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Posts by Mrs. Hembree
It’s almost Children’s Book Week! I hope you will join me in celebrating the joys of reading next week and in the weeks beyond!
You may be like us and have to hold off the crazy celebrating for another time because it’s state testing. However, there’s lots we can do to quietly spread the word. Here are a few ideas…
Download Grace Lin’s official bookmark and learn how to draw a Chinese dragon using letters.
Vote for your choice of children’s books in the Children’s Choice Book Awards.
Maybe you love to write! Why not try out these story starters?Are you a fan of Jack and Annie? Check out the story starter by Mary Pope Osborne. Where would you take Jack and Annie on a cold, shivery morning?
These ideas plus lots of reading puzzles are waiting for you on the official Children’s Book Week website. Check them out today and start celebrating ahead of time!
There is something about eating with chopsticks that changes things. First of all, unless you are really good at it, you can’t eat fast. The process is super s….l….o….w. It takes some coordination and practice to maneuver two sticks in one hand and pick up food. According to the Mobile Cuisine Chopsticks fun facts page, when you use chopsticks, you involve over 30 joints and 50 muscles in the fingers, wrist, arm, shoulder as well as thousands of nerves.
Second, when you are around other people who can’t use them very well, it’s funny. At first it’s frustrating. Then when you look around and see that every other person is having the same problem, it’s time to laugh. Food can go anywhere and everywhere when you use chopsticks.
The 3 P’s
Last, a person can learn about the 3 P’s. That’s persistence, practice, and patience! Becoming a master of chopsticks requires all 3 P’s. Once you become skilled with chopsticks, you can eat anything (except maybe broth)! It feels just like riding a two-wheeler bike without falling down!
Those are some of the lessons we learned after we read Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Chopsticks is about a pair of chopsticks who are the best of buddies. They do everything together, but when one gets hurt, they have to learn how to manage on their own.
It feels uncomfortable and lonely in the beginning. Before long, things change and what was so difficult at first, is just a memory.
To find out what it’s like to use chopsticks, we had a little practice session. Everyone got a pair of chopsticks and a cup. Tables partners shared a plate of cereal. The object was to get as many pieces of cereal from the plate into the cup. No fingers allowed! We got frustrated. We had fun! We got to eat cereal!
Chopsticks is one of the nominees for the 2013 Washington Children’s Choice Award. More fun activities for this book can be found on her Chopsticks activity guide. If you like Chopsticks, you’ll probably enjoy Amy Krouse Rosethals’ other books too! Give Spoons or Exclamation Mark a try.
What was your first experience using chopsticks like?
What are some things that come in pairs?
I used transition words to start new paragraphs. Can you name them?
On Saturday, the rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $2.1 million in a public auction to an unnamed bidder. Honus Wagner was a Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop in the early 1900′s and considered to one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
There are only about 50 of these cards left in existence, which makes them extremely rare. The story is that Honus Wagner made the American Tobacco Card pull the card because he had not granted them permission to print the card. He did not want children buying cigarettes to get his card.
The story of Honus is the first book in Dan Gutman’s baseball adventure series. It’s the story of a boy who finds the Honus Wagner card and finds he use it to travel through time.
Dan Gutman wrote this book in 1993. He submitted it to a publisher in 1994 and within two months it was rejected. He tried again and it was rejected again. He was rejected SEVEN times before HarperCollins – publisher #8 said, “yes! we like it!” You can read more about his rejection story on the Dan Gutman website.
The book is now available in an audio version, was made into a TV movie called The Winning Season, and a play that was performed in four different cities, including Seattle. The importance of persistence is an important message that Dan shares with his readers on his website:
The good news is that there are now ELEVEN books in his baseball adventure series! Ted and Me is the latest book to be published. It’s about baseball legend Ted Williams and is Gutman’s 100th book to be published!
If you would like to learn more about the story of the T206 Honus card, ESPN has produced a 15 minute video about the history of this baseball player and the famous cards. Click here for that link. You can find Gutman’s adventure series in the sports section of our library.
Why do you think this collector paid this much money for a baseball card?
If you could create a sports card about a person, who would it be and why?
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is a mystery story linking art sculpture with intrigue. The book description reads, “When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery…including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square.
Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings toward it. Both the boy and the sclupture seem to be out of place…and then, on the same night, they disappear!”
I thought about this book on the weekend, when I visited the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle with Mr. Hembree. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the first thing we noticed was the gigantic Alexander Calder sculpture called The Eagle. We walked around it and under it and looked closely at his signature on the side.
In this view from underneath the sculpture, you can see what looks like the eagle head or beak (or at least that is what it looks like to me)!
The last picture shows Calder’s signature on the side of the piece and the date.
I don’t think this is the Calder that disappeared from The Calder Game, but isn’t it fun imagining it could be? Here is a link to a book trailer I found for The Calder Game by Gaia, a student in Mrs Scavone’s class from June 2011.
The Calder Game is available for check out F BAL MYSTERY.
What sculpture did you see in the book trailer?
Have you ever seen an Alexander Calder sculpture before? Which one?
What piece of art would you write a mystery about?
We have three new backpack buddies to add to our collection! Two titles are very familiar - Go Dog Go and Knufflebunny.
We also have a new title – Flora the Flamingo.
In this wordless picture book a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together. Check out the book trailer about this very fun new book!
Flora the Flamingo Book Trailer
We now have 48 backpack buddies to choose from. Each one has a backpack, a book, matching puppet and a journal. Backpack buddies are available for check out in grades 1-3.
What is your favorite backpack buddy?
What book (fiction or non-fiction) would you suggest?
I don’t know about you, but I love surprises! Every book I read is a new surprise. What will be inside? What story will unfold? What characters will I meet? Will the story grab me and not let me go?
Surprises come in blogs too! Our BulldogReaders blog got a big surprise this week. We were selected as one of the Top 25 Educator Blogs for 2013!
Here is the comment that we received,
You’ve been honored in EducationWorld’s Top 25 Educator Blogs for 2013 list. The list represents EducationWorld’s favorite educator blogs to follow in 2013, and our team thinks that your work is worth celebrating.
Wow! What an incredible honor to be mentioned by Education World. I had no idea our blog was even being considered, so this is a super surprise! I can’t wait to visit the other blogs there and learn something new from them!
What’s the best surprise you have had lately?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
We have a special treat today! A few weeks ago three of our former students stopped by to visit with their parents. They were here on vacation and were visiting their former teachers and friends in the Seattle area.
All of three students love to read! Lucily for them, I had just come from the American Library Association mid-winter meeting with numerous Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books. ARCs are copies of books that people read and review and check for errors before they are officially published. Think of them as preview copies.
It’s always fun to have a new book that nobody else has yet, so all three students went home with some new books to read for the flight back to Denmark. Mathias not only read his book, he sent us a review for the blog too!
Here is Mathias’ review of House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. It will be officially released on April 23, 2013.
Setting: The story first takes place in Sea Cliff, San Francisco, then later in a mysterious world of adventure.
Characters: The Walker family is composed of five members.
Mr. and Mrs. Walker, were recently in a lawsuit because Mr. Walker, who is a doctor, had cut an eye into the back of his patient. They were sued by the family of the man, and used almost all their money to defend themselves.
Brendan Walker, the middle child, a computer geek and a quite smart kid. He is also very much into Lacrosse and his quick thinking saves them on several occasions.
Cordelia Walker is the oldest and smartest kid of the family. She is an avid reader and helped solve many of the problems the family were to face.
Eleanor Walker is the youngest and appears to be the most dumb. However she does show quite an appeal for helping and a very smart and quick brain, despite being dyslexic. She is also very much into horses.
Plot: A family of five are searching for a new house. Their real estate lady finds a nice house on the edge of Sea Cliff, a place known for it’s beautiful houses. At first the family is a bit worried that the house may not be as nice as the real estate lady says (their price range for houses is rather low) however they were all proved wrong. When they arrived it was a beautiful three story house, full of amazing furniture and stunning features that made the house almost seem too good to be true. This was made true when they heard the price. Their jaws dropped and they immediately decided to buy the house.
Soon after they bought the house strange things started happening. Brendan and Eleanor were seeing strange figures and shadows day after day. Brendan even thought that the statue which stood in the back had come alive and talked to him.
The next day something strange happened. First the old lady who says she lived next door comes by. Her name is Dahlia Kristoff, the relative of Denver Kristoff who used to live in this house. Brendan goes crazy on her, thinking she was the woman who had turned into the statue. After the old lady leaves the kids start doing some digging. Cordelia find out that according to a picture upstairs, she’s a 105 years old and missing a hand. Not long after the doorbell rings again. Thinking that the pizza has arrived, Mr. Walker goes over to the door and opens it. Outside stands Mrs. Dahlia again, and as soon as Mr. Walker opens the door, she steps in. Immediately she transforms. She is now bald and only a skeleton of herself. Her right hand is missing, just like Cordelia thought and she looked downright scary, especially with the brand new pair of skeletal wings that had just erupted from her back. Mrs. Walker started calling the police, but for a gust of wind that snatched up the phone and cracked it on a pedestal on the other side of the room. Then weird things start to happen. Dahlia Kristoff starts flying up, and every item currently in the vicinity start flying up. They form a vortex of flying items just zooming around the room. The two parents are knocked out by flying objects, but somehow the kids manage to stay conscious. Dahlia starts shouting about her long lost father’s (Denver Kristoff) reincarnation and suddenly everything goes black.
My Thoughts: I think this book is amazing. With all of the mystery happening in only the first instance of the story, it provides a great lead into the book. The book itself is astonishing. The idea of having an entire story based on the fusion of three books is downright fascinating. The different characters in this book are amazingly unique, in such ways that even you can’t see the events they’re going to make happen before they do. The things that happen from every angle, like betrayal, love and unexpected friendship just makes this book one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Thank you Mathias for this awesome book review! I can’t wait to buy a copy for the library in April when it comes out!
Do you like to have fun at school?
If so, you will appreciate the fun we had at school last week for Friday Spirit Day.
Students and staff celebrated reading by dressing up as a book character. Check out our photos!
What book character would you dress up as?
Who do you think dressed up as Bad Kitty?
Our books got to Mumbai, India!
In one of our recent posts, I mentioned that one of our parents volunteered to take some books to Mumbai, India while he was there on a business trip. You can read about the original post here. Now we have photos of his trip!
Josa’s dad visited the Handmaids of the Blessed Trinity Convent School which is located in the Andheri neighborhood near the Mumbai International Airport. This is a particularly crowded area of Mumbai, and most people do not have much money.
Two nuns, Sister Paulette, who used to work with Mother Teresa, and sister Eliza , run an orphanage and school with teachers and volunteers.
Their mission is educate the children at their school in the hopes that when they are older, they educate themselves out of a life of poverty.
The children were very excited to visit with “Uncle Tarun” as they called him! They talked to him and the adults gave him a tour of the school.
They also sang him a song while he was there. Here is a short video of the children at the school singing to “Uncle Tarun”.
Thank you “Uncle Tarun”!
Did you see any of the books you signed?
How does it make you feel to help with our program?
Do you have a comment you would like to share?