Many of you may already be familiar with Deborah Marcero's book, In a Jar, a strong mentor text for students as they reflect on memories made and shared. Out of a Jar, also by Deborah Marcero is her newest picture book and it artfully depicts many tough emotions a person can have, both the positive… Continue reading Out of a Jar
Some days you just want a good laugh with kindergarteners, a playful romp in author's craft, illustrations, predictions, and good old fun. This book by Steve Smallman and Miguel Ordonéz has many opportunities for that playful read aloud fun. After a week of benchmark assessments, I dropped by a kindergarten class and asked if they… Continue reading The Eyebrows of Doom
How We Say I Love YouBy Nicole ChenIllustrated By Lenny Wen How We Say I Love You, by Nicole Chen and illustrated by Lenny Wen, is a perfect book to read as we head into the Valentine's Day season. The story celebrates a multicultural family and all of the ways they show that they care… Continue reading How We Say I Love You
I wrapped up the teaching portion of our mini lesson and began linking our community work to what I wanted readers to try independently. "Okay, you have two important decisions to make as you go off today! First, you'll choose a NEW short story to experience. As I lay out the stacks, I want to… Continue reading Black Boy Joy!
Many people choose a one-word theme to guide their daily living in the year ahead. Since it’s currently January, social media feeds are filled with these one-word themes offering new intentions and inspiration for all. If you were to choose a one-word theme for your classroom, what would it be? Think about the ways you… Continue reading The Coat by Severine Vidal
About a year ago, I was sitting on my couch, when I realized with a shock that I had an implicit bias against nonfiction, and that this bias had not only unknowingly affected my impressions of my loved ones but of my students as well. If you're interested in taking a deep dive into how… Continue reading Octopuses Have Zero Bones: A Counting Book About Our Amazing World
Sometimes, All I Need is Me by Juliana Perdomo was the perfect book to read while we reflect on starting a new year. As I read the story to my third grades this morning the room became more settled and a sense of calm filled the air. We usually have a similar feel when we… Continue reading Sometimes, All I Need is Me
Like people, books can be complicated. A quick glance at the cover and an opinion is formed ---“Now that’s a book I'd like to read, or Nah, I’m not into . . .” Time spent within the pages can confirm or change the reader’s initial impression, surprising them as the book’s message is revealed and… Continue reading I AM QUIET A Story for the Introvert in ALL of Us
It's just the simplest form; the kids complete it about once a month. All I do is put it on their tables one morning, so they can fill it out after they put their things away. The students know the routine. They can bring it to me and share what they wrote or put it… Continue reading Feelings Check
A name is one of the most important identifying features about a person. It is one of the very first decisions that is made for you and you have no control or say in the matter. Many people like their names, or learn to live with a nickname, some people do not. When you get… Continue reading My Name Is Not Ed Tug
As we neared the end of our units on both nonfiction reading and informational writing, I came across A Journey Under the Sea at my local bookstore. While at first browse I was captivated by the beautiful photographs, it was the vivid storytelling that convinced me this was a book I had to share with… Continue reading A Journey Under the Sea
Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, is set to the tune of the familiar Twelve Days of Christmas. In this version, a little girl gathers with family for the holiday. As the doorbell rings, relatives arrive filling the house with foods such as chitlins and baked macaroni and cheese. The… Continue reading Twelve Dinging Doorbells
Entering my eighth year of teaching, there are a stack of books that I know I'll read. Of course, there is plenty of room for new books to join and other familiar books to jump back in the pile too. Something that has been fascinating to me this year has been watching how books come… Continue reading With each year, a new purpose
I have a confession to make. I love read alouds. I love to read aloud to children and their teachers. I love children and their teachers to read aloud to me. I believe in the power of reading aloud. So many skills to work on with students with read aloud, playing with language, prediction, admiring… Continue reading How Old is Mr. Tortoise? by Dev Petty
If You Find a LeafBy Aimee Sicuro Today, my daughters and I braved the blast of cold that has entered the Northeast, fast and furious. As the wind blew harder, the girls delighted in the leaves that seemed to dance down the street. The girls raced the leaves until the wind died down. "I'm going… Continue reading If You Find a Leaf by Aimee Sicuro
Two weeks ago, I drove to school thinking about the impressive features I had noticed in fourth graders' information books. Upon their arrival, I checked in with three writers about borrowing their books for the beginning of writing workshop. When we gathered on the rug, I quickly shared that I wanted to begin our time… Continue reading Up Your Nose. . .?!
Written by Nina LaCour & Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita "Have you have ever missed someone or something? Have you have ever missed someone or something and it almost felt like a physical ache? Have you have ever missed someone or something so much that when you were reunited the feelings of missing crashed into the… Continue reading Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle
I’ve always known what I’ve wanted to be when I grew up since I was very small. I remember lining up my dolls to read to them and making my friends sit through hours of imaginary school lessons after our real day was complete. I didn’t know how or why, but I just knew I… Continue reading Dressing Up the Stars by Jeanne Walker Harvey
With 18 index cards in hand, I scoured the shelves of the Millis Public Library. I glanced down at the nonfiction topics each reader was interested in and started pulling book after book. The stack continued to grow as I simultaneously began to consider what mentor text I would use. . .time for something new.… Continue reading Better Readers, Better Humans!
It all started because I didn't enjoy the transitions that are a part of classroom life. For whatever reason, clapping, chimes, and even silent signals just didn't feel right. So instead, I play music. When the students hear a song they end whatever they are doing and head to the meeting area. I really don't… Continue reading Turning Transitions into a Favorite Part of the Day
Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste is a must-have book for upper elementary classrooms. There are many ways I could have used this book in my classroom this morning including, but not limited to: Examining cause and effect text structure Discussing Civil Rights Discussing Ageism Discussing Perseverance Discussing Collaboration Discussing Nonviolent Protest But today, I chose… Continue reading Because Claudette
Everywhere With You written by Carlie Sorosiak and illustrated by Devn Holzwarth is a new addition to our classroom library. This book reminded me about the power of a first read without any stopping and thinking moments. The story opens with two houses and a fence between them. On one side of the fence is… Continue reading Everywhere With You
“Yes, we are FINALLY going to read this book, I have been DYING for you to read it,” exclaimed one of my fourth graders as he saw me pull Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, from my basket. Shouts of “Oh, me too” and “I can’t wait for this,” could also be heard. Before reading, we acknowledged… Continue reading Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story
What do a judo-loving guinea pig and a class of fourth graders have in common? Readers discovered that, it turns out, we're all a bit odd. In Zadie Smith & Nick Laird's endearing picture book, a new pet guinea pig named Maud is viewed by the other pets of the house as an "oddball". It… Continue reading The Surprise
I really like Ten Blocks to the Big Wok by Ying-Hwa Hu, published by Children’s Book Press 2022. Uncle Eddie & Mia walk to the Big Wok for dim sum, and along the way, they count all sorts of interesting Chinese cultural items such as neighbors practicing Tai Chi Chuan, lychee fruit, silk fans, fortune… Continue reading Ten Blocks to the Big Wok
I love it when a book surprises you, when it make you as an adult reader consider your world view. I especially love it when I immediately see the mentor text/writing connection with a picture book. This simple book, Like by Annie Barrows and simply but powerfully illustrated by Pura Belpré honor recipient, Leo Espinosa,… Continue reading Like by Annie Barrows and Leo Espinosa
This week, I had the pleasure of working in a kindergarten classroom as they launched their writing workshop. I observed them learn to think of ideas and then write their ideas using pictures and even some words. Their teacher taught them how to think about the just right shapes they would need to get their… Continue reading More Than Peach by Bellen Woodard
As the school year kicks off, many classrooms are highlighting small-moment stories. Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom is perfect as a mentor text for personal narratives, as an interactive read aloud, and/or as an addition to classroom and home libraries. This lovely picture book honors multi-generational families and Cuban-American traditions. Anita… Continue reading Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom
On the first day of school, during our first session of identity mapping, I found myself in many conversations about ice cream with kids. I began thinking, I just found a way to hook readers for our first Meet Someone New Monday celebration. I just knew I'd need to share The Sweetest Scoop: Ben &… Continue reading Get a Scoop Of This!
Before the kids arrived for the first day of school, I filled this display shelf with books I hoped to read aloud. Then I watched. Which books would the children grab during free time? Which ones would they ask me to read aloud? Here is the book display I created for the first few days… Continue reading Which Books Will They Choose?
Notebooks have always been a part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a notepad close-by. My grandmother even had special notepads made for me with my name printed at the top. I treasured them. At first, these notebooks were places to jot down ideas, make lists and doodle. But… Continue reading The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border by Stephen Briseño