Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 1 of Room Setup

Today was Day 1 of my room setup. When I arrived to school, nothing was in it's place so with a little help from Nick, the custodian, I got the room arrangement done. The next thing to do was the unpacking of the closet which then turned into rearranging the closet, which was not on the To-Do list today. It got done and know I can start in one corner and go around the room putting up things. Here are some pictures of what my classroom looks like now. Stayed tuned throughout the week as I work to get my classroom done by Friday. That is the goal!

Friday, July 27, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 10: Tone

This week's topic of Tone, had a little bit of a twist to it.  When, like many of use, think of the word tone, we often think about the 'tone of our voice'.  It was interesting to see how tone can be played into illustrations and the meaning that it can give it's readers.  If tone is used right, it does set the tone for the book to be enjoyed by the readers.  
Many different techniques were shared in this book.  In trying to think about the different books that I have shared with my classes in the past 10+ years, two techniques stood out for books that are classroom favorites. 

Technique 33: Shifting Tone by Shifting Color
Tone can be all about the colors of the books.  Color is what gets the readers attention and often portrays the mood of the characters/plot of the book.  One book that comes to mind about the shifting of colors is We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
The book is illustrated by using watercolors/colored pencils to portray a soft contrast but then at different parts of the book, the illustrations are black and white.  Showing the different parts of the story from the stanza of the story to the different actions that the family is doing through their hunting adventure.  The kids love listening to this book and they also like to act it out.

Technique 35: Crafting Tone with Size
I am not to familiar with this book, but it came to mind as soon as I began how the size can set the tone for the book.  Hey, Little Ant by Phillip & Hannah Hoose
Just by looking at the cover, you can feel the set of the tone of the book by seeing the size different of the boy to the ant.  And if I remember right, in the book the role is reversed and the ant at one time is the larger object and the boy is ant size.  It's been awhile since I really looked at this book.  

I have enjoyed being part of this book study and finding different ways to look at writing in a different way in which I can teach my students to look at writing differently as well.  I've enjoyed reading all of your book selections and thoughts about the different chapters.  Thank you Deanna Jump for hosting this week. Hop on over to her blog to see what others are saying about Tone. I look forward to sharing with you next week!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 9: Wholeness of Text

After having a week off of reading the book, it was hard to get back into the reading routine and wrap my brain about writing and books. This chapter was interesting to read and was short for the concept that was studied.
Chapter 9 was about how an author and illustrator has the important job of keeping the reading interested and how they go about to keep that reader interested throughout the whole book instead of just one paragraph or page. Making sure you have detail was mentioned many times and having it throughout the book is important. "A detail mentioned early that shows up later can provide a deeply satisfying resolution to any piece of writing..." I find this to be very true and the students do pick up on all the different details throughout the book and are usually the first ones to pick them out.

 Here are the techniques that were explained:
#23 - Keeping Static Details Consistent
#24 - Making Seemingly Insignificant Details Reappear
 #25 - Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next
#26 - Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead
#27 - Crafting Artful Repetition
#28 - Crafting an Ending That Pulls Multiple Text Elements Together
#29 - Repeating Details of Landscape
#30 - Using Details of Light to Show the Passage of Time
#31 - Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time

Coming up with some picture books for this chapter has been a little more difficult because I am drawing a blank on some books that some of these techniques can be shown. I know I have mentioned this before but it's hard not to have my whole classroom library in front of me to help find some good examples. Some of the books that I will be mentioning my not be true to the technique but it's the best I could do.

Technique #25: Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next
Jan Brett's books remind me of this technique. In her illustrations and story, the concept builds and it keeps the reader interested. One of my favorite stories of her's is The Mitten.

Technique #26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead
After reading the details to this technique and reading the title, my brain automatically went the If You Give A...series of books.  The all time favorite is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff

This book and the many others like it have different details and events that lead to one thing and so on.  Then at the end of the story it goes back to the beginning elements and repeats the first line.  The students love them and they are great for sequencing too.

I know once I complete this post, I will come up with some other books, but I think between the heat that we are experiencing, high of 101 today, and a lil lack of motivation, my brain is just not working.  So I apologize for the short book list.  I hope to be back in full mode for next week.

Thank you Growing Kinders for hosting last week and to Primary Graffiti for hosting this week.  Please stop by to see what other book study participates are saying about what they learned and their book selections.  Until next time, stay cool and happy reading. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


After doing many 5K events through the years, I will have to say that is was by far the most fun 5K I have ever done. The Color Run came to Omaha this morning and it was an experience! It's amazing how we all started out with white shirts, which is required, and at the end we were all colorized from head to toe! Even after a long shower, I still am blue, pink & purple! I am so doing it next year and I hope I can talk some friends into doing it also. If it's going to be in a city near you, I would highly suggest it. What a way to do something fun in the summer and in the 101 degree Nebraska weather! Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 8: Precision and Detail

I am so glad that I decided to become part of this wonderful book study because I am learning so much!
 It has opened my eyes to many different things that I wouldn't of thought about in the process of writing and with my students. Thank you DeeDee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for hosting the first two sections of the study. Kathleen over at Growing Kinders is this weeks host and shares her thoughts and book picks for precision and detail. Chapter 8 was enjoyable and held a lot of information in how a reader and writer looks at the precision and detail in the pictures.

Here are the techniques that were explained:
13. Crafting Details of Expression and Gesture
14. Crafting Physical Details of Characters
15. Revealing Character with Background Details
16. Crafting Details from the World of Nature
17. Showing the Effects of Weather on a Scene
18. Crafting Details from the World of People
19. Using Authentic, Object-Specific Details
20. Creating the Illusion of Motion with Detail
21. Creating the Illusion of Sound with Details
22. Using Details as an Element of Surprise

 As I did with the techniques from Chapter 7, as I was reading through the techniques, I was trying to think of some picture books that I use with my students or that are in my classroom library that would be great to teach precision and details. I will have to apologize that my book choices are just pictures of the cover because all my classroom books are packed and I am not able to get into my classroom because they are cleaning. So bare with me as I try to think of some books off the top of my head.

Technique 13: Crafting Details of Expression and Gesture One of my favorite books that I read to my students that is part of our reading curriculum is Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
Everybody knows the famous Ruby and Max! This story is about how Max is trying to help Ruby make a cake for Grandma's birthday. During the story, Max tries to help out but keeps getting into trouble. I love the expressions on the characters face because Max has so many and when I read this story to my students, I make sure we talk about how Max is feeling after each attempt of going to the store and getting what he wants. This book comes to my mind when thinking about expression.

Technique 16: Crafting Details from the World of Nature Throughout our reading curriculum, we share many information books. One of the books that we share is Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
This may not be the best book for this technique but I remember it having lots of detail that can relate to nature and the different details that are in the book to show the students how things go on above ground as well as underground and seeing how it can be so real.

Technique 22: Using Details as an Element of Surprise
After reading about this technique, I was trying to think of the different books that I have noticed a "surprise" in the story and I thought that was very clever of the author and illustrator to add that in there book.  Working with Kindergarten students they are very observant where some catch the surprise and then their are some that still don't understand or realize.  I may have the wrong book connection, but If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff, I believe,  has a part in the book where the mouse is reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie also written by Laura Numeroff.  I enjoy reading these books to my students, so again I apologize if it's not the correct book.

I am interested in reading the next chapter about the wholeness of text.  Until next week, I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming week.  I am jealous that many of you are attending the I Teach K conference in Vegas.  I hope you have a fun and can't wait to hear all the stories and maybe some of you will share some of the great things that you learned.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In Pictures and In Words: Chapter 7: Ideas and Content

In the second part of this book, Katie Wood Ray shares 50 illustration techniques and some qualities of some good writing.

The illustration techniques in the book are broken down into these sections:
1. Ideas and Content
2. Precision and Detail
3. Wholeness of Text
4. Tone
5. Layout and Design

Mrs. Wills explains and share with us how each technique is explained and how it works as a lesson that can be used in the writing study

In Chapter 7, Ideas & Content, Katie Wood Ray says that idea work is something children will need to understand to become proficient writers. It's important to see the illustrations and the thinking about the idea work behind it(pg. 95).

Here are the techniques that were shared:
1. Crafting with Distance Perspective
2. Crafting with Positioning Perspective
3. Crafting the Background
4. Showing Two Sides of Physical Space
5. Using Scenes to Show Different Actions
6. Using Scenes to Capture the Passage of Time
7. Using Scenes to Show Movement Through Different Places
8. Using Scenes as a List
9. Showing, Not Telling
10. Crafting a "Backstory"
11. Manipulating Point of View for Effect
12. Seeing Through the Eyes of a Narrator

As I was reading through each of the techniques, I was thinking about the picture books that we use in our reading curriculum that would be an excellent resource and change up the learning of how to look at the book differently. Here are some I would like to share.

Technique 1: Crafting with Distance Perspective
The book, Look Closer by Brian Wildsmith comes to mind.
In this book, the illustrations go from a large scenery picture of where the author is walking with a very small hidden picture of an insect of what he sees as he is walking by to the following page where the small hidden picture, which is an insect, is now the focus and the background is the place where the author has walked. I love using this book with my students to show them perspective of the two pictures and we even do a class book where they create the different places and insects that they might see.

Technique 9: Showing, Not Telling
A book that I thought about for this technique was, Alphbatics by Suse MacDonald.
This book shows how the letter of the alphabet can be transformed into something that begins with that sound. The illustrations show the students how by adding different details to the letter, it can look different without text to read.

Technique 12: Seeing throughout the Eyes of a Narrator
As I was thinking about what book I could use for this, Dear Juno by Soyung Pak, pops in my head.
The main character, Juno, tells us the story about how he receives a letter from his grandmother and the events for writing her back and then receiving another letter. This book could also be paired up with some other techniques.

I sure leaned a lot from this chapter. I can't wait to really dive into my books and gather that pile to really teach the techniques. I'm looking forward to next week, Chapter 8: Precision and Detail. Have a great week everyone!