If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Slice of Summer

A Slice of Summer ~ Two days into summer 2010, the body and mind are adjusting. Is it the summer sense of relaxation? Baking cookies instead of grading papers, ironing fabric for a quilt project instead of tomorrow’s outfit – hey I did both tonight and also had coffee with our daughter, Katie. Now I am trying to capture some of the magic in a slice of life story.
The afternoon was perfect for a few errands. I went on a little jaunt to a neighboring library to pick up a copy of Roses, our book club selection for July. I better get started it’s a thick book although all thumps are up for this one.
Before heading home I detoured to check out the summer sales. Can I help you find anything? My response ~ no thanks, I’m just browsing. Yes, I definitely spent some time browsing, meandering around, scoping out the bargains. Shopping is not often “my thing”, but every now and then it hits the spot. My favorite find today ~ a new bathing suit: black one piece. Simple and 40% off! YAY! Also found new swim trunks for Mark. Can’t wait for those high 80s this weekend!

Monday, June 28, 2010

List 1

Summer is here – happy reading!
1~ Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. Eleven year old Turtle narrates the story of the summer of 1932 when she is sent to live with relatives in Key West, Fl. I fell in love with this character the way I fell in love with Opal, Ida B., Jack, and many others. These characters become beloved members of your classroom after you read their stories together. Turtle is a mix of sarcasm, spunk, and sensitivity. Through Turtle’s eyes readers get to know her mama whom she misses dearly and the relatives that she meets for the first time when she arrives on their doorstep. *****
2~ Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan. This is a short, but meaningful little book of inspiration. A fourth grade class works for several weeks with a visiting author. She brings new ideas about writing and in the end inspires both the students and their teacher. This is a good choice for anytime in the year, but especially valuable for kicking off writing workshop in the fall. I might do a little author study including other titles by MacLachlan such as All the Places to Love, Sarah Plain and Tall, and others.

Happy Summer!

Never mind the less than sunny skies, today was the first day of summer vacation here in western NY. Of course after a few weeks of neglect, there’s the usual catching up to do around the house and the summer projects that I am planning to tackle, but first things first. After much pondering and inspiration from dedicated bloggers, I have set a reading goal for the summer – a book a day. YAY! Lounging on my deck with a tall glass of iced tea and a good book has been my idea of a perfect summer day for years, but this year I want to do more to nourish my literacy life. I intend to read a variety of books - children’s literature on the lookout for reading and writing implications; novels for middle readers; professional books; and naturally some summer “beach reads.” Several times a week, at the very least, I am planning to post the titles and in many cases some follow-up thoughts.
As I continue to creep into the blogging world, summer will afford me the much coveted time to establish a regular routine for posting and managing my blog. That being said with more active involvement on my part I am looking forward to communicating with other bloggers. I am in awe of the generosity of bloggers like Amy at the Poetry Farm, Stacey & Ruth at Two Writing Teachers, Elaine at Wild Rose Reader, Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect and many more! I have learned so much in the few months I have been dabbling that has enriched my life. My students and I participated in the March Slice of Life challenge and April’s Poem a Day program. I love the routines like Monday Poetry Stretch and Poetry Friday Round-up. However, I am still very much a rookie. I welcome and appreciate any and all feedback. Many thanks!

Summer is here – happy reading!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trying to Get Back in the Slicing Groove

Our students have eight days of school left, but who’s counting. With the nagging thoughts of what to keep on the to-do list and what I might have to let go, I reflect on the year. Oh no, we have a unit left in social studies…we haven’t worked enough on word study…or cursive...Is there ever really enough time? We have a chapter book to finish and several picture books that are must reads before next Wednesday.
In March, we all sliced the month away and learned so much about each other and ourselves as writers. This week, we are reviving that part of our writing lives in hopes to ignite a routine for notebook writing over the summer.
I suppose we have a decent list of accomplishments to balance out the list of inadequacies. My students are passionate readers and writers. They can spot powerful writing that makes one stop and say, “Wow, I wish I wrote that!” They are expert poets and simile writers. They know the names and can recognize the voice of many authors. They fell in love with India Opal, Bud, Crispin, Catherine, Joey Pigza, Jack, and many more book characters that we talk about like old friends. Several times now students have said to me, “You really should add this book to your summer reading list, Mrs. A. I think you would like it!” I haven’t had a chance to read many yet, but their suggestions look like winners. Also I loved their confidence and finesse for recommending good books.
This morning after the pledge as students settled down, I looked around to find students huddled in twos and threes over the latest National Geographic for Kids and other fascinating non-fiction selections. Others were flying solo, perusing poetry books and others were working on composing summer poems. Ahh...what a great place to start the day – in the garden with the soft steady buzz of the worker bees!