Papertoy Glowbots: 46 Glowing Robots You Can Make Yourself!
Author: Brian Castleforte
Published August 23rd, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

When I first looked through the book Papertoy Glowbots, after Brian Castleforte wrote an author guest post for Unleashing Readers, I knew that I wanted to utilize these fun robots in my classroom some how! First, let me tell you about the book. It has 46 different robots inside. Each robot has a name, a model name, description, ability, assembly instructions, and a narrative about the robot. In the back of the book, there is a template to remove that matches the assembly instructions and then glow-in-the-dark stickers to add on when done with the robot.

I loved not only the creative aspect of the robots, but the real-life aspect (following directions), and the narrative elements. However, I knew that I had to make sure that the activity I did with the robots was standards-based and fit within one of my units, so when I was building my argumentative writing and debate unit, I felt it fit perfectly (along with the Who Wins? activity I shared also)! My unit learning goal was “Students will be able to present claims and findings with relevant evidence, valid reasoning, and well-chosen details about a particular subject,” and one of my learning targets was “Students will be able to create an argumentative paragraph supporting their claim.” And I got it! Why not have students create an argumentative paragraph stating why their robot is THE BEST robot if the robots were all going to take part in Robot Wars (like Big Hero 6).

With my target set up, the students got to work! They were allowed to add any abilities to their robot; however, they could not change anything that was already stated in the Glowbots book. For example, if their robot didn’t have legs, they couldn’t add them, but they could make their eyes have lasers. Here is an example of Lightning Bee’s paragraph (you can see his information from the book above). Students first wrote up a profile for their robot then turned it into an argumentative paragraph:

My students had to try to think of any scenario and try to put something in their paragraph that proves that their robot would win in the scenario. For example, one of the robots is a submarine–what happens if the other robot is on land? Or vice versa?

After the students wrote their robot profile and creative argumentative paragraph, they were able to build their robot:


When everyone’s robot was built (which was harder than you’d think! It was a real lesson in following instructions and colloborating!), we started our ROBOT BATTLES leading up to the final ROBOT WAR! I used brackets and to set up our battles, and we got started! These battles were a battle of words though, so students came to the front to present their robots and face off using their argumentative paragraphs. (Some got into it more than others!)

The rest of the class then decided based on the paragraphs which robot would be the champion of the battle. If I do this lesson again, I would allow the groups to debate more to help persuade the audience, but I stuck with them reading the paragraphs. Using a double elimination bracket, we determined which two robots in each class would go to the final ROBOT WAR!

My students loved this activity, and we used each robot battle as an opportunity to discuss argumentative and persuasive techniques and why one robot was a winner over the other. And on top of this, I felt that it was a great activity for learning to follow directions, work together, and think futuristically & creatively.

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Share, Big Bear, Share
Author: Maureen Wright
Illustrator: Will Hillenbrand
Published April 25, 2017 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: Big Bear’s forest friends eye his berries hungrily, but he doesn’t notice as he digs into his delicious snack. When the old oak tree says, “Share, Big Bear, share,” he thinks the tree has said, “Hair, Big Bear, hair!” One comical scene follows another as Big Bear keeps misunderstanding the old oak tree’s message until things finally get sorted out. Whimsical illustrations highlight the humor in this gentle story about the importance of sharing something special with friends.

Review: This book is absolutely delightful. I wish I’d filmed myself reading it because I realized halfway through my reading that I had a goofy grin on my face. Bear is so occupied with the berries that he is eating that he doesn’t realize his animal friends want him to share. Instead, he thinks they are saying “hair,” “lair,” “scare,” etc., and he acts out all of the misinterpretations he hears. So, for example, when he thinks they are saying “Hair, Big Bear, Hair!” he combs his hair into a goofy hairstyle (see the spread featured below). I can’t WAIT to read this to my son. He is going to crack up. I loved how the book teaches vocabulary words, too. Big Bear teaches us, for instance, what a “lair” is. This is going to be one of my favorite children’s books this year. I will need to buy the others in the series.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: It would be so much fun for readers to create their own Big Bear story as a class. Perhaps he could misinterpret another commonly rhymed word. Each student could be in charge of a different page to create a class book!

The Help Big Bear Share Game!

Discussion Questions: Why doesn’t Big Bear hear his friends?; What are some of the ways Big Bear misinterprets his friends?; What does this book teach us about sharing? About listening?

We Flagged:

Read This If You Loved: That’s (Not) Mine by Anna Kang, You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, Your Alien by Tammi Sauer, The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

Recommended For:

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About the Author: WILL HILLENBRAND has written and/or illustrated over 60 books for young readers including Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles and the Bear and Mole series. He has lived almost all of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he grew up as the youngest of four boys. He now lives in Terrace Park and was recently honored as Author/Illustrator in Residence at Kent State University.

Information about his books, selected readings, art process videos and activity ideas can be viewed at Connect with Will at


**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
Authors: Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Published March 14th, 2017 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.

Review: This anthology is beautiful. Alexander, Colderley, and Wentworth beautifully pay homage to each poet. Their tribute poems are impeccably written and not only do the poems follow the style of the poet but also teach us about the lives of the poet. And Holmes’s artwork pushes the book to another level. I also adored the diversity of the poets, as well as the types of poems, chosen.

And Out of Wonder can definitely be a perfect mentor text for a poetry unit, and I can definitely see it being paired with Love That Dog to expand what Creech started.

Teaching Guide with Prereading Activities, Discussion Questions, and Classroom Extensions (by teacher Mary Lee Hahn): 

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech; Poetry by any of the poets honored in the book: Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Bashō, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Walter Dean Myers, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes, Billy Collins, Pablo Neruda, Judith Wright, Mary Oliver, Cwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, William Carlos Williams, Okot p’Bitek, Chief Dan George, Rumi, or Maya Angelou

Recommended For: 

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Things That Make Us Instantly Want to Read a Book


1. It is by an author of color

Most of my research is concerned with multicultural young adult literature. I try to read any and every book that I can find in that category. I read all multicultural young adult books, but I specifically seek out those that are by authors of color.

2. It is historical fiction

I honestly can’t get enough of this genre. I love to be sent to a different time and place.

3. It is a picture book with a great cover.

I love artwork, so great illustrations are a plus.

4. It is by a favorite author of mine.

This list is not exhaustive, but I instantly read any books published by (in random order): Sherman Alexie, John Green, Kristin Cashore, Matt de la Peña, Laurie Halse Anderson, Oliver Jeffers, Aaron Becker, Coe Booth, A.S. King, Gene Luen Yang, David Arnold, Jeff Zentner, Adam Silvera, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Nicola Yoon, Jason Reynolds, Eliot Schrefer, Margarita Engle, Meg Medina, Patricia McCormick, GOODNESS, I am going to quit while I am ahead. I am sure I am forgetting one of my favorite authors, and I will lie in bed tonight thinking, “Darn! I missed ____.”

5. It is a good fit for my older son

My older son goes through crazy obsessions: vehicles, the color yellow, Paw Patrol, superheroes. When a book matches his current obsession, I feel compelled to get it. (My younger son hasn’t shown strong preferences yet.)


1. Favorite Authors!

Unlike Ricki, I am not even going to try to list my favorites, but if it is an author I love, I will definitely pick up the book.

2. Road Trips

I am a sucker for road trip books! They are my favorite! They usually include humor, romance, identity searching, hi-jinx, and other things I love.

3. Kids recommend it to me or are passing it around at school

I cannot tell a student no if they recommend a book to me. I also really want to read books if I see that students are recommending it to each other.

4. Graphic Novel

I love graphic novels! All kinds!

5. I think Trent will love it

This means usually vehicles or monster or firemen or animals, but if I see a book that I know Trent will love, I definitely want to read it!

What makes you instantly want to pick up a book?

RickiSig and Signature


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday    

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Unique Books

Wednesday:  An Interactive Children’s Book App: Care For Our World by Karen Robbins from Sunbreak Games

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Cowboy Car by Jeanie Franz Random

**Giveaway open until Wednesday!**

Friday: Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway!: Posted by John David Anderson

**Giveaway open until Friday!**

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Using a Book as a Stepping Stone to Exploration” by Steve Schatz, Author of The Adima Chronicles


 Last Week’s Journeys


I loved seeing what Sam’s adventure after baseball camp! All the characters you love are there, but the conflict and setting are all different. I hope Stacy continues to bring Sam’s stories to us.

I am so glad that I read Framed last week! The new Sunshine State Young Reader Award list came out this week and lo and behold, there was Framed by James Ponti. I was so excited to be able to book talk this book for my students when the list came out.


I passed my dissertation defense! Hooray!!!


This Week’s Expeditions

Now that I figured out my Masterminds fiasco, I am happily listening to book 3. A big turn just happened as I got home Friday, so I cannot wait to continue listening on Monday (today)!

I’m jumping into my #mustread list with The Hunted, and I was sucked right back into Shy’s messed-up world!


Because of my dissertation (and putting my house on the market), I didn’t have time to read with my eyes this week. But I am more than halfway through The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which I am listening to with my ears. GET THIS BOOK. I’ll be putting it on my course syllabus next semester.


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday   

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make us Instantly Make us Want to Read a Book

Wednesday:  Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Share, Big Bear, Share! by Maureen Wright

Friday: In the Middle School Classroom: Papertoy Glowbots with Creative Writing and Debate

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“Using a Book as a Stepping Stone to Exploration”

A good book serves as a stepping stone to further explorations. Before I wrote The Adima Chronicles, I spent many years teaching teachers how to use writing and technology to support their students’ learning across the curriculum. Here are two of my favorite activities:

I. Creation and Origin Myths

A powerful way to use stories to encourage writing is to use them as a springboard for other activities. After reading how the rhino got its wrinkled skin or how the leopard got its spots in Kipling’s “Just So Stories,” for example, most students are primed to imagine just about anything. From these imaginations, they can make up their own stories about how something came to be like it is. This writing activity also can be extended by adding illustrations and using the internet and resource books to discover the evolution of the animals the students have written about.

This basic idea also can be easily adapted for older grades. For example, my first book in The  Adima Chronicles, “Adima Rising,” creates a parallel world. The rules of this world, and the interaction between the world of light and our usual world, are a crucial part of the story. Older students can use this idea as a springboard for world building by creating their own worlds, including that world’s people, creatures, actions, and natural rules. Teachers can further expand this exploration through science—if a being can jump across a ravine, how strong would it have to be or how weak would gravity have to be?

II. Research

Books also can serve as stepping stones to understanding other cultures and beliefs. In “Adima Rising,” there are many references to Rory’s anthropologist father and past cultures in the Americas. This is a rich starting point for an exploration into the advanced technologies of ancient cultures. In the forthcoming second book, “Adima Returning,” there is a great deal of information about Kachinas. Teachers could use these books as stepping stones to historical research.

Areas to consider:

  • Differences between Kachina dolls, Kachina dancers, and Kachinas.

  • History of Pueblo Bonito.

  • Artists of the Southwest.

  • The decimation and near extinction of buffalo herds.

  • Anthropological finds in Peru.

  • Advanced cultures in South America.

  • Religious practices of different cultures.

Together, these activities foster creative thinking and independent learning—two skills children and teens need for academic success.

Happy reading and writing! Additional lesson plans and suggestions for research are available on Want to purchase Adima Rising? Visit

About the Author: Steve Schatz grew up in New Mexico, where, as a teen, he dug a kiva in his back yard, He has traveled all over the US, discovering how other people see the world. He has been a tour guide, party clown, TV producer, business owner and, for the last several years a professor of learning theory. Always interested in things spiritual, a life changing experience brought him to the idea for Adima Rising and spiritual guidance during the tricky parts. He spends most of his time writing in a little house in a little town next to Yokum Brook. Steve Schatz can be reached at and

About the Books: 

BOOK ONE of The Adima Chronices: ADIMA RISING

For millennia, the evil Kroledutz have fed on the essence of humans and clashed in secret with the Adima, the light weavers of the universe. Now, with the balance of power shifting toward darkness, time is running out. Guided by a timeless Native American spirit, four teenagers from a small New Mexico town discover they have one month to awaken their inner power and save the world. Rory, Tima, Billy, and James must solve four ancient challenges by the next full moon to awaken a mystical portal and become Adima. If they fail, the last threads of light will dissolve, and the universe will be lost forever. Can they put aside their fears and discover their true natures before it’s too late?

BOOK TWO of The Adima Chronicles: ADIMA RETURNING (Coming SOON!)

The sacred cliff is crumbling, and with it the Adima way of life. Battling time and evil forces, four friends must race to move the cliff before it traps all Adima on Earth–and apart from the Spheres–forever!

Adima Returning, the spellbinding second book of The Adima Chronicles, mesmerizes from beginning to end as Rory and his friends travel the light web and multiple planes of existence to gain help from the creatures who guard the Adima’s most powerful objects, the Olohos.  There is only one path to success: convince the guardians to help. Fail and the cliff dissolves, destroying the Spheres and all Adima.

Like the exciting adventures of Adima Rising, Adima Returning will have your senses reeling right up until its across-worlds climax. Will the teens be able to prove the impossible possible (and save the world!) once again? Join the Adima adventure, and explore a world where teens can lead the way to a new reality.

Thank you, Steve, for the post, and Denise, from Absolute Love Publishing, for getting it to us!


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Author: John David Anderson
Published May 2nd, 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids. In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

Critical Praise: 

“Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle school social dynamics.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts.” — The Horn Book

About the Author: John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at

Review: First, I must start with stating my awe with Mr. Anderson. I have read four of his five books and each is stellar. But what really makes him stand out as an exemplar author to me is that he has tackled three different genres in his five books and each one was just as good as the others. Ms. Bixby and Posted are realistic fiction, Sidekicked and Minion are superhero sci-fi, and Dungeoneers is high fantasy. How impressive! Now onto my review of Posted

There are books that I read that just feel true to me, and Posted fits that. As a middle school teacher, I could picture all of the characters as true middle school students and know that so many readers will connect with someone in the book. Although some of the adults in the book fit a typecast of teachers (they are probably pretty realistic representations of how middle schoolers see some teachers though), they were needed to propel the story. And Mr. Sword is anything but a stereotype and one of those teachers that I just love in books because he cares! I also felt that the bullying represented is, sadly, probably a pretty true representation. Middle school really is all about finding your tribe. So many kids are trying to find their identity and are influenced by so much which sometimes leads to mean kids; however, there are really awesome middle schoolers as well which you can also see in this book. I love these middle schoolers (Frost, Rose, Wolf, Deedee, and even Bench), and I know you and any kid you share this book with will as well. 

What I think makes this book stand out, though, is the theme that words can hurt. They are powerful and can change lives. They can be used for good or evil.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Much of what Mr. Sword does in his class is easily transferable to a classroom. Throughout the book, he is teaching Julius Caesar so quotes/discussions throughout could definitely be used in conjunction with a Julius Caesar lesson. I, personally, love his aphorism activity. It reminded me a bit of the precept activity in Wonder (and they could easily work together if you do a precept activity). Mr. Sword has students create their ow aphorism to share with their students. I think this, like Mr. Sword says, helps students realize that “all of us have something meaningful to share.” Frost also talks about poetry throughout the book, his poetry and Robert Frost, and these sections could be used to inspire students when it comes to poetry.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever had a nickname? Did you like it or not? Out of all the nicknames, one seems to be more negative than the others–which one is it? Do you think the character likes his nickname?; Do you think Deedee started the war? Should he blame himself?; Do you agree with what Wolf’s parents decided?; How did Rose change everything? Do you think everything would have changed without her moving to the school?

Flagged Passages: “Words accumulate. And once they’re free, there’s no taking them back.

You can do an awful lot of damage with a handful of words. You can destroy friendships. You can end a marriage. You can start a war. Some words can break you to pieces.

But that’s not all. Words can be beautiful. They can make you feel things you’ve never felt before. Gather enough of them and sometimes they can stick those same pieces back together.” (p. 342)


Read This If You Loved: Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Zack De La Cruz by Jeff AndersonFish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntWarp Speed by Lisa Yee, Schooled by Gordon Korman, Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Loser by Jerry Spinelli

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Don’t miss out on any blog tour stops!

April 17           Librarian’s Quest

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April 18           Nerdy Book Club

April 19           For Those About to Mock

April 20           Teach Mentor Texts

April 21           Unleashing Readers

April 22           Next Best Book

April 23           Bluestocking Thinking

April 24           Litcoach Lou

Book Monsters

April 25           Kirsti Call

April 26           Educate-Empower-Inspire-Teach

April 27           The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Ms Yingling Reads

April 28           Maria’s Mélange 

Novel Novice

April 29           The Hiding Spot

April 30           This Kid Reviews Books



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