Saturday, August 18, 2012

Slippers, Slip-ups and Toco Toucans

Last Saturday one kind reader wished me luck with my first day back to work and I replied, “I’m ready!” And I thought I was. I even laid out my clothes on Sunday evening so my brain wouldn’t have to work too hard when the alarm went off for the first time in eight weeks. Things went well Monday morning and I got out the door early enough to make it to my first workshop, but not early enough time to turn around and go back home when I realized I was still wearing my slippers. I wore them all day. I even received compliments on my comfortable looking shoes. (I work with nice people.) Actually it wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds because my slippers do look a lot like shoes and they have thick, cushy soles so I made it through the day without too much embarrassment. And I was able to focus on the first presentation, which was all about the Common Core Standards.

By now, most educators, kid-lit writers, publishers and bloggers are familiar with one of the shifts in the standards, that being a 50-50 balance between fiction and nonfiction in the classroom. I even heard our superintendent comment that our school librarians will need to start ordering more nonfiction books. Fortunately there are many good ones to choose from, like “Toco Toucans: Bright Enough to Disappear” by Anastasia Suen.

This picture book is full of beautiful photos and captivating information. Did you know toco toucans’, over-sized, over-bright beaks and their coloring actually help them hide from predators? They match the color scheme of their tropical rain forest home so their coloring is their greatest defense. This book is a wonderful introduction to camouflage. Young scientists will have fun searching through the pages for animals hidden in their natural environment. The glossary is illustrated so not only can they read or listen to the definitions of words such as “nestling,” they will see the words defined. My students are going to love this one, right from the first page,

“In the lush tropical rain forest, brightly colored fruit can be seen growing in trees. Look closely, however. One of the pieces of fruit isn’t really fruit. It’s bird called a toco toucan!”

My first week is over and I made it through without too many issues. There was another morning slip-up. My brain is still getting used to the early wake-up time. Yesterday, I hopped in the shower and grabbed my body wash, the one that promises “deep moisturizing” with its “rich body butter to soften the skin”. It does that when used on the skin. But moisturized, buttery hair is not so nice and that is where I applied the body wash, lavishly. I shampooed and rinsed three times to get it out but I wasn’t entirely successful. My hair had a greasy unwashed look all day and it’s still stringy. But the look isn’t entirely out of style in some circles. And it will wash out eventually. I hope.

Kids will be pouring onto our campus early on Monday. I look forward to seeing the returning students and meeting new ones. I’ve got more books to share, new activities planned and fresh decorations on my wall. I’m ready! At least until the alarm rings on Monday morning.


  1. Good luck with your first day back! I think it's so great when kids have good quality non-fiction available to read.

  2. I think so too. Thanks for the good wishes! It will be fun to see the students in the morning.