4.30 School Lunch Superhero Day is Friday, May 3rd

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Click to go to the official site–includes activity pack.

Haven’t you heard? It’s on May third!

The day to honor those who serve our students over 32 million lunches a day.

Jarrett Krosoczka, the creator of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, came up with this idea, inspired by his personal connection to a lunch lady in his elementary school. Here’s his story:

To celebrate on Friday, my students have been working on posters that feature Lunch Lady… but you’ll notice something is different:

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My students brainstormed the questions they would like to ask the lunch ladies. The ladies chose a few to answer. I will be typing up their answers and attaching them to the posters:

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A couple of the other cool ideas that my students came up with and that we are going to try:

APRONS, anyobody?

Finally, I purchased spatulas that students are going to try to BEDAZZLE. These will be presented to the lunch ladies (yes, they’re all ladies at my school) during the lunch period. This will be a fun lunchtime project for students this week.

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Thank you, school lunch superheroes!

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4.24 {Whatever Wednesday} My Goose poem; & Let them LOL 5K

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. Though often a cool quote or poster, it might simply be a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.


We just wrapped up our poetry unit.

Poetry is hiding everywhere. And it isn’t always happy.

I was hit with a poem on the way to work the other day—I drove by a dead Canada Goose in the middle of a very busy road. All the cars were swerving around it. And then I saw… well, here’s the poem. See for yourself:

Grounded

Far from flying in a V

amidst the cacophony of honking—


Far from gliding in

the currents of his southbound comrades—


Far from early grey skies

puddled with pregnant clouds—



…He lies in the median of

the westbound lane.


I follow the serpentine weave of

cars in front of me, hourglassing


their way around the large skydweller,

now lifeless, pinned down


by the dash-dash-dash of the

yellow-orange road markings.



…I can’t help a rearview mirror glance

at this majestic flyer, now grounded.


Movement on the side of the road

draws my reflected eye,


and I see his mate—a statue—

on the side of the road,


Her ebony neck bent into a question mark.


Never one to let a good idea die too quickly, I found out there is a LOCAL 5K that is raising funds for wells in Sierra Leone, Africa. After reading A Long Walk to Water,I know a bunch of students wanted to run last weekend, but Rochester was too far. This might be within biking distance for some of my students as it starts on the UB Bike Path near North Campus. If 10 of my students register to run/walk, I will join them. Sooo…. who’s in???

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Here is the site and information: (Click for registration information)let them LOL

let them LOL

As of October 2012, over 60 wells have been funded, 41 of these are dug giving clean water to thousands.

In March 2012, we opened a home for orphaned and impoverished children. 23 children are living in the home.

The Problem:

The Solution:

4.22 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #WillinScarlet

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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{Sharing what books we’ve read in the past week & the titles we are currently reading.}

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{Yes, this is a Robin Hood “prequel” of sorts. It’s fun to see how Cordell weaves a new character into this classic tale. It’s nothing like his Powerless/Super series.  If you like Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy—The False Prince & Runaway King—there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll dig this, too. I’m planning on making a little poster composed of the cover and some of my favorite lines (which are often  used to start each chapter. Example: “We’ve all got pasts. It’s what you are now that counts. And what you do.” ~Robin Hood }
 
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[Check back throughout the day for updates of my students’ reading.]
 
Since last Monday, my A Class has read:
8 books
 
My B Class has read:
14 books
 
My C Class has read:
9 books
 
 
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Well, to be honest, I’m a little unsure. I’m going to dip back into
.
I’m going to finish George Washington’s bio and then head over to Jackie Robinson’s chapter. I’d like to read it before seeing the movie. Anyone want to meet me at the theater?
I might go for another Battle book if Light doesn’t come in. I also have a couple more ARCs on my iPad:
Out of The Easy
 
 
 
 
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I’m STILL hoping my copy comes in to the library. I’m very excited—and sad—to finish this series. Epic.
 
{Most of the books I am thinking of reading NOW could go down here, too.}
 

Before you see what the students are reading… what are you reading? Please leave a comment and let us know—and show the students that reading isn’t just a “school” thing.

 

(For every parent who leaves a comment with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…)

 
 

[Check back at the end of the day to see the cool spinning pictures of what my students are reading.]

 

 
Click the picture below for A Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for B Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for C Class SpinCam
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[If anyone else is using SpinCam to show what your students are reading, I’d love to know about it and link to my Friday post. Thanks.]
 
 
Thanks,
David Etkin

4.22 National Screen Free week April 29th — May 5th

National Screen Free week April 29th — May 5th

How many hours do I spend in front of a screen? Too many. After all, here I am typing this.

I’ve turned into more of a computer screen/iPad screen guy. There is so much to do. So much to learn… to follow. So many ways to grow and experiment.

And yet…

Imagine going about your day without the trappings of screen media: no phones, computers, tablets, televisions. Preschoolers today spend as much as 4.1 to 4.6 hours per day on one screen or another. Including multi-tasking, children 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours per day with screens. This Spring, Random House Children’s Books is issuing a challenge: UNPLUG & READ during Screen Free Week April 29 – May 5.

Inspired by Dan Yaccarino’s Doug Unplugged (On sale February 12, 2013) about a robot who discovers that the real world trumps the virtual, we are launching Random House Unplugs: A Screen Free Week promotion. We are committed to supporting teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents in their efforts to encourage children to UNPLUG & READ during Screen Free Week from April 29 – May 5.
Screen Free Week is the annual celebration from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) that encourages turning off screens and turning on life. CCFC’s Screen Free Week is a creative response to growing public health concerns about the unprecedented time children spend with entertainment screen media—television, computers, video games, and smart phones. Studies show that Preschoolers spend as much as 4.1 to 4.6 hours per day using screen media. Including multi-tasking, children 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours per day with screens. Unplugging for one week provides an opportunity to reset media habits, establishing a healthy, sustainable tradition of media consumption in households and schools.
Here is a super video put together by Random House Children’s Books:
From April 29—May 5 I will endeavor to spend less time in front of the screen. Expect fewer blog posts… and MUCH more reading.
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Heilbroner is known for writing Robert the Rose Horse fifty years ago:———>
Perhaps some of my readers would be interested in her NEW early reader, sent by Random House for me to review:
How do you know this book is right for you?
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Life is tough for Sneaker the snake. Everyone wants to take the other pets home…
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Until Pete comes along. Pete thinks a snake is the perfect pet.
They have a lot of fun together discovering all kinds of things that snakes are good at playing.
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When Sneaker sneaks to school with Pete, the kids think he’s gross, but quickly warm up to this cool character.
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And when summer comes and Sneaker isn’t aloud to swim at the town pool, can he once again gain acceptance?
Easy to read? Yes. And also a simply beautiful book for sharing a great message: Everyone has value; everyone has something to offer.
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Follow the rest of the UNPLUG blog tour here.
Here are some good recommendations for middle grade books.
If you and your family participate in Screen Free Week, you can even print and sign this certificate.

Happy reading!

4.21 Sunday show and tell: How a book inspires ACTION

Books live beyond the pages. Fictional characters and their situations serve as mirrors into our own lives and windows into others’. (I wish I could claim credit for that…)

Our class read:

…and from there, as we read and learned about Nya and Salva, a new course was set.

You can check the page I made for the book and see that we quickly learned a lot about the water situation in Africa…. and set about to make a difference.

My college friend runs an organization:

It’s similar to Salva’s own organization:

So I decided to sign up for the

Because of the distance to the Ugandan Water Project 5K, my students weren’t able to join my run, but they supported me in other ways, like….

Buying pictures of my face for $1 and decorating them. I called it “defacing my face”. Here is some of their “artwork”.

Photo: UgandaWaterProject Fundraiser:  $1 gets your son or daughter the chance to "decorate" me. Check the next picture I post....

Photo: Thanks, Connor.

Yes, they apparently had some fun. (Don’t worry—I’ll find a way to get even…..)

I headed yesterday to the run. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

It’s early…

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[click the above picture for the SpinCam]

Thank you to all who made the day a success.  Because of your involvement, more people in Ugandan villages will have access to clean water using this cool system:

Easily accessible water = no need for children to make day-long walks for water = more time for other things, such as education.

We can’t change everything, but we can change some things.

4.19 BookFlix Friday #ZitsChillax #MyLifeAsaCartoonist

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Lights…Camera…Action!


Here’s a fun one—I love this comic strip:


First there was

Followed by

And now comes…

MY LIFE AS A CARTOONIST by Janet Tashjian ; cartoons by Jake Tashjian is on sale April 30, 2013!

There’s a new kid in Derek Fallon’s class. His name is Umberto and he uses a wheelchair. Derek’s family is still fostering Frank the monkey, and Derek thinks it would be great to train Frank to assist Umberto. But Derek quickly realizes that Umberto is definitely not looking for any help. Derek soon becomes the butt of Umberto’s jokes. On top of that, Umberto starts stealing Derek’s cartoon ideas and claiming them as his own. How did Derek get himself into this mess, and how can he find a way out before he is the laughingstock of school? The answer may very well be his cartoon strip—SUPER FRANK!

4.15 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #FarmHands #WillInScarlet

A new week, a new batch of books–both books finished and being read. Today is…

Ring-the-Bell Monday & It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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{Sharing what books we’ve read in the past week & the titles we are currently reading.}

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 FARM HANDS BY TOM RIVERS (ISBN 10: 0-9845656-0-4) (ISBN 13: 978-0-9845656-0-3)
{Remember back in 2010 when Stephen Colbert testified before congress about how difficult farm work was? Tom knows better. He put in about 200 hours of farm work—from planting onions, to milking cows, to picking fruit—and documented his experiences in his columns for a Batavia newspaper. He turned those columns into this book, Farm Hands.
Here is a little blurb from his website.

With 20x Colbert’s experience, here’s what I’d tell Congress

Political satirist Stephen Colbert testified on Friday that farm work is “really, really hard.” The comedian broke the news to a House subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law. Colbert was brought in as an “expert witness” after having worked 10 hours at a vegetable farm one day in August.Colbert’s expertise is debatable – even he acknowledged it was his star power that got him the Congressional gig. And while I hesitate to call myself an “expert” on this topic, I did put in about 20 days, or 200 hours, over the course of six months in 2008, attempting to make it a full shift at 13 different farms. I spent the most time at a dairy farm, milking cows for six nights.I tried the jobs hoping to give readers a glimpse into the work. The 16-part newspaper series that ran in The Daily News in Batavia has since been expanded and published in a book, Farm Hands: Hard work and hard lessons from Western New York fields.Since Colbert’s testimony, I’ve heard from several friends who’ve said, “Hey,you should’ve been the one testifying to Congress.” So for those kind folks, and anyone else who’s curious, here’s what would I say to lawmakers in the nation’s capitol:First, the obvious: Farm work is hard – Colbert got that right. I’d say it’s tougher than a marathon. From planting onions to milking cows, from cutting cabbage to picking cucumbers, the jobs progressively became more grueling, more near-impossible, when I tried to see if I, an average American guy, could make it through a day on the farm.They were the most physically demanding tasks I’ve ever attempted. If you want to know just how hard, I’d suggest shoving a steak knife in your wrists and lower back, and then twisting it. And that’s the feeling at 10 in the morning. You still have at least seven hours to go.I did survive full days in the vegetable fields, fruit orchards and milking parlor. All of the jobs were exhausting. But the skeptics want evidence, numbers to back up that claim. So here’s some hard data:

Zero in 20 years. That’s how many local people responded to ads in the newspapers for the chance to cut cabbage for Lynn-Ette and Sons, a big vegetable farm in Kent, N.Y. When I showed up and announced to the cabbage manager that I intended to last eight hours in the fields, he laughed so hard some of his saliva landed on me.

Darren Roberts doubted I would make it. He hadn’t seen a white guy even try the job in two decades despite the local media blitz of job postings. Instead, the farm hires more than 100 Mexican and Jamaican workers to bring in the crop each year.

Four days. That was how long it took for me to regain use of my arms after cutting cabbage and picking cucumbers for just one day each in August 2008. At that time my wife and I had a 2 ½ year old daughter who weighed 23 pounds. She liked to be held a lot. But I couldn’t pick her up for four days after either harvesting experience. The tendons, ligaments and connective tissue in my wrists had been traumatized. I could barely manage to drive my Toyota Tercel, a vehicle that lacks power steering.

One-third: For my grand finale, I wanted to work at an apple farm and have my output measured against the picking pros. At that point in October 2008, I had already spent a day with a Mexican crew at one apple farm and then another day with a Jamaican crew in a different orchard.

I felt like a proficient picker when I set foot on Excelsior Farms, about a mile from Lake Ontario. That day I picked Empire apples with eight workers from Haiti. We had to fill ¾ bushel buckets, about 30 pounds or 80 apples per load. Every time we unfilled the baskets, we were given a slip of paper to track of our output. The farm paid 80 cents per ticket.

We worked for eight hours. I thought I was going at a good rate. I expected a respectable showing at the end of the day, when we all counted our tickets. The fastest Haitian, a man named Jean, put in a Gold Medal effort, racking up an incredible 253 tickets, good for a $202.40 check from the farm. The “worst” Haitian tallied 198 tickets, which netted him $158.60.

I was expecting maybe 150 tickets for myself. But I only had 89, about as third as much as Jean. That effort would have earned me $71.20.

You can read a review of the book from AgWired.
Tom and I went to college together at Roberts Wesleyan. In fact, we worked together on the school newspaper, The Beacon. He went on to a career in journalism and lives in Albion, NY. 
I have known about this book for a while now, but for some reason hadn’t read it. Mr. Peterson and I were having a discussion about farm work—you can ask him about his tomato-picking days—and I remembered this book. (I love being able to reserve books online from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. How easy can you get?) 
One thing is for sure: farm work is tough. This was eye-opening and surprisingly interesting. That is the sign of a gifted writer. Nice job, Mr. RIvers.}
Z is for Moose jacket
OK—confession. I was at my daughters’ book fair Friday night and I was literally laughing out loud at this book. Check out the trailer:
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[Check back throughout the day for updates of my students’ reading.]
Since last Monday, my A Class has read:
14 books
My B Class has read:
16 books
My C Class has read:
8 books
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THAT’S right! I scored an ARC of Mr. Cody’s upcoming book. I’m about a third into it. We had this little back and forth on Twitter:
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I’m hoping my copy comes in to the library. I’m very excited—and sad—to finish this series. Epic.

Before you see what the students are reading… what are you reading? Please leave a comment and let us know—and show the students that reading isn’t just a “school” thing.

(For every parent who leaves a comment with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…)

[Check back at the end of the day to see the cool spinning pictures of what my students are reading.]

Click the picture below for A Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for B Class SpinCam
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Click the picture below for C Class SpinCam
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[If anyone else is using SpinCam to show what your students are reading, I’d love to know about it and link to my Friday post. Thanks.]
Thanks,
David Etkin