Life Lessons Through Elephant and Piggie

If you know my family, we have this weirdness with pig nicknames. Upon the arrival of my new niece last year, I wanted to start on her a book series, and while browsing our school book fair came across a story called Happy Pig Day by Mo Willems. 


I was immediately drawn to the title, but in all honesty, the book itself didn’t look that appealing to me. It’s written in comic style, with colour-coordinated speech bubbles for the characters, Gerald and Piggie. However, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are so lovable, empathetic, and melted my heart. My cousin, of course, agreed!

It wasn’t until recently when I came across a different story from the series, and thought about reading it to my grade 4 class. I was hestitant because of the simplicity of the book, but was surprised with a loud applause after we read it. Like me, they too are now addicted! They seek the series out at the library, share them with each other, and are constantly recommending a new story from the series. “Why?” I wondered. 

Sometimes I think as teachers we’re caught up in the need to teach our kids to read. To teach them to challenge themselves. To encourage them to read chapters book. But have we forgotten to teach our kids to enjoy reading? Don’t we want them to connect and relate to the characters? Find humour in texts? Empathize? 

This series has opened the doors for me in my classroom to teach children about friendship, character, and life lessons, but more importantly to be able to find themselves in a book! I challenge you to do the same. 

Zite: A Magazine That Reads Your Mind

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A few months ago, I was introduce to the app called Zite, which is deemed as an intellectual magazine. I didn’t do much with it until the last couple of weeks, and intellectual may in fact be an understatement to describe the capabilities of this program.

When you initially sign up, you choose five areas that interest you. I focused on technology and teaching, and those related topics. It provides you with an extensive list of articles that you may be interested in reading. Some were ok, some I had no interest in, and others were perfect. As you read articles you can like/dislike them, or choose which sources you would like to see more or less of. You can share the links with social media sites, or import into other platforms like Evernote. The more you use it, the more it gets to know you, and the more relevant the articles become. Sometimes I feel it really can read my mind!

As an educator I always want to be in the know, or want to read things that I’m interested in and passionate about, but finding the time and sifting through online articles or sources can be a tedious task. This app removes all the angst and several times throughout the day provides articles for your reading pleasure. If you haven’t given Zite the chance, do so. It’s free and you’ll thoroughly enjoy it’s intellectual abilities!