Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wow, things got crazy! Plus, Mentor text linky!

Things got really crazy one day when plans
were messed up by things out of my control.
Luckily, I had Jivey's unit for "Knots on a
Counting Rope" handy! The activity
included about having the kids write
about color turned out truly amazing.
Some of their pieces could truly be
published as legitimate poetry.
So, things have been really crazy lately. I'm sure it's the same for everyone else...unless you're one of my lucky Southern friends who are already on summer vacation! (What?!) We still have 13 days of school to go!

So, I apologize for never making Tunes Tuesday happen this month. I think it is going to go on hiatus for the summer and be back in time for the new school year. I will continue to sporadically post some lifehacks throughout the summer though! So be on the lookout for those!

I originally planned to share about all the craziness in a Five for Friday post...but then Friday and Saturday were crazy too! And stretching it Sunday seemed like a little too much... But I figured I'd throw in a couple of fun pics! If you're interested in Jivey's unit, find it here! It's a really great book, with some amazing examples of personification and figurative language! But that's not even the mentor text I'm sharing! Keep reading to see those!

First, I have to give a quick update on my trout! In case you missed it, I've been raising Trout in the Classroom this year! (well, really Trout in the Hallway...the tank is too big and noisy to keep in my room) We hatched the trout from eggs and raised them to be 2-3 inch fingerlings. It was finally time to say goodbye, so last week I drove them out to a nearby stream and released them into the wild! That's my buddy Dave pouring them in after we acclimated them to the temperature of the stream. Bye little trout! We'll miss you! *Sniff*

So...I wanted to share a few books as part of the Collaboration Cuties' Mentor Text Linky for Social Studies. 

I know we're used to thinking about Social Studies as things like American History, etc. but when I taught the primary grades for the first 10 years of my career I knew social studies truly as the name sounds. We were learning how to be appropriately social, how to treat each other, become good citizens, etc. My school still has a big emphasis on this in every grade level, and so today I'm going to share three books that get back to Social Studies at that more basic level. (I know we're supposed to focus on one, but I couldn't help it!)

Ian's Walk is narrated by the girl pictured here. She's annoyed and aggravated by her brother's unusual habits (he is a child with autism). He likes to watch the fan, smell brick walls, etc. At one point, he goes missing on their walk. That moment of fear the sister has when he is missing makes her realize how much she loves him despite his strange habits, and she spends the walk home allowing Ian to do the things he likes, and trying to experience them with him instead of being annoyed by them.

Because of my district's size, we have some schools that have autistic support classrooms, and some that don't. My school does host one of these classrooms, and as a result it is very common for most classes in my school to include one to three students with autism. I have always loved working with these students, though it is true that some of them present unique challenges, and occasionally these challenges can impact the other students in the room. This book is a great reminder that while students with autism might behave differently sometimes, the value they add to our lives as people, along with the unique opportunity to see the world differently that they provide more than makes up for the challenge.  

Speaking of differences, The Sandwich Swap is a great book that highlights how the differences in people are what makes the world more interesting. The two girls pictured are best buds, but each think that the other's sandwich at lunch looks disgusting. (One has a PB&J and the other has Hummus on Pita) A fight ensues, but in the end, they taste each other's sandwiches and discover that what they initially thought looked strange (because it was different) actually turned out to be delicious.

One of my favorites in this same vein of social studies is The Invisible Boy. If you've taught even one year, then surely you've had that one kiddo in your room that just seems to blend into the background. He or she is quiet, doesn't cause trouble, but doesn't excel necessarily either. This book is for them. I like how it kind of brings attention to the kids like that in your room... not just for the kids, but as a reminder for us teachers too. Even in the book it is mentioned how the boy is sometimes invisible to the teacher. With everything going on in a classroom it is sometimes too easy to let kids "fall through the cracks" on a social level. I think the book also lends itself well to a frank discussion with the kids in your class about why it's important that we don't allow kids to be left to become "invisible."  

So, I'm hoping to get my act together and share some more about some of the cool things we've been doing lately, and some of the cool things we've got coming up! It's going to be an exciting last month of school! And if you're a lucky one who is already out (I know you probably go back before me! So, HA!), I hope everyone will keep in touch and keep reading over the summer! If you're like me then your "teacher brain" probably never really turns all the way off!


  1. Thanks for the shoutout! Glad that unit worked out well for you! Also, I haven't heard of Ian's Walk but will be adding it to my list as there are several students with autism at my school- it'll be a great book to read to remind them of others' differences. :)

  2. Great choice. We have several students with autism at our school and we could really benefit from this book. :) Thanks for sharing.
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. These are both new books for me and I am going to check them both out right now - thanks for the awesome book recommendations Nick!

  4. Wow! These look like awesome books! Perfect for the beginning of the school year! We have about 4 autism classes and 2 more that are pre-k autism in our school and I have found it hard to find the right words to describe to my 4th graders how exactly they are different. I will have to get Ian's Walk. And, I was the invisible girl in school so I can totally appreciate that book. Especially since I had a really difficult student in my class this year and I felt like he got so much of my attention while others were falling through the cracks. All of these look great for the first of the year. Thanks so much for recommending them!!!!
    Have a great weekend and thanks so much for linking up!!!!
    Collaboration Cuties


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