Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 
This last week I've been reading...

First in a series by Morris Gleitzman about Felix and Zelda two children caught up in World War 11 in Poland.  They are on the run from the Nazis.  Each chapter begins with Once....

An amazing book, while it is a horrendous read in one way it is a heart warming one as well, and I love how Gleitzman adds humour to it.


I had a plan for me and Zelda
Pretend to be someone else
Find new parents
Be safe forever

Then the Nazis came

Another amazing book in this series, it takes up immediately from Once, so I was very pleased I didn't have to wait and could start it straight away.  However didn't like the ending!  So sad, so shocking.

This coming week I would like to plan to read Now the third in the series by Morris Gleitzman. However it is out at the library so I will need to wait.  In the meantime I will read   The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Once there was a beautiful fine autumn day and I decided to take a chair and read outside in the sunshine at morning break time and read the book Once by Morris Gleitzman.

I was interrupted a few times, I did up a five year old girl's shoes, she asked about my book,  I sorted out some trouble on the playground (even though I wasn't the duty teacher - all from my chair of course) and answered the questions about what I was reading to our TA and encouraged her to read the book too.

Once by Morris Gleitzman is a fabulous book. It is set in 1942 in Poland when the Nazis were exterminating the Jews.  I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, I've read aloud to my class years ago I Am David, and I have The Book Thief sitting on my table at home for over a year waiting to be read - and because I think it is set at the same time as Once I have been avoiding it!

Inside the front cover it says:
Once I escaped from an orphanage
 to find Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda
 from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with a toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

Morris Gleitzman has written an amazing story.  Felix is an innocent child caught up in the evils of that time and deeply affected by them.  He is courageous, responsible, innocent, imaginative  an ever hopeful story teller.  Zelda is a sweetheart and I love her constant refrain; "Don't you know anything?" that she says often to Felix.  Their care for each other is heart warming. What a hero and heroine.

For a long time Felix doesn't realise what is actually happening until one telling sentence: "I'm glad the other kids are excited because they haven't seen what I can see now that I've wiped my glasses."

This story is a deeply heart wrenching story, yet there is humour in Gleitzman's writing as he tells the story.  I am close to finishing it, but not quite.  When I do finish it I will move on to the second in this series, Then.

Do read it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 
It took me a few weeks to finish this one below.  I didn't experience a reading slump, but I was reading a few other books and they took precedence!  Then I shook myself up and sat down and finished...
Title: Equinox
Author Lara Morgan.
2nd in The Rosie Black Chronicles Trilogy.

I enjoyed this very much again.  It's set in New Perth, Australia and the main character Rosie is still at war with Helios who are still full of evil intent.  We meet a new character Dalton who I liked very much, along still with Pip. So two male interests for Rosie! They all work together to outwit Helios, and this book is full of adventure and a little romance.   It is nicely set up for the third and final book.  Well done to this Australian author.

I was a little at a loss as to what to read next, as I am not going to read the third book in the trilogy for a few weeks.  I have decided to read Once by Morris Gleitzman which comes highly recommended by a once local librarian. So I seem to be reading Australian authors at the moment.  We have it in our school library so it was a quick decision, I snagged the second one Then as well, but that looks like all we have.  However I know our local library has the others.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 

Virginia Roth
Second in Trilogy

Goodread's Summary
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

This was a reread for me.  I had listened to the audio version, but decided I really needed to read it as well to follow it and prepare myself for the third one later in the year.  I enjoyed reading it, and once I got started I didn't take long. I found myself grappling with - Who is that now?  I was somewhat relieved to hear one of my students say she thought she would have to go back to the first book in a trilogy she is reading because she can't remember all the bits and pieces as she moves into reading the third.  I thought it was old age creeping in!  There is a buzz in my class about this trilogy and someone said they heard a movie is possibly being made?

Coming up I plan to read the second book in The Rosie Black Chronicles - Equinox by Lara Morgan.  Thankfully the third in this trilogy is published so it won't be too long before I read the third, and I only read the first a few weeks ago!

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 
Bigger Than A Breadbox
Laurel Snyder.

Goodreads Summary
 A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier.

I loved this book I think like every other reader that has read it.  I loved the characters, especially Gran who was so understanding. I loved how Rebecca learned about life and grew as a person.  Her younger brother was a dear too.  Great read.

This coming week I am rereading Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  I have listened to the audio which is really very good.   However I want to read it as well to be ready for later in the year when the third one comes out.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Using ShowMe as a Teacher

Last year as I mentioned in my previous post Antonio, a student showed me how to put a ShowMe into iMovie via an app Free Video (Video Download-iBolt Downloader & Manager).  I have played around with this and made a movie about solving a subtraction problem using rounding to a tidy number and then compensating. A very quick mental strategy to use when one number is near a tidy number.

However there are some students who are very slow to grasp how easy it is. I thought if I had a video they could watch that may help.  Previously they might have looked at a modelling book, although I never was satisfied with these as groups changed and .... well maybe I didn't make them work that well for me. A wiki with videos of work covered makes more sense to me.

Some of the students made ShowMe videos last year, and they worked well, but Antonio took it up a notch with his presentation.  I decided before I sent students off to do it this year, I needed to experience it myself.
As I did the ShowMe presentation I found that I had to be prepared, I found it best to do some writing before I pushed record.  I also found it was very important to watch the video through before the save, to notice any errors.  I had a number of tries before I was reasonably satisfied.

After making this movie, I have thought that while I will continue to make more of these presentations, I will also have students make similar ones to show their understanding.  When making my next video I will only show one problem, and add in a section showing it with materials. (The beauty of putting it in iMovie).  I will then leave a problem for the student to solve and gather materials to show me their thinking. They can then make their own ShowMe to add to our collection.

I am working on in my own teaching finding ways that will make a difference to the tail in Maths in my classroom so this will be a step into that inquiry. Does it make a difference?

Here is my first presentation that I worked on, the next time it will have the changes I mention above.

If you would like to see how I downloaded the ShowMe presentation so that I could place it in iMovie you can see that here in my previous post.

If you have other ideas for using ShowMe with students I would love to hear them.

Use Show Me, Free Video and iMovie on your iPad.

Last year Antonio, one of my students showed me how to use the Free Video app to download a ShowMe presentation and then place it in iMovie and add to it and edit.  At the time I thought this was a good idea as sometimes sites close and I might lose my ShowMe videos.  I also liked that you could make it look just a little slicker in presentation.  ShowMe and the Free Video app are free (Video Download iBolt Downloader and Manager), iMovie you pay for but it is well worth it.

  1. Make your ShowMe presentation.  I found this took me awhile, as I made a number of mistakes and only saw them when I played it back.  
  2. ShowMe emails you your presentation link when it is saved. Copy this link.
  3. Open the Free Video App.      
  4. When this is open you will see something like this. Except until you download something the shelves will be blank!  Notice the position of the slide to the left. You are going to slide this up to paste in your ShowMe link.

When you have the slide up it will now look like this.
Press Go on the iPad keyboard and you will then be taken to your ShowMe presentation. Which will begin to load in like this.
Until it is fully loaded.
Press the play button and it will ask you to Cache Video to Memory, press that and it will automatically begin to download.

When it has downloaded it will appear on your shelf.
The final step is just to press on the video and choose save to camera roll. 

When you open up iMovie you are able to pick it up from your camera roll and insert it into your iMovie time line. You can then add a title, music, other pictures and video as you wish.

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