Book Review: Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

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Consider this colorful picture book for your first days of school…for all ages and grades.

Yellows, Blues, and Reds live peacefully in a city, until one day, a Red declares, “Reds are the best!” The whole community is thrust into chaos — so much so that the three color groups must live apart, forming segregated neighborhoods. One day, Blue and Yellow are seen together with a new color…what will become of the union? In Mixed: A Colorful Story, Arree Chung shows us a world of colors, teaches us about tolerance, and how “mixing it up” might just be the best thing for everyone.

Why I Like This Book: My current school is a mix of old and new — students who have attended there and students who are now enrolled due to school closings and consolidation in our district. This is a perfect book to make students (and teachers) think about ways we can come together, and that being united is better than being alone.

Why You Should Read This Book: It’s colorful! (Hint: there’s an art lesson here — primary colors, secondary colors.) It includes simple and fun characters, but it also introduces a big message about communities that we all need.

#PB10for10: Picture Books I Will Share With My New Staff

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I’m moving to a new school, and I couldn’t be happier with my fine arts academy and middle school staff. I am lucky to be a part of the arts integration movement, and the school library will be the best place to support our curriculum. Here are ten picture books I will share with my new staff and students.

To Start the Year/Build Community (We are the Bears, and we are Brave):

Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins (2015)

Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall (2017)

For The Visual Artists:

Drawn Together, by Minh Lê (2018)

Vincent Can’t Sleep, by Barb Rosenstock (2017)

I Cannot Forget My Math and Science Friends:

7 Ate 9, by Tara Lazar (2017)

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires (2014)

For My Choir and Band Buddies:

When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan (2002)

Incorporate Beauty, Research, and a Little Love:

Red & Lulu, by Matt Tavares (2017)

It’s All About Perspective/The Joy of Learning:

They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel (2016)

It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk, by Josh Funk (2017)

 

About the #PB10for10 Community:

“Picture Book 10 for 10” has been around since 2010. Love picture books? Then you’re in the right place. This community is dedicated to sharing picture book love. Please visit the hashtag, #PB10for10 to learn about picture books you’ll want to read next. Each August is the Picture Book 10 for 10 event, and in February the community hosts Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10. Have fun reading and enjoy all the resources shared.

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Rain Delay

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Our city had some water troubles. A record 8.6 inches of rain fell between 7 am Monday to 7 am Tuesday. Bad for the drivers, but no real damage like other states this past week. My husband had several detours this morning while heading to work, but we were ok. I thought about it again…

Last night before bed, I heard a “drip, drip, drip” coming from above my head. I thought I was just hearing things, so I went back to scratching Jake’s belly (old dog still loves Mom). Then I heard it again. What? I got up and walked around the room. Yep, “drip” – right on my head! The new roof was leaking. Called for service. Thank goodness it wasn’t too bad, so I went off to work this morning. Didn’t think anything of it. It will be fixed, and we can move along with our week. I thought about it again…

As I walked into school, I saw several people walking around with vacuum cleaners, and heard a buzz of chitter chatter in the hallway. Hmm.

“Rain poured all night.”

“Yeah, record-breaking 8.6 inches.”

“Wow.”

“Awe, man!”

I turned the key to my classroom and felt my toes get wet. Crud! Water had filled my classroom. “Thank goodness there’s no kids today,” said the engineer. Yeah.

I waded around in ankle-deep water to move boxes and tables, and check out the damage. Not really a problem — most of the books were put away on the shelves already, and I only lost 2 boxes of books and 2 boxes of new chart paper. My new rug was hanging outside on a pole (Thanks, Miss Vanessa!) to dry before students come tomorrow.

Our meeting was fine, and I got my rosters organized, decorated the show case, and counted textbooks and locker numbers. Now I’m ready. Tomorrow will come early.

I’m beat. Let’s pray it stays dry. Good night!

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Ready to Go! (?)

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Slice of Life Small LogoAm I ready?

Yes. Tomorrow is the back-to-school staff retreat where my school colleagues will meet and prepare for the new year. We have several new staff members this year, and I am ready to meet everyone and get started. Today I finished my part of the PD on reading instruction, so I can’t wait to see how that goes.

No. Summer is over? No! I still haven’t finished the landscaping project on the front yard, and I wanted to relax a little more before heading into the stress of school. (Ok, I’ll be honest. The stress will start with setting an alarm in the mornings!)

Are YOU ready for the school year? Have a great one!

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Back to Work/Back to School

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Slice of Life Small LogoBack to Work/Back to School

Yes, I’m back to work — back to school! Monday was the first “teacher day” and today I welcomed my 20th group of homeroom students into Room 138. Where does the time go? One of the first questions I ask students on the first day of school is, “Who likes to read?” Today, I saw a bunch of hands shoot straight up, excitedly reporting the data. Yes! We like to read! I’m so happy to start the year with people with whom I can share my passion. Passion is Powerful! (That’s Lucy Calkins’ phrase that I carry with me everywhere.)

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After introducing myself I gave a quick tour of the fairly empty room. My OLW, LEAN, works at school, too. I cleaned the clutter and the room is squeaky clean and quite bare at this time. Over the course of the next few days, my students and I will unpack boxes and discover the joys of new and old titles, of new and worn books. The magazine subscriptions will start coming in the mailbox. The charts and student work will hang on the bulletin boards. This is the most exciting time of the year — the discovery days that will move us forward.

In our meeting area on the rug, I read aloud BIG PLANS by Bob Shea and Lane Smith. Those two authors crack me up! The students listened intently as I shared my big plans with them. Reading! Writing! Learning! “I have BIG PLANS, Big Plans, I say!”

After reading, we wrote “about the tiger.” My school’s mascot is the Tigers, so I chose the large stuffed animal in the room to help me — allowing students to show me their writing style. I said, “Write about the tiger.” I will learn about their writing style, conventions knowledge, and stamina for writing time. I am happy with the work that students did today. We had a great day.

I apparently did not reveal enough details about my BIG PLANS, however. When I asked if there were any questions I could answer, a young inquiring mind from each class section asked me, “When do we go to the library?”

I love this group!

 

Slice of Life Tuesdays: Start With the Why

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During the summer, I attended the All Write Institute which advertised the theme, “Start With the Why.” I’ve been thinking about the WHY today as I prepare to start another school year. I’m torn. I want to get back to work, but I would love to read more books, have more time to travel, and get household activities done. So…here are my WHY lists for both.

WHY go back to school?

Ok, let’s be realistic. I need the paycheck again. But “I’m in it for the money” is not what teachers say. First, I want to share all the wonderful lessons and book titles I learned about this summer. I read many books, wrote a little, made new friends, attended functions, and traveled, and I want to tell others about all of it. Second, I miss my friends. (Students sometimes come to school just to see their friends. Teachers do, as well!) Third, it will be nice to be on a productive schedule again. I haphazardly complete tasks when I know there’s not a deadline. I look forward to school; I can socialize with students and colleagues, continue to grow in my practice, and help students to grow and learn, too.

WHY stay home?

I’m still trying to live my One Little Word this year, LEAN. I need to finish cleaning the clutter in my office and in the empty bedroom (formerly home of my daughter–who has moved out on her own). In the spirit of cleaning, we need to finish the home projects, and I cannot wait to get them done. It’s going to be fabulous! Other reasons to stay home? More Reading! More Writing! (Oh, wait. I can do that at school.)

Yes, I am looking forward to going back to school now. WHY? It’s going to be a great year!

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Running Out of Time

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Running, running, running…

To the school supply stores, to the doctor, to the dentist, to the SCUBA shop, to Ohio for SCUBA day…wait! Today is National Book Lovers Day! I have to read! I cannot believe these are the last days of summer. I agree with a fellow Slicer; I’m not ready!

Running, running, running...

I have draft-planned my first few weeks of school. There are so many great ideas, stories, and lessons. Mostly, I want my students to read and write well, and have fun doing it! Yet, I feel a sense of urgency, and the meetings for staff development start next week — wait! Oh, no, it’s THIS week!

Running, running, running…

With all of this running around, I should be in great shape to start the school year. We shall see!

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