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.


Come With Me

April 9, 2018

Pay it forward. Smile. Say “Hello”. Draw a picture.

Make a change.

Be brave. Ask others to join you adding sunshine to the world.

Holly M. McGhee and Pascal Lemaitre bring hope through the example of one family, one child. Learning begins in the home, but in our classrooms, we have opportunities to model and show how to bring happiness in this world. Listen to the story told through children’s voices

Colby Sharp gives a book talk about Come With Me and the discussion he had with his students.

View an interview of author Holly M. McGhee. She shares about writing her middle grade novel, Matylda, Bright and Tender. I think it’s important for kids to see the author in “real life”, to hear how she works through hard parts. I also pushing kids to see that they can write anything – a picture book or a novel. The ending question is powerful.

Savorings for Come With Me:

  • Pay It Forward – make the world a better place
  • Show kindness; care for others
  • Be Brave
  • Repeating structure
  • Show not Tell
  • Community Building

Chickens to the Rescue

June 26, 2017

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

My Name is not …

January 25, 2012

Do you remember daydreaming of being a famous movie star? When I was little, I wanted to be like Shirley Temple. She was the cutest kid, could dance and charm anyone. She said the cutest things and was adorable. As I grew older, my heroine was Jaclyn Smith. Her hair flowed beautifully, she had beautiful skin, and had adventure with style. Oh, if only I could be like her, I would sigh.

Girls love to dress up, pretending to be someone grander than they are. Each dreams of being in the lime light and full of adventure. Jennifer Fosberry captures the little girl dreamer in her book, My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream.

View the one minute book trailer. 🙂

Isabella is a young girl full of hopes and dreams. As she goes through her daily routine, Isabella pretends to be a famous, historical woman. The book encourages children to believe they can achieve any career activity they want.

I am Helen, the greatest, kindest librarian of all.”

Watch the below one minute YouTube video of how illustrator, Mike Litwin, transforms a one page sketch into a colorful scene.

This book will spark ideas for every young student who has dreamed of being someone. It will create conversation around making goals and believing in themselves.

A companion book for boys is called My Name is Not Alexander.

Savorings for reading and in writing for My Name is Not Isabella:

  • Imagination
  • Dreams/ goals
  • Repeating Structure
  • Superlatives – toughest, fastest, bravest, smartest,
  • Bookend – begins day, ends day

Amazing Austrailian Animals

January 16, 2012

Marianne Berkes sculpts a rhythmic text in Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under. The text’s foundational structure is based upon the song, Over in the Meadow. Students will interact with the text, building fluency.

The Australian animal kingdom is the theme of this hybrid text. Each page features a mother and her babies, teaching specific vocabulary and verbs. Jill Dubin’s illustrations are adorable collages within the natural setting. She mingles texture into her illustrations, creating a 3D effect.

To connect your students to live animals, view the YouTube video of Steve Irwin at the Autralia Zoo Tour. (3 min. and 21 sec.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under:

  • Math connections – counting 1 to 10
  • Musical rhythm
  • Repeating Structure
  • Class book – interactive writing about your class, stats, subject matter
  • Verbs – past tense with suffix -ed
  • Surprise ending

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero

January 13, 2012

I read this book in the morning and then was interrupted. Several hours later, I am still wondering – so is this book about a superhero and his secret life or a young boy with an avid imagination? Anne Cottringer’s story, Eliot Jones Midnight Superhero, will promote a lively discussion with your students. I guarantee your reluctant readers will be wanting this book for their personal library.

Eliot is a quiet boy. He enjoys reading and playing quietly in his room. But when the clock strikes midnight, eliot morphs into a super hero. He saves the world. Adventure awaits him as he saves the world. One major crisis arises and Eliot is on the scene.

I love the ending.

But being a Midnight Superhero is very tiring. it doesn’t leave Eliot with much energy. So by day … Eliot is quiet.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero:

  • Character Description
  • Bookend
  • Magic of 3
  • Adjectives
  • Transitions between scenes
  • Repeating Structure

Big Dreams

August 8, 2011

Franklin loves the moon. He wants to go to the moon. He gazes and imagines what fun it would be when his quiet room is interrupted by an engineer coming through. Three separate modes of transportation are built through Franklin’s room – a railroad, a runway, then a canal. After all the noise has died down, he drifts into a magical night.

In Franklin’s Big Dreams, David Teague  uses a repeating structure. As you move from one scene to the next, your students will begin to predict what is happening with Franklin. Why is the plane going through the room? Who are the people on the train? Is Franklin actually dreaming during this time?

Boris Kulikov‘s illustrations foreshadow the events of the evening. Franklin’s room is decorated with a stem, engine, an airplane, and a ship. I noticed the steam engine was smoking on this toy track after the live train had moved through his room. This peaked my interest into what other foreshadowing illustrations were interwoven throughout the story.  You can view the illustrations on David Teague’s website.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Franklin’s Big Dreams:

  • Foreshadowing
  • Everyday happening – daydreaming while looking at the moon
  • Vocabulary – perturbed, miffed
  • Repeating Structure
  • Transitions

SOL 21: I’m Losing my Memory

March 21, 2011

Once again, I have left a meeting with things to do.  This time, I have six things to complete by Thursday. I think I’m losing my mind … well at least my memory.

I am usually organized.

I have my school calendar with dates.

I check the electronic calendar at school.

I have a “to do” list that I check and mark off.

I email myself a reminder of things that need to be done.

I use sticky notes on folders as reminders.

I leave a small note pad and pen near on my night stand at night.

Good grief, you would think I would have it together.

Wait a minute, what did I forget???

Machines Go to Work

March 2, 2011

Love this book!  The cover grabbed my attention and immediately thought of some students who would love reading it. The pictures are bold.  The text gives descriptions of what the machine is doing.  After the two page spread, the children will be delighted with a 3 page fold out of the machine doing something helpful.

I always read the book jacket.  The information gives me a glimpse of the author’s life.  William Low is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He has also written Old Penn Station, which seems fascinating.  On his author’s link, William Low has a you tube video of how he uses digital technology with his illustrations.  Check it out.

Big machinery often catches the eyes of my kids.  They still ask question of wonderment – what task is it going to accomplish today?  Young children will enjoy the enlarged scenes.  The full-page flap heightens the excitement.  I can hear children making guesses as to what the machine’s job is.  At the end of the book, two pages label small pictures of each machine and their description of uses.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Machines Go to Work:

  • Onomatopoeia – each machine is introduced with a sound it makes
  • Informational – excellent mentor text for an All About Book unit of study
  • Specific vocabulary – backhoe – stabilizers
  • Repeating structure – Is the (machine) ....
  • Prediction – excellent to begin teaching children in grades K and first
  • Open full page flap

WPLibrary and PES new book

Guess What is Growing Inside

February 17, 2011

Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada: Book CoverMia Posada’s illustrations fascinate me in her book, Guess What is Growing Inside This Egg.  I am drawn to the two-page layout of a zoomed egg.  Using a rhyming riddle, nonfiction information is shared with the reader.  A repeating question follows each riddle,

Can you guess what is growing inside these eggs?”

On the next page layout, the answer is given in big bold words with an adorable baby standing by.  Mia Posada then writes a paragraph of extending facts regarding the baby animal.  She explains the science of incubation.  One of the featured animals is a duck.  Four stages of a duckling gives the reader an inner view of how the yolk begins and develops.  The other featured creatures are as follows:  penguin, octopus, sea turtle, alligator, and spider.

Her illustrations are textured.  I’m not sure what paper consistency she uses, but my fingers are drawn like a magnet to touch the page.  The scene is almost 3D like.  I think children will just want to read and reread this book.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Guess What is Growing Inside:

  • Background knowledge – incubation
  • Settings – where each creature begins life
  • Question/Answer Structure
  • Poetic Riddle –  to capture children’s attention
  • Math & Science connection – comparison of egg sizes