Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10 Picture Books I've Purchased Since Moving to Second Grade - #pb10for10

I've been teaching second grade again for two years now and I'm getting ready to start my third year.  I tried to get creative with a theme but that didn't feel right.  I tried to think of my ultimate go to picture books but felt the core set has been shared in previous years.  Then I began wondering about what I've purchased since moving up to second grade.  My account history shows more nonfiction/content picture books, and early chapter books and honestly not as many picture books.  Since I'm purchasing fewer picture books, I believe these are going to turn into those must have picture books and as I look over this collection they are all books I use at the beginning of the year.  I bet I discover some must have picture books today for later in the school year from everyone joining #pb10for10.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner
A great way to share the process readers use while reading.

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Wishes aren't just for birthdays or seeing the first star at night.  I usually read this story at the end of the year but I'm thinking about starting the year with it and then revisiting it at the end of the year.

What Do You Do with An Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Let your ideas sit with you and grow into something big.

Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram
Why have a lemonade stand when you can have a story stand?

Limelight Larry by Leah Hodgkinson
Limelight Larry discovers it's always better to do things together than on your own.

Wolfe the Bunny by Amy Dyckman
We need to model and encourage bravery.

My Cousin Momo by Zacharaha O'Hora
We need to encourage and embrace doing things differently.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Who doesn't need a great book about persistence.

My Teacher is Not a Monster by Peter Brown
Not that anyone would think I am a monster but I find this a fun light hearted book to help dismiss little worries about the new teacher.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein
We all need to know mistakes help us learn.

Picture Book 10 for 10 is HERE!

Cathy Mere and I are so excited to have so many people join us today in sharing ten picture books you just can't live without.   It increases the positive energy of a new school year.  It brings educators together around something positive and encourages sharing, what a great way to start a new school year.

Here's some tidbits for joining us.

  1. Grab a Badge (I like to select the image and save image as...)
  2. Join the #pb10for10 Google Community
  3. Choose Your Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme to determine their selections.  We'll leave this up to you.
  4. Narrow Your List to Ten:  It isn't easy, is it?  We've seen some crafty ways to get around that number, but really ten is plenty. 
  5. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.  
  6. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one --- or now with the Google Community it is quite easy to just post your favorites directly into the community without a blog.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.
  7. Comment:  On August 10th (and maybe for a week --- there are a lot of posts) take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three.

Monday, August 8, 2016

What A Beautiful Morning by Arthur A Levine {Blog Tour}

I am so excited to be hosting today's blog tour for the book, What A Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine with illustrations by Katie Kath.  The front cover of this book peaked my interest right away with the joyful smiling faces of a young boy and an older gentleman.  Right away my relationship prediction was confirmed and the reader learns these two love being together.  They love to be perky and happy in the morning starting their days with walks and different songs.  They even sing through breakfast.  

This year things are a bit different.  Grandpa can't seem to remember various things; how to cut his food or who people are.  Grandma's advice to Noah just tugged at my heart, "So we have to appreciate what he still has, not focus on what he's lost."  I found Noah to be a brave young boy.  He decided to carry on with their morning routine without Grandpa.  Noah is completely surprised when Grandpa joins him in song with his perky and happy voice.   Noah experiments throughout the day with singing as a way to connect with Grandpa and once again Arthur A. Levine careful language tugged at my heart, "It was like the sun breaking through the clouds."  The ending of this book show acceptance, love, and beauty.  We need more books helping children understand challenges our elders face.  

This book is the perfect mentor text for showing movement through the illustrations.  Katie Kath has done a beautiful job in showing emotions, thinking, and thought through facial features.  She shows movement with the positioning of the arms and legs while using little movement lines young authors love to try.  Every time I read this book, I see more reasons to make this a go to book for studying movement and action.

Thank you Running Press for Kids for my review copy.  Make sure you stop by these other blogs to read more thinking about this beautiful book, available August 9, 2016.

8/3 MomReadIt
8/11 Bildebok

Monday, August 1, 2016

Smarter Charts for Math, Science and Social Studies

I really embraced their first book Smarter Charts and shared my thinking in September of 2013.  This book really dissected chart making and gave guidance for precise chart making with purpose. So  you can imagine how excited I was when Smarter Charts for Math, Science and Social Studies by Kristine Mraz and Marjorie Martinelli was published.  I'm also thrilled to have it out of my to be read pile and if it's in yours move it further up.  I knew I had to finish this book when in the introduction Kristine and I had the same situation.  Her principal shared he/she could easily see what was being taught during reading and writing by the charts on her walls but asked about the other content areas.  "Along her math wall, lonely tumbleweeds blew in the barren land below the number line."  Changing grade levels and keeping up with things is challenging but I don't want others to feel there are tumbleweeds in my room.

These are the nudges I found for the upcoming school year.

- Make more charts in content areas!

- Ponder more the idea of routine charts in second grade, they could still be needed.  Routine charts are not just for getting ready but cleaning up.

- Make a fire drill chart.

- Really study and think about strategies and the process required to do that strategy.

- Make exemplar charts with annotations - powerful chapter - reread.

These are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.

- "Remember, a chart is not just a thing on the wall:  It is an artifact of your teaching and a tool for students to use when learning a new challenge."

- "Charts are never static."

- "In other words, a process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a desired outcome.  This could also be the definition of teaching."

-"Process charts take complex skills and present them in a bite-size steps until children gain familiarity and fluency with the process."

-"Revision without justification simply seems like a substitution, rather than a thoughtful evolution of an idea."

Monday, July 25, 2016

How to Grade for Learning

My district has been spending a great deal of time revamping, rethinking, and adjusting our current reporting system to parents.  I had the opportunity to work on work this with other second grade teachers across the district and am excited with the changes we are rolling out this fall.  We have made changes for teachers and we've made changes for parents.  These changes will help us all understand what students are learning and how students are progressing towards learning second grade content.  While at one of these district meetings I noticed a pile of professional books outside the door and got giddy when I learned these are up for grabs.  As I stood there, I learned How to Grade for Learning by Ken O'Connor was a book that guided much of the report card revamping, rethinking, and adjusting that had occurred before I joined the project.  I knew I wanted to read this book to help me understand the changes more to help my students but to also help my parents this coming school year. 

These are the nudges I found for the upcoming school year.

-write more things down, I can't remember everything

-be more intentional with linking assessments to learning standards

-do and keep track of informal communications

-do more informal communications, bring back the sending home a postcard to families

-use questions for student responses for summative assessments p79

These are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in reading this book more.

-"Students - and parents - have been taught to overvalue grades.  Although it will not be easy, if teachers grade better, both may learn to value grades more appropriately."

-"it is extremely complicated."

-"use grading as an exercise in professional judgement to enhance learning."

-"Teachers use a wide variety of assessment methods, not all sources of information need to be included in grades.  They decide which sources of information to include based on the reliability and validity of the data nada the purpose of the assessment."

-"...the prime purpose of grades is recognized as communication, not competition, and determine students grades is based on a pedagogy that views the teacher's role as supporting learning and encouraging student success."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Building Teamwork with - UP THE CREEK by Nicholas Oldland

UP THE CREEK by Nicholas Oldland was a book I discovered this week at the pubic library and is perfect for community building.  I was drawn to it by the front cover.  Its summer and three characters a beaver, a moose, and a bear are in a canoe together.  This seems to be quite the unlikely combination to be canoeing together and I had to know more.  

Come to find out this canoe trip wasn't so peaceful looking at the beginning.  Each character had their own ideas which led to the canoe over turning, tipping up, and completely capsizing.  If you've ever canoed yourself with someone else you can appreciate the struggles for finding a paddling rhythm and sharing of the workload.  They have a few obstacles and each time there are further disagreements.  

Finally, there's an agreement. They agree to TEAMWORK and take each animal's strength to ride the rapids and return to shore.  This review does not do the humor justice. The humor is achieved by the wonderful pairing of words and illustrations by Nicholas Oldland.  I found myself smiling along the way a bit more and I can see younger students especially giggling with delight.  I also think this would be a great piece to discuss showing action via illustrations.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Mindset for Learning

As I was reading, A Mindset for Learning by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz I found myself wanting to take two actions before I was even half way through the book.  The first thing I wanted to do was to have W for another year.  He needs this book.  I needed this book to help him grow further.  We had a great year together, we worked a lot on persistence but I could of gone further with many of the suggestions offered in this book.  Another action I wanted to take and may still do before school starts, is to share this book with W's parents and his teacher next year.  I think this book should be in the hands of parents also.  It's not just a book for educators.  This is a book for anyone, young or old navigating life.

These are the nudges I found for the upcoming school year.

-Don't feel hurried to start school and miss getting to know my students.

-Write knowing tidbits about my new students down, I can't remember everything.

-Focus on the stances for learning early has a whole class and not just when needed for those in need.

-Value self-talk and listen more intently to self-talk.

-Make reminder charts/tools for individuals to foster independence.

These are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.

- Talking about getting to know your students.  "Rather, it must extend throughout the year and drive our planning, our teaching, and our very interaction with each child."

-"Resilience is important in our day-to-day lives, but it is essential to learning.  Resilience is what allows one to be persistent."

-"To help children build these stances, you may first want to ask them to apply them in areas of the day that are somewhat familiar to and "easy" for children in order to avoid draining their "willpower tank" too quickly."

-"When we harness the power of that voice, our life becomes more intentional and more under our own control."

-"Finding the positive spin does not mean that everything becomes the best ever; rather, it means we acknowledge negative feelings and help children move past them into productive actions."