September 27, 2011
Patricia Polacco wrote rMy Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. It’s one of my favorites! One repeating line from Patricia’s older brother Richie is “And I’m four year’s older than you…. Always have been and always will be.” Oh, I can just hear the jab.
Children often use the saying, “Yeah, well I’m older than you” as a way of torment or as a trophy as if to imply, “I’m better than you.” My own children couldn’t wait until they were ten to be in double digits; thirteen to be a teenage; then sixteen to drive. I remember that feeling. Older seemed to be better.
Now, well, age is something I rather keep on the down low. My students want to find out. It’s like a mystery they need to solve. So, I found it rather funny the other day when one of my first grade boys tried to tease me and said, “Well, I’m older than you. I’m twenty-three!” I know my eyes twinkled, but I made a face as if to say, “Yeah you got me there.”
Twenty-three – wow. My husband was surprised to learn his bride of twenty years had regressed in age so quickly. He wanted to get in on the secret.
September 27, 2011
When I heard Jeff Anderson read Scaredy Squirrel, I instantly added the title to my must-have list. The voice Melanie Watt uses with her delightful, yet nervous, character grabs your attention. You are hooked.
This summer, I came across another book in the series, Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party. You will quickly learn Scaredy Squirrel is particular. He’s very contemplative and plans ahead for possible disasters. He does not want any surprises.
When Scaredy Squirrel plans his birthday party, he is very detailed. The party schedule makes me chuckle. You can definitely sense his anxiety. The party schedule page could be combined with a math activity. Student could have clocks and calculate the digital time to analog time. It also show a comparison usage of the colon – in time and also in a list.
A surprise gift warms Scaredy’s heart. Even young children will get a sense of how the character changes by an act of kindness (what a lead in to a discussion on community). What a twist to Scaredy Squirrel’s well planned party.
View the YouTube trailer to predict possibly disasters:
Savorings for reading and in writing for Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party:
- Voice – talks to the reader
- Speech Bubbles
- Character Thinking – you can sense Scaredy’s personality
- Character Change – notice the last page
- Reading Charts – use the book to introduce nonfiction text that have inserted charts
Warsaw Community Public Library new (2011)
September 15, 2011
Lerch, the fish, seeks a friend in Swim! Swim! by Lerch. Lerch searches his liquid home (a fish tank) only to be rejected. The pebbles, bubbles, and sub man sustain silence, leaving Lerch lonely.
James Proimos creates a fun read that will tickle your students. Lerch thinks he’s found a new friend finally, but you kids may think differently. Enjoy this read. You won’t be able to keep it in your library.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Swim! Swim! by Lerch:’
- Speech bubbles
- Action in each comic frame
September 13, 2011
My children are learning that I like to capture funny comments and stories in my writer’s notebook. When my daughter had her friends over, my shorthand couldn’t keep up with the hilarious conversation they were having. My notebook holds some great snippets of laughter.
Recently, my oldest son had several friends over. As I was fixing snacks in the other room, one of the teens began an elaborate story about his previous night’s dream of being a wedding planner, something totally off for his personality. As he began to share one bizarre, elaborate detail after another, the group interjected their ideas. The story grew and grew and grew.
My youngest son came into the room, looked at me chuckling and said, “Hey mom, do you want your notebook?”
September 12, 2011
The Listening Walk invites children to notice the world around them. It’s a great introduction to onomatopoeia with the many nature sounds weaved in throughout the text. Each page illustrates possible sounds children can hear around them when they are take the time to focus. Paul Showers also shares snippets of action dipped in sensory detail. Aliki’s colored drawings provide children with an example of how to capture the setting around them.
Class Activity: read the book and then take your class on a listening walk outside. Each season provides different sound opportunities. You can extend this activity by creating a sensory chart. Have your children focus in on the smells and sights around them as well.
Savorings for reading and in writing for The Listening Walk:
- Writerly Life – noticing life around you
- Everyday Happening
- Compare/ Contrast
September 6, 2011
My oldest son started working at a restaurant as a host this past week. He’s able to go to school for three hours in the morning and then work. During his training he’s been working four hours.
One day, his manager asked him to work nine hours. “No problem,” he said.
When he came home, he changed into casual clothes and plopped on the couch. “I’m so tiiirred,” he said.
“Do your feet hurt?” I inquired.
“No, my head. I’m tired from saying with a smile, ‘Hello! Welcome to Applebee’s. How is your day going?’ ‘Wonderful. I hope you enjoy your dinner.’ Or the occasional customer who was forlorn,”Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Well I hope you will find your dinner enjoyable.’ over and over and over again for nine hours. My brain is tired.”
I chuckled. Who would have thought being nice would wear a person out so much?
September 5, 2011
On the book jacket, Wendell Minor shares a photo of himself as a youngster sitting near chickens. As I share the book with children, I would show this picture and allow them to wonder about where the author is and how it relates to the book. This little feature connects the story with the seed idea the author used.
My Farm Friends begins with an introduction to the farm, enticing you to explore the farm. This test would support students who live in an agricultural setting, sparking ideas to write about. For those students living in an urban setting, the pictures will bring the farm to them.
Nine animals are featured. The text has a repeated structure, describing characteristics of the animals, rhyming lines (ABCB pattern). A fun fact is added in. For example, did yo know that turkeys purr when content?
For a sneak peak at the book, view the YouTube video:
At the end, each animal is featured in a two page fun fact spread. It’s a great example for a nonfiction unit of study. Six internet sources are included for further research. A favorite is http://www.kiddyhouse.com/farm.
Savorings for reading and in writing for My Farm Friends:
- Magic of 3 – in the introduction
- Repeated Structure
- Adjectives – great for young children to learn and understand
- Character descriptions
- Everyday Happenings – on the farm
Warsaw Community Public Library – new book