Thursday, January 26, 2017

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover!

I did just that.  I judged Dirty Bertie GERMS! by Alan MacDonald by its cover.  I picked it because for two reasons; I need more boy characters/books in my classroom library and the front cover looked gross-ish.  Bertie isn't very cute.  He looks a bit of a mess and there appears to be mucus spraying everywhere!  I expected Bertie to be a silly story about silly things appealing to boys.

I was wrong and pleasantly surprised.  The story begins with a realistic situation.  His sister gets the chicken pox and he tries desperately to get the same germ so he can stay home from school.  His attempts are cute and funny.  When I finished chapter four, I discovered the next chapter was chapter one.  I had to do some further investigation to discover there are three stories about four chapters each within this book.  A huge win for my student's who need shorter books to help them comprehend and transition to longer text!  The second story is a charming story of how Bertie becomes his grandma's dance partner in a contest and how they hope to win.  The third story is about an evening he spends with a new boy babysitter.  Let's just say it wasn't his typical babysitter experience.  

An avid reader in my room was telling me about the second book during a reading conference last week and couldn't stop gushing about how much he liked the book.  We did some investigating and found out there are 27 Dirty Bertie books!  After reading this first one I found a great deal to get all 27 books and they are on our way to our classroom.  Dirty Bertie might appear a little messy but he's full of charm, laughter, and good things for second grade readers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#nf10for10 Sneak Peak {Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday}

It's been a long time since I joined Alyson for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday but I knew I wanted to "launch" my #nf10for10 rally with those who are dedicated to nonfiction books.  I haven't joined this community in quite some time.  That doesn't mean I'm not reading nonfiction.  That doesn't mean I don't value nonfiction and it doesn't mean I've stopped sharing books.

But I do have a confession.  When I realized this event was right around the corner I questioned, do we really need it?  We are all busy.  There's so much goodness being shared about books already.  I questioned why and discovered...

1.  It's our 5th anniversary!  Anniversaries need to keep happening.
2.  I love projects with Cathy Mere.
3.  I love the connections people make with others who enjoy nonfiction books.
4.  I love friends who are willing to look at nonfiction books closer.
5.  Nonfiction books are different and need to highlighted, shared, and loved.

So, while these reasons appear to be a bit selfish, I bet anyone who has participated in either nonfiction 10 for 10 or our picture book 10 for 10 events might feel the same way.  So, I'd love to have you, your teammate, your friend, your neighbor - anyone you know should join us.  

In 2010 Cathy and I hosted our first picture book event.  In 2013, Julie Balen suggested we add a nonfiction picture book event that worked the same.  Participants choose 10 - well, usually 10 (they're a crafty bunch) - nonfiction picture books to share.  On the day of the event, we'll ask that you visit the Google Community site to add your nonfiction link to the 2017 #nf10for10 tab

  • What:  10 nonfiction picture books you can't live without.
  • Hashtag:  #nf10for10
  • Who:  Anyone interested --- educators, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.  
  • When:  Friday, February 10th
  • Where:  All posts will be linked on the 2017 #nf10for10 page of our Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.  
  • How:  Stop by our community site, join the community, and share your favorites on February 10th. 

Please spread the news and help us generate excitement.  Here's a sneak peak for one book that will be on my list this year.  You'll have to stop by on February 10th to find out why.

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for hosting Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Can you count backwards from 100 by 7s? {Math Monday}

My in-laws were here over the holidays and my father in-law mentioned he just had his annual physical and everything went well.  He shared they asked him to do two tasks and he thought it was to show mental wellness.  When he told me the first task, I knew right away he passed that with flying colors.  He had to recite the alphabet backwards and he's been doing that for as long as I have known him.  A task I can't do.  

When he shared the next task I was worried but he didn't act worried.  The task was to subtract 7 from 100 down to 0-ish.  He didn't let on he couldn't do this or that he struggled so I wanted to know more and started an investigation.   I was envisioning regrouping mentally and I was stumped because it was taking me too long to think it through.  I asked him how he figured this out and he said, "oh it was easy - you subtract 7 one time and then subtract 10, adding back 3 each time."  I had to ponder and visualize this; only to confirm he was right.

I would assume much of my father in-laws math education involved learning how to regroup.  I was so proud of him for using an effective strategy to show his mental wellness.  Often parents I work with struggle to understand how strategies other than regrouping can make sense and be effective.  I'm going to share this little nugget with people when they need a concrete example for why we teach different strategies.

I also think this is a great story to share with students who also need to know why we study things and why different strategies can be helpful.

Friday, January 13, 2017

NOW {Poetry Friday}


What do you love to do?
Make time for it.
Work will be there
Always constant
Love is fleeting
So is a sunrise
The bloom of an iris
A walk in the park
A child’s laughter
Time with a friend

What do you love to do?
Go do it, savor it


Regie Routman

Reggie Routman closes her book, Teaching Essentials with this poem.  I read this title back in 2011 and shared the poem during the summer months.  It hangs on my inspiration board as a guiding reminder.  These thoughts shouldn't wait until summer for educators and they seemed like a great way to start a new year.

Thank you to Keri at Keri Recommends for hosting Poetry Friday this week.