Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reading Globally

Have you ever found yourself looking for books to help expand your student's view of the world?  Have you ever found yourself looking for books to help your student's develop respect for differences among cultures?  Then, Reading Globally, K-8 Connecting Students to the World Through Literature by Barbara A. Lahman, Evelyn B. Freeman, and Patricia L. Scharer is the book you need.  This book is filled with wise advice for using children's literature in various curriculum areas.  

Global literature is needed for children to develop their natural curiosity and show them opportunities they could have.  Global literature is needed to help student's think about others and accept differences.  Global literature is needed to help children experience right and wrong, exploring equality issues.  Social, economic, environmental, world health, national security, and immigration are all areas global literature can foster thinking and compassion for.

Global literature is defined as, "books that are international either by topic or origin of publication or author.  This is different than multicultural literature where "books that portray parallel cultures within the United States."  Global literature has two goals; students need to see themselves in realistic  life experiences and know there are life experiences different than their own.  

As we think about our busy days at school, the thought of adding one more category of books to try and fit in and use can be overwhelming.  That is why Chapter 2, Literary Theme Studies and an Integrated Curriculum is an important chapter to read.  The next few chapters give examples and book titles for using global literature in language arts, social studies, science and mathematics, and the arts.  The book ends discussing questions teachers have raised as they try to embrace using global literature.  The first step in using global literature is to find a book that you can replace representing life different than that found in your classroom.  

I do have to warn you between the text and the resources of books listed on the CD in the back, your book shopping cart might be bursting at the seams.  I'm excited to share global literature will be a new label and category of books I will be sharing with you.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - HAVE YOU HEARD THE NESTING BIRD?

HAVE YOU HEARD THE NESTING BIRD? by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak is a beautiful nonfiction picture book.  The warm earthtone hues are soft and inviting.  I seriously wanted to know more about this book because of the illustrations.  Kenard Pak used watercolors and digital media tools to create natural images to accompany the text.  

In the background of this story, the reader will follow a boy and a girl as they walk and play outside.  The boy and girl encounter numerous birds flying overhead and often observe an action they make as they fly, along with their sound.  However, they notice the nesting bird doesn't make a sound.  The nesting bird is a robin and sits for a very long time until a special event takes place.  I love how the message of patience and quiet brings good things.  

The end of the book as an interesting way to present information.  The last two pages are a question and answer format titled, A Word with the Bird.  I can see my students asking these same questions and having the answers written back with the voice of the robin is an interesting format for reader engagement.  This format might also be a format for sharing nonfiction learning.  HAVE YOU HJARD THE NESTING BIRD? would be a good book for a unit on backyard life science.  

Thank you Alyson for hosting Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday.  I've been stalking since the new year, sharing nonfiction on Wednesday, and thought I should link up becoming an active participant.  I got a bit sidetracked with my Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March, it feels good to be back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slice of Life - Hey, Low Fuel!

Today I read two beautiful and important words!  Low fuel.  You can read my slight frustration over the placement of my gas gauge in a previous post, I love my Honda, but not my gas gauge!  One week ago today I got a new van.  We upgraded our van and yes, if you live in a minivan world we got the one with the HondaVac system.  You read that right, I have a vacuum in my minivan.  It will come in very handy but today I found a feature I think that is equally handy.  When my gas gauge got low, the center information screen read LOW FUEL in large orange letters.  Where I keep my right hand on the steering wheel blocks the view of the normal gas gauge in the bottom right corner.  Having this notification clear, crisp and simple is perfect.  Having this notification right in the center of my view is perfect.  Now let's hope when I try out my HondaVac system I give it a perfect review.  


When I saw this photo I thought these two words could relate to teaching this year.  It's been a hard year around the country as people figure out the Common Core and what that means for children and our instruction.  It's been a hard year in the world of assessments, at any grade level.  It's been a hard year in Ohio with Student Learning Objectives and increased teacher evaluations.  It's been a hard year with budgets cut yet everyone expecting the status quo to remain the same.  Maybe just recognizing sometimes we are running on low fuel and we need to refill is necessary.  The HondaVac system is a perk in my new minivan.  I think we need to make sure we all know the perks in our lives and make sure we take time to refill.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for hosting and nudging us to capture a bit of life - fostering a writing community.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Celebrate This Week

Sometimes we have to stop and celebrate just one day.  Birthdays are a gift and each year is a blessing.  So, today I am sharing goodness throughout my actual birthday.  I'm so glad it's a day with my family and spring has arrived.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Celebrate This Week

I'm in!  I'm here and I do have things to celebrate!  I wasn't holding out when Ruth started Celebrate This Week.  I was actually sitting in the presentation she was giving when this little seed started to rumble this past fall.  I've watched from afar, I've read what others are celebrating weekly, and yet I didn't jump right in.  Fast forward to today and I can't be afar anymore.  I ended my spring break trip a day early and we drove straight home from Florida to spend today with Ruth and my Literacy Connection colleagues.  As I listen to Ruth today, I know celebration is purposeful, needed, and necessary in many aspects of my life.  Here are a few celebrations from my week.

1.  Spending time in temperatures double of Ohio right now, surrounded by sunshine has nourished my soul.

2.  Spending time with my immediate family without schedules and free choice all day long was fun.

3.  Watching my daughters and husband interact with my in-laws brought smiles and laughter to everyone.  Having grandparents far away is sad, so our time together is precious.

4.  I got to read 5 books!

5.  I re-created the habit of walking each morning and yes got up today to walk my two dogs in colder temperatures.

6.  Ending my spring break with an energizing group of teachers brought together by The Literacy Connection and the amazing Ruth Ayers will guide the last seven weeks of school and what might come my way.

Monday, March 31, 2014

SLICE 2014 - 31 of 31 - Thank You

This year I made a plan to slice about my teaching life Monday - Friday in hopes of finding things that make teaching sparkle right now.  I worried this might be hard because teaching is hard right now but it wasn't.  I was able to listen more intently and observe more intently, finding a sparkle most days.  I also think my slices this year brought a bit more of a reflective voice.  Sometimes in my blogging life, I'm not sure what to post and slicing brought a fresh new look to my blogging writing.   Slicing every day was easier than I thought, even if it was getting late in the evening I knew I wanted to stay strong.  I really enjoyed reading slices from this community and wish I had the time to read everything, everyone was willing to put in print.  I really appreciated checking in and finding comments from readers.  Feedback does bring a smile to an author, thank you.  Thank you for reading pieces from my heart and being part of my journey.  Until next year, enjoy and embrace what comes your way.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SLICE 2014 - 30 of 31 Quote Collecting App

"Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths."

Etty Hillesum

I can't remember where I got this quote from this week.  It could of been from a daily email I receive or maybe it was on twitter but what does matter is I reflected on these words.  These words were important to receive this week as I tried to stay focused on a normal work and home schedule, while anticipating spring break.  Deep breaths are important for each of us to take.  I've discovered as a writer I have another format I like to use.  I like to anchor my Choice Literacy writing to a quote of a professional mentor, a text that has guided my own thinking the reader is about to read.  I think much of what we do as educators is tweaking someone else's thinking to make it work for us.  We are stronger when we stand on the shoulders of others and with others.  

When I discovered I like to use quotes to jumpstart my articles, I remembered collecting quotes when I was younger, in a notebook.   I wanted to start collecting quotes in one place again and found a great app to use.  Quotebook is easy.  You can copy a quote from twitter, a blog, or a website and paste it in the quote space.  You can also type it in the quote text box.  Then you can add the author, the source, give it a 5 star rating, and add tags.  To keep life simple, I add my quote, the author, and right now my tagging system is really easy; life or education.  I'm going to think about more ways to incorporate quotes within the writing I do.