Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#ClassroomBookaDay: the First Weeks of School

This is my first year teaching fifth grade (after ten years in third, fourth, and seventh), and one of the additions to the curriculum I am most excited about is incorporating the #classroombookaday commitment to daily read aloud (at least during our reading periods, which are four times per week).

Most weeks' readings will have a common theme as well as a title related to some of our year-round themes around identity, acceptance, and kindness. (See this year's #cyberPD posts about Sara Ahmed's Being the Change for more details.)

Week One: Identity and Community




Our theme for the first week was about personal identity and classroom community. On the first day of school we shared Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, followed by All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, and I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien to round out the week. We also read and discussed the new The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson during our Library time.

Jabari Jumps was a great first day of school read. The story of Jabari and the various ways he wrestles with his fear of the high dive serves as a great extended metaphor about facing your own fears and be willing to try new things. We also used the character of Jabari to discuss issues of identity and make a model "identity web" (below, inspired by Being the Change). Students then used Jabari's web as a jumping off point for making their own personal webs. Below you can also see our brainstormed list about characteristics of own identities.


All Are Welcome is a short poem of a picture book based on a celebration of school's like the one the author and illustrator's children attend. There is a lot going on in the illustrations, which my students enjoyed examining and discussing. This would also make a great read aloud and discussion for staff - how does your school measure up to these ideals and what can you do to make it an even more welcoming space?

I'm New Here tells the story of the beginning of a new school year through the eyes of three children who are all recent immigrants to the US. It's a great book to get kids thinking about what it might be like to be new to a whole country and not just a new school.

Finally, we shared The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson during our Library time.This brand new picture book shares some elements with those above (first day being new at school, feeling like you don't belong, etc.) but instead addresses the reader directly.

Week Two: Names



For the second week of school, we focused on stories about names and their connections to identity. In writing, students wrote etymologies about their own names, with these titles serving as ideas and inspiration.

In Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, the titular Alma is frustrated by the length of her name, but her father patiently explains to her where each name came from and how each is connected to her family and her history. This one has a structure that would be easy for younger students to emulate when writing about their own names.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi is a great story that forces kids to think about what they consider "normal" names and how that can be exclusionary. Unhei has just moved to the US from Korea and is considering choosing her own "American" name rather than introducing herself as Unhei.

Younger students at our school also share Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, but my fifth graders were happily nostalgic about the story and willing to talk about it again. Chrysanthemum the mouse loves her name until she starts school and hears the reactions of her classmates.

Someone New by Anne Sibley O'Brien is a companion book to I'm New Here and revists the story from the perspective of the three kids already at the school who each reach out to welcome the new immigrant students. We had some great conversations around the ways that each character has to choose to take action and the impact it has.

What books have you been sharing lately? Click here for all of our #classroombookaday posts.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/03/18 #IMWAYR


It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



Recent Posts


Board Books



Tooth (2018) by Leslie Patricelli comes out tomorrow. This is an adorable addition to her wide-range of toddler- and baby-centric stories. Tooth conveys the mystery, confusion, and excitement of the arrival of those first shiny white chompers, as well as some useful reminders about how teeth work and what to do for them. Super cute book!

As my son has been drooling enough for teething for at least two months at this point, this was a particularly timely arrival! (An advanced review copy of the book was provided by Candlewick. All thoughts are my own.)

Picture Books



The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes also comes out tomorrow. I normally don't start thinking about my Mock Caldecott list until well into December, but after this book I think I'll just hang up my library card and call it. This. book. is. gorgeous! (Read my full review here.)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September #diversekidlit is here!

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children's book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, October 6th and the first Saturday of each month.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Svenja @ Colours of Us

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Share Your Link Below




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

New Book Alert: The Stuff of Stars

Oh my word, this book.


The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes arrives in stores on Tuesday. I was already a huge fan of Ekua Holmes' work (her illustrations for Voices of Freedom: Fammie Lou Hamer the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement won a Caldecott Honor and Out of Wonder was one of my favorites from last year), but her illustrations for this book are simply stunning. The use of color is always a strong signal of her work, but the use of marbling takes it to another level. I want to frame this book and hang it on my walls.

Stepping back from the illustrations (if you can), the text is also stunning. Marion Dane Bauer has created a sparse and lyrical text that weaves the entire story of the universe, from the Big Bang right up to today into a poem. This is a book I could see being used everywhere from science classrooms to a mentor text in language arts to a must-have gift for baby showers. You will want to see this one for yourself.

(An advanced review copy of the book was provided by Candlewick. All thoughts are my own.)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

August #diversekidlit

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children's book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, September 1st and the first Saturday of each month.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Svenja @ Colours of Us
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestTumblr

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Share Your Link Below




Sunday, July 15, 2018

Being the Change #cyberPD Ch. 5-6: text set for upstanders


This summer's #cyberPD online educator book club is tackling the brand-new (and inspiring!) Being the Change: lessons and strategies to teach social comprehension by Sara Ahmed. Join us during the month of July as we read, discuss, and reflect on this powerful book and how to incorporate it into our classrooms. You can find all the details about #cyberPD here and/or click here to join the Google+ discussion group.


Thoughts on Chapters 5-6: Finding Humanity in Ourselves and Others


Even just the chapter titles for these last two chapters make me hopeful: finding humanity in ourselves and others (Chapter 5) and facing crisis together (Chapter 6). As I'm sure we can all agree, there has never been a more timely book than this one or a more important time to be nurturing a sense of humanity in our students and communities. I love how the lessons in the previous chapters build towards this point, how understanding ourselves and our place in the world can help us better reach out and understand others.


There are so many wonderful books out there to help students grapple with some of the issues in these chapters, especially around bullying and being an "upstander" rather than a bystander. Sara includes just a few in her list of resources for understanding our universe of obligation, so I thought I'd round up some others for those interested. Did I miss any of your favorites?

Text Set on Being an Upstander


I've subdivided this list into "younger" and "middle grade / middle school" but you could absolutely use any of these books with older students too (and even vice-versa, depending on your students).

For younger students



One by Kathryn Otoshi. This book deals directly with the issue of bystanders vs. upstanders as a group of colored blobs are variously bullied and intimidated by Red. Only one blue has the courage to speak up and encourage, does change happen. Follow up books include Zero (dealing with self-doubt) and Two (dealing with issues of exclusive friendships).


Be a Friend (2016) by Selina Yoon. Dennis, who is a mime, lives life his own way but still feels lonely, until another student reaches out to him. I think this is a book that needs discussion and conversation to guide it but that it can help kids to see how stepping up and reaching out can positively impact someone else.


Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka. This story of friendship, bullying and doing what is right revolves around two friends, Peanut Butter (a sea horse) and Jellyfish, and Crabby, their cranky neighbor. This story could foster discussion among kids about bullying but also about what can happen when friendships become exclusive. Cute illustrations too. (H/T Linda at Teacher Dance.)


The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade (2015) by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson. I loved the illustrations in this book - especially the diversity of kids represented! But the story is very simplistic. One little girl raises one little finger and suddenly the whole world decides to be nice to each other? Switching from being a bystander to doing something about it takes more work than that, but this could be a good book for younger students as a place to start a conversation.

For middle grade or middle school students



Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. This one is a must-have for any classroom or library. It addresses issues of bullying and bystanders but in a much more complex and meaningful way than many books for kids. Truly we need the power of this book's message about how individual actions (even if they may seem small) can have a big impact.


Red by Jan de Kinder. This book brings up some of the complexities of being an upstander, as one character (the girl on the cover) is actually a bit of a participant in the initial bullying of her classmate, but through the course of the book her understanding of her role changes. I think it's important for kids to see that they can be complicit in events unfolding around them - but also that they can then do something about them.


Wings (2000) by Christopher Myers. This unique take on bullying features a supporting character, Ikarus Jackson, a young (presumably black) boy with wings. The narrator, a bystander and fellow student, shares his/her own observations about the new boy and everyone's reactions to him. Only after witnessing much does the narrator step up and stop the bullying. This could be a great book for generating discussion about diversity, inclusion, bullying, and differences.

What are your favorite books for teaching kids about empathy and being an upstander?

Join us via the Google+ discussion group. (Click here for all #cyberPD posts, including previous years.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Being the Change #cyberPD Ch. 3-4

This summer's #cyberPD online educator book club is tackling the brand-new (and inspiring!) Being the Change: lessons and strategies to teach social comprehension by Sara Ahmed. Join us during the month of July as we read, discuss, and reflect on this powerful book and how to incorporate it into our classrooms. You can find all the details about #cyberPD here and/or click here to join the Google+ discussion group.


Thoughts on Chapters 3-4


Chapter 3 covers bias, microaggressions, and countering stereotypes and prejudice, while Chapter 4 hits on becoming better informed. There are so many people in our country right now who need these understandings uploaded directly into their brains! [Doesn't it say something that my Google spellchecker does not recognize "microaggression" as a word? Sigh.]


I love the combination of lessons in these two sections: working towards understanding personal bias (Chapter 3) and working towards understanding systemic bias, like "fake news" and evaluating sources (Chapter 4). Media literacy is a HUGE topic right now and one that every teacher needs to be addressing.


There is a great new book series out to help teachers educate students about how to evaluate information: Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! and Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries. Each book is divided into chapters that feature three nonfiction articles around a related theme. However, one article is a lie! Readers are challenged to carefully read each article and see if they can sleuth out the truths from the fiction. A chapter of research skills is provided that highlights some great strategies to use too. I think this will be a really fun way to get kids thinking critically about how and where they get their information. Definitely a great fit for the lessons in Being the Change!

What resources have you found that you might use with the lessons from these two chapters?

Join us via the Google+ discussion group. (Click here for all #cyberPD posts, including previous years.)