Children's Books

Monday, May 16, 2016

Touching the Future

     I've written before about my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Marie Henrich, in "Thank You, Mrs. Henrich". I was lucky enough to run into Mrs. Henrich last week at a tutor appreciation breakfast, and I had a chance to talk with her for a few minutes. I told her that she's become an "internet sensation" since she's the topic my most read blog post.  While we were visiting, I told her my memories that I had written about in the blog. She didn't quite remember the events the same way that I did, but that's pretty understandable.  (Don't you just love my picture of Mrs. Henrich and my yearbook picture from 4th grade!)
     She said, "I don't think I could be a teacher today.  I wouldn't be able to keep my job. Kids were always going home with my lipstick kisses on them. Lots of times I walked kids home so they wouldn't get beaten when they got home." At first I felt really sad when she told me that.  Mrs. Henrich is such an important part of my past, and I couldn't imagine her not being there for me and all the other students she taught throughout the years.
    She might not be a teacher today, but she's still touching kids lives today.  There are at least three teachers and one administrator that came out of our group of twenty-six fourth graders. She continues to have an impact on the lives of students in St. Charles and across the state.
    She's "touching the future" every time I work with my readers.  She's reaching kids every day Tracie does something fun with her math students in Kansas. Mrs. Henrich is still teaching every time Dave inspires high school kids to learn more about history. Her kindness continues each time Renee helps kids at her daughter's elementary school. Her leadership is shared each day Tim works with teachers and students. (That's just the beginning of what I could find through my Facebook sleuthing)
     As I get ready to finish out this year of school I don't know if I am inspiring any of my readers to become teachers one day, but I have the privilege to reach into the future.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy Book Birthday, Barnacle

     Birthdays are so special. Today is the publishing birthday of one of our new favorite books, Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske.
     A few weeks ago I was gifted a copy of Barnacle is Bored. I had the opportunity to read it with my first graders yesterday. They thought it was very cool that Jonathan Fenske had signed the book and drawn a picture.  They were equally excited by the personalized postcard Jonathan sent us.
     Many of them had seen Barnacle is Bored in their classroom, but they were thrilled to read it again. Repeated readings are important to beginning readers, and my kids loved seeing Barnacle again.  They noticed words and illustrations that they had missed the first time.
     Happy Birthday, Barnacle.  We hope it is a fabulous day.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Buzz Lottery UPDATE

     On March 20, 2016, I wrote about my experience with holding a Book Buzz Lottery in the 2nd grade classrooms during Read Across America Week.  Yesterday one of the 2nd graders brought back Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs and said, "Everybody who wanted to read it did. We're finished."
     I thought, "Wow, they remembered to bring back the book. That's great."  Then the really important thoughts came. How many kids actually read the book?  How are they doing with the other two books I left in the classroom? So up to 2nd grade I marched.  I took pictures of what I discovered.
Roscoe Riley Readers
Secrets of Droon Readers
  NINE kids read Roscoe Riley Rules:  Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs. This is so exciting to me. We've been in school for 6 weeks since we held the book lottery, and this one book has been read by nine different kids. I call this a success.
The Kids of Einstein Elementary Readers
     Next, I asked the kids who had read The Secrets of Droon to come up and have their picture taken.  TEN kids have read the book, and one more is in the middle of reading it. She showed me that she has the second book in the series checked out from the library.  My plan is working.  I picked this book on purpose in order to draw readers into another series they might love.
     Check out the picture of The Kids of Einstein Elementary readers. TWELVE readers in all have enjoyed this book. This book is also part of a series.
     Here's what I notice:
  • I only see one face that is in all three pictures. That makes me think the three books appealed to many different kids. 
  • Seventeen different kids read at least one of the books. The lottery appealed to almost all of the kids. 
  • Everybody is smiling! The Book Buzz Lottery was not something they had to do. The Book Buzz Lottery was fun, and kids were able to read fun books.
  • The Book Buzz Lottery was easy and FREE! 
  • Buzzing about books in a series opens up a world of new books to experience.
Will I use the Book Buzz Lottery again? Of course I will!!!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thank You, Mrs. Henrich

     This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I'd like to tell you about one of the wonderful teachers who inspired me.
     I'd like you to meet Marie Henrich. Mrs. Henrich was my 4th grade teacher at Null Elementary School.  She is just as beautiful today as she was when I was in her class in the late 70's. After spending a year in Mrs. Henrich's class I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a 4th grade teacher just like Mrs. Henrich.
     I'm sure we learned a lot about math, reading, social studies, etc. that year, but mostly I remember learning how to work with others. Our class was located right across the hall from the library.  One afternoon Mrs. Henrich brought me, my best friend, and two boys out into the hall. She informed us that we were going to have the great opportunity to create a new bulletin board for the library each month. That sounded great to me. We'd be getting out of class to work in the hallway. Then she told us why we were chosen. We all had a tendency to be "bossy", and we needed to learn how to work together. She wasn't joking...we were really bossy. Our job was to plan together, compromise, use our time wisely, and get the work done without relying on her as our referee. So we worked each month and learned skills that are still important.
     Another thing I remember about Mrs. Henrich is the way she shared her life with us.  Mrs. Heinrich shared about her family heritage in Italy. We learned about Italy and made a 5 foot tall leaning tower of Pisa out of aluminum foil, paper towel rolls, and pizza rounds.  I also remember being crushed when I wasn't able to go to Mrs. Henrich's house for her homemade fried ice cream. (I think we were going out of town to visit my grandparents.)
     Mrs. Henrich also instilled the belief in ILAC (I'm Lovable and Capable). She believed that we all were lovable and capable. She spoke this truth into my life. She spoke it and showed it so often that I started believing it. It was more than a catchy phrase or motto. It was a belief that guided her teaching, our 4th grade experiences, and hopefully the rest of our lives.
     Thank you, Mrs. Henrich. Thank you for impacting my past, my present, and my future.