SOLC: Just Like When She Was Little

March 18, 2015

My blog was silent last night. Not on purpose though. I had good intentions of writing. Words played in my mind throughout the day. Blogs were read and comments were given.

Eliz.selfieThe afternoon began with Wesley debuting his first start as a pitcher. He normally plays the role of reliever on his college team, so Wesley was definitely excited. Tim had basketball awards night in shirt and tie, shined shoes and black pants. Home again and shared stories with my hubby. I finally settled, ready to write and Elizabeth came home after leading her girls’ group. One story led to another. “You won’t guess who came in to the Dairy Queen last night?” and she proceeded to share about “the boys” who came in unexpectedly.

One idea led to another. Time ticked by. I noticed the clock, but tried to forget it. When it comes to my teenagers and their initiative to talk, I forcefully stop thinking and listen . Elizabeth kept talking and talking and talking. Story. Story. Story. I felt like the insurance commercial as a memory of a little girl prolonging her bed time popped into my head. It never failed; her stories charmed me then and now.

Honestly, I’m glad I missed posting. I wouldn’t have traded her talk for anything. Priceless.

March – In like a Lion?

March 1, 2015

The forecast today is between coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb. I definitely know more sunshine is needed and less cold would be appreciated. Thinking of a lion, a book came to mind by Michelle Knudsen (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes). The cover of Library Lion emulates warmth, reading pleasure and friendship.

The lion visits the nearby public library. He enjoys hearing a good story (don’t we all?) and roars when it is finished. Miss Merriweather is particular about her rules in the library. Lion knew he could follow the rules and became a big help to Miss Merriweather. One day, she has an accident and the only way to get another employee’s attention was to roar. Knowing he had broken the rules, the lion left. In the end, the lion is found and an explanation about the rules was shared:

Sometimes there was a good reason to break the rules. Even in the library.

I love how we can discuss with our children that rules are necessary, but sometimes exceptions happen for the good of those around us. As you begin your school year or even as a refresher, Library Lion opens the opportunity to discuss how rules are guidelines for a classroom, school to run smoothly. But, sometimes the circumstance changes the rules for the good of the person.

To hear the book read on Storyline Online, click the video below.

Savorings for reading and writing for Library Lion:

  • Love of Reading
  • Friendship
  • Community Building
  • Varied Sentences
  • Character Traits

That Book Woman

January 12, 2015

Connecting children with books – a goal for each teacher. Books are waiting to enlighten and expand children’s minds.

Heather Hansen brings history to life in the That Book Woman. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt founded the Pack Horse Library Project. The dedicated women (and some men) traveled into the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky to bring books to the families who had no access to libraries and few schools.

Told through the point of view of the oldest son, the narrative prose shares Cal’s feelings about reading. Chicken scratches is all the paper held. Cal’s younger sister delighted in the treasure of a book, reading each moment she was spared.

Not until the Book Woman risked her health and life, riding through terrible snow. What makes the woman brave the fierce elements? Cal began to read and asks his sister to teach him. In the spring, when the trail is passable, the Book Woman returns. This time, Mama thanks her for making a reader out of two of her children.

Inspiring. Today, bookmobiles bring books to remote places and the book burros in third world countries carry on the tradition of the Book Woman. We can be Book Women and Men to our students daily.

To view a video of the book, click here.

Savorings for reading and in writing for That Book Woman:

  • Love of Reading
  • Book Blessings
  • Passage of Time
  • Dialect
  • Community service

Chickens to the Rescue

December 11, 2014

My friend, Tammy, loves chickens. She barters for them at swap meets and collects their eggs. She names them and notices their character. And Tammy tells chicken stories. I love her stories!

I’m not sure her chickens have come to her rescue, but John Himmelman‘s characters do. They are ready to help each member of the family every day of the week in Chickens to the Rescue.

Right now, I could enlist the chickens to do some every day chores: dishes, laundry, scrubbing the kitchen floor, even going through the piles in the closets. Your kids will laugh at the attributes each chicken displays.

A YouTube interview of John Himmelman talking about Chickens to the Rescue (almost 9 min.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Chickens to the Rescue:

  • Sequence of Events according to the days of the week
  • Character description
  • Repeating Structure
  • Bookend ending – ready for the next book

South Whitley Public Libary

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

December 7, 2014

The Herdmans are children who make you color your hair. Their social skills are lacking and their voices are loud. Barbara Robinson transferred her beloved chapter book story into a picture book titled the same, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Although their personalities are rowdy, intimidating, and restless, they bring to life the Christmas spirit. I am thankful that the Savior of Christmas does not look at us through tinted glasses, but rather loves us unconditionally.

The book invites conversation around classroom community. Laura Cornell‘s illustrations bring out tension and social awkwardness that even young children can talk about their feelings.

In the end, the Herdman wisemen bring their Christmas ham, a gift from their sacrifice. We have much to be thankful for. Enjoy the season.



December 6, 2014
Celebrate the big and little moments in life with the writing community at Ruth Ayres Writes. Try it! Your heart will be encouraged.

Celebrate the big and little moments in life with the writing community at Ruth Ayres Writes. Try it! Your heart will be encouraged.

1. Tim playing basketball. Elizabeth went with Rick and I to the game and we had fun talking to and from the game as well as cheering Tim on during the game.

2. Friday night. Elizabeth helped me put the tree up listening to Christmas music.

3. Title I financial meeting. Although our school is on the low-end of funds, I appreciated the collaboration between our two elementary principals, academic coach, Title I teachers, our superintendent and financial officer. I love numbers. Just wish they numbers had a bigger money purse.

4. Interactive Writing with Kindergarteners. They are cute, honest, and ornery too. One little girl is a selective mute. She whispered her answers to me and I loved how she was being involved. Returning the kids to class, she waited and then gave me a loving hug. Melted my heart and reinforced that I do make a difference. We all do.

5. Kristen Ziemke. I had the pleasure of learning from Kristen at an AllWrite!!! conference. Her positive approaches lifted my spirits. Technology is a tool. The teacher makes the difference. The day was extra special by seeing Deb Gaby and sitting with Ruth Ayres. Always a pleasure to reflect with her.

6. Writing Group. I love hearing stories from my friends. Their words are a special uplift.

Goodnight iPad

December 4, 2014

When my children were young, I repeatedly read Goodnight Moon to my children until I could quote it. Wes would search for the mouse on every page. A classic for every child’s enjoyment.

Ruth Ayres with Kristen Ziemke Connecting Comprehension and Technology

I spent a day of learning with Kristen Ziemke, and technology is on my brain. We have many tools at our fingertips to use, but purpose needs to drive the tool. I thought Goonight iPad by Ann Droyd seems appropriate. Sometimes, we get caught up in the moment and need time to reflect. Balance is key.

Have fun reading this book with your kids. I love the last page.

Savorings for reading and writing for Goodnight iPad:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Rhyming
  • a Parody
  • Reflection

View the book on YouTube read by Ann Droyd (2 min.)