Monday, December 31, 2018


I'm recommitting to sharing my reading plans for the week every Monday. I learned about IMWAYR from Teach Mentor Texts. Go there for lots of other great links!

My goal this year is 104 books - which should be totally do-able. I hope to smash through that goal.

My TBR stack is getting pretty high right now. I need to add a couple Judy Moody books to this stack too because that is the topic of our grade 3 book club this month. I'm committing to do more book talks with my students, so I will have a lot of J fiction to read and re-read.

Book Love....because Penny Kittle is iconic and I've never read it. Every reading teacher should!

The Gown by Jennifer Robson is her latest book. I can't wait to get into it!

The Book of Negroes by Laurence Hill is one I've read before but my book club is discussing it next month so I need to read it again.

Something Fierce is the book club book for the next month. This one can be put off for a bit.

The Futures is the book I got from my December book club gathering/book exchange.

Better Than Before is what I read every January.

My mom gave me some Nancy Drew books and The Wizard of Oz for Christmas. Haven't read those since I was in elementary school. I'm really looking forward to re-reading them and sharing them with my class.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Fairy Spell (How Two Girls Convinced the World that Fairies Are Real)

I read The Fairy Ring, which is the same story, this years ago and just recently came across this picture book. I thought I'd read it to my class because we have been talking about genre and I thought this would be interesting because of the mix of something not real (fairies) and a true story.

Big fail!

Turns out their belief in fairies in strong enough to make this very confusing. At the end, one said, "Mrs. Ackroyd, I can't decide if fairies are real or not now, but I think I am going to still believe they're real."

I dropped the genre discussion.

Goodreads says:

The true story of British cousins who fooled the world for more than 60 years with a remarkable hoax, photographs of “real” fairies. Exquisitely illustrated with art by Eliza Wheeler as well as the original photos taken by the girls.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Good Rosie (Kate DiCamillo)

Another beautiful Kate DiCamillo book.

We practiced our Book Head Heart skills from Disrupting Thinking with his one. It's a perfect candidate!

It was fun to notice the different personalities of the dogs, and connect it to our friendship unit.

Goodreads says:

Beloved storyteller Kate DiCamillo and cartoonist Harry Bliss introduce some delightfully doggy dogs in a warm, funny tale of a timid pup who needs a friend.

Rosie is a good dog and a faithful companion to her owner, George. She likes taking walks with George and looking at the clouds together, but the closest she comes to another dog is when she encounters her reflection in her empty dog bowl, and sometimes that makes Rosie feel lonely. One day George takes Rosie to the dog park, but the park is full of dogs that Rosie doesn’t know, which makes her feel lonelier than ever. When big, loud Maurice and small, yippy Fifi bound over and want to play, Rosie’s not sure how to respond. Is there a trick to making friends? And if so, can they all figure it out together?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Big Foot Little Foot (Ellen Potter)

I can't wait to share this one with my class. They love trading cards and in this book children trade monster cards for stink sap. It would be a great read aloud.

I think they will also love how the school is organized:

There were three classrooms in the Academy. Classroom One was for the younger squidges. Classroom Two was for squidges who are old enough to know better. Classroom Three was for squidges who thought they knew better than everyone else but really didn’t. 

Totally logical!

Goodreads says:
Hugo is a young Sasquatch who longs for adventure. Boone is young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. When their worlds collide, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends.
At the Academy for Curious Squidges, Hugo learns all manner of Sneaking—after all, the most important part of being a Sasquatch is staying hidden from humans. But Hugo dreams of roaming free in the Big Wide World rather than staying cooped up in caves. When he has an unexpected run-in with a young human boy, Hugo seizes the opportunity for a grand adventure. Soon, the two team up to search high and low for mythical beasts, like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these new creatures, together, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other’s very different worlds but learn that, deep down, maybe they’re not so different after all.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Rockbound (Frank Parker Day)

This is another one of those books I would have never read if it weren't for Book Club, however, I'm glad I read it.

Truthfully, I found it hard to follow. The dialogue made it especially difficult and I found myself needing to read it aloud to even come close to understanding it. I'm not patient enough to read and re-read lines to try to figure it out. The accept though was really reminiscent of how my husband talks about Nova Scotia from the time he spent there on his mission.

Apparently, when the book was written, people from the area were angry about it because they felt like they were portrayed negatively. I can see why they'd feel that way. The superstition, the lack of education and survival mentality is heavy. I did love the parts about the teacher coming to the island and David wanting to learn to read. I'm not sure he was really successful though.

The Maritimes is a harsh and unforgiving place. Interestingly, it continues. This was a news article from today:

Seismic records show Newfoundland was literally shaking from wind and waves

Seismometer in St. John's shows how intense Thursday's winds were

Heavy seas crash into the land at the Drook, a spot on the road to Cape Race. (Submitted by Clifford Doran)
The waves crashing into the rugged shoreline of Newfoundland and Labrador this week led to waves of a different kind.
The squiggly black lines produced by a Natural Resources Canada seismometer show the seismic activity of a vicious windstorm that whipped across the province on Wednesday and Thursday.
The wind and waves were so strong, the island was shaking.
"What we saw over the past 48 hours was quite a dramatic change in [activity]," said John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada. 
"It was very noticeable and in our seismic data, our plots, it just jumped off the page. You could just see that shaking."
The federal government has seismometers — tools that measure earth movements — all across the country.
Cassidy said each year, a handful of storms will produce winds and waves strong enough to record seismic activity on the east and west coast.
And over time, as these weather events impact older infrastructure, it just breaks down.- Randy Oram, Karwood Homes
With winds gusting between 100 and 140 km/h, the conditions were just right to get the Rock rocking.
"It's that combination of the wind, that incredible wind, and the waves that were hitting the island," Cassidy said. 
"Both of those, the waves and the wind, gets trees shaking, rocks shaking ... And all of that can be recorded by our seismometers on the island."

Homebuilders association reacts

Randy Oram, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, said people have to prepare for these earth-quivering storms to be the new normal.
There was damage reported to home and businesses across the province, but Oram said his company, Karwood Homes, has yet to receive any reports of damage.
When asked why some homes suffer damage and others go unscathed, Oram said it has to do with location and age.
"With these weather events, some of the extremes can be localized," he said. "And over time, as these weather events impact older infrastructure, it just breaks down."​
Oram said the industry is changing as the weather worsens, and contractors need to keep up with the standards.
"You look at shingles we were using 15 years ago, they were rated for 97 km/h winds. What we're using nowadays, 210 kilometres is what they're rated for. As climate change happens, building products advance."
It was very noticeable and in our seismic data, our plots, it just jumped off the page. You could just see that shaking.- Seismologist John Cassidy
Randy Oram, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, said standards are changing to meet climate change. (Paula Gale/CBC)
Part of the industry is regulated by Natural Resources Canada, which is currently working on a five-year project on adaptations to home building for climate change.
Where it used to study historical weather events, Natural Resources Canada is now trying to model future storms and set standards based on what is expected to happen, Oram said.
"They're actually looking at where the weather is going in the future, and testing new products and codes for the future."
With files from the St. John's Morning Show

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Disrupting Thinking (Kylene Beers and Robert Probst)


This is a book to revisit and reread often - just like their Signposts book. This will give me some good strategies to use to teach students to think about and discuss books. I love reading about reading.

Goodreads says:

In their hit books Notice and Note and Reading Nonfiction, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst showed teachers how to help students become close readers. Now, in Disrupting Thinking they take teachers a step further and discuss an on-going problem: lack of engagement with reading. They explain that all too often, no matter the strategy shared with students, too many students remain disengaged and reluctant readers. The problem, they suggest, is that we have misrepresented to students why we read and how we ought to approach any text - fiction or nonfiction.

With their hallmark humor and their appreciated practicality, Beers and Probst present a vision of what reading and what education across all the grades could be. Hands-on-strategies make it applicable right away for the classroom teacher, and turn-and-talk discussion points make it a guidebook for school-wide conversations. In particular, they share new strategies and ideas for helping classroom teachers:

--Create engagement and relevance
--Encourage responsive and responsible reading
--Deepen comprehension
--Develop lifelong reading habits

“We think it’s time we finally do become a nation of readers, and we know it’s time students learn to tell fake news from real news. It’s time we help students understand why how they read is so important,” explain Beers and Probst. “Disrupting Thinking is, at its heart, an exploration of how we help students become the reader who does so much more than decode, recall, or choose the correct answer from a multiple-choice list. This book shows us how to help students become the critical thinkers our nation needs them to be."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Eleanor (Barbara Cooney)


Eleanor was a disappointment to her family right from the beginning because she wasn't beautiful enough, and well, she wasn't a boy. The beginning of this story was startling to me. Eleanor's disfavor continued her entire life. Not only was she disfavored, she was unlucky. She seemed to not understand why, but her parents weren't good parents - and maybe not even very good people (although I'm inferring that). Eventually, they died, leaving her an orphan.

Despite all that, she became someone of great worth - the wife to the president of the USA! She never forgot the poor and unprivileged in the world and worked to help lift them up.

Who doesn't feel this way sometimes? This is a great story for anyone who has ever felt shy and awkward and undiscovered.

This could be a great story to read while we're doing biographies in class. Barbara Cooney is the illustrator of Roxaboxen!

Goodreads says:

Though she came from a wealthy and privileged family, Eleanor Roosevelt grew up in a cheerless household that left her lonely and shy. Years passed before Eleanor began to discover in herself the qualities of intelligence, compassion, and strength that made her a remarkable woman. In Eleanor, two-time Caldecott Medal winner Barbara Cooney paints a meticulously researched, lushly detailed picture of Eleanor's childhood world--but most importantly, she captures the essence of the little girl whose indomitable spirit would make her one of the greatest and most beloved first ladies of all time. 
"There are many biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt, but this one is special?Cooney is at her artistic best."