"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Key to Changing Global Literacy Rates?

Your involvement.

Join World Read Aloud Day.
Take action for global literacy
March 6, 2013

Share the power of story. 

Show your support for literacy as a human right by reading aloud, giving away a book or participating in a local event.

Read it Forward
on behalf of the 793 million people who cannot yet read or write. Let's create a reading ripple effect that will resonate around the world.  
Register and Read it Forward

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post MOCK Caldecott Reflections

What a day it was...

I wish I been in Seattle when the actual ALA Youth Media Awards were being announced, but I can tell you that sitting at a table listening to the live stream was a really great place to be.  The cheers, ballyhoos, and audible gasps created a contagious air of excitement. 

You know you have hooked students, when, as you greet them at the door of the library they are asking, "Who won the Caldecott?  Which book did we choose?"
 I am not going to talk about the actual Caldecott Medal and Honor books, but I am going to share my first grade students' Mock Caldecott comments and reactions.
Mock Caldecott results

Caldecott Medal:  
Chloe and the Lion
"It is funny friendship, good imagination and awesome."
"It is funny and they start and stop the story and have a fight."

Caldecott Honors:
Extra Yarn
"I like Extra Yarn because my eyes were always locked at the yarn."
"I like Extra Yarn because of the pattern."

Nighttime Ninja
"I like Nighttime Ninja because of the awesome collage work."
I Have Dream
"I like the paintings."

"The pictures explain the story."


"I like the cut outs."
"It teachers about the different types of green."

We looked over the votes and reflected on the process.  Then, with great dramatic effect, I shared the actual Caldecott Honors and built my way up to the Medal winner. The students bright-eyed excitement built and as I announced Green and Extra Yarn, huge cheers erupted.

We read This is Not My Hat and talked about why the committee chose the book.  Our next job is to read what the committee members had to say about each book.  While we wait for that, check out what my students had to say when asked why they gave their number one book a number one:

Extra Yarn because it is kulrful.

Our Mock Caldecott

Back in December, the first graders donned their Mock Caldecott Medal hats.  Over the next few weeks, they read and discussed books.
They loved Extra Yarnwritten by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.  The book received an Honor in our Mock Caldecott voting. I wish I had my flip video recording their excitement when they heard it won an actual Caldecott Honor.  

I am re-posting their comments from earlier because the next exciting aspect will be to read the committee members' comments on each book. Here is what the students had to say:

 "I like Extra Yarn because it is colorful."
"I like Extra Yarn because it has more detail for me."
I like Extra Yarn because it is so cool!
"I like Extra Yarn because it is pretty."
Extra Yarn because of the mood.
I like Extra Yarn. It is inspiring.
Extra Yarn should win because it has details.
"Extra Yarn because the curse."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Take action for global literacy. Now.

World Read Aloud Day is March 6th!

On March 6, 2013, educators, children, parents and a host of literature loving  people will participate in LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day
 LitWorld is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grow and support literacy leaders and literacy programs.

"Take Action for Global Literacy, Celebrate the Power of Words, Change the World."

Are you ready?  Sign up and get involved.

My 5th graders are getting reading to be my WRAD Ambassadors.  They are taking their role very seriously.  Their first task?  Express why they think reading (or being literate) is important.

Here are more inspiring Tagxedo messages:

Here are more inspiring Wordle word clouds:

Might this student be prescient?

Look at the titles 
this student 
chose to mention in his 
World Read Aloud Day 
It's a Newbery Winner
Hands Down...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mock Caldecott Winners Announced!

Yesterday was voting day!

Books were revisited.

Directions were explained.

Ballots were distributed.

Votes were cast.

And the results are in....

We do not have time to keep voting until we achieve a 50% vote for one book, so I will stay with these results.  

It is Chloe and the Lion for the Caldecott Medal with Honors to Extra Yarn and Nighttime Ninja.    I Have a Dream and Green had a very honorable showing.  

This weekend I will post more on the process as well as the students comments on each book.  They are #priceless.

The best question of the process?
"If the book is meant to appeal to and engage children, are there children on the committee?"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mock Caldecott Book Spine Poems

Here are most, but not all, of my Mock Caldecott titles in poetic form -- presented with no comment as to the quality of said poems!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Allen Say's books are awesome!"

I am just finishing up an Allen Say author study with my fourth graders. Here are Wordles and Tagxedos expressing the themes and ideas the students heard during the author study:

This author study involves: exploring learning about his journey; reading many of his books; exploring themes in his work; learning about his creative process; watching an interview with Allen Say, where he talks about all these things; and, reflecting on the experience. There is also a wonderful article here.
I am leaving out my favorite part, which involves the students working in small groups to write text for an illustration from Lost Lake.  I then have the students read their text (or short story) for each illustration in order, while I project the illustration with my Elmo document camera.  There is an "aha moment" when they realize the illustrations are all from one story.  I then read the actual book.  
The reflection/assessment for this lesson comes in the discussion where we compare their story with Allen Say's story and reflect on his creative process.  It has always followed that since Allen Say creates all the art for his stories first and then goes back to write the story, that the art should stand on its own enough to tell the story -- and it does!  The students are amazed when the mood, setting, and emotions in their story match those of Allen Say's.  It is great stuff.  (I did write to the publisher asking permission to use pages from his book in this way.)

So here we are, at the end of the author study.  I asked the students to reflect on what they had learned and then gave them the option of also expressing what they enjoyed or learned through our Weebly blog, Tagxedo or Wordle.  Here's what they had to say:

Google Form Responses:

Read.Reflect.Communicate.Connect conversation:

Impact on reading:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Have a Dream

With the advent of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and our school-wide MLK, jr. concert, I decided this was a good week to read this contender for our Mock Caldecott.  Knowing that the students have been learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. in their classrooms, I could place the focus on the award.  The children donned their Caldecott hats and off we read.
Each story read with children is a journey of sorts.  To turn my head, while reading I Have a Dream and see 24 children in rapt attention was powerful.  Unlike the previous week's Mock Caldecott book, there was no humor here.  The students seemed to understand the import of the message.  Their bodies were still and their gazes were intent. They were working hard reading the pictures.

Kadir Nelson's illustrations are incredible.  He has beautifully rendered the speech and the event in I Have a Dream. I was especially moved by the shifting perspective between those of Martin Luther King, jr. and the scenes of the Mall and those of the themes and ideals within the speech.  

The three specific illustrations I would also mention are the first scene depicting MLK just before the speech: every conceivable emotion seems to be washing over his face, yet what shines through are confidence, courage and determination.  

The other is the two-page fold where the profile of MLK takes up two thirds of the left hand page.  It is powerful and speaks to the strength of character and importance of the words. When I speak with students about the use of white space and perspective, this is exactly that to which I am referring.  

The last comment (for today) is about the two-page spreads that have the four states.  They really resonated with the students.  it was a moment when they wanted to share an "aha" moment. The use of line, color, shadow and perspective  to connect them is so effective. It is these threads that connect seemingly incongruous places not unlike the threads of peace, freedom and social justice that connect a seemingly incongruous population.  I am not sure whether this was purposeful, but the less congruous and connected images of the southern states is effective.  The lack of connecting threads(beyond the horizon) is jarring after the previous image.
Enough from me, here are some student reaction's to the book:

Ashley: "Each page speaks peace and freedom."

Josie: "The illustrations help me understand the big words."

Parker: "The illustrations show peace.  They look like what Martin Luther King, Jr. was talking about." 

Samuel "I think that the illustrations showed that Martin Luther King, Jr. was very serious and he actually wanted what he said."

Miles: "I like the pictures of when the hills and trees combined through the different places.  It is very detailed in the illustrations."

Lev: "I have heard that Martin Luther King, Jr. died because someone didn't like the work he was doing.  I think it was cool how he stood out in the pictures and looked so strong."

Liam: "I like how the birds are all flying free in the blue sky. It reminds me of freedom."

We've got one or two more books to read.  This will be close because voting day is next Wednesday for us.  Stay tuned!