Wednesday, October 29, 2014

50th Day of School



The second grade team at my school celebrates the 50th day of school each year with a 1950s day!  I participate by having all of the second grade classes come to the media center for a 1950s storytime.  We begin by discussing how we might expect books from the 1950s to be different from books today.  The students usually mention that the older books don't have as much color and that the characters don't use the technology that we have today. 

Then I read four books.  Each seems pretty simple and not dramatic at all compared to what our kids read today.  But they seem to love the books anyways!  When I do a storytime, I use my IPEVO document camera to show the pictures while I am reading.  This works for me because all of the children are able to see the illustrations and because I can read without pausing to show the pictures.  Here are my favorite children's books from the 1950s to share with students.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Sir Readalot's Castle Book Fair


This past week, the media center hosted the book fair!  This fall's Scholastic Book Fair theme is Sir Readalot's Castle.  The media center was transformed into a medieval castle.  I decorated with castle turrets, a drawbridge, pennant banners, and several chandeliers.  After setting up the books and decorations, I held a teacher preview after school.  Teachers snacked on meatballs, pita chips and carrots with hummus, and quiche.  They created wish lists of books for their students to purchase for their classroom libraries.  To boost sales, several family events were held during the book fair: two grandparent breakfasts and an All Pro Dads meeting.  We even had a knight visit the media center!  One of our parents dresses as a knight for historical reenactments.  He brought his armor and appeared on our morning news.  This was our most successful book fair yet!

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Georgia Children's Book Award Winners


This year's Georgia Children's Picture Book Award winner is Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler.

Although Sylvie was very popular at my school, my students chose Clink by Kelly DiPucchio.

This year's Georgia Children's Book Award winner is Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

My students chose A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz.




I just love how our students are so excited about reading the Georgia Children's Book Award nominees.  The book award list provides students with suggestions for books to read, many of which they probably would not have otherwise considered reading.  The shared reading experience and conversations students have about books promotes literacy throughout the building.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Makerbot 3D Printer

Recently, the proposal I posted on Donors Choose for a Makerbot 3D Printer was funded!  When the box arrived, I couldn't wait to unpack the printer and set it up.  I filmed the first print and showed a time lapsed version of it on the morning news.  After seeing the video, our teachers and students were curious and wanted to know more.  They kept asking, "But where does the paper come out?" 

Now that I have mastered printing items from the SD card that came with the printer, I am exploring Thingiverse and the Makerware software.  There is a group of sixth graders who have started exploring Tinkercad and Blokify.  We hope to have some student-designed items ready to print soon!

video

Monday, March 3, 2014

World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #3


During the month leading up to World Read Aloud Day, I'm participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, blogging participants respond to a question addressing the World Read Aloud theme "Raising Our Voice."  The prompt for week 3 is to post a photo that gives readers a glimpse into your reading life. This could be your favorite place to read, your bookshelf, your library, your classroom, a book from childhood that you still re-read today, your favorite person to read with. Anything that brings joy to your reading life will work!


My favorite part of my reading life is sharing it with my children.  Each night after dinner and before brushing teeth, we curl up on the bed and read a chapter of a book.  Even though my two children are very different (Katherine is 13 and Caleb is 8), they can always agree on good books.  We are currently reading The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan.  They love Percy Jackson and enjoy learning more about Greek mythology.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #2


During the month leading up to World Read Aloud Day, I'm participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, blogging participants respond to a question addressing the World Read Aloud theme "Raising Our Voice."  The prompt for week 2 is "Answer the following questions with a child. The child can be a student or your own. Age does not matter. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us."  I asked my own son, Caleb (age 8) to participate with me.

1. I think everyone in the world should read…
Me: The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco.  This book is on the Georgia Children's Book Award list this year.  It is such an inspiring story that teachers and kids equally love.
Caleb: the Harry Potter series.  They are exciting books.

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
Me: Carmen Agra Deedy.  Carmen is a gifted storyteller.  We have hosted Carmen at my school for the past two years.  I love hearing her beautiful voice read her stories.  After she left last year, one of my students said, "I wish Carmen could come to our school every day!"
Child: My mommy!  Because your voice is nice.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
Me: I love to read aloud The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.  Each of the characters is so well-developed and unique that I can draw inspiration from the story and create a voice for each character when reading it aloud.
Child: The Lunch Lady! (in the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka)

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…
Me: mystery and historical fiction for both kids and adults.
Child: nonfiction.  I like nonfiction because I learn from it.  My favorite nonfiction books are books about animals.

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...
Me: encouraging a young person to read.  When I read aloud to students, I often expose them to books they might not otherwise have known about.
Child: the good stories.

 This is me and my son, Caleb, on the 50th day of school.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #1


During the month leading up to World Read Aloud Day, I'm participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, blogging participants respond to a question addressing the World Read Aloud theme "Raising Our Voice."  The question for week 1 is "What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?" 

When I was young, my mom (a former first grade teacher) read aloud to me constantly.  The bottom drawer of my dresser was stocked with books.  I loved to spread these books out on the green shag carpet and select one for my mom to read to me.  I remember her reading books such as The Monster at the End of This Book, Frog and Toad Are Friends, and other books we checked out from our local public library.  My mother taught me to read before I started school, so I also enjoyed reading to her.  I loved the Carolyn Haywood books like B Is for Betsy and anything by Beverly Cleary.  Our shared reading experience built a foundation of lifetime literacy for me.  And I still love sharing books with my mom. 

This year, I will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day for the first time.  I am so excited to show my students that reading aloud is worthy of celebration on a global level.  Each of my second grade classes will read aloud with another class via Skype.  I am looking forward to promoting literacy and having my students connect with other children around the country.