Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday Book Review: Crash! Boom A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris

Title: Crash! Boom A Math Tale
Author: Robie H. Harris
Illustrator: Chris Chatterton
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright: 2018
Date read: 4/20/18

This is a very simple book that shows an elephant child building a tower. As he builds, he learns that stacking the blocks in different ways can result in towers that are stronger. I like the concept but feel that it was too simple for most kids that are interested in building. 3 stars.

More information from the publisher:

A Math Tale
by Robie H. Harris
illustrated by Chris Chatterton
Picture book
913⁄16 x 101⁄4 32 pages
Ages 2–5
Pencil and digital artwork
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7827-2
$15.99 ($21.99 CAN)

How do these blocks stack up? Gentle math concepts go down easy in this fun and accessible story for very young children by the esteemed Robie H. Harris.

Elephant has a bucket of blocks and wants to build something tall. Something as tall as Elephant. But will it stay up? CRASH! BOOM! Not this time. Build it again? One block. Two blocks? Four blocks?

It’s still not as tall as Elephant. More blocks! Now will it stay up? Now will it be as tall as Elephant? Build, balance, count—question, estimate, measure—predict, crash, and build again!

Young children
will happily follow along as Elephant goes through the ups and downs of creating something new and finally celebrates the joy and pride of success.

Robie H. Harris is the New York Times best-selling author of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health; It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families; and It’s NOT the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends. She is also the author of the Let’s Talk About You and Me series. Robie H. Harris lives in New York City.

Chris Chatterton is an author, animator, and the illustrator of There’s a Bison Bouncing on the
Bed! by Paul Bright and When Santa Came to Stay by Timothy Knapman. Chris Chatterton lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Worst #BookTalk Ever Today!

Today, we had planned for the local indie bookseller's fabulous children's manager to book talk new books for our middle schoolers. She was sick, and so I said I would jump in and give a book talk. This was at about 8 am, and the book talk was planned for 10:15 am! Plus I had a JK class at 9:35. So this became a very busy morning! I reached out to the children's manager to see if she had a list of what she was going to share. I also posted a question for the Learning Librarians group, and they suggested a couple great titles. This gave me a list of 12 books, and I quickly put a powerpoint together. I used the following books:
  1. Chokshi, Roshani. Aru Shah and the end of time. 1st ed., March 2018. Los Angeles : Disney Hyperion, 2018. Twelve-year-old Aru stretches the truth to fit in at her private school, but when she is dared to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon.
  2. Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. 1st ed. New York, N.Y. : Atheneum Books For Young Readers, [2016]. "Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential".
  3. Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello universe. 1st ed. New York, NY : Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2017]. The lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
  4. Gidwitz, Adam. The inquisitor's tale, or, the three magical children and their holy dog. New York, NY : Dutton Children's Books, [2016]."A peasant girl and her holy greyhound, an oblate on a mission from his monastery, and a young Jewish boy travel across medieval France to escape persecution and save holy texts from being burned".
  5. Lewis, John, 1940 February 21-. March: Book 1. Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, [2013]. Presents in graphic novel format events from the life of Georgia congressman John Lewis, focusing on his youth in rural Alabama, his meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.
  6. Anderson, John David,. Ms. Bixby's last day. New York, NY : Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2016]. Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won't be able to finish the school year, and Topher, Brand and Steve come up with a plan to tell her how much she means to them.
  7. Hiranandani, Veera. The night diary. New York, NY : Dial Books for Young Readers, [2018]. Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.
  8. Sappingfield, Eliot. A problematic paradox. New York, NY : G. P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]. "Thirteen-year-old Nikola Kross's world is turned upside down when her father is abducted by aliens and she is suddenly transported to a special boarding school for geniuses, but things get even stranger when she realizes she has certain abilities that put her entire school in grave danger". 
  9. Alexander, Kwame. Rebound. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2018]. In the summer of 1988, twelve-year-old Chuck Bell is sent to stay with his grandparents, where he discovers jazz and basketball and learns more about his family's past.
  10. Rosenstock, Barb. The secret kingdom : Nek Chand, a changing India, and a hidden world of art. 1st ed. 2018. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2018. "Documents the story of how artist Nek Chand, in the aftermath of the partition of India in 1947, created the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, using stockpiled castoff construction materials and debris, as a tribute to the village of his youth".
  11. DasGupta, Sayantani. The serpent's secret. 1st ed., March 2018. New York : Scholastic Press, 2018. Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen, and soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, talking birds (very annoying), and cute princes--and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.
  12. Burg, Ann E. Unbound : a novel in verse. 1st ed., October 2016. New York : Scholastic Press, 2016. The day nine-year-old Grace is called to work in the kitchen in the Big House, everyone warns her to to keep her head down and her thoughts to herself, but the more she sees of the oppressive Master and his hateful wife, the more she questions things until one day her thoughts escape--and to avoid being separated she and her family flee into the Dismal Swamp, to join the other escaped slaves who live there.
I then proceeded to bumble through an explanation for each book, including 7 that I've never read! Thank goodness for great librarians, booksellers, and reviews to help me share these with our kids! 

Happily, I've already had 2 books checked out, so success! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

28 + 4 = 33 Books Read and Reviewed Over Spring Break 2018!

1.     Donald Trump : outspoken personality and president / Sherman, Jill
2.     Science activities for children / Nelson, Leslie Weldemar
3.     Great big things / Hoefler, Kate,
4.     The water princess / Verde, Susan
5.     Come with me / McGhee, Holly M.
6.     If you plant a seed / Nelson, Kadir
7.     More-igami / Kleber, Dori
8.     Investing well (in supersonic spaceships!) / Bean, Raymond
9.     The servant and the water princess : a story of Ancient India / Gunderson, Jessica
10.  Maybe something beautiful / Campoy, F. Isabel,
11.  Race for the stars (Barbie) / Liberts, Jennifer
12.  Even more picture-perfect science lessons : using children's books to guide inquiry, K-5 / Ansberry, Karen Rohrich
13.  Right Click: Parenting Your Teenager in a Digital Media World / Bamford, Art, et al.
14.  Fourth dimension / Walters, Eric, 1957-
15.  Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry / Ansberry, Karen
16.  Spacing out / Steinkraus, Kyla,
17.  How to trap a leprechaun / Fliess, Sue,
18.  The Wild Robot Escapes / Brown, Peter 
19.  Some pets / DiTerlizzi, Angela,
20.  The Wild Robot / Brown, Peter 
21.  What to do with a box / Yolen, Jane,
22.  The science fair is freaky! / Chabert, Jack
23.  I wish you more / Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
24.  Imani's moon / Brown-Wood, JaNay,
25.  Dino Duckling / Murray, Alison (Illustrator),
26.  Shelter / Claire, CĂ©line, 1973-
27.  How to read a story / Messner, Kate,
28.  I took the moon for a walk / Curtis, Carolyn,
29.  Zap! / Freeman, Martha
30.  If I had a little dream / Laden, Nina,
31.  Quick, little monkey! / Thomson, Sarah L.
32.  The way back home / Jeffers, Oliver.
33.  The bear who stared / Beedie, Duncan

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Book Review: The Glassmaker's Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr

Book Review: The Glassmaker's Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr

Hofmeyr, Dianne, and Jane Ray. The Glassmaker's Daughter. Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 2017.

Recommended age: 5 - 8 years old

This is a beautifully illustrated book, about Daniela, who is always grumpy. 

The story is based in 16th-century Venice, and tells of prominent glassmakers of the time. It includes a short note at the beginning about glassmaking in 16th-century Venice. 

Her father decides to build a palace out of glass for the one who can make her smile. 

Many from far and wide try to build her glass objects to make her smile. 

And still she is not happy! 

One succeeds and makes a very special type of glass. Read to find out! 

This book is gorgeous, however, I did not like the ending where the type of glass that makes her smile is a mirror. As I teach children and have a daughter of my own, I don't like perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are only what they look like. Other reviewers see it as finding joy from within, and I think that would have to be directly pointed out for most children to understand. 

I think it might be a good addition to an art project on glassmaking, as it does show different items that can be made of glass. I would also have the students write alternate endings, and let the students share their own creativity. Perhaps the alternate ending could be a project with the librarian or language arts teacher, the glass making could be with the art teacher; and a collaborative gallery walk could be the culminating project. 

Thanks for reading! Share your ideas in the comments!

Keep researching,
Mrs. Thakkar

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Take Note: How do you teach note taking?

How do you teach note taking? 

I usually don't teach it very well, assuming many things from the students. And then getting bogged down in: "but I don't know how to spell/read/ can I take notes?" 

As I was reading through the new AASL Standards, I was using post-its and underlining. I was going to have a Kindergarten class and wanted to start using my learning ASAP...whether I had really thought it through or not...

As I read, I made this table:

School Librarian Professional
School Libraries Space
Prior and background knowledge

Generate products

Feedback on products

Seek and engage knowledge
Real world connections

Of course, then I found this: AASL Learner Framework Spread. Way prettier, but only learners. I will be working on mine, but onward and upward. I wanted to start students on questioning and SLOWING down when reading. I knew note-taking would help with this. 

In my kindergarten class, I showed them my actual book - with all my post-its, flags, underlines, etc. 

Then I opened to one of the post-its, and read it to them. 

I read several to show how I took notes on my thinking - what I wondered, what I needed to go back to, etc.  

This is what this whole lesson is based on - they know how to formulate questions - talk to any Kindergartener and they will exhaust you with their questions. 

But, how to find the answers, how to share those answers, how to grow from that and apply it to their learning and understanding of the world? 

Big questions for little people.

I explained that I was going to give them 2 post-its when they checked out. Once they checked out, they were to read their book and write down EITHER a question they wondered or a word they didn't know. I modeled questions versus words. 

Then they were to copy *the exact same thing* onto the other post-it. One post-it stayed in the book, one post-it went on our Take Note poster. 

The next week, I asked them to do the same thing, but this time we would organize our thoughts. I showed them my standards book again, and I explained that I had a "code" - different post-its/colors/types meant different things. 

My code:
if it was red, that meant STOP and think, find out more. 
If it was yellow - SLOW down, reflect.
If it was green - GO, try / use this idea!

I explained to the kids that I would have 2 colors of post-its out this time - pink and yellow. Pink was for questions and yellow was for words. Then I took one of each color - on the pink post-it I drew a question mark. On the yellow post-it, I wrote the word "Words." I took 2 poster papers and labelled each. Now when they checked out, they started reading first. Then they chose a post-it to write on. Of course, some kids did yellow and pink, some did 2 pink, etc., but that's the point right? We don't just take one note! They also did it twice again - one to keep and one to put on their poster. 
Note: If they had not brought their book, they STILL got to do the activity, they knew to return the book at the end in the designated place. They still fully get to check out, read, and take part, but still take responsibility and have to return at the end of the class period.

When we come back from the holidays, my plan is to give them a bookmark - one side will say Words and the other side will have a ? at the top. They can take notes as they go along and then we can try to find out answers to our questions and look up our words in dictionaries. We'll see how it goes! 

Thanks for reading! Share your ideas in the comments!

Keep researching,
Mrs. Thakkar