Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Great Nonfiction Picture Books - May 28th

I ask my students to read nonfiction; so must I! This past week I read a couple picture books that are perfect for Kid Lit Frenzy's challenge.

I love Gail Gibbons!

I just picked up It's Snowing! and It's Raining!
From the illustrations, graphics, and clever words, these two books will be perfect addition to my weather books. I highly recommend these two if you teach weather in the lower grades. Both of these books had a reading level of 4.1 according to Accelerated Reader.

I first saw Meet the Howlers! by April Pulley Sayre on #IMWAYR (It's Monday! What are you Reading?)

It was every bit as wonderful as my book friends suggested. Loved the way Ms. Sayre worked a story into the pages of facts. This is a great way to introduce nonfiction to my young readers. Reading level of 3.5 on the AR scale.

Keep Reading!

Monday, May 26, 2014

#IMWAYR May 26th

It's Monday and time to link to "It's Monday! What Are You Reading? sponsored by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. 

Other than the two hours I still need to work sometime tomorrow, my school year is finished. I'll need to go in and print grade cards for 3-8th grades. I was waiting on the TCAP quick scores. In Tennessee we are required by law to average the state test score into the student's second semester average. As the school's techie, one of my jobs is to run the report cards.. Hopefully I can do that first thing in the morning.

I was excited to start my summer reading this past weekend. Finished 5! Ok some of them were really short.

Finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

Some of Tris's decisions in book two of the Divergent series bothered me. Seemed like every character was full of secrets. Was definitely engaging. Couldn't put it down! My upper grade students will love it.

For my lower grade students, I finished:

Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt by Megan McDonald
I have several Judy Moody books in my stack for the summer. This one was a quick read. Perfect for my 2-4 graders. The Moody family takes a vacation to Ocracoke Island, NC. While they are there, they go on a treasure hunt and learn a little about NC's famous pirate history.

Dragonbreath: Nightmare of the Iguana by Ursula Vernon

Danny has to solve the problem of Wendell's nightmare. I just started picking up the Dragonbreath books last fall. I didn't think I would like them, but they are surprising good! Due to the vocabulary my second graders would struggle with these. I'm going to recommend these for my middle grade students (3rd-6th).

I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
What can I say? I laughed myself silly. The expressions on Piggie's face are priceless. Gerald's recount of the broken truck sounds just like a story my Kindergarteners would tell! PERFECT!!!  Mo Willems is a genius. My lower grade students will love this one. I might have to do an author study on him with my Kindergarteners.

Fly High, Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold

I love Fly Guy and so do my students. Buzz and his parents take a trip and of course Fly Guy has to save the day. A great story for my K-2 students.

Hopefully I can get grade cards finished in the morning and free up my afternoons for reading. What a way to spend my summer!

Keep Reading!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Preparing for Summer Break

Today I finished taking down my last bulletin board. It's actually in the hall outside the library. I usually keep it uplifting and welcoming as it's the first bulletin board visitors to my school see. This past month I had a tribute to our 8th grade graduates.
I decorated the whole wall in our main hall with oversized flowers.  To give you an idea of just how large, each petal on the daisies and the tulips uses one piece of construction paper. They were really easy to create. 

Behind the glass I made a paper rose for each 8th grader. The roses had a student immerging from the center. Our students can choose which high school they want to attend. My students usually attend West or South. I have one student going to the "city" high school. So each student is blooming from a flower color that reflects their high school. Made a colorful display with yellow, blue, green, maroon and white paper roses. My students loved it! Had a few shout-outs from parents.

I found all the instructions for these 3D flowers on YouTube. I just made my flowers bigger with large sheets of paper.
Daffodil -
Tulips -
Scrapbook flowers -
coffee filter roses -
White flowers inside glass -

I forget where I saw the idea of the grape hyacinth. It's really easy. Just one inch wide strips of blue paper looped and then taped the wall.

The feathery flowers were recycled from my truffula trees on the previous bulletin board. One of my students asked me today, "What are you going to put up for us in August?" I told them they would just have to wait and see. Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer! Friday is my last day. I have a huge stack of books just waiting for me to read.

Keep Reading!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reading vs Weeding

It's inventory time! I feel like yelling it's ninja time, but my boys are too old for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (My Kindergarteners would know who the Turtles are.)  My non-fiction section looks like a ninja battle took place, but it's just where I'm weeding.

I have a love/hate relationship with the word "weeding". I know it has to be done to keep my collection updated. The books that are worn out, ripped or other wise beyond repair I'll find a home for with kids. Others I will send to the recycling box. Dispose of library books? Yes, I have one teacher who can't believe I am getting rid of some "perfect good books". Problem - they are not "perfectly good". If the books contain information that is wrong or outdated, I feel it's my duty to remove them from the school library's collection. For example, examine these two books on Pluto.

They look like great books. Only problem - they are outdated. Pluto is still a planet and not classified as a dwarf planet. Sounds like a minor problem to most people, but I don't want my student to read something incorrect in my library. Call me picky! I have a couple updated books ordered.

So how am I spending my afternoons this week: inventory and weeding. Fun times!

Keep Reading! I will as soon as inventory is finished. (I have another Rick Riordan book to finish. My teenager has me hooked.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

#IMWAYR May 19th

Yes, It's Monday. Time to link to "It's Monday! What Are You Reading? sponsored by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. 

No I didn't fall off the end of the Earth, just covered up with life.... (state testing, spring break/spring cleaning, the baseball season that felt like the never-ending story.) Yes, I have been reading. During the past month, I read my all the Easy books in T, U, and V. There were only about 65 of them, didn't take long. Standouts included:

Mississippi Morning by Ruth Vander Zee

In case you don't have this one, a young boy in rural Mississippi learns of his father's connection to the KKK. Powerful Read!

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Cute story about a duck making soup and his friends are afraid he's in the soup.

The Red Blanket by Eliza Thomas

A mother recalls of the arrival of her new baby from China.

The War Between the Vowels and the Consonants by Priscilla Turner

Great little read about relationships. Could be used for a friendship lesson.

A Isn't for Fox - An Isn't Alphabet by Wendy Ulmer

Laura Knorr does an excellent job with the illustrations in this one. Loved the rhyme and rhythm.

As for chapter reads, I did manage to finish The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Somehow I missed reading this Newberry Honor book. Definitely not your average princess/fairy tale. Mira, along with all the other girls in her village, are forced to attend the princess academy. There one will be chosen as the young prince's new bride. Loved the surprise ending.

My last day of school is Friday. I'm so behind on reading for the last month. The first thing I'm going to do (after laundry!) is curl up on the porch on work on my stack of books. I didn't make the reading challenge of 300 books for the school year. April craziness took care of that. Now it's on to summer. I'm just curious to see how many I can read!!!

Keep Reading! I plan to start again Saturday! Hello, summer!

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