What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, May 31, 2015 1 comment
Thank you for reading our (almost weekly) series, What We're Reading Sunday! 

I'm feeling like Olaf friends! It's summerrrrrrrrr! 
Summer means even more reading than ever! Wait....I just remembered I have a 4 month old. Ha!! To maintain sanity, I will read! I.must.read. 
I've just finished Zero to Five by Tracy Cutchlow and by finished I mean read through the parts that are relevant to me right now. That's how the book is designed and I really like it. Tracy has taken all of this scientific data and made it super (tired) mom friendly. I'm currently spending a bit of time in the "Guard Your Sleep" section. No reason. :)

I'm also in love with the sections about reading with your child (fist bump Tracy) AND building a growth mindset (see page 58!) It's not just for babies either! The sections on behavior are enlightening, too! This book truly is a resource book!
Zero to Five also features a page from my friend and fellow LTYM cast member, Katherine Stone
The layout of the spiral book is easy. There are little color codes on the side letting you know which age groups the information is directed toward. It's like my phonics manual at school and I love it. This book has moved to the top of "get this for new mommies" list. It's right up there with What To Read When by Pam Allyn. 

I've put Brain Rules for Babies on hold for a minute because I have a <GASP> required reading. I'm part of our County's Leadership team and we've been asked to read Student Voice by Russell Quaglia and Michael Corso. I generally do not get too excited about required readings (who does?) but I have a lot of hope for this one since it is something I am so passion about-listening to our students. I'll let you know! 
Now what about T? Here's what is on his list!
See a theme here? I'm thinking N and I should buy stock in National Geographic! 

As for M, he is reading eating a few board book favorites including this one
 
Now for the BIG question! What are you reading?

2 Fiction + 2 Nonfiction

Monday, May 25, 2015 2 comments
I'm so excited to be joining several other Georgia bloggers to share summer reading lists! The hardest part of this post was deciding which kind of list to share! Should I go with a rising first grader list? I do have one of those rising first graders (heart break just typing that!) Should I go with a rising second grader list? I do teach 22 of those rising second graders (where did this year go??) Should I go with a teacher list? I've read some good ones! Should I go with a beach read list? Maybe I actually need to be planning a trip to the beach for that one! 

Decisions, decisions, decisions! 

As I read to T last night and he requested the same book followed by another favorite, my decision was made! Here is our contribution to the summer reading lists-books to read again and again!
*This post contains affiliate links in case you want to go straight to Amazon to purchase the books. Of course, buying local is really the way to go! :)
2 fiction + 2 nonfiction = 4 Fantastic Summer Reads!
(Ages 2-8)
When it comes to informational books, National Geographic Kids are our favorite! We have quite the collection and we've been known to share between home and school on more than occasion. These readers are perfect for independent reading, reading with a parent for fantastic questions, and for simply finding the answer to a question. They have jokes, fun facts, pop quizzes, and more! In true National Geographic fashion, they also have amazing photographs! Our absolute favorite is Sharks.

 
We LOVE Mo Willems around here and could really put any of his books on the list! Since this was one of T's first loves, we went with Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The driver needs a break and pigeon, being the kind bird that he is, volunteers to drive. He tries his very best to persuade the reader to please let him drive even though the driver specifically says, "don't let the pigeon drive the bus." Its a family favorite for sure! These books beg for an animated read and I always try to deliver! Be sure to check out Elephant and Piggie, too! Our favorite is We Are In a Book.
Another series for fact lovers, animal lovers, or those with a sense of adventure is Who Would Win? by Jerry Pallotta. I met Mr. Pallotta a few years ago and admired how absolutely genuine he was. That made me love his books even more! My son and my first graders can't get enough of this series pitting two animals against each other. We talk about how the author had to research both animals to compare their habitat, lifestyle, eating habits, etc so he could determine who would win if they were in a battle. The reading level for these is 2nd-3rd grade, but they are great for family reads, too! Our favorite (so far) is Whale Vs. Giant Squid. 
If you have a 2-5 year old in your house, please meet Jan Thomas. T loved these books and remarked a few days ago that he can't wait to read them to M and that he might, might even go read one to his kindergarten teacher's class next year! The illustrations are vibrant, the text is clever and there are even a few teaching moments in there. We are fans and our favorite is Rhyming Dust Bunnies.

Come see what friends in Georgia are reading this summer and be sure to share what you are reading, too! 

Keepsake Book

Monday, May 18, 2015 No comments
As kindergarten comes to an end (and my heart breaks because my little boy is growing up way too fast,) I sent our keepsake book to school for T's teachers to sign.

You've seen them, right? Lots of people choose the classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. 
You send the book to your child's teacher each year and they write a short message. You then present the book to your child at the end of 5th grade, 8th grade, high school-depending on how organized you are! :)

When T and I discussed this concept and we read Oh, The Places You'll Go, he said, "what other choices do I have?" He wasn't connected with this classic just yet and I respect that. I showed him a few choices.....
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (swoon) and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. This book is, and I'm not exaggerating, a treasure. I cried as I read this simple text thinking about my little T and my first graders. I can't wait to read it them on the last day of school. T liked it and even gave me a hug when I finished reading it, but it wasn't the one either. 
Then there was When I Grow Up by none other than Weird Al Yankovic. T loves this book because of the silly jobs described and the fun rhymes. Mommy loves it because there is a little teacher lovin' inside! This was our top contender for at least a week. 
While on a trip to Barnes & Noble one weekend, we stumbled upon this book, What a Wonderful World.  As soon as I finished reading it, T declared that this would be his "school book." He connected with it immediately and fell in love with the art. We listen to this song and sometimes I sing it at bedtime. Of course, now that I've read the book, I realize I've been singing it wrong, but, ya know, whatever. :) 

So there you have it, our keepsake book chosen by my soon to first grader (my soul just crushed a little typing that) will be What a Wonderful World which is absolutely perfect because my world is wonderful because of him. 
 
Happy reading friends! 

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, May 17, 2015 No comments
Thank you for checking out our (almost weekly) post, what we're reading Sunday!

I would love to tell you how I have spent hours and hours this last week reading chick lit and children's books, but I would be lying! 

I have been reading writing samples, grading papers, attending 6,000 end of the year events, planning 1,000 more, rushing to swim team, etc. 

We have been reading though-I promise! T's been reading his nightly books and his book fair hot picks! (Our school does an end of the year buy one book get one free book fair and it is always a big hit!)

With me, he chose a couple of nonfiction books and a graphic novel. While without me, he chose a Minecraft handbook. Sneaky kid! He loves it and it has not left his side since the book fair! He even brings it in the car! 
I've squeezed in a few minutes to read the last school year edition of Scholastic's Instructor Magazine. I really like the updated look and feel of the magazine and the articles are short, fun, and current. If you are a K-6 teacher, I'd say grab a subscription for sure!
This month features 50 books for summer reading organized by genre and then by age group. Love, love, love! I've put Brown Girl Dreaming at the top of my summer reading list! 

What are you reading?

Facebook Complaint

Saturday, May 16, 2015 2 comments
I was told by a friend recently that I'm not "real enough" on Facebook. I asked her to explain. She went on to tell me that I don't share my downs as much as my ups. I don't ever gripe about the husband or being up all night with the baby. She said it makes my life look perfect. After I choked on my coffee, I realized she was serious. 

For some reason, maybe because I just read this post, I really thought about what she said. While I do not want my life to seem perfect (mainly because it is not,) I also am just not one of those people. I'm not a social media griper by nature. I'm private. There is a bit of irony there because I love Twitter, FB, Instagram, and have my own blog, but it is true. I am private. 

When something does not go my way, I don't rush to FB or blast a tweet. I call my husband (poor guy!) If I'm aggravated about him (doesn't happen often,) I call my sister who without fail takes his side (true story.) If I have a bad day at work, I'll vent to a friend. If I'm overwhelmed, I call my mom. I'm a talker and I value the time spent talking with the people I love most. The people I don't see enough. The people who know my whole story. AND if the baby kept me up all night, I don't want to do a post about it-I just want to sleep. 

If you know me in real life or virtually, you know most of my story. You know what I want you to know, what you need to know. I've had much loss in my almost 38 years and it is with me everyday.

To be honest, the jerk pulling out in front of me, T talking back for the first time, a colleague not being so nice, a rough day at school, the hot water heater exploding, terrible cramps, or even the 150% humidity we've had already this year, just are not (usually) worthy of my daily 140 characters.  I'd rather share the "other" in my life.

Not sure what it says about me, but I enjoy what others post and take it for what it is-a glimpse into their lives. I laugh at their stories. I feel sad when they are sad. I worry when they worry. I smile when they smile. I celebrate when they celebrate. I try not to judge. I understand that it is all just a snapshot, a teeny tiny snapshot.
So let me continue to share my cute kid pictures, silly selfies, my little funnies, my ordinary and mundane. As a student in my class said, "Go ahead and click like on that for me." While doing so, please know that there are all of those other things going on, too. I run late. I eat too much. I stress out. I cry. I pitch a fit or two. I have a messy, messy kitchen table. I just rewashed a load of clothes that had been there for two days. There are dishes in my sink....and they've been there awhile. 

I just don't want to type about it. I'd rather talk.

Hey You!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 No comments
Hey you! 

That's right-you!

You-teacher-with tired eyes and a smiling face! 

I'm talking to you!
Thank you, teacher! Thank you for teaching my son how to read and write and spell and add and subtract and count and try again and not tattle tale and how to tie his shoes. Oh wait, still working on that last one! 

Thank you, teacher! Thank you for teaching all of those children what they need to know not only to pass a test, but to be a thinker, a learner. 

Thank you, teacher! Thank you for teaching me! Thank you for returning my paper because you knew I could do better. Thank you for making me memorize the states and capitals. Thank you for kindly suggesting (also known as making me) attend summer school for that trig class. Thank you for the note in the corner of my paper telling me how much you loved it! 

Thank you, teacher! Thank you for teaching all of those students before they were in my class. Thank you for starting them on the path to greatness. Thank you to those that follow me, too. Thank you for taking them to that next step on their journey.

Thank you, teacher! Thank you for smiling in the hallway when you walk by-not only to me, but the kids. Thank you for checking on my students and learning their names. Thank you for the hugs, the encouragement, the friendship, the laughs, and most of all for the yummy food! Thank you for making each work day not feel like so much like work. 

During this teacher appreciation week and all the weeks in between, thank you. 

Greg Tang Visit

Monday, May 4, 2015 No comments
Greg Tang is a math guru. Seriously-he rocks math and makes it even more fun than it already is! He visited our school earlier this year and spoke with parents, teachers AND students. It was awesome learning for all of us! I was on maternity leave but I still attended the teacher part because I just couldn't miss it! N attended parent night and T loved learning with Mr. Tang in the cafeteria! He spoke to all three groups about being thinkers and figuring out how numbers work. He was encouraging and honest-just what we needed!

If you are not familiar with his books, here are a few....
I use them for math talks in my classroom and at home with T. We try to think and talk math as much as possible as a family. I mean, that's what makes sense because math is everyday in our real lives. In the classroom, his books are perfect because I don't have time to read a long storybook prior to my math lesson. Each page in Mathterpieces (for example) stands alone. The kids love seeing "real artwork" and talking numbers. Ok, maybe it is my favorite. 

Greg Tang offers lots for teachers, parents, AND kids on his website, too. Guess what else? It's FREE! He wants us all on the same page, the same math loving page and he is not stingy about it!

Here's what we love!
Just like it sounds, gregtangmath.com has an amazing word problem generator! You can select the operation, how high the numbers go, and even the missing variable. I'm a BIG fan!

Kakooma is just one of the many games my students and son love! Kakooma is available as an app, an online game, AND you can even print the boards! My kids love the challenge of solving the nine box! 

Greg Tang is also pretty active on social media and will respond to your math questions on FB, email and maybe even Twitter

If you get the chance to hear Greg Tang talk math, go! I do not think you will be disappointed! I'll share more in the fall when he visits us again! YAY!

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