Thursday, May 16, 2019

Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh

Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh is a fun read as we head in to the summer season.  The narrator tells the story of returning to the same cabin on the beach each year with his family and waiting for his friend Chicken Smith.  As the narrator waits, we learn about his relationship with Chicken Smith; where they go at the beach and what they do together.  As a reader, I kept wondering where is Chicken Smith and expecting him to turn up as I turned the pages.  This year seems different and the narrator can't find Chicken Smith.  It appears his house isn't opened for the season.  While it's a bit sad to learn Chicken Smith's house isn't opened the narrator forms a new friendship that isn't expected and probably wouldn't have formed if Chicken Smith was there.  I see this new friendship as one of necessity and warmed my heart.

Thank you Candlewick Press for this advance reader copy to share with others and my students.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bear's Book by Claire Freedman

Finding writing ideas can be tricky and I love that Bear in Bear's Book by Claire Freedman wants to write because his favorite big book of stories is so well read and loved it's falling apart.  He needs more stories and is empowered to write his own.  He sits down expecting to write a story with "exciting beginnings, dramatic middles,  and happy-ever-after endings."  I bet you can imagine what happens next...his paper sits blank.  He begins a journey seeking out ways to help good ideas come to him.  His path crosses with several friends and he begins to help them out along the way.  When he returns to his blank page he sits for a bit and then realizes he could use his adventures to start his story.  I expected his story to be a personal narrative and was surprised when it was an adventure with surprises and a touch of truth.  I think this will help students striving to find an idea and learning how to twist reality for a bit of an adventure they can read and enjoy.

Thank you Candlewick Press for the advanced reader copy to share with students wand friends.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Laptop Repair Reaction {Slice of Life}

I walked in thinking I was going to need to leave my laptop for a repair.  The numbers on the keyboard weren't working and the storage wasn't shifting after deleting large files.  My laptop is probably semi-organized and one of my goals for the summer.  Luckily, my husband had done a backup the night before so when the kind Apple Genius said, we'll need to reset your computer and replace the keyboard; I was ready.  I knew going in to the store I would probably need to leave my computer for overnight.  What I didn't know is my keyboard part would need to be ordered and I would be without my laptop for maybe five days.  I left the store and starting shaking off the worries of not having a laptop a bit like Sharpay Evans from High School Musical, including the little shrill.  My high schooler looked at me and said, "Mom that's a bit dramatic, you'll be fine."  I wasn't sure, she thought I was being silly and I hope one day when her technology isn't available or working she'll remember my little panic and her advise.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sitting, Waiting, Sunsets {Slice of Life}

I arrive late and yet on time because the team arrived late so the game has just started.  I chat with a couple of friends on my way to our side of the field.  I pull up my chair next to a friend who I was happy to see with the perfect view of first base.  I watch the game and wait.  My girl didn't start.  No worries.  I wait some more.  The game gets exciting.  We come from behind and I'm still waiting.  No worries she played a full game last night.  I chase away some worry thoughts about why and give in to sitting and waiting the whole game when number 19 walks out; top or bottom of the sixth.  I decide to take some photos when the sunset changes becoming a perfect backdrop.  Softball forces me to sit and wait.  Today reminded me why - when we sit and wait I take time to notice simple, natural things.  The yellow and orange surrounded by blue - chasing away gray skies.  It's a busy time of year in our schools and it's easy to find the gray moments overwhelming.  I'm going to try and sit a bit more, wait a bit more with students and without to find the sunsets or sunrises that make the work of each day rewarding.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.

Monday, April 8, 2019

I Can Only Draw Worms {Math Monday}

I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt made me laugh and smile.  I initially thought it was perfect for kindergarten and first grade.  I was a little bit on the fence for second grade because the text is simple, the drawings are simple, there's a bit of math and a bit of writing thinking.  Nothing was strongly swaying me to purchase this book until my friend read it and belly laughed through the whole book.  I then knew this book was something for any grade.  We need to laugh more.

The book begins as a counting book; adding a worm each page or two.  Along the way the writer begins to write little stories about each worm.  The little stories are some far out ideas for worms.  Before we meet worm eight there's a dreadful accident.  We now have two half worms!  Here's a bit more math in this funny book about a writer who can only draw worms.

The dedication is at the end of the book and is perfect for anyone who enjoys math or not.




Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thank Goodness for Bob by Matthew Morgan {Mental Wellness}

The first two page spread sets the tone for this important book.  "Max worried a lot.  Unlike his dog, Bob, who didn't worry at all."  The reader then learns about different worries Max has.  One worry made me chuckle - Max is standing next to a pool with his bathing suit on worried he isn't wearing enough clothes.  I think the pool can be a worrisome spot for many people.  Max's worry gather and gather until he doesn't feel right.  Unfortunately, Max isn't comfortable talking to anyone.  Then one day he begins talking to Bob and the reader finds out different ways worries can appear once we say them out loud.  Some are silly, small, and disappear.  Max doesn't worry as much and this might be the most important sentence - (we all worry, after all - it's natural)


"Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act." (mental health.gov) I hope you find this post helpful in supporting mental wellness. "Wellness is an approach to preventing illness and prolonging life as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases." (dictionary.com)  Let's be proactive in and out of our classrooms.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Stardust by Jeanne Willis

Stardust by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Briony May Smith is a sweet story.  A little girl wants to be a star and tries to do things just right.  She has a sister always one step ahead.  Her sister finds lost things, knits perfectly, and wins a costume contest.  This little girl is quite sad and goes to sit in a field at night making a wish to be a star herself.  Her Granddad shares a story that starts with once upon a time.  Once upon a time the sky was dark and Granddad shares a charming story guiding his granddaughter to realize everyone is made of stardust and shines in their own way.   Siblings can feel overshadowed and this book will help reinforce we all shine in different ways.  Thank you Candlewick Press for the sneak peak and copy to add to our classroom library.