Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Interrupting Chicken

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein is perfect to start any school year with, for our youngest learners and older students.  Little red chicken is a young and spunky chicken.  Little red chicken is full of energy at bedtime.  Little red chicken is a bit impulsive when he talks.  Papa is trying to put little red chicken to bed and thinks reading a bedtime story to him will be helpful.  Papa picks Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Chicken Little.  All three times, when trouble begins to happen little red chicken interrupts to quickly end the story.  Little red chicken can justify his interrupting.  It's easy to see Papa is getting a little frustrated and tired himself.  The ending is just charming and I can't give it away.  This book is perfect to help our students learn about being one of many, a larger community.  This book is funny and the dialogue encourages a lot of inflection.  I can't wait to share this book with my students on later this week and think it could be a fun read aloud at home for anyone having a hard time going to bed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Place for Wonder

A Place for Wonder by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough is delightful and provoking.  This text brings the essence of childhood and learning to the forefront again.  This book has a purpose to help foster life long learners, the ultimate goal of education.  This book will help guide engagement and enthusiasm in your classroom community.  Wondering is observing, questioning, inquiry, and thinking. 

The first chapter is a collection of ideas for setting up a wonder environment.  As I begin to start a new school year I am going to add observation journals to our four classroom pet areas in the room.  I am also considering asking for bird feeders and seed as donations to help foster an observation window for us to wonder about this school year.  One of the things I enjoyed reading in this book was the description of a wonder idea and then Jen's reflection of her work with her students.  The first chapter is a whole reflection of work done with kindergarteners.  I just love when you can find something directly related to my currently teaching position.  The second chapter is a reflection of the same teacher but with first grade students as they share nonfiction writing ideas to help write nonfiction from their heart.  Too many times, I think it's easy for teacher's to assign topics, outline the requirements, and mass produce similar products.  If you have this book, you will find ideas to promote individual thinking, student interest, and student ownership.  Writing nonfiction from the heart helps prevent copying facts from a source.  It allows students to be more comfortable with this genre.  Again there are several examples of ways/mini lessons to help students write nonfiction from the heart and this writing leads the reader into the last section of writing nonfiction research wonder projects.  Children's literature, material lists, and descriptions for each idea is perfect for any teacher to begin wondering in their classroom and guide their students to be more descriptive and observant.  May we all wonder more as we start a new school year.

Here's an interview A Year of Reading did with author Georgia Heard.
I first found out about this book from Creative Literacy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

PB 10 for 10 Reflections

I wanted to say just one more time thank you to everyone for joining us and posting or stopping by to share or read our favorite must have picture books, our top ten lists.  Cathy and I have received and appreciate all the positive feedback and participation.  When Cathy asked me about my top 10, little did I know I would be co-hosting a kidlit blogging event and loved the excitement it generated.  I think it was a perfect time of year when most of us are gearing up for a new school year.  I know I found it helpful and reserved some new titles from my library to use this year.  I hope others did too. 

We had a request to repeat this again and I think we are planning on doing just that!  Yea!  When Cathy mentioned organizing a jog, I honestly froze a bit at figuring out something new in technology.  I thought, I'll let her figure it out and I can do what I'm comfortable with or had seen done with Poetry Friday or Nonfiction Mondays.   Both events I join every once in awhile and I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew, I was cohosting an event.  I think the jog is eye candy for the blogging world.  It is visually appealing and easy to navigate to quickly see the powerful thinking of many.  The number of hits the jog has received is overwhelming.  Which brings me to a realization I knew.  Technology is a powerful tool to connect people.  Technology is a powerful tool to share ideas.  Technology is a powerful tool to assist us in our planning and teaching.  Technology is something I need to continue my journey with. 

So, during your upcoming year whether you are in a classroom, a library, or with your own children at home...look for those top ten favorites.  I think these lists could change.  I think I will find old titles that I revisit or are new to me during my coming year that could make a top ten.  I know there will be some great new books published this year to look for.  It was so nice to see the twist people put on a top ten list, making this project personalized for them.  Isn't that the best way to take ownership for something, adding your own ideas?   I think it's a powerful tool to try and have our children do.  A top ten list doesn't have to stay the same, that's why we need about 365 days to study picture books.  We hope to have you join us next year, you guessed it, on August 10, 2011.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10 for 10: Picture Book Event Round Up

I'm done jammin' (making peach jam that is) and ready to jog (with Cathy) and blog with you.  There's a great amount of sharing going on today in the kidlit blogging world.  We are so glad to have so many join us as we begin thinking and starting a new school year.  I'm here to share with you a list of blogs that have participated and am grateful to everyone for participating in what started as a simple question/wondering.

http://nancy-ehrlich.blogspot.com/ has created her list while she thought about story elements.


has embraced the task with two top ten list, kdg. and 4/5 grades, each with their own focus.

http://www.raisingreadersandwriters.com/?p=761 created quite the criteria list books had to meet before making the cut.

http://creativeliteracy.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-picture-books-that-boys-cant-live.html raises three boys and chose to focus her list on the best pb for boys! 

http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-picture-books-ive-loved-for-10-years.html is compiled by Mary Lee and to make her list she's loved the pb for 10 yrs, classic.

http://learnmesumthin.blogspot.com/2010/08/picture-books-10-for-10.html introduction is hysterical and puts a spin to ours, calling it My Must Rescue Books.

http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-picture-books-ive-recently.html is complied by Franki, admiting she could never narrow down her list to 10 she gives us her 10 for recently discovered.  Once again, Mary Lee and Franki make a great pair, something old and something new.  (nothing personal intended here, girls.)

http://educatingesme.blogspot.com/2010/08/ten-picture-books-i-wouldnt-teach.html  gives us her top ten taking us through ten months of school with runner ups for each month, yes she was tricky getting the number 10 in there and beyond. 

http://literatelives.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-10-for-10-picture-book-event.html shares books she uses multiple times in her intermediate classroom.  She narrowed it to 25 and kept working until she got 10!

http://amliteracylearninglog.blogspot.com/2010/08/ten-picture-booksten-stories.html, we welcome this blogger back.  Today she shares her list of titles and each day will share a post explaining why.  You must keep going back.

http://teachinginthetechfrontier.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-10-for-10-picture-book-must.html confesses she is a pb addict and rose to the challenge of picking just 10!

http://sahdinlansing.com/tuesdays-10-favorite-picture-books/ here we find a top ten list for young children from a stay at home dad.  He knows books.

http://thehive.edublogs.org/2010/08/10/august-10-for-10-a-picture-book-event/  brings reality to our event admitting this is today's list and could easily change.

http://writenowtroup.blogspot.com/2010/08/top-ten-picture-books.html  has shared some gems with important messages for the beginning of school. 

http://earlyliteracycounts.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-desert-island-book-collection_10.html shares with us books that teach lessons she would want to teach if stranded on that island Cathy posed.

http://teachingwithpicturebooks.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/august-10-for-10-a-picture-book-event/ shares the list of books for her bag while on the island.

http://writeupmylife.com/2010/08/10/picture-books-10-for-10/ here's a little gem.  A list from a mother of books her kids are enjoying right now! and she has the eyes of a writer, she knows books.

http://literatelives.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-for-10-picks-from-pit.html if you follow Bill, then you know he reads the same book K-5 in the library for a week.  He's complied his top 10 reads from THE PIT.  He loves loud books.

http://aakidsbooktalks.blogspot.com/2010/08/ten-of-my-favorite-picture-books.html  here you will find great list of pb with an African American focus.

http://christine-readingisthinking.blogspot.com/2010/08/cant-live-without-these-books.html  this is an interesting list of pb for 4th and 5th graders, some books to help with content areas.

http://saskateach.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/my-10-favorite-childrens-picture-books/ this list has a little bit of everything, I'm sure something for you.

http://planetesme.blogspot.com/2010/08/me-and-rolly-maloo-fiction-and-10.html a collection of middle grade novels for a different twist.

http://twolearningjourneys.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-for-10-picture-book-blogging-event.html this dynamic blogging duo share building their top ten list, good ideas to start schol with.

http://randomthoughtsofateacher.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-for-10-picture-books.html welcome back another blogger from a little vacation, her top 10 is thoughtful.

http://readysetread2me.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-favorite-picture-books-on-aug-10.html this is a list written by a reading teacher who teaches at home now, to her two boys.

http://wanderingandwonderinginlibraryland.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-on-10th.html here you will find some books to use for conversation starters.

http://carolwscorner.blogspot.com/2010/08/ten-picture-books-i-couldnt-live.html notices how her educational beliefs showed up in her selection of 10.  We are grateful she got to 10 from 100.

http://chickenspaghetti.typepad.com/chicken_spaghetti/2010/08/reading-buddy-10.html a reading tutor shares 10 books her reading buddies have enjoyed.

http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2010/08/reflect-and-refines-10-for-10-picture.html  is a site you will want to check out to help with your own thinking about American Indians.

http://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-10-for-10-picture-book-event-my.htmlis glad to have joined this great party hop and so are we.

http://ecoradio.wordpress.com/ten-picture-books/  shares with us her list with tidbits of thoughts about herself.

http://whatwereadandwhatwethink.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-10-for-10-picture-books-i.html this list did get done in time while summer league was ending and the first week of school went on.  Yea!  Books to survive second grade.

http://all-en-a-days-work.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-top-ten-well-top-twelve.html  craftly creates a list of 10 but if you look closely it's 12.  Some different titles than I knew from well loved authors.

http://teachingin21.blogspot.com/2010/08/little-late-for-10-at-10.html  never too late to join the event and glad you joined us during your first week of blogging.

http://www.keenepubliclibrary.org/content/10-10-picture-books  just love this public librarian joined us to share some great picks.

http://proseandkahn.livejournal.com/140406.html join this blogger to see some great picks, justifying sharing a few more than 10, it's like the express check out line at the grocery store.

http://christiewrightwild.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-for-10-picture-books.html, it's never too late to join in the fun stop by Christie's page to see a collection of great books.

WOW, 40 post with a whole lot of thoughtful sharing, Thank you!

August 10 for 10: Picture Book Event is Here

Welcome and thanks for stopping by to see my list of 10 must have picture books!  Before I begin, I would like to thank my friend Cathy at Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community for wondering what my list of 10 picture books would be to have and use with students.  As soon as I started thinking about books for "my" list, I realized I have way more than 10 I could choose but  narrowing it down to 10 has made me think, reflect, justify, enjoy, and remember.  This list reflects memories in and out of the classroom.  This list reflects time spent with children doing what I've wanted to do since I was in high school.  This list reflects positive thoughts and that is a great way to start any school year!

My list is not in a ranking order, I've just numbered them to make sure I stop at 10!

1.(a)  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Eric Carle changed my life in college!  I was sitting in my reading methods course at SUNY College at Buffalo when Dr. Phelps read this book in class.  I was introduced to a predictable pattern, shared reading, Eric Carle, collage hand made papers, turning the page slightly ahead of the text to encourage student participation and I'm sure much more.  I remember thinking this was much more fun and engaging than the basal readers and reading groups I grew up with.  I've never had a group of students who didn't fall in love with this book.

   (b)  From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle.   If you need a book for a shared reading and book for movement than this is it, hands down!  The illustrations are Eric Carle's delightful style.  The text is engaging and I've found my students like to read it in a question and response format.  I read the question and they respond.  Each time I reread this book this year I found joy in watching my students act out the text just like the animals.  I think a couple of times we read it because I enjoyed watching the students move.

2.  Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins is book I used this year for mathematics, when we were working on directional words.  The students enjoyed it so much we retold it through painting the different places Rosie goes.  We were building a map and created labels through interactive writing.  When we mounted our mural for a retelling, we used Velcro for Rosie and she could move along the mural as she does in the story.

3.  Me Hungry! by Jeremy Tankard is a complete delight to read and use with students.  I reviewed Me Hungry earlier this year and it was a hit in our room right away.  I instantly thought this book would be great for my boys and found out boys and girls would both enjoy it.  I actually looked for my copy tonight in my room and it has disappeared.  I may be ordering my own copy from this post.

4.  Big Mama's by Donald Crews is one of my favorite mentor text for writing.  He writes about things from his own life and turns it into a story for others.  Visiting Big Mama is a pretty normal thing to do and our children need to see writing about everyday things can be just right.

5.  Which brings me to The Three Bears by Byron Barton.  I just ENJOY reading this book to students.  The text is simple and repetitive and for whatever reason my inflection is top notch.  (if I say so myself)  I think the simple collage technique is an easy one for students to see and replicate.  I love to help children figure out there's one color for each character that gets repeated in clothing and objects.

6.  Cornelius P Mud, Are You Ready for School?  by Barney Saltzberg was a review I did about a year ago.  As we reread this book we really noticed humor within the illustrations and had to infer.  Cornelius is a great character for young students, they can connect with him.  He has three books, a little series for young readers. Which opens doors for more books for my readers.

7.  Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is about older people, it's about spending time with them, it's about memories.  Memories give us ideas for writing.  I think we need to work harder and bridge the gap between our young and old.   

8.  Mouse Views, What the Class Pet Saw by Bruce McMillan is a great photo essay about perspective.  It's also a question/answer format.  It's a great mentor text to create your own from a tour in your classroom or the library.  I shared this book with my librarian years ago and he made his own version of our library to introduce the students to different things in our library.

9.  Ish by Peter Reynolds is a must have for any classroom to embrace the arts and the differences between artist capabilities.  It encourages the reader to look at things in a different way, with a different lens. 

10.  Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin is on my list of ten but as a prediction!  Yes, I love this book that much that I am willing to make a prediction with it.  You have to hear the tune and your own feet won't stop movin and groovin.  I just recently reviewed Pete the Cat this summer and have yet to buy my Pete the Cat tshirt but it's in my plans for the school year.  I bet you will want one too!

Thanks for stopping by.  If you created your own list of ten please leave me a comment so I can add it to our round up.  I will do a round up in a list format here as the day goes on.  Cathy is doing a jog, don't worry you won't need running shoes to participate.  My round up will start to come mid afternoon after I make some batches of peach jam.  I have to use up the bushel I picked on Sunday.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Choice Words

This book has been in my To Be Read pile for quite some time and shouldn't have been.  I found, Choice Words  How Our Language Affects Children's Learning by Peter Johnston to be uplifting, reaffirming, and guiding.  I immediately used what I was learning when A came off the softball field this summer and I said to her, "I bet you're proud of yourself."  Peter suggests turning the who's proud of who to the child for these reasons.  "Inviting a child to attend to internal feelings of pride builds upon the sense of agency and at the same time attaches an internal motivation to the activity."  The entire book is based on talk, the words we use with and to children through our teaching.  However, I think this could be a book parents should read also. 

"The teacher has to make something of what children say and do.  She makes sense for herself, and offers a meaning for her students.  She imputes intentions and offers possible worlds, positions, and identities."  The book is about our interactions with students and how we can improve them.  Peter has carefully studied "teacher talk" and categorized it into groups with key phrases that are the most effective.  Noticing and Naming is based on recognition.  It celebrates and shows growth promoting future learning.  Identity is a category of phrases that can be used to help foster children's identities as they grow and change, often trying out new things.  Agency and Becoming Strategic is essentially things we can say to help promote thinking and verbal articulation.  Peter cautions teachers to not only share what students do well but to push for what is next in their thinking.  Flexibility and Transfer could also be referred to as Generalizing and is essential for growth and understanding.  Another category is Knowing.  This refers to the teacher pushing the student to make sure the teacher understands/knows what the student is saying.  The last category provides phrases and focuses on building Community. 

As I was reading this book I found myself saying, I can't carry this around with me each day but I have to internalize these phrases.  I do use a few of them but I need something in my hands.  I'm going to type these up and place them in my stack of papers on my clipboard I carry around.  There are times when I get overwhelmed, I think I could quickly look at my set of phrases to refocus.  Our interactions whether through verbal means or body language is very important with our students.  This book is a great resource to help my interactions to be more intentional putting the students first.  I also think this book should be a required reading for anyone working through formative assessment, I Can statements, and giving ownership over to our students.  I'm going to add this to my list of resources for parents too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Choosing Picture Books

I went home to Upstate New York for a few days to visit my parents, family, and friends who enjoy beautiful Keuka Lake all year long.  I had a lot of driving time.  I didn't take my laptop or any picture books.  I didn't get far on picking my 10 for August 10th but I did start thinking about reasons I would choose books for.  When I returned I read my co-host Cathy at Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community was doing the same sort of thinking with an entry titled, Choosing Picture Books.  I agree with all of her thoughts.  Her thinking is written with clarity, make sure you stop by to read her thinking. 

In thinking about how I would choose my 10 for 10 Picture Books, I realized I needed to have a reason to support my selection.  Why would a book be on my top 10 list?  How could I decide from the many wonderful new and old texts I've worked with over the years?  What books did I become passionate about during the year? 

Here's my thinking that will guide my selections for 10 for 10 Picture Books.
Engagement - I found such joy in watching and listening to my students rereading a book with me, shared reading shows growth for students.  I loved watching their facial reactions while reading a story, this shows thinking.  I loved watching them pick up the same book we used as a whole group to read individually and/or with a buddy.  These are all examples of engagement.

Interactive  - We had the most fun with books that encouraged us to move.  I learned quickly movement is necessary and positive for younger students.  I knew this but reminders are always good in life.

Illustrations - If I can find something unique about a book's illustrations I will most likely bring it home.  I love collage, I love when different medias are used together, and I love texture in general. 

Personal - We have to value personal connections.  I have found if I am excited about a text and/or can share how or what this book means to me, others will get excited too for a text.  I have bought many books based on others sharing them with me and the more I feel or see my friend connected to the text, the higher it goes on my want to use list.  Kids do the same thing.

Series/Author - With picture books, I really think of characters in a few stories as a series.  If my students connect with a character in one book  they get excited to see them again in a new book.  They also read more books by the same author once they find one they like. 

Content Connections - Our time in the classroom is limited and busy.  If I can use a book in one area of learning and use it again to further our thinking and possibly shift our thinking, then it is a keeper.

I think I have 4 books selected, but that could change leading up to August 10th.  I hope you will join us for some sharing.