Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Book Birthday, Frank!

Happy Book Birthday, Frank! by Connah Brecon.  This is Connah's first book published in the United States and I hope it receives a warm welcome in schools, libraries, and homes.  Frank is a bear.  The first page offers opportunities for predictions.  "Frank is late.  Frank was always late."  As I read these opening words, I rambled off a few reasons why I thought Frank could be late quite easily.  Only to learn my prediction was wrong.  Frank is not late because he forgot his cell phone.  Frank is not late because he left his wallet at home.  Frank is not late because his child had a had time getting out of bed.  Frank is late because he is helpful!  I want a Frank in my life.  It appears this wasn't a problem for Frank until he had to go to school.   I reread the book several times and am still questioning why Frank was late the first day of school.  For 5 days Frank is late to school and 4 of the days the reader learns why Frank is late to school.  Each time he is late he has helped someone else in need.  On the fifth day of school Franki is almost to school on time when an event happens at the school and he is needed to save the day from a Giant Zombie Lizard King.  Frank has a little bit of difficulty saving the day from the Giant Zombie Lizard King on his own and his friends are trying but they can't do it on their own either.  Then Frank has a great idea, work together!  We all need to hear this message more and be encouraged to act upon it in our daily lives.   

Connah Brecon's blog is filled with photos, sketches and his thinking which would be perfect to share with students looking for tips from published writers.   

Make sure you stop by and see the Frank! Book Trailer.  It's an adorable conversation between the author Connah Brecon and his daughter.  Her imagination and his illustrations just help you show this book will spark writing ideas for students.

I'd like to thank Running Press Kids for my review copy, September 2014.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Math Monday - Putting the Practices Into Action

Welcome and thanks for stopping by for Math Monday!

Today I want to share with you my new favorite professional math book, Putting the Practices Into Action, Implementing the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice K-8 by Susan O'Connell and John San Giovanni.  It instantly went to be one of my top three overall, must have resources to guide my mathematical thinking and teaching.

The whole book is showing the reader what each mathematical practice is and can be in your classroom.  "No matter how much content is "covered" in math class, students are not mathematically proficient without attention to these standards."  The mathematical practices takes the content we are teaching and requires students to apply and understand.  Each mathematical practice has it's own chapter and the chapters follow a similar format.

     -understanding the standard
     -understanding the problem solving process
     -developing strategies
     -building problem solving disposition
     -how do we get there? 
     -helpful ideas
     -classroom tips
     -classroom examples with student dialogue
If you are ever stumped when working with problem solving there are lots of questions to ask and ponder.  A list of great questions is provided and shared in the book.  There are a variety of sample projects to try or guide your own thinking for the students sitting in front of you.  Rich problems take a traditional problem solving situation with one answer and stretch the mathematician to think of ALL possible solutions and/or explaining their thinking.

Do you ever get stumped about what to look for in students work and how to respond?  This book can help, because each chapter comes with a list of observations to look for under the standard while problem solving and then a list of teaching moves to help guide the student forward.  If you want to understand more about the application and tips for guiding students for deeper understanding then this book is for you!

Leave your link within a comment and 
don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are thinking mathematically!

To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
it would be nice for you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Math Monday post, don't forget to use #MathMon!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Familiar Authors, Different Story – Bean Dog and Nugget

I’ve been excited to find authors I know from a series and discover they have other titles and stories to share with readers.  I recently found, Bean Dog and Nugget written by Charise Mericle Harper who I’ve loved for her Just Grace character and books.  When I saw Bean Dog and Nugget I thought about the little boy who is revisiting lots picture books during reading workshop and is a huge Mo Wilhems fan.  I personally love the clean, crisp, and clear layout/illustrations.  Sometimes graphic novels overwhelm me and I think this format will be perfect for students trying a graphic novel format for the first time. 

Bean Dog is tall and skinny while Nugget is a small circle.   Nugget has a new ball and plays catch with Nugget until it disappears into a bush.  While this may not seem like a big problem to an adult reader, this could be for young children.  Together Bean Dog and Nugget brainstorm ideas that aren’t very feasible for getting the ball back.  Then they use their imagination, get dressed to conquer the bush as Super Dog and Ninja Nugget with success. 

The storyline in this title and The Cookie are simple and sweet.  Real life problems young children have.  I really think these books are perfect as an introduction to a graphic novel format.  The reader can easily navigate the smaller boxes of text while using the illustrations to help tell the story and add to their comprehension.  The characters are also fun and humorous which some readers need to get hooked on reading.

Here are two lines I love from this story and hope you find, if you pick this book up.

“Somebody took my shiny new green ball that was special to me!!!”

“SUPER DOG!  NINJA NUGGET!” – the diagram really enhances this line.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New to Me – Captain Awesome

My second grade-reading journey is very exciting because I am continuously discovering new books to me.  Stan Kirby is the author of the Captain Awesome series and I recently read the first in the series, To The Rescue.  I think we need to model how we pick books because that can be hard for students. I picked up Captain Awesome because the character on the cover looked fun and I thought it might be a book some of the boys might like to read.  I think I need more books to attract guy readers.  I will also share I thought many of them would love the sketches throughout to help support their reading. 

Eugene is a huge fan of Super Dude comic books and creates his own superhero to become.  All superheros have an archenemy and Eugene’s just happens to live with him.  Queen Stinky Pants from Planet Baby just happens to be his younger sister and creates mischief in his life.  Eugene’s not thrilled to start a new school because he recently moved.  Lunch is the best part because he meets Charlie who also likes Super Dude.  Turbo the class hamster helps create adventures at home and in school.  Eugene even has to change into Captain Awesome at school to save the day in front of his new classmates.  I thoroughly enjoyed how natural it was for Eugene to become Captain Awesome in public and change back to Eugene like nothing might be a bit odd about this.  He even wore his cape and no one made fun of him. 

 Here are three lines I love from this story and hope you find, if you pick this book up. 

“And if you’re making up your own superhero name, it shouldn’t be something lame like “Captain Just Okay.”  It should be mighty like…Captain Awesome! MI-TEE!”


“It’s not easy being someplace new, and sometimes it helps to know that there are people who care.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Math Monday - Family Math Took Kits

Welcome and thanks for stopping by for Math Monday!

My very first year of teaching, I was introduced to the idea of Family Math and have had it be part of our learning and community ever since.  I use games to practice and reinforce math content we are learning.  Each week we learn at least one new game within the classroom.  Then on Fridays the game is sent home for my students to teach and play with someone at home.  This is math homework, relevant and engaging for two people.  For a long time I never sent anything home to help supplement our Family Math program but a folder each week with the directions and a communication sheet where they could share observations or ask me questions.  Then I learned sometimes a family might not have a pair of dice.  We receive a portion of each child's student fee money to be spent on consumables the student can take home.  So, I started to buy each student a pack of playing cards and a pair of dice.  Then last year I read Franki's post Home Math Learning Boxes.  I loved the idea of more tools to support Family Math and a the box was a better idea than my zip lock baggie storage system.

This past Friday I had the students help create the Family Math Tool Kits and they were excited.  They loved putting everything together!  In looking at my new second grade curriculum I've purchased playing cards, measuring tape, six inch ruler, 4 regular dice, 2 - 10 sided dice for each, an eighth of a cup of beans, and plastic moveable hands clock. I made and laminated two versions of a hundreds chart and an addition fact chart.  You might ask, why two versions of the hundreds chart.  To promote flexible thinking one starts at the bottom row and moves up, increasing in numbers.  As the year goes on, we might add more things.  They wanted to label and created the name, Math Tool Kit for their boxes.  You can easily do Family Math games without creating Math Tool Kits, I did for years.  It really just calls for typical household items.

If you have ways you promote math discussions and/or learning at home I'd love to hear about them in the comment section.  Thank you for stopping by and I hope you will consider joining us with your own post or joining the conversation within the comments.  

Leave your link within a comment and 
don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are thinking mathematically!

To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
it would be nice for you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Math Monday post, don't forget to use #MathMon!