Monday, November 9, 2009

Christopher and Jeanette Canyon - fabulous!

I am going to have to post more about our school visit with Christopher and Jeanette Canyon but I wanted to share with you this great photo I received today from them. Life couldn't be much better than this. Illustrators excited to see the real work of children that have been inspired by their creativity. I have so many more thoughts of their visit to share but I will have to post those a bit later.

I'm busily preparing for Ohio Council Teachers of Mathematics state conference Nov. 12 - 14. If you are attending, maybe we'll see each other. I'm presenting bright and early Saturday morning, Family Math at Home.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christopher and Jeanette Canyon Coming.

My students and I can't wait for our illustrator visit today! We have been getting ready this week learning about husband and wife illustrator team, Christopher and Jeanette Canyon. We worked with polymer clay as Jeanette does and even used a food processor to make very small "pebbles". We read she used a produce net bag to make lines in a clown fish and some of us did that too! Christopher Canyon's work is varied. We have really enjoyed his illustrations for the John Denver songs that have been published in picture book format. We recreated Grandma's Feather Bed, which is "9 feet high and 6 feet wide, soft as a downy chick." This is a fast pace song and I highly recommend finding the book with the music CD, there's nothing like John Denver and the fast pace banjo playing to
make this book a hit!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Progress reports are going home today with students and for me, I just completed 45 progress reports for kindergartners. Their first official progress report from a public school. As I worked on these all weekend, I wanted to be positive, encouraging, yet honest to facilitate growth. I just finished writing a newsletter to accompany the progress reports because I felt explanations were needed, especially for first time parents.

My school district asks me to rank children on this descriptor, Demonstrates confidence. I really wrestled with this because being a shy child does not mean you do not display confidence, nor does being a quiet child. This was my final thinking and explanation to parents. Sometimes you have to be honest in the best interest of children.

I do not think or feel I can give your child a number for confidence. I believe if they have had the courage and strength, which lead to confidence to walk into our large school, spend a full day with a stranger and new friends then they are all confident daily. From what I have experienced, it takes confidence to transition to many things during a school day, it takes confidence to ask for help, it takes confidence to sit quietly and listen, it takes confidence to tell someone you may not like what they are doing, it takes confidence to cry, it takes confidence to sing and even sing while using the bathroom. It happens, believe me. Each child got a 4 in confidence.
Think carefully about your students and their souls.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nonfiction Monday - Z is for a Zookeeper

This is my first time joining Nonfiction Monday and I share this book with some personal excitement. My youngest daughter, B gets to have an author visit today at her school with Roland Smith. How I wish I could be something small in her pocket today and go to school with her.

Z is for a Zookeeper, A Zoo Alphabet written by Marie and Roland Smith follows the format for author A to Z books by Sleeping Bear Press. The introduction is a wonderful explanation for the reasons we have zoo. It lets the reader know that the animals are not captured and placed on exhibit. It lets the reader know it's no longer safe for these animals for fear they will become extinct. For many of the species found in a zoo the wilderness is disappearing. The progress of zoos and purpose has really changed since they were conceived. Many help preserve the animals with breeding programs and rehabilitation, releasing them back into the wild when they can. If you are local, our Columbus Zoo is a great example of this work.

The book is definitely multi-leveled for any classroom. Each letter is featured with short poetic phrase with easily identifiable rhyme.

H is for Holding -
a cage out of sight.
Zookeepers use these
for animals at night.

The letters are represented with tools, animals, and responsibilities for a zookeeper. Then you will find a side bar for each letter with a much more detailed explanation of the zookeepers role. The information is written for children to easily understand and provides a behind the scene bio of a zoo. The reader really walks away with understanding the zoo is more than just animals on display and an appreciation for a zookeeper.

I hope my first grader comes home bubbling about her visit with Roland Smith so I can learn more about him. You can find a round up for Nonfiction Monday at books together.

I've joined Kidlitsophere Central!

I decided to take the plunge and become part of a larger group out here in the blogging world. I've joined Kidlitsophere Central, inspired by my friends of Central Ohio. I've joined to make connections with more people interested in children, children's literature and the world of teaching. Please see identification over on the right of my page and by pressing the button, you too can explore more within the Kidlitosphere World on the web.