Thursday, March 21, 2019

March Bulletin Boards

March is halfway over and Spring Break is currently in session! Here are our bulletin boards for this month.


Happy St. Patrick's Day! We are celebrating with "Lucky Charms." 
"Reading is a Thing To Do" is the focus of our other bulletin board.
The luck of the Irish is on Greg this month as he gets into the spirit of holiday.

Friday, March 15, 2019

February Bulletin Boards

I know that February has come and gone, but with all the World Read Aloud Day posts I am only now able to share our February bulletin boards.


We celebrated Valentine's Day with "Sweeten Your Day With A Story"
We celebrated Black History Month with "At the Heart of Black History"
Greg was in a festive mood this month, hoping to find love.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Explorers Celebrate World Read Aloud Day with Lori Richmond (Via Skype That Is!)


I wish you could have been a fly on the wall during The Explorers Skype session with Lori Richmond. We had the best time! The kids were beyond excited but when they saw the cover for Bunny's Staycation they knew they were in for a special treat. They began by looking really closely at the cover,  sharing their observations and pointing things out to each other,  especially the goldfish. When they saw all the various things Bunny was doing with his mom's suitcase, they just started laughing and laughing and their absolute joy really did not stop.  When she was done reading us the book, she showed us a picture of one of her sons in a tent in the living room. It turns out when she went out of town, her husband and sons set up a tent in the living room to have their own staycation while she was gone. That's how the idea for this book was born!
What else did we learn from Lori?
*She works in a studio near her home which she shares with other artists.
*Her illustrations are a combination of pen, ink, watercolor and the computer. She likes to put all of these materials together when making her stories.
*She writes the words to her stories before she makes the pictures. Why? Words are harder for her and her words also guide her in her drawing. Plus, she has been drawing a lot longer than she has been writing so it's easier for her.
*She loved reading Sammy the Seal by Syd Hoff in kindergarten. We got to see a picture of what she looked like in kindergarten too!
*She and her family have spent time on the Big Island.
*What makes her happy? Talking to kids, her family and friends, visiting Hawaii and running.
What makes her sad? Seeing bad things in the newspaper, which is why she likes to write happy stories.
What breaks her heart? When she didn't do something she wanted to because she was afraid and not brave.
Thank you so much Lori for helping The Explorers celebrate World Read Aloud! They loved it!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Na Anuenue Celebrate World Read Aloud Day With Bonny Becker (Via Skype That Is!)

Na Anuenue are huge fans of Bear and Mouse so they were counting down to their World Read Aloud Day Skype session with Bonny Becker. As she read A Visitor for Bear to them, the kids said  "There was the mouse," along with her, giggling and laughing as they did so. She asked us if we had any ideas as to how Mouse kept getting back into the house. They had all sorts of ideas like, "Because he is so sneaky!", "He looks for a pipe and slides in.", "He can fit into anything because he is so small." Bonny shared with us that she doesn't know how Mouse got back in!
What are some other things we learned from Bonny?
*She writes in her office, which is also where we Skyped from.
*She doesn't remember reading a lot of picture books as a child, but she did love Eloise. She also loved The Chronicles of Narnia and Charlotte's Web.
*She says that for us to become better writers we should read as many books as we can and have people read books to us as well.
*One night Bonny was thinking about a mouse and thought, "What if a mouse came, showed up in all these crazy places and wouldn't go away?" She also thought wouldn't it be fun for the mouse to bug someone who didn't want to be bugged but who would become their friend in the end. The story just took off from there!
*She has written several chapter books! One of them is The Magical Ms. Plum which is a book she really loves and doesn't feel like it gets the attention it should. If your class has read it, she is more than happy to Skype with you about it.
*What makes her happy? Her kids, being a mom, writing and being outside
What makes her sad? When someone is mean to her kids
What breaks her heart? Seeing children who are hurt.
Thank you so much Bonny for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Sea Stars Celebrate World Read Aloud Day With Saadia Faruqi (Via Skype That Is!)


The Sea Stars were thrilled that they were going to meet Saadia Faruqi during our World Read Aloud Day celebration. We met her in her home office where she has a huge whiteboard where she sometime writes out her ideas. She showed us the latest books in the Yasmin series and told us that she was working on 4 more! Hooray! 
We were thrilled when she read to us Yasmin the Zookeeper. The kids loved Yasmin's adventure at the zoo. She pointed out to us that while each Yasmin story has little pictures spread throughout, each story also has one full page illustration in it, filled with all the things that are happening in the story. 
Here are a few more things we learned from Saadia.
*Yasmin is based on her daughter and even looks like her daughter when she was younger. Their personalities are very similar. They both stomp their feet when they are mad and are very creative and are able to figure things out.
*While she does spend a lot of time writing at home, it can get boring, so she'll head to a coffee shop or library to write.
*She loved to read adventure stories when she was in first grade. She shared with us that she  she grew up in another country and the books she had there were different than the ones that children here read.
*Her kids love Dog Man and Captain Underpants books.
*The more you read, the better writer you become. She goes to the public library all the time and gets stacks of children's books. Ideas come to you when you read and it's good to see how others write.
*What makes her happy? Meeting children (via Skype or in person) who are excited about Yasmin and excited about books because it means she's doing a good job entertaining them.
What makes her sad? Seeing poor people, but she is working with charities groups and helping to make difference for those living in poverty.
What breaks her heart? Kids who don't read and don't like to read.
Thank you Saadia for celebrating World Read Aloud Day with us and writing the wonderful Yasmin books!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The 4th Grade Dolphins Celebrate World Read Aloud Day With Melanie Conklin (Via Skype That Is!)

From the moment that Melanie Conklin told us that when it is 12 degrees outside, your snot freezes, we were hooked. This is something the kids and I have never experienced and we are very grateful that we never will have to experience it. During our World Read Aloud Day Skype, Melanie read to us chapter one from her upcoming book,  All The Missing Pieces. It is the story of Maddie, a young girl who is convinced that the new boy who moves into her neighborhood is the same boy that went missing 6 months before. The first chapter hooked us in and we can not wait to see if it is the boy or not. The class was pretty evenly split when I asked them later if they thought it was the missing boy.
Here are a few other things we learned from Melanie.
*She didn't start off wanting to be an author. She wanted to be a paleontologist. Her uncle was an archeologist and would send her a fossil for her birthday. He would also draw a picture of what the animal had looked like when it was alive, which is super cool. She then thought about becoming a veterinarian because she loved animals and horseback riding. When college rolled around she studied product design and made amazing things that we can get in stores today, like a giant cupcake pan. When she had kids, she wanted to stay home and spend time with them while she still liked them. While they were napping, she became bored so she started writing stories.  The first one was terrible, the second one was better and the third was Counting Thyme.
*Melanie writes at either her home office or at the library. She feels like when she is surrounded by books in the library, words pop into her head.
*Writing is Re-Writing. You are not going to get it right the first time, that is normal. Revise it until you get it right. Keep writing.
*It was so cool to see the 9 different revisions that Counting Thyme went through, with big changes in the beginning and smaller changes as she got closer to her publication date. Each draft took a month or two to revise.
*The bookshelves in her office are amazing! They are full of books we all know and love. She loves different books for different moods. In 4th grade she loved reading Black Beauty and Black Stallion.  To this day she loves animal stories and loves Katherine Applegate's books since they all involve animals.
*Her dog Charlotte likes to chase her shadow, especially her tail shadow.
*What makes her happy? Spending time with her family, baking new recipes with her kids and reading.
What makes her sad? Fighting with someone and someone being mean to her. 
What breaks her heart? When things in life aren't fair, especially when we don't have control over certain things.
 Thank you so much Melanie for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud! We had so much fun.