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Five on Friday: Travel Edition

My family and I took a week-long trip to San Francisco last week. We rented a one bedroom apartment through Airbnb in the Marina District, which meant we didn’t get gouged by a hotel for everything from garage parking to breakfast.  I vowed not to do too many touristy things while we were in town. We lived like locals, which afforded me the chance to experience San Franicsco in a new way.
I kept a list of things I loved the time we left Pennsylvania until the time we returned. Seeing as this is a not a travel blog, I related all of my favorites to writing and education.
A view of the Chronicle headquarters.
A view of the Chronicle headquarters.

1) I visited the Chronicle Books headquarters on my first full day in town. Lara Starr, who has been my contact at Chronicle for the past few years, gave me a tour of their offices. It was exciting to see where the magic behind the books happens.  I spent time tlaking with Lara and her team who told me about some of their forthcoming titles. There are a lot of great books to look forward to from Chronicle in the months to come!

One of my present favorites is Jumping Jack by Germano Zullo and Albertine.  It is about Roger Trotter, a jockey, and his horse, Jack. They’re superstars in the horse jumping world. The two draw crowds who expect them to win whenever they perform. One day Jumping Jack and Roger enter the ring and the unthinkable happens. Jack misses his jumps and makes the pair look like amateurs. Roger, who is devoted to Jack, wants to get to the bottom of the problem so he takes Jack to the doctor, a psychologist, and a on a two week vacation.  Once the pair get back to jumping, Jack stumbles, but something unexpected happens — and that is the surprise ending that makes this humorous book a story worth having in your library.
Jumping Jack is an excellent mentor text with illustrations that make you fall in love with the characters from the very first page spread. Besides a strong lead and a circular ending, it can be used to mentor students to vary sentence lengths, play around with punctuation and print features, use adverbs in meaningful (rather than extraneous) ways, sentence fragments, and so much more. Also, this book is funny, but not in a knee-slapping way. It is the kind of humor that is attainable for young writers to accomplish — even the ones who don’t think they’re very funny.  That’s why it’s a great mentor for subtle humor.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment at the end of this post.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment at the end of this post.
2)  San Francisco is an environmentally conscious city. We didn’t see a plastic bag the entire time we were there since they’re essentially banned from the City!  But the city takes it a step further. Every time you need a paper bag from a grocery store, you have to pay $.10! This charge encourages people to utilize reusable bags for their shopping needs.  Conversely, some stores will refund customers $.10 for every reusable bag they bring and fill up upon checkout. As a result, we toted reusable shopping bags around with us during the trip.
The people of San Francisco is hard core about recycling and composting. This is a picture of the recycling bin, the composting bin, and the trash bin behind the home in which we stayed.
The people of San Francisco are hard core about recycling and composting. This is a picture of the recycling bin, the composting bin, and the trash bin behind the home in which we stayed.

This made me think back to the reusable shopping bags I use at home. I’ve been using them for seven years, but don’t see many people in Central Pennsylvania using them. Our grocery stores sell them, but they don’t reward people for using them (or penalize people for utilizing plastic or paper bags.) This made me think I should contact the management of the local grocery stores to see if they’d be interested in a program similar to the one I saw in San Francisco. It might take several phone calls and e-mails, but if I could persuade our local stores into a bag program, then it would save a LOT of resources!

3) “What’s next?” That was what Isabelle asked me as we were about to leave one destination for the next.  Seeing as we packed a lot into every day, we were constantly on the go. As much as she thrives on routine at home, I think she enjoyed the hustle and bustle of our time away.  Therefore, I used this to my advantage. I worked on sequencing with her whenever I had a chance. We’d retell the day (sometimes forwards and sometimes like Tell Me the Day Backwards). I intend to extend this activity by organizing the photos from our trip so we can talk about the order in which things happened by using sequencing words and transitional phrases.
4) We visited Habitot, a children’s museum in Berkeley. I noticed informational cards for parents every time we entered a new exhibit within Habitot. Each exhibit card provided parents with things to say or questions to ask their child as they explored a given play space. It was like Choice Words summarized for parents!
I thought these kinds of cards could be adapted for parents who are chaperoning field trips. If you’re taking a trip to an art or science museum, consider taking a peek at Habitot’s parent engagement cards. Then you can adapt them for students’ parents so they can engage in meaningful conversations with students during the field trip.
5)  I brought my stylus and iPad on the trip so I could journal in my digital writer’s notebook. However, I didn’t open my notebook apps once. I also didn’t update my daughter’s private family-only blog either. While I could blame it on the cubital tunnel, from which I’m still suffering, the truth of the matter is I wanted to take some time away from writing. I got invested in reading some good books and felt like I needed to catch up on some sleep. I know the importance of writing daily, but I also know the importance of taking a break.  And that’s exactly what I did last week.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Jumping Jack.  Many thanks to Chronicle Books for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of Jumping Jack please leave a comment about this post by Friday, June 6th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Sunday, June 8th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Chronicle will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field.)
Comments are now closed.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. Vanessa Worrell’s commenter # was selected using the random number generator. Here’s what she wrote:

I’ve never been to San Francisco. It sounds like quite a treat. I love the idea of taking pictures with the iPad and keeping a journal that way.

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from Crissy Field.
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from Crissy Field.

 

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

37 thoughts on “Five on Friday: Travel Edition Leave a comment

  1. I’m not seeing my earlier comment. Hmm. I’m hoping to take my daughter to San Francisco next summer as a college graduation gift. Enjoy your blog and thought the sequencing activities were great! Will share those with my sister for my niece!

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  2. Random thoughts on your fun post… AirBnB is fabulous. Thanks for giving us a peek into your trip. Your mention of not posting on your family blog reminds me of my task ahead. I have been deliquent on mine and have to catch up this week (including our Spring Break where we stayed in AirBnB apartments in both Prague and Vienna). Seeing the magic behind books being made, I hope, is better than seeing sausages being made! Getting credit for a reusable bag must be a west coast phenomenon because it has been that way in the Puget Sound area for years. Parent cards at the museum sound great. I found myself thinking of ways some museum experiences in Europe could be improved to draw in the younger audience, including having separate audio tracks with age appropriate explanations and scavenger hunt type of maps to keep kids interested in the art museum.

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  3. I love the many mentor text uses you discovered in the book. It sounds like a terrific text to read and reread with students. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Stacey,
    Your post was fun to read! It sounds like your vacation time was full of all the right things you needed! Thanks for sharing about the trip into Chronicle Books. And I like the idea of reusable shopping bags rewards! Good luck on pushing management at your local grocery to buy in to a similar program! Way to make a difference!

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  5. We are currently working on how to make the most of our field trips district wide. I love the idea from habitot. I will be checking it out and sharing with colleagues. I think the idea would be well recieved by parents and teachers.

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  6. I am amused by the story of Jumping Jack. We have a stable in the community in which I live and my son worked for them for many years with the ponies. You might say I have an affinity for horses and would put the mentor text to good use! I paid my college tuition way back when with money earned from a job with horses.

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  7. SF is one of my favourite cities to visit. I think it would be great to spend a week or so there and “live like the locals” like you. I use my reusable bags at the grocery stores all the time. 2 of the 4 stores in our area give you a nickel per bag rebate. Its not much but every little bit helps plus they are easier to carry inside than plastic bags.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

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  8. Your trip and the new book, Jumpinig Jack, sound wonderful! How fun it would be to get a behind the scene look at Chronicle Books HQ! Will you please share which apps you use for writing your digital journal on your iPad? You packed a lot into this post and your break in San Francisco. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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  9. Sounds like a great trip, and I really love all of the gentle reminders that came through in your post!! “Jumping Jack” sounds like a great addition to any mentor text collection. Today we had our BOGO book fair for spring – I can’t complain about getting NINETEEN books for $70 – and several of them are brand new, beautiful, hardcover picture books for my mentor text collection! Sometimes the little things are most exciting in my life! 🙂

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  10. So glad you took a bit of a break, yet you’re still full of ideas for us! Jumping Jack sounds like a great mentor text and I look forward to sharing it with colleagues. Love the engagement cards for field trips and the recycled bags is a great way to have kids write for social action!

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  11. I picked up SEVERAL great ideas from today’s blog: Using “Jumping Jack” as a mentor text, San Francisco’s recycling project, parent engagement cards, and even Airbnb – which I had not heard of before.

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    • Airbnb was the best way to do San Francisco since it made an expensive city MUCH more affordable. Hotels are $300+/night plus parking. We paid half that with parking included. Plus, we had a kitchen so we ate breakfast in daily, which saved a pretty penny too!

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  12. Thanks for the suggestions! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read one of the TWT blogs and shared an idea with a teacher with whom I’m a working. Such simple, practical, and powerful ways to instill the love or reading and writing in children. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. I love the fact that you “lived like locals”. I also like the idea of keeping a list of things you loved. So often I allow myself to become so worried about the boys and the details of the trip, I forget to slow down and pay attention to the moments at hand. Going to try this on our summer trip.

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    • We had vague ideas of what we wanted to accomplish during the week, but stayed relaxed about all of them. The only plans we had were with family and friends (who have kids the same age as ours) so that freed up the rest of the time to explore.

      Try it this summer on your trip. You’ll be glad you did.

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  14. The idea of sequencing the events of the day forwards and backwards is an excellent idea! I think I would have to use picture clues to get thoughts organized before talking or writing. Thanks for sharing. (I loved that you took a break from writing and focused on reading. Athletes take a break from training for recovery. This makes great sense for strengthening the skill of writing

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    • Thanks for comparing it to what athletes do! I had these visions of writing on the Marina Green or in the backyard of the garden apartment we stayed in… but they never materialized. The rest was good for me.

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  15. I love how Peter Johnston’s words are becoming part of “teaching” conversation outside of classrooms as you indicated in your trip to Habitot. In Vermont early childhood education is has just now become a mandate. I hope we can use that time as wisely and intentionally…yet balancing it with fun and discovery as you did on your family trip.

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  16. What a fabulous trip! Those are memories you will always treasure. I love the informational cards at the museum. Its a way to get children to appreciate what they are seeing. You could create one of those photo books about your trip and journal about it now. Thanks for sharing.

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