Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New to Me Picture Books #pb10for10

Well, I missed the post that #pb10for10 was today but was excited when I saw all the notifications about new posts. I love finding out what other books people enjoy. Luckily I am working on the book a day challenge this summer and many of my books have been picture books. So for my #pb10for10 I'll share my favorite, new to me, picture books. Be sure to check out the Picture Book Ten for Ten community for more great book recommendations!

I'm always on the look out for books with strong female characters and this one definitely fits the bill. Fifth grade begins the year discussing human rights. I think this will fit in nicely. Beautiful pictures and a remarkable story about Wangari Maathai.

Somehow Steve Jenkins has not been on my radar as a favorite author but he is now after reading several of his books this summer. I love the pictures and the question/answer format of this book. I plan on using this book with my third graders. I think after listening to it they could ask their own question and research the answer.

Another book by Steve Jenkins. Fun illustrations accompany this story about how animals protect themselves from predators.

One more by Steve Jenkins. The pictures are wonderful. The text is an easy read and at the end of the book there is more detailed information about each animal. There are two more books in this series which I haven't read yet; Time to Eat and Time for a Bath.

Little One has the most wonderful illustrations, they add so much to this quiet gentle story of a cub's journey with its mother. This is a story I will keep in mind as a gift for new parents.

This is a delightful series and I'll be encouraging our librarian to check them out and get them for our school. Each of the books I read; this one, kangaroo and cape buffalo, begin with a child asking if you really want to meet that animal. When the answer is yes the child gives you a new fact on each page and dangers you could encounter. Other books in the series include: platypus, monkey, crocodile, tiger, polar bear, and elephant. Next February there will be new additions-camel, orca, owl, badger and wolf. I'd love to use these with my third graders as well.

I've been enjoying Lois Ehlert's books for many many years. This book will be a great addition to the theme of finding and following your passion. This book gives the reader a glimpse of her childhood and her path as an artist. Each year I have one or two students that love art. I'll be getting this book just for them.

Before We Met is filled with beautiful illustrations and describes that special time before a baby is born. I won't be using this one in the classroom but I have a friend that is expecting and I plan on giving this book to her and probably to my own children once they start their families. It's that type of special book.

This is another one I'll be purchasing for my classroom. It's a delightful story of a boy and his dog and how they learn about each other and the world around them. I like the way it brings in school subjects outside of school, it could make for some good discussions.

The Artist and Me I'll be recommending to our art teacher. It's a beautifully illustrated story about Vincent Van Gough. It touches on themes of bullying and being true to yourself.

It was really hard to stop at 10!

Update to Retirement Post

So in January I wrote about goals to reach before I retire. I thought I'd do a quick update on that post. First of all rereading that post made me think about how I really need to change the negative attitude I have towards some things going on in my district and refocus myself on the positive things that will be happening for my students.

Here is what I wrote in January and the update will follow in red.

1. Skype-it takes me forever to work up the courage to make a phone call so the thought of Skyping with someone is simply terrifying to me!! So, that is number one on the list. And it's still on the list-call me chicken. :)
2. Get at least one teacher in my building on Twitter and using chats. This one is not so scary for me but it is for my coworkers. Hmmm, I forgot about this one. Summer would be the perfect time for this. I think I'll contact a few teachers that I think would try this and try to meet some place for coffee and wifi and get them signed up, following other teachers and discuss Twitter Chats.
3. Put in a conference proposal for NYSCATE one more time. I won a grant a few years ago for iPads and never did the payback of presenting. I hate presenting but I do it from time to time to just push myself out of my comfort zone. I don't think this will happen. Last year I tried to go to a reading conference but was told I go to too many conferences. :( So even if a proposal was accepted I doubt I'd be allowed to go.)
4. Contact Kimberly Wright to set up something with students between our two districts. Need to do this.
5. Get a tech club set up. I've been approved but have been dragging my feet on getting it going mainly due to scheduling conflicts with my principal and fear-what will I do? What if the kids don't like it? and on on with the self doubt. I tried but nothing ever got off the ground. I decided not to bother for this year, the work involved doesn't seem worth it for one year. 
6. A coworker sent me a link to apply to become a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. I dismissed it because.... I'm retiring. But now I'm thinking why not? I'm sure I won't win but why not try? I didn't win to go to ISTE but I did win as an area rep. This gets our district a free year of PBS online resources. I have to sign an agreement so I showed it to my principal and he says it needs to be approved by our superintendent, still waiting.... :(

Ok, the next three are not scary but things I want to continue.

7. Continue to strive to help my students develop a love for reading and improve their comprehension but never by filling in worksheets. No problem!
8. Continue to find ways to tie in technology with reading and share with coworkers. Using SeeSaw more and more and plan on continuing with that because it lets me/students do so much. We did coding once a month last year, even during months of testing and I hardly saw my students, I'd made a promise to coding once a month and I kept it.
9. Continue to read new books-both kid lit and professional and share with teachers. Ok, some teachers might fill in that blank above with I'm tired of her pushing books, apps, websites to us. :) Easy and I've already sent out some suggestions to the 4th and 5th grade teams. 

My retirement isn't official yet but I'm fairly certain it will happen. Keeping positive and focusing on the students will be my main goal this year.