Skyping With Authors

Technology at its finest.

I thought that this concept of Skyping with authors is such a neat idea. It is a way to get students excited about reading and meeting “famous people.”

One thing about this article that I found fascinating was the section titled “All The World’s a Stage.” What a cool concept! I would have loved to learn geography via Skype when I was a kid.  It is definitely an idea that I would use if I become an upper elementary classroom teacher. I didn’t travel much as a kid but I was always fascinated with the idea of traveling and I’ve always loved learning about other cultures and other places.  I think that it is so true that this would be an excellent opportunity for students to learn when they are unable to travel.  This “Skyping Renaissance” is a great movement and I think that it is such a great tool for the classroom.

I have a list a mile long of authors I would want to meet.  Some of them are no longer alive, yet they are still blessing us with their work.  I would definitely be honored to meet William Faulkner.  Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, Robert Frost, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and the list goes on.  Since many of them would be impossible to meet, I would settle for any of them.  I would be honored to be able to pick the brain of any author though.  I would not be picky and I would love it no matter who it was!!

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?

It is a hard life being a mouse…

This past week I began reading “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien.  I must be honest, I did not finish the book yet so I cannot completely comment on the plot.  The book is about a family of field mice that live in a garden on a farm.  The father mouse, Jonathon Frisby, died a while ago leaving his widow, Mrs. Frisby and their four children alone on the farm.  The story is a bit stressful because the troubles that the Frisby’s go through are realistic to what a mouse family really would go through.  It is sad to me because of how hard their lives are on the farm while the humans are portrayed as having it so easy.  Me being the animal lover I am loves that this book is all about the animals.

I am hoping o finish this book within the next couple of days.I am roughly halfway done and the plot is getting exciting. It is almost moving day and that means the Frisbys must move across the field to their summer home. A very dangerous task.

Reading Aloud

Read!

The two articles that we read yesterday were both great articles.  They were both eye opening to me in different ways.

The article “Read Alouds” by Katherine Sokolowski on Nerdy Book Club was a great article.  It was eye opening to me because I had never thought about reading to the higher grade students.  I was read to a lot in fourth grade and I enjoyed that.  But I honestly do not remember being read to after that point.  Maybe I was and the memory just escapes me.  But this article made me realize that reading aloud can be important and beneficial to students of any age.

The article “A Year of Reading: Building Read Aloud Routine in Third Grade” surprised me.  I never really thought about reading to students a book of their own ability.  I can remember my teacher reading books to us that were maybe one step above our level, but she would dissect them and make us understand them as she read them.  I very much enjoyed that and so I was surprised when I realized that it does make sense to read the correct level to a student.

I walked away from both of these articles with gained knowledge.  I have always known how important read aloud time is, but now I know a little better how I can shape and mold reading time to fit my students.

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?

It started with a peach.

This last week, I read “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl.  I have always loved Roald Dahl’s work.  This book did not disappoint.

It is about a young boy named James who is orphaned when his parents get killed in an unusual accident.  He is sent to live with his two cruel aunts.  To say they treated him poorly would be the understatement of a lifetime.  However, things begin to look up when he discovers a piece of magic.  Talking insects and wild imaginations included.  James and his crew of insect and spider friends set off on a journey to reach his destination dream of New York.  Did I mention that their mode of transportation was a giant peach?

A fabulous story with a fabulous ending.  I loved this book and it is nothing less than a Roald Dahl book.  Such imagination was put into this book and many strange incidents allowed this story to be fun.  This book would definitely hit the spot for somebody that likes to open up their mind a little bit.  Use your imagination and just let loose.

Diversity in Children’s Literature

Respect.

The article Here I Am is a great read.  I believe that what he said about a main character being colored is not as true as it once was.  There is still diversity and yes there are still people who are going to feel a bit uneasy about a colored main character.  But I also believe that today is progressing.

The second article that I read was Culturally Diverse Books Selected by SLJ’s Review Editors.  It was a good read, but what I liked about it most is that it also worked well as my  new reading list! It reviews several multi-cultural books and it gave me many great ideas. “Africa is my Home: A Child of the Amistad” by Monica Edinger is one of the books that I thought sounds like a great read.

I think that there are many different ways that a teacher or librarian can correctly approach diversity. Although it can be a touchy subject, more so in some areas than others, it is not a subject that should be uncomfortable.  Too much attention to the subject can be equally as dangerous as avoiding the subject all together. If the subject is handled humbly and respectfully then students will think positively about it.  If we encourage and display diverse books, children are going to be curious and they are likely going to read them.  That is a wonderful way for them to learn the right way to treat people: reading books about the diversity.  It is an eye opening for people of all ages, reading about the diversity and the hardships of slavery.

We should also never act nervous about a topic, or students will be able to pick apart that we are uncomfortable.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Hatchet

This week, I read “The Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. The plot of this book could leave children slightly frightened. The idea of being lost in the wilderness of Canada, all alone.

This book is about a boy named Brian who is struggling with personal issues at home.  He takes a flight to visit his father in Alaska.  He is the lone survivor when the plane crashes.  He is forced to fend for himself and keep himself alive in the wilderness.  Between natural disasters and fighting off animals, Brian becomes uneasy and fights the feeling that he will never be saved.   Although at times he wanted to give up, he became so strong and his survival instincts save his life.  He teaches himself to hunt (sort of) and fish.

I will not spoil the ending for you, because if you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you do so.

This book was motivating, tiresome, stressful, brilliant, and uniquely written.  I loved the way that Paulsen would write some of his sentences in short phrases. Sometimes only one word. Just a repetitive word.  This acted as Brian’s thoughts and how he was bouncing back and forth with a running mind.

I did love this book, and I am slightly ashamed that I didn’t read it when I was younger.

Reading Goal Update

A couple of weeks ago we all made reading goals.  I had two different goals.

My first goal was to be better at posting my books on Goodreads. This is something that I realize now that I have not been doing well.  Woops.  I need to focus on it more.  I need to do it when I get the book read instead of waiting until I have the app open on my phone.

On the other side of things, my other goal was to complete the list of “The Top 100 Children’s Novels” I am obviously nowhere near finished but I am doing well and loving it.  I have focused all of my reading on the books on this list.  I enjoy reading these books. I have always been partial to novels and childrens novels are great.

I definitely think that this is the right goal for me.  I am enjoying it, I am motivated, and I am getting a lot accomplished.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading??

Oh bother.

What is better than Winnie the Pooh? Nothing. This imaginary world was a huge part of my childhood.  They are such a sweet story and they make my heart happy!!  I spent hours and hours of my childhood reading and watching Winnie the Pooh books and movies.  And ironically, this is the book that I chose to read this week.  “Winnie the Pooh: by A.A. Milne.

For those of you who have never experienced Pooh bear, I am sorry.  Winnie the Pooh is a bear that is very forgetful.  He has a serious love for honey and he is a sweet as they come. These stories are based on the friendships of Pooh and his other forest companions. They are unlikely friends in many ways but they have a beautiful friendship that is so fun for kids to have a part of.
Another thing that  I love about Winnie the Pooh  is that it is enjoyable for all ages.  A fabulous story and a must read.