Monday, January 31, 2011

Nonfiction Monday Is Here!

It is Monday and that means it's time to see what great nonfiction titles folks are reading this week. I'll be rounding up throughout the day, so leave me a note about your post and I'll add it to the list below.

Jone of Check It Out shares a review of Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow.

The Wild About Nature writers share a review of Over in Australia.

Abby the Librarian shares a review of Mythbusters Science Fair Book.

Jeff at North Carolina Teacher Stuff shares a review of Animal Eggs: An Amazing Clutch of Mysteries and Marvels.

Bookish Blather shares a review of Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed.

Lisa of Shelf-Employed shares a review of A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

Jennifer of the Jean Little Library shares a review of Not Your Typical Book About the Environment.

Roberta of Wrapped in Foil shares a review of Silk and Venom.

Anastasia Suen of Picture Book of the Day shares a review of The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy).

Mary Ann Scheuer of Great Kid Books shares a review of The Magic School Bus Oceans as an iPad app.

Lori Calabrese shares a review of Where Did Dinosaurs Come From?.

Jeanne Walker Harvey of True Tales & A Cherry on Top shares a review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave.

Shirley of SimplyScience Blog shares a review of Beco's Big Year.

The Fourth Musketeer shares a review of Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature.

Monday Poetry Stretch - Looking Up

I threw my back out a few weeks ago and have spent a lot of time on my back staring at the ceiling. It would have been so much nicer to recline in the grass and stare at the sky, but alas my immobility and the cold prevented that. Whether you're bird watching, star-gazing, cloud watching, plane spotting, or just plain enjoying the sun on your face, there's a lot to be said for looking up. While looking up literally can be a lot of fun, looking up figuratively has it's benefits too (you know the power of positive thinking and all).

So, let's write about looking up. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results later this week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - In My Shoes

If you saw my Facebook post yesterday you'll have noticed that I went to church wearing two different shoes. Now, lots of folks have gone out with shoes of different colors. I went out looking like this.
In my defense, I did dress in the dark so my husband could sleep in. I reached in, grabbed two pair of slingbacks, slipped them on, and walked out of the house. When I got out of the car and found my feet were cold, I looked down and was shocked.

This story leads me to our writing topic - shoes. There are lots of things we put on our feet. I prefer mine to be bare, but I have had a few well-loved pairs over time. I was particularly fond of a pair of clogs I had in middle school. When I started teaching I bought my first and only pair of red shoes. I have a sparkly gold pair of heels I've only worn once . They're pretty, but they hurt and only match the dress I bought them to match. The dress is long gone, but the shoes remain. Perhaps I'll write about my first pair of skates. There's just so much from which to choose.

So, there's your challenge. Leave me a note about your shoe poem and I'll post the results here late this week.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Check Me Out in the January Issue of Book Links!

This month you'll find me sharing a thematic book list somewhere besides this blog. Check out the January issue of Book Links for my article entitled Classrooms Like Ours: Books about Schools around the World. You'll find picture books, informational titles, and a few broader cultural overviews that include information about schools.

I had a lot of fun reading and reviewing books for this list. I don't mind telling you that after reading about many different kinds of schools around the world, I was particularly grateful for my public education, and even more grateful for all the teachers out there working so hard on behalf of children and young adults today.

Poetry Friday - Monotone

I've been reading Sandburg this week, so I'm sharing a poem I can't seem to get out of my mind.
by Carl Sandburg

The monotone of the rain is beautiful,
And the sudden rise and slow relapse
Of the long multitudinous rain.

The sun on the hills is beautiful,
Or a captured sunset sea-flung,
Bannered with fire and gold.

A face I know is beautiful—
With fire and gold of sky and sea,
And the peace of long warm rain.
The round up is being hosted by Irene Latham at Live. Love. Explore!. Do stop by and take in all the wonderful poetry being shared. Before you go, be sure to check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday all!

Poetry Stretch Results - Lost and Found

The challenge this week was to write about things lost and found. Here are the result.
Lost and Found
by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

The day loses color
as the sun slides away.
Gold turns to blue
and blue turns to gray.
Gray turns to charcoal
and charcoal to black.
I'll live without color
till dawn brings it back.

--Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

Lost and Found
by Jane Yolen

I have lost love,
am trying to find it again.
Not like a black ribbed sock,
lost in the washer,
or a puppy unleashed
who has run away,
or a noun once firmly in my head
and now somewhere in the ether
of an aging mind.

My love was lost to the crab,
to a succession of treatments
that prolonged but did not sustain life.
And now I am looking,
like a bad country song,
in all the wrong places—
on the Internet, at conferences,
during dinner parties,
at gray-haired men on Scottish streets,
in the assembly line of old hands
wanting one more chance at the gold ring,

©Jane Yolen 2011, All rights reserved

by Amy LV of The Poem Farm

It’s lonely here in lost and found,
one mitten whispered to one glove.
I hope someone will help me find
the child I will forever love.
I miss throwing piles of snowballs
with that hand I used to hold.
I wonder if he has warm pockets.
I hope he does.
It’s getting cold.

© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

The Changeling
by Diane Mayr of Random Noodling

Okay, so the baby wasn't perfect,
blemished we often wrapped her
in a blanket of myth. But her
constitution was so sweet.
Admirable. She was loved.

The fairies came under cover
of flag and cross. We became
distracted by trinkets. Our thoughts
shut out by constant noise.
We lost sight of our precious baby.

And the fairies had their way.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

by Carol Weis

That single
staggering word
the one you’ve
lifted rugs to find
swirled lusciously
inside your head
while you dawdled
around your day
lost with one
innocent twirl
of spaghetti
sauced spoon
when fixing
dinner last night
only to reappear
as you sank
deep into

© Carol Weis, all rights reserved

Susan Taylor Brown of Susan Writes left this poem.

on Christmas eve
1 turkey, stuffed
1 bowl of potatoes, mashed with butter
helpings of sweet corn, slices of bread
pumpkin pie, 2 pieces
numerous glasses of wine and champagne

on Christmas morning
a stocking full of
fudge, peppermint sticks
a breakfast of bacon, eggs,
biscuits drizzled with butter and honey
more champagne

1 waistline
and most of my willpower

© Susan Taylor Brown, all rights reserved

by Julie Larios of The Drift Record

It’s a long story with lots of losing –
one earring, two earrings, ten, then my hearing,
then the fine hair of my right ear’s interior,
then my balance and my bearing.
Believe me, what’s happening
is the opposite of win-win but why
start whining about the small things?
Soon the lobes will go, and the cartilage after,
as well as what’s larger, what’s between one ear
and the other, then the neck and everything below,
shoulders to toes, breasts, elbows, knees,
God knows there are no safe zones, all of it
will go missing soon enough, just toughen up,
buy another pair and get on with it.

Missing Person
by Toby Speed

I looked for you in the letter you sent.
I looked for you in your chair.
I looked for you in the steam of the soup.
I drew a picture of you, and I looked there, too.
I looked for you in the veins of the leaves.
I made up a song about you, and the song evaporated.
When I looked in my pockets, I found my hands.
When I looked in my hands, I found my face.
I looked for you in half a moon, but you were in the half I couldn't see.
I dreamed you were standing on a hill far away, and the hills kept moving.
I looked for you everywhere,
and I couldn't find you anywhere.

Then I heard your voice on the telephone.
You said some words, and I heard the inside of your voice and not the words.
I looked in the mirror, and I saw you.
I looked in a pile of leaves, and I saw you.
I listened to a chord on the guitar, and I heard you.
I smelled the scent of pine needles, and I smelled you.
I bit into an apple, and I tasted you.
When I looked at the clock, it told me you were coming closer.
I drew your picture in my palm.
I kept that picture in my glove.
I looked for you anywhere,
and I found you everywhere.
My son got a ship in a bottle kit for Christmas. The informational book that came with it was all about tall ships. The USCG vessel Eagle graced the cover. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since. So, here's my contribution for the week.
Memories of the Eagle

Courage while climbing the main
deep love for the sea
an iron stomach
respect for Mother Nature and her fickle ways
the ability to do almost anything

Ever so briefly, a fear of heights
clipped on and hanging
more than 100 feet above the deck
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll add it to the list.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Another New Web Site - Math!

I have been putting the finishing touches on my math methods class for spring. This means I'm creating sample assignments, writing rubrics, and launching another new web site. (Yes, I am certifiable!)

Without further ado I give you my new site devoted to math in the elementary classroom. It's called Teaching Elementary Math.
As with the science site, this one is limited right now and definitely a work in progress, but it will grow considerably over the semester. I hope you'll visit and let me know what you think.

Books With Lasting Connections

The January 2011 issue of Book Links features Lasting Connections of 2010, a "list of the 30 picture books, novels, and nonfiction books that most effectively connect to the K–8 curriculum." If you haven't seen the list, you should check it out. There is a wealth of poetry on it (hurray!) as well as many other wonderful titles. Here are a few.
  • Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Massee - I wrote about Marilyn's work and this book as part of the lead-in to NCTE. What else can I say about this title? Perhaps that I'm still astounded every time I read it. I've read and re-read and it never gets old. (Read my post.)
There are many other terrific books on the list, so head on over and check out the Lasting Connections of 2010 list.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

News for Elementary Science Teachers

I have been putting the finishing touches on my class for spring. This means I'm creating sample assignments, writing rubrics, and launching another web site. Yup, you read that correctly. I was unhappy with the class blog this past semester, as we had a lot of technical problems, so I decided to leave that platform and try something new.

Without further ado I give you my new site devoted to science in the elementary classroom. It's called Teaching Elementary Science. Here's the great thing about this site. It took my only a few hours to create, it's hosted for free, and the ease using of the drag-and-drop features is amazing. It's pretty small right now and definitely a work in progress, but it will grow considerably over the semester. I hope you'll visit and let me know what you think.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - Lost and Found

Hello dear friends! Happy 2011. It's been a long while since I've been here with any regularity, but this is a new year and a new start. We could write this week about endings and beginnings, but I've been thinking a lot these last few weeks about things that I have lost and found. Whether they be material things (those darn mittens!) or people we love, surely we've all lost and found things in our lives. Let's write about that.

Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.