Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reading Log and Wiki Checklist

Reading Log

I.                    Non-fiction/Informational (1 reflection required on blog)
1.)    The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
2.)    My Mom’s Having a Baby by Dori Butler
3.)    It’s Not the Stork by Robie Harris
4.)    The Tarantula Scientist by Sy Montgomery

II.                  Poetry (1 reflection required on blog)
1.)    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? By Mel Glenn (required for discussion)
2.)    Hush Little Baby by Brian Pickney
3.)    River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz
4.)    Blues Journey by Walter Myers
5.)    Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

III.                Modern Fantasy (1 reflection required on blog)
1.)    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (required for discussion)
2.)    Pancakes for Supper by Anne Isaacs
3.)    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
4.)    The Doll People by Ann Martin
5.)    Babe The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

IV.                Historical Fiction (1 reflection required on blog)
1.)    Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (required for discussion)
2.)    Dancing in Cadillac Light by Kimberly Holt
3.)    The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park
4.)    Abe’s Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport
5.)    Freedom Riders by Ann Bausum

V.                  Multicultural/Traditional (2 reflections required on blog)
1.)    The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
2.)    Rumpelstiltskin by Paul Zelinsky
3.)    Henny Penny by Jane Wattenberg
4.)    Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg
5.)    The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring by Ruth Sanderson

VI.                Realistic Fiction (1 reflection required on blog)
1.)    Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis (required for discussion)
2.)    Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
3.)    Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
4.)    The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
5.)    Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

VII.              Picture Books (6 reflections required on blog)
1.)    Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young (required for discussion)
2.)    Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
3.)    Three Cheers for Catherine the Great! By Cari Best
4.)    Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr.
5.)    A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
6.)    Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin
7.)    Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Scienszka

Wiki Checklist
__X__ Social Studies
____ Science
____ Math
__X__ Music
__X__ Art
__X__ Reading/Language Arts
____ Physical Education
____ Other


Field Experience

1. How many hours did you complete?
I completed 5 hours.

2. In a short paragraph or bulleted list, how did you spend your time?

I spent some of my field experience hours in the Laurel County Public Library. The library has reading programs for young children. One activity that I participated in was called Babygarten. In this program, a couple women act as the leaders and lead songs with hand movements. It's a great way to start introducing babies to reading. I also participated in an activity for older children where the children hear a story and create a craft that goes along with the story. Before school was over, I spent time with the librarian at my school as well. I interviewed her to find out about a a new program we have at our school called Tumblebooks. I thoroughly enjoyed the field experience for this course because it pushed me to participate in activities that otherwise I may not have participated in.

3. How did the experience help you to strengthen at least one Kentucky Teacher Standard? (be sure to name the standard)

Leadership is one area that I constantly need experience with. This field experience helped me to stand up and be a leader. Working with and talking with the librarian helped me learn about tumblebooks which I will use in my classroom.

4. Talk a little about one thing you learned because of this field experience. 

My favorite part of this field experience was observing the librarians doing reading sessions. Watching them read books and lead songs was definitely a learning experience because as I watched them, I evaluated myself as a reader. Read-alouds are such an important part of the classroom instruction; therefore, it's so important that readers make the story as enjoyable as possible. 

The Tarantula Scientist

Montgomery, S. (2004). The tarantula scientist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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The Tarantula Scientist is biological science book because it focuses on spiders, a type of living organism. I would also consider this book to be a photo essay book because it is equally balanced between text and actual photographs. It wouldn't be considered a picture book because the text is very detailed and full of information.

The majority of this photo essay book takes place in French Guiana in South America. The book has an integral setting because the story would not be the same if it occurred in another location, due to the fact that tarantulas are very common in South America. Sam Marshall is an arachnologist, or a spider scientist. This book explains in significant detail about Sam's experiences as a scientist. Sam is amazed with tarantulas, which is why he chooses to visit French Guiana. As stated in the book, French Guiana is probably the tarantula capital of the world. The book tells all about tarantulas, such as the parts of their body, their size, their diet, their defense mechanisms, etc. The book not only describes Marshall's experiences, but also gives information about how tarantulas got their name, gives information about lots of other spider species, and gives details about other animals that you can find in a rainforest such as French Guiana. Toward the end of the book, the reader takes a trip back to Marshall's hometown where you get to "visit" his spider lab in Ohio. You learn about what all occurs in the lab. At the end of the book, Marshall gives French Guiana another visit and meets with children who live there to teach them about tarantulas.

I really enjoyed learning all the facts that this book had to offer. The actual photographs of the tarantulas, scorpions, frog, and the spider lab were very interesting. Obviously, because this photo essay book has real photographs, the artistic media would be color photography. Nic Bishop was responsible for the photographs in The Tarantula Scientist. While evaluating the book, I noticed that the writing was very clear and understandable, the facts were accurate because the information came from an actual arachnologist. I suppose that Montgomery received his facts from reliable information from Sam Marshall. The cover as well as the photographs are very appealing and I feel they would interest children. The pictures of the spiders are very large, drawing attention to tiny details of the spiders, such as the tiny hairs on their bodies and the eyes on their heads.

The Tarantula Scientist would be appropriate for ages 11-14 because of the difficulty and length of the text. It would be perfect to use this book in science class when the teacher introduces the concept of biological science. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the field of science or spiders. Personally, I wouldn't just pick this book off the shelf and have the desire to read it because I'm not particularly interested in spiders. I think that this book would appeal more to boys, who I feel have more interest in organisms such as spiders, more than girls.

BIG questions - How would you feel if Sam Marshall took you on a journey to the "tarantula capital of the world?" Why is is that tarantulas rarely bite or hurt humans?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dancing in Cadillac Light

Holt, K. (2001). Dancing in Cadillac light. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

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Have you ever felt like the odd one out? This is how Jaynell, the main character in the story felt. Her momma once said that Jesus had his work cut out for him with her. Jaynell’s response was, “I reckon she was right.” Jaynell couldn’t care less about playing with other children. For the most part, she wanted to stay with the adults and hear all the drama going on. In the story Jaynell said “It seemed like I was always being told to leave just when I was about to hear something important.” Jaynell loved nature and when she found out that her summer job was to keep an eye on Grandpap, she couldn’t have been happier. Grandpap and Jaynell traveled together all summer. Grandpap even bought a brand new, shiny Cadillac, but Jaynell was certain that Grandpap was not crazy as everyone else seemed to think. After a life changing event, Jaynell learns so much and becomes very appreciative of the small things in life. When Jaynell’s perspectives changed, she said, “It hardly bothered me at all because of the Cadillac.” The Cadillac mentioned in the title has a strong symbolic meaning in this story. What is so great about this Cadillac? To find out the Cadillac’s significance, you must read Dancing in Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt.

More detailed book report

The main characters in this book include Jaynell, her sister Racine, and their parents, Lilly Belle and Willie Pickens, Loveda, Uncle Floyd, Grandpap, Sweet Adeline, and Little Floyd. The story takes place in a little town called Moon in Texas, on Cypress Rd. Jaynell is a little girl who is so much different from others in her family. Her sister Racine is a "girly" girl who desires to become a dancer, while Jaynell loves nature and appreciates the small things in life. Jaynell's family allows their grandpap to come live with them one summer. Jaynell's aunt Loveda thinks that Grandpap is losing his mind, but Jaynell doesn't believe it. As a summer job, Jaynell's dad gives her a summer job that consists of keeping an eye on Grandpap. Jaynell thinks this job sounds great, considering she loves the outdoors. Jaynell thinks, "Wow, I can be a spy!" During this particular summer, Jaynell and Grandpap go on many adventures together, and their relationship becomes very close, like it was in the past. Grandpap does a few things in the story that others would consider "crazy," but Jaynell refuses to believe it. After a day on the lake in a boat, Grandpap gets lost. Jaynell ends up finding the way back, because of what her Grandpap had taught her about directions. After finding way back, Jaynell says, "It's a good thing you knew how to find your way back, Grandpap. You know that lake like the back of your hand. Yesiree you do." I feel that this was Jaynell's way of telling herself that her grandfather hadn't lost his mind. No matter what, she wanted to believe that he was still the way he used to be.

Jaynell considers herself a selfish person after all she experiences in this book. The Pickens family is a poor family, who Jaynell can't seem to accept. Lilly Belle loves Jaynell, but she can't understand why she is so nice to her and why this family appreciates the smallest things in life. Throughout the story, Jaynell learns so much about her grandfather, and their relationship as well as the Cadillac changes Jaynell for the better.

The Cadillac that is referred to in the title and on the illustration on the title page has a strong symbolic meaning. Who does this Cadillac belong to? How does this Cadillac change Jaynell? At the beginning of the story, Jaynell is annoyed by Lily Belle, but as the story progresses, this changes. "It hardly bothered me at all because of the Cadillac." These were Jaynell's words toward the end of the book. To find out the significance of the Cadillac, you must read Dancing in Cadillac Light.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pictures of Hollis Woods

Giff, P. (2002). Pictures of Hollis Woods. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Let me begin by saying that this book is an excellent realistic fiction book that focuses on  family. If you haven't read this book, it's an excellent one to read. When I googled this book to get a picture for my blog, I discovered that this book was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation featuring the well-known actress Sissy Spacek and was nominated for Golden Globe. The book is also a Newbery Honor Book. The recommended ages for this book are ages 10-12. I found this book appealing because of the vague title. I assumed that Hollis woods was a person, but I wanted to know for sure. I also wanted to know what types of pictures the title was referring to.

The main characters in this book are Hollis, Steven, Josie, Mr. and Mrs. Regan, and Beatrice. The main setting of the story is in the city of Branches, which is where the Regan family lives. Hollis Woods is a young foster child who has the tendency to run away from every home she lives in, even when she's happy. Hollis ends up meeting a family that she loves so much, but because of a certain circumstance, she ends up leaving them. During this time that she's away from this family, she lives with a dependent woman named Josie. Hollis and Josie become wonderful friends, but Hollis's heart truly belongs with Steven, Izzy, and John Regan. Hollis's main passion and hobby is her ability to draw beautiful pictures. Hollis escapes from her reality by drawing pictures. She is passionate about landscapes and the outdoors; therefore, her pictures depict a lot of outdoor landscapes.

The entire time I read this book, I kept wondering what was going to happen to her, and whether or not she would return to the Regan family. The book tells many of Hollis's experiences with Josie and her experiences with the Regan's. Giff uses tons of flashbacks in this story, which I feel adds to her experiences and passion toward the people that she loves. Giff uses italics to show us when Hollis is experiencing a flashback. In one chapter, you are reading about her experiences with Josie, and the next chapter, you are reading about Hollis at the Regan's home. The whole story is full of flashbacks.

Conflict is a very important idea in this book. The type of conflict seen is person-against-self. Hollis experiences many personal struggles in this book, and as the book progresses, you see her change for the better. She constantly fights with herself to figure out where she is going to go next, whether or not she wants to stay where she is, etc. The story is told in first person point of view where you see the constant use of the word "I." Hollis is a also the protagonist. While reading the story, you learn so much about her character. You learn of Hollis's weaknesses, her struggles, and her strengths.

The theme is also very important in this story. A possible theme for this story could be, "Family does not have to only include those who are blood related. Family is more than than. Relationships that are made and experiences that people face often bring them close together as a family." I cannot imagine what Hollis went through all the years that she did not have a family. My family is so important to me, and without them, I would feel lost. That's why you feel extremely happy for Hollis when she meets people that take her in as their own.. Hollis's encounters with the Regan family bring such great emotions and make you feel such joy for her.

BIG questions - Why does Hollis take such a long time to return to the Regan family? Being a foster child would be such a challenging and emotional thing. Would you "run" the way that Hollis does? The book never said why Josie was so dependent on people. Why do you think Josie needed Hollis the way that Beatrice said she did?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

River Friendly River Wild

Kurtz, J. (2000). River friendly river wild. New York: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division.

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The poems in the book River Friendly River Wild are almost like a journal or diary. Kurtz tells a story about something she experienced as a child; therefore, this book would be considered narrative poetry. The meaning of the book or the feeling or mood that is felt as I read this book is compassion or sympathy. This story is told in first person point of view with the use of the word I. The little girl who tells the story begins the story by talking about the importance of the Red River. Her whole life was spent in or around the river, and that's all she knew. Eventually, because of the melting of a big snow, the river started to rise, and began to flood her town. Her family ended up having to move away because it became dangerous, but they didn't think it would be for good. A few days passed, and soon everyone heard that the town had been ruined. The rest of the story is the author's feelings and thoughts about the things she experienced when she lost her home, and all her special belongings. How does she cope? What will the family do? The characters in the story are the little girl whose name is never mentioned), her friend Sarah, her cat named Kiwi, and her parents. The setting of the story is at the girl's home by the Red River and the year that this catastrophe happened was in 1997.

The illustrations are drawn with oil glaze. (this was actually mentioned in the book before the story began) The imagery in the pictures allows the reader to see what these people experienced in the flood. On a couple of pages, you can see that houses are up in flames. The illustrations on these pages are intense and the illustrator used vertical and diagonal lines as well as the colors black for the night sky and red and orange to show the fire. An example of a simile is, "Then I lie in bed, while my heart pumps like a rowing machine." Another example of a simile is, "The carpet feels like an elephant..." An example of personification is, "Fire tongues lick the sky." Fire is given a human quality of licking. Another example of personification is, "The paper dolls saw it all. I wish they could tell me what happened to my cat." I noticed that the author used a lot of figurative language! The poems; however, did not rhyme or didn't seem to have any sort of rhythm to them. These poems are free verse poems.

Everyone experiences hardships in life, but this disaster is something that not everyone can say they have experienced; therefore, it's a great book to use in class with students. Students would probably feel compassion for the people in the flood, and it would make themselves feel blessed beyond measure.

BIG questions - How would you cope if you were involved in a tragedy such as this flood? Suppose you lost everything like the little girl did in the story. What if you were only left with a few ornaments? How would you feel? The little girl's mom told her, "We're lucky to have something hot to eat." The little girl didn't feel very lucky? Would you? Why?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Tequila Worm

Canales, V. (2005). The tequila worm. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.

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The Tequila Worm is an example of Latino literature, which I knew right away based on the title. Tequila is part of the Spanish culture. This story appealed to me because of the title and the illustration on the title page. I wondered what this story would actually be about. The age level for this book would be 12-15 years of age. American students would benefit greatly from reading this book because they would learn so much about Mexican culture. I loved the use of all the Spanish words as well. That also helps the reader get a sense of understanding of the Spanish language. The book is filled with various traditions that the Spanish people participate in.

There are quite a few important characters in this story, with Sofia being the main one, the narrator. The story is written in first-person point of view. When reading, I assumed that Viola Canales, the author of the story, is Sofia. Aside from Sofia, some of the other crucial characters are her mother and father, Lucy, Berta, and Clara. Toward the end Brooke and Marcos are other significant characters. The setting of this story is in McAllen, Texas and St. Luke's, the college that Sofia attends. The setting is integral. If this story was set in another place where the culture was different, it wouldn't make sense, and the meaning of the story would be lost.

The story begins with the the ritual of Dona Clara visiting Sofia's family for storytelling. Clara was Sofia's grandmother and was a great example of a comadre. The first few chapters of the book are dedicated to informing the reader of many rituals and traditions that Sofia's family have. One of these traditions was the creation of the "Easter cascarones." In this chapter, you learn how the family celebrates Easter. Do they decorate eggs and hide them the way we do in our culture? Another tradition common among this family is the nacimiento. They have a traditional way of decorating and celebrating Christmas.

The story really begins when she encounters a problem in the cafeteria at school. One of her mean classmates calls her "Taco head." At the beginning of the story, Sofia learns from her grandmother that, "kicking like a mule" means to be proud of who you are and to work hard in all you do. In other words, to "kick with your head/brain." When Sofia is called "Taco head," she decides that she will show that girl by "kicking her," as mentioned above. An example of a simile is found on page 3 when Grandmother Clara tells the children, "Yes, kicking and biting like mules runs deep in our blood." Because Sofia begins to work so hard in school, she is eventually asked to attend a special school miles away from home. Sofia's family wants her to have a quinceanera, but Sofia has dreams much bigger than this. The rest of this story tells the journey and struggles that Sofia goes through before she decides to take the offer on the school or not. For example, Sofia must come up with four hundred dollars! How will she do this? She also must have dresses for dinners, and she only has one dress. Will Sofia be able to find the dresses she needs? Sofia encounters and experiences so many things that help her become the best compadres that she can be.

I feel that the climax of the story came when Sofia chose to venture out on her own to St. Luke's. At this point, Sofia's independence grew incredibly. Although she was scared, she had set high goals for herself, and she really felt the urge to pursue her dreams. With the dead of a close family member toward the end of the story, Sofia's focus changes. She still wants to pursue her education, but what becomes even more important to her after this death?

Symbolism is used on page 62 when Papa compares his beans to themselves as people. "how the beans were better than meat, how they were like themselves as people: mestizo- the page part Spanish and the brown spots pure Indian." One of Papa's favorite things to do was clean and cook the beans; therefore, this symbolism is so important here in showing the reader how proud Papa is of his people. The theme in this story is so powerful. At the end of the story, Sofia learns from her mother as well as others who influenced her, that part of being a comadre means being someone who makes people into family and to stay strong even in life's struggles. Sofia is told at the beginning of the story that she would learn how to  "be a comadre" in time, and she definitely does as the book comes to an end.

BIG questions - Do you feel that you are a comadre or a compadre? How? What if you were offered a chance to go to a school like Sofia did? Would you accept and how would you feel?