Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Big, beautiful (and busy!) world

Such a busy day we had on a day that should be filled with moments of silence and remembrance.  For today's post I think I will start by sharing my first (and most important for this date) picture books for the day:

September 12th We Knew Everything Would Be All Right by Masterson Elementary Students and There's A Big, Beautiful World Out There by Nancy Carlson are both wonderful ways to bring such a difficult topic to the carpet. My sweet fourth graders have such a difficult time understanding this moment in our history, and each year I notice the disconnect grows. There is such a delicate balance of bringing out the sheer magnitude of this event without frightening students. I have found that both of these books open conversation in a gentle and appropriate way.

Not only do these stories open the door to relevant discussions of our history, both stories led right into our conversations of common themes in literature. I shared the author's notes in each, and we decided where they fit best.

Switching gears to something a little more lighthearted, I was glad to share my next book, another of my top faves by Berkeley Breathed! Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big is such a witty rhyming story stressing the importance of honesty. Mr. Breathed's illustrations here are just as amazing and unique as Mars Needs Moms, and the text is just as well written! His word choice is perfect! Honestly, I am usually giggling before I have completely turned the page.

So creative... love Berkeley Breathed!
As we read books throughout the year, we will continue
our focus on Themes in Literature and will add to our
growing display for all fourth grade students to see!

We are also slowly but surely
adding  to our CAFE board. 
At this point, my kids are all but drowning in books! This is one of my favorite parts of writing workshop...yes I know, I am repeating myself. This is just honestly a fun time that I look forward to every year, and every year, when I see the writing "lightbulbs" start glowing above each of their little heads, I love it even more! So much sensory detail has already been added to our anchor! The kids are cracking me up as they try to use it in their writing. Until they get the hang of it, it is usually complete overkill in their stories, but we are all a work in progress in my room. I have to say I am just fine if I have to pull them back a little bit later because it sure is fun to read some of the things they come up with in the mean time.



Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan, It is the Wind by Ferida Wolff, Katie and the Night Noises by Jacqueline Sweeney, and Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant are full of sensory details...lots of sound descriptive words. Hello Ocean actually has small details from all of our senses, such a great mentor for sensory detail, and you can certainly never go wrong with a Rylant story! It is the Wind was a gift from my sweet daughter; she said as soon as she saw it, she thought of me. :) She couldn't be more right because it is a pretty little story with wonderful word choice. Katie and the Night Noises is just the opposite in that it reminds me of my own little Katie when she was a little girl. Such a chore to get that child to sleep. 

Our Sensory Detail list is growing by the day.
This anchor will remain posted in our room
all year for students to refer to!
I Need my Monster by Amanda Noll has been another fun and silly text full of excellent word choice! Such a cute way to show just much impact the right amount of sensory detail can add to a story. LOVE this story, but love the giggles and participation in evokes even more! Poor Ethan must have a monster under his bed to help him sleep...check out the book trailer I found on YouTube.

Whew...again, a very busy day! With all of our work on the craft of writing, we have also been working in small pieces of grammar here and there. So much to fit into the day! There never seems to be enough time. At this point though all my sweet kiddos still seem to be enjoying their day as much as me, so all is well I guess. You have to love it when you can cram as much reading and writing into the day as possible, and they STILL leave smiling! 

Well, one more story to share. Crazy number of books for two days, I know, but one of my sweet kiddos brought this in because we both spent a number of years living in Alaska. The fact that this Arkansas girl (very much a true southern summer loving girl) ended up in Alaska is a whole lifetime ago and a story that I will have to share at some other point. of my little kiddos brought in a book that both of us had an amazing amount of background knowledge in, so how could I not pounce on that teachable moment?! I mean, HELLO - how perfect for teaching schema! Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Lou Aillaud brought back so many chilly memories for me, and watching my little student bob her head in agreement to my stories was so cute!

Wow! Are you as tired as I am? 


I was very excited that I finally got to see my handsome young man play some football this week! At last, a game for Justin that was not rained out! His dad was very excited to watch him play since many of his games in previous years were missed because of night shift. 

Well, I guess that pretty much covers it! Hmmm, hope I didn't leave out a book ~ just kidding! 

Happy Reading!

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