Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10 for 10: Picture Book Event is Here 2012

Good Morning Everyone, it's going to be a great day!  It's August 10th, 2012 and that means Cathy at Reflect and Refine Learning Building a Learning Community and I are here to host our third annual 10 for 10 Picture Books blog sharing event.  If you could see my laptop right now, I have three screens opened for my blog.  One tab has my list from the inaugural August 10 for 10.  The second tab has the second collection of picture books I put together in 2011.  The third tab is this edition.  I really thought I would put a new spin on my list - maybe a focus or a theme or a common thread.  Nothing came to me until I was doing dishes today and thought maybe I could share my list of new books I want to add to my room this year.  However, I don't have them yet so I would be relying on thinking from others and the whole purpose of this event is have a need to go book shopping.  I've decided to look at both previous list and think critically to see what I must keep, what might I let slide off the list because something new has just touched my heart.

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

1.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Eric Carle changed my life in college and has to STAY for a third year!  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.  It has to stay because reading this book is one of my fondest memories to each of my three daughters who are now bigger and I'm sure took turns reading it to each other at some point in our journey together.




2.  Suddenly, is a book I found a year ago and think it needs to stay on my list for another year.  Suddenly! by Colin McNaughton is perfect for helping kindergarten students think about predicting.  The text is larger in size.  The illustrations are very supportive to the text and using our picture clues to understand the story is essential.  The text also has a pattern and would allow us as writers to think about the word suddenly and what happens following that word each time.  The rest of this post was written November 10, 2011.





3.  The Three Bears by Byron Barton has to STAY for a third year!  I just enjoy reading this book to students.  The text is simple and repetitive and for whatever reason my inflection is at it's best reading this book. 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.  My two classes shared creating retelling murals this year using Byron Barton has a mentor and then we interactively wrote our text.   These were beautiful pieces of collaboration and fostered so much literacy learning.  I also think this will be a great book with other 3 Bear versions to help my young readers compare literature, part of the Common Core.




4.  A must have NEW selection, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.  You  can my initial thinking and reactions the day it was released this year.  My list needed a book to talk about math ideas and this is perfect for so many concepts mathematically.








5.  I can't believe I removed this book from the list last year.  Gosh, 10 is so hard to do!  I have to be quite honest here, I think limiting this to ten books was Cathy's idea.    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.  Looking at things with a different lens is essential for 21st century learning.  Welcome back, Ish!






6.  Since we are talking about the arts, I leaked out on twitter earlier this week I Am an Artist might make my top 10 and it is.  I recently got back from spending a lot of time outside and in nature.  It's amazing what you can see if you take the time to look.  Another book encouraging readers to look at things differently, maybe that is a future list of some sort for this event or something else, maybe that's an article or a blogpost.   I predicted I Am An Artist would join my list.






7.  Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is about older people, it's about spending time with them, it's about memories.  I want it to STAY for year three!  Memories give us ideas for writing.  As in this story, memories help us remember.   I think we need to work harder and bridge the gap between our young and old.   I think we need to work harder as a profession to help students make writing easier by writing about memories and what is known to them.








8.  Super Sam! is a new addition this year.  I think as I looked for a few new titles this one jumped out as one that fostered students to think deeply about the text and notice more through the illustrations that aided in comprehending the words.  My students also understood the play on words using the illustrations.  K students can think deeply, my initial thinking was posted February 21, 2012.






9.  Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins is a book from my first list and needed to return. In the past I've used it 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.  In reading the Common Core our emerging readers and writers need to be doing this work for literacy, I think I will be using this within the first quarter of the year.




10.  Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin was on my first list and has been slightly moved over by this NEW Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes!   for two years in a row (Both titles link you to my original posts for these books.)   I honestly had a dream last year where I went to school and the room was filled with parents and students.  The room was set up but I had no handouts, no sign up sheets and really no introduction to kindergarten speech planned.  It bordered a nightmare and as I conclude this list I know just like Pete the Cat says, "because it's all good." the next couple of weeks will all work out, it always does.


I'm so glad you stopped by.  If you are joining us this year please let us know.  You can let us know by leaving a comment on our blogs.  You can let us know via twitter @cathymere or @mandyrobek.  We will then connect all of our list via a Jog.  Make sure you settle in with a large class of water to stay dehydrated, I think the Jog will be a long one with lots of interesting things to view.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trusting Efficiency of Tools - Slice of Life

I was having lunch with some writing friends and sharing this little slice from my summer when they wanted to know where my writer's notebook was because I had a story.  I asked where is the story?  Where is the article?  In their minds, it was all in these three small words - Efficiency of Tools.  I'm not sure it's an article but thought I could make it a slice of life post.  The big lesson from telling this story is never go anywhere without a writer's notebook when you are spending time with writer's, being a writer.

This summer I spent some time helping my middle daughter who is twelve and a half sew a dress for her yearly 4H project.  We were in the middle of her dress and at a 4H meeting talking to another member's mom about her project.  I was describing how hard it is to get the seam finish, a zig-zag stitch close to the edge as I know the judges like to see.  She shared when she sewed for 4H and started using a Serger machine she started going to the State Fair.  She asked if we had a Serger and I said no, continuing to share "I'm not really sure what it all does and I think I can just zig-zag the finish and get the same effect."  She offered to help us serge her remaining edges of her dress.

"Oh my!  Dear Serger, where have you been all my life!"  I had no idea what a brilliant invention this machine was.  I needed to work with an expert.  I needed to see the expert thread and rethread this machine.  I needed to see the expert demonstrate how it worked.  I needed to see how easy it is to use.  I needed to see my daughter's excitement when her stitches were truly right to the edge, how much faster it was, and how it trims the fabric as you finish them.  This takes the stitches right to the edge.  I gathered a lot of trust during one short visit with a tool that could increase my creativity, quality and production.

I grew up as a 4H gal and my mother made me sew each year.  I dreaded it.  I am thankful now.  I have sewn many, many, many things over the years.  I'm not a fancy fabric kind of gal but can whip up some pillow, curtains, or a skirt with what I know.  My oldest daughter chose to sew for two years and didn't ask again.  I'm thrilled my middle daughter is sewing for a second year and seems to enjoy the process and creativity in designing her own ideas.  I discovered this year and often get reminded in the summer, sewing is a creative outlet for me and one I enjoy doing.

As my friends were reliving my story and I was taking notes the phrase, "trusting efficiency of tools" led me to reflect on how I need to approach using an Interactive Whiteboard in my classroom.  I need to look at it as a tool for creativity.  I need to find experts to show me the way.  I need to work with experts to get me started.  I need to remind myself as I saw the Serger machine rethreaded a few times, I too will need to retry things on the interactive white board while trusting the efficiency of the tool.  My shift in thinking about Interactive Whiteboards began when I read Literacy Smarts.  As a learner, I need to remember to approach something with an open mind and gather information by watching because I think I will find out there are tools out there waiting to make my teaching more efficient.

Thank you Mary Lee and Ruth for guiding this slice of life.


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Ohio Visible Learning Project

The Ohio Visible Learning Project is a collection of Stories from Wickliffe Progressive Community School in Upper Arlington, Ohio.  This collection was edited by Fred Burton, Mara Krechevsky, and Melissa Rivard. The stories reflect learning taken from Reggio Emelia Preschools in Italy and the partnership this building had with the Making Learning Visible Project to form the Ohio Visible Learning Project.  

"documentation requires learning (children, teachers, parents) to slow down and both individually and collectively reflect on the content and processes of learning."  Several times throughout this text the reader is guided to the relationship between documentation and assessment.  Documentation is a form of formative assessment.  Conversations inform and provide insight for further learning and planning.  Another definition I read in this text worth pondering, "...documentation as the practice of observing, recording, interpreting, and sharing through a variety of media the processes and products of learning in order to deepen and extend learning."

I was intrigued by the process and journey this building took to grow as a group.  It began with a group of teachers who were interested and formed an inquiry group.  For the next four years the entire building became involved and worked in interest groups to grow together as the reflected on work they were trying in their classrooms to make learning more visible.  

There are some tools we could all use found in this book.  One is the "See/Think/Wonder" Thinking Routine which helps structure conversations in hopes of deeper thinking and reflection.  More Thinking Routines are available at the Project Zero website.  Another helpful tool to read about is the use of protocol questions to help guide observational discussions after viewing student work, p.102.  

There are stories from various grade levels.  There are stories discussing ways to use technology to help capture student voices.  There are examples of process boards, a way in which the process of learning is documented and shared with others.

I was given this book and accompanying DVD at NCTE this past fall free from a session I attended.  I'm in the process of finding out how you too can receive this resource for making student learning more visible.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Join Us Friday! August 10 for 10 Picture Book Event

I just got back yesterday from a writing retreat for three days and then I came home to pack us up for a week on Keuka Lake in New York.  My hometown, Penn Yan, is at one end of this beautiful little piece of heaven in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY.  

I knew it was August and when I was mapping out my week I realized it is going to end with a blog event no one should miss, if I say so myself.  Cathy and I would love to have you join us for August 10 for 10 Picture Book event where we all share our top ten favorite picture books.  These might be all time favorites you can't live without.  It might be ten new favorites that are a must have for the new school year.   I haven't gone to my room to set it up yet.  I haven't looked at my list from last year.  I my haven't thought much about top 10 but I know there's a book I mentioned earlier this year that could make my list.  I better do some blog rereading.  I share with you I haven't done much work on my list for this Friday to show you it's still possible to join us.  This doesn't have to be really complicated.  We'd love to know the book title, author and why is always the most interesting part to read and helpful.  If you just have time for a book title and author that's great.  Book covers for a visual are also very helpful.  We appreciate learning and the support we provide each other as we start the school year.  We hope you can join us how you feel comfortable.

On Friday, please leave a comment on either of our blogs Enjoy and Embrace Learning or Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community and we will put together a blog jog to help everyone's list come together in one special place.