Monday, February 23, 2015

let the text inspire you

In class we've been talking about what we can do as readers - what ideas we're making.
One girl decided to make her own book (in Google Docs) after one from her Raz-Kids bookshelf  about immigration really resonated with her.
Two others are in their own "book club" - they borrowed the same book from the library and get together to read and discuss, sometimes even at recess.
I shared these simple projects with the class in the hopes that others will find inspiration and act on that.

This is a quote shared by Kathy Collins during our week of PD. Click to download from TpT.

Friday, February 20, 2015

why we broke up: part 2

I can't wait to understand why they broke up. I'm about halfway through and it's all sort of... theoretical? Although she ends each part (pretty much) with "and that's why we broke up," there's nothing tangible. I can't figure it out; I don't get it yet.

There has to be something that happens, is done, but there's no reference yet. I read a review that says page 335 was heart-wrenching. I'll have to wait for it?

I love young adult literature. Everything is so weighty and important and I find that hilarious and real at the same time. In a "we've all been there" sort of way. Plus, it's hard to help someone else make sense of all our thoughts, so maybe that's a big part (?) of my confusion about it all.

The art is really cool.

yokohama, japan

Along with some great PD with some like-minded schools (Collaboration for Growth), I was able to do some sightseeing in and around Yokohama - in to Tokyo and out to Kamakura. It was more than chilly, but I love Japan. The order, the cleanliness, the culture. Jeff and I are even thinking of going back again in our next October break! We've been together just one other time, a short time, also, and there's just so much to see in this tiny country.

so many flowers in frigid february

yokohama chinatown: the largest one outside of china

pre-dinner dumplings

lunar new year decorations

shinto shrine near kamakura


mt. fuji

all the sashimi!!!

residential yokohama

Thursday, February 19, 2015

close reading: why we broke up

Today in a PD session with Kathy Collins (I don't know how to link her, really? Her Twitter feed sort of ends in August last year... I know that doesn't sound great, but I've been inspired the whole time she's been at our school.), we were asked to do a little "close reading" of Daniel Handler's Why We Broke Up.
Kathy shared with us the first chapter:

She said something like, "Talk about it. What do you notice?" 
So a colleague and I did that - we analyzed, we made inferences, we drew conclusions... based only on those few paragraphs. It was getting intense - we were digging. We were on fire.

But really, none of what we had said had any significance at all, anymore, when another colleague who had left the room in the meantime, came back without a clue and sat down to read it over in thirty seconds, turned to us to say, "She committed suicide. Couldn't the 'thunk' be her having jumped from the roof?" Conversation went cold. Shivers. It got the attention of others at the table. We were all convinced, because it made perfect sense, in the most chilling way - a way we hadn't considered.

And so I had to read it; running out to the bookstore after the PD to buy it. I haven't had this desire, really, to read a book for fun in a long time. I need to know: what is the thunk?! 

More to come.

Monday, February 16, 2015

are non-fiction texts still important?

Early last week, I posed the question to the class, “What is a story?” This led to some really interesting discussion and wonderings. After some whole-class talk, one of my girls stopped everyone when she asked, “Are non-fiction books still important since we have the Internet now?” The room was abuzz as they all started talking at once about their opinions, which set up a lovely inquiry for the remainder of the lesson.
Students chose a side and started completing a persuasive writing graphic organizer to get their arguments and reasoning in order. (This had been introduced the week prior, so it was fresh in their minds.)
photo 2 (15)      photo 3 (13)
The next day, students were introduced to the persuasive essay format, complete with well-written paragraphs and transition words. Pairs then used their graphic organizer to inform their essays, and these are beautifully written pieces!
photo 5 (4)         photo 1 (18)
Our next step will for students to present their arguments to the class or in small groups - we haven't figured that one out yet.
This was such a great way for my kids to practice communicating, reasoning with logic, writing supporting details, and focusing on persuasion. I never mind when my "plans" get derailed by a student comment or question - that's the beauty of inquiry to me!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Fury. Woah.

I'm loving this song. Yes, it's from Boyhood, and no, I still haven't seen it.

This has got to be my favourite restaurant in Manila. We went for lunch on the weekend and it was just as busy as it usually is in the evening.

Hoping to make these for the next set of snacks for the week.

And this for a dessert sometime, but I can't figure out when avocados are in season here?

Daddy and Mara are napping the afternoon away so I've had some me-time with a cup of tea. Did you know Twinings makes hand-sewn tea bags? Isn't that crazy? That's a tea-fanatic sort of thing, is it?

I've been shopping up a storm during sale time here (the only time there's any value in shopping), and even though it isn't on sale, I'm thinking this might be going in the cart. I just found that my swimsuit cover has a bunch of tiny holes in it, so it's justified, too, right?

And some cute rugs for Mara's eventual room. I have a bag made by this local company, too, and I love the eco-ethicalness. They almost always sell out their collections.