Do you have an old iPod?

I’ve buried this as an old post because I don’t want my students to see it when they stop by our website. Look below for a sweet opportunity to help my fabulous students!

This year, I’m looking to expand our listening library. We are already fortunate enough to have three computers and a bunch of cassette players, but I think we’re ready to step into the digital age. I’d LOVE to unveil a brand-spanking new listening library as a holiday gift for them this year!

My students are honestly perplexed by tape players, and I can’t say that I blame them. For our highly visual kids, the idea of not knowing what track/chapter they’re on is crazy, and the idea of flipping over a cassette seems odd. I think we’re ready for iPods. Plus, we mostly use our listening library for picture books, and I think it’s time to provide chapter book listening opportunities as well.

I know a lot of charitable organizations are looking for your assistance this year. If you’re already feeling pulled in many directions, perhaps you could think of my request as one of environmental recycling rather than charity.

So do you have any old iPods? I know I’ll be chipping in three of my own, but I’d love for us to have a few more. I’m not aiming for a full class set of 25, but on the off chance that we receive extra, rest assured I’ll pass them along to my teammates.

I’ve done the math — if you send us your iPod in a small padded envelope, you won’t even need to go to the post office, just slap on $1.50 in stamps. (probably less for an iPod nano. I weighed my first-gen iPod touch using the sweet scale Scott Porad got us for our wedding.)

We don’t need fancy iPods. In fact, if you got us a new one, I’d probably actually be a little disappointed because that $100 would be better spent on books or saved for an iPad.

So why haven’t I asked before? Our district has just recently become more open to technology. Having non-school-purchased tools in the past was frowned upon. Now is the perfect time!

What will you get in return?

  • Personal thank yous on this site, in your inbox, and in your mailbox.
  • Recognition on a sweet, official plaque in the listening library.
  • The satisfaction of knowing that your iPod isn’t leeching chemicals in a landfill or sitting on a lonely Goodwill shelf.
  • My students’ eternal devotion (they really love and attach themselves to people who support our class)
I hope you’ll consider our classroom as a loving home for your out-dated iPod. If you’ve packed your device up, please send it here:
WIldwood Elementary
2405 S. 300th Street
Federal Way, WA 98003
Thank you so much in advance.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Because we have so many amazing books filling up our classroom, I rarely purchase new picture books. Because we usually read different books each year, the library is often a better (and much cheaper!) option. But when I saw this book being consistently short listed for the Caldecott award, I knew I had to check it out.

Elizabeth Bird is a NYC children’s librarian, and I agree with her suggestions almost always. Here’s her review.

I stopped by the excellent Ravenna Third Place Books last weekend, and fresh on the heels of my own sick day, the fact that A Sick Day for Amos McGee was prominently featured on the picture book table, made it seem a rather serendipitous purchase.

Vintage is hot right now, and you’ve probably figured out by now that I love it. 365 Penguins is one of the best picture books written in the past ten years, for example. (And the author has a sweet new book out too, by the way, that looks fantastic!)

But as many reviewers before me have mentioned, Amos McGee isn’t so much vintage as it is timeless. I wonder if it’s because woodcuts are such a big commitment to create that when you make them, you want the designs to be relevant for a long time as well.

Speaking of woodcuts, I’m also excited to talk about this woodcut book after we’ve read a woodcut book of a pretty different style. I’m speaking of the excellent Drummer Hoff, which we’ve revisited several times already this year. Here’s a read-along version of the book.

And a group of kids singing the book.

I’m getting off topic. Bottom line:

1. Woodcuts are amazing.
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is lovely.
3. I can’t get Drummer Hoff off my mind.

((By the way, in case you’re wondering “If you think 365 Penguins was such a great book, why didn’t it get a Caldecott, Ms. Houghton?” I see two explanations. First, it would have gone up against the incredible The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Second, Caldecotts are given to US illustrators.))


Tightrope Walking

This week we’ll be reading The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. You can hear it read aloud here:

You can also read the entire book on Google Books by clicking here.

Watch an interview with Philippe here. There’s actually a full documentary called Man on Wire, if you’re interested. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

And on a side note, I adore this song by Janelle Monae, also called “Tightrope.”