C is for Coffee, Camo, and Connecting {Celebrate}

November 16, 2013

A is for Autumn by Robert Maass I caught my eye this week. I love the brilliant pictures illustrating the beauty around us this autumn season. This book is a good mentor text for a photo book  project in a content area. It makes me think of Instagram in a book form, pictures with captions, especially with technology so prevalent in our schools.Image result for a is for autumn by robert maass

(I love linking my thoughts with books. Here is a short, 1 minute 35 second video clip featuring the book. Very delightful!)

Yesterday, I kept thinking of the theme ‘T is for Tree’ for the 5 Minute Friday post. This morning, ‘C is for Celebrating’ began swirling in my mind while driving for an early morning basketball event. (Getting up at 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning should be banned. :))

C is for …

Coffee with peppermint mocha. Delicious! I have “candy coffee,” my husband’s endearing term, to waken my senses.

Carpooling basketball teens and sharing the responsibility with a fellow mom. Love saving time and gas (and hearing their stories)!

Caring and listening to first graders tell about a lost tooth, a new puppy, and playing in the leaves.

Cuddling cat laying on my lap while holding my husband’s hand  watching a TV show, hearing him say he will never give up on us.

Camo basketball shirt, a soft fit for Tim’s sensitive skin, a symbol of belonging, a commitment to teamwork.

Connecting on blogs, refreshed and ignited from stories, poems, and slices shared.

Capturing the moment, being alert to the wonders swirling around us, pausing to listen to my child’s tale, reliving the pleasure through the written word.

C is for celebrating with you!

Capturing moments throughout the week that make you smile. Share a celebration at www.ruthayreswrites.com.

Capturing moments throughout the week that make you smile. Share a celebration at http://www.ruthayreswrites.com.

Yes We Can!

November 14, 2013

Just hearing the title of the book, Yes We Can!, gives me a boost of energy. Sam McBratney , author of Guess How Much I Love You?, chose to focus on the positive, something kids often forget to do (or adults for that matter). Life is full of possibilities and this book triumphs in teamwork over put-downs.

Three friends, Little Roo, Country Mouse, and Quacker Duck, decide to make the biggest mountain of leaves ever – together (seem familiar during this fall season). Upon resting, one character challenges another by saying, “You can’t ….” Each character tries to no avail, only to have their feelings hurt from laughter from the others. A wise mother intervenes and changes the point of view from ‘can’t’ to “What can you do?” Charles Fuge’s illustration depicts the emotions from frustration to success.

I love how they accomplish a task and the friends applaud each other. I have been sharing this book with my first grade interactive writing group and they are connected to the story. Positive and encouraging comments have been the goal for this week (and hopefully throughout the school year.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Yes We Can!:

  • Community building
  • Dialogue with all three types of sentences for a punctuation lesson
  • Every day happening
  • Repeating structure
  • Kid voice – “Don’t you dare laugh at me!” cried Roo.

Truth is … Celebrations Make a Difference {Five Minute Fridays}

November 8, 2013


Last night, our writing group met. We meet monthly and share. We begin sharing how our school jobs are going (or retirement for Tam.) We share about our families. And, we share about our writing.

Truth is … we share in celebration and we love it!

Truth is celebration is the reason why we gather together. We share stories and listen. We encourage and nudge. We celebrate the little things in our writing lives. You see, when we share a story, it is the beginning of a writing piece. When we share, the truth comes from our hearts. We clap and laugh and listen with eyes wide open.

Truth is if we didn’t celebrate the little things, we wouldn’t be a writing group. Writing is hard. We take risks in sharing. We are courageous, brave and true.

And the truth is … these monthly celebrations are what keep me going, to keep writing and to keep working through the hard.


Celebrations make a difference! Celebrating Ruth Ayres’s new book, Celebrating Writers.

Superhero School

November 7, 2013

Superheros have been the theme lately. Our family loves the movies and are anxious for the new ones to come out. Our staff retreat this past August was titled: “I Teach…What’s Your Super Power?” Searching for books to match our theme was a fun challenge. One book,  Superhero School by Aaron Reynolds, hooked me in for an adventurous peril.  Andy Rash, author of Are You a Horse?, details a comic-book hero setting full of action that will ignite your students’ interest.

A boy read for sure as kids are the superheroes … of math. Yes, math. Leonard heads to school expecting to learn how to do incredible feats of saving. Instead, his teacher, Mr. Blue Tornado, has them learning multiplication, division, and fractions. Annoyed and a bit distracted with his own desires, Leonard learns a great lesson in using math within everyday experiences (everyday for a superhero that is). The savvy craft in this book will keep your kids’ attention and you all will enjoy the surprise ending.

I love the “kid talk” in this piece:

But then it hit Leonard like a giant mutant octopus.

A short YouTube video (less than 2 minutes) gives you a glimpse of Aaron. It’s not the best sound quality, but I still liked “meeting” the author.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Superhero School:

  • Repeating sentence structure
  • Magic of 3
  • Kid language – “...cooties had to be considered.”
  • Narrative with Math Connection
  • Vivid Verbs – revved up, recalculated

Why Are Animals Purple?

November 4, 2013

Fall is here with all its brilliant colors. I’m amazed at the reds, yellows, oranges mixed with the changing greens and browns. Purple is not a color I often see here in Indiana, although I suspect it shows its shade as well. With the focus on colors, the book, Why Are Animals Purple?, intrigued me. This book is one of several in a series of animal colors by Melissa Stewart.

Purple animals? I thought. I am not sure if I have seen any animal dressed in purple until I turned to the first featured animal – Purple Martins. My dad had one in our yard and taught me about these helpful birds. Do you know they eat 1000 mosquitos daily? Around lake areas, these bird hotels sprinkle the skyline.

Eleven other animals are featured in her book. Key vocabulary, such as predators and attract, are in bold print, repeated distinctly throughout the entries. The photographs zoom in features and allow the reader to be up close and personal. Children will be drawn to this book and learn how color camoflages and defends each in nature.

A 2 minute Youtube video about how Melissa Stewart got her ideas from nature for two of her books.

Savorings in reading and for writing for Why Are Animals Purple?:

  • Vocabulary
  • Thematic Map – at the back of the book, a map represents where each animal can be found
  • Question Lead
  • Personifies the Color Message – It says, “Stay away. This is my home.”
  • Links to websites and other book references for further research