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updates for 04.10.2012

3 new posts today


Rotten Orange Trap

"Miss, somebody put a rotten orange in my backpack."   As a teacher, you probably know that moment - something mean has happened to one of your shy, sweet kids, and you need to handle it. Unfortunately, you have no idea who did it or who to start asking, and your "Someone needs to step forward here" comments aren't going to get kids to turn themselves in. You feel useless, and the poor kid pleading with you for justice is just making you feel guilty. Never a pretty moment.   That has happened to me a million times, but this time something magical happened. The naughty kid in my previous class had done me a huge favor: as he stormed out into the hall to throw a tantrum, he decided to take my hand sanitizer with him. And he left it there.   I took the orange out of her backpack with a paper towel, held it delicately at arm's length, and in my best concerned-mama voice said, "Hey guys, this orange is pretty moldy. If you touched it, can you please make sure to go outside and use the hand sanitizer? I don't want you to wait... I'm sure this is full of nasty diseases." And just like that, six of my boys scurried out of their seats and into the hallway.   GOTCHA!   From there it was easy. I told them that either someone could admit to putting the orange in her backpack, or they could all do the consequences together. Then I left them alone in the hallway to convince the culprit to come clean. In a couple minutes, the kid who did it was back in my room, apologizing to the girl. It was such a nice feeling to see her face when she realized the situation had been handled.     Honestly, I was delighted with myself for getting a kid to admit to something that no one had seen him do. As the boys came back in the room, I couldn't help  but grin at them and ask them if they weren't at least a little impressed with how I'd done that. As they processed what had happened, even the kid in trouble started laughing. "Yeah, Miss, you did a good job. You got us pretty good!"  




Today was a wonderful day.

This is short and sweet. But I just felt like the world needed to know that if everyday was like today at school, I think I would seriously considering staying post-my commitment. My kids followed directions. Learned. Went TO multiple centers. Talked at a level that is appropriate. Took risks in class. Had barely ANY arguments (with me or other students). I had a very serious conversation about college with one of my students. And we laughed SO much.No seriously. Laughed. A lot. Granted 8 of my 31 students were absent today. But it doesn't matter. What a humbling day. Tomorrow may be the worst day ever. But today. Was a wonderful day.




Grow a Reader!

Spring has sprung, and with it comes great new books! From picture books starring quirky ducks, bees, and bunnies, to the tale of the Titanic’s fateful voyage, to a sci-fi Cinderella story – these hot new titles are sure to help you grow a reader, and keep your students buzzing about books all spring!    

 

 PreK-1

  Little Bea by Daniel Roode Little Bea visits her friends on a colorful spring day. As the lightbulb-shaped Little Bea buzzes from friend to friend, she plays games, explores the world around her, and finishes her chores. Interactions with different woodland animals provide opportunities for little ones to compare and contrast, and Little Bea's caring attitude provides a good model for friendships. Children can buzz and chirp right along with Little Bea!     Little Bunny Foo Foo by Cori Doerrfeld In this super-silly version of the classic song, the truth about Little Bunny Foo Foo finally comes out! You see, Little Bunny Foo Foo had a reason for bopping those field mice on the head—they stole her freshly baked cupcakes! And the so-called "good" fairy? Well, let's just say she was spotted accepting a sweetly frosted bribe or two! Adorable art, irreverent humor, and a deliciously satisfying surprise ending give this classic song an irresistible twist.     Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer, illus. Jeff Mack Mr. Duck has his activities timed down to the minute—and that's the way he likes it. When a cannonballing pig disrupts his quiet morning glide, Mr. Duck’s feathers are ruffled! After interruptions from other visitors force Mr. Duck to shoo the animals away, the pond is quiet...too quiet! Will Mr. Duck find a way to make room in his schedule for fun? This entertaining read will appeal to children who crave peace and quiet - and those who like to make a little noise!     Gus Grows a Plant by Frank Remkiewicz Patience pays off for Gus in this adorable Springtime story! Gus digs and plants and waters and waits...and waits...and waits. Will his hard work be rewarded? The simple text features a few easy-to-read words per page enhanced with delightful pictures by the illustrator of the best-selling Froggy series. This story also introduces the concepts of responsibility, observation, and patience – important concepts for young students.     Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illus. by Ward Jenkins These rambunctious little chicks can't stop jumping around and doing cartwheels before bed—not even after Mama comes in and scolds them. When she turns out the lights, they even start a pillow fight! But Mama Hen has a surprising and funny plan to exhaust her little ones—a plan that grown-up readers might find themselves trying after reading this hilarious picture book. Goofy pictures and playful rhymes capture the slapstick silliness of a flock of little chicks at bedtime—and their Mama's surprising efforts to calm them down!    

Grades 2-3

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan, illus. by Stephane Jorisch With charming illustrations and a hilarious storyline, this picture book stars a spunky little bunny determined to eat only one food - chocolate cake! Betty loves chocolate cake so much she's decided she's going to marry it! She loves it so much she takes a piece to school in her pocket and refuses to eat anything else! Can she wait until dessert for her favorite food? Can she learn to eat other foods? A relatable tale for picky eaters!     The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Kevin Cornell Canine detective J.J. Tully is supposed to be enjoying peaceful retirement on a farm, but it's a hard adjustment after years as a search-and-rescue dog. But when two chicks go missing, his simple life on the farm is turned upside down, and J.J. is on the case! But things are not what they seem, and no one is telling the whole truth. Let the bird-brained hunt for the lost peeps begin!     Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex Fangbone isn't like the other kids in room 3G. He's a real warrior from another planet on a mission to keep the repulsive big toe of Skullbania's vilest villain, Venomous Drool, from being used as a deadly weapon. Fangbone falls through a wormhole to Earth and ends up at Eastwood Elementary, where he tries to blend in with the other kids. Now, on top of his toe-watching duty, the pint-sized barbarian has to learn how to deal with indoor plumbing, atomic hot wings, and pop quizzes. And he'd better watch out for the hound-snakes and lava-ferrets that are hot on his trail... this thrilling graphic chapter book is pure barbarian fun!     Ready, Freddy! Save the Earth! by Abby Klein, illus. by John McKinley  Earth Day is just around the corner, and Freddy's first-grade class is learning all about the things that even kids can do to help the planet. If Freddy can earn all ten points during the Earth Day challenge, he can join Team Green! But he only has two days to protect the earth in ten different ways. Can Freddy go green in time? Author Abby Klein, a first-grade teacher herself, models Freddy's adventures on those of real children. Perhaps that's why his concerns seem so realistic—and why young readers like his stories so much. Plus, Freddy is a shark lover, and kids can look for the word fin hidden in each book's illustrations!

 

 

Grades 4-6

Titanic Sinks! by Barry Denenberg  This unique mix of fact and fiction immerses readers in the breathtaking true story of the most famous maritime disaster in history. Featuring lavishly illustrated with period photos of the ship and fictionalized first-person accounts, this unusual book uses a variety of mediums to bring the story of the Titanic to life in gripping detail. Through a combination of primary sources, fictionalized narratives, illustrations, and historical photographs, kids learn about the ship's construction, the fanfare that accompanied its launch, the tragic disaster, the aftermath, and the subsequent investigation. It's a thorough introduction to this much-studied event that will hold the attention of readers from beginning to end.     The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt  Set in small-town Ohio in the early 1960s, The Moon Over High Street tells the story of Joe Casimir, a 12-year-old who has to choose between his lifelong passion for things astronomical and the chance to become the adopted son of a local millionaire. It's the moon versus High Street, and Joe can have only one or the other.     Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky Juniper's parents are the most famous film stars in the world, but they haven't been themselves lately. With the help of her best friend Giles, Juniper is determined to find out why. When Juniper and Giles follow her parents into the woods one night, they discover the truth: Juniper's parents have sold their souls to an evil demon in exchange for fame. And they're not the only ones—Giles's parents and many others have sold their souls as well. Now it's up to Juniper and Giles to outwit the demon—and bring their parents back!       Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner Goldie is impatient and bold—and she has a remarkable talent for thieving. This doesn't go over well in the tyrannical city of Jewel, where children are attached to their parents or to the Blessed Guardians by a silver guardchain until Separation Day. But when Goldie's Separation Day is canceled, she decides to run away—and ends up in the mysterious Museum of Dunt. Only the cunning mind of a thief like Goldie can understand the museum's shifting rooms, which hold terrible powers that could destroy Jewel. Now it's up to Goldie to stop an evil leader's horrible scheme and save their city!     Hot Head by Cal Ripken, Jr., with Kevin Cowherd All-star shortstop Connor is the best player on his Babe Ruth team, but he's got a lot of problems. Lately, he just can't seem to control his temper when things go wrong on the field, and his coach is about ready to kick him off the team. Things aren't any better at home. Connor's dad is struggling to find a new job, and Connor's chances of attending baseball camp look slim. What's more, the school newspaper is threatening to run an embarrassing exposé about Connor's tantrums! Can Connor learn to keep his cool in time—and help his team win the championship?

 

 

Middle School and Up

 Cinder by Marissa Meyer In this sci-fi Cinderella story, the heroine is a cyborg with a mysterious past, the prince is a pawn in an intergalactic struggle, and a deadly plague is destroying the planet...unless Cinder can find the cure! Humans and androids crowd the raucous, dangerous streets of New Beijing. That's where Cinder, a gifted mechanic with a mysterious past, lives as a second-class citizen, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle with ruthless Lunar invaders—and cursed with a forbidden attraction for a human love. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.     The Pearl Wars by Nick James A devastated Earth's last hope is the Pearls—small, mysterious orbs of energy that fall from space and are capable of powering whole cities. Battling to control them are the Skyship dwellers, political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere, and the corrupt Surface government. Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. But their mysterious chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess. Now, these enemies are thrust together with a common goal: to uncover the truth about their new powers, a past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.     Tell Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos  Jaya, Maria, and Lola are just like the other eighth-grade girls in wealthy, suburban Meadowbrook, New Jersey. They like the same music, crave the same fashions, and speak the same slang. But there is one big difference: they are the daughters of maids and nannies. Although they go to school with the very same kids whose families their mothers work for, their worlds are not the same. When Jaya's mother is accused of theft, tensions about immigrants start to erupt. Suddenly, Jaya, Maria, and Lola find themselves tested as outsiders—and as friends. Will each girl find a place for herself in a town that maintains the illusion of perfect harmony only by denying their right to exist?     Close to Famous by Joan Bauer  When Mama's boyfriend, an Elvis impersonator, chases them out of Memphis, Foster and her mom end up in Culpepper, West Virginia. This small town is filled with quirky residents—from the grumpy restaurant owner Angry Wayne to the reclusive movie star Miss Charleena. But even in this tiny town, people have big dreams, and Foster herself dreams of someday having a TV cooking show like her idol. But for right now, Foster's going to concentrate on perfecting her baking, helping her new friend Mason make a documentary—and finally learning to read with the help of Miss Charleena!



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