Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

(I am not able to upload any pictures - don't know what's wrong with Blogger. Ugh!! This is not the first time this has happened.  I want to publish this now - will add pictures later I hope)

Over the past couple of weeks I was on holidays and did not read as much as I hoped. But I did get to read "The Book Thief".

 It was an amazing read. I have read a number of books relating to the Second World War this year yet this was by far the most memorable.

I also read:

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
I enjoyed it. Some reviewers did not like the story told in verse, but I rather liked it, as it made the impact of all she underwent more stark.

Hurry, Freedom by Frieda Wishinsky - a Canadian Flyer Adventure about the Underground Railway.
I have a few books in the series and had not read any so thought I'd see what it was like. An interesting twist on time travel and the two children learn about the Underground Railway by being part of an escape. An easy chapter book read.

More Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron
Julian is quite the story teller and I enjoyed this as much as the first one. Can see using these books for writer's workshop.

Neville by Norton Juster
I won this through a teacher blog and I so enjoyed it. Fun illustrations as well.

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
I collect his books but had not read this or had one for my class library. I found this at Goodwill and loved the illustrations and simple storyline.

Christopher Changes His Name by Itah Sadu
I think all children wish for a different name at sometime and this is a fun look at what happens when Christopher changes his name.

I am still reading:
 "Guided Math" by Laney Simmons (which I will be using to improve my math programme)

Daily Five and Cafe by the 2 Sisters

I just started "Number Sense Routines" by Jessica F. Shumway which is going to help build numerical literacy in my class this year.

After reading "The Book Thief" , I am not sure what to read next. This summer has been filled with such powerful YA reads. Any suggestions??

Be sure to check here and here for some great book choices.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

Back again after almost 2 weeks away. We had a lovely reunion with my husband's family in Lake George last weekend. This annual trip is a chance to bring my father-in-law to Saratoga Springs for horse racing - a trip he has made for over 40 years every August weekend. Now he needs support to do that and this year we all went down. We've decided that this needs to be our yearly reunion time, even if Dad can't be there.

It is time for shadow sharing. Another week of gorgeous weather, although this weekend we are returning to high heat and humidity.

 This big creature was at the Art Fair we went to in Lake George,

I finally got to see the new baby doves when we got home last week. It won't be long before they will fly  away as well. This was the first summer we had repeated nestings - 3 sets of dove families this year!

Be sure to check out the wonderful shadows from around the world here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's that time of the week where we share our reading. I had started "The Book Thief" last week but a call from the library changed the course of my reading.
3 books i had reserved were in and that is what I ended up reading (I didn't want to rack up fines was my excuse). So, I read:

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul

I loved Deza and how she handled all of the challenges in her life. It was a great description of the Depression era.

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

Another strong character in Fern. I got so caught up in the dynamics of the family, I stayed up reading til 3 a.m. one day last week. I had to see how it was resolved. Excellent writing, excellent story telling.

32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Philip Done

Since I teach grade 3, I have been wanting to read this for awhile. I don't think I laughed so much. So many of his stories I have experienced and know so well. What a fun read!

I will read "The Book Thief" this week as well as continue with my professional reading. Only 3 weeks til school begins, so have to squeeze in as much reading as possible!

Be sure to check here and here for some great reading choices.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

Seeking shadows has become an enjoyable past-time. This past week, with lots of sun, shadows were quite easy to find.

We visited Stratford this week and had a lovely walk along the Thames River. Swans, geese and ducks abound, both in and out of the water.

 This was one of the decorated pianos that are part of a unique programme that has pianos decorated and left for people to play - and many did.

Be sure to visit here to see great shadows from around the world.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Picture book 10 for 10

The Third Annual Picture Book 10 for 10 is now here. Cathy Mere (Reflect and Refine)  and
Mandy (Enjoy and Embrace Learning) have organized this fun event. Be sure to visit their sites to see everyone's lists!

Trying to choose just 10 picture books that I couldn't live without was difficult. I decided to choose 10 books that I use at the beginning of the year that focus on building a caring community and focusing on building skills..

Here is my list:

1. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

A fun book that helps see that even teachers can have the jitters. Great to lead to discussions of what we worry about.

2. The Memory Stone by Anne Louise MacDonald

I use this book the first week of school to help children focus on a special memory and how an object can help us remember a special time.

3. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

This is a special book about memories, love, generations, by a favourite author.

4. It's a Book by Lane Smith

My students loved this book! Great way to discuss books and media forms.

5. Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna

A gentle look at the impact of rumours and looking past appearances.

6. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

An excellent book that looks at fitting in and being different, especially for ELL students.

7. Have You Filled a Bucket Today and Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud

I start the year with these 2 books and we share ways to fill each other's bucket. This is referred to all year. It's a very visual way for kids to see how their actions and words affect others.
There is even a website to give ideas and teaching hints.

8. The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper and Gabi |Swiatkowska

A lovely book that really focuses on how we treat others.

9. The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

Love this story about how to stand up to a bully and change the way things are.

10. Who is Melvin Bubble? by Nick Bruel

A great intro to point of view and how others see us. The children turned their writing into books.

(This is a return look at favourite books from July; check here for links to where to purchase.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday

Jamie Ridler hosts the weekly "Wishcasting Wednesday", where she poses a question to respond to,
This week she asks:

What do you wish to create?

 As I thought about the question, I realized that as I near the end of summer holidays and gear up for the beginning of school, I know that I wish to create a caring classroom where everyone loves to read and write.
This year I will have a Gr. 2/3, the first split I have had in years. I need to create a place where children can succeed at their own pace and feel special.

Be sure to visit here.
As Jamie says:
"You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt above on your blog. Support wishes by visiting other participants.  It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday

Yesterday, which was a holiday here in Ontario, ended up being a perfect day of sunshine, not too hot and a visit to one of my favourite spots. Stratford is about an hour's drive away and we try to go there several times a summer. This was our first visit sine last August and it was  so good to be back.
We did a bit of shopping and then walked along the Thames River.

Stratford is home to the Stratford Festival, which hosts wonderful Shakespearean plays for several moths as well as other well-known plays. 

Walking along the river though is a favourite past-time. Swans, geese and ducks can be seen all along the river, swimming and coming ashore seeking food.

This year there were numerous pianos outdoors, begging to be played. It is an ambitious project.

"Eight pianos, decorated by local artists, were installed across downtown Stratford for everyone to play, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth"  They will be available from Aug. 1 -19. We found 5 of the 8 and even played at a couple.

We finished our day with a lovely supper and drove home, tired but happy.

Linking with "Slice of Life Tuesday" at Two Writing Teachers.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

I would have call my reading this summer - the "Summer of  YA". There have been so many excellent YA novels and I want to read them all!

This past week I read:

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

What an amazing book - loved it and Carley.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

I have a number of books relating to WWII this year- this was quite a powerful book. Sure packs a punch at the end.

Notebook Know -How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner
I already use a reader's notebook, but want to expand my writing programme. This was a very informative book and gave lots of good tools for using a writer's notebook.

I have 3 new books on the go right now. I have so many stacked, several started but then some new book will call to me so they get put aside for now! Between the library, Chapters and Costco, I have been chipping away at my long list of books to be read!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Castaways by Elin Hiderbrand ( a guilty pleasure - just picked up this book yesterday for $5 and a quarter into it)

I am slowly working my way through Guided Math, Guiding Readers, Daily 5 and Cafe.

Be sure to check out the great reads here and here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Weekly Wrap -up

I have finally returned to a daily practice of art. I had a rough going in July as I was busy with book studies, decluttering, physio for my knee and reading ( a lot!), as well as swimming and spending time with my hubby.

Stamp Carving
But I decided to start an online course - Stamp Carving 101 - and I love it. So far I have created a stamp a day and an ATC with that stamp. I have a way to go to perfect my skills but I am loving creating my own stamps.

I was also able to create some ATCs the past couple of weeks - something that is at once a bit of a challenge and fun.


I continue to take photos - mostly of



and now of the third dove family on our porch!

linking up with Creative Every Day and Inspire Me Monday.