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Back to School 2014!

I’ve spent more hours in meetings during the last two weeks than I care to imagine.  STEM, claim evidence reasoning, mood meters, Brightspace, ebooks, WCCPBA and more have been topics for discussion.

Do lessons get planned during these meetings?  Do eye-catching displays get made and hung?  Is prep work done?  No.  No.  No. Some good ideas, yes.  But nothing happens that reduces my panic for the first days of school.

So I went into my library today to work on some things.   Techie Rocker, bless him, stayed home with J&H.  This is where I left it:


Eye-catching displays are up.  Tables and chairs ready.  New books on carts, ready for readers.  Emails out to teachers and PTA about an upcoming author visit.  That’s about it. Ready for Day 1.

Yes, I’ll eventually print the student barcodes and make library check-out passes.  I’ll recatalog the books found over summer break, my Costco purchases and ALA goodies.  I’ll welcome a new library co-teacher, yet to be hired.  Heck, I’ll even map out the first couple of months of lessons on my famous-to-me planning calendar.  But for now, I’ll enjoy this long Labor Day weekend with my family.  Maybe I’ll even read a new book.  But I won’t stress.  Because, as Pete the Cat smartly knows, it’s all good.

Review: Brown Girl Dreaming


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

7 word summary: Columbus. Greenville. Brooklyn.  Jackie’s family, life changes.

Autobiography, free-verse poetry.  337 p.  b/w photographs.  Share with ages 10+.

Acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson shares her story in sparse, resonating prose.  Born in Ohio, her mother moves her and her siblings to South Carolina, where her grandparents live.  And it’s fitting: family – those indestructible bonds – is what rules this autobiography and gives it deep roots.  An added bonus is an honest history lesson on what life was like in the 1960’s and 1970’s for a young black girl searching for her place in the world.  Highly recommended and worthy of all the starred reviews it’s received.  An excellent adult book club read.

Resonating words:

Maybe I should go there, too, my mother says.

Everyone else, she says,

has a new place to be now.

Everyone else

has gone away.

And now coming back home

isn’t really coming back home

at all. (p 46-47)

Poem: stevie and me (p 227-228)

Library lesson: June 9-13, 2014


Second grade:


No pictures.  :(  Students finished reading and comparing fables, then played Musical Books with new nonfiction.  More on that activity later (it was a winner, though!)

Third grade:

Again, no picture.  :( :(  Part one of a two-week World Cup lesson.  Again, I need to type this up as a formal lesson,  It paired research, web skills, databases and maps in one grand learning exploration!

Library lesson: May 27-30, 2014


Second grade:


Students watched a short fable – Janet Stevens’s version of The Tortoise and the Hare – to introduce our three week fables mini-unit and practice identifying the moral of the story.  Yay for Reading Rainbow!

Third grade:

Reviewing folktales while introducing the South American setting.  With the World Cup kicking off in a few weeks, our next two lessons will focus on World Cup 2014.