Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wonders to Share in September

Below is a list of "holidays" and Wonders from Wonderopolis for the month of September that you may want to use in your classroom.  If you are using or planning on using Wonderopolis in your classroom be sure to join the September #WonderChat Monday, September 2nd at 8:00 PM EST.

Labor Day (September 2nd)
#337 Why Don't We Work On Labor Day?

Rosh Hashanah (September 4th)
#361 What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Grandparents Day (September 8th)
#347 Who Is Your Abuela?
#6 Why Does Hair Turn Gray?
#1038 Why Do People Go Bald?
#339 Where Do Wrinkles Come From?

Teddy Bear Day (September 9th)
#36 How Did the Teddy Bear Get Its Name?

National Video Games Day (September 12th)
#467 How Can Video Games Be Good for You?

Friday the 13th (September 13th)
#375 Do You Think 13 Is Unlucky?

International Dot Day (September 15th ish)
#904 What Is Pointillism?
#384 Do Polka Dots Dance?

National Play Doh Day (September 16th)
#582 Who Invented Play Dough?

International Peace Day (September 21st)
#1020 What Is the Nobel Peace Prize?
#693 What Is the Peace Corps?

Native American Day (September 27th)
#407 What Does It Mean To Be a Native American?

Monday, August 26, 2013

September 2013 #WonderChat

Mark your calendars for Wonderopolis #WonderChat Monday, September 2nd at 8:00 PM EST.  The first Twitter chat of the 2013-2014 school year will focus on starting the year with wonder and Wonderopolis in the classroom.  If you are using or planning on using Wonderopolis in your classroom, come share your ideas and join in the conversation!  Don't forget to use the hashtag #WonderChat.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Will You 'Make Your Mark' This Year?

I will be reading Peter Reynolds book, The Dot to my 2nd graders on Monday, the first day of school.  In case you are not familiar with the book, the underlying theme of the book is 'make your mark.'  We will be spending time talking about how we can use our gifts and talents to 'make our mark' in 2nd grade.

While preparing for the start of school next week, I began thinking about the theme of this book and how I can use my gifts to 'make my mark' with students, parents and colleagues this year.  I found myself asking questions like, what can I do to let students, parents and colleagues know that I care, what can I do to be the teacher that makes the difference, and what's holding me back from 'making my mark'?

How will you 'make your mark' this year?  What gifts and talents will you be using to 'make your mark'? How will you encourage your students to use their gifts to 'make their mark'?

"I am optimistic about a future where all children are encouraged to navigate their true potential.  We have to be creative in the ways we read all learners -- to help them find their voice, be brave about expressing it, and be inspired to use their gifts to 'make their mark.'" --Peter H. Reynolds

Saturday, August 10, 2013

#pb10for10 2013

Thank you Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace for organizing the 4th annual #pb10for10.  I look forward to this event each summer.  It helps to build my excitement for the coming school year.

Several years ago at the All Write! Conference I heard  Katie Wood Ray speak.  She asked the audience to think about books.  She asked us what books we have that we can use over and over again for different purposes.  These will be my "go to" books this year.  
Earrings by Judith Viorst
I used this book last year as mentor text with our persuasive writing unit.  I love all the reasons the girl in the book gives for getting her ears pierced. 

Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater
This is a series of poems that tell a story about the forest.  Along with Amy's website The Poem Farm, I will be using the book as a mentor text for writing different kinds of poetry.  I've also been reflecting on  exposing my students to more books about nature and using nature observations for writing.  We will be having some discussions about this using the poems in Amy's book.

Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller
I love how this book compares trees to humans, often using similes.  I will be using this book in science and as a mentor text when talking about similes and patterns in text.

Fly Free! by Roseanne Thong
This is a Vietnamese tale about a girl who wanted to set sparrows free, but doesn't have enough money.  She does a nice dead that is paid forward until it comes back to the girl when a man sets the sparrows free.  I will use the book at the beginning of the year to talk about "paying it forward"  I will also use it to discuss repeated phrases in text.  The phrase, "Fly free, fly free in the sky so blue.  When you do a good deed, it will com back to you." is after each act of kindness is finished.  I will also use it talk about adding details to text or showing, not just telling.  One example from the book is "The shoes were the rich, read color of pomegranates".

Hello!  Hello! by Matthew Cordell
This is a great book about what happens when a girl gives up her electronics and explores outside.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
I will be using this book at the beginning of the year to discuss how students can make their own "mark".  We will also be participating in International Dot Day on September 15thish. 

Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack
This is a great book for reading and writing.  I use it when talking about personal narratives, adding details and word choice.  It is also a great story to use when talking about setting.  Kids love discussing how the illustrations give us evidence about the setting.
The Okay Book by Todd Parr
I use this book to talk about differences and that our differences are "okay".  Even 2nd graders can appreciate the simple text.  We also Skye with Todd Parr at the beginning of the year.  He does a wonderful Skype where he talks about how he gets his ideas for his books.  He Skypes from his studio and his dogs even make an appearance.

Another great book about being ourselves that I will share at the beginning of the year to help build community in the classroom.  I will also be revisiting this book on Dot Day!

Rain School by James Rumford
I found this book while browsing last year at my local library.  I shared it with my class and they loved it.  The book is about students in Chad, Africa who build their school only to have it destroyed when the rains come.  I wish I had taped the discussion my class had about this book last year after reading it. I'm excited to share it with another group of 2nd graders this year.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wonders and Books About Reading and Books

August 9th is Book Lover's Day.  Below are reading and book related Wonders at Wonderopolis and my ten favorite picture books about reading and books.  Both the Wonders and the books would be great addition to reading workshop throughout the year.

#44 What Is a Biography?
#150 Who Was Theodor Geisel?
#211 How Are Books Made?
#226 How Can You Become a Better Reader?
#254 Why Don't All Books Have Pictures?
#340 How Many Different Ways Can You Read?
#577 Are You a Bookworm?
#611 Do You Judge a Book by Its Cover?
#662 When Does Nonfiction Become Fiction?
#889 What Is a Genre?
#924 What Can You Discover at the Library?

The Best Books to Read by Debbie Bertram

Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley

 The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram

 Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr

 Born to Read by Judy Sierra

 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

How Rocket Learn to Read by Tad Hills

 Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco