Friday Reads #4 – Back Into It!

Week 2 of the year saw us continuing our start up learning program, so the lessons were pretty prescriptive and texts were chosen for us, but I did want to share the books that didn’t fall into those categories. This week marked the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires and so we read a new release that takes a look at what it was like for the people who lived through this, as well as started our first novel read for the year,

The House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe and David Cox
Allen and Unwin, 2019

I’ll preface this section with the warning to have tissues on hand while reading this book, because it’s very emotionally charged. Following the lives of a family living through a devastating bushfire, from the lead-up to the evacuation to the aftermath that is confronting in its honesty. This is a book that evokes a sense of place and the landscape is as much a character as the people in the story.

As a class, we listened to this via Storybox Library, with author Ella Holcombe reading the story, and it was an experience. Most of my students are too young to remember the bushfires themselves, but many of them know older students or siblings who do, and the conversations this story prompted were as sobering as they were deep and meaningful. It’s well worth taking the time to unpack this with students.

Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

I’ve waited a long time to teach a year level that Skullduggery Pleasant would be an appropriate class read for, and I have to say, nothing has made me happier. We’ve spent a lot of time this week reading this book (we’re in to chapter 4) and since I started it we’ve not had a day when my students haven’t asked for us to read a bit more. And even though we’ve read some intense scenes, we have a good giggle every few minutes.

For the uninitiated, this book follows 12 year old Stephanie as she stumbles onto the world of magic and the skeleton detective, Skullduggery Pleasant, after the death of her uncle. It’s part fantasy and part mystery, and Derek Landy is very clever with his dialogue and characterisation. It’s a lot of fun.

What have you been reading this year?

Friday Reads #3 – Back to School Week!

It was week 1 back at school for 2019 and the students were back for two days this week. Day 1, as always, was a total whirlwind of a day, but Day 2 was a lot more relaxed and we spent some time unpacking one particular story today as we explored our school’s learning protocol of Take Risks, and, in particularly, the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. (I think you’ll agree, this story fits that bill appropriately!)

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

I adore Peter H. Reynolds’ books, and Ish is no different. It is about a young boy named Ramon who loves to draw until one day a mean comment leaves him doubting his abilities to the point where he gives up. That is, until he realises how much his art is loved by another. It is a book that celebrates artists, but most importantly, that ‘perfect’ doesn’t mean ‘best’ and that anyone can draw anything-ish!

Follow up activity: After reading, we had a big chat about the change in Ramon’s mindset throughout the story, from growth to fixed and back to growth. We discussed the difference between criticism and constructive criticism, as well as our own personal strengths, skills and qualities.

For something a little fun – and because we’re all still getting to know one another – we also completed a page from Big Life Journal’s Growth Mindset Printables Kit (the Take Chances, Keep Going drawing challenge).

What have you been reading this week?

Friday Reads #2 – Holiday Edition

This week I haven’t read too many children’s/middle grade books, but I do have one to share with you:

The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams

I’m a bit late on the train for this book which was released back in 2008, but I’m glad I read it this week. Dennis is an ordinary boy living an ordinary life with his dad and his older brother; but his ordinary life is about to change when he discovers that if you open your mind and take a risk, life can be anything but ordinary. This is a wonderful book that challenges gender stereotypes, promotes male-female friendships and celebrates what it means to be uniquely you.

What have you been reading this week?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday Reads #1 – Holiday Edition

We’re over half-way through the Summer holiday break here in Australia and for a lot of teachers that means getting back into the swing of things. I know I’ve spent more time that I normally would in at school preparing my classroom (one of the hazards of changing rooms and year levels), but I’ve also had the best opportunity to start thinking about the books I’ll be sharing in my classroom in 2019.

I’m hoping this year to share a post every Friday with a list of some of the books my class and I have read together in the hope that you, my wonderful teacher friends, might find a book that’s new to you, or one that will fit topics you’re teaching.

Once school goes back, these lists might be a bit more ‘thematic’ but since it’s the holidays I thought I’d share 4 new picture books I’ve added to my collection recently that I’m very excited to share with my class throughout the first term of 2019.

The Word Collector – Peter H. Reynolds

Some of you will be very familiar with Peter H. Reynolds other books, The Dot and Ish, but this book was one I thought would be perfect for my 3/4 students. It’s about Jerome, who loves to collect words. He has notebooks and notebooks full of them, and then he discovers how to put these words together, and how to share them with others and it’s just beautiful. This is a wonderful book for vocabulary and for inspiring students to look for new words all around them.

Are the Star Engineer – Komal Singh

I stumbled upon this in a bookstore and had to buy it. Ara is a girl who loves numbers and maths and wants to count all the stars but isn’t sure how to do it. She visits Google’s Innovation Plex and meets with four (real-life) female engineers and learns about their jobs and learns new ways to approach solving her problem. This is a great book for girls in STEM fields, as well as looking at problem solving and coding.

Islandborn – Junot Diaz

One day, Lola’s teacher asks her students to draw a picture of where their families emigrated from. It’s a project that gets everyone excited – except for Lola, who was so young when her family emigrated that she can’t remember the Island her family called home. What follows is Lola’s conversations with family and friends to unlock their memories – which are at times joyful, heartbreaking, scary and lovely. This book celebrates cultural diversity, family and identity, and is just a gorgeous book to share with others.

Armstrong – Torben Kuhlmann

This beautifully illustrated children’s picture book explores the history of the first moon landing through the eyes of Moon Mouse, a young mouse who dreams of reaching the moon. It’s a story told in pictures and words and every page has lots of detail to unpack, and the last few pages have short paragraphs on the history of those people who made it possible for humans t land on the moon. It’s perfect for discussion determination, persistence and patience, as well as following your dreams and the history of space flight.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share your reads in the comments or add you blog link below for others to follow along!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter