Blog Posts

Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, legs and Beaks by Jolene Gutierrez

Bionic Beasts by Jolene Gutiérrez is a must-have book for the upper elementary classroom. Jolene's book uses five chapters to highlight five specific animals: a Kemp's ridley sea turtle named Lolaa German shephard named Cassidya greylag goose named Vitóriaa Berkshire-tamworth pig named Piratean Asian elephant named Mosha The organizational structure of each chapter will entice… Continue reading Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, legs and Beaks by Jolene Gutierrez

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At the Mountain’s Base

For some time now, I have been collecting books written by own voice authors, particularly those books written by Indigenous people.  My collection is growing and these books play a vital role in all aspects of my curriculum and in the classroom community.  The students are beginning to recognize works by specific authors by examining… Continue reading At the Mountain’s Base

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Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy, written by Tara Dairman and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Inspired by the Rabari people of northwestern India, Dairman tells the survival tale of two characters who live in two different environments. Facing the challenges of sandstorms and monsoons, both the nomadic female character and village dwelling male character make decisions and take action to survive the harsh weather conditions. Their efforts include protecting their… Continue reading Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy, written by Tara Dairman and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

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Book Shopping 2020 Style

Getting books into kids’ hands is very important. Getting them books that they CAN read and WANT to read is even more important. One of the greatest challenges we face daily in this remote learning world is that kids just don't have enough books or the right books to read at home. Digital books are… Continue reading Book Shopping 2020 Style

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Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper and Kenard Pak

The morning after a blizzard, Lina walks through her neighborhood to her grandmother’s and takes delight in the many ways she can experience the new fallen snow through sound.  Lina wakes to the muffled quiet of a world blanketed in snow. On her walk, she listens carefully and hears snow-related sounds such as the “ploompf”… Continue reading Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper and Kenard Pak

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Rock-Climbing Champion, Ashima Shiraishi, Teaches Kids About Problem Solving!

Amongst all that feels lost, I am holding onto the magical read aloud moments that still exist. In our quick-paced hybrid model, I am trying to find space where reveling in stories is a possibility. One of those places is our community meetings. Meet Someone New Monday allowed us to introduce ourselves to Ashima Shiraishi,… Continue reading Rock-Climbing Champion, Ashima Shiraishi, Teaches Kids About Problem Solving!

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First Graders and #MeetSomeoneNewMonday

It's first thing Monday morning, and one first grader asks, "Mrs. Mulligan, do you know who we are going to meet today?" When I heard this comment, I knew that Meet Someone New Monday was having an impact. I learned about #MeetSomeoneNewMonday from Melissa Quimby, a 4th-grade teacher in Natick, Massachusetts, and now it is… Continue reading First Graders and #MeetSomeoneNewMonday

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Dancing In The Wings By Debbie Allen Pictures by Kadir Nelson

This magnificent book traces the struggle of a girl who dreams of being a ballerina. She is very tall and she endures many people teasing her and trying to dissuade her from following her dream. However she ignores the negative comments and ends up being a wonderful ballerina. The book is loosely based on the… Continue reading Dancing In The Wings By Debbie Allen Pictures by Kadir Nelson

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The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

This beautiful picture book tells the story of Leo and Dad, who must say goodbye to a home that feels like part of the family. Wahl’s words and illustrations show the reader all the idiosyncrasies and imperfections of the blue house that would seem unappealing to most, and are what make the house feel like… Continue reading The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

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How to Build a Virtual Book Room

As we lean more on digital texts during this Covid year, I've been working to create structures that honor the power of student choice in selecting texts. The past few weeks, I've been building nonfiction virtual book rooms designed to mirror in-person, pre-Covid book shopping routines when students browsed their classroom libraries to built their… Continue reading How to Build a Virtual Book Room

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A Little Spot of Giving by Diane Alber

During this time of year when many are in a flurry trying to find that “just right” gift for loved ones, Diane Alber’s message of the perfect intangible gifts are much appreciated. Unlike the games, toys, clothes, and jewels being sought, these gifts have no physical presence. They can’t be touched, but the impact of… Continue reading A Little Spot of Giving by Diane Alber

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The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

Teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and frustrating, but one thing has remained steadfast—my belief in the power of books to connect. This belief was reconfirmed when I read the picture book, The Arabic Quilt, to my third graders during our morning Classroom Book-a-day. Together, Aya Khalil and illustrator Anait Semirdzhyan tell… Continue reading The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan