Unplugged

March 24, 2019

Technology is a gift to us. We learn, connect, and play. The internet provides opportunities to meet authors and explore ideas.

Steve Antony shares the goodness of technology in his book, Unplugged. It also supports balance of exploring the outdoors and the importance of friendship.

Enjoy meeting Steve Antony on this one minute video clip.

Enjoy the reading of Unplugged (4 min. video).

Savorings for reading and in writing for Unplugged:

  • Technology
  • Power of 3
  • Friendship
  • Learning
  • Setting
  • Pros/ Cons

Over and Under the Pond

February 18, 2019

View my blog post at The Lead Learners Blog of Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.

Savorings for reading and writing for Over and Under the Pond:

  • metaphors – “water’s a mirror, reflecting the sky!”
  • Sensory Description
  • Compare/ Contrast structure
  • Environmental – ecosystem, wetlands
  • Author’s Note – a glimpse into how a writer gathers ideas and then creates a book

Kate’s paired text is called Over and Under the Snow.

 


The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal

February 11, 2019

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Visit The Lead Learners blog for my post of The SUN is Kind of a BIG DEAL by Nick Seluk.

Savorings for reading and writing for The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal:

  • Voice
  • Play on Words
  • Scientific modeling
  • Comic strip features
  • Hybrid text
  • Added tidbits in the back
  • Pair it with the book, My Light by Molly Bang, for further study

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

February 4, 2019

The ocean in its vast beauty has a world of its own. Mountains and crevices invite creatures to reside, maneuver, and blend. Snorkelers gain a glimpse of the beauty hidden from the wavy surface. Stories and movies have the ocean as its setting. Robert Burleigh brilliant biography introduces you to the beginning of oceanography in his book, Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, illustrated by Raul Colon.

Science didn’t know much about the ocean floor. It was once thought to be unmoving. Marie Tharp changed that thinking – but not without opposition. Her ideas were different, challenged, and not accepted quickly. Marie loved maps. Her father drew maps of our American landscapes from state to state. She used this passion in her job.

View the book trailer here.

Marie spent twenty years gathering data brought back from deep ocean adventures, of which she was excluded from because she was a female. (I was surprised at this.)  Marie was determined and persisted. The data proved the possible theory of the continental drift. She turned her data into a picture – a map, a map featuring changes in the oceans floor. Although many still didn’t agree, eventually, Marie’s maps, the ocean floor picture, are the foundation for the knowledge people have today.

To see actual photos of Marie Tharp and an overview of her scientific life, view this 2 min. video clip.

Dr. Nicky Howe portrays herself as Marie Tharp in 2015 Reading Slam. What a fun way for kids to get to know the character and be introduced to the ocean world.

Savorings for reading and writing for Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:

  • Rich language
  • Biography
  • Persistence – not giving up, working against odds
  • Believing in herself
  • Asking Questions
  • Pursuing Dreams

Groundhog’s Dilemma

January 30, 2019

Matt Faulkner is one of my favorite illustrators. He has written/illustrated the book A Taste of Colored Water and illustrated Thank You, Sarah, among several others. His illustrations strike me with a brilliant personification and invitation into the reading. Click to read a little about Matt Faulkner’s illustrations and to see a picture of him and his wife, Kristen Remenar. (I learned something new today.)

Together they created a fun read, Groundhog’s Dilemma, that highlights a predicament kids can relate with. Half of the animals want winter to last longer and half of the animals want spring now. Each animal tries to persuade Groundhog to predicate what they desire. Groundhog agrees with everyone, because he wants them all to be his friend. In the end, Groundhog explains he just reports what he sees; he can’t change the weather. This book provides you the opportunity to talk with kids about being truthful. It touches on persuasion, pressure, and contemplation. I think you will find the book will spark some interesting conversations.

View the book here (8 min. video). It’s currently a Scholastic Book Club book.

Savorings for reading and writing for Groundhog’s Dilemma:

  • Persuasion – shares thoughts on both sides; art of buttering-up someone
  • Speech Bubbles
  • Telling the Truth
  • Internal Conflict
  • Alternate Solution

One Plastic Bag

November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving provides a time for reflection. Family. Job. Friends. Health. Seat-warmers in my van. Coke Zero. A microwave. Electricity. Clean water. I am sure you could add more to the list.

Having lived in a third-world country for two years, I learned to be thankful for the everyday conveniences we have on a daily, hourly, minute basis. Trash pick-up is one of those conveniences I am thankful for. When the heavy rains came in the Dominican Republic, trash flooded the streets. Daily, I would notice garbage lying around. And the smell. The foul aroma clogged my plugged nostrils and I could hardly breathe.

A swelling of thanks rose within me as I read One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Miranda Paul shares the story of change, illustrated beautifully by Elizabeth Zunon. Plastic bags have many uses, and I am thankful. But living in a condition with no garbage system poses a problem. Isatou noticed the growing problems the piles of plastic bag garbage was causing. Goats and other livestock were dying. Gardens were affected. Something needed to change. As in Ada’s Violin, the creativity of one person sparked hope and an answer.

View the book trailer (1.34 min.) and be drawn into the story of change, of hope, of making a difference.

Learn more about how the women of Gambia create the bags from the founder, Isatou Ceesay.  Information on how to help this organization is also listed on this video. (9.27 min.).

 

Savorings for reading and writing for One Plastic Bag:

  • Repeating Structure
  • Making a Difference
  • Believing in Yourself
  • Persevering
  • Varied sentences
  • Author’s Note and Timeline

The Bear and The Piano

November 18, 2018

Delightful story, The Bear and The Piano by David Litchfield! I am drawn to the beauty of the setting, the internal conflict, the story. I have been savoring this book over several days. The words linger. The dream lingers. The question of acceptance, friendship, and love lingers with me. You just need to read it and fall in love with the bear, his music, and the family waiting for him.

The Power of 3 is used often as a craft in this text.

He missed the forrest. He missed his old friends. He missed his home.”

No piano, no bears, no anything.”

View the reading of The Bear and the Piano (5.5 minutes).

 

Savorings for reading and writing for The Bear and The Piano:

  • One day
  • Adverbs – shyly, eventually
  • Onomatopoeia – Plonk!
  • Power of 3 – several forms
  • Frienship
  • Teaching ideas – click on this link