You know what they say about Tuesday...

I don't know what they say about Tuesday. Does anyone even say anything about Tuesday? It's not a very exciting day. Everyone gets all up in arms about Monday because Mondays are the worst. Wednesday means you're halfway through the week. Thursday isn't so bad because you're only one day to Friday. And Friday is Friday! So maybe Tuesday should be, "Not Monday." That might help.

Today I'm asking the kids to think about what they offer the world. Not what their talents necessarily, but what they can give other people or help other people with. I was kind of struggling to decide what to use as my examples for my Morning Message. Yesterday I couldn't remember when people were nice to me and today I can't remember what I'm good at. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some ideas about how I help people. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see... *cue lame mystery music*

Writer's Workshop: Yesterday we read a true story, so I wanted to continue with that. When I spoke the kids about how the Knuffle Bunny stories were true and they could use something that really happened in their own lives to write a story I heard audible gasps from the group. As if they'd never known that information before. I am fully aware that they have each had extensive lessons on personal narratives in their classrooms. It's not new information, but it may be old information and new context. In our Summer Reading Club, they are self-directing their own writing. It's possible that when they think about writing a true story, they think that's something they write for school and not for fun? Maybe?

We're reading a story about a girl who feels like she doesn't quite fit in: The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say. Allen Say has plenty of talent as an illustrator and even more as a story teller. He combines these two into beautifully written and visualized stories. He often writes true stories and this one focuses on his own daughter. It's a really sweet story in which the girl learns to love all parts of herself. I think it's a great message for the kids and it's a great way to show students how an author uses real life stories to teach important lessons that anyone can relate to.

They loved the real pictures in the story and seeing how the girl grew up. It was perfect right after our discussion of what we have to offer the world because Yuriko is struggling with trying to fit in and wanting to be unique. She ends up deciding to follow her heart and create a project that represents Yuriko! It's was a perfect segue conversation!

Reader's Workshop: Ah, a classic. This is such a beloved book that when I was doing a Google Image Search for the cover, half the pictures were of tattoos people had of scenes from The Giving Tree! I'm not kidding. Go search it yourself! I remember reading this book when I was younger and feeling so sad about how the boy treated to the tree. I felt really bad. Even when I chose the book to do a read aloud this summer, I had my same gut feeling that I wasn't sure I really liked this book. I think the title should be The Taking Boy instead. I think that's where the discussion will be, though. On one hand, the tree is selfless and kind and asks for nothing in return, which is admirable. On the other hand, the tree is taken advantage of, abused, and neglected and allows the boy to continue his behavior, which is concerning. I hope we'll get to a discussion about how to strike a balance in our own lives with being generous people who are still interested in being whole people. But they're in third grade and haven't had to adult yet. So maybe not. I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: The kids were very upset as the boy kept using more and more of the tree. There was a lot of "That tree is too NICE." and "Oh no!" as we were reading. When we finished I asked them to think about what the boy offered the tree. We did a turn and talk and then they shared out some good ideas: friendship, love, reliability (he always did come back), and companionship. They had such good ideas that it made me re-think my interpretation of the book. I think it's still very sad, but it makes me feel better about what the tree gives up. :)

What Miss Bolte is Reading: I read about 85 pages yesterday of American Gods. I'd really like to finish it by the end of the week because I got the first Preacher book (if you're not watching the show on AMC, it's super good, please watch it so they don't cancel it), which I'd like to read, and I am trying to read Bud, Not Buddy to figure out if I want to use it with my students in a novel study next year. Plus there's that looming pile of "To Read" books waiting patiently on my bookshelf... Luckily, the sweet smell of freedom is looming close by and I plan to enjoy that freedom with books and more books.

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