In the fall, my classroom participated in the Global Read Aloud. It was our first time, so I wasn't sure what to expect. For next year, I am all in to make some solid connections with other classrooms reading the same book. I can't wait to see what is chosen. This year, I read The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. To say that my kids liked this book is a vast understatement. I'd finish a refreshingly short chapter, and shut the book to the following statements:
"You can't stop there!"
"Nooooooo!" (actual number of o's)
This is not a reaction you get from every read aloud. My second graders were captivated. We finished the book hoping for the best for Roz, Brightbill, and their friends. This week I surprised my class with the sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes. For dramatic effect, I sneakily put the copy into one of our bookshelves before the kids walked in for the day. I wanted to see how long it took them to realize it was there. It took less than a minute for one of my students to bring it to me, ask if he could read it, and then promptly shout "LOOK WHAT'S FINALLY HERE!" to his classmates. My little I-waited-for-the-release-of-every-Harry-Potter-book-at-the-stroke-of-midnight heart was overjoyed. I am thrilled that my students have that same anticipation for a brand new book. With the exception of one student who matter-of-factly stated, "that was not my favorite." Which, I was also thrilled with, but that's a post for another time. We began the book together on Monday and I can't wait to hear more "nooooooooo!"
Me: Let's go, we need to get to the cafeteria!
Student: Get to the chopper!
This post has little to do with literacy, with the exception that I'll probably be listening to an audio book during the process. Who else loves a good audio book while exercising? I'm a big music fan, but when I workout I get more into the music and less into what I'm doing and my exercise turns into a running/dancing/lip-syncing hybrid. It's not a good look.
ANYWAY, I am a constantly busy person, and fitness most often gets put to the side. It's nearing the end of March, but I'm setting a new resolution for the year. January can't have all the hopes and dreams. Challenge: Run a 5k once a month. I know I can run that distance and the money always goes to a good cause. Knowing that I have a 5k to work towards might just get me off the couch. Yes, I know I should want to stay in shape for my own health, but my own health also likes to eat a lot of ice cream. The heart wants what the heart wants. Which, in this case, is the desire to be healthier with a strong dose of Mackinac Island Fudge. I'm hoping this challenge will give me another thing I need: a kick in the pants.
I'm going to squeak one in during the last weekend of March. Here we go!
I was never into graphic novels as a kid. I've read more of them over the past couple of years, since my students are OBSESSED with them. I was excited to read this book and am in awe of an author who can tell such a fun story in words and pictures. Imogene is a knight in training, but also starting middle school. I'm not sure which requires more bravery. Luckily, Imogene is up to the challenge.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! Aven is an easy character to love and someone you wish was your best friend when you were 12. (Apologies to my super awesome best friend when I was 12). Aven moves across the country, plays pranks with her new friend, and uncovers a family mystery. Oh, and she doesn't have any arms. Who needs them?
This book. This book should be on everyone's shelf. Refugee tells the story of three children from different time periods under similar circumstances. All must leave their homes in search of safety and survival. Alan Gratz expertly weaves their stories together despite being decades apart. Seriously, just go read it.
Happy New Year!
For the last few years I have participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It's a good way to keep track of the books I read, write reviews, and recommend my favorites to others. For the first time I will be adding Picture Books to my list. As a teacher, I'm constantly reading and sharing amazing PBs. Why wouldn't they be on my list? My goal for the year is to read 300 books. This will include any and all genres. I have no idea if this is a realistic goal, but we will soon find out!
What are your 2018 reading goals?
The activity was to write a question about their nonfiction text on a post it. The text says, “watch out! There is a skinny tornado.” The question says, “what, did it skip leg day?”
When I was a kid, Ferdinand was my all time favorite book. It was read to me over and over until I had it memorized. No one was allowed to skip pages no matter how far past my bedtime. I had a lot of questions, like, ‘what is a cork tree?’ and ‘why is his mother a cow?’ but I loved the way he would sit just quietly and smell the flowers.
With the new movie coming out, I read the book to my 2nd graders. It's never too early to learn that the book is always better. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the kids were excited to read the story that goes with it. One student exclaimed, "Miss Leestma, you're not even looking at the words!" Old habits die hard. I finished the book to a round of applause. I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite things about 2nd graders. Every so often you'll finish a book and they can't help but clap. I've often wondered why I loved a book so much that was published in 1936, 50 years before I was born, but, reading it with my class showed me that it still holds up another 31 years later.
Why do we love this story about a bull who won't fight? A bull who would rather smell the flowers in the ladies' hair? There are no flashy illustrations, no dramatic action scenes (unless you count getting stung by a bee), and our hero Ferdinand ends up right back where he started.
I think that we love that Ferdinand is himself. He doesn't bow to what others are doing. He knows he doesn't want to fight or go to Madrid. When he is taken away, he just kind of goes with the flow. At the end of the day, he's back under his favorite cork tree surrounded by what he loves best. Isn't that what we all want at the end of the day? Ferdinand has stood the test of time (even though his mother is a cow) and I hope it goes right on doing so.
Here is a document I use during our nonfiction reading unit. Students enter unfamiliar words and find the definition. We end up with a class glossary of new words and learning!
Teacher, reader, tea drinker, and dog mom.