Monthly Archives: March 2009

Let Einstein Guide You

einstein_on_a_bike.jpg This spring break is unique in that because I have no students, I have no typical preparation or grading to do, so I’ve been spending my evenings reading and thinking about the craft of teaching, and especially the skill of questioning.Einstein has much to teach us about questioning.

If I were given a problem and one hour to solve it, I should spend the first fifty-five minutes asking questions and the last five minutes using those questions to solve it.
–Albert Einstein

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.
–Albert Einstein

Information is not knowledge.
–Albert Einstein

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
–Albert Einstein

The only source of knowledge is experience.
–Albert Einstein

So what do Einstein’s quotes have to do with us as teachers?  We must continue to be curious, continue to be learners and pass that curiosity onto our students. We can’t just give lip service to the idea of “lifelong learning.” What did you learn about yourself, your craft, your students? Once we learn it, we must share it with our colleagues so that the curiosity gets passed on. If  we have a fabulous experience in our classroom, but nobody else knows about it, did it really happen? It is not our duty to share our “aha” moments, but it should be done out of love – love for our students as well as our colleagues.

Love is a better teacher than duty.
–Albert Einstein

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A Stone So Big You Could Live in It

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It happens in the woods

A laugh just pops out

It happens with a stone so big you could live in it

Round mounds of soil and stone

Perfectly dressed in radiant moss

Blaze of bees around a single blooming branch

Path so quiet one foot answers the other

Charred ashes by Jericho Bay

Blue dots on trees lining the trail

Sudden sweetness of it

Someone was here before you

Didn’t want you to get lost

Thank you

Someone

Thank you

Blue.

–Naomi Shihab Nye

Schooled

Schooled Schooled by Gordon Korman


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gordon Korman has a knack for odd characters that buck the system of teen “normalcy.” This is no exception. Cap, or Capricorn Anderson, has been living on a commune with his grandmother Rain. At this point, there are just two of them left, so when Rain gets hurt and breaks her hip, Cap must leave his sheltered life and go to middle school. He sticks out like a huge bullseye of weirdness, but Cap has a lot to teach the students of C average middle school. High interest, low readability, appealing voice.

View all my reviews.

Ke Ala o ka Mahina

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The path of the moon, our Hawaiian moon calendar and almanac is now online through KS publishing.

You can still order the poster size from them, but this one is free and interactive so that if you click on a date, it gives you the moon phase, and the information on fishing (lawai’a) and planting (mahi ‘ai).

April Recommendations

picture-6.png Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi

Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river — and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy — the Prince Chagum — on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince’s own father.

–$5.00

picture-7.png  Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together under different circumstances and establishing unlikely friendships. With breathtaking descriptions of nature and its ultimate phenomenon, the eclipse, Every Soul a Star is a powerful and humorous story about dealing with change and discovering one’s place in the universe.

$6.00

picture-8.png Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis

Super logical Emma-Jean has little in common with her seventh-grade classmates until she joins forces with them to defeat the school mean girl.

$3.00

picture-9.png Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

Greg’s father thinks he should just toughen up! Could military school be the answer?

$6.00

April’s Scholastic Tab has 32 items for $5 or less, so come and get a flyer from room 1103, “the Reading Room.”

Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye

Dipping into the flower zone

Honey stomach plump with nectar

Soaking up directions

Finding our ways in the dark

Fat little pollen baskets

Plumping our legs

You had no idea, did you?

You kept talking about

That wheelbarrow

And chicken

Round dance

Waggle dance

Only 5 species of honeybee

Among 20,000 different bee species

Out there in the far field

Something has changed but

You don’t know what it is yet

And everything depends

On us

Books to Read Aloud to your teenager

What were your favorite books when you were a child?

  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Momotaro
  • Tiki Tiki Tembo

Do you think teens still enjoy being read to? (YES)

Do you have favorite books you enjoyed when you were a teen?

  • The Outsiders
  • Lord of the Rings

Everyone enjoys being read to, so as a family this spring break, get reading. Choose a favorite of your own, a favorite of the kids, or even a new book that you’ll read together. If you have a hard time reading, just read a little at a time, read a children’s book, a poem, an article or a short story. Just read.

Into the Dark by Peter Abrahams picture-1.png

In Echo Falls, secrets buried in the past don’t always stay there.

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell picture-2.png

In alternating free verse, two Mohawk sisters tell of their lives at the Carlisle Indian School near the turn of the 20th century.

Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer picture-3.png

The protagonist is short, nerdy, 12-year-old Fletcher Moon, “youngest P.I. on the planet” (certainly the youngest in his small Irish hometown), with a much-prized badge from a correspondence school to prove it.

The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer picture-4.png

Jack is amazed to have caused an earthquake. He is thirteen, after all, and only a bard-in-training.

Humbug Mountain by Sid Fleischman picture-5.png

A young boy and his wandering family foil villains and rout nasty varmints as they make a home for themselves in a beached boat on the banks of the Missouri.

Free Resources for Teachers

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Feeling the almost Spring Break blues? Discovery education has a free site (http://school.discoveryeducation.com) with loads of resources that can be used for anchor activities, supplemental information, contests, etc.

Goodies include a puzzlemaker, a lesson plan library on almost every subject (except Hawaiian) for grades 6-8, worksheets to go, contests, grants and other resources for new and experienced educators.

Check it out this spring break. 🙂