Photo Credit: http://www.saskatoongermandays.ca/eggmoney.html
Egg Money is a collection of biographies about Saskatchewan pioneer women and their experiences in the early 1900′s in Saskatchewan. The stories are told by family members and friends of the women and give a glimpse into the life and times of the early colonial period in Saskatchewan. History does not often spend time on women and daily life, so these stories expand a person’s understanding of this time period. The book includes maps and photographs to enrich the text. While I wouldn’t put this book into every school library on the prairies, it is a worthy addition to the historical record and would be helpful for talking about how we view history and discussing which voices get heard and which are silent.
Genre: biography, history
My partner and I have not done what we thought we would do. As a planner and pleaser, I am completely disappointed with us but I’m also aware of what we have accomplished and the strides the class has taken as we worked through the challenges of the first term of the year.
We had hoped to use our inquiry to learn more about what the students knew about reading and giving them some more strategies to try. We had hoped we would be able to get them to write about their thinking and explain what they are doing when they read. We haven’t done any of that.
We did do some inquiry and some writing and started to get the students ready to use technology, so there has indeed been much accomplished and much learned both by the students and by us.
We have started a blog for the students and for the teacher. The students have learned how to login to the computers on their own and how to login to the blog by themselves. They are excited to be writing online and have had some great ah-ha moments. On the first day, we blogged a pair of boys were starting their first post. They typed it in and stopped to re-read their work. They couldn’t read it. One of the boys said, “Oh, we need to put in spaces!” It was great re-enforcement of one of those key first writing skills.
It has been fun to see some of the students who excell at handling the computers helping their peers. Particularly when some of the students who excell at computers are not the ones who excell at traditional school tasks.
The class has done some informal class inquiry into the nature of eels and snakes. They were able to work through from questions to searching to sharing of their ideas and learnings. Although this process was largely, off the grid, it fostered some great curiousity and allowed for an excellent writing opportunity.
The students have really learned about writing and being self-critcal during this term. They have worked together to develop a writing continuum which they can use for all kinds of writing throughout the year. It has been particularly helpful for the students who are writing well to challenge themselves to improve.
My teacher partner and I got together today to work on our project. We were glad we had waited until we had learned a bit more about the students we are working with and where they need us to spend time. We have discovered through some testing that althought the students work well to understand when they are reading they are struggling to decode and read with fluency. This has helped us to set a slightly different focus for our technology and learning inquiry.
Using Debbie Miller’s work as a guide, we want to foster a community of learners in the classroom who are curious, reflective and thoughful. We want them to be absorbed by their learning experiences and eager to share them with others. We are going to focus on giving them a real audience and practical reasons to read and write.
Each student will partcipate in having a blog and using drawing and writing to think about how good readers decode text.
We have deliberately not chosen another curricular topic as the focus of our inquiry so that we may continue to work on the inquiry as the curricular content changes throughout the term.
We are planning on using Pixie and MS Paint as tools for communicating about words and reading.
It’s going to be fun to see where things go and what kind of products we can make to communicate with others the interesting things we read about and how we are becoming better readers.
Today my learning partner and I had a day of time to work on starting our inquiry project sponsored by our SPS central office. We decided on our area of study which will be English Language Arts and Social Studies. We found some really good links between our student work and our own professional work on literacy. We are feeling good about the alignment of our goals. We are needing to work on what the details will look like as we move forward and are concerned that we not pick off too much at once.
We think our inquiry question will be: How can I make my non-fiction writing exciting? We will be able to use the question throughout the year and move forward with both ELA curriculum outcomes as well as fold the question into our other areas of study.
We will be exploring using blogs and photography to develop our voice and our writing skill.
We are wondering, how we will best collaborate and divide up the work load.
Stopmouth and his Tribe battle for their daily existence against other rival species in an environment largely devoid of plant life and small animals. They must hunt to survive and often exchange their weakest members with their rivals to secure food. Life is hard, brutish and short.
Stopmouth is the younger, less talented member of his family. His brother is known for his courage and skill. They have been both companions and rivals. On his brother’s wedding day, Stopmouth is betrayed when their hunting excursion goes terribly wrong. Not long later, a woman falls from the sky and through both his life is irrevocably changed. Stopmouth is a complex and well-developed character. The first person narrative keeps us embedded in the plot and fully aware of his thoughts and feelings.
Guilín’s book is one of action and intrigue. The quest for power and for knowledge, the nature of religious belief and rituals, and the relationship between justice and punishment make this an interesting read. Guilín’s world and its primitive society some perseverance to keep straight. A good book to recommend for readers who enjoyed Hunger Games and are interested in a different take on the reality-television-game-to-the-death.
Tackles the themes of survival, relationship between hunter and prey, ethics of hunting, the role of communication in inter-personal and national relationships, the complexity of cultural understanding. Genre: adventure, fantasy. Gr. 7-up.
Trista, a runaway slave, and, Morcant, a deserting Roman soldier, are on the run in the wilds of Britain. Each of them has a powerful gift and need each other to survive the harsh winter, the warring tribes and the Roman attackers. Browne’s story is adventure, fantasy and history well-mixed.
It is refreshing to read a story of early Britain which includes druids but not King Arthur. Browne’s language and story will challenge and reward the young adult reader. While I would not hesitate to put this book into a high school library, I would think twice for a small elementary school. The language and complexity would require a skilled reader which although present in my school population are of more limited numbers. Themes include: survival, conflict, trust, loyalty and courage. Curriculum connections: fantasy, adventure
Rating: Very Good
Lou Summers is getting by. Her father is a good guy but he’s been injured at work and is in chronic pain. They’ve moved around a bunch and have landed most recently in Drumheller. Lou is so used to moving, she doesn’t bother to try to make friends anymore just duck in under the radar and stay that way. Lou’s mother left when she was born and has only recently had even minimal contact with her. But when her father has a heart-attack, Lou has to go and live with her mother. A women, she hardly knows who doesn’t like her or seem to want her to stay.
Robin Stevenson is a capable writer who takes the coming of age story and makes you care. Her characters and situations feel real and plausible. A well-written and well-paced story for young adults. Suitable for students grade 5 and up. A selection which will appeal particularly to female fans of realistic fiction. Possible curricular tie-ins – growing up, family, search for identity.
Rating: excellent – well worth purchasing for the K-8 library and 7-12 lib