Don Tate is Coming!!

We have a love of diverse books in Rm. 202 (thanks to some book gifts from our district, some great blog posts I’ve read this past year and thanks to Eyeseeme and their amazing bookstore FULL of books with diverse and powerful characters), and so we were DELIGHTED to hear about how Don Tate is coming to visit our school at the end of the month!

As with most of our visiting authors, Mrs. Meihaus works hard with teachers and kids to get us familiar with the author’s (and in this case illustrator’s) work beforehand so we have something to base our new learning upon.  We can also really raise the level of excitement and anticipation as they day draws near and help kiddos think of what they might want to talk to our visitor about when they are here.

We gathered in the library classroom and Mrs. Meihaus introduced us to our new friend, Don Tate.

screenshot-2017-01-15-11-43-53-min

She started with a short bio, and showed us some of his books.

While he has written several books, he is mainly know as an illustrator.  Our next step was to learn more about how he tackles his images.  We uses primarily paint, and we learned more about the differences in how illustrations look when he uses watercolors versus acrylic paints.  He also has some images that include pen and ink on top of those colors.  We took a look at many of his books with our partners and tried to identify how they were similar to each other.

What’s great is that this was easier work for us because we’ve been working on “getting to know” authors and illustrators all year with our #classroombookaday challenge.  I LOVE that my kiddos can see a book and name who wrote it or drew the pictures just by sight.  I love that they can name and appreciate the people who took such time and energy to create the amazing texts we read and enjoy.  They had great ideas about what they saw that was the same in different images and could name the medium he had used to create them!  Great job, Rm. 202 kiddos!

Before we left, she read one of the books I’d been wanting to share with the class anyway–Ron’s Big Mission— and we loved it.  What an inspiration to hear about a little boy who did whatever it took to get a library card, and what a tragedy that in AMERICA he was not able to get one.  I think it’s important to tell his story.  Reading took him so far in his life!

screenshot-2017-01-15-11-45-07-min

Mrs. Meihaus shared many titles with us, and while I’d LOVE to read them all, there are LOADS of other books in our to-be-read pile that we want to get to, as well.  Here’s the plan for the ones we’ll share this week and next in preparation for his visit (and just because they’re GREAT BOOKS!):

We are excited to meet our new illustrator friend in person and talk with him about how he does his great work!  Stay tuned for more of the story after he visits us on January 31st. 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Plans

If you’ve been here much this fall you’ve read many posts about pumpkins.  We’ve read lots of books about pumpkins, planned and created amazing Literary Lanterns out of pumpkins, and then, because of a super lead from Mrs. Meihaus, returned our pumpkins to the wild depths of the Robinson Woods from whence they came.  Ok, not really, but we did take them out to see what would happen next, with our fingers crossed that we’ll grow a pumpkin patch. 🙂

Well, over Thanksgiving, while I was working on dessert with my own family, it seemed to just make sense that our Rm. 202 family needed to make, bake and ENJOY a pumpkin pie together.  I mean, come on, right?  PERFECT!!

And of course, true to 20somethingkidsand1kookyteacher form, this story is going to SUPER LONG because I kept the whole story to myself until the very end.  Apologies–I’ll try to save as many words as I can and instead use pictures and videos of my kiddos instead of lots of teacher words from me!

1.) We used the 3 Act Task that I had learned about a couple of weeks ago to start our thinking about what would be the best way to cut our pie and therefore how many we might need to bake to feed our class.  I showed them these images and asked what they wondered…

screenshot-2016-12-11-19-41-55

They came up with these questions:

screenshot-2016-12-28-19-57-25

We decided to tackle the last one:  Which is the best shape of pie to make for all of us?  But even before we could figure out the answer, we had to determine what we meant by the word BEST.  We agreed that it was the pie that fed the most people with the least amount of work and the biggest piece!

We worked in small groups to try out triangles and rectangles to see how we could make those shapes and sizes work.

We eventually agreed that triangles would give us a bigger piece of pie, as well as would be much easier to cut all the same way (so it would be fair for everyone), and so another group got busy working with the recipe.  We used this one, from The Minimalist Baker.  It’s vegan and so perfect for all of the allergy concerns we have in our room (and which was why I tried it for my Thanksgiving, too–everyone could eat it!!).

We did some quick multiplication and figured out we’d need to make 3 pies to get enough pieces for all of the kiddos plus two teachers, and so then we had to look at the amounts of each ingredient we’d need to have (that way I’d know if I had enough of everything at home already like I thought I did).

With some moments that reminded me of the Feast Week work we did in 5th grade several years ago, some of my first grade friends helped me triple the recipe.  Wow!

Once we had the details figured out, the kitchen ok’ed to use (thanks Ms. Barbara!!), and all the ingredients brought to school, we got busy!  We carved out the morning to make and bake our pies so that then we could eat our pie for dessert after lunch.  I have to say THANKS  A MILLION to my Rm. 202 friend Rachel for taking care of pictures for us while we made pies, and man did she take a lot! I cannot decide which ones to share so I’ll just play a slideshow here so you can see her great work and the smiles on all the faces of the Rm. 202 bakers!  Plus I love how things look so different when someone else takes the pictures instead of me. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We got a little surprise when we took our pies to the oven to be baked–Ms. Barbara gave us a tour of the kitchen!  What a treat to see where the lunchtime magic takes place and it definitely gave us more of an appreciation for what those ladies do for us every day!

We cut our pie (using our super smart thinking from math earlier in the week!) and then plated it, topped it with whipped cream (well most of us did!) and then chowed down.  Some kiddos were worried that they would not like the pie, so we agreed that they didn’t have to eat the whole thing, but just take a “thank-you bite,” which is a way to say you appreciate the time and energy it takes to make a great dessert.  We got mixed reviews on the pie, but I think the thumbs-up have it with this one.

I’d say these three were the happiest about pie.  Could have probably eaten the whole thing themselves! Love their smiles!!

Ok, I will be done now, and will leave you with this picture.  It sums up what I wanted to happen at that old kitchen table in my classroom and kind of reminds me of what Thanksgiving looks like at home.  Only this one was celebrated with my Rm. 202 family. 🙂  I am definitely thankful for them!

img_5948-min

Pumpkin Jack and Rotten Lanterns

Remember when we made Literary Lanterns and Mrs. Meihaus let us display them in the library for all of Robinson to see?  And then we had everyone vote on their favorite one??

screenshot-2016-11-06-20-11-48

Well…the voting window has closed, and the winner is….

img_4987-min

Yay! and Congrats to Aadish and Keira!

The vote was very close, so I feel like I should mention that 2nd place was a tie between I Yam a Donkey and Mustache Baby.   Yippee for Allie, Penny and Tanner!

But, of course, the real winners were all of us because we have read LOADS of great books, got to use our creativity to create something amazing, and all of our school (plus our blog readers!) got to share in that fun!

Well, then what happened to all of those fabulous lanterns once we were finished with them (and they were starting to get a little soft and moldy)?  We thought about taking them home, but wasn’t sure that kiddos (or parents!) would want to lug them all home again.  I have to admit that a couple of them had to be tossed because they were wet inside–sorry, friends!–but we ended up with most of them that needed a new home.

So enter Mrs. Meihaus again (she seems to be the solver of all of our problems lately!) who had a SUPER suggestion that we put them somewhere outside.  And she even had a book to help us with this idea: Pumpkin Jack.

screenshot-2016-11-15-16-02-47

The story is about a boy who had a jack-o-lantern that was rotting and his mom made him put it out in the garden.  He was able to watch it run the course of the cycle and see it return to the ground and then grow again as a new pumpkin!  This then became his new Jack the next fall.

We decided we would do just that same thing. 🙂

First we travelled to the library to pick up our pumpkin babies.  It was funny how sad kiddos were that we were finished with these.  I didn’t realize Keira’s face on her Octicorn until I uploaded them.  Super sweet! (Well and sad, too, I guess!).

Then we headed outside to the woods to find a place to “plant” our pumpkins.

We are excited to come back and visit over the next months of the school year to see what happens!  Hope to share some good news and maybe even see some new pumpkins growing that we can turn into Literary Lanterns next year!!

Location Lessons and a Human Bookshelf!

This week during our visit to the library learning commons with Mrs. Meihaus, we had a lesson on how to find things in the library.

She taught us how to find things in the library, using call numbers.  We learned the difference between FIC books (chapter books), E books (everybody picture books), and books that have PB in front of the FIC and E (which means that they are paperback).  We also learned (or were reminded) that nonfiction books have numbers along with the first three letters of the author’s last name.

Then, she had us create our own call numbers–because we are all authors, after all!  Some kiddos had blue cards that were for FIC books and yellow cards that meant we were E book authors.  Kiddos wrote their call number on the sheet.

Then, we created HUMAN BOOKSHELVES, ordering ourselves based on our names on the shelf.  This was really tricky, but since we are Roadrunners, and show our GRIT all the time, we did it!

Mr. Schu in the Lou!

Sometimes I write in order, partly so the stories make sense, but also so I don’t forget anything.  Sometimes, though, things happen that you just have to tell about.  Today was one of those days!

Yeah, did you hear?  Mr. Schu was in the Lou!!  Oh, come on.  Lou, like St. Louis!  YES–HE WAS IN ST. LOUIS, AND HE WAS IN OUR SCHOOL! AND HE READ TO US!

Ok, sorry, I’ll stop yelling.  I just LOVE that librarians and teachers and authors can be celebrities.  And he is definitely a celebrity to me Mrs. Sisul our principalour fabulous librarian, Mrs. Meihaus;our fabulous librarian, Mrs. Meihaus; and lots of teachers who know him from Scholastic (Mrs. Scanlon!) and Twitter (loads more wonderful people I don’t want to mention so I don’t forget anyone. 🙂 ).

Mr. Schumacher (which is his real name), was in town for something with Scholastic (I am guessing…he’s the Ambassador for Libraries so he’s all around talking to kids about books.  Yeah, I’m kind of jealous of that job!), and was kind enough to take an invitation from many Kirkwood Schools (along with many other places from the way everyone’s talking about him, too!).  We were one of the grade levels that was lucky enough to meet him.  Our turn was this afternoon, and we visited with our friends Ms. Lewis’ class.

Much of Mr. Schu’s job includes sharing book talks as a means of getting books in kids’ hands, and that’s what I expected him to do; I knew our class would lean LOADS of new titles we wanted to read.  But then he stopped telling us about a good book and started READING a good book to us.  Amazing.

The book he shared with us was this one (which none of us had ever heard of before):

screenshot-2016-09-13-15-19-19

This book is much like our favorite Pete the Cat books, and we loved how it had reading and SINGING!  Oh, and we added in dancing, too!

I didn’t catch the whole thing, but here’s a highlight of the awesome Mr. Schu with some even more awesome first grade listeners:

And then, what do you do when you meet a celebrity, but take a picture with them??  We had to, of course. 🙂

img_6029

And then take a silly one, just for fun. 🙂

img_6028

We love you and the books you share, Mr. Schu!  Thanks for coming to St. Louis!!  Come again soon?  If not, we’ll have to schedule a Skype call! 🙂