Monday, June 8, 2015

read, write, wonder, create, explore, adventure - Summer Reading 2015

Dear Parents,

My wish for all students this summer is that they would have lots of time to read, write, wonder, create, explore and adventure.

Keeping a little journal over the summer can be a wonderful way to document your months off. Children can fill it with things they wonder about, books they want to read, doodles, poetry, stories, quotes, big ideas, places they have visited. I love this idea to fancy up a plain journal. All you need is a sharpie to create some interesting patterns.


We plan to take our wonder journal with us to the library to help us remember the things we wanted to read about. Currently, my son is wondering about everything and anything, so I suspect we will be spending a lot of time in the animals and dinosaurs section at the Calgary Public Library.

Speaking of the Public Library, I have really encouraged all students to make getting a library card a top priority this summer. Not only can you take bags full of books out for free, you will also gain access to a huge E-Library with thousands of e-books and audiobooks for your travels. You could be away all summer, and still take out books and audiobooks from the Calgary Public Library through the Overdrive app wherever you are in the world. And membership is free for children and adults! (if you live in the MD of Foothills or Okotoks - there is a nominal fee to get a card at the Okotoks Library).

All students will come home with a Summer Reading checklist, which includes reading challenges, interesting places to read, great apps and websites, and a space to record books they are excited to read.

Please use the booklists on the site as a starting point to find great books for your child to read this summer. My hope is that one book leads to another and then another and then another. Starting with the "read the first book in a series" challenge will help with that!

I would love to receive book reviews over the summer. Students can email mechapmam@sts.ab.ca anytime.

Have a wonderful summer!

Ms. Chapman


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sparky by Jenny Offil, illus. by Chris Appelhaus


Sparky is cuddly, adorable and absolutely, postively, extremely lazy. Will he be the perfect pet our narrator hopes he will be? 

I read Sparky by Jenny Offill with my Grade 2 class last week and they absolutely loved it. There were lots of giggles at Sparky's "tricks" and they couldn't get enough of Sparky's squishy sleepy face.

The students also loved the bonus book we read at the end, Jenny Offill's 11 Experiments that Failed.





Thursday, June 19, 2014

Adobe Voice: Show your story. In minutes.





Awesome Free App Alert! Adobe Voice is a very intuitive, simple digital storytelling app that has my mind buzzing with ideas!



It would be so much fun to use on a rainy day like today to create and share imaginative stories, information about something you are learning about, or to tell the story of a vacation.



I also think it would be AWESOME for creating book trailers! I can't wait to play with it some more this summer!



Download it on the App store for free today and get creating!




Monday, June 16, 2014

Battle Bunny





Battle Bunny is an awesome new book from superstar authors Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, and illustrated by Matthew Myers (and Alex!)



Blurb from Goodreads:



Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn't interested - until he decides to make the book something he'd actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story!

Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit's innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan - a plan that only Alex can stop.

Featuring layered, original artwork that emphasizes Alex's additions, this dynamic exploration of creative storytelling is sure to engage and inspire.





Fun Activity Alert!



With one of the Grade 4 classes, we worked on creating our own twist on Birthday Bunny with a printed copy of the un-edited story from www.mybirthdaybunny.com



Some students even used discarded books from our library and made their own Battle Bunny inspired write-over stories, which were absolutely hilarious.



This would be such a fun rainy day activity this summer with kids in Grades 4-6. I'll be scouring garage sales for sappy sweet books to use for this activity next year :)



If you create a particularly awesome Birthday Bunny rewrite this summer, you can email them, and they might appear here along with other student creations on the Birthday Bunny Tumblr .


Happy creating! I'd love to see your creations in September!










Friday, June 6, 2014

Author Profile - Kenneth Oppel



We are so excited to announce that we will be hosting acclaimed Canadian author Kenneth Oppel at STS during Marti McKay week in the new school year. Summer is the perfect time to read some of his fabulous books.

You can read more about our special guest here....about where he grew up in Canada, what he wanted to be when he was young, what made him decide to pursue a writing career, and how Roald Dahl read some of his earliest work. And learn more by reading his FAQ here - including a list of his favourite books!

Grade 5 and 6 students will really enjoy the Airborn series: 

Matt Cruse is the 15-year-old cabin boy aboard the Aurora, the 900-foot luxury airship he has called home for the past two years. While crossing the Pacificus, Matt fearlessly rescues the unconscious pilot of a crippled hot air balloon. Before he dies, the balloonist tells him about the fantastic, impossible creatures he has seen flying through the clouds. Matt dismisses the story as the ravings of a dying man, but when Kate de Vries arrives on the Aurora a year later, determined to prove the story is true, Matt finds himself caught up in her quest. Then one night, over the middle of the ocean, deadly air pirates board the Aurora. Far from any hope of rescue, Kate and Matt are flung into adventures beyond all imagining. . .








Book Trailer for Airborn


You can watch more of his book trailers here on his Youtube Channel!



Monday, June 2, 2014

Fresh covers for Judy Blume Classics


Judy Blume's classic books have gotten a makeover - thanks to Canadian illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi and fresh new covers by Lauren Rille.

I especially love the one for "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret".

I'm also especially excited to share Freckle Juice with my younger students and retire our very tattered copy!

You can read more about the illustration and cover art process here on Debbie Ridpath Ohi's blog.

p.s I absolutely LOVE the way Debbie Ridpath Ohi uses found objects to create art. This would be such a fun way to create impromtu art on summer vacation! Here are a few of my faves! You can see many more here on her Flickr stream.






Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

With my Grade 3 class today, we read the 1972 classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, followed by the trailer for the Disney movie adaptation coming out October 10th.

It's very apparent they took a lot of creative liberty with the adaptation, with the whole family having a bad day together, but I think it looks like it's going to be a fun family movie nonetheless. The students pointed out all the differences from the book, but agreed that the larger them of "bad day" stayed true, and that all people have bad days, but a family can support each other through them. Looks like it has a positive message.

What do you think?




At least now all of the students have fulfilled my rules for watching a movie adapted from a book.....always read the book first....and never judge a book by it's movie!