"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Lunch Bunch Book Group reads The Real Boy

The Lunch Bunch Book Group has been reading The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. Each week we gather to reflect on the book, share events that surprised us, and share theories and predictions. it is often this last part that gets the students so excited. Along with discussions, the students have been using pen and paper and technology tools to express themselves.  Here are some of their projects.

On books that make an impression: Rain Reign

There are books that one knows will make an impression on students.  Books that the students create their own buzz about. Books that make them think and change their lives.  Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin is one such book at my school. Since it came into our collection, Rain Reign has not been on the shelf and most students are purchasing their own copies because they cannot wait to read it. It makes my heart happy that the students need to talk about the book and find ways to express their connection with it. These three students made a Google Presentation. Check it out:

Rain Reign was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award. I book talked the book when explaining the award, and as I was doing so, a few students who had already read the book helped get the buzz going. This was a beautiful moment while hanging at the corner of reader and story.

Thanks for visiting us, Chris Haughton!

Lucky Us! 
Chris Haughton came visiting on Tuesday. 
He was in the U.S. to accept his Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for the book Shh! We Have a Plan. 

The students LOVE all three of his books, as evidenced by the amount of fan art that keeps popping up! 
You can see other book-related lessons here and here. During the visit, Chris read his books, talked about the book-creating process, got the students dancing, and answered questions. It was a fun and full visit!

While sharing Oh No, George, Chris brought his George puppet, which got into a bit of mischief gobbling cake and dumping trash. No worries though, they were just paper!

The lights in our Centre don't have a dimmer, so to see the screen, we turned them all off. It made the reading quite dramatic. Chris did a fantastic job of acting out the stories.

There was time for questions, but as with all author/illustrator visits, never enough time. 

The first grade students thanked Chris and wrote down additional questions:
It was a fab visit!
Come back soon, Chris!

Monday, April 6, 2015

On practicing the art of correspondence


~the activity of writing letters or e-mails to someone

~the letters or e-mails that people write to each other

To the first definition from Merriam-Webster, I would add the word, "art," for there is an art to letter writing. And, if the letters are written artfully enough, the recipient will respond. 
This is our hope at least. The third graders here at Mason-Rice are writing notes to their LibraryPals in Minnesota. These students took part in the postcard writing project that went along with the book launch of Special Delivery and we are building on that experience by now writing to our friends at Parkview. 

Our notes to our friends at Parkview include:

~a paragraph about their lives, something interesting to share, as well as a question for the recipient;
~and, a paragraph about a fictional book character they would like to spend the afternoon with, why they chose the person, and what activity they would choose.

Some of the notes are longer than others as students grow in their ability to transfer those easier oral conversations into written ones.

Here are a few students reading their notes:



 And some sights from the library:

We're ready for a visit from Chris Haughton tomorrow!

The books have been read! 
The students have reflected! 
The discussions have happened! 
The questions have been shared! 

We are ready to meet Chris Haughton.

There will be plenty of time to ask questions that arise during the visit, but I like to get the students thinking before hand. Here are some of the questions they recorded today:

AND...a little more fan art:
"I will take care of an owl."

Exploring figurative language with the book Rodeo Red

I am taken with Rodeo Red, written by Maripat Perkins and illustrated by Molly Idle (Read my Rodeo Red: ReedALOUD Review.) I decided to try a one-off lesson with the book to see how the students would react to the lesson.  It was a success and I am eager to develop it into a two part lesson for the younger grades.

For the first fifth grade class, the students got a list of figurative language and choose one (or two) to illustrate.  

After this, we went through the list and parsed out the meanings. We then read the story. The students were incredibly engaged and connected to it. After reading the book, we talked through some of the language and had fun seeing Molly Idle's illustrations.

The second class of fifth graders went through the list and parsed out the meanings right away. We then read the book. After reading the book, they wrote (and in some cases, illustrated) their own figurative language adding a contemporary spin. 

As handsome as One Direction

As skinny as a cheese stick