Monday, December 10, 2012

Keep Calm

So I saw this on Pinterest, and well...yep...I will have to try to make it. if someone would be so kind as to let my kiddos know. 

Yes ~ we are all so excited and ready for a break, but I have so much left to cram into their sweet little heads. Was that very responsive classroom of me? Oh well, they know I am kidding...I do love my sweet kiddos. You know I brag on them all the time!

We are furiously planning and drafting our opinion pieces. I think this will be my favorite to read so far. I love how my kiddos are always so full of opinions, and it would break my heart if they suddenly couldn't express those opinions. I better hear some cute little voices in there! 

I just wanted to share a reader's notebook entry that makes my heart sing! I want every book my kiddos read to be the best book, yet! It only gets better with every page! Keep turning guys...just wait to see what happens in the next one!

Look at the adorable stockings a parent
brought in for our kiddos Christmas party!

So I was wondering the other day if anyone has been keeping count of exactly how many picture books I have shared since I started this crazy quest to share one great picture book a day. I am still debating if sharing many books a couple times a week counts, but at this point it is the best I can do...and since this is my blog ;) and I make up the rules...well, I am counting them!

Before I share some new ones we have read, I want to revisit my ALL TIME favorite Christmas picture book, Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed.

Mr. Breathed has perfectly narrated the tale of his father ~ the self-proclaimed Red Ranger of Mars. This sour-faced little boy is sent to spend Christmas on the damp little island of Vashon were in the end the true meaning of Christmas and faith prevails over "promises hatched by those who weren't very good at keeping them..." and other such twaddle.

I just had to share a few more kiddos LOVED it!

Funny what belief in someone can do!


Red Ranger Came Calling, Berkeley Breathed

The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman is another new favorite of mine. These illustrations are beyond amazing! This is such a beautiful story, and my kiddos truly loved it today. You know when you have boys calling out how beautiful the illustrations are ~ well then you have something magical don't you! This lyrical rhyming story, like many at this time of year, reminds us what is truly special and magical. Reading this story reminded me so much of my Katie Byrd...grown up and out making it out on her own..."the best part of Christmas will always be you beneath my Christmas tree."

This next book reminds me of my boys...The Longest Christmas List Ever by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis. Again, another fun rhyming book that the kiddos (boys, escpecially) LOVE! Lots of fun toys gets tossed around this one, but in the end, much like others shared tonight, it is more about the love of family and friends that makes the true spirit of Christmas. 
With that kiddos, I will say goodnight.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Manic Mondays

Whew...I am not sure if I should ever be out on a Thursday and Friday again. LOL, I think my kiddos missed me too much. It was a wild and crazy pretty much had MONDAY written all over it! 

Oh well, tomorrow is a new day, and we get to start over! How cool is that?! 

But if you want to see something to make you smile, just look at the greeting of that letter..."Dear Mrs. Wonderful Dunn." LOL...someone is working for an A+.  No really, I am just kidding! Have I mentioned how much I love reading my kiddos reader's notebooks?! You know I do tend to repeat myself. (Just in case you haven't noticed ;) No worries though right...check out these great reader's notebooks! I am so proud of these kids. 



My class has a love of Post-it Notes this year! I might have to make a supply run to get more very soon, but I don't even care one bit! I love seeing how they use them as they are reading ~ you know they do need something to write their thoughts on while I hog up their notebooks. 


Look what at I found at the end of the last school year. It was one of those random stops by my favorite place, Books-a-Million. Katie Byrd and I were wondering around the store, and of course floating around the back of my head is the idea that the last thing I need in this world is one more book. Then I happened upon this beauty! OMG...a 20th anniversary edition of one of my all time favorite books! Of course, whether I needed it or not, I was NOT walking out of the store without this one! Not only is it a wonderfully crafted story, now it is a beauty as well. Whoo hoo! Look at these gorgeous illustrations with notes from Gary Paulsen. Talk about discussions regarding where writers get ideas and author's purpose and word choice! PERFECTION at its best. :) We are sneaking in a little Gary Paulsen here and there. You can always make time for the classics!


Now! I have to brag on Mrs. Whitt, our kiddos and the work they are doing for her. Their Founding Fathers Projects have been so great, and we are so proud! Here are a few pics below. I will add more soon.


Just two picture books to share tonight. These are from the hilarious team of Mike Reiss and David Catrow. You just can't go wrong with a Catrow! Both are silly and fun rhyming books. Most of the holiday favorites make an appearance in both: turkey, pilgrims, Lincoln and Washington for Presidents' Day, even the Easter bunny. Either Santa needs a holiday from his holiday, Santa Claustrophobia, or he needs to recover from a knock-out punch by a Jack-in-the-boxer, How Murray Saved Christmas. Either way, Christmas is turned upside down and has to be saved. My kiddos really giggled at poor Murray and his fashionable unmentionables when they make an appearance. I swear I could look at a David Catrow book all day and still not see all that he has to offer.

Happy Reading!

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Currently Bookish


Where do I even begin to explain how much fun I have had so far this weekend? The book nerd in me has been squealing inside ~ ok...maybe a little on the outside, too. OMG...look at Ms. Shewmaker and me posing with Mr. Jack Gantos! Whoo hoo! I just love him, and I love how he shares his passion for reading and writing with such humor and wit. 

Looks like someone else's inner book nerd was just as
excited as mine :) I may have a convert on my hands...hehe

Alright, let me back track a bit. I may have been sort of badgering begging my principal to send the two of us to Harding University's Young Adult Author Series, so we could meet and learn from one of my favorite authors! We have had our eye on this program since this summer, and we were not sure when or how to ask. Well, I finally broke down and just asked, then begged, then bugged and the stars aligned and all fell into place and Sarah and I were the last two to make it on the roster for the event! the skin of our teeth, but it didn't matter ~ we were in!

We may have been the last two on the roster, but who was front and center early last night for the meet and greet? ~ These girls! Now, anyone that knows me knows that I am not usually a front-and-center-professional-development sort of girl, but for this, well... we all have exceptions!

Mr. Gantos holding up his 5th grade journal! What a writing inspiration!
Many of the Jack Black books were drawn from these pages. 

Another example of a Gantos in progress.
Mr. Gantos telling stories and explaining where he gets ideas.
Showing teachers how to guide their students to their own amazing stories.

Again, where do I begin? So many ideas - more than I can share just yet because I haven't tested them out on my little guinea pigs students yet. (just kidding ;) I know I mentioned his passion for reading and writing, but I just don't think I can clearly translate how much he aspires to make us all "bookish!" I love his word - bookish! 

If you have read my blog, then this you know of me ~ I love the smell of a new book. Silly I know, and I probably repeat it too much. But it is part of who I am, and it holds some of my fondest school memories and my very own sense of bookishness. hehe....I knew I was not alone. Mr. Gantos shared many of the same things I have said so often.

Some of my favorite "bookish" things said by Mr. Gantos this weekend:

* "The desire to write is there...the desire to capture greatness is there."
* "...a reading life gets you going into the writing life..."
* in writing..."pull something luscious out of your mind"
* in reading..."park yourself in there for a while and live in the nooks and crannies of the page..."

and my all time favorite and something to make you think...concerning the moment you finish a book, maybe even the day after you finish a book, or quite possibly years after you finish a book...

* "It is the same book. I am not the same person."

I remember the first book that "changed" me, that made me somehow "not the same person" as I was before I read it. The book that pointed me toward my very own bookish life. The book that opened my eyes to the reality of endless possibilities...Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. I even remember the when of it all ~ fourth grade! How fitting for me now. Mr.Gantos even mentioned this book today, and again my inner book nerd was screaming..."Yes, that's the one. That IS the book that showed me there was so much more in this world than the small school, the small city, the small state that I was from. That is the book that opened my eyes to the power of writing!" 

You must know that from this point on, "It is the same book. I am not the same person." will be used often in my room. How about after learning from Mr. Gantos this weekend about all things bookish ~ I am, yet again, not the same person...I cannot wait until Monday to share with my kiddos! I cannot wait to show my students everyday the value of being bookish, and how being bookish may lead them down the path of becoming a writer full of greatness!

To check out the first time I got to meet Mr. Gantos, click So many books, so little time...



Now...can you believe ~ it's December?! You know what that means! It is time for another "Currently" with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade! I love her site, and I love getting to hop around to all of the wonderful blogs out there! So many amazing teachers! Be sure to stop by and check it out. Don't forget the Rule of 3. Link up and leave a comment with the two before you and the one after. :)

The beautiful lights at Harding University this Christmas season!
Now, you didn't think I would write a post without sharing picture books did you? Of course not - hello! It's still me....

So here are a couple more of my favorite Christmas picture books. I know; I am becoming somewhat predictable. My first Christmas picture book was a Berkeley Breathed and my second is a David Catrow. Well, a Mike Reiss really, but still my favorite illustrator, Catrow. In Merry UnChristmas, our holiday season gets turned inside out as these kiddos get to celebrate Christmas everyday of the year except one. Be happy with what you have jumps out as a theme for me, as we see that the true and beautiful magic of Christmas can be lost if not appreciated.

Margery Cuyler has done it again. That's Good! That's Bad! on Santa's Journey is very similar to her original with a light-hearted Christmas twist. Full of figurative language, onomatopoeia  and repeating phrases, this back-and-forth text will have the kiddos joining in and making fun predictions!  

OK...just one more after all. I love Michael Garland's illustrations. I have a growing collection of his work and each one I love more than the last. The Mouse Before Christmas is so beautifully illustrated and a touching little remake on a Christmas classic.

Happy Reading! And as Mr. Gantos would say, "Be Bookish!"