Friday Focus

September 25, 2015

Three Read Alouds to Start the School Year

While we are into our fourth week already of school (where did September go?), students and staff are still acclimating to life at Howe. Thank you for taking the time to build a positive community in our learning spaces.

Here are three books that I would recommend as read alouds, for continuing to build your learning community and to touch on the major themes of new beginnings and honoring people's learning journeys during the school year:

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes (Flying Eye, 2015)

The tiny boy works to nurture one flower in a garden too large for him to handle. When he's done all that he can, the boy goes into a long hibernation. During this time, a girl who lives nearby the garden (her yard) sees the flower and is inspired to expand.

Themes: Inspiration, Purpose, Community, Hope

My Teacher is a Monster (No I Am Not) by Peter Brown (Little, Brown and Company, 2014)

A boy is very worried about school, especially with how he feels his teacher treats him. He perceives her as being a monster, until he runs into her at the park during one of his treasured weekends. A very humorous story with a nice message.

Themes: Perceptions, Misconceptions, Understanding, Empathy

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada (Compendium, 2013)

A young boy finds an idea, in the form of an egg, and isn't sure what to do with it. "Where did it come from? Why is it here?" he asks. The boy goes through several stages of dealing with his idea - shame, frustration, wondering, nurturing - until he finally finds his idea's true purpose.

Themes: Creativity, Innovation, Imagination, Questioning

I have all three books in my office (My Teacher is a Monster is on my iPad). I would be happy to read aloud these to your class. You are also welcome to share them with your students yourself. Let me know!


"That's awesome!! That made my day!! Thank you!! :)"

- A comment left by a parent on their son's video of him reading aloud his own writing via FreshGrade

Professional Development Day

Monday, Sep. 28th, 7:45am-3:45pm

2911 Washington Street

Wisconsin Rapids, WI

The morning is devoted to district activities at Washington Elementary School from 7:45 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. The afternoon will be at Howe, from 12 P.M. to 3:45 P.M.

Poetry Corner

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

—Billy Collins

(From The Apple That Astonished Paris. Copyright © 1988, 1996 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of the University of Arkansas Press,

Friday Funny

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