Author Visit with Rukhsana Khan

Our school hosts various authors throughout the year,which is pretty amazing, considering we are all the way in Singapore! This year, we had an author visit from a well known children’s author, Rukhsana Khan. Her books include Big Red Lollipop, Muslim Child, and The Rose in My Carpet. Not only is she an amazing and accomplished author, but she was a captivating speaker! The room full of 5th grade kids were engaged, excited and laughed as they listened to her stories.

In one of our sessions with her, she shared her story about immigrating to Canada from Pakistan at a young age. She shared about her different struggles including being seriously bullied for being different in her school.   She shared with us her journey to becoming a writer and the funny stories along the way. She had the entire audience eagerly waiting to hear what happened next. (I don’t think I’ve ever met a writer who wasn’t an amazing story teller!)

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Rukhsana also shared a few stories of teachers that made a strong positive impact on her life and encouraged her to write. One teacher had her keep a creative writing journal. She even brought in the journal and showed us the letter that the teacher wrote to her after an entry. One of the students asked her to read it aloud. She shared the positive feedback that the teacher wrote in her notebook calling her a poet.

Our words can impact our students positively or negatively. I was reminded of the power that I have as a teacher. I was reminded that I need to continue to tell my students that they are writers. Thank you Rukhsana for inspiring our students and even our teachers!

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Also, I found out that our school hosts an annual children’s literature conference! How cool is that?! This year it will take place from Feb. 1-3rd. We will have the following authors presenting: Chris Crutcher, Kadir Nelson, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and Deborah Wiles.  I can’t wait to meet and learn from them! Check out the website for more information on registration and the authors.

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Book Exchange

Our student council has a great event that they do every year called a book exchange. We had our book exchange this morning in the cafeteria when kids came to school. Basically, a few weeks ago, the student council collected books from students that they had read and were willing to give away. For each book that they brought it, they received a ticket. Then, on the day of the book exchange, all the collected books are put on the cafeteria tables. Each kid gets to choose from the selection of books, depending on how many tickets they have.

It’s a great way for kids to get new books to read and get excited to read. It’s nice having it at the end of the year, because by now, students have exhausted library and classroom books. Also, they will have some new books that they can read during the summer as well.


Here are the books that one of my students got from the exchange. He told me came to school by 7:30am (School starts at 8:10am) in order to be one of the first people there! I love his eagerness to get books!

Poetry Read Alouds

My all time favorite poetry read aloud books are Sharon Creech’s, Love That Dog and Hate That Cat. These two stories follow Jack  on his journey with poetry and the teacher Miss Stretchberry that pushes him along the way. It’s a story that kids and adults can appreciate, smile and learn from. On Sharon Creech’s website, you can find some good teaching resources for using both books!

Sharon Creech’s Love that Dog

and the sequel…

Sharon Creech’s Hate that Cat

Another fun poetry read aloud book is Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston. This book was recommended by another 5th grade teacher. I did get to read the book, but didn’t get to read it to my kids. It’s a fun fantasy story written all in rhyme. It would go well during a poetry unit for upper elementary kids!

Here are some other good poetry resources!

Scholastic Poetry Site 

Poetry for People

Poetry Foundation

Online Poetry Classroom

Poetry Resources from NYC Department of Education

Do you have any good poetry read aloud books or resources that you recommend?

More Good Books, recommend by Dr. Peggy Sharp.

Since I loved the first workshop I attended at EARCOS with Dr. Peggy Sharp. I went to her second workshop as well (you can never have too much of a good thing right?). During this workshop she discussed new books to use in the classroom that are appropriate for grades 3-5. After the workshop was over I honestly wanted to run straight to a bookstore, purchase all of the books, and start reading… for myself, not even for teaching and sharing them with children! Hehe, anyway… here is a link the handout/packet she had for this workshop:

Peggy Sharp, Grades 3-5

I completely forgot to mention last time that Peggy has symbols by the titles of the books in the handout.

❤ (heart)= picture book that everybody loves

@= early intermediate (grades 3-5)

%= (grades 5-8)

! = sophisticated content (maybe language, violence, etc)

(She didn’t mention what t and the * snowflake mean, so use your best guess?).

It was even more difficult to choose my top three to share really quick… but if I had to pick, these would be it!

There are absolutely fantastic tips in this book for kids who are not the biggest fans of reading (really, they are so useful!).

From the author of So B. It, oh it says that in the picture…

This was the top book I wanted to run out and purchase. I cannot wait to read it. Brian Selnick has done it again, possibly even better than Hugo…

Who doesn’t love to read? I used to get grounded from it when I was little…

chartchums

Visuals are extremely important, don’t you think? At the beginning of this year I was introduced to the site: chartchums (their most recent post is actually about an international school in Taiwan!). I love them. I don’t know who Kristi and Marjorie are, besides literacy consultants… but I wouldn’t mind being their friend.

They gave me the idea to visually keep track of my students quiet reading time. At the beginning of the year I saw this chart on their site and I immediately implemented it into my classroom:

My students couldn’t even make it two minutes! But when they saw this chart, they realized they wanted to make it to the star. Now my students can read independently for 21 minutes.

Let your students see their progress, and they will progress that much more. Thanks for the chart idea, chartchums!