In the Town All Year Round (Rotraut Susanne Berner) - This book was a gift from friends a few years ago and still hasn't grown old. Following the lives and antics of a fun cast of characters through 4 seasons in a small town, this book is like a grown-up Where's Waldo? Each season is prefaced with a brief explanation of what some of the characters are up to this season; the rest is left up to you and your imagination! We often choose just one or two characters to look for and then spend the rest of the time discovering new aspects of each picture. Great for observation skills, this book would be a great addition to your classroom silent/buddy reading library or as a teacher-led small group activity focusing on observation and oral language skills.
Hands Off My Honey (Jane Chapman) - At first I thought this book was part of Karma Wilson's Bear series; the illustrations are very reminiscent of her books. This story, however, does not have the same rhythm as one of Wilson's; nonetheless, it is a very cute read with a surprising twist at the end. A great choice for teaching little ones about the joy of sharing, what it means to be a friend and appropriate play (Why does everyone think this is a fun game when Bear is being so scary?).
My Blue is Happy (Jessica Young) - This wonderful little book has so much potential in the classroom; I can't wait to take it for a spin! It explores the emotions we attach to colours, highlighting the fact that different colours "feel" different to each of us. A great book for exploring differences, making connections and creating writing based on the book. The only disappointment is that the book has the rhythm of a rhyming book but it doesn't actually rhyme!
Teach Like A PIRATE (David Burgess) - Despite it's very intriguing title, this book hasn't exactly wowed me. That being said, the underlying premise of increasing student engagement is of fundamental importance and one that I think gets harder and harder as our students' attention becomes more media focused. This book is worth the read if you are looking for ways to diversify or change up your presentation methods and would make a good school-wide book study if you have a few staff members who need some help moving beyond the old stand and deliver. Be forewarned, however, that while it is an easy read, the writing style is not as polished as some of the other options in the professional development category.
Happy reading this week!
We're back! After our slightly-less-than-orthodox start last week (are we ever going to start a term up normally this year?!), we are right back in the swing of things - planning, teaching, collaborating. It's great! And since I went off on a little tangent last week and shared books about snow instead of things that I actually read over the break, I thought I would share a couple of novels that I read with you. Both are part of our school district's Battle of the Books and both were great reads! Super happy I brought them home with me when I actually had some time to enjoy them.
A Mango-Shaped Space (Wendy Mass) - What a wonderful book! A Mango-Shaped Space takes a look at a young girl with synesthesia, a condition that causes her to see colours for letters and words. I loved the way this book explored the way Mia's feelings about her condition develop and change; nothing felt forced or awkward about Mass' portrayal of a teen coming to grips with who she is and who she wants to be. I can definitely see many kids making lots of connections to this book! A great choice for discussing differences, loss and friendships.
The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate) - When I first picked up this book, I was a bit non-plussed; I just couldn't get in to the writing from the perspective of a gorilla. The more I read, however, the more the book grew on me and by the end I found the sweet, somewhat sad, naive voice of Ivan, the shopping mall gorilla, to be truly endearing. Although it is a sad story in many ways, the ending is uplifting and leaves you feeling if not happy, at least very encouraged by Ivan's prospects in life. Interestingly, this story made a good companion to A Mango-Shaped Space as it too explores the concepts of differences, loss and friendships. It would be really interesting to read both with a class and have them draw comparisons between the two. Hmmmm....
Looking forward to hearing what some of the kids thought of both of these. If you've read them, I'd love to hear what you thought too!
Today was a snow day! The first one in 35 years, apparently. Is there anything better than that on the first Monday back from winter holidays? Everyone, even the people (like me) who were shoveling their driveways all morning, had a huge grins on their faces. My Facebook feed is jam packed with rosy cheeks and giant smiles. That and cheering hockey fans - Canada just won the World Juniors! What a day! A winter wonderland indeed.
I had a whole list of books to share with you that I read over the break but instead I am going to stick with the True North theme - snow & hockey. I can tell you about those other books another day!
Katy and the Big Snow (Virginia Lee Burton) - Today was definitely a Katy kind of day! Pretty sure there were even some broken down truck plows around town! This classic story follows Katy as she digs out all of the key community helpers (fire fighters, police, electric company, etc) after the Big Snow. My kids love Katy!
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Puck (Stella Partheniou Grasso) - this cute & clever spin on the classic tale was given to my daughter for Christmas. The old lady swallows everything, including the rink! A fun read for hockey fans, with a bit of a twist at the end.
Snowmen at Night (Mark & Caralyn Buehner) - What better book to read the day after a zillion snowmen have been built? Discover just what it is that snowmen do after their builders are tucked snug in their beds. You'll never look at a snowman the same again. Also available on We Give Books, in case you can't get to the library tomorrow!
Stella, Queen of the Snow (Marie- Louise Gay) - As always, Stella never fails to delight. Her answers to all of her brother Sam's questions are endearing and entertaining, especially as she tries to explain snow to a boy who has never seen it before. Also available in French, which is great!
Oh She Glows Cookbook (Angela Liddon) - So not technically about snow or hockey (or YA literature for that matter) but she is Canadian and I made the Present Glo Bars today, so I figure that's close enough. If you're looking for a delish vegan cookbook, this is it! Liddon is a self-taught chef with some great, healthy, easy-to-make recipes. I can't wait to try the Glo Bars in my lunch tomorrow!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about living life with my family, teaching and learning something new all the time. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!