Sunday, January 31, 2016

Walking and Listening to "The League of Unexceptional Children"

Daneshvari, Gitty. The League of Unexceptional Children. 4 hours. Hachette Audio, 2015, $21.98, ISBN 978147896020.

Poor Shelly and Jonathan, they are totally forgettable. They blend in, are unrecognizable and go unnoticed amongst their classmates even though they have been going to school together since kindergarten. Little do they know their ability to be forgotten would someday work to their advantage. You see there is an extremely top secret group of spies comprised only of children who are unexceptional. Shelly and Jonathan are recruited to join this group when the Vice President of the United States is kidnapped along with a code to access the governments mainframe computer. With no training and no real back-up, Shelly and Jonathan must figure out who kidnapped the Vice President before he is forced to reveal the second code to access the governments mainframe. Time, as they say, is of the essence. 

Amanda Philipson does a great job of making Shelly and Jonathan unforgettable. They are fun to listen to, especially Shelly. She is so enthusiastic that I find it hard to believe that anyone would ever forget her. 

Side Note: I loved how all the chapters started with a quote from different unexceptional children in the league. The quotes were so funny.

I love how all the beach accesses look different. This one is covered with the branches of  hau trees.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Na Hoku, Na Kukui, Na Lupe and Na Manaku Meet Tom Angleberger (Via Skype That Is!)

There is no better way to start your day than with not one, but TWO Skype sessions with the totally and completely hilarious Tom Angleberger. After our amazing Skype session with him last year, one of our 3rd grade teachers began asking if we would be able to do it again this year. So as soon as I saw that Tom had some time open this month, I jumped on it.The kids were raring to go and could not wait to meet the man behind one of their favorite books, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
The Skype started off with the students being able to see some of the amazing origami Star Wars characters that Tom had made, including the Origami Yoda that graces the cover of the book (Please note that the Yoda below is not it.)
The students then had the opportunity to share with Tom their favorite books. The titles were varied from Tom's books to Diary of a Wimpy Kid to The Lemonade War to Arnie the Doughnut.
As the kids were sharing their favorites, Tom was drawing images from each of the books, creating a mash-up of all the titles and an all together new and hilarious book. We came up with The Cafeteria  and The Book.
The kids loved having the opportunity to ask him questions too. This student wants to know, "How many rough drafts did you have to write to make Origami Yoda?"
This child wanted to know, "Who is your favorite Star Wars character?" This answer came with a special personalized drawing.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived! The chance to learn how to fold Origami Yoda from Tom Angleberger! So cool!
The directions were super easy to follow and the kids were thrilled with their finished product.
Unfortunately after that, our Skype was over. The kids had such a wonderful time and they have already started to ask me if they can meet with Tom again. They have also become Origami Yoda folding masters, turning anything they can get their hands on, no matter what the material or the size into Yoda.
Thank you so much Tom for making time to Skype with us. You are incredibly kind, generous and absolutely hilarious! You made the day of 100 3rd graders.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Walking and Listening to "The Doldrums"

Gannon, Nicholas. The Doldrums. 5 cd's. 6 hours, 15 minutes, Harper Collins Audio. 2015.

Archer was born a dreamer and an adventurer, going on secret trips with his dad, talking to the taxidermy animals throughout the house and hiding the secret packages he receives from his grandparents. This is suddenly put to a stop however when his grandparents, famous explorers, go missing a top of an iceberg in Arctic. Once this happens, his mother does everything she can to squash his desire to explore, only allowing him to leave the house to attend school. Two years after his grandparents disappearance, their belongings arrive at the house, further igniting Archer's desire to find them. Teaming up with new found friends, Oliver and Adelaide, Archer begins to plan the ultimate adventure, one that is of course not easily executed.
Note: This books cover does not scream for children to pick it up. It took some book talking and once I started, it hasn't stayed on the shelf.

Bronson Pinchot never ceases to amaze me in his narration. His character voices are fantastic, each unique and fitting of the character. My personal favorite was that of Mrs. Murkley, the teacher and neighbor you never ever want to have.

Favorite Chapter Title:  It was really hard to pick one, as there were so many. So I went with three. Wonders of Weeding, A Difficult Pea to Swallow and A Pathetic Croissant

The sunrises in the winter can be quite spectacular.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Dazzlers, Na Pueo and The Super Kids Meet Corey Rosen Schwartz

The Dazzlers, Na Pueo, The Super Kids and I had a wonderful Skype with author Corey Rosen Schwartz, who was the perfect addition to our fractured fairytale unit. Right from the start of the Skype, the children felt comfortable with her and were eager to participate not only answering the questions she asked of us, but asking her questions as well.

Corey started off by asking us we could come up with ideas for our stories. The kids had marvelous answers such as, "The library" and "Your family." We had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas to fill in the blank.
She shared with us how important it is to brainstorm and while not all of our ideas work, we should hold onto them and we might find a way to use them another time. She shared with us some of her ideas she had for Goldilocks and we voted on which ones we would want to read.
She then shared with us her fabulous book The Three Ninja Pigs, complete with a pig-eared headband, wolf mask and karate chopping a block of wood. KI-YA!
The kids then had a chance to ask her questions, such as, "What inspires you?" "How long did it take to write The Three Ninja Pigs?" We were all shocked that it took 3 months to write the book and then 3 years later it ended up in the bookstore.
My favorite answer came with the question, "Why do you have your books rhyme?" Mrs. Rosen Schwartz told us, "Rhyming words are like a playground for the tongue." The kids were still talking about that answer hours after we ended the Skype call.
Thank you so much Corey Rosen Schwartz for spending time with us. We are huge fans of your books and loved learning from you today.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Bulletin Boards

"Reading is Snow Cool" is the theme for this months giant bulletin board. Since we don't get snow, our snowman is dressed tropically.
It looks as though Greg had too much fun this Christmas break and isn't ready for school to startup again.
The Force Awakens is huge, the kids love Star Wars so why not have a bulletin board featuring this huge hit.
Happy Birthday Brian Floca!
When I think of winter, I think of penguins!
Have a great January!