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

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Monday. What are you Reading?

Monday has come around again and I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in at the Mentor Text Blog. 

I was able to read the books I had set myself, with a little self - discipline thrown in. Why? Because my first read was not an easy one!  It is an entry in the non fiction section of the NZ Post Book Awards.

This was a non-fiction book and told like a graphic novel. Except it was non fiction! It recounts the life of Kimble Bent who was born in Maine USA, and grew up there. As a teenager he travelled to Britain and joined the British Army.

Eventually he found himself in New Zealand fighting with the British in what has become known as the Taranaki Wars in the 1860's.  It gives a lot of insight into this period and into this remarkable man. Deserting the British army he was taken into a maori tribe and lived and fought alongside them, although he was treated as a slave.  He learned many of their customs.  He eventually died in 1916, he would have liked to travel home to Maine towards the end of his life but that was not to be. 

It was stark black and white and at times I found it difficult to follow, also the list of maori names and place names also had me struggling a little.  One of the boys in my class has just finished reading it too, he relished the fighting and history!  One of the girls gave up on it.

My next book Babymouse Cupcake Tycoon was light relief after my previous book!

Some of my girls are now wanting to know when I am going to have more Babymouse books!

I was also able to speed through my next book The Stonekeeper which was a very good graphic novel. I have the next one waiting to be read as well.

The last book I have read is The Flytrap Snaps - #1 in The Flytrap Papers.
This book is by NZ author Johanna Knox and is a contender in the junior fiction section of NZ Post Book Awards.  This one had not been entered into Goodreads  so I got that privilege.

This book is set in Filmington! A place that used to be farmland but has been taken over by the movie industry because it has volcanoes, snow capped mountains and rolling farm land within easy access.

This book is a good example of an author writing using What if.....  What if a place that is great for movie making ( and in NZ who doesn't think of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit locations) is taken over in a fanatical way by movie makers. And so the story goes on.  An easy read, but entertaining, humourous and well paced.

The coming few weeks are going to be busy - school wise. However this week I hope to read
The Life Cycle of the Tuatara by Betty Brownlie  Non fiction - NZ Post Book Awards.
Shaolin Burning by Ant Slang   Picture section - Graphic novel - NZ Post Book Awards.
The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer Holm.
Zita - The Space Girl  by Ben Hatke

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daily Five 6 Weeks In.

We have now almost completed six weeks in our new school year and Daily Five is up and running.  We have Read to Self, Writing, Working with Words and Listening all operating.  I haven't reintroduced Read to Someone and may not this term.

I have managed to organise my conferring a little better this year. Signalling who I am going to see listed on the whiteboard has been helpful.  I am note keeping using Evernote.  I have given up using the table form I set up at the beginning of the year as it moves around too much.  So I just keep a plain page - dating each conference and adding notes. Each student has a notebook and I have a Reading Conference page for each.  It is working well, I find it suits me better to jot down a few words as I work using pencil and paper and then I  spend 5 minutes at the end of a session putting them into Evernote.  I keep watching out for the Penseive app from the Two Sisters!

I have also introduced the students to writing a letter response to me about their reading.  I have assigned them a day on which to hand these up.  As yet they are in their initial stages and still need encouragement to share their thinking. I am finding it a challenge to make the time to reply to each.  I think it will take us awhile to develop this aspect.  I was just thinking I need to model it again and wondering where I will steal the time to do so.  Then I remembered a book review I read yesterday on Zita the Space Girl that I think might suffice for now.

CAFE has been introduced and we are exploring expanding vocabulary.  I am finding that students are needing some strong encouragement in this area.  Having noted the Vocab board in the Two Sisters newsletter a few weeks ago I have set up a similar board.  We worked on a word taken from the book I am reading aloud.  We had some fun today using it in our oral vocabulary.  I have just read an article in the March Reading Teacher on vocabulary which has been helpful.  I have heaps more that I can read so I must explore this area more.  I want the students to grow their interest in words while they are working independently.

A video of our session today.  As we walked down to the local library we only managed one session today. The visit to the library once a fortnight gives us access to some wonderful books and we thoroughly enjoy going there.  I was able to take out Zita the Spacegirl to add to my reading pile.

You will notice we have a long narrow room with spaces that work well. Love it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Monday. What Are You You Reading?

Monday has come around again and I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in at the Mentor Text Blog. 

 I had a better reading week this past week, the week before was a bad week for reading with nothing finished.

The first book I finished this week was The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Very interesting and really liked Deza very much. A very courageous young girl. However if I had to choose between Doug Swieteck of Okay for Now or Deza, well I have to admit it would be Doug.

In New Zealand we have the NZ Post Book Awards. There are 5 nominations each in picture books,  non-fiction children's books, junior fiction and senior fiction.  The final choices will be made in May. They can be seen here.  NZ Post Shortlist.   Some of our students are reading them and then in May we have a local Mastermind quiz on the books among local schools.  It is a lot of hard work for them but also very rewarding. As I want to read these books as well some of my reading has been and will be these books.

Just Jack by Adele Broadbent is the story of Jack who leaves his home at 13yrs to become an apprentice jockey.  It is set in 1931 and includes the Napier earthquake. I enjoyed this book and rated it 4 stars.  Realistic and historical fiction.

This book is by Barbara Else and was also enjoyable. It started really well and left the reader with many questions to be answered. So it is both mystery and fantasy.  It is well written and for most of the book I was hooked. However by the end of it I was a little more disengaged. Everything ended very well tied up and I just got a little bored. I am interested to see what my students make of this one. I awarded it three stars.

For the coming week I plan to read:
Babymouse Cupcake Tycoon - Jennifer and M Holm
Amulet - Book One The Stonekeeper - K Kibuishi
And two NZ Post Award books -
The Flytrap Snaps by J Knox  and...
Kimble Bent - Malcontent.  By C Grosz

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