SOLC: Morning Delights

February 28, 2012

Morning Delights

Sunrise brushed pink

a kiss from my sweetest

deer spotting in the field

my daughter’s glow

Sunshine streaming down

an “I love you, Mom” from my teenage son

the expectation of connecting with the Slice of Life community

SOLC: Made My Day

February 21, 2012

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That word is packed with emotions, growth, and patience. Some may add craziness, moody, and impulsive to the list. In any case, tolerance, love, and understanding wrap around the teenage package.

I chuckle admitting I’m a proud mother of three. Yes, three teenagers. Yes,three teenagers full of liveliness and mischievousness. And yes, I color my hair.

It’s days like today that make me smile.

I chauffeured our youngest, the thirteen-year-old, to school this morning. We talked about his classes and what he expected to happen today. Listening (car rides are great for this), I encouraged him to stay positive and make the best of his situations. He seemed prepared, emotionally as well as academically. Pulling into the circle-drive, I smiled and said, “I love you!” with a big smile on my face. My motherly heart was wanting to wrap him up in a hug and just go home for the day. Instead, he returned the smile and said, “Yeah, thanks.”

He lumbered toward the entrance as I turned to go. My eyes followed him momentarily around the cul-de-sac, enough to catch the glimpse. My thirteen-year-old had turned back to make eye contact and raised his hand. Responding to me (in front of his peers), his fingers curled and signaled the sign language “I Love You” sign. He smiled … and I melted.

He made my day!

Author: Joy Cowley

February 16, 2012

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

I love the book, The Red-Eye Tree Frog by Joy Cowley. It’s text is rich yet compact. I use it as one of my touchstone texts. As I often do, I began to research the author a little and realized she has many, many books.  Joy Cowley began her writing career as a newspaper editor for children’s stories at age 16. When her child had difficulty with reading, she created some literature for him to enjoy. Now she has written over 400 books.

On Joy’s website, she writes letters to her readers. The letters give you insight into her writerly life and update you on new books. I find it fascinating she writes to her audience. If a student is interested in writing her, she will reply.

Joy Cowley shares tips on being an author that can apply to children. One quote is worthy of being reminded of:

“Above all, enjoy every part of the process. Writing can seem like hard work but it is very satisfying. It also empowers us.

View the YouTube video (4 min.) below and hear Joy Cowley read one of her books, Mrs. Wishy Washy and the Big Wash. You can find several other books she narrates by doing a Google her.

Introduce your students to Joy Cowley in the below YouTube video (23 sec.). Kids are interested in seeing what the author looks and sounds like. Her New Zealand accent is enjoyable.

Author: Nic Bishop

February 10, 2012

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

Like these working conditions?

Nic Bishop uses his camera as his illustration tool. His photographs are dynamic and detailed. He has written over 60 nonfiction books.  The photographs are great for sharing with students and building their background knowledge of the books and biology. Nic Bishop describes his research for each book in three ways: from his educational training including information from his biologist father, from observation in nature, from reading several books including textbooks at universities.

The photography Nic Bishop uses is amazing. On his website, he explains the camera techniques with brilliant photos as examples. My favorite insight is how he worked with and eventually tamed a frog for the perfect action picture. With a camera lens, he is able to focus on something tiny and zoom to a full page photo. Watch the below YouTube video (2 min.) of Nic Bishop sharing how he works in nature and in his lab.

For an animated book review, the YouTube video brings spiders front and center. Although I am not fond of spiders, the photographs are fascinating. Your young science readers will love this book.

SOLC: 10 Cents

February 7, 2012

We are privileged to have my father-in-law in our home. After the love of his life passed away, he joined us, adding a richness to our family. I miss my mother-in-law. She had an exceptional way of loving and accepting people unconditionally. Her warmth is cherished in my heart.

Sharing stories at the dinner table is a favorite, especially when Dad G shares. My father-in-law had a smug smile when he shared this slice about his wife.

They had gone shopping. Their cart was full, and Betty was busy unloading the cart. My father-in-law had lingered back, checking out a magazine. Normally he was there helping, but not this particular day. Another gentleman had come in behind Betty, holding his couple of items. As the cashier was ending, the man had put his purchases down and pulled out his change.
Meanwhile, my mother-in-law finished with her last product and listened for the total.

“$67.10 is the total,” the cashier stated.
Immediately, my mother-in-law reached back to the open hand of change, never looking up, and began to dig around for the one dime she needed.

At this point in the story, Dad G said, “You see, I always was behind her ready with a handful of change. So Betty was really surprised when she heard,
‘That’s okay lady, just make sure you leave a little change for me.’

We started laughing, deep-down-bottom-of-your-gut kind of laughing.
“What did grandma do?” our youngest asked.
Dad G paused, smiled, and said, “She didn’t say anything at first except for ‘oooohhh’ and was red in the face.”

We laughed some more and shared in the memory. Dad G chuckled too, remembering. We all could visualize grandma, shocked and embarrassed with her husband lingering behind. We were connected.

Now when we hear an amount with ten cents attached or see the lone dime, we smile, feeling her love all of again.

Bones: Skeletons

February 6, 2012

Skeletons. Cool, my sons would say. They have always been intrigued with the bony structures. Steve Jenkins had the curious young anatomist in mind when he wrote Bones: Skeletons and How They Work.

NY Scholastic Press, 2010

Bones are illustrated in their actual size. The pages contain a variety of large to small complete skeletons. Most skeletons are of animals or reptiles. Other pages show individual bones like a human finger bone. I find it unique he compares some sizes with a human. For example, arms and feet of a human are shown in scale to animals like a gray whale and fruit bat. Kids will be able to connect with this book and understand the shapes and sizes of creatures.

Steve Jenkins has three fold-out sections. One python skeleton winds around showing its many pairs of ribs. Another compares a human skull to several animals like a Mouse Lemur. The third fold out shows the 206 human bones individually, laid next to each other in rows. Then, open the next pages and the bones have been assembled to create the human skeleton.

Kathryn Bohnhoff and Emily Poe created an author study video. Although slightly lengthy (9 min.), the video introduces the author’s biography and several of his books. They also show thumbnail sketches for his books found on Steve’s website. I think your kids will enjoy it. I learned a lot.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Bones: Skeletons and How They Work:

  • Compare/ contrast – types of bones, sizes
  • Question/Answer structure
  • informational – for each section
  • Subtitles – eye-catching “Got Your Back”, “The Long and Short of It“,
  • Back – additional facts

PES new book