Bye bye Apostrophe?

According to this article from the Associated Press, one city in England is doing away with apostrophes on their street signs!  Now, I am a bit torn on the issue.  Apostrophes are obviously important in grammar.  But the streets they denote today no longer “belong” to those they are named after, if they even did in the first place.  So are they really showing ownership/possession, or are they just there because we are used to them?

However, I do think that if they drop the apostrophes they also need to drop the “s” at the end of each word, too.  Otherwise, they are just pluralizing everything!

 

Thoughts?

Poetry Friday

This week I altered a lesson from Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading by Tanny McGregor to practice with our schema. The lesson involved listening to a song, reading the lyrics, and jotting our text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections on a graphic organizer. I had never heard the song before but I loved it and wanted to share a bit.

Rachel Delevoryas

(Randy Stonehill, from Wonderama [Stonehillian/Word, 1992])

Rachel Delevoryas

With her thick eye glasses and her plain Jane face

Sat beside me in my fifth grade class

Looking so terribly out of place

Rachel played the violin

And classical music was out of style

She couldn’t control all her wild brown hair

Her nervous laughter and her awkward smile and

CHORUS • It was clear that she’d never be one of us

With her dowdy clothes

And her violin

And a name like Rachel Delevoryas

 

Read the rest here.

Adios Oscar! A Butterfly Fable by Peter Elwell

Anytime I see a new monarch butterfly book I get excited, so when I received a review copy of Adios, Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable from Scholastic, I was very happy. Even better? This isn’t your typical monarch migration story. It’s a new twist on the topic and it is great!

Oscar is a caterpillar who lives on a plant near a window. One day a monarch butterfly named Bob happens upon his plant. Bob is in an awful rush and tells Oscar to look him up when he gets to Mexico someday. Well, Oscar is just enamored with Bob, his gorgeous orange-and-black wings, and this talk of Mexico. When a bookworm named Edna decides to help Oscar learn about Mexico in preparation for his journey, he is ecstatic. Soon it is time for him to go into his pupa phase before emerging as a butterfly.

Or so he thinks.

Oscar is heartbroken when he emerges from his cocoon and discovers he has short grey wings instead of the gorgeous orange-and-black ones he anticipated. And instead of the urge to fly to Mexico, he has the urge to eat sweaters! And fly around a light! Oscar’s friends all mock him for the time he spent learning Spanish and Mexican culture, and he is heartbroken. But that all changes when he finds a note Edna left behind for him.

I loved this fable about a moth who believes he can do anything, even fly 2000 miles to Mexico. And Elwell sprinkles Spanish phrases throughout the book. He also includes an afterword with some information on monarchs and moths and the differences between the two. The illustrations are also adorable, in a great cartoon style. I can’t wait to share this with my class and the Monarch Teacher Network!

Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka

I was going to do a formal review of Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka this weekend. But then I booktalked it to both classes yesterday. And I haven’t seen it since!

Perhaps this is even better than a formal review. :) When I read a few chapters aloud to my students, they were literally in hysterics. There were shouts of, “I’ve done that!” and “My mom would flip out if she knew I did this stuff, too!”. It especially seemed to connect with boys but I had quite a few girls ask to get on the waiting list, too. Thank goodness our librarian just got her copy of Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka in this week, because I know about 20 6th graders who are going to be fighting for that copy, too!

This is a fantastic book for reluctant readers and readaholics. And for anyone who has grown up with younger brothers and sisters and done all of those things your mom would die over if she found out about. I am the oldest of six and felt like I was reading about my own life, especially when Jon talked about his adventures in Catholic school and adopting “Pagan babies” in Africa. If you don’t have this one in your classroom library, you need it!

Garden State Teacher Awards Program

Do you know a teacher in NJ who rocks?  From the NJEA:

We feel that excellent teachers are not receiving adequate recognition for their important contribution to society. The Teachers Who Rock program will recognize 24 outstanding teachers to receive this prestigious award. These teachers become lifetime members of the Teachers Who Rock Class. 

Check out the website!  Nomination forms are found on the radio stations’ websites listed on the NJEA website.  It looks like each radio station is focused on a separate part of the state (one of my favorite radio stations has the nomination form here).  The information is buried on each station’s site, so it took me a little bit to find the forms on each one.  Look around for an ad that asks “Do You Know a Teacher Who Rocks?”

Tonight PBS will be airing a documentary on NOVA that follows the monarch butterflies to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. Last February I was extremely privileged to visit the sanctuaries in Michoacan and it was a life-changing experience. The NOVA website has a wonderful page dedicated to The Incredible Journey of the Monarch Butterfly. It will air at 8pm tonight. I highly recommend taking a look at it!

Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in 2009

I’ve been so caught up in the awards bonanza of late that I realized we are almost out of January and I haven’t posted the books I am looking forward to reading this year.  This is by no means a complete list, but just a few that caught my eye from publisher’s previews, blog reading, and reviews!

  • A Butterfly Fable (Adios Oscar!) by Peter Elwell- A monarch butterfly book? Count me in!
  • Being Nikki (Airhead) by Meg Cabot- I loved AIRHEAD so I am really looking forward to this sequel!
  • Yes, I Know the Monkey Man by Dori Hillestad Butler- I saw this at a publisher’s preview and it sounded like a great mystery. A daughter who believes her mother and twin sister are dead when they really are not? Sounds awesome!
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci- As a self-professed and proud geek, I can not wait to get my hands on this collection of geeky stories from some of the greatest in YA writing!
  • The Enemy by Davide Cali- The sample F&G I saw of this book was so powerful that I wanted to take it home and share it with my class immediately. This fable is about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren battlefield. What each discovers, as the story unfolds, is that the enemy is not a faceless beast, but rather a real person with family, friends, and dreams.
  • The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts- This is the Delacorte Press MG Fiction contest winner. It’s the story of a small town girl raising steers for the county fair. When she becomes attached to them, despite their eventual fate of being sold to the slaughterhouse, problems arise.
  • The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee- This Australian import was compared to THE LOVELY BONES and VIRGIN SUICIDES.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan- We all know how much I love my apocalyptic survival stories.
  • Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner- Another apocalyptic tale. This one blurbed by Jane Yolen!
  • My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald- A Class of 2k9 debut that really caught my eye.
  • A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection by Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple- Yolen’s poetry is some of my favorite writing. I can’t wait to read this!
  • Emma Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis- Emma-Jean was my favorite character from 2007. I had no idea Tarshis was writing a follow-up until I saw a preview in the publisher’s catalog! I can’t wait to get my hands on this!
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson- You could tell me that Anderson was rewriting the phone book and I would read it. Can’t wait to read her latest YA!
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins- Not due out until September, I am dying to scoop up an ARC at BEA this spring. I have been waiting to find out what happened to Katniss since the end of The Hunger Games!
  • Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill- Ever since traveling to Mexico I have been fascinated by the Dia de los Muertos.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Book 5: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan- I love Percy and am excited to see the conclusion of this hysterical series.
  • Shades of Grey: A Novel by Jasper Fforde- I don’t remember who first mentioned this on their blog, but it immediately went on my Amazon wishlist. The summary reminds me a bit of THE GIVER, so I am looking forward to reading it.
  • Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems by Georgia Heard- My inspiration when it comes to poetry, Georgia Heard really connects with kids.

 

This is just a sampling of some of the books I want to read this year, and mostly for the next season. What are you looking forward to reading in 2009?

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