Saturday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and last Friday was Read Across America at school. I made paper bag Cat in the Hat hats with all the K, 1, and 2 classes during the week. I worked with the PTA president to put together some fun prizes for a Dr. Seuss door decorating contest. I sent out Dr. Seuss trivia all week. It was a great week for books, and it was also the first time in my current district that I’ve tried working on school-wide programming for Read Across America. Last year I was on maternity leave by now, and the year before that it seemed like teachers really did their own thing. So I haven’t been in the spirit since my last big program 3 years ago. It was great.
So I’ve had this Dr. Seuss fabric for a while now, at least a couple of years. I have 3 different collections of Dr. Seuss fabric and have never thought of a great project for them. But I’ve been working for weeks with the PTA on Read Across America projects for tomorrow, so I’ve had Dr. Seuss on the brain. It was time to make Hannah a new play quilt (she’s been taking this one to her sitter’s all year) and I thought a lift-the-flap quilt would be really cool for her at this age. So I’ve been inspired, and I thought it would be a fun quilt to work on leading up to her first birthday.
We’ve had quite a rash of snowstorms since the new year, with none of them turning into snow days. Which is just as well, since a snow day at this point will mean a longer school year in June–we’re still making up days from Sandy. But, I still have winter snow fever. So a few weeks ago I read these two stories to my kindergarten and Multiply Disabled classes:
I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since I’ve posted. I’m not even sure why, this week just went really quickly. Last weekend was full of awesome birthday celebrations, which I will post more about in the next few days. And it’s just been quick and a little exhausting. We’re trying to work out a new morning and evening routine here, so we’ve been kind of hyper-focused on that. But the end result is that I have a pile of stuff to post about now, including the fact that Hannah turned 11 months old yesterday!
So my first year teaching I wanted to have a game for my 2nd graders to explore the library and discover new books. I’ve blogged briefly about this game before. We spend a lot of time in second grade talking about how we choose our books, how to find summaries on the backs and inside the dust jackets of books, and basically just how we find the books we like. I do another activity called “Judge a Book By Its Cover” (I talk about Drop Everything and Read in that post). Judge a Book By Its Cover came in real handy this year when my 4th graders started Wonder; they remembered the 2nd grade game immediately and understood what I wanted them to do.
I love this time of year at school. Every year during the short Thanksgiving week I have the 3rd and 4th graders help me change The Library Tree from fall to winter. It’s a small thing, but I love those rituals.
My fabulous and amazing mentor Dee sent this out today, and I love it. Zazzle is now selling prints, tees, bumper stickers with this Burning Through Pages graphic (in addition to some other equally outstanding book nerd goodies). I support everything about this.
I cannot overstate what a marvelous fall read-aloud Bob Raczka’s Fall Mixed Up is. I have read it to all of my 1st grade classes, my Multiply Disabled class, and I’m getting ready to read it to my kindergarten classes. I think this might even be my favorite read aloud of the year so far.
I bought this book last year hoping to get some use out of it, but I guess in my pregnant haze I decided it would be too confusing after all to read with classes. Not to mention the fact that I was furiously trying to squeeze in all of my Big Important Units with each grade before I went on maternity leave—we were kind of rushed last year. But this year I brought it out, and it was a huge hit.
Last week was Respect Me Week at school. We focused on anti-bullying education as well as just general acceptance–it was a big school-wide week of tolerance. I suggested and loaned lots of various titles to the classroom teachers and then kept a few to use in my library classes. Here’s what we did:
When I was in high school we lost my stepfather to lung cancer. He was sick for a full 2 years and passed away right before my sophomore year midterms. That experience is still so vivid in my memory that it overshadows and colors a great deal of my high school experience. It made me awkward and quiet for the first 2 years of high school, a 180 from the boisterous kid I had been. And not an advantage when I switched from public to Catholic school for 9th grade and knew absolutely no one. I disappeared almost entirely into an obsession with movies to avoid thinking about death and my own mortality every single day. Kids were mean. I was withdrawn. Guidance counselors wanted to talk about it, and I found myself inventing feelings about the situation to make them feel better, to give them a problem they could solve to soothe their extremely kind and earnest need to help me process the experience. I felt empathy for them because they so wanted to fix it.