Saturday, July 26, 2014

Great Read Alouds

Our favorite family read aloud books
(and great 2nd/3rd grade class read aloud books)


Bee and Lou July 2014
 
We have read all of these books at home aloud together in the evenings.  I've also read most of them aloud in the classroom at some point over the past 10 years.  I don't like to read the same things each year, I get bored.  This probably explains a lot about me.  Bee and Lou are now 9 and 7, but we've been reading chapter books aloud for years.  This is a collection of our favorites. 
  
1.  Diary of  Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney   ***Lou was into these books this winter,  so we read them all.  They are funny and kids love reading them because of the artwork and funny sketches  and fonts on the pages.  A kid keeps a 'diary' of his time in middle school, with the worries of fitting in and finding his place.   Don't watch the movie if you want to like the book character.  The movie made him seem so arrogant and selfish. 

2.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls-  ***My favorite book of all times!
  Favorite. I cried, Bee cried. We were a mess!  You can't go wrong with a story about two 
  coon hounds and a boy who loves them. I read them to my class last year and I ugly 
  cried.  Seriously, it was ugly. 

Bee and Lou Feb 2012
3.  How to Train your Dragon (series) by Cressida Cowell   How To Train Your Dragon,  How To Be A Pirate, How To Speak Dragonese, How To Cheat A Dragon's Curse, How To Twist A Dragon's Tale, A Hero's Guide To Deadly Dragons, How To Ride A Dragon's Storm, How To Break A Dragon's Heart, How To Steal A Dragon's Sword, How To Seize A Dragon's Jewel, How To Betray A Dragon's Hero    ****This is our current read aloud at home.  We are on book 2. It's interesting just how very, very different the movies are.  In fact, it left me wondering if Cressida just looked at the movies and cried when she thought about how they changed her work or if she just enjoyed her books getting extra attention via the movie.

3.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio  ***One of my students brought this in for me to read the class.  Wow, what a powerful read.  It made for a great read aloud in class and also at home.   In this book, the main character has major facial deformities and he shares how others treat him and what school is like for him. Its told from various character's points of view.   There is a second shorter book, but I haven't gotten a copy yet.

4.  One Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes   ***This book has a great message about bullying and being a good friend.  It's not just for girls, despite the title.  It makes you think!

5.  Adventures of Mohan and Mohan in the Jungle both by Ella Grove.  ***They were lent to us by a homeschooling friend and are published by the folks at Rod and Staff.  Both were good quick reads. A good tool for discussing missionaries and their role. 

One of my sweet 3rd grade students reading with her 1st grade book buddy 

6.  Bread for the Winter by Harvey Yoder.  ***This book has a strong Christian messages and an amazing moral lesson.  I will read this to my class next year. 


7. Miss Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald. ***Honestly, we really enjoyed the first book, but didn't like the second and didn't bother with any others.
 
8.  Pippi Longstockings series  by Astrid Lindgrin:    Pippi Longstockings,  Pippi in the South Seas,  Pippi Goes on Board, The Adventures of Pippi Longstockings, Pippi Goes to School,  Pippi's Extraordinary Ordinary Day.   ***These books led to weeks of creative play at out house.  Pippi goes on adventures and is just plain silly.  She lives creatively without her parents, and isn't that something every kid has wondered about?
 
9.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- by Roald Dahl: ***Always a favorite.  The kids even asked for early baths a few nights so we had more time to read it.   Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator-  not a favorite-  almost didn't finish, but we stuck through it!
 
10.  Matilda  by Roald Dahl:  ***A favorite!  We could hardly put it down.  We loved, loved this.  Bee and Lou felt so sorry for poor Matilda.  I read it last year in class and the kids couldn't wait for the next chapter.  That's my favorite part of the day- teacher read aloud. 
 
3rd graders doing a little outdoor reading
 
11. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH  by Robert O'Brien    I can't believe I did not read this until I was an adult.  We all couldn't wait for the next chapter.   This is a great one for boys and girls both, even daddies!  It's starts with the story of a mother mouse trying to save her children and ends with an exciting adventure of super smart rats setting up their own self sufficient habitat.  I had meant to read this at school last year, but ran out of time.  I'll get it in first semester this year.
 
 
   12. Dr. Doolittle series- by Hugh Lofting:   The Story of Dr. Dolittle, The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, Dr. Dolittle's Caravan,  Dr. Dolittle's Circus, Dr. Do little in the Moon, Dr. Dolittle's Garden,  Dr. Dolittle's Return    ***Really, really good, I didn't even know it was going to be so good!  We all loved it!  It was hard to track down, and I never was able to locate all the books.  It's my mission this year.  He talks to animals and goes on wild adventures with them in order to help other animals.
 
13. Holes-  by Louis Sachar   ***This is a favorite read aloud at school.  I was thinking the plot was a little too intertwined and thick for Bee and Lou to get it when we read it (maybe 5 and 7 at the time), but they loved it.  We watched the movie too, and it's probably the closest book/video combo out there.  a boy gets wrongly set to detention camp where he is forced to dig holes. It's a wonderfully intertwined story with tales connecting many characters and plots and many generations.
14.  Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White:  We liked this a lot.  Lou followed the plot line so closely and still talks about it. He would like a trumpet now.    ***Such a nice story about a swan with some very human characteristics. It's a great read aloud. 
 
15.  Cricket in Times Square-  by George Selden ***This is one of those books that I've had in my classroom library forever, but hadn't read myself until not too long ago. What a sweet story it was.  Animals who are friends- one with an undiscovered talent.   I read this last year aloud at school as well and we all liked it.
 
16.  Stuart Little by E.B.White:   ***This is a cute story about a boy who looks like a mouse but whose parents treat him like a regular boy.  Many parts of this story seemed to bother Bee and Lou because they were always worried about Stuart.  I think reading it was stressful for them in a weird way.  The movies are cute, but of course different from the book. 
 
17.  Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. ***This is one of the novels we read as a class in 3rd grade.  WOW,  surprise ending to this book!  It was so good that when we read it at home,  we read it in two days.  The kids couldn't wait for me to read more.  They even asked me to read during dinner, which I did one day. It's about a boy and his dog and his grandpa.  Major surprise at the end. 
 
18.  Charlottes' Web  by E.B. White:   ****A classic that everybody loves.  At my current school, we study it in third grade. Now I get to read it every year!  A girl, a pig, a spider, friendship, a classic story.
 
A few of my lovely 3rd graders discussing a book during Literature circles. 
 
19.  Captain Underpants series  by Dav Plikey-  ***Actually my own kids asked not to read others and to get back to 'real stories'.  Not exactly good literature but they are a fast read.  My students used to enjoy them and I've ready several aloud.   Goofy toilet humor  Boys love it.
 
20.  Little House on the Prairie  series by Laura Ingalls Wilder:     Little House in the Big  Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie,  On the Banks of Plum Creek,  By the Shores of Silver Lake,  The Long Winter,  These Happy Golden Years,  Little Town on the Prairie,  The First Four Years   ***Bee and Lou both liked this series.  We devoured them.  They are classic, rights of passage, must reads.    Most people know the premise, they follow Laura from a tiny tot through her marriage years as her family explores and settles out west.  The girls tend to especially appreciate the details about domestic life.
 
21.  Sarah Plain and Tall series- by Patricia McLaclin:   Sarah Plain and Tall, Caleb's Story and Skylark.   ***We read them in just three days each.  Everybody liked it.  I remember my mom reading these to me when I was in 4th grade.  I didn't want to read them but she made me sit with her.  She read and cried.  I sort of wanted to do anything else but be there.  I like them now, although I don't think I cry as much.
 
22.  The Littles series by John Peterson:   The Littles, The Littles Take a Trip, The Littles to the Rescue,  The Littles Have a Wedding, The Littles Give a Party, The Littles and the Great Halloween Scare, The Littles and the Trash Tinies,  The Littles go Exploring, The Littles go to School, The Littles and the Terrible Tiny Kid, The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend, The Littles and the Big Blizzard,  The Littles and the Lost Children, The LIttles Get Trapped, The Littles and the Secret Letter, The Littles Do Their Homework, The Littles Have a Merry Christmas,  The Littles and the Best Christmas Ever,   The Littles and the Big Storm   ***We read all we could get our hands on.  I don't think we managed to get all of these but they were a great, quick read.  The kids loved them and the sparked lots of creative play at our house.  Basically, little people live in the walls of big peoples houses, using cast off items for their own use.   We read these when Bee and Lou were a bit younger. 
 
Oct. 2012
 
23.  James and the Giant Peach  by Roald Dahl: ***A favorite for the kids, one of my childhood favorites too.  My class last year was so surprised at how different it was from the movie, I don't even care to watch the movie for this one actually.  
 
 
24.  Ramona  Quimby series by Beverly Cleary:   Beezus and Ramona,  Ramona the Pest,  Ramona the Brave,  Ramona and Her Father,  Ramona and Her Mother,  Ramona Quimby, Age 8,  Ramona Forever,  Ramona's World    ***Again, rights of passage reads.  I read them in third grade, I read them to my third graders.  They are a must read.  I usually get them started with Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and let the kids read the others on their own. 
 
 25.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang- series by Ian Flemming  ***We've only read the first book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but apparently there are others in the series.  I didn't even know!  The kids were afraid of the robbers.  The movie was a little dated for me.  The kids surprisingly enjoyed it a lot.
 
26. Ralph S. Mouse series by Beverly Cleary:   Ralph S. Mouse, Runaway Mouse, Ralph and the Motorcycle  ***Lou enjoyed these! to no end.  He asked me to read them  again when we were done.  We watched the video afterward and it was cute.  A little mouse gets a toy motorcycle and he can make it go.  Adventures follow.
 
Oct. 2012
 
27. Indian in the Cupboard series by: Lynn Reid Banks  The Indian in the cupboard, The Return of the Indian,  The secret of the Indian,  The secret of the Cupboard, and The secret of the Key.    ***My kids LOVED this series.  It sparked lots of creative play. You may remember, we needed costumes.  A boy discovers a cupboard and can make his toys come to life.  I have a special cupboard put up that I get out for kids to play with after I read it.   I think the kids would vote these at the top of the list  as favorites.  As with many series, the last book (Secret of the Key) was not as good as the others and frankly just got weird.  There are a few words I needed to skip over, minor infractions, but enough that when my students at school see them they ask for white-out.



 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

good fishing

 
This picture wins for sure for best facial expression.   I think I'll use it at school for an inference lesson.  You can't see what is in the towel but you can sure use clues from the picture to tell. 

 
Hubby's parents have gotten a little place in town to stay part-time.  With me working and hubby traveling some, and both kids playing sports, it's going to be nice to have an extra set of hands, or two, with the kids from time to time.  


Their community has a few lakes and one is right behind their building.  

 
And the fishing is good!  We caught blue gill, sun fish, and bass.
 
 
I'm sure the fish will catch on, but it was one of those times when you throw your line out and pull one in, and repeat.

 
We fished maybe 45 minutes this evening and each fisherman caught 5-6 fish.


Lou has decided we should just keep our poles in the car so whenever we get the itch to fish, we're ready to go.  Good idea buddy. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summer visits

The poor 'ol blog has been mostly pictures of my kids doing summer things and what we have going on here (except for the pencil sharpener giveaway), but school will start soon enough. 

So, it's more family summerness for today.  The kids and I got the chance to go visit my dad for a few days.  It was a little chilly for July but we spent most of the time on the lake, which is the kids favorite. 

 
especially when they get to drive the boat!  (driving in 2012- Lou with his curls)

Tippy joined us too.  Have you ever seen a happier dog?  He apparently is a farm dog and a lake dog.


 
Look at that sweet guy, he seems to be saying thank you.  I can't believe we ever considered not keeping him, he's been a perfect dog for our family.

 
 The first day was so late in the evening we just went for a 'cruise,' as the kids call it.
 
 
Bee loves the water.  She talks about moving back to Florida as soon as she has a choice.  I just hope she takes me with her. 


This photo of Lou and my dad is my favorite from the boat.  Both of the boys look so natural and at ease.  It's good to see Lou at ease. 
 
 
We got to ride in the convertible, which is a treat for all of us.  Bee and Lou had my poor dad pull over a dozen times, "Can you put the top up, it's too windy?"  "Can you put the top down, we want to feel the air?" Repeat.

 
 
I forgot to collect electronics.  That silly boy may have a small addiction to electronic devices. 


Once he was forced to put the device away, Lou enjoyed the convertible best of all.  Don't worry dad, I'm at a red light.   (I'm wearing a cardigan in July!)  Look at that face, I'm pretty sure we will have to keep an eye on that one.



My dentist office has this event this summer where you travel around with a paper 'fan' of one of the dentist and take your picture with him doing fun things.  We don't know what the prize is, but the kids and I sort of want to win.  It's almost embarrassing how many photos we took with Dr. Adam. 


He also joined us at a petting zoo where he was almost eaten by a goat and rode a donkey. 


On the second day we tried to avoid getting in the water by just canoeing, but Lou and I ended up in the lake anyway.  We both lost our shoes too.  The water was fine, but air once you got out was brutal.  On the third day it was finally warm enough to get into the water.  The kids and I tubed.  I did lots of tubing since they both wanted to ride with me.  Bee tried on her own for just a few minutes.  She hardly weighed enough to keep the tube going correct and I had to get back on. 
 
 
On the way home, we stopped by my sister's.  Because Tippy is apparently a farm dog and a lake dog and a woods dog. 

 
We did some fishing.  Bee and my sister both caught fish, but nothing happened for the boys.  There was also a crawdad who wanted a worm.

 
 We were supposed to go to a park and zoo the next day, but we picnicked by the river for lunch (because there were some 'uncertain people' by the picnic area and the kids (and sister's boyfriend's kid brother) played in the sand and dirt for the afternoon instead. 

Then we drove home.  The house smelled awful when we got back.  Hubby had been out of town for work all week and the kids and I were gone most of the week traveling.  I guess I left something in the garbage disposal.  We had the plumber in through the week doing some work in the bathroom and the gal that watches the cats was in some too.  They probably think we're just gross now.  It was foul.  the cat girl even sent me a text that said, "I took out your trash."  Nice, she smelled it too.  Too bad it wasn't the trash.   Lesson learned- check disposals before leaving. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

the pencil sharpener of all pencil sharpeners! GIVEAWAY!

From the Hive-  Giveaway!  Ends August 4!
 


I've written about the best pencil sharpener before, and you'll hear about it again today.  But today, I get to give one of these bad boys away!  I have two (red and greed) and will never spend money on another type of sharpener!  It took 9 years of burnt out motors, clogged and jammed machines, noisy-beast fails, but I've found the solution. 



This great sharpener I'm talking about it from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  If you're a teacher, you know the struggles we face with pencil and sharpeners.  It's ridiculous.  Like, seriously it leaves you scratching your head.... or banging it on the wall.  Even if you are not dealing with 50 pencils a day that need sharpened, this is a great piece for you to add to your homework desk area or home office.  


Here are my requirements for a good sharpener.   1. quiet    2. clean   3. must last the whole year (longer would be a plus)    4. doesn't cost a fortune (cause you know I'm paying myself!)    5. doesn't clog and fuss at us, especially while I'm trying to teach!    6.  actually sharpens the pencils    7. easy to take apart and fix when some lovely child tries to sharpen their pen or their eraser end of their pencil or something equally as brainy.     Wouldn't you know if this one meets every requirement!   Even my former preschoolers were able to sharpen their pencils!


I've shown several teacher friends my sharpener and now many have their own.  I've given them as teacher gifts from my kids and have even taken it to show other mom friends on the playground (cause I'm seriously that cool).   The sweet teacher next to me last year even came over and borrowed mine afterschool everyday, after she saw my sharpener but before hers came in the mail. 


This year I ordered new blades, which is a feature I've never seen from a company that sells pencil sharpeners.  Both of my sharpeners are two years old and have sharpened at least 30 pencils a day through two past school years.  They still are going strong, but I felt like they earned some new blades. 


If my opinion isn't good enough, check out this end of the year writing from one of my students.  I asked them to write about third grade, what they will miss, the good, the bad, and everything in between.  This little friend said, "I would also miss that pencil sharpener by the door in my room.  It is very easy to sharpen pencils with."  Out of the mouth of babes. 



I give my third graders a little demonstration a the start of the school year although there is even a video on the website.  It's different from every other sharpener the kids have used.  I go over a few of my personal rules  1. only the pencil sharpener person may dump the shavings  (they all love to dump and it makes a lovely excuse to be out of your seat)  2. no colored pencils (I feel like the wax creates an issue), no pens, no erasers, no metal ends of pencils   3.  No pencils under 3 inches (personal pet peeve).  Of course we have other procedures (do all kids need micro managed like this?)  about when you can sharpen, how many pencils you can take up at a time, how any kids can be in line at a time.  Honestly, it's so quiet and nonintrusive I really don't care when they sharpen as long as it's not during instructional or some type of sharing time.

Ok, here's how to win: 
1.  Follow them on their facebook page. MUST DO TO ENTER
2.  Leave me a comment telling me that you followed them and what color you like best. (see colors here)  I have red and green and love them both!    Be sure to leave me an email address to contact you, should you be the lucky duck chosen. 

Additional entries:
1.  twitter:  tweet about this giveaway or this pencil sharpener.  Whatever works for you.   Leave an additional comment telling me you have  #classroomfriendlysupplies  
2.  facebook:  do one or both of the following-  leave them a comment on their facebook page or repost or share this giveaway on your facebook page.   Leave me an additional comment saying that you did so.
3. pinterst: pin a photo from this giveaway or one from their website.  Leave me a comment saying you did so.





Rules and such:
1.  US shipping addresses only- sorry my international friends. 
2.  Giveaway ends August 4th (2014) because that's my first day back at school (seriously)
3.  The selection of the winner will be random. 


What if t's not winner winner chicken dinner day for you?  Or you need extra parts? Or more for friends? They have also created a special 5% off discount code that you can use when checking out of the online store. F7Y39  This code expires on Sep 5.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

And then all of a sudden, she turned nine!


That Bee of ours went and turned nine.  That's like, old.
 
She wanted a slumber party.  She got it, but it might not happened again for some time.  I was up with the giggling girls until at least 3 am. 
 
 
I think it's almost more tiring to sleep for 10 minute increments just to be woken again, than to just stay up. 
 
 
 
Her birthday wish list had grown up things on it, not a single toy.  She wants clothes and electronics and gift cards and her room to be redone.  She wanted the 'little girl' feel out of there and a 'modern feel' to take over.  She got it-  I'll have to see if she'll post pictures on her blog of that!


Bee wanted Smores, although we had already had plenty of sweets.  She wanted cream cheese squares and strawberry shortcake cupcakes along with chips and  Papa Johns Pizza. 


They swam and then opened presents in the tent.  I had hoped for them to swim a good deal longer, but they were really pushing the activities along.  Since this was a 'no stress' party for me, I planned little.  The theme for both kids parties this year was 'no stress for mama'.  Most food and treats were prepared ahead of time and all the activities were simple and mostly kid play.  I've certainly done parties with gobs of detail, this was not that.


They watched Soul Surfer and then set off paper lanterns.  I love paper lanterns.  And then we almost set two neighbor's roofs on fire.  Take note, I will not be doing paper sky lanterns again.   I scurried for a garden hose and hubby ran for a ladder.  We managed, but it was a little hairy for a moment. 


The girls had planned to sleep in the tent, but a noise early on scared them into the house.  The good news is the girls finally fell asleep, I finally fell asleep, a few girls brushed their teeth and  no one had a roof fire.   Always signs of a successfully party I guess.