Monday, January 28, 2019

The Bruins Celebrate World Read Aloud Day With Kim Tomsic (Via Skype That Is!)

 From the moment our Skype with Kim Tomsic, author of The 11:11 Wish started, we were hooked. It started with snow, which always impresses us and there was so much of it out her window!
The idea for The 11:11 Wish came about when she heard her daughter and nieces wishing at 11:11 and she would wish along with them. She combined that with her experiences of being the new kids in school (she was the new kid 8 times!) and her favorite clock, a cat clock she had seen in a cafe. Oh, and she wanted to add science into the story too as a way for Megan to solve her magic problem. Put that all together and you get a super fun book. We were lucky to have her read Chapter Four to us. Did you know her son made the book trailer for the book?! So cool. During the wishing survey we discovered very few of us had ever wished on a shooting star. She said her next 11:11 wish would be that we all get to see one.
Here are a few more things we learned about Kim Tomsic.
1) She likes to write at her kitchen counter. She has easy access to the refrigerator and microwave which is an added bonus. If she is drafting her story, she likes to sit on the couch with her dog, Sushi.
2) She loved reading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing when she was in 4th grade. When she was younger she loved Bread and Jam for Frances.
3) She gave us 3 suggestions for us to become better writers. 1) Read! Read! Read! It makes you a stronger writer. 2) Practice everyday! 3) Get a group of friends together, no more than 5, and read each others writing. After you read 5 pages, talk about it using the sandwich method: say something positive, say something they could improve on and then end with something positive.
4) We had read that she loved li hing mui and in Hawaii, we know a lot about that. A childhood friend of hers introduced her to it and she's loved it every since. Her mouth started to water just talking to us about it.
5) What makes her happy? It changes every day but seeing her family, reading a great book, seeing her friends succeed, yoga, hiking, peanut m&m's and the funny things her dog Sushi did on a recent vacation.
What makes her sad? Social injustice, politics and someone hurting her children's feelings.
What breaks her heart? Seeing other people suffer.
Thank you Kim for Skyping with us!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Spine Poems with Fourth Graders

The fourth graders were a bit suspicious when I asked them to bring their iPads to library during our poetry unit, especially since I had promised them that they wouldn't have to write any poetry. I introduced them to Spine Poems. They had never seen poetry like this before and were totally blown away by what people had created simply by lining up book spines. I sent them off into the stacks to see what they could create. With over 30,000 books to choose from, the possibilities were endless. 
Guidelines? The only thing I asked of them was to use at least 3 books and to not just go with the first 3 books that they saw. 
I loved seeing how seriously they took this, editing their poems as they went, adding, deleting and rearranging the order of the books they have chosen. Plus ,they were having so much fun with poetry! Hooray!
Here is just a small handful of the amazing poems they created.
Because of Mr. Terupt
The Terrible Two Go Wild
Be Prepared
By Joshua and Evan
Out of Wonder
When Thunder Comes
A Small Blue Whale
Swimming and Diving
Wild Adventures
 By Julia and Kaimi
A Walk in London
The Forbidden City
Lost Boy
By Addision and Brody
All Summer Long
Lions & Liars
The Terrible Two
Say It Ain't So
By: Bryler and Copeland
Bake Sale
Wild Ideas
Smart Cookie
Whopper Cake
By Peyton and Kealohi
I Put A Spell on You
To Catch a Mermaid
Just in Case
By Katelyn and Hali'a
Out of Wonder
Curious Critters
In the Past
By Rylen and Dylan
Fly Guy and the Alienzz
The Princess and the Pit Stop
Off & Away
Sail Away Little Boat
By Izzy and Jase
Out of Wonder
What Happens When...
Wish Upon a Sleepover
By Cash and Gemma
Picture a Home Run
Charlie Brown And
I'll Root for You
By Joshua
North Dakota
A Small Thing...but Big
It's So Good
By Mason and Tyler

Monday, January 21, 2019

Cinderella Fun!

The first graders and I have been looking at how fairytales change as they travel around the world, specifically Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. After sharing bits and pieces of various versions of Cinderella, we ended with Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson. I showed the class the page with Cinder Edna heading to the ball on the bus and said, "Cinder Edna wasn't going to let anything stop her from getting to the ball. Imagine that Cinderella didn't have a carriage and we had to create one for her." I then presented the challenge:
The Challenge: Build a carriage for Cinderella to get to the ball. 
Materials: A piece of paper, 6 inches of tape, scissors and a straw
The Obstacles: You can not cut the paper, but the tape can be cut. The carriage can only be moved by one blow through a straw
                                           Group Size: 2 per group
                                           Build Time: 8 minutes
After asking a bazillion questions and sharing some of the concerns they had, the kids gathered their supplies and set to work, folding, bending, twisting the pieces of paper. 
They were testing and editing their designs as they went. They were also testing out ways to blow into the straw and discovering  if it made a difference if the straw was straight or bent and whether the placement of the straw in their mouths changed how far the carriage went.
 When the timer went off, the kids all headed to the area I had set up as the final test of their carriages.
 While none of the groups were able to get their carriage to the ball, the activity was a huge success  They all worked well with their partners, discovered the importance of testing and editing their designs and had fun. What more could you ask for?!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

January Bulletin Boards

Happy 2019! We're back to school and ready to start the second part of the school year.
While for many winter brings snow, for us, it's rain.  "Rain is falling, books are calling" is the theme for one of our bulletin boards.
Greg rang in the new year and appears to still be ringing it in.
While Chinese New Year isn't until February 5th, I decided to stick with a new year theme and am featuring Chinese folktales on this bulletin board.