Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Posts tagged ‘Student’

What I Read To Students: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

by Eric Litwin, James & Kim Dean

At the beginning of the school year I read a variety of books to students in PK through Fourth Grade. I want to grab their attention and draw them into reading as quickly as I can and turn them into independent life-long readers.

I focus on Library Manners for my new students in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten to help them understand what it means to use a shared space and how we can use the small library well without being disruptive to others. However, there are times when we must be a little disruptive. 😀

The Book Fair is coming and we have been watching the video sent with the chairperson tool kit. My PK through 2nd grade students are loving Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons! I love the silliness of the book and how it implements math! Yeah, MATH!

My only issue with the book fair video is the singer of PtC and HFGB is the enunciation of the word buttons. I know, it may be picky but when teaching children to speak clearly, spell and read well, it is so important to enunciate. In the video, Pete is singing “My buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons” but it comes out like my buh-uns, ,y my buh-uns, my four groovy buh-uns. Yeah. I am going to be picky.

Dear James & Kim Dean,

PLEASE do not allow a great book and teaching tool to be degraded by poor speech!

Thank you,

Shawn Weisser, Teacher Librarian.

 

UPDATE: 10/3/2013

We are running the book fair this week and I sold out of the Pete the Cat books! All of the books I read or showcased the week before, students bought! I love that I made these books come alive for my students! I LOVE reading and turning students onto books!!

 

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A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Author Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, per...

Author Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, personally autographing books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series at an event promoting the books sponsored by the South San Francisco Public Library in South San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a fan of this series by Scholastic. When it came out, I bought the first book, A Bad Beginning, at the Scholastic Book Fair to see if it was appropriate for my daughter to read. It was, but I did not care for it at all. Too negative. I found no quirky humor to it and I chose not to read any more. My daughter; however, loved the first one and proceeded to read the entire series, as did my students! Sometimes, you just can’t tell what kids will like!

Well, jump nearly ten years later and I have been challenged to read the entire series before my student finishes them. He is way ahead of me. I am struggling to read them because I do not like the style of book. A couple of my coworkers (classroom teachers and teaching assistants) have gotten in on the challenge as well. They are all ahead of me. Shameful! I am the library teacher.

You see, the main characters are these three kids (Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire) who, in the first book, become orphans as a fire burns down their home and their parents inside. They are then given to a distant relative to be cared for, but instead, he plots to marry the oldest child, Violet, and then kill off the children. To be fair it is written in such a manner that it sounds worse the way in which I wrote it than the way the author, Lemony Snicket, writes. Violet is a mechanical genius, Klaus is a reader of anything and everything, and the baby Sunny does not speak but has four incredibly sharp teeth she uses to bite through a number of hard items. He does write well, using big words and offering definitions, of which I am a fan. Just not the negativity behind it, but what do I know, many of my students love the series!

Just so you know, the children are “saved” from the relative, Count Olaf, but it does not end with the “happily ever after” of most kids books.

Book 2, The Reptile Room, which I just finished, places the children in a new home with “Uncle Monty” who is an herpetologist. A snake scientist, as if you didn’t know. Uncle Monty is awesome and the children are so happy they finally breathe a sigh of relief. They should have known better.There is NO happily ever after in this series. Whatever begins well, does not end well.

These are not my cup of tea but I cannot let this student win, we have a ten-dollar bet going on here! Yep, he bet me ten bucks he could read all 14 books in the series before I could. He is winning. You see, I have a life, a second job, a book study, a husband, family obligations, etc. Yeah, excuses, legitimate ones, but still. So, I must stop blogging and start reading so I can whip his skinny behind and win my 10-bucks!!

UPDATE: 10/2/2013

Book 3, The Wide Window. Same premise. The orphaned children are delivered to a new “relative” to be cared for and Count Olaf shows up to ruin the not-so-happily-ever-after. A new twist is the relative in question is afraid of her own shadow and instead of protecting the children she runs off to hide and save her own skin. Count Olaf is thwarted by the children and the indomitable Mr. Poe, her parent’s attorney and executor of the estate.

Still not sold on the series.

I Love Toni Buzzeo!

Really! The woman is a genius!

I have been reading a”back to school” selection of books to my students this week and I chose Get Fired Up With Reading! for my second through fourth grade students. It never fails to inspire my students to read.They all want to have a contest and get their teachers into the dragon-head costume! Mrs. Skorupski is at it again as she challenges the entire school to read. The winning class is awarded the honor of having their teacher in the head of the dragon costume to be worn in the Read Across America parade. The top readers (measured in minutes read) in each grade level will fill out the body of the dragon.

Two girls in Mr. Dickinson’s fourth grade class battle it out while one kindergartener needs help to be the dragon’s tail! See who wins in this wonderful book that is inspiring my students to read!

Toni Buzzeo is a school library media specialist (this is what she calls herself) in Maine. She has written numerous books about Mrs. Skorupski and her devious ways to get students to use the library media center! She has also written other non-library education books that leave me breathless, such as The Sea Chest. However, I think her brilliance is in the way she inspires educators such as myself to read and explore the library.

School is getting back in session

English: Louise Arnold, a writer of Children's...

English: Louise Arnold, a writer of Children’s Literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Four children reading the book How th...

English: Four children reading the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posts will be coming! I have read a couple of kids books over the summer. Mostly in preparation for the school year and teaching students about the library and its various uses. But, fun reading will ensue. I will plan to do reading club this year. Not like in years past but a real reading club. We will see what happens!

Charters Won’t Help

Okay, let’s face it. As parents, as educators, as administrators and as politicians we are concerned with the state of education in America and in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Here is my take:

1. Class sizes in these areas are TOO BIG. That being said, I will concede that I grew up in large cities that bussed and we had large class sizes. There were thirty plus kids. So, what is making this a problem today? Teachers? Parents? Kids?

a. Parents are not parenting. Kids are not being taught to be respectful and follow rules at home. Why would we expect them to do so at school? When I call a parent about their child swearing and the parent swears at me for “bothering” them I understand that I now have to ‘parent’ the child at school. When did it become my job to raise other people’s kids?

b. Teachers are picking their battles. We do not want to punish kids. That is not why we are here. We chose this profession, this art, because we love working with kids. It is ingrained in who and what we are. BUT. Yes, a large ‘but’ has to go in here. BUT, we cannot do it all. We cannot compensate for every child’s lack of appropriate parenting. We cannot financially compensate for a child’s unpreparedness. We cannot be in ‘loco parentis’ (in place of parent) and educator, too. Large classes of students who do not follow direction and behave poorly impacts teaching and learning. Teachers must give and follow through with consequences.

c. Kids. Kids will do what they are taught to do or let do. Without guidelines and rules children will mimic what they see and hear. If they are allowed to scream at home, they will scream at school. If they are allowed to cry and get their way at home they will attempt the same at school. If parents do not give consequences for inappropriate or, yes I will use the “B” word here, bad behavior then children will not understand consequences at school.

d. Administrators MUST support the classroom teachers as well as the parents and children. When a teacher has attempted to correct behavior and parents have been involved but refuse to support the teacher, administrators must take the firm hand. At time, it may be the child is suspended for a lengthy period of time. Parents my need to be inconvenienced. Put the education and parenting back on their child. Require the parent to attend with the child and make certain their child does what he/she is supposed to do. THAT would cause a bit of an uproar but you would see parents pushing their kids to behave better in school. Administrators should substitute. I’d love to see a middle or high school principal sub for me for a week. I’d love to have the superintendents sub for me for a week. I think school board members should sub as well. That would change perspectives. Many of these have either never been in a classroom or it has been so long since they were in a classroom they have no clue as to how students really behave and how parents do not support the teacher.

e. Politicians. Come do my job for a week. THEN you can talk about my job education.

I am really tired of feds, state officials and parents talking about how educators and the educational system is failing them, failing children. This is not the educational world in which you and I grew up.

My daughter looked at my old 3rd grade school picture. She counted the students. “Mom,” she said “there are thirty-two kids in your class. They are all sitting at their desks and smiling and looking well behaved. Didn’t you have the ‘class-clown’ or the ‘bad kid’ in your class?”

“Yes, we had them. However, they knew if they misbehaved of clowned around when it was time to do work or get pictures taken they would be punished by the teacher and their parents.”

“Teachers spanked kids?”

“Yep. Not often because we knew our parents would do it a second time when we got home. We did not do things to make our teacher spank us. It was rare.”

“Wow.” My daughter contemplated that concept. “Teachers need to spank now.”

“I don’t want to spank someone else’s child.” (Grammar withstanding our conversation) “I want parents to parent their kids so I don’t have to spank their children. I want them to understand about consequences in school and at home. I want an educational partner.”

This is what teachers want. We want involved parents.

Throwing money at schools is sometimes frowned upon. But as a teacher of large class sizes I can tell you that I would benefit from an extra adult body in my room. That takes money. I would love to see smaller classroom sizes at the PreKindergarten through second grade levels. We can teach them manners and appropriate behavior if we have smaller classroom sizes.

😀 This is my rant of the day. Thanks given to Fox News for setting me off.

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