"Here's Amanda, fighting for the good things." As I watched the inauguration last week, I knew Amanda Gorman's poem would become a critical text in my kindergarten classroom. Seeing her, a young woman who looks like many of my students, a writer, a speaker, an overcomer, a seeker of justice, made me want my students… Continue reading “Fighting for the good things”
Month: January 2021
When We Are Kind
Cultivating a collection of picture books and novels by own voice authors has become a focus of my reading life with students. My collection is growing and the latest addition is When We Are Kind, by one of my favorite authors, Monique Gray Smith, written in both English and Dine´. It is beautifully illustrated by… Continue reading When We Are Kind
An Evolving “Wall of Fame” – Our Very Own #OwnVoices
As a 4th grade classroom teacher this year, I learned very quickly that building our classroom culture and community was more critical than ever. Our class meets in person, five days a week, which is amazing. However, the reality is that students are often absent, and when they are, it is for stretches of time… Continue reading An Evolving “Wall of Fame” – Our Very Own #OwnVoices
The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership and Legacy
There are so many things about this book that makes it essential in today's classroom. First of all, the story and legacy of Thurgood Marshall is a story every child should know. He is the first Black justice of the U.S Supreme Court. This fact in itself should hold space in a classroom for conversations,… Continue reading The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership and Legacy
Shared Reading Videos
How do we keep kindergarteners engaged in text each day in a remote learning environment? How do we keep kindergarteners coming back for more when there are many other things to distract them around their home? Shared reading! Last spring I posted some of the shared reading videos I had created. Today I'd like to… Continue reading Shared Reading Videos
Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris
One of the bright spots of our current hybrid model is teaching a 'Changing the World' persuasive writing unit at first grade. This unit typically taught in the last quarter of kindergarten focuses on change-making. Initially student think of problems in their every day work and make posters and songs to encourage change. The young… Continue reading Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris
Hot Pot Night!
We recently read a book in my classroom that reminded me why incidental diversity books are so important in any literacy rich classroom. Incidental diversity is when a story includes characters that depict our world and the story isn’t about overcoming their identity. This story Hot Pot Night! by Vincent Chen is a simple text… Continue reading Hot Pot Night!
If Dominican Were A Color
by Sili Recio, illustrated by Brianna McCarthy "If Dominican were a color, it would be the sunset in the sky, blazing red and burning bright. If Dominican were a color, it’d be the roar of the ocean in the deep of the night, With the moon beaming down rays of sheer delight.” If Dominican… Continue reading If Dominican Were A Color
Day 47 – Listening Remotely
It's been quite a week. Last Thursday, my entire school went remote. With fifteen minutes to pack, these first graders grabbed their books, writing folders, extra math manipulatives, a whiteboard, and headed out the door. Oh, how I miss moments of listening to what the kids have to say. Online, I only get minutes when… Continue reading Day 47 – Listening Remotely
Dear Young Writers, Your Audience Matters.
A month ago today, I enjoyed a virtual flower arrangement workshop from the comfort of my kitchen. I chose to use this experience as a topic for an information book--one that mirrored what writers were creating in the classroom. I showed up to our community meeting for Talk About It Tuesday with the headings planned… Continue reading Dear Young Writers, Your Audience Matters.
The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
"A love letter to black America" ~ Kwame Alexander https://youtu.be/pLCLX8xW11k Author Kwame Alexander is a wonderful example of the power of perseverance. In the video below he talks about getting his book Crossover published, and the seventeen or eighteen rejections he received before being successful. Then he talks about his book The Undefeated . https://youtu.be/6CLWVHObYms… Continue reading The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
Every human being should read All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat. You may be thinking, ‘Wait! What? Did she just write, “Every human being should read All Thirteen?” ‘ Yes, that is what I wrote, and I stand behind my words. All Thirteen is a narrative nonfiction text that shows when we are willing to collaborate… Continue reading All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
Day 40 Part II – “Now It All Makes Sense. That Is Why It Is Hard.”
On the day before winter break, a student shared with me that school felt hard, and I left for break without a chance to listen (To read part 1, click here.) This comment surprised me, as reading, writing, and math seem easy for him, and I am continually thinking about how to extend his learning.… Continue reading Day 40 Part II – “Now It All Makes Sense. That Is Why It Is Hard.”
Writing Collaborative Nonfiction Books
My district has had the good fortune to be able to teach in person this year. In so many ways, this is a blessing - and yet it is still hard. Social distancing means no group work or games and lots of reminders to “stay six-feet apart.” In my room, where we’ve taped boxes on… Continue reading Writing Collaborative Nonfiction Books
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
For me, 2021 is going to be the year of expanding my reading horizons. As a third grade teacher, matching students with books is part of my every day tasks. In order to meet the diverse needs and interests of my students, I need to be reading widely myself. After kicking my 2021 reading life… Continue reading Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
Little People, Big Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr.
Little People, Big Dreams Martin Luther King Jr. Written by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara Illustrated by Mai Ly Degnan This past weekend, I took home a stack of books about Martin Luther King Jr., determined to think about and plan a read aloud for our whole school. Our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee at our… Continue reading Little People, Big Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr.
CeCe Loves Science: Push and Pull by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes
What do you get for holiday and birthday presents when your aunt is a former elementary school literacy specialist and current elementary school principal? Books of course! I was so excited to find this title as a gift for my four year old niece this year. She has developed a real interest in science lately,… Continue reading CeCe Loves Science: Push and Pull by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes
My Footprints written by Bao Phi, Illustrated by Basia Tran
Fans of A Different Pond, will be thrilled to see a new offering by Bao Phi. Reading this book with Jennifer Serravallo's book club this summer, I was excited by what it offers to readers and especially to young writers. I tucked this book away, hoping to use it when the weather and the study… Continue reading My Footprints written by Bao Phi, Illustrated by Basia Tran
Island Counting 1 2 3 by Frané Lessac
In Martinique, we ease our way into the new year with this fantastic counting book by Frané Lessac. The vibrant colors and illustrations added to the success of the book in my preschool classroom. Learning numbers had never been so fun! As a result, we added this book to our daily reading. The children are… Continue reading Island Counting 1 2 3 by Frané Lessac
I Am Darn Tough
Every once in a while, I find a book that I know is meant for a particular class to read. It’s not that it wouldn’t benefit every class I’ve had; it’s just that the book perfectly addresses a social or emotional need in my current classroom. This was my exact feeling when I stumbled across… Continue reading I Am Darn Tough
by Tonya Bolden There must be change! And if last night taught me anything, it's that I must be a part of that change! Part of making the world as it ought to be. -Savannah Robyn and Autumn share their thoughts about Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden is a historical… Continue reading Saving Savannah
The Cat Man of Aleppo
by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha illustrated by Yuko Shimizu The Cat Man of Aleppo is the true, and inspiring story of an incredible man-- Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. Alaa, an electrician from Aleppo, chooses not to leave his beloved hometown when the civil war in Syria reaches his city in 2013. Alaa stays behind to… Continue reading The Cat Man of Aleppo
A Little Spot Takes Action Series
by Diane Alber Alber’s first publication, I’m not Just a Scribble, was released in 2017. Since then, Alber has graced the literary community with single editions and box sets that not only inspire readers to explore and appreciate their own creativity, but also revive the reader’s thinking about the kind of values, morals, and characteristics… Continue reading A Little Spot Takes Action Series
Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math by Rajani LaRocca and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
I am ringing in the new year with great hope and anticipation of better days ahead. I’m hoping to see my students faces in person and not on the checkerboard of Zoom. I’m hoping to put some of the great books from my classroom library right into their hands. Last month, I had the pleasure… Continue reading Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math by Rajani LaRocca and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan