I’m in love with this custom 16 x 20 print we bought from Arthur’s Plaid Pants for Hannah’s room. I love everything about it. I love how NJ is like Godzilla to the entire UK, I love that it’s pink and grey, I love that it’s a piece of Hannah’s whole heritage, I love that Northern Ireland is floating on its own out there. Jen did such a terrific job on this, my only regret is that I didn’t think to take photos of the print before we framed it and hung it up. Made it a bit tricky to get a decent shot without my entire reflection in the glass. But I think you get the general idea, this is one of my favorite touches in the baby’s room.
Archive for the ‘art’ Category
I posted about Adam’s Union Jack quilt back around Christmas, but I never posted about the other present inspired by that project.
This was actually meant to be sort of Adam’s new dad present, but I was so excited about it I gave it to him for Christmas. My brother-in-law Morgan, while helping me with the backing fabric for Adam’s quilt, mentioned that he could change some of the station names on the London tube map if I wanted. And that gave me the idea to create a print for Adam, something completely separate from the quilt, with notable London spots from his life. Adam had a print of “The Great Bear” in his apartment when we first met, and it was destroyed last summer during the hurricane when our basement flooded. We’d also been talking about making some kind of family tree to put in Hannah’s room. So when Morgan told me he could tweak the map, this seemed like the perfect plan.
I got in touch with Adam’s family, friends, former coworkers, etc. and asked them to help me identify the best tube stops to represent Adam’s life in London (his university, his old apartment), and the stops of his family members–his 2 brothers, his grandparents, the stations he takes to get out to his parents’ homes. They came up with a great list, and Morgan very patiently added the locations and sent the file to me. I had it printed at Graphic Lab Inc. in Manhattan, and my mom stealthily picked it up and delivered it to me Christmas Eve.
And I love the finished product, Morgan outdid himself:
Everything on it is addressed to Hannah, but it’s a map of her father’s life. I think it’s a more fitting gift than a family tree, it’s a piece of his own history that we’re framing this weekend and hanging in her room. Because she’s going to need to start studying this map right away to do justice to her English side, too. I love it, and I think Adam loves it, too.
It’s February 1st, a month and a day from the start of my maternity leave. And things at school have kicked into high gear since New Year’s while I wind down my school year and try to fit everything in with the kids before I go. I’ll be back for 2 weeks in June, but really this is my end-of-year in a lot of ways.
After finishing our Laura Numeroff author study in December, the kindergartners started our Mo Willems author study. We always learn how to draw the Pigeon after reading the books. We usually do Dr. Seuss first (to lead up to Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd) and Mo Willems after that, but I couldn’t leave this one for the sub.
The first graders are all finished with Clementine! That’s pretty much on track with my normal school year, so lots of them have started trying out chapter books now that we’re halfway through first grade. And this week I’m starting our Caldecott unit with them. I’m tackling a year a week in February, starting with some of the 2009 books first. Then we’ll end with the 2012 Caldecott books, which I hope to get my hands on by then. I haven’t even posted about this year’s Youth Media Awards yet, and I don’t know if I will. I feel so out of sync with children’s literature this year, and the books I’d hoped to see get the Newbery didn’t even get honors. Two of the Caldecott books I haven’t even read. So I’m feeling a little disconnected from this unit this year, like I’m not obsessed with sharing the 2012 books yet like I usually am each year. We’ll see if that changes.
The second graders are also almost finished with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I started that much earlier this year, and we’ll be done with the reading in 2 weeks. I won’t have time to do book reviews like I did last year, so I’m scouting out some other activities to cap off that unit. This week we’re reading through chapter 19, the saddest part of the entire book. So it’s been a multi-hanky kind of week in 2nd grade.
The 3rd graders are also 2 weeks away from finishing The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which I thoroughly can’t believe. I’m so used to finishing this book at the end of the year and then spending the last few weeks of school doing fun follow-up activities. To have it end in February is just bizarre. We’ve had our literacy circles and done our character map for the book, and next week we’ll watch the video I filmed in Paris. Then my last week before maternity leave we’ll watch the silent films. They are hooked on this book, like they are every year. I bought 6 copies of Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, and I cannot keep them on the shelves for 3rd or 4th graders. This is by far my favorite novel that we read in library class, so I’m thrilled to finish this with them before I go. Knock on wood that I don’t go early, I’ll be devastated!
And then we have the 4th graders. They’re just all over the place in library class, they are definitely the grade I’ve struggled with the most over this maternity leave. I won’t get anywhere near finishing my favorite activities with them. Battle of the Books was last Friday, and it was absolutely epic. I struggled with that program last year, but this year I took it over solo and ran it completely during library class. This worked out perfectly, and instead of having the teams created across the 4th grade like my school used to do I kept the teams to within the same homerooms. Then homeroom teams battled against each other during their library class time, and the best team from each homeroom went on to the final last week in front of half the school. Every 4th grade class picked a class color to wear for the final, and they cheered like crazy for their classmates. I played “Eye of the Tiger” over the PA system as the competitors made their grand entrances. We had lots of tears, a huge upset in the final round after a tie-breaker question. It was like my Olympics, and I’m thrilled with the changes I was able to make.
But because I had to squeeze in the program before I leave (the final battle is usually the week before spring break), it cut out a lot of class time for the other library things we do. The whole month of January was spent on the in-class battles, plus the time spent since Halloween book talking, organizing teams and permission slips, troubleshooting. I started The Maze of Bones at the beginning of October this year, instead of early December like last year. But we’re still not halfway through, and we won’t be before I leave. We’ve had lots of technology hiccups in the library lab this year, so on top of having Battle of the Books during library class when it used to be during recess (which really didn’t work at all) and leaving in March to have this baby, the computers died on me every time I tried all the technology tie-ins and games I did with the 4th graders last year. Last year I arranged for the 4th graders to get school email accounts, I set them all up with accounts on 39clues.com, we talked about cyber ethics and etiquette, we played a bunch of reference games. I haven’t done any of those things this year, and I’m really disappointed about that. So I hope my sub jumps in with this book and really comes up with some great activities for them the rest of the year. And I hope next year I smooth out all the kinks with Battle of the Books and the library lab so we can really get down to business in 4th grade.
On top of all that, we’re working on updating the library curriculum in my district. The librarians had a lengthy curriculum meeting yesterday, and guess what they surprised me with?
A baby shower! With brownies and books and this onesie (librarians do have excellent senses of humor).
AND, check out this project the art teacher did with the 3rd and 4th graders.
They remind me so much of the cover of this book, still the only book I have read so far in 2012 (#librarianfail #pregnancybrain). It makes me happy every time I walk past this bulletin board in the hall.
My last day is 4 weeks from this Friday. Then a week after that Hannah is due. I can’t believe how down to the wire it’s getting.
Three of my 2nd grade girls presented me with this drawing on Wednesday, and I wanted to hug them but thought I would burst into tears. I’m 33 weeks now and highly emotional. I will hug them next week, when it doesn’t take me by surprise.
Now I also want to hang this in the nursery and give it a penguin theme.
Last month my mom and I went to the opening of Brian Selznick’s “Wonderstruck in the Panorama” at the Queens Museum of Art. It was an incredible exhibit with a great talk from Mr. Selznick about the time spent studying and capturing the Panorama, a huge presence in Wonderstruck. And I was thrilled to go, I’ve sponsored buildings on that Panorama through the museum.
What was so fantastic about the talk was the fact that Brian Selznick (with an ASL translator) actually stood on the Panorama to speak. Seeing slides of his drawings of the Panorama from the book while he was standing on the Panorama was cool squared.
I actually avoided posting about this amazing event for weeks because after the talk Mr. Selznick signed copies of his books. And I had a miserable experience in the signing line, which at the time ruined the whole day for me. I’ve been trying to get books signed by Brian Selznick for a while now, and I bought copies of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck in the QMA store to show support for the exhibit and for him. The line was just full of extremely pushy families from a nearby school, and we were getting different messages from the staff depending on where in line we were. I got in line for the signing quickly and was near the front; it was on the narrow walkway above the Panorama, and standing in a hot, narrow signing line for hours is not that fun for a pregnant lady–I wanted to be close to the front. But there was so much cutting, shoving, smothering, and generally rude behavior from these parents that I was still in line for more than an hour. I lost count of how many times I was elbowed and shoved in the belly by kids running through the line. The museum staff even let people cut in front of me while I was next in line in front of Mr. Selznick. It was horribly disorganized, and I left feeling hot, sick, and frustrated at the whole experience. I actually had a sore throat by the time I left and spent the end of that same week in bed sick.
So it left a bad taste in my mouth for what was actually a pretty amazing day. Time heals all wounds, etc. etc., and now I’m just really excited that Brian Selznick signed copies of those 2 books for The Sprout. Perfect additions to her library. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get Mr. Selznick to tell me where his next novel takes place (my 3rd graders wanted to know). And I probably won’t be back to the QMA again.