Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Clementine is having not so good of a week.
-On Monday she's sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
- Tuesday, Margaret's mother is mad at her.
- Wednesday, she's sent to the principal... again.
- Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
- Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
- And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I read this book years ago with my class. We did it again as an end of year novel study. Once again, it did not disappoint. This is a fantastic story. Brian Selznick seems to have a keen interest in theatre. Both this book and The Invention of Hugo Cabret involve cinema. Apparently his third book, The Marvels, does as well.
Reading it with my class this year was a really great experience. I got 9 copies of the book from the public library (thank you Calgary Public Library!) and we shared. I was so impressed with all the details we got this time around thanks to very observant students. Brian Selznick says that everything in his pictures is purposeful. I believe it!
Traditionally, when we do novel studies, it is paired with a workbook full of all sorts of comprehension questions, crossword puzzles, games and activities. I really simplified for this novel, and instead of a big booklet like that I usually use, we had a page where we wrote down cool vocabulary, some pages where we wrote summaries for each part of the book (it is divided into three parts) and then a page with finger spelling. At first, we'd stop when we came across cool words and write them down, but there was a lot of moaning and groaning. Eventually, I decided that isn't what real readers do. Instead, I gave them some sticky notes and had them put a sticky when they came across a word they thought was cool or didn't understand. The next day we'd start off our reading time by writing down 4 or 5 of these cool words and their definitions. Usually, we could get the meaning from the context. I encouraged kids, when they're reading other books, to use stickies to mark spots they want to remember to tell someone about or write about or have questions about.
- Pair this book with Matchbox Diary and make our own boxes of wonder
- Make a diorama about something we have been studying (pair with life cycle unit?)
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Saturday, June 13, 2015
|It's true. This is funny! I didn't think I could get into this story very well. I was pleasantly surprised.|
I loved the author's story of getting this book to print as well. I listened to his podcast while I walked for some of the chapters and read others. His podcast is really well done.
Currently, with our new NDP government in place in Alberta, this is a hilarious read. A little true to life!
A burnt-out political aide quits just before an election — but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock — an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers — to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose - or is he?
Canadian Authors - Terry Fallis lives in Toronto. He went to McMaster and has won Canadian writing awards.
Canadian history - this is a story of political commentary and some history is involved
Feminism - one of the main characters, Angus, was married to a great feminist writer (she passed away months previous) and gets along well with feminists
Humor - this book is seriously funny
Making a difference - Angus stays true to his ideals (something unusual for politicians, it seems)
Personal Growth - a number of characters in the story do things that are uncomfortable, but important
Friday, June 12, 2015
My students were able to make a connection with one of the Open Court stories we read: Stevie. It is about a boy who gets tired of a little boy his mom babysits - until he ends up not coming over anymore. We talked about how you should appreciate things when they're here because you will miss them later.
It's funny how much the man and the skunk look alike. Hmmmm.....
This is one book I'd be interested in hearing the author's perspective on why he wrote it.
When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man's doorway, it's a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It's not clear--but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature's attention, only to find himself missing something. . .
This slyly hilarious tale brings together picture book talents Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell for the first time.
There are lots of good questions that come out of this book. Is the skunk symbolic? Is the man trying to hide something stinky in his life? Why does he go looking for the skunk? Why is the skunk following him? Is this about anxiety?
Thursday, June 11, 2015
The story is lovely though. It would be a great end of year story. We could talk about traditions our family has in the summer. The girl in the story goes to the same place every year for a vacation. The illustrations are beautiful.
Every summer, a girl’s family drives down the same roads, passes through the same towns, and spends a week at the same beachside motel. Year after year, everything is comfortingly predictable: the families they see, the rhythm of the days, the stars, the bonfires, and even the pattern the tractor makes as it rakes the sand on their beach. But this year, something is different: the girl, our narrator, meets a new friend who shows her how to dive under the waves and spot satellites in the night sky. When it’s time to go, she’s sad to part ways. But she knows she can look forward to seeing him next year. Illustrated in a restrained, retro palette, this story perfectly captures the timelessness of a summer holiday. The effect is nostalgic and almost hazy, as if seen in a dream, a memory, or through the shimmering air of a hot summer day.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Right now, in my classroom, we have been observing caterpillars that we ordered from a website. Most of them have turned into pupas and we're impatiently waiting for them to emerge. It was really fun to read this book while we're in the midst of that experience.
June 8, 2016:
We read it again this year. Everyone was quite captivated by the story. This book is truly just like our experience with our butterflies this year. We're going to try to time things perfectly so that we're outside releasing them just before other kids come out so that we can tell them about the great things they have to look forward to with their butterflies when they're in grade 3!
One day on a walk with his dad Charlie sees some boys and girls on the rooftop of the school saying goodbye as they release butterflies up into the sky. Charlie is amazed by all the butterflies flying around and wishes he could do something like that too. And when Charlie starts school next year he becomes a “butterfly scientist” as well and helps his teacher and classmates care for some teeny tiny caterpillars as they grow into butterflies and are released by Charlie and his class. “Bye Bye Butterflies!”
Friday, June 5, 2015
This is a true story. It's about a man who is HIV +. The author meets him when they make it through the auditions for an MTV series and become roommates in the house where the show is filmed. The story talks about prejudisms and misunderstandings around the disease.
My best friend's brother died of HIV/AIDs about the same time. When I think of the sadness and the shame around that time, it breaks my heart. No one was really willing to talk about it. Frankly, they still have a hard time talking about it. I'm glad there are some people making efforts to make those kinds of things change.
I'm coming a bigger fan of graphic novels all the time. They express a story in a way that is different than just print. The pictures mixed with the words can be very moving.
Monday, June 1, 2015
On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, giant egg. And out of this egg came one big, humongous . . . something. "It's big!" clucked the little rooster. "It's enormous!" clucked the small chicken. "It's an elephant!" peeped the smallest chicken. "Run for your lives!" they cried. No matter how they try, these clueless chickens can't make sense of the gigantic new member of their familyuntil he saves the day. With wacky, laugh-out-loud humor and silliness to spare, this BIG twist on the classicChicken Little story lends a whole new perspective to what it means to be chicken.