Saturday, October 18, 2014

We Share Everything (Robert Munsch)

This week we read a story called Priscilla, Meet Felicity by Kathleen Leverich. My class was quite struck by this story. We often talk about how friends need to share. Felicity is a difficult friend in this story because she takes things from Priscilla, all in the name of friendship, only she doesn't ask for Priscilla's permission. The words my kids used a lot was that she "used friendship" to get what she wanted.

The discussion reminded me of the story We Share Everything. It also takes sharing to an extreme. The kids thought it was hilarious. Our lunch hour was full of lots of laughter thanks to this cute little story. We listened to Robert Munsch himself tell the story from his website.

The story is about two children in a kindergarten class. They're told by their teacher that in kindergarten everyone shares. They take it to the extreme by sharing their shirt and their pants and, well, everything!

Robert Munsch is always good for a chuckle.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Comic Squad - Recess (Gene Luen Yang, Dav Pilkey, Jarrett Krosoczka, Ursula Vernon, Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Eric Wight, Dan Santat, Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman)

Comic Squad Recess is by a lot of authors! To be exact:
Gene Luen Yang - American Born Chinese
Dav Pilkey - Captain Underpants!
Jarrett Krosoczka - Lunch Lady Series
Ursula Vernon
Jennifer and Matthew Holm - BabyMouse series
Eric Wight
Dan Santat
Raina Telgemeier
Dave Roman

It is a collection of writing from all these hilarious people.

I especially loved that it is dedicated to The Nerdy Book Club. They are cool!

This is a fun, easy and quite hilarious read. Lighten up. You should read it!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Giver (Lois Lowry)

Earlier this month I read Son by Lois Lowry, and after reading that I decided it was time to go back and re-read The Giver as well as the other books in the series.

When I read The Giver in high school, it was really my first go at a dystopian science fictiony type of book. I really didn't get it. I could sense though, that there was something special about this story. Now, reading it again years later, it makes me smile that I have in fact grown up and grown in understanding.

There are many things I love about this book. I love the way it shocks you. Some of the ideas in the book, everyone being equal, for one, are ones that people often view as lofty ideals. Also, releasing people when they've served their time, or are not needed, might on the surface make sense. It works in Jonas' community for many people! However, as he starts to realize what he's missing, he can't swallow living in that community anymore.

This book makes me feel like I need to focus more on what is really in my heart. I need to not worry so much about tradition and ties to expectations from other people. I need to be more willing to do things I want to do. I need to follow my dreams and do what I really love.

Some might assume I'm reading this  because the movie is out right now. I'm a little curious about the movie, but a little afraid it might ruin the special relationship I have with the book (did I ever mention I'm not a huge movie fan anyway?). My book club picked Son for our read for this month, and perhaps that was because of the movie. Not sure. I'm leaving the option open. Still undecided.

It's always interesting to read a variety of opinions on GoodReads. Most people give The Giver a high rating. But there are a few ones. Check one out here. You can search others, if you're really interesting. I only bring this up because I remember talking with a friend who was really upset that her kid was reading this book in school. She thought it was a TERRIBLE book. I can't remember all her reasons. I just remember having the conversation and thinking, 'isn't it great that a book can bring out so many strong emotions?' There's one thing for sure - Lois Lowry does that with this one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back (Shel Silverstein)

I've read this one aloud before. Check out my last entry. It's a winner every time.

My class was really surprised this time with the ending. It ends quite sad. He just wanders off and is never




My favorite part was that one of my students asked if he  could take it home tonight. Lately he takes a book home and reads the whole thing in one evening. Another student asked if he could have it tomorrow. I love it when kids get excited about books!

Monday, October 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Professional Development Reading: I'm working on my classroom management skills so every day I spend some time reading from these two books.
CHAMPs: Chapter 1 Shape Behavior
This weekend I set some goals for my class. I'm excited for the changes that focusing on these topics will bring to my teaching.

Kagan: Cooperative Learning Theory and Research
I have an active group of kids this year....we need lots of movement and opportunity to talk. I'm getting better at helping keep that focused.

Grade 3 Book Club
We're reading The Witches! I must get the Edmodo quiz up!

Classroom Readaloud:
Lafcadio, the Lion That Shot Back

Battle of the Books
We are off and running! We are going to read StarGirl by Jerry Spinelli first. I love that book! I bought it on Friday. Time to get going on it.
My own reading: The Giver by Lois Lowry

And, every day I read some of The Book of Mormon and The Old Testament. My goal this year is to read the entire Bible.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Foul Play (Karen Edwards)

This is a great little story about a boy who wants a new coat. Along the way he learns lessons about friendship and forgiveness and compassion. There are interesting twists with characters who destroy a property one night, a kid whose dad always yells at him, and the fun of hockey.

I love that the author is Canadian - from Saskatoon!

This book would be a good read aloud with lots of good discussion potential for a character lesson.

Zero Tolerance (Claudia Mills)

This is a beautiful book! It is about justice and mercy and the fallibility we all have as part of our personalities. The story is believable and compelling. It would be a great character discussion starter. I love that the lesson in the end is that we all make mistakes and perhaps grace is more important than justice.

There are also great lessons about friendship and judging people. Sierra gets stuck in a suspension room with a bunch of hardened criminals. Well, at least she used to think they were hardened criminals. As the days wear on she starts to see them in a whole new light. Maybe they just haven't been treated fairly. She learns that in a community you don't destroy a member if the community just to uphold a policy that never should have been established in the first place.

So many great quotes in this book: 

P. 34 a murderer gets to make a phone call, but a seventh grader who took the wrong lunch to school by mistake isn't instructed about her legal rights?


Inclusion - Sierra has some interesting conversations where kids reveal plain old mean things teachers have done to kids and she sees these students in a whole new light.




Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish (Jennifer Holm)

This entire premise of this book is crazy, but it works.  Grandpa comes to live with Ellie and her mom, only he has discovered a serum that has reversed the aging process and he is actually 13 years old now. Mom and Grandpa don't really ever see eye to eye. Grandpa is a scientist with two PhDs and mom is a drama teacher. Ellie discovers the beauty and wonder of science along with the pitfalls of scientific advancements on society. It is a great story if hope and imagination. It was easy to read. Very well written.

P. 47 "Scientists never give up, they keep trying because they believe in the possible."

P. 171 I stare at his tye-dyed shirt, and I suddenly understand what Starlily was trying to teach us with the goldfish. Endings are sad. Like goldfish dying and grandma's slippers and Brianna and me. But beginnings are exciting. Like discovering something I might be good at and making new friends. Raj.
"It's the cycle of life," I say, remembering Starlily's words. "Things move forward, not backward."
"Who wants to move forward? Not me."
My mind is racing now and I think if things not moving forward. Like my mom. She's scared if making a mistake again, even though anyone can see that Ben's the perfect missing piece for her puzzle.
"What about the whole law of motion thing? You're supposed to keep moving or you get stuck! Like Mom with Ben!"
"She can do better than him," my grandfather says, ignoring what I am really saying.
"What if we've gone too far? What if we ruin the whole world?"
"So dramatic," he observes. "Just like your mother."
"What about the trash cans?" I ask.
"I'll put then out tonight," he says.
"How's that going to work? When all the old people are young again, who's going to be in charge? Who's going to decide when to put out the trash cans and turn up the head. Who's going to be the grown up?"
He looks momentarily off balance, as if he hasn't considered this. Then his expression hardens.
"You don't understand. You haven't had to live through this," he says.
The words tumble from my mouth before I can stop them. "But I want to!"
I look at him imploringly. "Is growing up, growing old - life - is it all so terrible?"
His eyes go still and he looks at me, like he's seeing me for the first time.
I take a deep breath, remembering the feeling if dancing in that dark floor, the music pounding through me, the possibility of something - I don't know what - so close, and I want to feel that again.
"Because I want to try it," I whisper. "I'm only twelve." 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rules of Summer (Shaun Tan)

I am surprised at all the poor reviews this book has received on Goodreads. It isn't your average children's book. For the right kid with a great imagination, this could be a great discussion starter. It could be a great starting point for story ideas too. There is a world of stories to create out of the fascinating pictures Shaun Tan has created. I think it would be a fun book to read in September instead of your average dull 'how was your summer' fare.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Son (Lois Lowry)

I loved this book. Although it does stand alone just fine, it made me want to go back and read The Giver again as well as the other books in this series.

In Son, there is an interesting idea that all choices must be for the good of the community. Even when Claire is escaping so she can see her son, she needs to kill a nest full of baby chicks, despite the mother bird's desperate attempts to drive Clare away this theme persists. She has to destroy their home for the good of what she wants to accomplish. However, some people just aren't made to not have feelings. They feel love for their children. And in the end, you can overcome evil if you don't let it overcome you. I also thought the theme of water leading to freedom was interesting. Even Gabe's toy, a hippo, is a strong water animal. Water is a part of all the big events in this story. It is interesting too that Gabe's gift is 'veering' or seeing things from another person's perspective. It changes him. I loved it when he veered into his Mentor's mind to try to get some answers on a test. Instead what he felt was the great love his teacher has for all his students.


p. 107
She turned away, feeling tears well in her eyes. What on earth was the matter with her? No one else seemed to feel this kind of passionate attachment to other humans. Not to a new child, not to a spouse, or coworker, or friend. She had not felt it toward her own parents or brother. But now, toward this wobbly, drooling toddler--

p. 181

"On that day, the day I tended you," Alys said to Clarei, "I saw your wound."
"Your belly."
Claire placed her hand there protectively. She looked at the ground. "I don't --"she began, then flatered.
"It's a grievous wound. Someone tended it, stitched it up. There are the marks."
"I know," Claire whispered.
"One day it will come back to your mind, like everything else."
"But I fear this: that you will not be able to give birth. I think it has been taken from you."
Claire was silent.
 Alys leaned forward and turned the flame higher in the oil lamp. It was darkening outside. "There are other ways a woman finds worth," she said in a firm, knowing voice.

P. 367 He was right to refuse. It was my journey and I had to do it without help. I had to find my own strengths, face my own fears. And now you must.