Sunday, March 26, 2017

If I Were the Giving Tree...

The Giving Tree is a classic story. I played the version of Shel Silverstein reading it himself:

Then I asked the students to write from the perspective of the Giving Tree-how would they feel, what would they say/do?

If I were the Giving Tree I would go away.

...I would be happy someone took my branches.

I would have decorations.

The most hones answer:    I would say I'm glad to give him my stuff but I wish he would ask another tree.

I feel beautiful. The tree she had to give all those things to the boy.

I wanted the boy not to be homeless.

I want the man to be rich.


I would have a lot of apples.

I would have more best friends.

I will love the boy. :) 

I will let him get my stuff.

I would feel bad because I was all alone.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Comparing Perspectives of Roots and Leaves

We did a unit on trees this week. We read some of my favorite tree books including:

I asked the students to think like the roots of the tree and the leaves and write about that perspective. What would they see, hear, feel as the roots under the ground and what they would see, hear and feel as leaves in the open air.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Spring Break Reads

Our Spring Break was this past week and it was nice to recharge.

I read a few books (these are my break reads along with a few other I read this month):

I LOVED this book! It's about a brother and sister who move to the country in Maine with their parents. They meet a neighbor who helps instill in them a passion for taking care of farm animals. Touching and fun to read.

About another brother and sister but this pair are essentially homeless. Older brother trying to take care of his younger sister but not exactly able to do that effectively. It highlights what life is like for our kiddos who face homelessness as well as the choices we make for family.

Titles intrigue me-this one apparently refers to a famous stage note by Shakespeare. This one is definitely a YA story. The protagonist is a cheerleader at cheer camp who gets drugged and raped. Most of the story is the aftermath of how she and the rest of the town deal with the fallout.

Her parents put their heart and soul into making her into an Olympic level gymnast. When there's a mysterious death in the town it comes to light how much the parents in the community are hiding. Definitely YA, but a pretty well-written mystery.

        And my favorite--one of the authors who reviewed the story called it "timely and timeless". I think that's a perfect way to describe it. A story of two very hard-working immigrants from Africa dealing with the process of trying to get visas, dealing with living working-class lives working for wealthy families. It's a well-written story-I cared so much about these characters and what was going to happen to them.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Open-Ended Leprechaun Hats

So every year we are on Spring Break when St. Patrick's Day arrives. This year the day before our break began we celebrated it anyway. We made green punch to drink and read Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola.  We also made leprechaun hats. Now you know me-I'm not a fan of cutting out the pieces and having the students glue them together and all the hats look exactly the same. We had a Project Runway moment-I just put out construction paper and they completely designed their own hats. I asked them to think about their client (the leprechaun) and how they like things like gold and rainbows-but they were free to design that hat however they wanted to. They were very proud of those hats!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Inkblot Writing

I taught my students about symmetry and we did a simple activity to show what that may look like. The students put droplets of paint on a paper in whatever patterns/colors they chose. We folded the paper in half and smooshed down the paint and voila opened it to show a new picture. They were just amazed at the way they could make designs with just a few drops of paint! It also gave us something exciting to write about.

I asked them to write a sentence to describe their pictures-what did they see? Here's what we came up with:

an angel


black leaves


a creative tree

a beautiful heart desiring a beautiful cast to my heart

Police car

a sky



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