Be all that you can be. Find your future--as a teacher.

Musings of a second-year teacher.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I LOVE children's books!

So I spent part of my afternoon today braving the last minute Christmas-shopping crowds. My dad had a few last minute items to buy and I decided to tag along for a few things. We ventured into Barnes and Noble where he was looking for a specific book. Seeing as I wasn't planning on buying anything (since I'd much rather just check out a book from the library...), I decided to wander over to the Children's book section.

Let me just say- I LOVE children's books. Since I was little, I have always loved reading (although being forced to read textbooks has made me realize I don't love ALL reading). I believe a large reason that I love reading is due to all the children's books that I read as a child. This is the one part of teaching that I absolutely can not WAIT to do! I am so excited to build up a classroom library, and so excited to read to my students, and so excited to share my enthusiasm for reading with them and so excited to watch each of my students (hopefully!) "catch" some enthusiasm for reading.

I spent some time skimming through some different children's books and found a few I really liked! I personally love the humorous children's books, although I really appreciate the more serious ones as well. There was one book, in particular, that cracked me up today. Walter the Farting Dog was probably one of the funniest books I have read in a while. Unfortunately, I think this book may border on slightly inappropriate for classroom use (I can just IMAGINE trying to settle down a group of kids after reading THAT at storytime!), but I think it's books like this that can be helpful in encouraging kids to read. I can see this story being one that a parent would buy for a child who hates reading, only to discover that the child would sit down and try to read this book...because it's just so funny that you WANT to try to read it. (I realize that's extremely over-optimisitic, but I'd like to think that maybe somewhere, with some child, it would work out that way:))

Besides Walter the Farting Dog, I was also able to read a few other quality books. I read Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! The Pigeon books always make me smile, so I enjoyed reading this one. However, I still love Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! the best!

The last book I read was the story of Owen and Mzee. You may have heard the story of this pair. Owen was a baby hippo that was separated from his pod in the Decemeber 2004 tsunami. After he was rescued, he was put it a wildlife refuge. Because he was so young, the caretakers at the refuge didn't want to put him in with the full-grown hippos, so they introduced him to an area with smaller, calmer animals. One of these animals was Mzee, a 130 year-old tortoise. Owen and Mzee have since formed an amazing friendship. They are seen "snuggling" together, playing together, eating together, and sleeping together. This was unexpected since tortoises aren't exactly known for their nurturing skills. Not to mention that fact that Mzee is a reptile and Owen is a mammal! I thought this book was an adorable story, complete with amazing pictures! This is one book that I loved, and thought could easily be incorportated into many classroom lessons.

These were only the first three books I picked up in the store, and I loved them all! I think I'm in trouble if I go to buy books for my classroom next year...

Seeing as I have yet to begin teaching and I am still getting acquainted with all the children's books, I'd love to hear any suggestions you have! What are your favorite children's books? What books do your students love? What books lend themselves well to lessons that you teach in the classroom? I'd love to hear any and all advice!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A more intelligent form of procrastination...

It's about this time of year that monotonous tasks begin to seem more exciting. I'm in the midst of cramming for finals and after sitting in the same position for the last five hours reading psychology text, just about ANYTHING seems more exciting. While I typically resort to checking my email obsessively (just to find that-surprise!!- I've recieved more junk mail at 1:38 in the morning!) or simply checking facebook obsessively, I've decided it's time to come up with a more productive form of procrastination.

Therefore, I decided to actually read some of the blog entries that are currently noted as "new" on my Bloglines account. I set up my RSS feeds (I think that's correct use of the terms, but I could be wrong...) during a "Teaching with Technology" class a few semesters ago. My professor recommended a few educator blogs to add, which I did, but I've been quite lax in actually reading them.

So, I suppose, fittingly, the one blog post I actually have gotten around to reading today was a post by my professor, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in her blog 21st Century Learning. She posted the most amazing videos from a grad student, Johnny Lee, on how to use a wii remote to make a smartboard! Now, I had a little trouble following the exact instructions, but the possibility of creating a technology tool THAT amazing with materials THAT cheap astounds me. It just further excites me about the possibilities and oppotunities that will literally be surrounding me when I begin to teach in less than a year.

That being said, I must return to actual schoolwork now. I resolve to be much better about reading other educators' blogs, as I do think it is important to keep up with all the current information that's out there (and by looking at the number of unread blog entries I have, that's a WHOLE lot of information!)

Until next time, I hope everyone is having a wonderful evening and a happy holiday season!