Posted in Teaching Life

Summer Reading: Diverse Fairytales

The Little Red Fort is diverse and has lots of girl power!

Fairytales can be fun ways to teach and entertain students. I personally love to use them for listening and teaching compare and contrast. I love looking for different versions, so we can break down the similarities and differences, but often titles are told with animals or caucasian characters. I am going to be looking for titles that represent and offer diversity.

Books and Activities to enhance your library.

Of course I decided to head to Pinterest to see what books might be options to add to my library or wishlist. I love that I can always tap the app and find what I am searching for. If you are looking to expand your fairytale collection I reccomend checking out pins and start a list.

These adorable books seem to be popular. I saw multiple pins and posts about these. I love the illustrations and I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but these are beautiful. I checked these out on Amazon. Each book seems to cost about 8-9$. There is the option to purchase them as a boxed collection…which saves money and I love to save. All of these appear to be board books. I love that these books are intended to be read by and to little ones. Starting our youngest readers looking at these is where small changes can start. I would totally use these with school age kids. Going in an out of my itinerant bag can be brutal on paperback books, so these would represent what I want to instill and be incredibly durable.

Our Beautiful World

These are stories that are have African characters and an African setting, as opposed to the typical European tale. Rachel Isadora is an award winning author and illustrator. I found these titles on Amazon, but I know I will be looking for these in my local book store. I would love to turn all the pages before I buy.

Why does Little Red Riding Hood have to be a girl?

I love that these stories have children of color, are fairytales with boys and look modern. Jack and the bean stalk is typically set long ago, but with this version it is set in a city which is most likely more relatable to kids these days. I think that flipping the gender for a fairytale is equally fantastic.

I have never read this story where she wasn’t a girl. Frederico and the Wolf is a refreshing change. A boy with a bike trying to get to grandma. I find there are more stories told with a female main character, maybe more authors will flip the gender, so boys can see themselves in the pages.

This Mexican-American version also has a salsa recipe included. How fun would this be as a math or cooking extension? Students could use the same ingredients Frederico brings to his Abuela?! I am sure that with some research you can also find activities to support and connect to the culture depicted on the pages of these diverse tales.

This book had conflicting reviews. I would have to read it before I bought it.

Not the Same Old Story

How about this title?!?!?
I love a good spin!

There are so many fantastic titles out there. I am going to continue to search for titles that tell classic tales with a twist and diverse representations. I am sure there are titles I will love and ones I won’t. I think checking the book out, cover to cover, is key and be sure the books will engage your students. I’m not just going to get books that look different-they have to be quality stories. My hope is the more students see stories with characters that might not look or look like them, so we can build a more inclusive and open minded school community. I am excited to start doing my part. I know I will make mistakes and I have things to learn, but moving forward is how we grow!

***Most of these titles I found when searching on Amazon. Check out the reviews and summaries to see if they would work in your classroom.

If you have any recommendations I would love it! Share away!!!! You can send a comment.

Last thing-I started a books for kids board on Pinterest. If you want you can always look there or follow my Pinterest to see what I have most recently discovered. My Pinterest can be found under The Listening Ladybug❤

Posted in Teaching Life

Summer Reading: Expanding My Library and Myself

As an educator I find myself always looking for was to grow and expand what I know and how I can better serve my students. Watching the news and seeing posts on social media has compelled me to dig a bit deeper and search for new tools to broaden my teaching scope. One place I always like to go for ideas is Pinterest.

I love how I can always find ideas and perspectives to add to my boards. The picture/pin above summed up what I was looking for. If you follow this pin you will see it leads to a simple and clear post about building ones home or classroom library with diverse titles. She offers up 8 tips to think about when adding to your shelves. I say thank you…well done.

This pin caught my eye because I have some of the titles shown. I am going to be looking further into the others and determine what ones might be helpful for my collection. I very much enjoy how each book has a mini review. I recommend looking at this collection and reading the blog post.

Seeing that this is pride month I couldn’t ignore looking for a collection of books that would support and educate my students and myself about people and families that wave all of the colorful flags. I know I do not have any books on this subject matter in my collection….my basement library, so I will definitely be looking at the above highlighted titles. I appreciate that the pin has summarized all of the books. Hopefully when I get out to my local bookstore I can see and touch the pages before I purchase.

The collections in this post are mostly unfamiliar titles and with this unfamiliarity comes an obvious lack of full understanding and knowledge. This is where I need to do the work and put my summer days to good use, exploring and expanding my knowledge base. I know I have so much to learn and my hope is with this knew knowledge I will be a better teacher.

One thing I have always loved and appreciated about education is we are a group of sharers. We pass on our knowledge and experiences not just with our students, but with eachother. We can support and lift eachother. I very much recommend exploring these collections and searching for others. As I state this I am also generating a to do list for myself.

Digging Deeper Research Tips

  • Look for more collections and individual titles online
  • Ask other teachers for recommendations
  • Revisit and dig through my personal books
  • Make a trip out to local bookstores
  • Look for new titles and authors
  • Actually read the books…not just gloss over
  • Start small
  • Keep questions written down
  • Recognize this is a process
  • Be a learner
  • Think about how I can infuse new titles organically into my lessons

I am very thankful to all of the people who have put together all of these pins/collections. Sometimes when I think about researching anything I am looking for I have a moment or two of feeling overwhelmed, but I know there are smart and helpful people out there that have had the same questions….and have done great work. A friend of mine keeps reminding me Pinterest is a search engine, which I often forget. It can be so much more than a way to relax or fill time, so I will put my scrolling fingers to work and do my homework.

Here’s to turning pages!

Posted in Family Life

Sunshine Patrol

Our little lady is bringing joy to the streets. Taking our daily walk has turned into a totally different experience. We are loving this change.

I love the outdoors!

Walking fast and easy is a temporary thing of the past. Our pint size princess needs leash training. She walks and stops to smell everything she can! This exploration if the neighborhood is cute, but not burning the quarantine calories. As you can see below she has a deep love of sticks, so finding the perfect one is essential. If she can carry it….she will.

The next thing I have noticed is we have a little celebrity. Because of the current situation more neighbors are outside walking and in their front yard. So many people are moving family fun from the back yard to the front yard and because of this social shift we have seen more of our neighbors in three months than we have seen in three years! We have always said hello or made pleasant eye contact, but now there is 6 feet of leash, social distancing conversation happening.

If you think I am cute…and need a daily pick me up you can follow me on Instagram. Little_Miss_Maisel_Mae

There is no denying she is adorable, but once we answer puppy questions we are talking about more….actually getting to know eachother. We have some very lovely neighbors who seem to be doing their best getting through this unprecedented time. From the outside, the only thing we are allowed to see, yards look beautiful, cars are getting washed, and celebrations are happening, but because we are stopping to chat we are learning more about them and their experiences.

It is totally great how Little Miss Maisel has spiraled into so much more. We are definitely taking this time to care and train her, but I love how such joy and happiness can be felt and seen from such a tiny creature. I feel more at home now, in my neighborhood, than I ever expected. The hustle and bustle of our old normal lives never really gave us time to do more than a power walk….no time gotta race to the next scheduled thing.

With slowing down, staying in and adding to our family we have grown so much. I love how happy our newest member makes us, but I think it is priceless how much happiness has been spread by four tiny paws. Seeing the smiles on peoples faces during a sort of scary, crappy and bleak time has made me rethink about this time and why we are going through this period of isolation.

If this wasn’t happening, being at home, I do not know if I would have felt confident in adding to our family. I am glad I listened to my gut. This whole experience just reaffirms my belief that everything happens for a reason and good things come in small packages!

You can always drop me a line, comment, follow me here or on Instagram. ❤

Posted in Yoga Life

Home Yoga During Quarantine

I don’t know about you, but I miss my yoga teacher and studio. Being at home all these months has been challenging on so many different levels. Since I started this blog I have written many posts about how yoga is my jam….how it has enhanced my life since going gluten free. How it balances me and has given me a new sense of accomplishment.

Going to class is something I very much enjoy and look forward to. With the current changes due to the pandemic, going to the studio and interacting with all of lovely people that attend classes has been put on pause. My teacher, like many others, has tried to still teach classes and connect with her students. Logging into a Zoom yoga class has been ok. I love that she adapted to the changing times and offered something. Everyone has been on a learning curve, using different platforms to connect and do their job.

I got some socks to help improve my grip.

With all the positives of taking an online class….I still miss going to class. Taking class in my family room is not as fulfilling. I can hear her voice, follow her instructions and turn up the playlist, but with all of that it is not as motivating. I used to tell people I loved a home workout. Home was easier. I could have flexibility, I don’t have to go out in the winter, and I didn’t have to feel self conscious.

These socks totally help when I wear smooth yoga pants.

I believed that until I started to make time and show up for myself. I discovered I truly enjoy being surrounded by like minded people and I need to be present to push myself. Being at home is fine, but I think I am not doing as good a job as I was in studio. Yoga, in my opinion, is for the self. There isn’t a level of competition or who can be better than another. So with that being said why am I not pushing as hard during a Zoom class??

Obviously still working on this…setting new goals while being at home.

I think it is the vibe and energy that happens in a class. This level of engagement that supports and encourages is not present in my family room. I typically focus on myself when I go to class, but I love it when I see another student doing something incredible with their body. Maybe it is not cool, but I have quietly clapped and cheered people on for trying something new or take a pose to a personal new best. I find it inspiring.

I miss that level of support and community. I am counting the days until we can all practice together….in the same space. Until then, I will show up on my mat and try. I will continue to support my yoga tribe via a screen and microphone.

I have created a home yoga checklist to keep myself accountable.

  • Plan to attend class
  • Register for class in advance
  • Get dressed for class…no pjs
  • Turn my camera on
  • Use the playlist

This list can apply to any home workout. If you Zumba, dance or attend a pilates class maybe these tips will keep you on track until you can go to class and interact with your tribe.