Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Greener Planet

Going GREEN is a statement that we hear or read a lot lately. I hope it is not a temporary statement, one of those that we all get into but later forget about it. Taking care of our planet, where we live, our environment is OUR job, our responsibility. Everyone has a part in it. One of the most challenging things is explaining children what THEY can do to help the planet besides recycling. The answers? Read it in Growing Green by Christina Goodings. In this practical book, the author makes explaining things to children so  much easier! By giving comparisons to things that children would understand (like how little resources we use when we go camping). I also enjoyed reading this posing questions that you can find at the bottom of each page...questions like "When you plan a journey, think, how can you travel lightly?

Think green. Think being practical. Think environment  and you got Growing Green!
Happy Reading!

Growing Green: A Young Person's Guide to Taking Care of the Planet

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It is that time of the year...

for an awesome night of cultures and community! As many of you already know, I am an ESL teacher here in Columbus, OH. Every year, the ESL community at my school work together to put an amazing Cultural Festival! Beechwood Elementary has many international families! Our students come from all over the world, so on this special night, we have performances, international arts & crafts and food! The ESL community I work with is just AMAZING! My columbus bloggers friends... if you would like to attend an night of cultures, you are officially invited to attend the festival that my students and I will put together on December 17 from 5:00 to 7:00pm. This is our 4th Cultural Festival and we are just beaming with pride!

Part of the excitement of this night is the opportunity for families to come together as ONE and celebrate our cultures, traditions, beliefs, regardless of where we are from. This year, the theme is Seasons Of Love, and the 4th grade Choir will be performing that night. Our families will participate and contribute in the making of a Peace Mural that we will be creating that night, during this event. 

I would love to share with you some of the  books and resources we will be using that night in order to discuss the concept of PEACE.

First of all, most ideas for our mural comes from one of  Todd Parr's book, The Peace Book! One of the main reasons I enjoy this book so much is because of the message that it sends. Written in simple sentences but in a language and in a way that reaches children of all ages. 

One of the things we will be creating at the night of our Cultural Festival is a Peace Mural with ALL the families that attend this event. Each family will be drawing and writing what Peace means to them!  

I have already started working on some ideas for my own contribution to the mural...
Peace is knowing that there is a hug waiting for you at school or at home. 
Peace is believing that it might not work the first time, but that it is worth trying.
Peace is wishing that every child gets to love reading as much as I do.
Peace is hoping that no matter how many years can go by, you can still catch up with old friends.
Peace is waiting patiently.

What about you? What does Peace means to you?

The Peace Book

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who said sharing a space is easy?

Compromising. Compromising. and Compromising. That word seems to be the key word when you share the same living space with another person, even when you do get along with that person. That seems to be the case of Wally and Mae (by Christa Kempter) who decided to share a house together. Now, Wally is a little rabbit who is used to doing things certain way. She likes things "to be" in a particular order, and things to "be done" in her particular way. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Mae, a bear with his own habit which are so opposite from Wally. How is this going to work? How is each getting their way? Can they meet halfway? Negotiate may be? A cute friendship story you don't want to miss.
Wally and Mae

And the learning goes on and on...

Gus is a Tree by Claire Babin fits perfectly among the books that I have been talking about here and here. This is the kind of book that entertains but also teaches great vocabulary which is so important for English language learners and to enhance the oral language development of ALL children.
Gus, the hero of the GUS series, is a dreamer. At any time, Gus invites you to step into his imaginary world, an adventure for sure! In this book, Gus who is always so taken by nature, dreams that he is a tree while he learns about bark, moss, leaves and roots. Oliver Tallec, the illustrator is very talented, and knows how to create powerful images using vibrant colors. 
I enjoy getting to the end of the book and finding all the great FOREST WORDS that the author included. Words such as beech, veins, birch are all explained at the end of this book and each word is accompanied by a real photograph. Such a fantastic piece of work!

Gus is a Tree

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Loving it...

Here are some new titles I discovered this week. When I read a children's book, I can't help it but reading it with "different glasses". Sometimes, I put on my teacher's glasses and while I read, I look for mini-lessons, the author's craft, style, use of language, etc. Some other times, I just wear the fun glasses, and don't look too much into these things except for: so, is this a good story? will it make me laugh? feel silly? I guess it is the same concepts as when we teach our children the different purposes of reading: to be informed, to be entertained, to research.

So, when I read this book Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps by Brian Anderson I was thinking about this...

I love the pictures: vibrant, catchy, engaging.
Love the way the writer played with words, some slanted, some words in a semicircle, some of the them have huge fonts....they all make a point in the story.
Love the use of sounds CRACK! KABLAM! CLANG! BANG!
Books like this catches the readers' attention. You got them!

Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps

And for our  much younger audience (Preschool) Karen Katz' s book of number is simply adorable. Ten Tiny Babies is simple but well written. Karen Katz uses all these great adjectives in each page to describe the babies: bouncy, silly, noisy, jiggly. And you know the book has my "vote" when not only provides a good story but also teaches great vocabulary to our readers along the way.

Ten Tiny Babies