Curious Critters: Backyard Animals

June 22, 2017

Mo Wilems found an excellent way to engage children with his books by having them interact with the pigeon character. My kindergarten summer school class answered the pigeon every time.

David FitzSimmons created another text written in second person to grab the reader’s attention in Curious Critters: Backyard Animals,   He has a mixture of familiar animals kids recognize that “talk” to them. Throw in some humor and the kids want to learn more. Sneaky right? Who would think a scientific, informational text could be creative and fun? David did.

“Air Traffic Control, This is Monarch Flight 1 preparing for takeoff, flying from Milkweed, Minnesota to Oyamel Fir Forest, Mexico. The estimated flight time for our two-thousand mile journey is just over two months.”

Kids will be asking for this read aloud and more. Use it as a mentor text for their own animal reports. No more boring.

Video clip of the author sharing how he takes the photos of each animal.

Savorings for reading and writing for Curious Critters: Backyard Animals:

  • Genre Forms within the collection – first person narrative, riddle, poems including a limerick, math connection
  • Class Book -have kids create a two-page layout of an animal
  • Onomatopoeia – animal sounds
  • Voice – Bluegill, Eastern Cottontail – point of view with dialect
  • Author’s Note – importance of nature, reading, animals

You Are (Not) Small

June 21, 2017

You are (Not) Small by Anna King (ill. by Christoper Weyant)  is a delightful, simplistic worded text with a powerful punch of a theme. Opinions. We all have them. Kids have them. Adults have them. Each of us thinks our opinion makes the most sense and is valid.

Anna King takes an opinion of size – small or big – and makes the reader think. I can imagine children agreeing with the small creature. Yep, he is big.

Then, I can again imagine another group of children being surprised by the next larger creature. Have fun with the kids as you read aloud. Engage in asking their opinion. For older students, this book, simple as it is, ushers in a discussion of fact and opinion.

Fun reading of the book on YouTube.

Book savorings for reading and writing for You Are (Not Small):

  • Dedication: Author’s purpose:  “To Kate and Lily, for inspiring us every day. We love you exactly the way you are.”
  • Opinions based on Perspective
  • Community Building – compromise; differences
  • Comparisons – mathematical, relational
  • Bookend ending – predict the next scene; use it as a springboard for writing differences in the classroom

SOLC7: Laundry

March 7, 2016

Laundry.

Five jeans, three leggings, one pair of legs on the move.

Blue favorite shirt, two sweaters, wrap her up in comfort.

Fashion blouse, cute striped T-shirt, somethings new.

Socks – seven pairs, six singles, where are the missing ones?

One suitcase, three bags, hamper full of clean clothes, cosmetics and purse.

Two shopping trips, evening talks, tens days passed fast.

Snacks. Keys. Hugs.

Four flights of stairs, three roommates, Tweets, and 1000 laughs.

Laundry will come home again and so will her stories.

Elizabeth hanging out with her roommate and friend at the men's basketball game. Go Lancers!

Elizabeth hanging out with her roommate and friend at the men’s basketball game. Go Lancers!


SOLC5: Celebrations

March 5, 2016

Today I am celebrating BONS. We met a couple of weeks ago and the laughter still warms my heart. I, we, missed Tammy who was sick, but a phone call delighted us all. We are able to be open about life, sharing school snippets that drive us crazy but still make us laugh. We talk about family matters of growth and turmoil. Mostly we celebrate. Life is hard and worthwhile. We capture those moments, some in the sand and others on paper. We celebrate.

Tam adds colorful snacks to the table. That table holds many stories and laughter.

Tam adds colorful snacks to the table. That table holds many stories and laughter.

Ruth M brought the dessert, one that brought smiles to our faces. Delightful!

Ruth M brought the dessert, one that brought smiles to our faces. Delightful!

The night is never without chocolate. The rich brownies sealed our celebrations.

The night is never without chocolate. The rich brownies sealed our celebrations.

We missed Christmas, so gifts were shared. I found this bird whimsical and comforting, a little fun during the cold. Tam happened to display hers on her centerpiece mat. How appropriate among the birds!

We missed Christmas, so gifts were shared. I found this bird whimsical and comforting, a little fun during the cold. Tam happened to display hers on her centerpiece mat. How appropriate among the birds!

Tam treated us to a personalized poem with comforting treats in her Christmas box. A special treat that will be treasured!

Tam treated us to a personalized poem with comforting treats in her Christmas box. A special treat that will be treasured!


SOLC1: Playing Hookie

March 1, 2016

Today I played hookie.

As a high school, I secretly  wanted to play hookie from school, but the guilt swarmed over me and I never dared skip. Too risky! My parents. Possible in-school suspension and my own pounding heart kept me in check. But the thought of adventuring away with a friend to have whimsical fun and a carefree day away from studies tempted me.

Today I did play hookie. I did have fun, guilt free, being swept away by my dear one. Yep. We went shopping, glorious shopping. More Elizabeth than me, but I was smiling all the same. My college daughter is home on spring break and we needed to get away. Clothes called to us and greet us with beautiful corals, teals, and spring. We laughed looking at home furnishings and imaging new beauty added to our rooms.

Words. Stories. Shared moments of times gone by were savored all day long. These were the best prizes of the day. No purchase necessary. Just time and attention as the conversation ebbed and flowed, sealing our special day. We ended our spending spree with manicures. Sitting side by side, my heart was thankful I had played hookie. I played hookie from the hurried moments, the demands of my job. My heart didn’t feel guilty. I played hookie on the “I wish I would have” thought and embraced the joy of this carefree day spent with my daughter. My smile spreads. Yep. I think I will play hookie again.

photo 2

Elizabeth’s nails are stunning. The intricate art replicates the loving heart of my daughter.

Beautiful blue! My hands remind me of mothering and the memories held.

Beautiful blue! My hands remind me of mothering and the memories held.


Celebrating Life

September 20, 2015
Celebrating my daughter, Elizabeth, at college. I have been adjusting to a quiet house. I am thankful for tweets and Instagram.

Celebrating my daughter, Elizabeth, at college. I have been adjusting to a quiet house. I am thankful for tweets and Instagram.

Celebrating our new school, it's dedication complete. I am learning to use new technology with a Mimio.

Celebrating our new school, it’s dedication complete. I am learning to use new technology with a Mimio.

Celebrating a surprise gift from a friend! We both thought of the same children's book that linked with the shoes, Ruby's Wish.

Celebrating a surprise gift from a friend! We both thought of the same children’s book that linked with the shoes, Ruby’s Wish.

Celebrating  my cousin, Melody, who is a great support and friend!

Celebrating my cousin, Melody, who is a great support and friend!

Celebrating the excitement of children learning.

Celebrating the excitement of children learning.

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Celebrating the writing group! We have special stories, the best laughs, and uplifting encouragement! Love them all!


Celebrating My Summer Week with Pictures!

July 5, 2015
I helped my mom on Monday. She is still weak, but gaining strength. Faithful, their 120 lb. German Shepherd, was happy for extra company. He is true to his name!

I helped my mom on Monday. She is still weak, but gaining strength. Faithful, their 120 lb. German Shepherd, was happy for extra company. He is true to his name!

After grocery shopping, Moo cheered me on as I packed the pantry. Curiosity!

After grocery shopping, Moo cheered me on as I packed the pantry. Curiosity!

Youth group fun at my sister-in-law's home. In the summer, youth group rotates to the homes for summer fun and food. Slip and slide this night with s'mores after a devotional. I was delighted to help.

Youth group fun at my sister-in-law’s home. In the summer, youth group rotates to the homes for summer fun and food. Slip and slide this night with s’mores after a devotional. I was delighted to help.

Attending the SouthBend Cubs where Wesley interns. We had superb seats behind home plate. Wes was nearby in the tunnel ready to take care of official business.

Attending the SouthBend Cubs where Wesley interns. We had superb seats behind home plate. Wes was nearby in the tunnel ready to take care of official business.

Kitten fun! They have been on the porch and just introduced to the outside. Mama was watching over them as they romped around. Delightful!

Kitten fun! They have been on the porch and just introduced to the outside. Mama was watching over them as they romped around. Delightful!

Smiling at pictures of my relatives (my mom's two younger sisters in this photo) on Facebook. Thankful for being able to keep in touch over hundreds of miles!

Smiling at pictures of my relatives (my mom’s two younger sisters in this photo) on Facebook. Thankful for being able to keep in touch over hundreds of miles!

July 4th fun!

July 4th fun!