Monday, September 28, 2015

Grandfather Gandhi

So for the past few years we have had a few more students attend our school with an Indian heritage. I like my students to be able to find themselves on our library shelves so I have been on the lookout for books that either have Indian children as characters or are about their traditions. I found a book I  really thought was beautiful. It's called:

It's a little long for a read-aloud, especially with little ones, but I LOVE the message. The message is that everyone gets angry, it's all about channeling that anger into something effective. The book uses the metaphor of electricity. Lightning ranting and raving can be dangerous, but it can also be harnessed into electricity and be useful. I also thought the illustrations were breathtaking. Definitely two thumbs up! :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I've Actually Been Reading....

Can you believe it?! I was slacking off a bit when school started back up again and I still feel like there are about 1,000 other things I should be doing-- but I have read a few good books recently. I'm going to write about these 2 because I think they are books I feel like others might enjoy as well.

A story about a very precocious 2nd grader with a very eccentric grandmother. After I read the book, I read the reviews people gave it and many were put off by the fact that they couldn't tell what was real and what was part of the girl's fantasy world. I couldn't tell either, but it really didn't bother me enough to dislike the book because of it. I listened to the audiobook and would be in the middle of the grocery store laughing out loud at parts of the story. It's funny and poignant all in one.

Reminiscent of The Fault in the Stars a bit, but still I think an interesting read. Madeline has a rare disease that affects her immune system so she has never left her house. She falls in love with the boy next door and takes some risks in the name of love. I read this book in 2 days which is really rare for me-I usually read pretty slowly.

Not at all what I expected. It's a mystery, yes, but the action mostly surrounds a bachelorette party (a Hen Party as they apparently call it in Britian). Not nearly as scary as the cover would have you believe. I did like the twist in the end, but I admit I did see it coming.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Coding Club

I know what you're thinking-you have no interest in coding, wouldn't even know how to start doing this with your kids. I will confess that at one point I thought the same thing. Our school half-heartedly participated in Hour of Code last year (by that I mean about 2 teachers participated-it was supposed to be a school-wide initiative). But the kids LOVED it and picked it up very quickly. More quickly than I did in some circumstances. So I attended a training about it this summer run by

The lessons are very easy to follow and most of them actually have nothing to do with technology. You are having them give commands to a partner-take a step forward, another step forward, another step forward, turn right, etc. You are having them do a pattern of movement to illustrate a loop command.

Well, I held my very first meeting this week with the Kinder and 1st Grade students who signed up for my Coding Club this week. I have to do it early in the morning because my afternoons are already committed to my book clubs, Student Council and faculty meetings. I have not had success with morning activities because for many parents even getting the kiddos there on time regularly can be challenging. Asking them to come in a 1/2 early is a big deal. But I had about 20 kiddos attend! I showed them the following video (  I love that the narrator is a girl! :)

We have all heard that the jobs 20 years from now have not even been invented yet. If you think about it, when we were young we didn't have cell phones, the internet, ipods, ipads. People didn't check out at the grocery store with credit cards or read books on a Kindle. They were not even a possibility in our minds back then. Imagine what jobs these kids will need to be prepared for! Check out or other coding instruction sites and see how easy it is to include this in your curriculum.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Making the World a More Beautiful Place

I have always been a fan of the book Miss Rumphius.

I know the message may be a bit over their heads, but I like to share it with them all the same. We read the book and talked about how we could make the world a more beautiful place, other than planting flower seeds everywhere. I even shared with them the song Imagine by John Lennon as an example of an attempt at that. Then I asked them to write about what they would do to make the world more beautiful, here are their responses.

sharing books

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Collage for First Responders

My school has decided to make something each week of this month for the police officers and firefighters who help protect us every day. We were assigned to make a collage-which scared me a little bit at first because I couldn't really think of anything to make. We ended up doing a torn paper collage of a heart using red, white and blue. Then we brainstormed some words to describe these First Responders and glued those on as well. I was really happy with the result and thought I would share:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

If I Were a Parent.....

Thinking about Multiple Perspectives, I read my kiddos the story the Kissing Hand. In it, Chester's mom gives him a kiss on his hand that he can take with him to school the first day and hopefully allay the anxiety he is having. 

So I ask my students to think like a parent-if you were a mom or a dad and dropping your child off for school the first day and they didn't want to stay, what would you do. Here are their responses:

I'm not sure if he meant just leave them and go home or take the kid home-the student is not in the picture so.....

Love this answer-if only there was a potion like that!

hug my kid goodbye.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Making Our Mark....

I was at a training probably 6-7 years ago for technology resources and the presenter pulled out a children's book to read to us. Now usually I roll my eyes when this happens because I don't particularly like spending time in a training listening to a story but that story happened to be the Dot and I had not heard it before. I loved it and loved the message behind it.

I also like open-ended art projects-so I had the students make their own dots after hearing the story. They could make any kind of dot they wanted to-here's what they came up with.