Monday, July 22, 2019

I'm Happy - Sad Today by Lori Britain {Mental Wellness}

I am so happy author Lori Britain reached out to me and sent me a copy of her new book.  I'm Happy - Sad Today embraces and guides readers with the many emotions they can feel in the same day and most likely very close in time.  Lori refers to these as Mixed - Together Feelings.  The book begins by identify emotions and how they feel different based on the situation.  Then Lori begins sharing mixed - together feelings.  For example; going to school on the first day of school can feel scary and brave together.  Another example is when a baby sibling is born and the big sister can feel proud and jealous.  I love this combination - frustrated and determined.  My favorite part of the book is when the sweet main character acknowledges she can feel more than one feeling at a time.  The book ends with ways the main character can handle these emotions and they involve talking, listening, sitting, being active, using her imagination, movement, art, and word play.  That's right - why not mix emotion feelings together!  Try these on for fun - mad, happcited, loveappy, and glappy.

The illustrations by Matthew Rivera are set against a bright white background and the colors hues are just right for helping this story be told.  They are vibrant and yet subtle.  They show diversity in a time we need diverse community examples and mentors.

The book has a lovely ending for caregivers and parents.  There's a guide for talking about feelings and strategies for supporting social emotional growth.  



"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.  If you are looking for more resources Nationwide Children's Hospital here in Columbus, Ohio has valuable resources and  to transform children's mental heath.  #OnOurSleeves

Friday, July 19, 2019

In the Past by David Elliott {Poetry Friday}

I spent this past school year collecting books about dinosaurs.  When I met my readers last year I had two avid dinosaur book readers with not one single book in my huge collection.  Dinosaurs had been an interest in my early days and over time they weren't looked at I weeded them out.  I was so glad to learn there's a new interest from readers and then to discover authors and publishers are recognizing this new need.

In the Past by David Elliott and illustrated by Matthew Trueman is beautiful and part of the nonfiction poetry collection in my room.  I do not know much about dinosaurs and found this book to be a perfect amount of information and didn't make me feel overwhelmed.  Each poem is about one type of dinosaur and describes things about their physical traits, behaviors, and/or habitats.  The dinosaurs shared are also organized in a timeline starting at the Cambrian Period to the Quaternary Period.  

As a non dinosaur reader, I found the illustrations so supportive and needed for my own comprehension.  There's a note saying the illustrations were done in mixed media and I wish there was more.  The monotone shades used really make the book flow nicely.  

The book ends with a note from the author that is just lovely.  I enjoyed his honesty in admitting at the time of publications his facts and information is current and that our information about these creatures is constantly evolving.  The book does conclude with a blip about each dinosaur mentioned with your traditional nonfiction fact format.

I shared this book with a rising third grader during a softball game a couple of weeks ago and he loved it!  He knew he liked to read about dinosaurs and really enjoyed the poetry format.


Thank you Carol at Carol's Corners for hosting Poetry Friday this week.  
It feels good to be back sharing poetry and blogging again.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Gradual Release at the Dog Park {Slice of Life}

It's sunny.  It's a perfect summer day - not too hot and warm enough to swim.  We load the car with two legged humans and our four legged friend.  Honestly, the dog park that's free with water access seems a bit of a drive and I tag along because they all like going.  I get there and do some self talking.    I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to water spots.  I grew up on a Finger Lake in Upstate New York.  I love pebbled lake fronts and love the sand at the ocean.  Today the sand seems gritty and dragged in replicate something much nicer.  There's wet four legged friends chasing each other around and I flinch each time they pass hoping to not get sprayed with that wet dog shake.

My husband and girls are all in.  They find a stick and start throwing it and Winniee leaps through the air landing in the water with complete joy.  A younger couple drift our way with a black lab puppy and we learn it's his first time at the water.  He's probably between six months and year old.  He watches Winniee come back and forth; in and out of the water.  He begins to wade in and darts back out; still keeping an eye on Winniee.  Maybe fifteen minutes in to our time together he takes the plunge and follows her out to her stick.  He's swimming!

I start reflecting on the gradual release model and find myself questioning modeling.  I modeled projects in the classroom when I was younger that became direct replicas when my students tried the independent piece.  I'm often cautious about modeling something completely, if it's a physical product.  I find discussions to be different.  However, watching two dogs work through the modeling, gradual release model in a way has me pondering and revisiting what is needed for the gradual release model to create independent and success at the end and with ease.

for fostering this writing community called A Slice of Life.

Monday, July 15, 2019

I Will Be Fierce! by Bea Birdsong {Mental Wellness}

I Will Be Fierce! by Bea Birdsong is an empowering new picture book with our main character ready to tackle her day.  I love the very first page.  Our main character sits up in bed, raises her arm up high with a fist and declares, "Today, I will be fierce!"  The following pages and illustrations show the reader examples of what being fierce can look like.  Together the words and the text show us she can drive back dragons which are really puppies, walk among the giants which are really grownups, and she will break away from the ordinary.  She paints herself riding the shell of a turtle while her classmates paint just an animal.  Another favorite part in this book is when she's checking out a huge stack of library books and refers to them as a mountain of knowledge and the librarian as the guardian of wisdom.  This story is about overcoming your fears, seeing things differently, and ends with needing some rest while being your own hero.

This book could be used to to help students "Turn the Mind" and think about the opposite action of their current feelings.  "I also think "I will be fierce!" is an affirmation that could be used to help our mindset when we get stuck.



"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.  If you are looking for more resources Nationwide Children's Hospital here in Columbus, Ohio has valuable resources and movement to transform children's mental heath.  #OnOurSleeves

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Don't Worry Book by Todd Parr {Mental Wellness}

As soon as I read, The Don't Worry Book by Todd Parr I wanted to somehow find funding to put this book in the hands of every classroom and home.  We all worry and Todd validates that on the first page and then defines worry on the next.  He then shares examples of when we could worry with his bright drawings that show detail for those worry emotions.  His worry examples cover all ages; from when you are trying to sleep, use the bathroom or have too many things to do.  I love the two pages where he address technology usage; "when watching TV or from looking at screens too much."  

The second half of the book shares ways to help overcome your worries; talking to someone special, dancing, and why not put a pair of underwear on your head.  I can just imagine my second graders bursting out with giggles.  Another suggestion that I imagine being a good list to write down is to remember the things that make you strong.  He closes his story with an image of different people.  The people who love you and will take care of you.  We all need to remember we have others to reach out to and that okay.



"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.  If you are looking for more resources Nationwide Children's Hospital here in Columbus, Ohio has valuable resources and movement to transform children's mental heath.  #OnOurSleeves

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hello Summer and the Transition, {Slice of Life}

Hello Summer,

You've started off just right and in full swing.  I came home Friday night and packed my busy bag for an hour and fifteen minute car ride for a day of three softball games.  In that bag, I packed; my kindle with a book to finish, my knitting project, a craft magazine, walking shoes, an early reader chapter book, bullet journal and pens, walking shoes, and socks.  We arrived at the ballpark and I began my summer softball rhythm.  During warm ups, I walk anywhere from one to two miles.  I return for some reading time and once the game starts I have to put away my reading.  It's hard to read and watch the game.  I brought out my knitting - a simple dishcloth pattern that goes back and forth with a couple of stitch variations.  I watch.  I cheer.  I might question something.  I soak up the sun and sitting.  We had three games and this routine becomes a pattern for the day.  

I finished my book.  I finished off two dishcloths and started a third one.  I read my magazine and felt crafty inspired.  I connected with people and might have gotten a small sunburn.  I logged 20,000 steps which is a small miracle - softball for me is a lot of sitting.  It's all good.  I discovered a day like this snaps the hello summer transition phase.  It thrust me into a different schedule.  It forced me to do different things and preplan those different things.  It reminded me to sit and allow for space to be in the moment.  

I find the transition to summer can be tricky and take a few days to let go of that go, go, go pace of life.  I find taking a vacation right away or now even a day trip can speed up the process and let my body and mind rest more.  I hope you enjoy your transition to summer - it's here or it's coming.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.  




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.