Three Witty Goats Gruff

admin-ajaxHello everyone. I hope you had a restful March break and are excited about the week ahead. I’d like to share a poem I wrote a little while back titled, Three Witty Goats Gruff.  It is based on a variation of the original story, Three Billy Goats GruffI plan to revisit it with my students this week as we continue our exploration around the concept of Measurement and Size.

After reading several versions of the original story to my students, I plan to introduce my version of it via a poem. When I first introduced it (last year), students really enjoyed the chant and patterns, while I loved the teachable moments that stemmed from it.

MATH – counting backwards, detecting patterns, reinforcing concepts of measurement and size, subtraction, etc.

LITERACY – introducing new vocabulary, making predictions, using context clues to make inferences, singular/plural pronouns, synonyms, etc.

TN2

Creative Commons License

Three Witty Goats Gruff by Words On A Limb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


giantpuppetsOne of my students favourite follow-up activities was to re-enact the poem using stick puppets. It is a wonderful way for them to practise retelling the story and have fun while doing so. Some benefits of using stick puppets to teach literacy include strengthening oral vocabulary, acting in role, building comprehension, retelling a story in sequence, and recalling details.

Here are some cross-curricular extension activities, including: 1. Three Billy Goats Gruff Maze – students help the Billy Goats navigate through a maze to get to a field of fresh grass (good for refining fine motor, spatial and problem-solving skills); 2. Writing Template – students reflect on their favourite part of the story (while practising important writing skills); 3. Fill In The Blanks – students use a word bank to fill in the missing words from the poem (great for memory skills and practising high-frequency words); 4. Making Patterns Math Worksheet – students complete and create their own pattern using characters from the story (aids with visual discrimination and patterning concepts).

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Goat_cartoonTo download a copy of my poem, Three Witty Goats Gruff, including the Stick Puppet Templates, for your personal use in the classroom, along with the cross-curricular activities hown above, click on Billy Goat.

I hope you and your students enjoy the poem and have fun with these activities in the classroom. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

Morris

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Have a great week everyone.

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Multi-race Families Have Changed Our Lives

A.S. Chung jpg

A.S. CHUNG

 

 


My six-year-old daughter is an ABC, not an FOB and therefore can be considered a Banana. Thank goodness she is not showing signs of being a Twinkie but on the road to growing up Fobulously!

Immigration and exponential population growth has given rise to a global ethnic diversity of epic proportions. I don’t need to delve into statistics for everyone to know that the colour of our skin is beginning to cross international boundaries and one can no longer automatically assume it is associated with their country of birth. This has inevitably given rise to multiracial unions and first generation immigrants being born in their country of residence. We are literally becoming more colourful! Society as we know is changing at a rapid rate and it is forcing everyday people to either accept the diversity or continue to struggle to co-exist in the general rat race.

I personally love what immigration and multiracial families are compelling us to do. I relish the changing landscape of language, heightened awareness of other cultures and the beautiful ability of everyone to inhabit the same space.

As a result of emigrating from Asia to Australia, my daughter is now a first generation Aussie, hence an Australian born Chinese. She was born in a first-rate hospital for women and is most certainly not fresh off the boat. Although I try to instil some Chinese traditions in her, she is a true Banana, Asian on the outside and but practically white on the inside. I am confident she won’t grow up being Twinkie, embarrassed by our loud Asian gatherings and only being able to converse in English. Instead, she’ll be Fobulous, having the ability to assimilate in both cultures and proud to have a varied heritage.

Derogatory or not, these slang acronyms and very specific cultural terminologies, do exist. Whether we approve of it or not, the Urban Dictionary is here to stay. It is now a highly useful resource to decipher these new words! Let’s not get too caught up and start debating about the correct use of the English language. The fact is multiculturalism has actively contributed to a whole new phrasebook!

Another reason I love multi-race marriages is that they are creating new ‘breeds’ of children. We are now able to loosely and humourously identify them as Filatinos, Blacknese, Chicanese, Chindian, Korgentinian or even Blaxican! From blue-eyed kids with afros to freckled brown skin with natural blonde hair, these children no longer fit in distinctive racial silos. I look at these families and I see nothing but beauty and a whole new world ahead of us.

Food culture has also naturally progressed away from the basic meat and two vegetables. I remember watching a movie once and this man was buying a gyros from a food vendor and he proclaimed “thank goodness for immigration!” I live in a metropolitan city that has embraced multiculturalism. I am constantly surprised by how educated we have all become about the different types of cuisines. We are now even able to tell if a traditional dish was up to par and where to get the best laksa or pho in town. I enjoy having the first world gastronomical problem of not being able to decide what to have for dinner, simply because we are spoilt for choice.

Children don’t see colour. Children see people. I recall a couple of conversations that made me wish we could live in this perpetual bubble of innocence where labels didn’t create racial boundaries.

Scenario one:

5-year-old child: Mummy, we had a new boy in our class today

Mum: Oh that’s lovely, what’s his name?

5-year-old child: His name is Dinesh and he brought these yummy spicy things for lunch called samosas.

Mum: Dinesh must be Indian?

5-year-old child: No mum, he’s vegetarian.

Scenario two:

5-year-old child: Mummy, Mattea and I played on the monkey bars at school today!

Mum: That’s nice sweetheart. What nationality is Mattea (I was not familiar with the origin of the name)?

5-year-old child: What do you mean?

Mum: Is Mattea maybe white or Asian?

5-year-old child: Neither Mummy, he’s a boy.

Looking back at these conversations, I made a whole bunch of assumptions and generalizations. It’s interesting the thought process I was going through and I, as an adult, brought race into the mix. She simply didn’t see her friends that way. To her, they were merely her classmates she went to school with and interacted with on a daily basis. Adults feel the need to classify cultures. We need to start realizing that this will become even more difficult as the lines continue to blur. Bottom line is, don’t do it. Don’t feel the need to compartmentalize people.

Multiracial families unknowingly teach us about other cultures. My daughter’s friendships have taught her that Teita is Grandma in Lebanese, Greek salad is a culinary delight because it always has crumbly feta and its good manners to take her shoes off when entering into an Asian home. She will continue to grow up in an environment that will educate her in the cultural traditions and customs.

It is imperative children are encouraged to assimilate and embrace multiracialism. This is the most effective education system which in turn fosters tolerance and understanding. Much conflict as we know it is borne out of ignorance and no desire to understand the diverse human race. We need multiculturalism to become an innate part of society. To the point where we can no longer imagine what life would be like without it.

Multi-race children inherit multiple ethnic backgrounds and by understanding the heritage of both their parents, they usually have a broader sense of the world. It allows them to be more empathetic in different scenarios instead of just having the one view-point. They become naturally open to understanding that different people make different decision based on diverse motivations. Possessing more than one language also contributes to children being more open-minded and worldly. The subtle etymology of their language brings about insights into their ethnicity.

The scientific and genetic advantage of “cross breeding” has become a prevalent topic for research. Does heterosis exist for humans? One would think it would! Imagine a population of children that have superior qualities or increased vigor in their genes purely from combining different races! A farfetched notion? Perhaps, but it is definitely worth exploring.

We will come to a point in the human race where a single race child will become a minority. When bi-racial adults themselves have children, the traceability of race origins will become imprecise. Multiculturalism and multi-race families have changed our way of life in more aspects than one can fathom. I for one am grateful to live in a city where this is so ingrained into everyday life. I am thankful that my daughter will be intrinsically educated outside of a classroom. My only hope is that we are all able to live and love harmoniously in this ever-changing kaleidoscope.

By A.S. Chung


Amy is an author, publisher, blogger, social media maven, crusader for women and children, but most of all, our good friend. She makes some great observations above and we ask that you give it some thought. Then, let us know what you think!

You can visit Amy here, and check out our interview with her here.

Enjoy your week,
Lora

My Favourites – June 2014

GravatarHello again everyone. Summer is always a good time to discover new books to add to my home and classroom libraries. Here are some of my recent favourite additions.

 


Bella's Blessings

Bella’s Blessings
Brenda Stokes, Trisha DesRosiers (Illustrations)
Simply Read Books

When Bella Beaver is born, Grandma Beaver gives her a special gift, a blessing stone. Each year Bella receives a new blessing stone, and each stone guides Bella through the difficult situations she faces as she grows up. But can the last blessing stone help Bella face the biggest challenge of her life?


Anna May's CloakAnna May’s Cloak
Christiane Cicioli
Simply Read Books

When Anna May is young, her grandmother makes her a beautiful blue cloak. When she wears it, Anna May feels like a queen. Soon the cloak is too small for her–but Anna May never forgets her favorite piece of clothing. Snip, snip, snip…see how Anna May’s cloak is transformed as her family grows.


Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High JumperTouch The Sky
Ann Malaspina, Eric Velasquez (Illustrator)
Albert Whitman & Company

A biography of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, from her childhood in segregated Albany, Georgia, in the 1930s, through her recognition at the 1996 Olympics as one of the hundred best athletes in Olympic history. Includes bibliographical references.


The Short GiraffeThe Short Giraffe
Neil Flory, Mark Cleary
Albert Whitman & Company

Geri is the shortest giraffe in the herd, which causes all kinds of problems when Bobo the baboon tries to take a photo. Can Geri stretch up tall enough to be in the picture? Or are the other giraffes looking at things from the wrong perspective? A very sweet story for pre-schoolers about difference and acceptance.


Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!
Kyle Mewburn (Writer), Ali Teo (Illustrator), John O’Reilly (Illustrator)
Peachtree Publishers

Every time Auntie Elsie comes to visit she gives Andy two big sloppy kisses. Kiss! Kiss! on the left cheek. Kiss! Kiss! on the right cheek. Yuck! Yuck! Andy says to himself.

Andy is a fast runner. But not fast enough to outrun Auntie Elsie. Andy is good at hiding. But Auntie Elsie always finds him. When he ducks down in a pig pen, she climbs right over the fence. When he climbs a tree, she follows right after him.

But then Auntie Elsie breaks her leg and stops coming to visit. Andy realizes he misses Aunt Elsie and her sloppy kisses. One day, a taxi pulls by the gate and out come two crutches. Now it s Andy s turn to get Aunt Elsie. Kiss! Kiss! Hug! Hug!

Kyle Mewburn s funny story of an overly affectionate aunt and her long-suffering nephew will resonate with readers, who will instantly recognize the bond of love that unites the two characters. Ali Teo and John O Reilly s colorful and quirky multimedia illustrations, which combine freehand drawing and photographic collage, exaggerate the humor of the story.


What Do Parents Do? (When You're Not Home)What Do Parents Do? (When You’re Not Home)
Jeanie Franz Ransom
Peachtree Publishers

Two children set off to spend the night at their grandparents. Throughout the course of the day, the young boys imagination runs wild as he imagines what his parents are doing while hes away. Jumping on beds, he thinks, or sledding down the stairs on pillows. Watching hours and hours of television, playing ball in the house, dressing up the dog, eating junk food, playing video games, and in general making one VERY BIG mess! The next morning when the kids come home the house looks tidy. It was pretty quiet, says Dad… but was it? Mom is hiding something behind her back. And those socks hanging from the ceiling fan. They werent there yesterday. Cyd Moores antic illustrations contrast the wild adventures at home with the more wholesome fun at their grandparents house. Jeanie Ransoms clever tale will keep young readers laughing long after the story has ended.


A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers
Debby Waldman, Cindy Revell (Illustrator)
Orca Book Publishers

Yankel loves to tell stories, as long as they are someone else’s. He does not see the hurt that his stories cause, the way they spread and change. Then the rabbi hands him a bag of feathers and tells him to place one on every doorstep in the village. Yankel is changed by what happens and finds himself with his best story yet, one of his very own.


AlphabetterAlphabetter
Dan Bar-el
Orca Book Publishers

Did you ever try to use an egg in place of a football? Or dress up a live quail in doll’s clothes when you didn’t have a doll? Or strap rag-dolls onto your feet in place of slippers? In Alphabetter, twenty-six boys and girls find themselves in twenty-six different predicaments when the alphabet refuses to cooperate with them. In the end, the solution turns out to be right on the next page, if only they can find it…
Did you find all the letters hidden in the pictures in Alphabetter? Some of them are very hard to find! These are the ones that we know about. Maybe you found others as well. Happy searching!


Must-Have Marvin!Must-Have Marvin!
Christy Ziglar, Luanne Marten (Illustrations)
Ideals Children’s Books

The second title in the Shine Bright Kids series, Must-Have Marvin! teaches children that people are more important than things. Marvin loves new thingshe especially loves finding the latest, greatest, most awesome new things! Soon Marvin finds himself focusing on a new robot that he wants, to the exclusion of his friends. He lets them down when they need his help and nearly loses their friendship. Through a chat with a wise neighbor and a second chance to help, Marvin learns the important life lesson that people are more important than things.


How to Clean Your RoomHow to Clean Your Room
Eileen Spinelli, David Leonard (Illustrator)
Ideals Children’s Books

A delightful adventure emerges as each little boy and girl goes about the task of cleaning his or her room–a chore no child likes! Eileen Spinelli spins a glorious tale as she inspires children to clean their rooms–not in a rush, but with the wildest imaginings and a tender touch. For the bedroom is where you laugh and cry, dream big dreams, and store your precious memories. This book could start a whole movement of children asking to clean their rooms!


Amber WaitingAmber Waiting
Nan Gregory, Kady MacDonald Denton (Illustrations)
Red Deer Press

“Amber makes a bid to catch her father’s attention.” Amber lo-o-o-v-e-s Kindergarten — painting, looking at books, tying her shoes, sliding when it snows. But the one thing she can’t control is being picked up on time. Her father is frequently late, so she must wait and wait and wait in the secretary’s office after everyone else has left. It’s so embarrassing.

To deal with her frustration, Amber concocts a world in which she sends her dad to wait for her — on the moon — while she has all kinds of wonderful adventures. This, she knows, would teach Dad a lesson he’d never forget, and all the dads from around the world would, like him, turn up on time to collect their children and embrace them. Back in the real world, Dad at last shows up and Amber makes a bid to catch his attention, to let him know what it feels like to be left alone in school — and finally, maybe, he gets the point.

This delightful picture book combines the work of two extraordinary talents.


179061How Smudge Came
Nan Gregory, Ron Lightburn (Illustrator)
Red Deer Press

Cindy is developmentally challenged and no pets are allowed in the home where she lives, so she must hide her new-found puppy in her room until she can find someone to care for him.


I hope you enjoy these new additions as much as I have. I would love to hear your new book discoveries. Please feel free to share them in the Reply box below. Thanks as always!

Lora

Three Lessons My First Year in Teaching Taught Me

GravatarA young woman walks into a school, dressed in a tailored suit, just loose enough to mask her anxious composure. In one hand she holds a resume, in the other a leather portfolio.


“You can do this. You can do this,” she chants to herself, while quickening her steps, fighting an impulse to run back to her car. She heads straight to the office, looking for the principal. Minutes later, a tall bearded man steps out of the adjacent office and extends his arm.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he begins and the young woman’s shoulders relax as she looks into his warm eyes. Phew, she can breathe again. “Yes, I received your resume this morning,” he explains. “We’ve actually just finished interviewing for all the positions we have available.” The young woman’s spirit sinks; but is reignited as he continues. “I have to say, though, I love your assertiveness and determination. How would you like to stay for an interview?” A smile breaks on the young woman’s face as the principal proceeds to call in other staff members to join in on the interview.

So began my journey as a primary grade school teacher. Continue reading

This is Not Goodbye!

f4939b9d9b4f5f90c8240245691056faGet out those lawn chairs, dust off the patio, find those sun hats you thought you’d never see.  Summer is finally here!  For us, teachers, this warm welcome is also accompanied by a departure, as we bid farewell to our cherished students.

In that honor, I would like to share a poem I wrote for my students marking this time of year.  If you read my last post, you know that for some students saying goodbye is not an easy task.  Well, this is not goodbye.

This is Not Goodbye!

TeacherFinalImage

As I send you on your way,
There’s something I want to say –

Throughout the year I watched you grow,
Blossom into the gem we all know.
We learned, we played, we laughed a lot,
We built a castle where once stood a dot.

As you spread your wings and begin to fly,
Always remember it began with a try.
‘I can’t’, ‘I won’t’, was not permitted,
Fear and doubt should be omitted.

Be your best and try your hardest,
Read a lot to go the farthest.
Come and visit and say ‘Hi’,
See you later – this is Not goodbye!

Feel free to download a copy of the poem by clicking on the link below.

This is Not Goodbye !
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Thank you and happy Summer everyone!

Creative Commons License
This is Not Goodbye by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Every Ending is a New Beginning

cute-flower-girl-summer-sun-Favim.com-281317As the school year draws to a close, so does another year’s journey in both teachers’ and students’ lives.  For some children, this sudden abandon from all they have grown accustomed to (and love) is not an easy transition.

I recall, several years ago, when one of my beloved students had a very hard time ending the year.  Any time there was any reference made to the summer holidays, this otherwise happy-go-lucky girl, would break down into tears.  It completely took me by surprise (and melted my heart) when she confessed to being sad about not having me as her teacher anymore (she had been with me for both JK and SK). I consoled her as best as I could and we came up with a plan – she would come in to help me pack for the rest of the week and also be my special helper during recess the following school year.  It wasn’t an ending.  It was a new beginning.

It has been two years since, and this precious child still comes in every single day to help me.  I appreciate her dedication and support, but more than anything else I value the lesson she has taught me and continues to remind me of each day.  Regardless of age, background, title, position, etc., there is a beautiful bond that exists between people, if we just recognize it and let it flourish.

With that thought, I’d like to share a poem I wrote.  As I often do with my students (and family and friends alike), I would love to hear your interpretations of it.

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Thank you,

Lora


We Made a Pact

runningWe made a pact, he and I.
He’d come out and I’d join too.

We made a pact, not long ago.
He’d bring the warmth and I’d rejoice.

We made a pact, this much is true.
He’d light the sky and I’d lead the way.

We made a pact, but he bailed out.
Just like that, got up and left.

I searched for him as night crept in,
across the field,
between the clouds,
over the hills.

No sign of him.

I called to him but silence followed.
I grunted, frowned – I was not pleased.

I won’t forgive him.
I won’t. I won’t.

And now, because of his shenanigans,
Mommy said to go inside.

bedI ate my dinner but I was mad.
I brushed my teeth but I was livid.

I lay in bed, covered in heaps.
I won’t forgive this – we had a pact.

I tossed and turned and missed him so.
Perhaps I should forgive him.

I closed my eyes as sleep crept in.
Maybe, just maybe, I thought,
I’ll give him one last chance tomorrow.


Creative Commons License

We Made a Pact by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Words on a Limb Feature: Renée Heiss & Gary A. Stewart

Words on a Limb feature with the creators of the EnteleTrons®
Entelechy Education, LLC is the brainchild of two forward-thinking partners who came together in 2012 to develop a company that would advance children’s knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) topics while helping them to understand vital character education concepts. They accomplish this by producing books that teachers can use in the literacy curriculum and parents can strategically place in the home bookshelf for further discussion of the topics. By offering children fun EnteleTrons® characters, learning becomes enjoyable.

Renée Heiss, the corporate literary officer, is an award-winning children’s author and retired teacher of child development. She was the 1997 New Jersey Family Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year. In 2008, she was honored as a Baldwin Fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for a Nanotechnology Meets Biotechnology Symposium. She is an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of R-NEA, R-NJEA, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Visit her website at www.reneeheiss.com and contact her at renee@entelechyed.com.

Gary A. Stewart, the corporate business officer, has a unique record of accomplishment in the areas of strategic planning, domestic and global business development, marketing and sales, and operational management. Gary has been actively involved in all major facets of the pharmaceutical industry, leveraging his scientific and business background to promote entrepreneurship, strategic and critical thinking, innovation and creativity. Gary is a successful inventor and active educator. Visit his website at www.semperprotinus.com and contact him at gary@entelechyed.com


What was the impetus that drove you to co-found Entelechy Education, LLC?RH: When Gary posted an ad on the SCBWI bulletin board for an author to help produce a science series with a character education component, I felt that the position was mine. While teaching, I had been a founding member of The Human Relations Council at my school. To me, character education is as important as intellectual education in the growth of the whole child. As an author, I knew I could develop the complex scientific topics on a level young readers could understand.

GS: Years ago, watching my own children grow-up, I was always struck by the “standard” plot of good-versus-evil in children’s cartoons and entertainment. As one with a scientific background, I often thought about ways in which we could teach young people basic STEM concepts earlier in a child’s life and how these concepts could also be presented with character development themes. So the idea emerged from asking the fundamental question, “What if?”…and it occurred to me, what if we were able to create a new set of scientifically-based “action figures” to teach real scientific lessons to children? At that moment, I knew at a minimum that I’d need a creative writer to get started! Continue reading

My Favourites – April 2014

GravatarHello Everyone. Spring is finally here (oh no – I hope I didn’t just jinx it). In honour of our late-comer, here are a few great reads. Thank you to everyone who sent in their suggestions.  Keep them coming.


And Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Published by Roaring Brook Press

Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they’ve had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.
 


Spring Is HereSpring Is Here
by Will Hillenbrand
P
ublished by Holiday House

Spring is in the air. Mole can smell it. But Bear is still asleep after his long winter nap. How will Mole wake up Bear so they can celebrate together?

 


Continue reading

Are you mother? by P.D. Eastman

AreyoumymotherAre you mother? by P.D. Eastman
Published by HarperCollins

While a mother bird is away from her nest, the egg in it hatches. The baby bird’s first words are, “Where is my mother?” He jumps out of the nest, tumbles to the ground and begins looking for his mother. Since he doesn’t know what his mother looks like, he begins by approaching different animals, and asking each of them, “Are you my mother?” He talks to a kitten, a hen, a cow, and a dog, but he can’t find his mother.

The baby bird thinks the red boat in the river or the big plane in the sky might be his mother, but they don’t stop when he calls to them. Finally, he sees a big red steam shovel. The baby bird is so sure that the steam shovel is his mother that he eagerly hops into its shovel, only to be terrified when it gives a big snort and starts moving. To the little bird’s surprise, the shovel rises higher and higher and he is deposited back into his very own nest. Not only that, but he has found his mother, who has just returned from searching for worms for him.

The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

978-0-06-025671-5The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

Published by HarperCollins

The poor little circle is missing a piece. What is to be done? Off on a journey the circle goes, in search of the piece it’s missing. With many mishaps along the way, pieces are found that don’t quite fit – but come close! – and plenty of special consideration is given to what it means to be missing a piece, the story of this circle will touch everyone who reads the tale. Similar to many famous fables, the story deals with the nature of a quest, the fulfillment of the quest, and the unexpected lessons that are learned along the way.