Thursday, July 5, 2012

Read to me challenge book 10 : First Day Jitters

Today's review is First Day Jitters    By author: Julie Danneberg    Illustrated by: Judy Love
ISBN: 978-1-58089-054-0    Ages: 5-9

Synopsis:( Taken from Charlesbridge)
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Fun, energetic illustrations brighten page after page with the busy antics surrounding Sarah Jane. First Day Jitters is an enchanting story that is sure to be treasured by anyone who has every anticipated a first day of school. 
"I'm not going," said Sarah, and pulled the covers over her head. "of course you're going honey,"  said Mr. Hartwell, as he walked over to the window and snapped the shade.

Why I like this book:
This picture book is  a must for every teacher. I read it every year on the first day of school. I love how Julie Danneberg tells this delightful story from the perspective of the teacher. When I bought this book I knew that the character was nervous about the first day of school but I had no idea until the end that the character who did not want to go to school was the TEACHER!  She imagines the worst but at the end she realizes it was not so bad. I loved how this book explores the feelings that children may feel about going to a school for the first time or maybe moving to a new school and not knowing anyone.  This book allowed for great conversation about feelings the first day of school brings out in all of us ... even teachers.

Critique from 502:
First of all, Judy Love did a fantastic job creating the book's cover. The cat on head made them laugh and I hadn't even read the book yet. They loved the interaction between the cat and the dog .As the story unfolds, her hilarious illustrations captures the imagination that is going on in Sarah's head. My second graders were so surprised by the ending.  The look on their faces when they found out that Sarah was the teacher was priceless. Wow! This book got a "Will you read it again?" and a clap. When my class claps this is a sign that they loved the book. So critics from 502 give this book a thumbs up! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Read to me challenge 9: Hop! Plop!

A couple of months back I won the book Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer after visiting Corey Rosen Schwartz's blog. A month later Corey sent me her own book, HOP! PLOP! So I am paying it forward and sharing her book with you. Enjoy!!

Why I liked this book:
Corey didn't know it, but her book came during a time I was having an observation done by my principal. I had chosen to do a Math lesson on balanced equations using a balanced scale. I love to sneak in a  reading a book whenever I can, with that said, I couldn't find a book. Then HOP! PLOP! arrived.  I read the book, yes during my math observation, focusing on the beginning of the book. The kids immediately made real world math connections. The important theme of the book is friendship but it was a great read aloud for my Math lesson.  And I have to say my principal loved it!!!!!

Critique from 502:
First of all, my class loved the characters. The first thing they noticed was the title. Ok, when 8 year olds say," Look Mrs. Velasquez those are vivid verbs, I was beaming just a little bit. For some reason they had thought that Elephants are afraid of mice... and could never be friend. They loved the fact that they had to work together to overcome challenges. The book is simple but the theme of Friendship is HUGE! I ask my students, "whats was your favorite part of the book."  They replied, "when Elephant uses his trunk as a slide for Mouse, he was showing compassion."  My second graders are so insightful! HOP! PLOP! gets a thumbs up all around.

P.S. The very next day my students were using vivid verbs in their writing... thanks Corey!

Corey also has a new blog co- hosted with Tiffany Strelitz Haber called Meter Maids. If rhyming is your passion, even if you are not good at it... like me, please be sure to stop by.   LOOK for her new book coming out soon SEPT. 2012!! The Three Ninja Pigs

Happy reading and writing!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Read to me challenge #8 :Me Want Pet

Wow! It feels good to be back on track with my Read to me challenge book #8.  My picture book this week is Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Bob Shea.

Synoposis: Taken from the book jacket
Cave Boy had lots of things. Rocks. Sticks. A club. But no pet. Will Cave Boy ever find a pet the whole family can agree on!
Cave Boy gave Wooly a  hug. 
"Me wish you could stay, pal."
Then Cave Boy tried again.
He searched high and low until...
a saber-toothed tiger!
Cave Boy and Toothy raced home.
Me want pet!"
"Achoo-ga!" sneezed Papa.
"Make me sneeze! No can stay."

Why I liked this book:
This adorable funny book was a gift to me by the gracious Corey Rosen Schwartz. At first I read the title and thought to myself, this is book will probably not  make the cut with my class but I will give it a try. What is that old saying? Don't judge a book by it's cover...oh so true! haha. The story line is so simple but the dialogue is hilarious. Truly a funny book that will tickle your funny bone and sure to make you laugh!

Stacy Velasquez
I passed this book on to my daughter Stacy Velasquez to share with her 2nd grade class. They loved it as well. So today's critique comes from some of her students.

Critique from Calhoon Magnet School
Delaynie writes:
" I like this book because it was funny when he talked like a baby. A text-to-self-connection that I made was when my sister wants something she will talks like the cave boy, me want pet, no can stay, make me sick!  My favorite part was when the granny said,"he no potty trained he no stay!"

Anthony writes:
"This book is about a little cave boy that has everything he needs but what he really wants is a pet. He tries a mammoth, too big. He tries a sabertooth tiger-makes dad sneeze, a dodo bird-not potty trained.
But when a stampede hurts his family the pets come to the rescue. He doesn't have one, he has three. I like this book because the kid gets what he wants. This book made me feel funny because when I was a trying to find out what pet I was going to get I was always told no but I finally got a dog."

And the whole class chanted," that's the way  uh huh...uh huh, we like it uh huh! "  ! This book gets double thumbs up from Calhoon Magnet  2nd graders!

Please stop by Corey Rosen Schwartz blog


Happy reading and writing :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Read to Me Challenge book 6- Too Many Toys

For this week's book is Too Many Toys  written and illustrated by David Shannon

Too Many Toys

ISBN: 978-0-439-49029-0 HC      Ages 4 and up

Synopsis: Spencer has too many toys. His mother has had enough and tries to get Spencer to  rid of some of his toys.  The Problem is, he loves them all! Spencer has to pick which  toys stay and which ones go. What will he do?
Lesson Plans for this book:activities for Too Many Toys
Click on this link Too Many Toys and hear David Shannon read his very own story! Thank you Scholastic !                                                        

Why I love this book: First of all, this story reminds me of my life when my three children were younger. Toys everywhere! I was SO the mom in this story. This book brought back happy memories of my children I had almost forgotten. This book is very funny. This week my little ones have been SAT testing. I wanted to read them a book that would make them laugh and lighten the mood of the week. It definitely made them laugh...heck it made me laugh. As always David's illustrations made me linger over every page- not wanting to miss anything. I think the ending is cute.

Critique from Room 502:
My students loved, loved this book.  They connected with Spencer immediately. They loved that Spencer had toys spilling out everywhere.  They thought it was funny when the grown ups almost had mishaps because of the mountain of toys left everywhere.  You could hear echos of " I have that toy, Me too!" "My room looks just like that too! ( Yikes! Now I know what their desks are a mess )And my mom and dad make me get rid of my toys too! The pictures made them tickled. Especially the ones of Mom! Kids love it when parents and grown ups make mistakes or have accidents. The box at the end was a big hit too. The kids from Room 502 rate this book a two thumbs up.

Happy reading and writing!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Challenge Alert

This year I have taken on many new challenges. I have set new personal and professional goals.  Even though my blog has only be up since October, I want it to reflect more about  becoming a better writer and not just book reviews. Oh yes, for those of you who enjoy reading about my 2nd graders,  I will continue to let the critics from Room 502 give you their thoughts  on my Thursday book reviews. With that said, I have a Challenge Alert:

Here is the Challenge: I would like you to give me suggestions for a new blog title. Enter your blog title suggestion as a comment by April 1.  If your Blog title wins...

the winner will receive and a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Good Luck and thanks for the help!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I've been tagged with the Lucky 7 MEME

I am the victim of the Lucky 7 MEME, thanks to the wonderful Jennifer Young. She writes quirky children's stories and will soon be a published author in the fall of 2013! You can follow her at Jennifer Young-Castles in the Sky . 

These are the rules to the Lucky 7 MEME:

1. Go to page 77 of your current ms. (Since I write children’s stories I’ll just skip to #2)

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other victims, er, authors.

My seven lines are from my WIP however it does not have a title yet-sorry:)

In warm shallow waters,

on the bottom, at ease, 

through the cold winters months, 

rests a grey manatee.

She pushes to the surface, 

with a calf at her side, 

Nuzzling for his breakfast, 

as together they glide.

Okay I cheated, it had to go line 8 to finish the rhyme. Well now on to the fun part. My victims, er, authors are:
Julie Musil
Tina Cho
Joanna Marple
Lori Degman
Genevieve Petrillo
Allison Hertz
Susanna Hill
These ladies have awesome blogs. Just click their names. Make sure you stop by and read their Lucky 7. 

Jennifer thank you for always thinking of me:)
Happy Writing to you all!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Just Can't Help Myself

Since I was a little girl, I've been a philanthropist.  I remember the days when I use to ride my bike all over town collecting money for "Jerry's Kids"- MD. I begged my older brother to drive me to the tv station so I could put my money in the fish tank. It made me feel like I was making a difference. As a college students I took numerous trips to Mexico to teach kids in villages with no running water or electricity. This compelling drive to help others has followed me my whole life. It was this drive, that lead me down the path of writing. Age the age of 30, I decided to get a degree in Elementary Education---teaching children--you guessed it. While teaching fifth grade, I came across a video on youtube-The Invisible Children that changed my life forever.  The need to help the children of Uganda was a strong as the need I felt as a little girl to collect money for MD.  I had to tell their story. This was my very first manuscript. With such a touchy subject, it was very hard to tell the reality of thousands of children in Uganda. My 5th graders wrote books and sent them to Uganda through a nonprofit organization called Books of Hope.

The next year I moved down to 2nd grade. I needed a project...I just can't help myself. I  stumbled across another program that collect books to send to isolated villages in Alaska along the Iditarod trail-"Book on the Trail". My second graders saved their pennies and bought 27 books.  This year I saw a 20/20 special about the Lakota Indians in South Dakota...heartbreaking. I knew I had to do something.  I bought, and collected book donations to send to the children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I also crocheted 2 boxes of scarves and gloves to send to the school age children. I am not trying to toot my own horn. I just wanted you to get to know me and the passion behind the stories I write. Recently, the story of Kony, and LRA, has been in the news. It kindled up the passion of that first manuscript. I am currently working revising it- "The Wishing Star" which tries to tell the story of the invisible children of Uganda. Here is a sneak preview...

Mama lifted Takari up to the window. She slid down-her feet touched the ground.  She ran as fast as she could, never stopping until she reached the tall savanna grasses. She couldn’t breathe. Her head was spinning. She laid down on the ground and covered her eyes. She wanted to cry …but she didn’t want the soldiers to hear her.
Takari laid in the grass the entire night as quiet as mouse, too terrified to move. She was cold and afraid.  What if she never saw her family again?

Find your passion and write about it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PIcture Book Challenge Books 4 & 5 Kiana's Iditarod and Alaska's Three Bears By Shelley Gill

In honor of the Iditarod dog sled race which started March 3,  I have chosen these books for my Read to Me Challenge.
 Book: Kiana's Iditarod
 By: Shelley Gill    Illustrated by Shannon Cartwright
Awards :Alaska's best selling children's book about the Last great race.

Book synopsis: Random House

Kiana is no ordinary dog. Born and bred to race, she leads her team of huskies on a journey unlike any other. The Iditarod - known traditionally as Alaska's 'Last Great Race' - spans 1,049 icy miles from Anchorage to Nome. From the treacherous terrain to the bitter, blowing winds, the trail is full of obstacles Kiana and her team must overcome in order to reach the finish line. Along the way, they encounter packs of wild wolves, a mighty moose, and other dog-sled teams fighting for first place. Can Kiana summon the strength of her team and lead them to victory? Author Shelley Gill brings her firsthand experience as the fifth woman to complete the Iditarod race to this crackling adventure story, while Shannon Cartwright's vibrant color illustrations bring Kiana and her team's extraordinary efforts to life for young readers.
              The birch dipped icy spears of light,
to dance upon the scene.
The morning of the last great race,
the dog lot was serene.
The sled was packed the runners sharp,
the harnesses dry and clean.
Atop their houses the huskies lay,
breathing frosty puffs of steam.

Why I like this book: This book is a delightful book written in rhyme telling about the experience of a dog out on the Iditarod trail. This book definitely had to have a lot of explanation because of the use  figurative language. That did not stop my critics from enjoying the book or  asking me to read it again.
Critique from Room 502
My 2nd graders were held captive by the flow of the Language. Their inquisitiveness led them to ask numerous questions about the iditarod. Hand after hand went up to ask questions, showing my students were truly thinking, isn't that what reading is...thinking. The figurative language made it a little difficult  for them to understand the whole story. They are only second graders after all.  Lucky for me, we read this book twice and the second time they chimed in enjoying the reading of good book. It goes to show you how important it is to read to children and make sure they are exposed to all kinds of books.
The critics give this book a thumbs up and I give it one too!

Happy Reading and Writing:)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Read To Me Challenge- Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

Bear Snores On
By Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Awards: This wonderful picture book has won 19 awards. ( If I posted them all, you wouldn't have time to read my book review. So please visit these links Bear Snores On and teacher resources.

Synopsis: Review
On a cold windy night, an itty-bitty mouse "pitter-pat, tip-toe, creep-crawls" into a sleeping bear's cozy lair, looking for relief from the bitter winter weather. Soon he is joined by a veritable menagerie of woodland animals, and the party begins. Popping corn, brewing tea, tweeting, and chatting, the critters enjoy themselves thoroughly while the bear slumbers through it all. Until, that is, an errant pepper flake from the simmering stew wakes him up with a giant sneeze. As the bear goes from ferocious snarls and rumbles to pitiful whimpers, his uninvited guests realize what the problem is.
You've snuck in my lair
and you've all had fun!
But me? I was sleeping
I have had none!
Not to worry. Mouse knows just what to do.

Why I like this book:
Let me just say Karma is amazing at telling a story in rhyme. This book was so much fun to read. I can't say that it is my favorite, because my 2nd graders and I love them all! As a teacher it sparked great vocabulary lessons and was a great piece to to use in my writer's workshop to focus on the craft of vivid verbs. 

Critique for Room 502:
My students loved, loved this book. I think some of my enthusiasm wore off on them. If you were to pole my class, and ask the question, who is one of your favorite bear authors, hands down the winner would be Karma Wilson. We are doing a unit on Alaska and studying the bears that live there. The kids connected instantly to the book. Besides bear, their favorite little character was mouse. When we reached the ending, they responded "Karma tricked us".They love it when books end in a surprise way. And Yes they know her by name- I have to take credit for that one-  They loved the part when bears thinks they are having a party without him. 
I have one little boy who burst into his infectious laugh...which started others to laugh. Yes , I did too! We were having great time on the carpet. They love to read rhyme. 
We have a tradition in my classroom when one of the students is absent we sing a wish you well song, sending them love and hope that they will return soon. My little giggler, said "Bear's friends need to sing him, the Wish you well song."so he can feel better. Out of all the books I have in my classroom library, Karma's bear books are the most worn because they love to sit and read them over and over again. For a teacher, this is a beautiful sight. The critics from room 502 give Bear Snores On two thumbs up and a giggle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome guest author Ruth VanderZee

Ruth portraitPlease help me welcome my guest author, Ruth VanderZee. Ruth has found her passion writing historical fiction.  She has four published picture books which have won numerous awards in the United States, Japan and Great Britain. Please visit  Ruth VanderZee's website to learn more about these touching stories that will pull on your heart strings. 

"Children are amazing. When hand a fractured world created by some adults who make selfish, bad or even evil decisions, many children respond with courage, wisdom and,hope. I've meet some of these children and they are my inspiration."
Ruth VanderZee

I am so excited that you stopped by and shared your writing journey with us and answered a few of our questions.
Look for Ruth's latest book. Woman Meets Jesus: How Jesus Encourages, Empowers, and Equips Women on Their Personal Journey of Faith. 

1. How did you get started writing nonfiction picture books?

(My books might be more accurately considered historical fiction.  I'll talk about that in later answers.)

First of all, let me say that I'm a late bloomer.  I didn't get my bachelor's degree until I was 40 and began writing when I was 50.  So, as I was teaching my Middle School students, I learned what communicated to them when I taught - and it wasn't all my pearls of wisdom!!!  My students responded best when they heard stories.  When they were able to connect stuff they thought was old and unimportant to their own lives.  Stories have the power to do that.  So, when I began writing, I had a Middle School kid sitting on my shoulder asking me to connect historical events to their own lives.  And kids do want to connect.
So with that as a bit of history, I went to Israel with my husband who was studying there in 1955.  On our way home, we traveled through Germany and Austria.  It was then two significant things happened - way out of my control.  First of all we went through the concentration camp in Mathausen, Austria.  That was a chillingly quiet, impacting experience - on many levels.  Later, when we were in Rothenburg, Germany, I "just happened" to sit next to the woman I call Erika in ERIKA'S STORY.  I had a five minute conversation with her.
When I got home and went to my SCBWI critique group, I began to see that this is a story I needed to tell.  And I wanted to tell it in a picture book format even though it didn't seem to be picture book material.
But because that Middle School kid wanted to know more about World War II than what he/she read in history books, I knew they would connect to Erika's Story because it helped them feel something. 

2. There are so many historical/nonfiction books out there, how did you choose the topics to write about?
Each of my stories came to me through the voice of the people who lived them, except for MISSISSIPPI MORNING.  That's why I love to speak to kids about my books because even though I had to fictionalize the stories in order to make them work as stories, they are all based on the real-life experiences of real people.  That speaks volumes to a child.

I met the protagonist of ERIKA'S STORY  sitting on a curb in Rothenburg, Germany.

The story of MISSISSIPPI MORNING came to me through a  homeless black man who visited a friend of mine at his offices in Chicago, Illinois.  I had to change that story to being one of  a young white boy for it to be authentically a story I could write which would connect to my story.

I co-authored ELI REMEMBERS with a friend of mine.  This is the story of Marian Sneider's grandson and the impact it had on her family.

ALWAYS WITH YOU is the story of a woman who I met when I lived in Chicago.  She told me her compelling story as we sat in her living room.

They all were stories which dealt not only with critical social issues but also are stories of courage and hope.

3.What are the current trends/ needs in today's market for nonfiction? Is there a suggested word count?
For non-fiction writing, I would recommend you speak with my friend Elaine Landau who is a prolific nonfiction writer.  Every company who publishes nonfiction has specific requirements, word count, and subject matter they are interested in.
My stories are based on true stories which fall into specific historical settings.  In order to write them as story, however, I have to find the story within the story.  In doing that, and because, in some cases I had to supplement the stories with cultural and historical facts which may or may not have been part of the main character's experience, they are not non-fiction and fall more accurately fall into historical fiction.
4.What advice can you give to writers just starting that will help them in the nonfiction writing process?
Whether your write nonfiction or historical fiction, you have to get the story right.  I, as do nonfiction writers, do a lot of research.  For example, in ERIKA'S STORY I researched train lines through Europe, read extensively on concentration camps and ghettos.  Even if the information is not in the story, it informs the story you are writing. 

For MISSISSIPPI MORNING I traveled to Mississippi, interviewed anyone who would stand still long enough to listen to my questions, met people who informed me of so many idiosyncrasies of the area of which I was writing which I would not have known if I hadn't been there, read books about the area, about the history, about the issues which were going on in the 1930's.

For ALWAYS WITH YOU I even had a journal kept by the leaders of the orphanage in which they recorded what Kim called out in her sleep.  I had footage of the orphanage taken by film makers.  And, of course, I had Kim's own voice who informed much of the story.
I  could not have written ELI REMEMBERS without the intimate family details and cultural sensitivities of his grandmother.

5..How do you know when to give credit for factual information in a story?

In nonfiction, the publisher will require documentation.  No one wants to publish a story historical fiction or nonfiction in which there are cultural or historical inaccuracies.

6.When writing a fictional story about a real people or event do you call it nonfiction in a cover letter?

I guess that would depend on how you are writing the manuscript. For instance, the real people I wrote about are not well known historical figures.  They had real life stories, but I  could not tell their stories in the book exactly as they happened because that does not make for good story telling.  In order to tell the story, I had to fill in details, find information that was not part of the original story, etc. all within the accuracy factor of the time and place. I would call that fiction.

If you are writing about a certain time in Abraham Lincoln's life and have researched thoroughly and are presenting the information as fact, it would be nonfiction.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Read to me challenge: Henry's Freedom Box

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

by Ellen Levine
illustrations by Kadir Nelson
ISBN: 9780439777339

 Honors: 2008 IRA Teachers' Choices selection.  
               2008 Caldecott Honor Book.
               2010 ALA Notable Children's Book.

After Henry Brown's wife and children are sold at the slave market, Henry knows he'll never see them again. The only thing left to live for is freedom. With help from a white man named Dr. Smith, Henry mails himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, inside a wooden box. "Dr. Smith begged the clerks to be careful. But they didn't listen. They threw the box into the baggage car. Hours passed. Henry was lifted up and thrown again. Upside down!" 

 Check on this awesome book trailer by clicking on this link

Critique from Room 502:

The month of February is Black History Month at my school. When teaching writing to my 2nd grader I use the writer's workshop model.

All that means is I begin every lesson reading a part of a story, that model the writing craft I want my students to use that day.  I was reading from the book Escape. In mentions the underground railroad. 

To my surprise not one of my 2nd graders knew what it was.(For the record 12 of my 15 students are Afrian American) So I chose Henry's Freedom Box for my next "Read to me challenge picture book."  
I chose this book because of its inspirational message of courage and determination. Just let me say, you could have heard a pin drop!  The thought of Henry loosing his family and putting himself in a box 
to mailed to freedom was just  too much for them. They had so many questions! They wondered why would someone do such a crazy thing. This was the beginning of many books about the Underground Railroad, that I will read to my class. One little boy, ask me, Mrs.Velasquez were your family slaves? At first I thought that was a silly question, but then I realized litte Mottama was from Hatti and knew nothing of slavery in America. I told him no and he reached over hugged me and said, “I’m glad.” Reading historical fiction is so important!! The critics from room 502 gave it a thumbs up. I personally give it 2 thumbs up! I love historical fiction :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Read to Me Challenge: Quiet Bunny

Book: Quiet Bunny
Written and Illustrated by: Lisa McCue
Theme: Be Yourself
Written for 4-8  year olds

Synopsis: Quiet Bunny, beautifully depicts sounds of animals in the forest and yes, it includes a particularly wise owl. Quiet Bunny is just that- a quiet bunny. He desperately wants to find his own voice so that he can join the other animals in singing the night song. He tries imitating his forest friends, but fails. Finally, after following some wise advice from an owl, he discovers his very own bunny sound.

I've been watching you, Quiet Bunny," said the owl. "It doesn't matter how hard you rub your feet together, or flap your ears, or puff up your cheeks, you will never make the sound of a cricket, or a bat, or a frog. You are a Quiet Bunny. Be whoooooo you are, and you will find your own bunny sound." - 

Critique from Room 502
Children love making noises. And that is exactly what my class did through the entire reading of this book. HOW RUDE, you say. It's not rude if the pages you are reading are filled with fun words Cheet, like the cricket, ssssssssss like the hissing snake, or o-uuuu like the howling wolves ! Lisa McCue 's illustrations are fabulous. I wanted to jump in the book and roll in the grass with Quiet Bunny. My students did something at the end they have never done before. They clapped. You may think that kids clap all the time. Well let me just tell you my students are very special. For the most part at least one parent is in Jail and they live in a very violent neighborhood. This story made them feel good about themselves. I ask them why they clapped. Right from the mouths of babes," Quiet Bunny never gave up and that is what you always tell us, Never stop trying." I never expected to hear that! Needless to say, the 2nd grade critics from room 502 gave this book TEN STARS and a CLAP!

I also used this book during writing to teach the craft of onomatopias. And yes, all this week I have read ch-cheet at least 2o times in their writing. haha. You've got to love them.

Happy Reading Writing:)

Monday, January 30, 2012


I feel like I have just won an Academy Award! Thank you Jennifer Young for awarding me the Liebster Blog Award. First off the Liebster award is an award designed to bring traffic to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers That would be me! I am suppose to share 5 things about myself. So I decided to tell you things you would not normally know to keep it fun. So here they are:

1) I love to travel- I have been to 7 countries- My goal is to visit all 7 continents
2) I sing on a Praise Team  at a  Baptist Church.
3) I love hot tea with milk----anytime of day--- during any season.
4) I' ve had a broken hip, 2 broken arms and 2 broken legs at the same time- Just call me "Titanium Teacher."
5) I love to write in rhyme.

Let me end, by quoting from one of my favorite movies Hope Floats, "My cup runneth over."

And I pass the Liebster Blog award onto......... Please hop on over!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Read to Me challenge book 2

  • Author: Amanda Noll    
  • Illustrator: Howard McWilliam
  • Published in 2009 by Flashlight Press
  • 2011-2012 GA Book Award Nominee 

One night, when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, he finds a note from him instead: "Gone fishing. Back in a week." Ethan knows that without Gabe’s familiar nightly scares he doesn't stand a chance of getting to sleep, so Ethan interviews potential substitutes to see if they've got the right equipment for the job—pointy teeth, sharp claws, and a long tail—but none of them proves scary enough for Ethan. When Gabe returns sooner than expected from his fishing trip, Ethan is thrilled. It turns out that Gabe didn't enjoy fishing because the fish scared too easily.

Critique from Room 502:

My second grade boys are hard to please, but when I pulled this book out to read...
they were hooked. Howard McWilliams's illustrations are creative and entertaining.
My squirmy boys sat like statues waiting for me to turn the pages so they could see the next new monsters. ( Note to self: I need to pick more books like this:) This read aloud was very engaging- lots of ewwww and gross! The kids from room 502 gave it a two thumb up and and an all around  10.

I loved this book too! It created great turn and talk conversation between my students. It did not stay in the "teacher's favorites" box very long.  I actually had to put a waiting list on the board. Now that's when you know you have chosen a good book.  

Happy Reading!