Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dear Cathy, @pb10for10

Dear Cathy,

I wanted to write you a note of apology.  As your partner in gathering 10 great picture books from those we know and those we meet, I'm afraid I let you down a bit.  I agreed to launching our one month reminder last Wednesday on July 10th.  Exactly one month from our event, which takes place on August 10th.  But I didn't launch that reminder because my whole being was swept away while vacationing on Keuka Lake in NY.  

I even had plans of writing and scheduling a post before I left and then I got busy parenting and packing.   You were so kind to text me with a reminder while I was away and I confessed I forgot to schedule it but thought I could post from afar.  Isn't that the beauty of the web?  Everyone can join us from where they are.  I opened my blogger app on my new phone and began a draft but was called away by sunshine and lake water.  To be honest, I just couldn't put the words together in a short post and I didn't have my photo to go with the post.  Sometimes, writers have to wait.  So I did.  I did try to check in on twitter and respond to those who are excited about our reminder.

I look forward to co-hosting this event again with you.  I was honored when you started asking me about my favorite books and am thinking about what I might share this year.  I know it's hard to pick just 10 of my favorite books but I will try.  I always think  Pick 10 books, just 10 picture books you can't live without.  Books I  think each and everyone of us need to be able to get our hands on.  I love how we support each other by sharing our thinking and reasons for selecting these books.  Over time, it has been very interesting to see the spin participants put on their list of 10 picture books.  

I personally keep tweaking my list each year and this is how I do it.  I look over last years list of books and decide which ones I truly still can't live without.  Then I think about books I have used this past year that might make my list.  I like keeping something old and adding something new.  However, I might change things this year a bit.  I am worried my library wishlist and bookstore shopping carts will grow out of control.

I can't wait to see what everyone shares.  I hope you will accept my apology and know we are 7 days closer to our August 10 for 10 picture book event.

Your friend,Mandy

PS Readers - Contact us on our blogs, or Twitter (@mandyrobek or @cathymere)or by e-mail to let us know you are joining this event.  On the day of the event - August 10th - we will be linking all the "must have" posts. Please use the hashtag #pb10for10, it's another way to help us find you.   In the  past, we or I should say Cathy creates a Jog the Web.  I can't wait to have you join us!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sing {Poetry Friday}

When I saw the book Sing, last week I just knew I had to have it for my classroom and for the first day of school.  Sing is based on the lyrics and music written by Joe Raposo and the illustrations are done by Tom Lichtenheld.  If I could see you the tune, you might recall it from the TV show Sesame Street.  I loved Sesame Street growing up and loved singing right along.  I don't know how anyone could keep themselves from joining in.  I love the wordless beginning of the book.  Birds are together in a nest and they tweet a music note as they fly out of the nest.  Well, all but one can do this.  The one bird left behind is very sad until he hears a little boy strumming his guitar and singing a song.  With the encouraging words found in this song the little bird is able to fly from his nest, join his friends and sing along.  I wonder if my students will notice the color difference in the music notes to show who is singing.  The whole story is quiet moving as you view the illustrations set against a white background done in watercolor, pastel, colored pencils and ink portraying a gentleness within this story.  The book also comes with a CD, how perfect is that!

I learned in a note from Nick Raposo, Joe's son that this song was written about self acceptance.  I think it extends beyond that to not only accepting ourselves but accepting others.  Thus, making this a great read aloud/sing along for the beginning of the school year.

Songs can be a form of poetry and I wanted to share this book on Poetry Friday to make sure all my poetry friends knew about this new title.  We have students who may not consider themselves a poet.  We have students who like to write music.  This book could be a mentor text to connect the two disciplines for a child.

Thanks Keri for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Racoons is one of the titles in my new favorite nonfiction series, Nocturnal Animals.  Nocturnal Animals is published by Capstone Press under the Pebble Plus collection and you can't ever go wrong with a Pebble Plus book.   Pebble Plus books are just right for emerging readers.  On a two page spread the reader will find information on the left page and a full size photograph on the right side of the page.  After reading the text, the reader is to easily identify the purpose of the photograph that illustrates the text.  Each text page has about 5-6 lines of text with 3-4 sentences.  Just enough information to think about and not get overwhelmed. Other features I like about this series is the table of contents, glossary, a page with more things to read about the topic, internet sites, and an index.  All the traditional features one might expect with nonfiction books.  Capstone always does a great job using words young readers could read and repeats many within the text.  They also balance the amount of science vocabulary used for vocabulary growth and understanding.  
I found lots of new learning for myself.  A mother raccoon can have up to seven babies.  They are born helpless and live in the den with her.  When a raccoon shows their teeth, they are scared.  There are three kinds of raccoons.  Raccoons can live for 16 years.  I love that I was able to read a book written for emerging readers and learned new things for myself.  
The whole series will let us compare animals we may see in our own backyards.  Other titles in this series are; bats, hedgehogs, opossums, porcupines, raccoons, and red foxes.  I also think my students will enjoy making a connection to our learning about day and night.  It's hard to visualize what might happen in the night, if we are sleeping.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

#mathinmyworld example

Here is some summer goodness from my garden.  I love opening up the pea pod and counting how many peas are inside in all.  I counted 6.  My brain instantly thought of 3 plus 3 but I didn't see that in my pea pod.  Then I thought of 3 groups of 2, but I didn't see that either.  What I saw was a different combination for 6. 
This was a brief moment of math in my world.  It was a great moment to think of quantity and number combinations.  It also showed some fact fluency and flexibility.  I think the first photo will make a great math warm up discussion.  I can't wait to see what my students see and think about.  Maybe we will each have to open up our own pea pod and do a sketch about what we see in math.
I hope you will consider joining the fun by either sharing a photo via twitter or instagram using the hashtag #mathinmyworld