Monday, April 30, 2012

This week we are focusing on The Planets by Gail Gibbons.  I found an article online talking about how she began writing nonfiction and the process she goes through to write her books.  It was absolutely fascinating and I was able to share with my students some of the information.  Gibbons shares some of the information only in her illustrations because she knows they are smart enough to get it.  They liked that!  They also appreciated that she has so much information she shares it at the end of her books on a few special pages in the back.  Almost, almost as good as an author visit!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring clean up at the cottage

Yesterday we drove up to DeKorra where we have a family cottage to mow and rake and see what the winter had wrought...  A storm had taken down a huge limb from a cottonwood tree and it landed on the neighbor's garage.  Always some sort of calamity there, but we love it so much.  There is so much natural beauty in this area of Wisconsin.  Can't wait to return someday soon.

cottage photo.jpg

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Awakening in Spring

     Every spring when I start hiking or walking outdoors again it feels like I have been hibernating all winter.  I haven't...I'm out for recess duty every day come rain or shine, but it is not the same as hiking through the woods and seeing it come to life again.  It awakens something in me too. 
     In my last post I mentioned Hawthorn Hollow, we also have a hiking path through the woods next to the Root River provided by the company my husband works for. Yesterday I walked the 2 mile loop for the first time this year and it felt wonderful. There is something about reconnecting with nature that is good for the soul. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hawthorn Hollow

Hawthorn Hollow is a wildlife sanctuary that is beloved by our family.  On Saturday my daughter and I hiked there earlier than we have ever been able to before in spring.  The daffodils were riotously blooming, more than I have ever seen in one place.  I started to tell her about Wordsworth's poem and she composed one on the spot, recording her words on her phone to write down later.  I wonder what Wordsworth would think of that.  A lovely day in an incredibly lovely place.  So glad she thought of hiking there.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poetry Month?

I went to Barnes and Noble in a rare spare moment because they usually have a special poetry display for April, one year they had umbrellas with Jack Prelutsky poetry.  Well... this year I found they not only do not have a display, they removed the poetry section from the children's book area entirely.  I could only find one lame display kind of hidden in the back of adult poetry.  Granted it used to be only one shelf in the children's area, but nothing?  I thought perhaps they had stuffed them in with the other fiction, but I could find nary an author even there.  I comforted myself by purchasing Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech. (Only one copy available) and Good Poems by Garrison Keillor and decided from now on I guess it's all the way.  Gregory K. and A Reading Year are posting all these wonderful poem books and locally...there is nada, zilch.  Unbelievable!
PS We do not have an independent bookstore anymore for other options.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oddhoppers Opera

Yesterday I shared a poem/riddle about a spider's web and dew from Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman, and a little bit of Oddhoppers Opera by Kurt Cyrus online.  It was still up on the screen today when Matt stopped by and said "Is that a real book?"  When I answered, he said, "I'd really like to read that."  I am so eager to hear that I ordered some used copies when I got home and threw in Hotel Deep for good measure.  I also am going to pick up some copies of Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech.  When the boys connect to something, I want to encourage them as much as I can!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Love That Dog

As we continue to read Love That Dog it brings emotions to the surface.  One of my students shared a problem he had after we finished reading today.  He was in tears, which surprised me because that is not typical for him.  The boys are really enjoying the story and getting the humor.  I  read Mirror, Mirror by Marilyn Singer with a group of girls today.  Her writing ability still astounds me, to be able to make sense forward and backward is way beyond my capabilities.  Then I shared Dark Emperor and other poem books by Joyce Sidman.  The artists in the group were really impressed by the beauty of the illustrations.  We then tried writing our own poems...very abstract... but it was our first try.  Loving poetry month!

Monday, April 2, 2012

National Poetry Month

I have always loved poetry and treasure sharing it with my students, especially in the month of April.  This year it will be shortened because of a week of vacation, so we got started right away today with Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.  Right away Brendan made many connections with Jack, not knowing what to write, not wanting anyone to read what he wrote, not wanting his name on his work, remaining anonymous.  They enjoyed the humor in the book too.  The first year we read it a tenderhearted student broke down and sobbed when it was revealed that the dog had been killed by the blue car.  I will never forget the power of that moment, and how it affected all of us that it meant so much to him, and he related so much to the book.  I loved books that touched me that much as a child.  It has only happened to me recently when I read Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.  I carried that emotion around with me for days.
  We are also reading Charlotte's Web so I am in literary heaven!