Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Currently" and a Charming Gorilla

Happy June!  
My favorite part of Farley's monthly Currently link up is seeing how many teachers have blogs and are excited about sharing their craft!  It's so motivating!

Yesterday I had a friend in town from college to celebrate her 30th birthday.  I think the last time we celebrated a birthday together was when we turned 21, so it's been awhile since I've seen her and we've done so much in the past nine years- it's so fun to catch up!  She is also teaching 4th grade now so we had a lot to chat about.

I'm considering spending a large amount of time scanning in all of my paper files so that they are on the computer and then getting rid of all that dreaded paperwork.  I've been reading up on blogs and other threads about so many teachers scanning everything in, using apps, and all that jazz.  It totally sounds like something that I would already have done, but it's time consuming, and sometimes old habits die hard.  So the inner debate begins:  paper or digital?  What do you do?!?  I'll probably go digital because I'm horrible about just putting papers in piles everywhere and forgetting never looking at them again.

Enough about me.  I've been wanting to share about this book for awhile, and this week's ELA Mentor Text link up with the Collaboration Cuties is the perfect time.   

Have you read it?  It's lovely.  This book now rocks a Newberry award on the cover, but I bought it before all that excitement- for once I was ahead of the game.  

Ivan is a gorilla in an old mall/arcade that was turned into some kind of unfortunate zoo.  I completely fell in love with the story from page one.  Ivan speaks simply, but not all the sentences are "simple".  We did this as a read aloud this year- so many opportunities to stop to check student comprehension (lots of inferencing) and tons of similes and metaphors.  Here's a couple examples from the book:

"Her voice was like the throaty bark of a dog chained outside on a cold night."

"She makes a happy, lilting sound, an elephant laugh.  It's like the song of a bird I recall from long ago, a tiny yellow bird with a voice like dancing water."

It was a sweet story that both the girls AND boys enjoyed.  Sometimes I find that the girls love sweet animal stories, but the boys want more action.  This story isn't "action packed", but it wrapped the kids up in a fascinating tale.  Plus it's about a gorilla, so the boys loved it.  Even better, while we were reading, my Bing Dynamic background {which I blogged about here} switched to a baby elephant that all the students were convinced was Ruby.  

Next year I plan on doing more with it as far as figurative language goes.  This year was my chance to test student interest.  Success!  Some reviews have argued that the author "overuses" similes and metaphors, but from a teacher perspective, it's perfect for that exact reason.  

Link up!


  1. I have that book in my next read stack! I can't wait to read it- thanks for the review and ideas. I found you thru Farley's Currently and I'm your newest follower!


  2. I love, love, love this book! Thank you so much for sharing it. You presented it so well. :) Have a great day!
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. Just bought that book at the book fair two weeks ago-brought it home to read this summer! So excited to hear you rave about it! Have fun with your friends! :O)
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  4. I don't know if I could go all digital, everything on my computer at home and school is a mess and very unorganized. My filing cabinet, somehow stays ok, though overstuffed.

    Lovin’ Kindergarten

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this text! I saw this about a month ago in a post, and the more I see it, the more I kick myself for not having picked up a copy YET! I appreciate the ideas you have shared. Just found you tonight through the mentor text link up, and I am a new follower! Love your blog design...

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  6. I think I might have to make it a quick read this summer because I've heard great things about it! I grew up seeing Ivan at my "local zoo" - Zoo Atlanta - even did a little research on him in middle school! When I heard there was a book about him, I knew I'd want to read it!
    ideas by jivey
    Follow Me On Facebook! :)

  7. I've been trying to go digital, too. Every chance I get, I scan my originals. Thankfully, our copier at school does it really quickly. Not the best quality though.

    Ivan is on my summer reading list.


  8. I have this book on my summer reading list, but it hasn't gone to paperback (at least on Amazon) so I was waiting it out but this makes me really want to read it! I'm like Jivey and grew up in Atlanta so I find this fascinating and I think it will really hook my students! I'm so glad that you are giving it two thumbs up and suggest really using it for figurative language! I may start with this as my read aloud at the beginning of the year since I want to start with poetry and figurative language!

    Thanks so much for linking up!
    Collaboration Cuties

  9. Sounds like your summer is off to a great start! We are your newest followers; and guess what?!? I'm a Kansas girl! I was born and raised there; we moved to NC about 7 years ago. :) We will head that way in July to visit family and friends.
    Tamra (and Sarah)
    First Grade Buddies

  10. Scanning your papers into digital files is a great idea! I need to add that to my to-do list. I am pinning your mentor text for future reference. Thank you for sharing!
    Fourth Grade Flipper