Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hello, Hello

Hello, Hello by Matthew Cordell was a recent purchase for me at NCTE and is a fairly new book on the market.  Can picture books have a prologue? As I began reading this book, I noticed the story begins before the title page with a little girl trying to use various technology tools only to discover there is no signal, the game is over, loading is taking forever and then the TV has a rerun.  I instantly wondered what is she going to do next?  As a reader, I wanted to know more and find out what her next step would be.  She tries to talk to her family members only to see they are all busy with technology and don't really want to converse with her.  I love the next part.  I love she steps outdoors and discovers nature!  As she walks along she says hello to various things she sees and discovers - a bug, a leaf and more.  Then she discovers a horse and their journey together is one I had to ponder.  Is it real?  Is it her imagination?  Real or imagination gets interrupted by a phone call and she returns home to find her family still connected to technology.  She takes a bold step, turns off their technology tools, shares with them a bit of what she discovered outside and together they go to explore.  I love the message this books sends to readers about spending time together and getting outside to discover what is right in front of us.  I also love the simple text used to convey the story.  My emergent readers can easily pick up on the hello ______ pattern and feel successful.

PS - As I reread and reread this book, I think picture books can have a prologue   Do know of any other picture books that have a prologue?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ARC - Everyone Can Learn to ride a bicycle by Chris Raschka

I fell in love with this book the moment I picked it up at the Random House booth at NCTE and eagerly anticipated snatching it on Sunday.  Imagine my excitement as I waited til noon for the display books to go on sale and asked if the picture book ARC's were available too.  It's published by Schwartz and Wade Books, a division of Random House and a big shout out to them for giving teachers a sneak peak to the best new books coming out on the market!

This book tugged at my heart the moment I skimmed it.  It tugged at my teaching heart because over many years as a primary teacher I have read many personal narratives about learning to ride a bicycle.  It tugged at my parenting heart as I remembered own girls  work with determination, effort, and willingness to try this milestone in life.  It tugged at my own bike riding heart and remembering my own spill because my dad forgot to tell me my new bike required backwards pedaling to stop.

This book is a great, perfect how to mentor text!  It all begins by choosing the perfect bike for you.  I loved the next step which involves watching others.  We all need models when we are learning something new.  The next step is to raise the training wheels to feel off balanced and then to take them off.  This little girl falls off a couple of times.  The best part of the story is the advice Chris Raschka gives to bike riders; "Don't give up., You'll get it., ...try again., and you'll never forget how."  Chris shares with the reader bike riding takes determination.  What a perfect example for understanding determination.

The watercolor illustrations are precious.  I think it's a combination of the warm tones Chris used, the white background which makes the colors pop more, and the fact the little girl is always wearing her two tone blue striped bike helmet.  Look for this book in April 2013.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NCTE 2012 - Post, Ignite Style

via flicker Chicago Photo Shop

Just returned from my second NCTE and looked back at  my post from my first.  I ended that post with this,

10.  At one point, I was overwhelmed.  I can't fib about that!  At this point, I might have a been a smidge homesick for my girls.  I mentioned to Cathy my pb10for10 partner I was going to stop blogging, writing, and take a break from it all.  Sometimes it's best to end on a high note and walk away.  Well Cathy, I'm not going anywhere.  I'm back.  I need this feeling of belonging in my heart. 

This year, I'm not feeling happy I returned from my second NCTE and wish all my friends would splurge a bit to feel the energy and connections you can create within this profession.  After the rush of conferences, progress reports, 43 K students rotating in and out my door this was just what I needed to feel refreshed, revived, and willing to make my work better.  In the spirit of an IGNITE session, I will highlight some of my thinking and feelings.   You have 15 seconds to read each, all 20, and hopefully finish in 5 minutes!

1.  Publishing is a mid-point now, not an endpoint.  Write for collaboration. - Will Richardson

2.  Being a creative teacher means we learn from each other.  Creativity is not the same thing as imagination.        Creativity means doing something, applying your imagination. -Sir Ken Robinson

3.  Conversations are important with like minded people.  I loved my impromptu breakfast duo that already has a date and time for NCTE13.

4.  We can't be teachers we were 10 years ago. - Will Richardson

5.  We are learning for proximity, we need choices to imagine, to create, to learn.  -Bill Bass

6.  Connecting with twitter friends in person and sharing more than 140 characters at a time was delightful.

7.  Twitter is like an ignite session.  - Sandra Hayes

8.  The people who can laugh together, can work together.
     -Carla Beard

9.  Taking time away from my daily home life and catching Love Beatles show was amazing.

10. Triangulation - don't judge a child by one number or data point, look at points over time.  
       -Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan

11.  Most important part of the day is interactive read aloud. - Teachers College Group

12.  Time for dinner and food without prep and cleanup was relaxing.  Including friends at every meal was        nourishment to my soul.  

13.  Go on listening tours. - Georgia Heard

14.  Sprinkle some magic. - Jen McDonough

15.  Making new friends that hug you when you have to stay goodbye, fills up my heart.

16.  Choice provides energy and choice.  -Matt Glover

17.  Illustrations are compositions.  - Katie Wood Ray

18.  Scheduled a Nerdy Book Club post and so loved meeting more of these folks, in person.

19.  Play is the oral language, it's the composing in our minds.  - Katie Keier

20.  When I was leaving NCTE this year, I wasn't done.  I typed my notes into Evernote on the plane.  I read a small professional book on the way home.  I enjoyed traveling with good friends knowing I will be back for more growth, connections, and heart fulfilling learning in Boston.

Enjoy your own journey after NCTE12.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cooperation {Poetry Friday}

I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there.
The clay they used was a  young child's mind
And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher; the tools he used
were books, music, and art.
One, a parent, who worked with a guiding 
hand and a gentle heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled,
With touch that was deft and sure,
While the parent labored by his side,
And  polished and smoothed it O'er.
And when, at last, their task was done,
They were  proud of what they had wrought.
For the things they had molded into a child,
Could neither be sold or bought.

And each agreed that he would have failed
If he had worked alone.
For behind the teacher stood the school,
And behind the parent, the home.

Author Unknown

I found this poem as I just cleaned out my progress report folder.  I usually save it to share with my parents in June to thank them for being my partner.  Today I thought maybe my teacher friends needed to read it.  It's a busy time of year with progress reports, parent teacher conferences, and trying to stay afloat with the day to day demands and planning.  Have a restful weekend, my friends.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Ed at Think, Kid Think.