Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adventures in Nonfiction - February 16th

Back in November we heard about exciting things happening in nonfiction picture books from resident Red Clover nominee Lead Schubert (read notes on what she said here). Now we're moving up to slightly older (middle grade) readers with:

Adventures in Nonfiction 
Saturday, February 16th, 11:00 am at Bear Pond Books

Join authors Tanya Lee Stone and Rebecca Rupp (bios below), who will show how they use multiple sources, from first person accounts to pictures to personal observation, as they craft their stories for young readers.  Discussion will include how activities built around creative nonfiction books can support skills from the Common Core, like critical thinking, analysis of source material, and reading comprehension in history, social studies and current events.  

Even though this talk has some educator-specific information, we promise it will be fun for anyone interested in how middle grade readers learn through books!

There will be plenty of time for conversation, refreshments (surely there will be Valentine's Day treats available), and browsing the shelves at 20% off your purchases.

This event is part of a series of Saturday morning talks in the Children's Loft at Bear Pond that bring together local authors and local educators to explore books in the classroom. We began in January with picture book author David Martin (see notes here) and will continue on March 16th with authors Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and Jenny Land for Exploring Family and Place.

Want to receive updates about events like these and new resources for educators? E-mail jane@bearpondbooks.com with "Add to List" in the subject line.

Author Bios:

Tanya Lee Stone is a former editor and the Robert F. Sibert Award–winning author of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Her newest book, Courage Has No Color, was seven years in the making, as she did extensive original research and tracked down archival photos. Courage Has No Color is already receiving wonderful buzz, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus calls it, “an exceptionally well-researched, lovingly crafted and important tribute to unsung American heroes.” Tanya lives in the Burlington area.

Rebecca Rupp has a Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry, and likes chemistry sets, giraffes, fireworks and fountain pens. She has written nearly two dozen books - fiction and non-fiction - for both children and adults, has been an educational consultant for the America Library Association’s Book Links and the Vermont Center for the Book, and is the author of “Good Stuff,” the educational resources column in Home Education Magazine. She is a homeschooling advocate and publishes a blog of resources for homeschoolers and educators called Rebecca Rupp Resources. Rebecca lives in Swanton, VT.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bad Jokes & Early Learning - Part 2 of 2

Yesterday we wrote about activities that use playing with language to engage young learners (see the post here). Today we get a smidge more serious with links to related articles.

Recommended by David Martin:

CNN piece that features the thinking of a Champlain College professor, Dr Laurel Bongiorno about how young child learn best through play. My View: Let Preschoolers and Kindergartners Play to Learn

Short piece form the Science section of the New York Times about how preschoolers learned more about an object when left alone to explore it as opposed to being taught how to use it. Scientific Inquiry Among the Preschool Set

Short article, also from the Times, about children reading on tablets as opposed to books. Digital Reading Rises Among Children

Study shows teachers who had the most positive effects over the long run were kindergarten teachers.  David Notes: This piece came out of a study conducted over many years, but it’s important to remember that the kindergartens that the people in the study attended are quite different from the ones we have nowadays, which stress a lot more academic work. The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

Find David online:

Website  http://www.davidzmartin.com
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/David.Martin.Author

Other Recommendations:

Kirby Ferguson - On building from existing art or inventions to create something new. Like our 5 Little Piggies example from yesterday (sort of). See his TED Talk here and his web series Everything Is a Remix.   

Candlewick Press - Publisher of David Martin's books, has resources for educators here.  

On the topic of $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers we're reprising an earlier book recommendation: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book 

Do you have resources to recommend on the connection between playing and learning? On having fun with words as a way to master language? E-mail helen.labun.jordan@gmail.com and we can add to the list.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bad Jokes & Early Learning - Part 1 of 2

Did you miss our 1/19 event Having Fun with Language? Don't miss the next Children's Loft program: Tanya Lee Stone and Rebecca Rupp's Adventures in Non-fiction. 

Bad jokes, worse puns, nonsense words and other word games are all great ways for early learners to develop control over language. We explored this idea in the Bear Pond Children's Loft on Saturday, with educator and picture book author David Martin leading the group.

Take jokes as an example - jokes are a quick demonstration of comprehension because either you get it and laugh or you don't. It's a "little epiphany." And, frankly, it doesn't have to be a good joke.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Cow who?
No, Cow Moo

What's one and one's favorite day? Twosday
What's a potato's favorite day? French Fryday
What's a spider's favorite day? Websday

You, too, can invent a bad joke.

Nonsense words and rhyming are other ways for children to anticipate and fill in the "right" answer. David notes: "Knowing that a rhyming word is coming up .. . helps children anticipate what the word will be. Rhythm in a story is also a wonderful way to encourage children to read with fluency.  And when children read more fluently, they understand more of what they are reading.  Ta-Da!  Comprehension!  Besides, stories in verse are fun to listen to, and that’s nothing to be scoffed at."

One example shared was a lesson plan from the Stern Center that a participant used when she first started teaching. In the lesson, each child has a different food and the instructor plays the hungry puppy who asks for mixed up foods, like 'Bapples' and 'Parrot Licks' or 'Lac & Sneeze'. The kids, of course, can correct with the right food word. David recommends the book The Hungry Thing that has a similar plot line (but, sadly, is out of print).

Playing is also a chance to help young learners think in stories. It can be acting out basic stories using the toys students are already playing with or something more structured. One example of a structured activity uses the book Farmer Duck.

Farmer Duck is the story of a duck who needs to do all the chores on the farm, until the other farm animals step in to save him. You can gather the main objects of Farmer Duck into a box and ask kids to use these objects to make up a story, with characters, a problem they need to solve, a beginning, middle and end. Usually this part requires some facilitation. After the story is done, the picture book shows another way someone wrote a story with the same objects.

David points out that you don't need to invent these stories, songs, rhymes and activities from nothing - there are plenty of existing ones to build off of. For one example, see this earlier blog post about using 'To Market, To Market'. Or what David did with a joking back story for Five Little Piggies in his picture book with the same name. David, Jane, and the event participants created an entire list of recommended books for this purpose, click here for the virtual display.

Check out the follow up post links with to recommended reading for educators from David here

To receive e-mails about new posts, events, and resources for educators from Bear Pond Books, e-mail helen.labun.jordan@gmail.com with "Add to List" in the subject line. Note - this is not the same as the monthly Bear Pond Books newsletter, which you can subscribe to at www.bearpondbooks.com 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Engaging the Youngest Readers

Each year the Red Clover Award involves over 20,000 Vermont children in reading picture books and voting for their favorite. And the 2013-2014 nominees have been posted on the Vermont Department of Libraries website! Check them out in a virtual display board here.

This fall, the Red Clover Award Conference focused on how to use this program in the classroom in accordance with Common Core Standards. Handouts from the day are available online (here).

This Saturday (January 19th) at 11:00 am, Bear Pond Books is continuing the conversation about picture books and classroom activities. David Martin will show how rhythm, rhyme and even nonsense words help kids have fun learning language skills. After activities with David there will be a chance for everyone to share stories of what works in sparking children's interest in reading, writing and word play.

As with all of our educational events, participants will have a chance to purchase books for 20% off.

Find out more about winter and spring activities in the Children's Loft and mark your calendars - we've got an event every month! Check it out: http://bearpondbooks.com/childrens-events

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Having Fun With Language - 1/19/13

We learned a lot this fall from two events (in September and November) featuring local writers who talked about books, writing, and strategies for meeting Common Core standards.

Based on feedback from the fall, this spring Bear Pond Books will be lining up monthly Saturday talks and discussions for area educators, librarians and interested parents. So. . . join us on January 19th, at 11:00 am, for Having Fun with Language with David Martin! And mark your calendars for Feb. 16th when we look at non-fiction books with authors Tanya Lee Stone and Rebecca Rupp.

Details are below.

If you can't make it, be sure to check back here for posts on what happened.

Having Fun with Language with picture book author David Martin (All for Pie. Pie for All, Let's Have a Tree Party, We've All Got Bellybuttons)
11:00 am - 12:00 pm on Saturday, Jan 19th

Learn about activities for creating stories, verse & a few nonsense words. Discover new read aloud books in the Children's Loft at Bear Pond Books

David Martin is a local author and educator whose picture books make use of rhythm and rhyme to engage children in exploring language. He will share activities that can help you lead early learners through the fun of making stories, learning words, and discovering the text, pictures, and meaning of the books they read. See an example from his Picture Book Month talk here.

And you will have a chance to share your own favorite activities. For educators we will have discussion of how these activities connect to Common Core standards.

This event is particularly relevant to teachers and librarians working with pre-K to 3rd grades, but will also be interesting for parents, play groups, and after school programs. Program runs 11:00 am - 12:00 pm, stay after for snacks, more conversation, and discounts on Bear Pond books.

Throughout the spring, Bear Pond Books will be offering regular author-led discussions on aspects of Common Core standards. We've also started a website of resources for teachers, librarians and other educators (see here). If you'd like to receive occasional announcements about these events & new recommended resources, please e-mail jane@bearpondbooks.com with "Add to List" in the subject.

Mark your calendars! A children's non-fiction event with authors Tanya Lee Stone and Rebecca Rupp on February 16th

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What We Read in 2012

The numbers are in - below are the 2012 children's loft bestsellers at Bear Pond Books. They're also linked from this Pinterest board, click on the images for easy ordering.

In other numbers news, 32 books were donated to Everybody Wins Vermont from the Giving Tree program in December. If your school or library has its own list of books you'd love to add to the shelves, consider trying out our new Wish List tool for organizing donations. (Check it out here)

Paperback Bestsellers

1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
3. Candymakers by Wendy Mass
4. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
5. Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
6. Star Wars Origami- Workman Publishing
7. Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats
8. Amulet 1 by Kazu Kibuishi
9. Divergent by Veronica Roth
10. Ivy and Bean 1 by Annie Barrows

Hardcover Bestsellers

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
4. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
5. Good Night Vermont by Michael Tougias
6. The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan
7. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
8. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
9. Monsieur Marceau by Leda Schubert
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle