Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why I love having a large home library

Why I love having a large home library: At 830 on a Saturday night, when kiddo looks up at the stars and wants to know about that killer in the sky, we can pull a variety of works from our shelves and do a mini-unit study on the constellation Orion. 

"The Hunter"

A night long
Across the sky
Orion the hunter
Goes striding by

What is the quarry
He pursues
Through stars as bright
And thick as dews

And who has heard
His great dog bark
Sirius baying
Through the dark?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Geocentrism? Preschool worldview

"This is the light side and this is the dark side, and this is the sun and that is the moon, and it says 'This is the world I want to change.' ". --Jackson, 4 years 10 months

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rise and Read

Reading is the pathway
From the dungeon
To the door.


Reading is the highway from
The shadow to the sun


Reading is the river
To your liberty
For all your life to come

Let the river run


Learn to read.

“Choose Your Freedom -- Learn to Read”
by Dr. Maya Angelou, 2002

As published in Rise and Read by Sandra L. Pinkney & Myles C. Pinkney, Scholastic, 2006.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lucy Calkins' List of Short Read-Aloud Novels for K-2

pp 38-39, Raising Lifelong Learners, Calkins

  • Stuart Little, by E.B. White
  • The Dragonling, by Florence Koller
  • Catwings and Catwings Return, by Ursula Le Guin
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox and George's Marvelous Machine, by Roald Dahl
  • The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes
  • Harry's Mad (and others), by Dick King-Smith
  • Matthew and the Sea Singer, by Jill Patton Walsh
  • Chocolate Fever, by Robert K. Smith
  • A Lion to Guard Us, by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Owls in the Family, by Farley Mowat
  • Stone Fox, by John R. Gardiner

Thursday, January 8, 2015

There Was a Child Went Forth by Walt Whitman

There Was a Child Went Forth

by Walt Whitman

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he looked upon, that object he became.
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain
   part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years:
The early lilacs became part of this child....
And the apple-trees covered with blossoms, and the fruit
   afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the school....

The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture
   --the yearning and swelling heart....

The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the
    curious whether and how.
Whether that which appears is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are
    not flashes and specks, what are they?

These became part of that child who went forth every day,
    and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Read-Aloud Record, 2014

List of novels, chapter books, novellas and dedicated story collections read through the year with J1, from age 3.75 to age 4.75.

Looking back: 2003 reading list is here.

“Let me give you an idea of how widespread the misunderstanding is about the difference between listening [level] and reading level, as well as the magic that can occur when they are understood. About twenty years ago I was doing an all-day seminar in a blue-collar community on the Jersey Shore. At lunch, a young teacher named Melissa Olans Antinoff introduced herself and said, ‘You’d love my kindergarten class!’ She explained that she read one hundred pictures books a year to the class, but also read ten to twelve chapter books...When the seminar resumed after lunch, I asked how many kindergarten teachers were in that room and learned there were eight. Further investigation showed that Antinoff was the only one who read chapter books to her class. Which of these eight classes will be better prepared for first grade: the ones who heard 150 four-minute picture books, or the one that heard one hundred picture books along with a dozen novels? Which class will have the longer attention spans at the end of the year and larger vocabularies, and exercise more complex thinking?” --Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th edition, Penguin, 2013), p. 59.

Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang
Mordecai Richler
Better for six-year-olds?
Ursala K. LeGuin

Hotel Cat, The
Esther Averill
Very slow, even though we love the Cat Club.
Stories for Four Year Olds
Edward and Nancy Blishen
We prefer the Corrin-edited, Faber-published age-level story books to the Blishen-edited volumes, but it’s good to have alternatives.
The Boxcar Children
Gertrude Chandler Warner
Primer-style language. An exciting, age-appropriate story, but like Beginner Books, better suited for emerging readers than for readers aloud.
Many Moons
James Thurber

The Reluctant Dragon
Kenneth Grahame
Michael Hague illustrations.
Comet in Moominland
Tove Jansson

The Children of Noisy Village
Astrid Lindgren

The Great Quillow
James Thurber
Doris Lee illustrations. Usual Thurber weirdness and wonderful language.
Tell Me a Story
Eileen Colwell (compiler)
Solid. Looking forward to read the other three volumes in the box set in coming years.
Owls in the Family
Farley Mowat
Terrific. Will seek out more Mowat.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Mostly Librivox audiobook, some chapters read by me. So glad we had a facsimile edition in the house--pictures are terrific.
My Side of the Mountain
Jean Craighead George

A Toad for Tuesday
Russell Erickson
A child-appropriate thriller.
Anton Chekov
William Stobbs illustrations. Ultimately heart-breaking but the kid didn't track the details enough to mind.
Four Seasons of Brambly Hedge
Jill Barklem
These deserve to be better known in the States--lovely!
About Teddy Robinson
Joan G. Robinson
Adorable and so warm. Get omnibus/treasury?
26 Fairmount Avenue
Tomie De Paola
Terrific. Perfect for age level. Will read the sequels.
Caroline and Her Kettle Named Maud
Miriam E. Mason
J loved this. Perfect age-level and interest level for a TK/Kinder boy, with bonus feminism and history for me. “Mom, I’m going outside to look for four-leaf clovers near gray rocks so I can find seven and put them under my pillow and wish for a gun.”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ameliorating Math Anxiety

"One way to keep tension is to be aware of it. I told the math class that to let something go by in class without knowing what it means, and without saying anything, is like leaving something in Howard Johnson's on a long car trip. You are going to have to go back eventually, so the sooner the better. The foolish metaphor has helped the kids, or so they say. They have learned to recognize, if only a little, the feeling of panicky confusion that slowly gets hold of them. To be able to say, 'I'm getting left at Howard Johnson's' how them to control this feeling, and if it gets too much for them they can always tell me they have been left behind; then I can do something about picking them up."

--Holt, John, How Children Fail, p 42