November 29, 2011
Thoughts on my mind(as a conversation):
- snow – I wonder if we will have a delay tomorrow? I could use the time to write.
- thankfulness – Wes is safe after going into the ditch due to a drunk driver (yes, the car is fine too but not his IPod that went into the water that was leaking into his car. At least the electronic can be replaced and not my son.) Need to check his tires.
- Kindle – my daughter investigating, wanting one for many, many reasons (yes, I get to use it too, which would be a plus. I’m just not sure if I want to read books electronicly. I like the feel of paper. But, it would save carrying books around during down times of waiting. I might like it.)
- writing group next Friday – can’t wait! Read the query letter and it got me excited again. Need to work on my chapters some more
- article – nudged, challenged to write an article about my connection to The Junkyard Wonder. I like the idea. I definitely can tell a story about a child who struggled with reading (yes, I remember the buzzard reading group and the horrid SRA kits. Don’t get me started!!!!!)
- presentation proposal – should I present one or two sessions in March? Not sure. I like the idea of trying it, but do I have time to get both organized? (yes, this would be good for me. It would allow me to have an alive audience to share my thinking and learning about finding craft in the books you love.)
- laundry – skipping that
- homeless shelter – served food tonight to 17 men and 15 women plus 6 kids. They were grateful; I was reflective. We have so much!
November 28, 2011
The illustrations by Anne Mortimer are exquisitely life-like in Cat and Bear by Carol Greene.
Cat is annoyed that his child has chosen to love a stuffed bear instead of himself. You can sense Cat’s feeling of distaste. Cat attempts to hide bear, but mother finds bear each time. Until one day…
Cat took one look at him and felt sick. “The Child already has a furry friend,” he growled. “Me. Bear is unnecessary.”
On a windy day, Cat seeks his revenge, and Bear is lost outside in leaves. The Child misses the bear. Cat tries to ignore his thoughts and guilt, but sees the pain his Child is feeling. In the end, Cat begrudgingly searches, finds, and retrieves Bear. Dragging him to the Child, Cat is rewarded with a kiss of love from the Child. In the end, Cat learns that love can be shared and is multiplied.
Reading through Anne Mortimer’s bio on her website, I learned she is famous for her cat paintings. I didn’t realize she illustrated another one of my favorite books for Christmas called A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown. For the cat lovers, below is a beautiful video of Anne’s gallery.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Cat and Bear:
- Character description – the lovable Bear and the unaccepting Cat
- Voice of the cat – I love the cat’s finicky personality is portrayed
- Story detail – a wonderful interweaving of character thought, action, and dialogue
- Sensory description - soggy, snuggled
- Community building
November 22, 2011
Thanksgiving reflects a goal I work at each day – staying positive and being a bucket-filler. My smile has widened tonight with the many slices I have read.
Thanksgiving reflections for today:
- My husband – our twentieth anniversary is tomorrow, Nov. 23. I’m thankful he supports my endeavors and is by side always.
- My kids – three teenagers bring love to its fullest, conversations to its deepest, and hairs to its grayest.
- My writing group – Ruth, the other Ruth, Tam, Tammy, you are the BEST! Thank you!
- SOL community – You are an inspiration. We reflect, nudge, and encourage each other. I loved meeting everyone at the breakfast.
- NCTE – refreshed with new ideas to spur me onward and AllWrite!!! for providing the funding
- My job – teaching touches many lives.
- Laughter – I love laughing and am thankful the laughter supports a safe environment for my students to learn in.
- My parents – who still listen, give advice, and share in my everyday happenings
- My father-in-law – Living with us is a pleasure, not a burden. I’m thankful my children are learning from you as you share in our lives.
- Colleagues who brighten my day
November 12, 2011
Jaime Adoff collection of poems focus on the theme of being small in Small Fry. His perspective gives you a glimpse of trials and triumphs being short can be. I envision these poems will ignite conversations within your classroom and poem sharing their wishes. Mike Reed illustrations the feels inlaid in the text. View an interview with Jaime Adoff as he talks about the influences his parents, Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff, had on him as a writer.
- No Fun Allowed focuses on not being tall enough for an amusement ride.
- Cool Fun Fort Forever shines on the imaginative play young children can have.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Small Fry:
- Narrative-like poems
- Kid Voice
- Varied types of poems – long skinny, stanzas, questions, short, conversational
- Everyday Happenings
November 9, 2011
In What is Your Dog Doing?, this simplistic text invites a young reader to think beyond the normal dog day of eating, sleeping, and barking. Instead, the scenes Kathleen Habbley illustrates portray so much more. “Dog scheming” is one of my favorite pages.
At the end, Marilyn Singer poses the question, “What is your dog doing?” She invites children to share their thoughts regarding their dog.
If you have a classroom pet, this text could be a springboard for descriptive writing All-about-books.
Savorings for reading and in writing for What is Your Dog Doing?:
- Two word sentences
- Compare Verb Tenses – present participle to past tense
- Invitational Ending
- All About Book
Warsaw Community Public Library new book – a must have book for me to use with kinder and first grade especially!
November 8, 2011
As I was going about my morning routine, tossing in a load of laundry before hitting the shower, my mind lingered on my soft, comfortable pajamas. I love them! My husband gave them to me last Christmas, a loving gift of relaxation. He knows how crazy our schedule is, juggling family, activities, and personal goals. The pajamas represent more than clothing. They are a symbol of clarity and comfort.
There’s something magical
about comfy pajamas
like a potion weaved through the cotton,
threads soothing tension away.
Sliding my legs and arms in
one by one
I’m instantly comforted,
Menial tasks are pleasurable wearing
my comfy pajamas
No wonder I change early in the evening,
Lounging in my PJs,
clears my thinking,
as I commence
November 3, 2011
The AllWrite!!! Consortium here in northern Indiana provides its members with ongoing professional development.
Today I was again blessed to learn from my writing mentor, Carl Anderson. Our school was the host site for the AllWrite!!! study group for grades 2 and 3. Watching Carl confer with each child, I was reminded of the privilege we have talking with our students. We teach each student individually, nurture their growth, and celebrate their risk taking.
Carl shared a lesson on revision with third graders. He compared revision to bedhead. He explained that all children revise in their lives. In the mornings when they look in the mirror, what do they see? Bedhead. Their hair is sticking up all over. What do they do? They comb it; they change the hair.
Writing is like bedhead. It’s messy in places and you have to do something to make it more presentable for your audience.
November 2, 2011
I love this book! I highlighted this book at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute this past June. The large photograph illustrations are spectacularly unique. Your students of all ages will want A Friend Like You.
Tanja Askani lives near Hamburg, Germany. She provides a home for many injured animals. The photos are of these animals and the interesting relationships they have with each other. In the back of the book, each photo has some background information, giving you a glimpse into the animals’ lives.
The short text focuses on the qualities of friendship. It lends itself to a group discussion on how to treat others, friendship roles, and building a class community.
Savorings for reading and in writing for A Friend Like You:
- Hybrid Text
- Sentence Structure – short enough to focus on specific grammatical structure (and fun too!)
- Photographs – brilliant! (see Tanja Askani‘s website for more)
- Sense of community
November 1, 2011
The drum sticks beat.
left, left, right.
Rhythm bounces on the counter top, on the dashboard, on the floorboards.
Tim’s career has taken wings in the form of drumsticks. He carries them everywhere. Each spare moment, he slyly pulls the wooden tools out and taps. Taps. Taps.
He taps dreams and passions into each beat.
Tap. Tap. Tappity-tap.