Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let's Design A New Space Part Three! Getting Inspiration

In any design process it is important to see what is already out there, not only to show you what the possibilities are but to also draw inspiration from. For the last 2 cycles, the third graders have been doing just that. I created a Blendspace to help the students access a variety of different elementary Learning Commons around the world. They also looked at maker spaces, bookstores and furniture to get different ideas. They absolutely loved what they saw! I can not begin to count the number of times I heard them saying, "That is so cool!" or "Wow!" They were completely engaged in the process and having a blast.

They recorded what they saw, as well as their own ideas, through drawing or writing. Looking over what they found has been fascinating and it is very apparent they are going to design an amazing space.
Next Step: We start designing!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Dolphins and Dragonflies Met Barney Saltzberg (via Skype that is)

"He is so funny!"
"He doesn't just make books, he makes songs too."
"I learned why he writes so many books."
"He's so creative!"

What an amazing time we had meeting and learning from Barney Saltzberg last week. We laughed, we sang, we learned how he writes books, we saw him illustrate and we got to ask him some questions about being and author and illustrator. We all had a blast!

One of the things we did to get ready for our Skype visit was to read as many of Barney Saltzberg's books as possible. The kids and I have been doing some amazing oil pastel illustrations of Arlo (see videos below) based on his book Arlo Needs Glasses. The kids were thrilled that they got to meet the real Arlo and see just how huge he is. We also got to hear how Barney got the idea for Arlo Needs Glasses.
The kids all love his book Beautiful Oops! and it was great to see how easily Barney could turn an "oops" into an amazing illustration like this one. We also learned that he carries a notebook with him at all times because you never know when an idea will come to you. He also sketches in his notebook and we got to see some of his sketches.
Sidenote: Celebrating Beautiful Oops! is being launched this January. It is a great opportunity for you and your students to turn something that you may have thought of as an "oops" and see it as something positive and something that can we can learn from. 
The kids also had a blast singing with him "Shopping With My Dog" and "Where Oh Where is My Underwear."
The kids love his book Crazy Hair Day so they all came to school that day with their hair as colorful and full of accessories as can be.
We are all so grateful for the time that we got to spend learning and having fun with Barney Saltzberg. It is an experience we all won't be forgetting anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Walking and Listening to "Bad Magic"

Bosch, Psuedonymous. Bad Magic. 6 hours 35 minutes. Hachette Audio. 2014. $19.95 via Audible.

Having never been to summer camp I am not sure exactly sure what goes on there. However, I am quite positive that if I had received a packing list like the one Clay did for Earth Ranch, I wouldn't be going. A gas mask?! Life jacket?! A bag of carrot tops?! No thank you, I'll just stay home and watch TV.
Clay unfortunately doesn't have a choice in the matter. After an incident at school where the words he wrote in his journal, "Magic Sucks!" suddenly appear on his classroom wall, he is told that if he doesn't go to a camp for juvenile delinquents he won't be able to return to his school for 7th grade. Reluctantly he goes. From the moment the junk-a-lunka seaplane lands at Price Island, Clay's adventure begins complete with an active volcano, things that suddenly catch fire, objects appearing and then disappearing, a ghost and a llama that understands Spanish. Really, what more could you ask for?

Joshua Swanson does an amazing job narrating this book, differentiating his voice for each character which I thought matched their personalities quite well. I also appreciated how he paced the story, no long unnecessary pauses, he kept it moving right along. I loved the sharing of the "footnotes," which in all honesty I tend to overlook when reading.

Favorite Chapter Title: Volcano Surfing
Side Note: I LOVED the references to 70's TV shows. Who doesn't love Gilligan's Island and Fantasy Island?

I don't think Price Island looks anything like the island I live on.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Bulletin Boards

It's November and time for new bulletin boards!
"Rake In A Good Book" is another amazing creation by Trudie. While we don't have fall in Hawaii, we have many amazing books about it, trees and the creatures that live in those trees.
Poor Greg, even with his new book coming out tomorrow he can't seem to be happy. It must be because some of the leaves from the tree flew off and landed on his head.
In honor of all the gobbling down of food people do at Thanksgiving, I put up this bulletin board full of Thanksgiving books.

One of my favorite books, Sweet Tooth, was written by Margie Palatini who celebrates her birthday this month
Did you know that November is National Sleep Comfort Month? In honor of that I am featuring books on sleeping, napping and snoring.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Walking and Listening to The Planet Thieves

Krokos, Dan. The Planet Thieves. 7 cds. 8 hours, 1 minute. Blackstone Audio. 2013. $69.0. ISBN 978-1-4708-7942-6.
Downloaded from OverDrive.

Thirteen year old Mason started his day by playing a prank on his older sister. He ended it as Captain of the SS Egypt, two total extremes that can only happen when things go terribly wrong, terribly quickly in the middle of space.
Just as Mason is removing the final bolt from his sisters officer chair, the SS Egypt goes into Code Red. The Tremists, enemies to humans, have gotten too close for comfort, attacking the SS Egypt, killing many of its soldiers and taking the others hostage. As the Tremist King boards the Egypt, he demands the "weapon" from Mason's sister Susan. After she reluctantly gives it to him, he takes her back to his ship and holds her hostage. With the commander being badly injured and no one left aboard the Egypt besides the cadets,  Mason is named Captain of the Egypt. Mason then has to depend on Marrin (whose appearance leads others to believe she is a Tremist) and Tom (whose mother has just been killed) and computer Elizabeth (who the Tremist are trying to takeover) to help him save his people.

To be honest, I am not a huge science fiction fan. I've never watched an episode of Star Trek, have only seen the original three Star Wars movies and don't typically pick up science fiction books to read. While this story was easy enough to follow, I found my mind wandering at times. Perhaps that was because of the reader, Kirby Heyborne. I found his reading of this book too slow and the pauses between chapters were so long that I often thought I had accidentally stopped playing the book. While Mason and his friends were in these intense scenes, Kirby's voice remained too flat for me, with no quickening of his reading or excitement in his voice. I enjoyed listening to the Tremist King because his voice had the perfect amount of slimy and evilness to it.

Carved pumpkins don't last more than a day to two here, so while I was out walking I thought I should snap a picture of this jovial one.