Mom’s Sewing Machine

IMG_3940

It’s year 2 of our “Disney Musicals in Schools” grant in coordination with the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI.   Along with 5 other staff members from my school,  we are in week 17 of rehearsal for our production of Aristocats Kids! We have “serious fun” after school two times a week in rehearsal – singing, dancing and acting. The students are thrilled to be using their tails for rehearsal.

Again this year, my mother offered to help out with costumes. I cut out, ironed, stuffed tails – she did the sewing. After using 200 yards of black thread and lots of black, brown, and  white fur we have finished the tails for our cats and dogs! Together,  we also made colorful bandannas for all of our jazzy alley cats to wear.

My mother’s sewing machine is a real work horse. It didn’t complain once. I fondly remember this old machine, with my  mother’s home economics talent, creating many Halloween costumes, holiday outfits as well as many pairs of shorts and t-shirts for myself and my brothers. I also learned to sew with this machine and completed projects for 4-H. Now, this same machine is contributing to the imagination of our “cats, dogs and mouse” as they dance, sing and act their way into Paris and the French countryside.

Thank you Mom from the cast of Aristocats Kids -we are so thankful for your costume making expertise!

Here is a link to the Disney Musicals in Schools program in coordination with the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI.

Disney Musicals in Schools

Our performance of Jungle Book Kids -2017 onstage at the Overture Center for the Arts:

The views on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, vision or strategies of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Posted in arts integration, Disney Musicals in Schools, Overture Center for the Arts, Singing, dancing, acting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Hope

Is there anything better than a classroom window sill filled with cups of soil and seeds?

We planted corn seeds and pea seeds as part of our math curriculum. We will measure and compare the plants as they grow. Every year, I am delighted at how excited students get as they dig into a bag of soil and scoop it out to place into a cup. They are amazed that the pea seed looks like a pea and the corn seed looks like corn.

During the year, we discuss seeds in other ways; with picture books, when we eat snacks, (seeds in the apples and cucumber slices) and in lessons related to the parts of a plant or the life cycle of tree.

But, there is something about planting a “real” seed that they get ridiculous about.

They understand a bit about the “how” – roots grow down, stems grow up, the seed has food for the growing plant, it needs sunlight and water.

However, the fact that you can plant a seed and it will grow is still a bit of a mystery to second graders. They have a real sense of wonder about seeds. There is nothing to plug in. No buttons to push. Nothing to program. No further directions. Nothing they can do to urge the little seeds along.

Plant a seed, water it, put it in the sun, hope for the best, and wait.

“It’s not just a cup of soil anymore.”

“There is something about to happen in there.”

“How long do you think it’s going to take?”

“I think the corn will grow up first, it’s really tall when I see it in the field.”

Some students are not sure it will really happen. But they are excited, hopeful and willing to wait.

Some of my favorite books about seeds to share with my students are:
A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

A Seed Is The Start by Melissa Stewart

From Seed to Maple Tree: Following the Life Cycle by Laura Purdie Salas and Jeff Yesh

From Seed to Daisy: Following the Life Cycle by Laura Purdie Salas and Jeff Yesh

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meet My Family Inspires Writing

Meet My Family Blog Tour Graphic 2018

My second grade students were honored to receive an autographed copy of Laura Purdie Salas’ newest book – Meet My Family – Animal Babies and Their Families. The book is illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman.

In the book, twenty baby animals introduce their families through rhyming text. Students learned new information about animal families. They also recognized some facts from our animal information writing and our studies of vertebrates/insects in science. This book lends itself to discussion that incorporates many curriculum areas – writing, science, engineering, social studies and social emotional skills.  The back matter includes a map and the glossary has further explanation of the animal “parent names”. My students were particularly empathetic toward the animals who survive on their own from the beginning!

Laura has written over 125 books for children. We checked out many of them from the library. My students loved her books about various habitats and poured over the maps and text features. I heard, “Hey, come look at this. . .” many times while students were reading – information that needed to be shared! They also enjoyed books in her “Colors of… ” series and her “… Can Be ” series.

We used our shared reading discussion about families from the book to try different ways of writing. As we worked, I quickly realized that Meet My Family helped us to further build our classroom community as we shared new stories about our own families. For example, Ayla taught us about Azerbaijani pakhlava and Liliana taught us about her mother’s enchiladas.

Student sharing led us to appreciate the diversity represented in our own class. Students grew to have new understandings about their classmates and further develop interpersonal connections that are so important for success in school and in life outside of school.

Students wrote acrostic poetry with their own names and family member’s names and “Meet My Family” narratives and poetry.

Here is some of their writing:

Ayla’s rough draft plan of her poem. She first wrote the words on sticky notes so she could move them around to plan her poem. She decided to arrange her family words from “super simple” ideas then “simple” ideas, then “kinda simple”, then “unique” and lastly, “Super Unique!”

IMG_3793

Here is the final poem – she wanted periods after the words.

Meet My Family by Ayla

Me and my 5 year old brother are helpers. Brave.

Books.  Can’t take off the smile.

Math.  Writing.   Funny stuff.

People can’t tell I’m Asian. Cooking. Silly faces.

Azerbaijani pakhlava.  Unique. Music. 

 

Liliana’s Acrostic Name Poem

IMG_3796

Collin’s poem about his Dad

img_3794.jpg

Zion wrote about “My Bigs” – These are two people who work with Zion from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program. He feels that they are like “family” to him.

Meet My Bigs by Zion

Sean and Sarah are like family to me. 

We go places, like their parent’s house.

They stay next to me when we go places.

At their parent’s house, we played ping pong.

Sarah even messed up sometimes and hit the ball into the air!

We made brownies.

They are the nicest people I ever met. 

 

Meet My Family by Iona

My mom, my dad, my brother and my dog.

We play, eat and give each other comfort.

We were all born in different places.

The best thing about my family is being all together.

I’m so glad I’m not an orphan!

I might cry if I grow up and I’m not with any of them!

Meet My Family by Lux

Little brother Smith, Mom and Dad.

AND my mom is having a baby – I hope it’s a sister.

We play games like Sorry. We do art and drawing. 

I like my family – they are funny and we help each other. 

One time, my family met all together in North Carolina. Even the family from Oregon came to North Carolina.  That was really fun to be with so much family. 

 

Meet My Family by Brooklyn

My family has me, Marcus, London, DonnAi, Daisha and baby Paris -that is 5 girls and 1 boy. We like going to Chuckie Cheese and watching movies. When I get hurt, my mom takes care of me and gets a band-aid. We tickle each other and laugh at each other. Mom lets us buy Jolly Ranchers at the gas station. My mom and me, we cook together – macaroni and cheese, corn, chicken with hot sauce and green beans. When I think of my family, I think of happy.

For Teachers, Laura has resources at this link:
http://laurasalas.com/family/

The views on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, vision or strategies of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Meet My Family – by Laura Purdie Salas

Meet My Family Blog Tour Graphic 2018

I am very excited to be part of Laura Purdie Salas’  Blog Tour to celebrate and spread the word about her newest book called Meet My Family, Animal Babies and Their Families. We will read this nonfiction book to learn all about many different types of animal families. We are looking forward to trying some poetry of our own in response to this fun book! Students are surprised and honored that a “real author” is looking forward to seeing their writing!

Here is a short bio from her website:

“Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including Meet My Family!If You Were the MoonWater Can Be… and BookSpeak!  Laura grew up in Florida and now lives and writes in Minnesota. She loves to get kids excited about reading and writing. For more info, please visit laurasalas.com.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sharing Our Writing

During second quarter, second graders study information writing. Students learn to research a topic, write an interesting introduction, use facts and definitions, develop points and provide a conclusion. The best part about writing . . .is reading the final products with good friends!

Posted in literacy celebrations, writing workshop | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Growth Mindset – Are We Pears Yet?

I was honored to receive an advanced copy edition of Miranda Paul’s book Are We Pears Yet? earlier this summer. The official release date is September 19th, 2017. I am planning to use this book with my second graders during our first days of school. This is a story of two young pear seeds who just can’t wait to grow up and become pears. The clever illustrations show the seeds performing on stage with speech bubbles to show the dialogue.

Why is this a perfect book to start the school year? I am planning to incorporate research from Carol S. Dweck into our daily discussions this year. Her research describes how children who think with a “growth mindset” reach their goals and improve in school.

Students who have a “fixed mindset” may be afraid of failure, avoid challenge, ignore feedback and think that he/she is just not good at something without seeing strategies for how to improve. Students who have a “growth mindset” see failure as an opportunity for learning, welcome challenges, keep trying and believe he/she can always improve with feedback from others. Instead of thinking “I can’t” students can be encouraged to think “I can’t yet” As a class, we will be figuring out what students need to grow.

Miranda Paul’s book describes what the two pear seeds need in order to grow – soil, rain, sun. . . and wait time. One seed continually asks, “Are we pears yet????” until they discover they will need to first be pear trees in order to be seeds.Miranda includes some “encore” information about pears at the end. A science lesson, an example of growth mindset, and really funny/talking in speech bubble pear seeds make Are We Pears Yet? a great book to start the school year.

(One of my favorite Wisconsin Authors – Miranda Paul has also written One Plastic Bag:Isatou Ceesay and the Story of the Recycling Women of the Gambia, Whose Hands are These?: A Community Guessing Game, Water is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle.) Other more recent releases are:The Great Pasta Escape, Trainbots and Blobfish Throws a Party.

Posted in Read Aloud, Reading Workshop | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Public Radio – Larry Mueller Show

http://www.wpr.org/shows/old-farm-country-cookbook

Strawberry sandwiches, cherries and chickens were just part of the conversation on today’s Larry Mueller show on Wisconsin Public Radio. My Dad, Jerry Apps, and I talked about our new cookbook – Old Farm Country Cookbook – Recipes, Menus, and Memories. Folks called in with stories about cooking “from scratch”, favorite elderberry blossom pancakes and cherries. We even talked about tips for using bacon grease as a secret ingredient. One caller remembered her grandma used bacon grease to style her hair!

Posted in Old Farm Country Cookbook | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment