Monthly Archives: February 2015

5 Things I Loved About This Week- Week ending February 22, 2015


I am trying to be a more positive person and appreciate all the great things in my life (my OLW, change, is a part of this. This week there was so much to celebrate!

  1. Trying out new ideas- I am lucky to have a few people in my life who listen to me when I have new ideas I want to try out and I am so grateful for them (I would probably still try them out, but it helps to have a sounding board sometimes).
  2. The gift of time- Since I live in Malaysia, this week brought a break for Chinese New Year! I used to feel compelled to travel over breaks, but now I also appreciate the slower pace of life. These last 4 days I loved lounging in my pajamas, researching things I wanted to follow up on, and having extra reading time.
  3. Ways to organize my ideas- I made a SQWORL to keep track of many of the literacy activities we will be a part of in 3EV this semester This allows me to share sites easily with my students and any other teachers who would like to collaborate with us. Hopefully this will help me get more done- it looks like a busy 3 1/2 months!
  4. March Book Madness- Thanks to Tony Keefer and we can participate in more book fun across the miles! My students were really excited about this and we get to vote for the tourney seeding on Monday!

Spy Notebooks- Last year I had some small notebooks in my supply closet I did not know what to do with. I decided to give them to my students as “spy notebooks” halfway through the year when my writers were getting stuck for new ideas. We had talked about writers getting ideas from everyday situations and authors we had Skyped with talked about always carrying notebooks with them, so this felt like a good fit. For lots of my students it was really a great place to gather ideas. We recently had Penny Kittle work with us for a few days (ahhh, love this kind of PD!) and I talked about the notebooks. I had not started them this year, but the time was right and this week I found tiny notebooks at a book store. I brought them in on Monday and they are already proving useful.

The week ahead will be another busy one and I am glad I took the time to recall the awesome of the last week. I am stressing about a formal observation, but in my quest for eking out more relaxation from my break I am off to enjoy a manicure and pedicure.

Have a great week!

#nf10for10- Better Late Than Never Edition- Not What (or Who) You Might Expect!


Well, I did not really think I would get my act together to participate in this awesome day, but I have been promised that there are no “rules” to it, so even though I am late, here goes…

Today I am celebrating those who go beyond “the expected”. I like to think there are many ways of being a part of this world, and fitting in has never been my favorite. In no particular order I give you:

 ivan the gorilla

A gorilla taken from his homeland and raised as a household pet for awhile, Ivan has captured the hearts of many, particularly since Katherine Applegate told his fictional so eloquently. His true story is told in a lovely narrative style that has you rooting for this underdog.


Teaching in international schools means many of my students feel “foreign”. This book reminds us all that different is part of what makes us special.

el deafo

Cece Bell’s book is such hot property in my class. The students love the story and are seeing that someone’s abilities is not who you are.  Yay for a graphic novel Newbery Honor!9781596438743_p0_v1_s260x420

So great white sharks are not beloved by all, but this book helped me to see them in a sympathetic light. Watching Katherine Roy’s book trailer that showed her creating some of the art was breathtaking!

Creature features

So, animals distinctive features often have a very good purpose and who better to teach us about this, but Steve Jenkins- one of my go to nonfiction heroes!


A man who did things his own way throughout his lifetime. What more can I say?! Kadir Nelson is  amazing here too.


I loved this story of an unruly artist- seeing and hearing things his own way.


Who else but Nicola Davies could make microbes so interesting. These tiny things are often blamed, but here they get credit too.


Roget did not fit in to the society he lived in, but made his own way and his love of words can still inspire us today. The detail in this book (both by the author and illustrator) is such that you will come back to this book repeatedly.14553643I love all of the books in this series, but picked this one because it reminds me of my great friend, Lisa. Rocks tell stories and the amount of information in an engaging format that these books pack in is wonderful.

So there you have it, 10 books I love that go beyond what is expected!