Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Slice of Life- Teachers Write

This year I am participating in Teachers Write (for more information visit Kate Messner's blog.)  Today's Slice is from a quick-write prompt that Kate shared today.

Sometimes, as I am reading in my rocking chair on my front porch, I get distracted by what’s around me.

It could be the sound of the hummingbird coming to get a drink of nectar from the feeder or from the flowers.

The wind blowing through my ferns rustling the leaves.

The colors of the flowers dancing in the wind calls for my attention. The soft purples and yellows of
the columbine, the pinks and white of the impatiens, the deep purples of the morning glory.

The sound of cars passing or people talking as they stroll pass.

And as the light starts to diminish, more insects start to call out to each other. This is my cue that it’s about time to head inside.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Visit Jen and Kellee to see more amazing books!

This week I went to All Write 2013 in Indiana so I didn't get to read as many chapter books as I would have liked.  However it was well worth it!  The conference was A-MAZ-ING!!!  I was still happy with what I did get accomplished!

 Millions, Billions, and Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers by David A. Adler
This picture takes a closer look at large numbers. Examples of the numbers are given to help give the reader a better understanding of how large the number is.

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicals #2) by Rick Riordan
I am a fan of Rick Riordan's work!  In this book brother and sister, Carter and Sadie Kane, have the task of trying to find the three scrolls of Ra in order to awaken him so he can stop Apophis from swallowing the sun and Chaos ruling.
Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson and Raúl Colón
This is a beautiful picture book biography.  One thing I really liked is how the author put in bits of letters from Annie Sullivan that documented Helen's progress.  I also enjoyed looking at the photographs on the endpapers. 
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
This is a companion to Love That Dog. Sharon Creech told the story of Jack's school year through a conversation between Jack and his teacher in his poetry notebook.  Jack is still sad about the loss of his dog and can't imagine anything taking his place.  There is a neighborhood cat that he is not fond of so he thinks all cats are awful.  However, for Christmas, his parents get him a kitten.
Never Smile at a Monkey: and 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steve Jenkins
This book briefly talks about the dangerous nature of some seemingly harmless animals.  It tells what these animals do that are dangerous and what you should never do if you encounter one.
Nic Bishop Snakes by Nic Bishop
There are a lot of books about snakes but what makes this one stand out is the photography!  Nic Bishop did an amazing job with his photography.  You really need to read the Author's Note in this book to appreciate what he did.

Madam and Nun and 1001: What Is a Palindrome? by Brian P. Cleary
This book is a rhyming introduction to palindromes.  Many examples of panidromes are given from single words to phrases.
Fireflies by Heather C. Hudak
This is a nice book for young readers.  Many different pictures with interesting facts. 
Rapunzel retold by Stephanie Peters

Snow White retold by Martin Powell
These are fairy tales in graphic novel format.  The versions of these were different from the versions I have heard.
Gorillas in Danger by Helen Orme
This is another nice book for yound readers.  The book describes gorillas and discusses their plight.  I also like how there are suggestions for what the reader can do to help.
Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman by Esme Raji Codell
In this picture book biography the author starts in the present and takes the reader back in time to learn about John Chapman. 

Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
I have become a huge fan of Steve Sheinkin!  I love the way he writes nonfiction.  In this book, he describes the actions by some counterfeiters to steal Lincoln's remains to use as leverage to get a friend out of prison.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

All Write 2013

Wow!  What an amazing experience to have gone to All Write!  This was my first year to attend.  I heard about it on Twitter last year and read all the tweets from attendees.  It sounded amazing so I had to see what it was all about this year.  And it was well worth the trip!

I was able to listen to some wonderful presenters including Carl Anderson, Jeff Anderson, Jennifer Serravallo, Terry Thompson, Ruth Ayres, Tim Rasinski, and Lester Laminack.  And there were more I wish I could have seen!!

I learned so much and took so many notes I had to let it all digest for a few days before writing something about it.  After some reflection, here are a few of the things I took away from All Write.

1.  If you want to teach writing, you need to be a writer!  This is something I am really trying to work on.  I have been writing more, but I know it's not nearly enough.  I am signed up to do Teachers Write with Kate Messner and I am really going to put a lot of effort into it.  I started it last summer but didn't finish.  Someone once said (and I wish I could remember who so I could give them credit) that you wouldn't take golf lessons from someone who didn't know how to golf.  Why would you teach writing if you don't know how to write?

2.  We need to give students choice.  Carl Anderson talked about how in writing workshop, children learn a lot taking initiative because they have choices to make, and because we teach them how to make those choices.  When students have choice of topics they are more motivated and they end up knowing the topic very well.  They also need to be given choice of genre.  He also went on to say that we are stifling creativity. 

3.  Anything you want to teach writers, make sure they know it as a reader first. The idea behind this is if they don't understand it in reading, they won't be able to use it in their writing. 

4.  Kids need to step away from their writing.  When they initially write something, have them step away and work on something else.  When they do go back to revise later on, they are looking at it with fresh eyes! 

I want to end with a few inspiring quotes from Carl Anderson:
"How we teach can matter as much as what we teach."
"It's not what you know anymore, it's what you can do with what you know." 

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts

This past week I was busy doing some work for the district for 3 days so I didn't get as much read as I would have liked.  But here's what I did read!
Mal and Chad: Food Fight!
Mal and Chad: Food Fight by Stephen McCranie
2nd book in this graphic novel series.  Mal goes on another adventure with his pet dog Chad.  This time Mal is trying to help his companion with his recurring nightmares.
Wild Born (Spirit Animals, #1)
Spirit Animals: Wild Born  by Brandon Mull
In this first book of the Spirit Animals series, four children summon fallen spirit animals and must work together to begin to fight to save Erdas.  The 4 children have different personalities that keeps the reader wanting to know more about the characters. I'm anxious to see how these characters develop in the following books.
Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker
Another great Clementine book!
Love That Dog
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

This book makes me smile!  I love how the character, Jack, develops in the book.

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
This story is told from many different viewpoints.  Graff does a wonderful job of intricately weaving all the characters together.  This book will make you hungry for cake!

Nobody Asked the Pea by John Warren Stewig
Each character gives their viewpoint in the classic The Princess and the Pea.

Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Cute story about friendship.  The two chopsticks do everything together until one gets hurt.  The other chopstick must learn to do things on his own.

Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
In this graphic novel, Hilda discovers magic around her.  She tries to make peace with the people around her so her and her mom can stay in their home.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look
I love Alvin!  This book had me chuckling all the way through it!  Alvin has face his fear of camping and being in the wilderness.

This week I will be heading to Indiana for All Write 2013 so we'll see how much reading I am able to get done!  Looking forward to learning a lot and meeting new people!