Monday, August 10, 2015

#pb10for10 2015

Thank you Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for organizing such a great virtual event (#pb10for10)!

It is so hard to narrow down a stack like this to just TEN books...

But I did it! Below are my top ten picture books I can't wait to share with my new second graders!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to School... by Davide Cali

This will be a fun read that we'll come back to as a mentor text for temporal words. The kids will love all the wild stories as to why the little boy in the story is late to school.

Yard Sale by Eve Bunting

A sad story about a little girl and her parents who are selling all of their belongings and moving from their home to a small apartment.  

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

A little boy is awaken by his cat in the middle of the night. They head outside to the night world, where everything is black. All of the animals keep telling the boy "it's coming." As dawn begins to creep in, colors gradually appear on the pages.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett

What child hasn't dreamed of digging a big hole to find a treasure? I can't wait to hear all the theories students have as to where the boys went when they were digging their hole.

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

On the first day of school we always read the poem Sky Wish by Rebbeca Kai Dotlich and talk about our wishes for second grade. This will be a wonderful text to pair with the poem. I'm thinking about using it at our parent information night to have parents write wishes to their children. It will be a great way to tie in how we use mentor text for our writing in second grade, if parents use the book as their mentor text.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner

We keep a worm terrarium in second grade. This will be a wonderful resource, so students can see what's going on down below the ground. We will also take a closer look at Kate's word choices and the images her words help us create.

Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith

This is a wordless picture book (in black and white with limited color-which will be a conversation as to why the illustrated did this) about a little girl who collects wild flowers and gives them to random people. This will be a super book to talk about doing nice deeds for others (random acts of kindness).

Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall

This is a fun story about a blue crayon that was labeled as red and the trials it suffers. I'm sure this book will spark lots of conversation.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward

I'm a bird lover and love sharing random facts I've learned about birds throughout the year. I can't wait to share this book and discuss the different nests that mamma birds make. 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

My class last year enjoyed this book and we came back to it many times throughout the year. It's a great example of how if you stick with something and not give up, you can succeed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 2)

Thank you Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate for hosting this week's #cyberPD.

Last week and this week while rereading Reading in the Wild, I have found myself reflecting on my own wild reading and how I try to encourage wild reading in my classroom.  I am a wild reader and so glad that I am.  According to Donalyn (as cited in Morrison, Jacobs and Swinyard 1999; McKool and Gespass, 2009) "teachers who read for pleasure are more likely to employ best literacy practices in their classrooms than teachers who do not read for pleasure" (p. 106).

One area that I connected with in Reading in the Wild was creating a reading a door.  I heard Donalyn talk about them several years ago at a teaching conference.  Reading doors are a school wide endeavor at Donalyn's school.  The purpose is so "students would see every teacher, not just the reading teacher, as a reader.  Our doors highlighted our school wide focus on reading and kicked off a year of sharing and discussing texts in every class" (p. 118).  

Below are pictures of my own classroom reading door.  The best part of decorating my classroom door with books I read over the summer is when the kids are lining up, they ask me about specific books.  The door provides me with the opportunity to summarize and give a small book talk while waiting to go to recess or at the end of the day.

As I was thinking through my post this afternoon, I thought of the bags of books in the back of my car ready to go back to the library and the books that are ready to be picked up.  I was also reminded of how wild readers plan ahead (p. 137 and 138). 

According to Donalyn wild readers:
  • Keep to-read stacks of books - My husband isn't very fond of my stacks at home.  I also have stacks of picture books at school.  Kids love browsing them and recommending the best that I should read aloud.
  • Keep a to-read list - I have lists of books to read for pleasure, professional and for the classroom.
  • Reserve books at the library - You can only reserve so many books online at one time.  I often reach my maximum in one sitting. 
  • Preorder new releases, books in a series, or books from favorite authors - I often reserve the books at the library, but have a list of books and their release date ready.  
  • Make use of book award lists - We do this as a family when we travel.  We listen to at least one Newbery Award book on CD (depending on the length of the trip)
While I personally do lots of planning and often model my planning for students.  I struggle with having second grades plan.  Last year I tried doing this before our Christmas break.  It didn't go over as I had anticipated.  I think I need to spend more time talking about how growing readers make plans for reading throughout the year.  For example, having them make daily and weekly plans about their reading.  This would probably build up to planning over longer breaks and lay the foundation for future planning.

One thing that I struggle with in second grade is helping children learn to read while fostering wild readers.  I will continue to think and ponder on this as I finish rereading Donlyn's inspirational book.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 1 of 3)

First of all, thank you to Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community for organizing and hosting this week's #cyberPD!

As I began rereading the first two chapters of Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild, I found myself reflecting on my own reading journey and how that has evolved over the course of my life.  As a young child I remember my mom taking my siblings and I to the library weekly so we could pick out our five books.  What a challenge it was to select just five each week.  I loved the feel of the books in my hands and sitting in my mom's lap listening to her read to me was a special time.  My next memory is first grade.  I don't remember ever being read to, but do remember the blue plaid phonics workbook.  As I progressed through elementary school, I remember reading stories in basal readers, but don't remember one story I read or connected to.  Often times I wouldn't read the selections and would read the questions in the accompany workbook, find the answers and move on.  I also don't ever remember a teacher sharing their love of a book or reading.  I was never taught in school that reading could be enjoyable, connecting and engaging.  The message I received is that reading was a means to an end.  I was a product of a school as Donalyn describes, "the practices of many school reading programs diminish and disregard the development of personal reading habits" (p. 3).  Fortunately as an adult,  I found a love for books and started living a "reading life".  I can't imagine my life without books now!

As I write this, I'm inflight on my way home from a workshop.  I'm reminded of something someone said at the workshop about parents expecting education and today's classroom to look like it did when they were in school.  I think parents  also expect reading to look the same.  As a teacher I hope to engage students unlike I was in school as a reader.  I often WONDER if we all cultivated an environment that values and embraces the development of reading habits, what kind of students and learners we could have?  I think Donalyn's statement sums it up best, "I want my students to see reading as something they do-- not something remarkable or rare.  I want them to read because they enjoy it and feel comfortable in their reading personalities" (p. 3).

Donalyn spends time describing and talking about how you know you are a reader living a "reading life", and so I'll leave you with a short story that I was reminded of when reflecting on how I know I live a "reading life." One day my daughter and I were in the car, at a red light and I pulled out my book.  She said to me, "I bet lots of kids have to tell their parents not to text and drive, but not me!  I have to tell my mom not to read and drive!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

40 Summer Bucket List Ideas To Keep You Wondering

Have you created a summer family bucket list yet?  Below are 40 family bucket list ideas complete with Wonders from Wonderopolis to keep you wondering while you complete your activities!

1.  Catch fireflies.
#1201 How Do Fireflies Glow?

2. Make S'mores.
#277 Why Are They Called "S'mores"?

3. Go to a baseball game.
#751 Where's Your Favorite Ballpark?

4.  Make ice cream in a bag.
#92 Why Do You Get Ice Cream Headaches?

5.  Go on a picnic.
#258 Why Do Ants Think They're Invited To Picnics?

6.  Go bowling.
#1072 Why Are Bowling Shoes Slippery?

7.  Go fishing.
#1213 Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

8.  Make root beer floats.
#1219 Why Is There So Much Foam in a Root Beer Float?

9.  Have LEGO building competition.
#639 Who Invented LEGO Blocks?

10.  Go to the zoo.
#643 Where Is the Largest Zoo?

11.  Make a time capsule.
#525 What Time Would You Travel To?

12.  Learn how to play a new card game.
#756 Do You like To Play Cards?

13.  Go see a fireworks show.
#550 How Are Fireworks Made?

14.  Go to a drive-in movie.
#249 What Movie Would You Play At Your Drive-In?

15.  Fly a kite.
#157 Who Invented the Kite?

16.  Make a bird feeder.
#144 Do All Birds Fly South In the Winter?

17.  Make friendship bracelets.
#301 How Do You Make a Friendship Bracelet?

18.  Make homemade bubbles.
#57 Why Do Bubbles Float?

19.  Camp in your backyard.
#27 What Would You Do on a Staycation?

20.  Make a family video.
#1127 How Do You Capture Memories?

21.  Make homemade instruments.
#704 Can One Man Be a Band?

22.  Play tag.
#815 Do You Like To Play Tag?

23.  Have a puppet show.
#574 What Are Shadow Puppets?

24.  Go to a local farmer's market.
#649 What Does Organic Mean?

25.  Have a family talent show.
#684 Are You Talented?

26.  Go on a scavenger hunt.
#359 What Is a Scavenger Hunt?

27.  Homemade family pizza party.
#154 Who Created Frozen Pizza?

28.  Play miniature golf.
#353 Why Do Some Golf Courses Have Windmills?

29.  Make tie-dye shirts.
#385 What Is a Hippie?

30.  Read a book in a hammock.
#658 How Do You Make a Hammock?

31.  Go for a boat ride (canoe or paddle boat).
#855 How Do Boats Float?

32.  Tell ghost/scary stories.
#284 What's Your Favorite Ghost Story?

33.  Put together a 1,000 piece puzzle.
#857 What Puzzles You?

34.  Cook dinner over an open fire.
#640 Do You Like To Cook Outside?

35.  Go stargazing.
#182 How Many Stars Are In the Universe?

36.  Paint self-portraits.
#464 What Makes Art Priceless?

37.  Go to a farm and pick fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
#288 Why Does a Strawberry Have Seeds On the Outside?

38.  Go swimming.
#957 Can Swimmers Get Dehydrated?

39.  Volunteer
#272 Why Would You Work For Free?

40.  Watch the sunrise/sunset.
#1132 Why Is Dusk Mysterious?

Thursday, May 1, 2014