SOL: I’m Older Than You

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. ūüôā


Scaredy Squirrel

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
  • Friendship

Warsaw Community Public Library new (2011)

Author: Margie Palatini

September 22, 2011

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

Margie Palatini¬†breathes her voice into her books. On her website, she describes her books as the “laugh out loud sort.” Her website is filled with a ton of information. She has a section on her inspiration, using an equation to best describe her ideas. Activities for students are included to have fun and explore their creative talents. For teachers, Margie has included several study guides and reader’s theaters.

On her video below, learn how she became an author and gained her ideas for The Web Files. She shares how the idea for her new book blossomed into¬† Hogg, Hogg, & Hog. It’s fun to hear her in person.

Patriots as Kids

September 19, 2011

Lane Smith crafts the book, John, Paul, George & Ben, as a storyteller speaking directly to the reader. You become wrapped up in the perspective of our forefathers’ childhoods. Kids will find it interesting to read about the historical persons as children, doing everyday child-like activities. Lane Smith’s humor is refreshing.

John, Paul, George & Ben is a fun background read for American history. Each of the five Sons of Liberty are spotlighted with events that made them famous.

In the back of the book, Lane Smith adds a true/false section to clarify focal points in the short chapters shared. I love the humor and play on words. What a fun way to get a discussion going!

There a brief video advertisement for the book. Scroll to the second video on the link. Another video, below, shows a sneak peek at the book and shares what inspired Lane Smith to create the book.

Savorings for reading and in writing for John, Paul, George & Ben:

  • Magic of 3 – John Hancock (you’ll be laughing)
  • Punctuation – clauses especially names
  • Humor – takes normal activity and creates a twist. For example, Paul rung the bell. The ringing caused his hearing to be back. Thus, he’d yell to the customers where he worked.
  • One day experience – George
  • Power of Words – Tom
  • True/False section in back – excellent background for the Revolutionary War
  • Great teacher resource link


Swim! Swim!

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
  • Friendship
  • Persistence
  • Inference

SOL: Want Your Notebook?

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?”

The Listening Walk

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:

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Writerly Life – noticing life around you
  • Everyday Happening
  • Descriptive
  • Compare/ Contrast