S4S – Books to take on an autumn walk

Hello loves and lovers alike!

How are we all on this chilly Newcastle Sunday? What have you been up to today? Anything of note? I’ve been into town to get my eyebrows threaded and then I met my friend for a coffee. I’m posting this and then I’m off to get myself a cup of tea and mark my Maths books (thilling life of a teacher guys!)

If you’ve popped by its because you’re curious about today’s #SixforSunday post! Today we are taking on more Autumn realness with:

Books you’d like to take on an autumn walk

So I’m going for books I wanna take on an autumn walk because I wanna talk to the main characters about their life choices, ha!

State of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
I wanna go for an autumn walk with Luvain Fen. Enough said.

I, Cosmo – Carlie Sorosiak
Let’s be real, who is going to love a walk more than Cosmo? He deserves to go ona  brilliant little walk because he’s the best doggo there is!

Against All Gods – Maz Evans
I’d love to take Elliot for a walk to talk to him about what happened. I think he needs a hug and someone to listen to him, and I’d like to be that person!

Over the Top – Jonathan van Ness
I think going for a walk with JVN would be the most incredible walk ever. I think he’s absolutely wonderful and I’d learn so much about the world, his life and I can imagine it would be a very empowering walk… I’d come out full of self confidence and self care tips, and maybe even a brilliant haircut!

Jemima Small versus The Universe – Tamsin Winter
I wanna go for a walk with Jemima for 2 reasons. One: she’s s clever that I bet she could teach me a thing or two. Two: I wanna tell her that there’s people in the world who won’t judge her based on what she looks like; that she’s brave and brilliant and that she can do and achieve whatever she wants in life.

Scythe – Neal Shusterman
I’d love to go for a walk with any of the scythes to be honest, just to talk to them about what their job is like. However, I think Scythe Faraday would be my first choice because I just think he’s wonderful. 

So there we go! The 6 books (characters, I cheated, sue me) that I’d like to go on an autumn walk with! I’m loving seeing your responses to this prompt so far, so keep them coming! Remmeber to tag me on twitter (@eenalol) and use the hashtag #SixforSunday so I can keep track of your brilliant posts.

See you all next week for Autumnal covers!

S x

S4S – Books with leaves on the cover

Hello #SixforSunday pals!

How are you today?

Here we are in #SixforSunday does Autumn weeks! I hope you’ve all had a lovely start to Autumn… all it’s done in Newcastle is rain, so typical Autumn here! However, to cheer us all up, here’s this week’s prompt:

Books with leaves on the cover

I don’t know why I do this to myself because this is HARD.

It’s funny how apart from Circe, all of these books are blue/green. However, there you go… 6 covers with leaves on them! I couldn’t not include Mel and Cosmo (he’s the goodest boy. If you’ve not read this book yet, my god please get on it!)

And that’s it for this week!

See you next week for #SixforSunday Autumn Feels does Books You’d Take On An Autumn Walk!

Thanks for being such brilliant humans!

S x

S4S – Books I read at school

Hello #SixforSunday crew!

How are you all doing today?

What is going on in your worlds? It’s a cold and wet day here in Newcastle! The perfect day for snuggling up with a book and not facing the world. A perfect day for thinking about books in lots of capacities! The perfect day for today’s #SixforSunday prompt:

Books you read at school

Now I could cheat here becuase I read books at school EVERYDAY (being my job and all), but I’ll play fair and go for books that I genuinely remember reading myself! I don’t know what it says about me, or my education, but I struggled to recall more than a few… I had to do some serious thinking to recall the rest… hence all of the plays mentioned!

  1. Goodnight Mister Tom
    I remember reading this VIVIDLY. We did a whole thing around WW2 and there are some really vivid memories I have around this time. I’ve not read this book since school (not all the way through anyway), but I think I’d love to revisit this sometime!
  2. Nineteen Eighty Four
    Our GCSE literature book was Nineteen Eighty Four and guys, I absolutely adored it. I just thought it was fascinating. I don’t know anyone else who studied it for GCSE, so it feels lovely to have done it! 
  3. Charlotte’s Web
    I remember that we used this book and rewrote the story from the perspective of one of the other characters. I don’t remember which character I chose, or what I wrote though!
  4. Othello
    If I remember correctly, we studied a different Shakespeare play every year, but Othello was one of the ones that I loved the most. 
  5. Macbeth
    I think we were in Year 8 when we studied Macbeth. I remember having an exam and the question was about Lady Macbeth’s demise and another question about who was to blame for the death of Banquo. 
  6. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    I remember studying this and making loads and loads of notes about it and then we didn’t even have a question that I wanted to answer on the exam.

My memory clearly isn’t very good! We did a lot of poetry in secondary school too, but I don’t recall anything well enough to name it ha!

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to tag me, or if you’re joining in to use the hashtag #SixforSunday so I can see your post!

WHILE YOU’RE HERE… I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF #SIXFORSUNDAY.

Now, I’d love to start a twitter chat using the #SixforSunday prompts. I used to join in Sunday YA and I absolutely loved it, so I’d love to do something with #SixforSunday. It’d be a really cool opportunity to talk to authors and fellow bloggers (and joiner in’ers of S4S) about the prompts that week. It would probably happen on a Sunday late afternoon/early evening (6pm UK time) and there’d be questions based around the prompts, or even based on specific books.

WOULD THIS BE SOMETHING YOU’D BE INTERESTED IN?

I’d love to know if you have any other ideas about how we can keep #SixforSunday evolving and make it even better than it is now! I really respect your opinions and would love to know your thoughts!

See you next week for the start of our October journey: Autumn feels!

S x

S4S – Characters I’d love to be friends with…

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday to you all! How are you on this grey, chilly Sunday in Newcastle?

We’re here for another #SixforSunday post I guess! Today we’re talking about something which I love thinking about:

Chracters I’d love to be friends with

Now, let me get this straight, I was one of those people at school that had a wide range of people who were nice to me. I had a close knit group of friends, but everyone else just got on with me. I was a teacher’s pet, I studied hard, I always put my hand up in lessons. No one hated me, no one particularly loved me… I just got on with everyone. The characters I’d love to be friends with are not necessarily ones who would choose to be friends with me, ha!

  1. Izzy O’Neill – The Exact Opposite of Okay/A Girl Called Shameless
    I say this every time I can. I love Izzy: she’s cool, witty and brave. She’d make me laugh an AWFUL lot.
  2. Emily – No Big Deal
    I’d love to be Emily’s friend because I think teenage me could have learned a lot from Emily. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself and be who she is… teenage me was not always that!
  3. Sorrow – State of Sorrow/Song of Sorrow
    I think she’s one of those brilliantly clever young women in the world and that’s the kind of young women teenage me would’ve loved to be around. Also, she seems like she could do with a hug occasionally… and I give good hugs. I’d like to just be her friend so I could be around Luvian also though.
  4. Leora – Ink/Spark/Scar
    I love that Leora is afraid but always brave. I love that she stands up for what she knows is right, even if it means things happen to her that aren’t great. Plus she lives in a wonderful world.
  5. Storm – The Extinction Trials
    I would NOT survive being sent to a dinosaur land, but I would love to be a friend to Storm and maybe get to give it a go! She’s brave and bold… 2 things I’m not always!
  6. Helen – Oh My Gods
    I mean who WOULDN’T want to be friends with someone who has the Greek gods in their family?!

And there you go: 6 fictional characters I would LOVE to be friends with (well, teenage me. It might be weird if adult me was friends with these brilliant young girls!)

While you’re here… I have a question about the future of #SixforSunday.

Now, I’d love to start a twitter chat using the #SixforSunday prompts. I used to join in Sunday YA and I absolutely loved it, so I’d love to do something with #SixforSunday. It’d be a really cool opportunity to talk to authors and fellow bloggers (and joiner in’ers of S4S) about the prompts that week. It would probably happen on a Sunday late afternoon/early evening (6pm UK time) and there’d be questions based around the prompts, or even based on specific books.

Would this be something you’d be interested in? 

I’d love to know if you have any other ideas about how we can keep #SixforSunday evolving and make it even better than it is now! I really respect your opinions and would love to know your thoughts!

S x

S4S – Fictional schools

Hola #SixforSunday pals!

How are you all doing? What’s happening on this Sunday afternoon? I’ve just been doing a bit of work ready for next week and now I’m sitting down to do next week’s blog posts…

Today I’m interpreting the #SixforSunday prompt a little differently to how I would normally… we’re talking

Schools you’d love to go to

And I’m going to go down the route of THINGS I’d like to learn in my ideal fictional school (because why not?? I’m the boss and I can do what I want!)

  1. Spell casting
    If I could go to a fictional school and learn how to cast spells, I would be there. I’d only cast them in good ways though. None of this bad spell casting for me. No love potions against people’s wills.
  2. Astrology
    There’s something fascianting about the stars and I’d love to be able to look at the sky and go “that’s such and such a constellation” (I realise this is something I could teach myself, but shush.
  3. A school with a swimming pool
    There was always a rumour circulating in my school that there was a door that led to a swimming pool under the school. I love swimming an awful lot and I’d love to have gone to a school with a swimming pool.
  4. Some kind of self defence PE thing 
    Let’s be honest, fictional me is a kick-ass magician who can swim well, but I’d love to have compulsory classes where you do kick-boxing or jiu-jitsu or something. I think that would be SUPER COOL.
  5. Something creative as compulsory
    Painting, blogging, knitting, drawing… whatever “creative” means to you, I think in my ideal school day there would be time for it. I think it’s important that we’re taught that looking after yourself and doing things you enjoy is as important as learning the actual academics of the world
  6. A massive fuck off library
    BEST TIL LAST. Think the Beast’s library from BATB. Think any book you want in the world. Think an unlimited budget for books. Think connecting with authors and readers. Think book clubs aplenty. That’s what my fictional school would have.

Man. I wanna work at/be at this school now. Fictional school me would be ALL OVER THIS SCHOOL. (I already was a proper goody two shoes, so THIS me would be unbearable).

Talk to me! I’d love to know what your ideal school would teach you!

I hope you enjoyed my rebelling for this week’s #SixforSunday!

S x

What we’re reading!

Hello!

How are you all?

Today, I thought I would share some pictures of the books my class are reading… cause they’re all reading some absolute corkers.

Starting this academic year, I really wanted to get my kids excited about books and about reading. I’m such an advocate for reading for pleasure that I want my kids to know that they can enjoy reading and that it doesn’t always have to be something they’re tested on… they just get to enjoy what they’re reading.

We did a whole hour about our reading habits and our reading identities where they got to tell me about their own reading preferences, which I found really interesting. Learning so much about these new little people of mine really gave me the chance to recommend books that I knew would be right for them!

I was DELIGHTED with the range of books that they chose from my shelves. There’s some of my absolute favourite books of recent years in these piles. There’s all sorts of representation in these books. There’s stories these children might never have come across. A lot of these books are my own copies (as in they don’t belong in the school library) and it gives me such joy to know that I’ve read these books and that I can talk to the kids about these books if they want to.

I love that there’s such a mix of books in these piles. There’s well known authors and there’s indie authors. There’s an anthology of stories among some incredible stand alones. There’s 2 children starting off the Perfect series (which is a series that I adore) and there’s some books I’ve wanted to give to children in so so long. There’s a non-fiction book in among fiction books (which fills me with delight!)

My classroom is definitely the “reading classroom”. It’s where you’ll find all of the books (except the library). That’s something I’m really proud of. I’m a reader through and through and if I can help just one child find their love of reading then I’ve done my job!

Our class reader, which was voted for by the children on transition day is The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone. As I have an audible account, we’re actually listening to it on audiobook and I’m really enjoying that! It’s read so brilliantly by the narrator and it’s giving me an extra bit of time to enjoy reading and listening alongside them.

Image result for the dreamsnatcher

As well as general reading, I always try and theme my Writing lessons around a book (I just think it gives everything a lot more purpose). We started the year with a letter to ourselves, so I thought we would continue with letter writing in a fun way. We’re going for letters to complain and using the amazing The Day The Crayons Quit as our model text/inspiration. A lot of people will frown at me using this text in Year 5, but I think it is PERFECT.

Image result for the day the crayons quit

I could ramble on for hours about the love I have for reading and the importance of reading for pleasure, but I won’t ramble on (if you’d like me to, then by all means let me know in the comments because that’s something I can talk about for words and words… it’s what I did my dissertation on!)

Let me know if you’d like any more tales from the classroom and I could probably make it into a series! Leave me some questions if you have any!

Speak soon,

S x

WOOOOOOAH WE’RE HALF WAY THERE…

The title for this blog has LITERALLY just come to me as I start to type. It is ironic in that it is both true and one of the things I’m going to be mentioning in this blog post.

So… we’re HALF WAY THROUGH THE ACADEMIC YEAR. 

Ahem. Yeah, that’s a thing. I’m half way done being an NQT. What a half a year it has been. I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve cried a bit. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve loved every second. I thought I’d share a happy post kind of thing about all of the things that have happened in my first half of my NQT year. Don’t get me wrong there have been some tough moments, but I’m all about celebrating the good.

So here goes, happy memories of my first half of the year:

Being poorly and my kids listening. Working with my brilliant colleagues. Every time we receive a letter from an author and seeing their joy. Singing Livin’ on a Prayer at the school disco. Watching my kids at the Christmas play, having worked their arses off for 3 weeks of rehearsals. Pictures and poems “for you Miss”. “Miss, can I show you this I did last night?”. Watching them go home at night with smiles on their faces. Delivering two whole school collective worships and them just being brilliant humans. Seeing them start to share their opinions. Watching them grow in confidence and comfort. The amount of progress they’ve made in half a year. Working on Greek myths with them. The confidence with which they use mathematical vocabulary. Putting up my first Christmas tree. The sheer dogged determined-ness of some of them. Their brilliant attitudes. Asking them what my 3 most used phrases are and laughing at their responses. “I love being in your class Miss, you’re dead funny… sometimes”. How quickly they embrace change. Learning Mandarin together. Having an opinion that is not only listened to but encourages. Making mistakes and learning together. Building our very own Nowhere Emporium. Watching them create their own dance routines and seeing some of them just shine. Seeing their enthusiasm for EVERYTHING. Encouraing them to question everything and watching them get to grips with it. Their incredible resilience. Their love of singing. Listening to the radio. Every time they catch me out. Saying good morning every single morning. Every time we have laughed together. Having 200 children sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. Seeing them take on some BIG questions and embrace it. Looking to the future. Talking about books and them devouring everything. Meeting Lisa Thompson and my kids’ faces just lighting up. Challenging myself. Challenging the children. Positive feedback about my books. Struggling. Knowing I work with some of the most brilliant people. Growing as a person and a teacher. Laughing about dating advice. Laughing in the staff room. My terror every time I’m observed. Constantly learning and striving to be the best teacher I can possibly be. Listening to new artists with them. Story time. Hearing lovely things about their progress. Seeing their progress with my own eyes. Knowing that every day I get to go into work and work with them. Challenging their thinking about themselves and others. Allowing them space to be who they are, without judgement. Being the teacher I am, without them judging me! Listening and being heard. Allowing reading and writing for pleasure to be a thing, and for them to ASK for it. Going in every day and smiling.

I am grateful EVERY SINGLE DAY that I get to do the one thing I know I was meant to do for the rest of my life. Bring on the second half of this year – whatever challenges you have to throw at me, I will embrace them. Year 5 and I will get through them together. 

BOOK BLOG: Susan Verde

I Am Human: a beautiful picture book, delivering an important message of empathy

img_3816

“I am human
I am a work in progress
Striving to be the best version of ME

From the picture book dream team behind I Am Yoga and I Am Peace comes the third book in their wellness series: I Am Human. A hopeful meditation on all the great (and challenging) parts of being human, I Am Human shows that it’s okay to make mistakes while also emphasizing the power of good choices by offering a kind word or smile or by saying “I’m sorry.” At its heart, this picture book is a celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family—millions strong”

This book is the 3rd in a series from this pair, with the other two being I am Yoga and I am Peace. These books explore things which children could see as complex, and puts it into words and sentences that children can relate to and use in their lives. 

Something which I loved about this book is there’s a lot of positive, but there’s also the important thing to explore with children about when things don’t quite go right – when you make mistakes, get hurt and hurt others. These things are all human. These things make us human and these are things that children need to develop an understanding of in order to become empathetic. 

img_3818

This book explores fear and sadness – some things that as teachers, or caregivers, we can be afraid to explore. Books are excellent pathmakers (that’s not a word!) so that these conversations can happen. These conversations are essential. 

It’s important that children learn the importance of making choices and through this book, children (and adults) can see that making a choice matters. What you say, what you do, what you think… it all matters. Choosing to keep going, choosing to have hope, listening, being generous. 

img_3819

The illustrations in this book are quintessential Peter H Reynolds and I love it. If you’ve seen any of the books he’s illustrated before, your kids will instantly recognise his style. I love the fact that the characters are all multicultural and that children will feel seen by this. This book is full of colour – from happy and vibrant colours, to sad and dull colours. We, as humans, attach meaning to colour and this is used brilliantly in the book. 

As a teacher, it’s important that I help my children to understand themselves and to understand others. By creating empathetic people in my classroom, I’m enabling them to be kind, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, not only to each other, but to themselves. This book would fit BEAUTIFULLY in any classroom, regardless of how old the children are and would create some incredible talking points around behaviour, choice and what it means to be human. I can’t wait to read it to my kids to get them thinking and talking. It’s going to be one of those fail-safe books I have around. 

img_3817

A massive thank you to the people of Abrams & Chronicle for sending me this book, I am so grateful and I know my kids (and the people I work with) will love reading this! 

Have you got any books you use when talking about empathy?
What’s one piece of advice you give children when exploring empathy?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

S x

Blackout poetry

To coincide with National Poetry Day, we celebtrated at school with Poetry Week, where our English lessons all centred around poems. We in Year 5 had already done a week of poetry (it’s what I started the year with), so when it came round the celebrating Poetry Week, the kids were enthused to say the least! They have boundless energy about everything, with poetry being no exception. We have tried to incorporate poetry into EVERYTHING… I am often asked “Miss, can I write a poem?” and I always encourage this… write creatively my friends!

One thing I’d seen flying around the internet in particular was blackout poems. I was a bit tentative to start and thought long and hard about how we could POSSIBLY make it happen. After mulling it over since the beginning of the year, (I had wanted to do it during out first week) I bit the bullet and started to plan a one off lesson as part of our school Poetry Week.

To the kids, I posed the question

“What do you think blackout poetry is?”

and we got some brilliant answers:

  • It’s a poem that describes the night
  • It’s a poem about the war
  • A poem that’s only made up of black and white pictures
  • A poem written on black page and the writing is made of only white words

Then, I showed them some examples that I found on Google:

Their reactions were amazing. They were astounded by these, with one boy saying “Miss, they’re not even poems“. We talked about what the poems might be about just on first glance and talked about how we knew that.

Then I explained to them their task: they were given a page of our class novel Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood Hargrave and they had to create their own piece of blackout poetry based on the page they were given. They had to think about the words they chose and the illustrations which they paired with the words. Some of the children struggled at first, but once they’d had some time to reflect and look at the models again, they had a very good go.

In a one hour lesson, we didn’t all finish. Some of the children were so enthused and loving it so much they even wanted to stay in at lunchtime to finish! I’ve made time next week for them to finish, as I think the finished products will just look incredible.

Here is an example of 4 of the finished ones. I can’t wait to see them all when they’re finished!

Once they’re all finished, I’m going to make them into a book!

My Year 5 class LOVED this and the finished products look amazing. This is definitely going to be a lesson that stays in my arsenal for my future poetry lessons!

Did you enjoy that tale from my classroom?
Do you want to see what else we get up to in Year 5?
Have you any requests for things to see?

Let me know your thoughts on the poems so far, my kids would love feedback!

S x

Libraries are for winners!

Recently, I have been given the task of leading the school library, and I have to say it is my utter delight to embrace it. I’m aware I am in a very lucky position that we have an actual library (it’s shelves in the corridor at the minute) and that many schools aren’t as fortunate as us. That’s another conversation to be had.

Today is Part 1 of 2 posts filled with ideas of the things I’ve tried with the library since half term and there will be some sharing of resources too – please feel free to download these and use them as you wish! We’re just starting to use them and the children are loving them so far.

The first thing I implemented was a “Blind Date With A Book” – I wrapped up 9 books, covering a range of interests and reading ability, and put these on display in the library. I’ve been doing this for about a year with the staff to encourage them to read more widely and it’s worked a treat with the staff, so I figured I might as well try it with the children. It’s amazing the feedback I’ve had from the kids! The kids are now being much more brave about the book choices they’re making because they’re learning not to judge a book by its cover!

Can you guess what any of the books are?

Over half term I also added around 60 books to our collection (thanks to publishers and my own collection!) of library books. Now this is A LOT of books to be adding, so to point children in the right direction, and give them some guidance about the kind of books that are appopriate for their age range/ability, I made some bookmarks. (These aren’t attached at the bottom of this post, but I will in due course!) These book marks have made a massive impact on the kids reading as they’re now aware of what’s new and want to talk to me about the new books they’ve read.

As you can see, there is a bookmark which also says “I’m exclusive”. I used that bookmark for proofs I had of books which were not even out yet and the kids are LOVING THAT. “Miss, how come you’ve got books even though they’re not out yet?” I’m very fortunate to be sent proofs by publishers, so passing them on to my kids so my kids can get joy from them makes my life 10x better!

A massive massive shout out to our wonderful BookBuddy, Lisa Thompson, who sent us this box of amazing books. Our kids have been poring over them and they are going down a treat. Check out my #BookBuddy post to find out more about the scheme!

img_2153

So there you go, post 1 of 2 (I think it may end up being more!) of ideas that I’ve started to implement in our school library!

What things do you do in your library?
What are your kids reading at the minute?

Talk to me in the comments and let me know if you’re going to use any of these ideas!

S x