Memorial Day should be remembering to live with the spirit of service. Just like the brave women and men who served our country, we can give back in that same spirit on a daily basis.

I think about the ways my own mom has modeled service for our family. From giving her time to prison ministry to the simplicity of inviting a stranger in for a meal. My mom is always giving.

Tonight we prayed for the people who have served our country as we sat down to eat. We remembered family members and friends who served our land. Will they be forgotten tomorrow? Not if we remember to serve and give as they did.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman

This new picture book, Lines that Wiggle, by author Candace Whitman and first time illustrator Steve Wilson is very fun! There are so many reasons for liking it. The book is guided by a glittery line that travels throughout the story. Each page has the kids using the picture to help them think about something made up of wiggly lines: the waves of the water, the lines on a leaf, the threads of a spiderweb and more. The text rhymes...lines that tickle, lines that sprout, bugs have lines that stick right out!
It is pure fun and has inspired many writers to write their own similar books like Curly Lines and Straight Lines. I have had a few kids love to begin think and sort information that made sense for their stories. The writer of Curly Lines has written about eyelashes and fries. Again, pure fun. The only worry I had was that one word on each page is written in cursive. It has kept a few from being able to read the page easily but has not stopped them from using it as a mentor text. I put the worries aside and I am glad I did!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Magazines: Options for readers and writers

My students had the pleasure of hearing 3 visitors share their "book stacks" this year. One mom happened to share her love for magazines. She shared the magazines she reads about science (she is an engineer) and some about hobbies/interests she has (decorating). After her visit, many of my students were interested in checking out the small collection of magazines I have saved over the years. I have a few Ranger Ricks, Time for Kids and Kids (out of publication by Martha Stewart). Recently, I discovered the magazine, Ladybug ,and was pleased with the poetry and short stories as I flipped through it. This magazine also has reoccurring characters in the short story at the beginning of each issue (Max and Kate) as well as Ladybug, Muddle, Thud, Molly and Emmett who all are featured in small cartoons. Check out this link to meet and play with the characters.

I often have books that I have ready for readers as options during choice reading. Ladybug was one of the texts I introduced to a few of my stronger readers during our "books in the morning" time. I watched as one reader read a bit and then gathered few readers to try the hand rhyme, This Little Bear. (The text is definitely geared toward transitional and extending readers.) I also decided to introduce the magazine as some mentor text as an experiment. So, I read and shared the two copies I have on hand. We noticed that the magazine was filled with the some of the same genres of writing we have been learning about this year. We found poetry, personal stories and non-fiction. The kids also loved noticing all the extra fun stuff like cut outs for creating with and retelling cards. I sent the kids off and the idea of the magazine inspired a range of writing. Some kids were inspired to write a poem about an insect (lots of bumble bee, ladybug and butterfly poems) and some writers with significant stamina created their own magazines. Here is one magazine called Butterfly that a writer created. She created a cover, wrote a poem about a butterfly, included a page about the life cycle and added a sticker page( not pictured).

I will definitely leave these copies of Ladybug in our magazine basket for kids to come back to as readers and writers. It was yet another option that kids can use.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Farm Visit

I was inspired to put together a movie of our field trip today to Stratford Ecological Center here in Delaware, Ohio. It was a great day of learning!