Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Finding the Silver Linings in the Day: Mock Caldecott

My day began on a sour note for a Wednesday, one of my favorite days of the week. I rose at 4:30am to the sound of the wind howling outside and a Golden Doodle puppy, Leia, crying for a nearby room. She likes to get up around then each day, just to see if I'm still around. Whatever. Taking her out I considered the time and decided to head to Champaign to swim before school, especially since I missed Monday.

I walked both dogs, got ready, and hopped in the van to head to Champaign. Glancing at the display in my van, I was happy to see that it was only 5:20am. Plenty of time to drive over, swim for a half hour, head to Starbucks, and drive back. As I approached the edge of town I noticed my van was sounding strange. Straining to get it above 35 mph, it clearly brought back bad memories of me trying - and failing - to learn how to drive a stick shift. I glanced at the RPMs. Hmm. I know zip about cars, but I don't think the RPMs are supposed to approach 4. I pulled over, restarted the car, drove on thinking all would be well, but nope. Irritated, I returned home and curled up on the couch to read a romance novel. Something good had to come from this early hour. 

School began and the day looked up. Our quick write was off of an older video on Steph Curry. (HERE) I wanted to talk about work ethic, about overcoming adversity, and this fit in well. We completed our study of sentences with appositives and talked about a required blog on their genre book for second quarter. And then it was time for our Mock Caldecott selection of the day.

I've worked with Margie Myers-Culver for the last few years on a Mock Caldecott unit. I'm blanking on whether this is our 5th, 6th, or 7th year, but it's been awhile. Each fall/winter we select around twenty books we feel are Caldecott contenders for that year. Sharing them with kids, we analyze, discuss, and rate the nominees. Shortly before the ALA awards we have the kids select their top picks and then Skype to share what we selected with each other. I love it.

Today's selection was How to be an Elephant by Katherine Roy. First we talked about her book I had shared with these same classes back in fifth grade, Neighborhood Sharks. We compared the two books and a student in my last class mentioned they'd absolutely be able to recognize some of her illustrations if asked. Another kid spoke up, "I'd recognize Klassen's illustrations for sure. 

And one to my right looked over and said, "After the Fall was by Santat, right? And so was Beekle? I'd recognize his stuff." I grinned. 

We looked through the book. Conversations ranged from umbilical cords, gestation periods, birth in the wild, habitat, olfactory systems, and more. I was fascinated by their thoughts. 

I drove home from school with a van functioning like normal and a light heart. My day started out on a bad note, but it was all uphill from there. Now just to cook dinner and squeeze in some more reading time. I cannot wait.

If you'd like to see what books Margie and I selected for this year's unit, I've posted the list below.

AlexanderHolmesOut of Wonder
BarnettKlassenThe Wolf, The Duck, & The Mouse
ChinGrand Canyon
CooperBig Cat, Little Cat
CordellWolf in the Snow
EggersHarrisHer Right Foot
EngleCuratoAll the Way to Havana
FreedmanThis House, Once
HerkertCastilloA Boy, a Mouse and a Spider
JacksonTillostonAll ears, all eyes
LuykenThe Book of Mistakes
NaberhausNelsonBlue Sky, White Stars
PerkinsCollierHey Black Child
RoyHow to Be an Elephant
SantatAfter the Fall
SlaterFan BrothersThe Antlered Ship **
TavaresRed & Lulu