Sunday, 24 March 2013


I've written before about my daughter's book blog; her latest post is one that warms the heart of a teacher/Mom/Gran-Nan who loves to read and wants the children in her life to love reading, too. 

Joanna describes how she read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars at school while her students read their independent books: "My students delighted in watching me read it, as I laughed out loud, (and) shared lines and paragraphs with them. (They) could hardly wait for me to finish so they could fight over who would check it out next from our school library. I finally felt, with my reading of The Fault in Our Stars, that I could at last show my students what it means to fall head over heels in love with a book -- with the characters, with their predicaments, with the plot ups and downs."

Of course, Joanna's blog is just one of many that review great books for young people and adults. If you're especially looking for teachers to follow who are dedicated to instilling a love of reading, I suggest that you start with:

Sarah Mulhern Gross, contributor at The Learning Network at the New York Times, who blogs at The Reading Zone, and is @thereadingzone on Twitter, and

Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, whose Twitter ID is @donalynbooks. Her Facebook page is also called The Book Whisperer.

I'm looking forward to reading this book, and perhaps seeing the movie, which is currently in pre-production.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Roll ~ Say ~ Keep Games

So yesterday, at the school where I work as an Academic Specialist, I got yet another great idea FROM one of the teachers. She had been to a PD session and came back talking about something she heard there. A quick Google, and one thing led to another. Yep, another teacher theft moment! :)

I'm so thankful that great teachers share their ideas with the rest of us, and I'm especially thankful today for Kathy Gursky and her website, The School Bell

Kathy puts me in mind of the awesome Cherry Carl because her site is packed with so many good ideas for activities, graphics, games, and projects. I want to show you just one piece of her "Dolch Kit."

If you teach primary students, you know that a huge key to fluent reading is knowing sight words well. Kathy has downloadable sets of flash cards, phrase cards, and mini-flashcards that are perfect for playing "Roll ~ Say ~ Keep!"

I downloaded all 11 sets of Kathy's mini word cards and adapted the game board slightly. You can download my board below. I printed, mounted on construction paper, and laminated. Our 1st grade teacher and SPED teacher are all set to let their students play a new game practice essential sight words...shhh! ;-)

Friday, 8 March 2013

An Excellent Find: E is for Explore!

You are going to LOVE the site I have to share with you tonight! I came across it via a science activity posted to Pinterest, and was I ever amazed and delighted when I followed the link to Erin Bittman's blog, E is for Explore!

Erin blends graphic design, her original career, with her current path toward becoming a teacher, to "develop unique learning activities, search the internet and compile additional great ideas from other sources." Her site is chock-full of manipulatives and activities useful across the curriculum, from literacy to math and engineering, and she provides easy links to sites that she shares.

Since Easter is coming soon, I'll show you images from one of Erin's posts, wherein she shares activities from inferencing to fractions using Plastic Eggs

Great, huh? Click on over to Erin's blog, where "all 'E is for Explore' activities conform to state common core curriculum standards."

And you're welcome! :-)