Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Science Fiction (by accident) March 31, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:34 pm
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First Light

Rebecca Stead

middle grade fiction

2007, 336 pages

Rash

Pete Hautman

Young Adult

2007, 272 pages

I have to say that I don’t normally gravitate towards science fiction. It was doubly unusual that I would be reading two sci-fi books at once. Both Rash by Pete Hautman and First Light by Rebecca Stead kept me turning those pages. I didn’t know enough about either book ahead of time to know it was going to be science fiction, which, in my case was good because it might have steered me clear of two good reads.

First Light by Rebecca Stead is the author’s first book, published before her Newbery win this year for When You Reach Me. I picked it up at NCTE when I was getting her autograph. I thought the cover was appealing and I liked that the chapters went back and forth between a boy main character and a girl main character. Set in the Arctic Circle, First Light is a compelling science fiction/mystery that started off in a way that I was fooled into thinking it was realistic fiction.

Here’s good old Wikipedia’s definition of Science Fiction:

Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible withinscientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”.[1] Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities.[2] The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality.

These may include:

  • A setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record
  • A setting in outer space, on other worlds, or involving aliens[3]
  • Stories that involve technology or scientific principles that contradict known laws of nature[4]
  • Stories that involve discovery or application of new scientific principles, such as time travel or psionics, or new technology, such as nanotechnologyfaster-than-light travel or robots, or of new and different political or social systems (e.g., a dystopia, or a situation where organized society has collapsed)[5]

First Light has alternative timeline to history, a different political system and  new discoveries.

Rash is a YA has a future setting (2074), new technology (safety equipment out the wazoo), artificial

intelligence and a whole new political system (the USSA-The United Safer States of America).  About twenty percent of the country is in prision, as anything unsafe is illegal. McDonalds still exists, but it doesn’t sell fast food-french fries are illeagal. You need to have your PSE (Personal Safety Equipment) for gym class, and more. If you take a look at Pete Hautman’s web site, you can see where he drew inspiration for this book.

I had picked it up at SSCO’s book review. I’m a huge Pete Hautman fan and think  his books should not be overlooked.

If you’d asked me last week if I liked the genre of science fiction, I would have told you no-I don’t really care for it. Now after reading these two sci-fi gems, I’m willing to give the genre a whole new look. What a happy surprise for me as a reader.

 

Poetry UOS Grade 5 Lesson 2 Writing

Filed under: Poetry,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:55 am
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Writing Lesson 2: Using the Writing Notebook-Creating Poetic Languages and Phrases

Materials

• Note cards cut into strips

• Four or five mentor poems of your choice

• Students’ writing notebooks to access “interesting, engaging, or intriguing words and phrases” from Lesson 1

• Lists of words from Skills Block lesson, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, “small words,” endings (optional)

• Overhead samples of words on strips

• Teacher’s writing notebook with pre-written poems or poetic phrases

Intended Learning

• Students use interesting and engaging words to create poems and/or poetic phrases to develop a clearer sense of poetic language.

Big Ideas

• Develop awareness of sounds of words and rhythm of phrases.

Mini-Lesson

This lesson borrows the idea of a magnetic poetry kit, allowing students to experiment with words and phrases to create poetic rhythm, images, mood, and so on.

Connection

Connection

Remind students that poets select and use words and phrases in ways that create images, mood, rhythm, and emotion.

Select and read four or five phrases or short poems from your mentor poems demonstrating this statement.

Teaching

Tell students they will write words from their interesting words lists on tickets (i.e., note card strips). Explain that you have also cut word strips from the Skills Block lesson where students listed words representing parts of speech. They will use their words, borrowed words from their partners and classmates, and words from the Skills Block lesson to create poems or poetic phrases.

Tell students they may have seen this idea before: using magnetic words to create poems. Spread out some overhead sample word strips.

Demonstrate how to pull some word strips together to create a poem or poetic phrase inspired by some mentor poems. Explain how when you created a small poem or phrase you really liked, you copied it into your writing notebook.

Hold up your writing notebook to show students where you wrote five or six short poems or poetic phrases created from word strips.

Active Engagement

Students copy interesting words from their writing notebooks onto word strips and cut out ones they prepared from the Skills Block lesson. Allow students about 10 minutes (but no more than 15) for this part of the lesson.

Students may not have time to copy and cut out all of their words, but it is more important to move into the “creating poetic language” phase than having every word on a strip.

Link

Give students guidelines and time limits for copying and cutting out words. Students may borrow words from their partners if needed. Tell students they do not need to copy all words they wrote in their notebooks, only those they especially like.

Let them know, however, everyone needs a minimum of five or six short poems or poetic phrases written in their notebooks by the end of Independent and Small Group Time.

Independent and Small Group Time

Students work independently or with partners to create short poems or poetic phrases.

Sharing/Closure

• Students share with partners some short poems or poetic phrases they created and wrote in their notebooks.

• Several students share out one or two of their favorites with the whole group.

 

Poetry UOS Fifth Grade Reading Day 2

Filed under: Poetry,reading workshop,units of study — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:52 am
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Reading Lesson 2: Immersing Ourselves in Poetry

Materials

• Chart paper to create “Comparing and Contrasting Poetry and Prose” graphic organizer (see end of this lesson)

• Teacher-selected poem for read aloud (see Reading Resources in Unit at a Glance)

• Overhead of example of familiar prose

• Student copies of a few poetry and prose examples

• Students’ “Poetry Pass” graphic organizers from Lesson 1

Intended Learning

• Students learn to verbalize differences and similarities between poetry and prose to deepen their understanding of poetry.

Big Ideas

• Understand elements of poetry, including word choice, rhythm, rhyme, imagery, metaphor, and visual design.

Mini-Lesson

Point out how both poetry and prose “create imagery” or “paint a picture in readers’ minds” and touch readers’ emotions. Point out poetry just accomplishes it with less, yet more powerful language and word choice.

Connection

Review yesterday’s discoveries from the “Poetry Pass” by allowing students to look over their graphic organizers and briefly review the “Scan, Snippet” column to recall what they noticed about poetry. Tell them they will use what they noticed yesterday and their prior knowledge of poetry to record similarities and differences between poetry and prose.

Teaching

Read aloud the poem you chose so students experience the words’ sound and rhythm. After the reading, ask them to think how this poem compares to prose. You may mention a particular piece of prose students are familiar with. Allow students to “Turn and Talk” to partners about their ideas.

Begin a “Comparing and Contrasting Poetry and Prose” graphic organizer (see end of this lesson) on chart paper.

Distribute and take a minute or two to study poetry and prose samples with the class, using samples the class has seen and read before. Think aloud about similarities and/or differences you notice.

Fill in the “Comparing and Contrasting Poetry and Prose” graphic organizer with ideas gathered from the poem and the overhead example of prose. For example, you might say “I noticed poetry has different line lengths, but in prose, the lines go until the end of the page.” Then write those ideas on the organizer.

Also model including ideas similar to both forms of writing, such as “I noticed the poem I read has figurative language such as a simile. We see figurative language in prose also.” Remind students a simile is when authors compare dissimilar two things using like or as. Then write this idea in the “Both” column.

Invite one or two students to share their ideas and add to the organizer. You will refer to the chart to elaborate on ideas presented throughout the lesson, so scaffold their responses to ensure all important ideas are reflected on the organizer, which include visual design of poetry, cadence, rhythm, author’s point

Active Engagement

Students “Turn and Talk” about other similarities and/or differences they notice in the two samples. Ask one or two student pairs to share their findings and record their information on the class organizer.

Link

During independent reading, students copy the “Comparing and Contrasting Poetry and Prose” graphic organizer format into their reading notebooks. Pass out several poetry and prose selections to students to read and use their graphic organizers to chart and record other ideas that the group may not have highlighted.

Independent and Small Group Time

• Students read independently from poetry books and/or teacher-selected poems.

• Confer with individual students and/or provide small group instruction.

Sharing/Closure

•Invite students to share similarities and differences they noticed between prose and poetry that the group did not notice or record earlier.

Comparing and Contrasting Poetry and Prose

Poetry Both Prose
Has line breaks Have similes Lines go to the end of the page.
 

Poetry UOS grade 4 Writing Lesson 1 March 29, 2010

Filed under: Poetry,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:44 pm
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Writing Lesson 1: Using Notebook Entries to Inspire Poems

Materials

Overheads and/or student copies of “Figure 10-8A. Belinda’s notebook entry” and “Figure 10-8B. Belinda’s first draft (The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing by Davis & Hill)

Intended Learning

• Students use entries in their writing notebooks as seeds for writing poems, so they can expand on topics interesting to them or consider them in new ways.

Standards (Benchmarks)

  • Write responses to literature that summarize main ideas and significant details and support interpretations with references to the text.
  • Use full range of strategies to comprehend a variety of texts, such as nonfiction, poems, and stories.
  • Generate writing ideas through discussions with others and from printed materials.
  • Plan, draft, revise, and edit writing.
  • Produce informal writings (e.g., messages, journals, notes, and poems) for various purposes.

Big Ideas

• Use techniques to craft poetry, including line breaks, literary language, and imagery.

• Select language carefully to create images, mood, and impressions.

• Develop awareness of sounds of words and rhythm of phrases.

Mini-Lesson

Connection

Tell students they can use entries from their writing notebooks to write poems. Today they create poetry from previous entries.

Teaching

Tell students rereading previously written notebook entries can provide inspiration for writing poems. Sometimes a topic, a line, or a description can give them ideas for writing poems.

Show students “Figure 10-8A. Belinda’s notebook entry,” page 162. Read the entry to students. Show them “Figure 10-8B. Belinda’s first draft,” page 162. Read the poem aloud.

Facilitate a discussion with students about how Belinda used her notebook entry to inspire a poem. Point out words or phrases she lifted from her notebook entry and included in the poem as well as how she rephrased ideas and feelings.

Active Engagement

Ask students to work with partners to look through their notebooks to find entries they could use to inspire poems. Students might want to circle words or phrases they might use in their poems.

Link

Have students continue the work they started with their partners. After searching through entries, students should try to write poems inspired by these entries. Encourage students to experiment with writing poetry just for the fun of it.

Independent and Small Group Time

• Students write poetry independently in their writing notebooks.

• Confers individually or with small groups.

Sharing/Closure

• Two or three students share their poems or pieces of poems and tell why they chose these entries as inspiration

Notes:

At the end of this unit, students revise and edit three to five poems to publish in take-home books.

 

Fifth Grade Poetry Unit of Study Writing Lesson 1

Filed under: Poetry,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:38 am
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Writing Lesson 1: Using the Writing Notebook-Collecting Interesting Words

Materials

• Poetry exemplars and anthologies used during Reading Workshop

• Students’ writing notebooks

• Teacher’s writing notebook

Intended Learning

• Students use poetry mentor texts and the world around them to record interesting and engaging words in their writing notebooks to develop a clearer sense of what it means to read and write like poets.

Big Ideas

• Develop awareness of sounds of words and rhythm of phrases.

Mini-Lesson

In her book, Poemcrazy, Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge stresses the importance of collecting words. She is always collecting words (“they’re free”) and writing them in her notebook.

Connection

Explain to students they are surrounded by words, good words, all the time. But unless we slow down and notice, we often miss them. Remind students that, in Reading Workshop, they have begun to notice the way poets use words and phrases to create imagery and emotion. The exercise today will help them as they begin to write poems.

Teaching

Tell students they are about to go on a word hunt. Their job is to look around the room and find interesting, engaging, intriguing words, or words they just like, and write them in their notebooks.

Model by reading three or four words recorded in your own notebook, such as “Yo!,” “wondrous,” “swiped,” or “pling.” Say each word slowly to “savor” the words’ sounds.

Ask students to look around the room for words they can see from their seats, on labels, posters, book covers, posted poems, and so on. Circulate around the room noticing students’ progress.

After a minute or two, ask a few students to share out. Again, enjoy the words’ rhythm and music.

Active Engagement

Give students three or four minutes to move around the room, looking for words and listening to the rhythmic or unique sounds of the words.

Tell students they are to write seven to 10 more words in their writing notebooks. Remind students they do not have to worry about the words’ meaning right now; they just need to pay attention to sounds, rhythms, and music of the words.

When students return to the group, have a few share out one or two of their interesting words. Choose students whose words reflect a variety of word choices, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, onomatopoeias, and so on.

Tell students today during independent writing time, they browse through some poems and poetry anthologies on their tables to find more words to add to lists in their writing notebooks. Students may already have poems in their book bags, depending on whether they have done the Reading Workshop Lesson 1: Poetry Pass -An Interview With Poetry .

Independent and Small Group Time

Students work independently or with partners to list possible words.

Sharing/Closure

• Students share with partners some words they found and wrote in their notebooks.

• Several students share out one or two of their favorites with the whole group.

• Close Writing Workshop by rereading one or two mentor poems, savoring—but not discussing—the language.

 

New puppy blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:31 am

As the Tail Wags-my thoughts about being a dog lover and raising a new puppy

I decided to keep my dog/puppy stuff separate from my KidLit/teacher stuff

 

Fifth Grade Poetry UOS materials list March 28, 2010

Filed under: Poetry,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:25 pm
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  • Materials
  • Student copies of two poems, such as “Packing,” page 43, and “The Photo-graph,” page 19, in My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina or other poems of your choice
  • Large variety of poetry books at different reading levels
  • Overhead and student copies of teacher-selected poem with strong concrete imagery, such as “Weeding With Dad,” page 52, in Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash by Donald Graves or “The Photograph,” page 19, in My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina
  • Overhead and student copies of “Crafting Images” graphic organizer
  • Overhead and student copies of “October Saturday” from Lesson 12
  • More poems reflecting strong emotional element, such as “The Accident,” page 66, and “Giggling in Church,” page 70, in Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash: Poems About Growing Up by Donald Graves, “Rags” p. 13
  • Student copies of “Poetry Reflection” worksheet from The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing, pages 227-228, by Judy Davis and Sharon Hill, or your own reflection form (see end of this lesson)
  • pp. 159-160 The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing
  • Lesson D-8, “Using White Space in a Poem” from Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Overhead and student copies of notebook entries from Lesson D-8, “Using White Space in a Poem,” Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Lesson I-2, “Create a Poem from a Story,” from Teaching the Qualities of Writing by JoAnn Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher
  • I-3, L-6 from Teaching the Qualities of Writing by JoAnn Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher
  • Lesson D-14, “Use a Double Focus in a Poem,” from Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Student copies of “Grandpa’s Shoes,” from Lesson D-14, “Use a Double Focus in a Poem,” Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Lesson P–17, “Use Fragments When You Write a Poem,” from Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Student copies of “Hockey Practice at 5 a.m.” from Lesson P–17, “Use Fragments When You Write a Poem,” Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi
  • Chart paper for shared writing poem
  • Source lesson: “Six-Room-Poem” from Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard
  • Resource: Regie Routman’s Kids Poems
  • Mentor poems about personal experiences or mentor poets who have written about personal experiences or important things in their lives, such as “Autumn Thoughts” or “Aunt Sue’s Stories” in The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes; or “Weeding With Dad,” page 52, or “Faking It,” page 75, in Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash: Poems About Growing Up by Donald Graves
  • Overhead of teacher-created poem about interesting or important topic
  • Chart paper to create “Where Poets Get Their Ideas” chart
 

Poetry Unit of Study grade five

Filed under: Calkins,Poetry,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:47 pm
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I raved about this unit last spring and have finally gotten around to putting it on a flash drive so I can bring it home from work to post on my blog.

Here is Reading Lesson 1 and Writing Lesson 1 from the fifth grade unit. Denver Public Schools curriculum uses Units of Study and have great resources.

Reading Lesson 1: Immersing Ourselves in Poetry

Materials

  • Student copies of two poems, such as “Packing,” page 43, and “The Photo-graph,” page 19, in My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina or other poems of your choice
  • Large variety of poetry books at different reading levels

Intended Learning

• Students are immersed in the language and visual design of poetry to deepen their understanding of the genre’s elements.

Big Ideas

• Understand poetry elements, including word choice, rhythm, rhyme, imagery, metaphor, and visual design.

• Create mental images to understand literary language and deepen comprehension.

Mini-Lesson

In Guiding Readers and Writers, Fountas and state, “When you immerse your students in rich, lively poetry, you introduce them to intense, concise, skillfully crafted language.” In this unit, you need large collections of poetry at a variety of reading levels that fit this description.

The intention of the first two lessons in this unit is to let students experience poetry before they begin to think about what makes poetry.

Connection

Begin by sharing with students that “In a way, everything they need to know about reading and writing is in a poem” (Fountas and Pinnell, Guiding Readers and Writers). Explain that for the next few weeks, we immerse ourselves in this genre and discover just what they mean. Similar to the way we began our study of nonfiction and fiction literature, today we explore what we notice about poetry through a “Poetry Pass.”

Teaching

Arrange students so they can easily pass poetry to each other, as well as write notes on their “Poetry Pass” graphic organizers (see template at the end of this lesson).

Ideally, in a “Poetry Pass,” each student should access one poem or poetry anthology. The purpose of this exercise is to allow students to conduct what is similar to a conventional interview, with a poem.

Distribute copies of the “Poetry Pass” graphic organizer and examples of two poems. Place the graphic organizer on the overhead and do a think-aloud to model what information goes in each column, using a copied poem as an example.

Explain a scan is a brief look at a piece of literature without actually reading all the way through it, and a snippet is a piece or sample. Therefore, the “Scan, Snippet” column is a place for writing poem-specific noticings, such as titles catching your attention, line lengths, poem shape, or interesting words. Write an appropriate snippet example in the column, based on the poem you chose for an example (see the chart at the end of this lesson for an example using “Packing” by Jane Medina).

The “Comments” column can include things, such as how the poem makes you think or feel, if you are interested in spending more time with the poem or book, or poems you did not like.

Active Engagement

Using the second poem, allow students to do try-its with partners. Invite students to “Turn and Talk” about the second poem and fill in their “Poetry Pass” graphic organizers. Invite a pair of students to share how they filled out their organizers.

Link

Tell students during their independent time today, they choose poems or poetry books to use to fill out their “Poetry Pass” graphic organizers. When they hear the bell ring (or another signal of your choice), they will hand their poems or poetry books to the next person. They have three minutes between each pass to record information on their organizers. Allow about 25-30 minutes for this exercise.

Independent and Small Group Time

• Students read independently from poetry books and/or teacher-selected poems.

• Confer with individual students and/or provide small group instruction.

Sharing/Closure

• Give partners two to three minutes to “Turn and Talk” about information they recorded on their “Poetry Pass” graphic organizers.

• Invite one person from each group to briefly share some information recorded specifically in the “Scan and Snippet” category.

• Explain how their noticings in this column will help them in future lessons as they build on what they know about poetry.

Poetry Pass

Author Title Scan, Snippet Comment
Jane “Packing” Random indentations The title makes me wonder where they are going
 

Welcome Spring March 20, 2010

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know I’ve been silent for a while. Thanks to those who didn’t give up, but kept coming back to see if I was talking yet.

I moved in mid-January (which has been wonderful), had four ‘extra’ snow days to unpack, but the rest has been hard.It’s not even been “my” hardness that has been hard, but our small town has been suffering through immense sadness.

I’ve spent many days plotting a trip to TCRWP for their March Reunion weekend. I figured if a shot of Jerry Spinelli, Lucy Calkins, Katherine Bomer, Alfred Tatum, and Jim Trelease mixed with the TC energy couldn’t fix my funk, I might need to seek professional help! Unfortunately (or fortunately from my husband’s point of view), I could not find anyone who thought NYC was ‘just a road trip’ from Columbus.

If I was there I’d be getting ready to walk into Riverside Church to hear Jerry Spinelli’s ‘Failure, Fried Chicken, Fiction’ keynote. I would then be trying to decide if I was going to hear Mary Enrenworth’s talk on “Reading Historical Fiction: The Project’s Latest Thinking on the Intersection Between Deep Comprehension, Interpretation, and Book Clubs” or Jen Serravallo’s “Reading Conferring and Small Group Work in a Classroom of Accountability”. I would then skip off to see Jerry Maraia, who was my TC staff developer last summer, talk, “My Students Just Retell! Getting Readers to Think Deeply About Their Books by Supporting Inference and Synthesis”. After lunch I would have been hard pressed to pick between Tiffany Nealy’s “Unit of Study on Mystery Book Clubs”, “The Intersection of RtI and Reading Workshop” (not because it makes my heart go pitty-pat, but because I have to think, talk, and advocate about the topic endlessly, or “Grammar Instruction on the Go! Creating Demonstrations Sketchbooks to Support Small Group Instruction in Writing”. (I will admit that I just flipped over to Expedia to see if a magical plane ticket for cheap had just appeared. I know I am nutty, but I’m a good nut). I will now make myself stop looking at the Workshop Schedule.

I haven’t been able to make myself read and finish a book. I’ve started several, but after a chapter I’ve put them down. Today, I vow that I will pick one up and finish it. It’s not good for me not to read.

Here’s the positive I’m going to focus on-

  • It’s the first day of Spring!
  • My kids and hubby are healthy and happy!
  • Not only am I going to attend a week of the July Summer Reading Institute, but I will have a teacher from the elementary school there as well! The August Reading Institute has another elementary teacher and two intermediate teachers! We have two on wait list for July! This is huge for us!
  • I have a huge TBR pile!
  • Four days until spring break!
  • I love walking two blocks to get a coffee, an ice cream cone, or a drink!
 

Great new PD book… March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:09 pm
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Well, Saturday is TC’s reunion weekend and since I can’t head to it (can’t convince my husband that NYC is “just a road trip”) I’m doing the next best thing and reading the new book by TC staff developer Jen Serravallo-Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers.
I’m only on chapter 3, but I’m very excited about it and highly recommend it!

 

 
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