Currently viewing the category: "Teaching"
Share

I love following Ideal Bookshelf on social media, and I was so happy to find out that they provide templates to use to make your own ideal bookshelf, and I was so excited to have my Student Literacy Leaders make theirs! They are all displayed in the library now, and I wanted to share them all with you:

 

Signature

Tagged with:
 
Share

Astro-Nuts Mission Three: The Perfect Planet
Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Steven Weinberg
Published: September 21st, 2021 by Chronicle Books

Summary: This series is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets The Bad Guys in a funny, visually daring adventure series for reluctant readers, teachers, and librarians alike.

This hilarious, visually groundbreaking read is the conclusion to a major series by children’s literature legend Jon Scieszka.

The book follows a final mission, where AlphaWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug must find a planet fit for human life after we’ve finally made Earth unlivable.

Time is up for our friends the AstroNuts. In fact, time is up for you, too. If they don’t succeed on this mission, Earth is doomed! So when the team finds out they’re being sent to a place called “the perfect planet,” their mission sounds way too easy. Unfortunately, the second they land, they realize they’ll be dealing with the most dangerous species of all time . . . humans. Huh? Where in the universe is this supposedly perfect place? And how will the Nuts manage to convince the humans to risk death . . . for the sake of their lives?!

Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, Planet Earth as the narrator, an out-of-this-world gatefold, and how-to-draw pages in the back, eager and reluctant readers alike will be over the moon about this new mission. Full of laugh-out-loud humor with a thoughtful commentary on the reality of climate change at the core of the story, this creatively illustrated, full-color, action-packed space saga is a can’t-put-it-down page-turner for readers of all levels and fans ready to blast past Dogman.

  • EXCITING BIG-NAME TALENT: Jon Scieszka is one of the biggest names in children’s books. The first National Ambassador of Young People’s literature, he and Steven Weinberg toured extensively for this series. They’ll continue making their way around the world for Book 3!
  • POPULAR SERIES: MISSIONS 1 and 2 received starred reviews, amazing blurbs, and tons of industry love. MISSION 1 was an Amazon Best Book of the Year! Dav Pilkey, Jennifer Holm, LeUyen Pham, and Gene Luen Yang are all big fans—check out those blurbs!
  • FUN AND SCIENTIFIC: The book incorporates STEM elements in a way that readers will find fun and entertaining, while teachers and librarians will find it clever and original.
  • PERFECT FOR BUDDING GRETA THUNBERGS: This book successfully talks about the effect of climate change and impels its readers to take action, without feeling didactic or message-y at all.
  • TIES TO REAL-WORLD ISSUES: Readers will recognize quite a few dilemmas the AstroNuts face from current events on Earth. Making connections between fiction and non-fiction is a big developmental milestone for young readers, and this book works as an effective allegory for our most dire contemporary concerns.
  • RELUCTANT READER–FRIENDLY: The book is a great vehicle for reluctant readers, featuring cool topics and bright art, and relying on visual literacy and very few words.
  • A CONSTELLATION OF TOPICS: Space, STEM, and talking animals: There’s something here for every reader!
  • LOLs FOR DAYS: The book is funny and will delight kids who love books like Wimpy Kid, The 39-Story Treehouse, Dog Man, and Captain Underpants. While it contains serious ideas, it’s a quick, easy, and fun visual read.
  • GROUNDBREAKING DESIGN: The hundreds of pages of full-color art are dynamic and engaging—and it doesn’t look like anything else out there. Steven Weinberg bases his art on public domain pieces from the Smithsonian museum! Teachers turn to the books for this element of the art and use it in classrooms to talk about collage, idea sourcing, history, and art medium.
  • PERFECT ART PROJECT: On the website, kids can download pages of the “original” art and use it to make their own hybrid animal collages.

Teachers Guide with Teachers’ Tools & Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I (Kellee) created for Chronicle Books for Astro-Nuts Vol. 3:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about Astro-Nuts Vol 3 on Chronicle’s page.

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall litcirclesbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Kellee Signature

Tagged with:
 
Share

The Beatryce Prophecy
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publishing September 28th, 2021 by Candlewick Press

Summary: From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all–for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories–powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves–ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her–a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone–will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo’s lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for Candlewick Press for The Beatryce Prophecy:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about The Beatryce Prophecy on Candlewick’s page.

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall litcirclesbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Kellee Signature

Tagged with:
 
Share

“Point-of-View Flip as a Way into Creative Writing”

I’m a big fan of the “point-of-view flip” activity for young writers. That’s where students are asked to retell an existing story (or scene or chapter) from a POV other than the one presented in the original. This exercise can be done with a short and simple tale like The Three Little Pigs (e.g., the wolf’s first-person POV) or with more advanced texts. I like this literary workout because, besides being just plain fun, it can help writers grow their skills. Here’s my thinking:

It’s hard to write creatively, from blank, on demand. That’s why I always hated assignments like, “Write a story from this week’s spelling words.” It’s why I’ve never gone to writers’ retreats, where I’d be put up for a random week not of my own choosing and expected to produce. I can no sooner schedule my creative juices than I can schedule the rain. I suspect that many students feel the same way.

With the POV flip exercise, students don’t have to pull characters or plots out of thin air. Those elements are already there, freeing students to focus on the craft of show-not-tell, dialogue, pacing, etc.

POV flipping shows writers how much hinges on POV when telling a story. After publishing four novels and several short stories, I’m more certain than ever that POV is among the most pivotal—and challenging—determinations to make in the writing process.

Take, for instance, my new upper-MG/early-YA novel, Ripped Away, which is set in Victorian London during the Jack the Ripper spree. I wrote my first draft in the third-person perspective of a boy growing up in London during that time. Something wasn’t right though. This POV didn’t feel immediate enough, intimate enough. So I rewrote the book in the first-person POV of that same character. It was an improvement, but I still wasn’t satisfied. Something was missing.

Eventually, I understood that the book wanted a narrator with a modern voice and contemporary sensibilities, because that’s how the tale would best resonate with readers. So I re-wrote it again, and that’s how Ripped Away became a time-travel fantasy.

When I think about how different the book would be if told from yet a different viewpoint—that of another character, or several other characters, or even an omniscient narrator—I see that Ripped Away could have been many stories. It took time and effort to discover the best POV for the story I wanted to tell, and it was well worth the investment. If students get the chance to experiment with viewpoint through the POV flip exercise, I think it will help them choose the right POV when they do create their own original text.

The flip activity keys students into POV in their reading. You can’t play around with viewpoint in your writing without it seeping into your awareness of what you read. I know several readers who actually use POV as a guide to selecting their leisure reading. Some insist on female first-person POV, others on third-person limited, yet others on multiple points of view. My own daughter goes for first-person stories that are told from the distance of time—an older adult looking back on his or her youth. I, for one, am drawn to the first-person peripheral narrator, like The Great Gatsby’s Nick Carraway. Throw in a dash of unreliability, and I’m hooked. I also like books that skillfully mix it up—part first-person, part third-person, and a sprinkling of second-person for added intensity.

So who knows? Maybe we can get kids to read more by guiding them to stories with the POV they prefer. And kids who read more—anyone who reads more—will be a better writer for it.

Coming February, 2022

About the Book: Ripped Away is based on the real experiences of Jewish immigrants to London during the Jack the Ripper spree, when xenophobia ran high.

In the story, a fortune teller reveals that classmates Abe and Mitzy may be able to save someone’s life…and then she sweeps them to the slums of Victorian London in the middle of the Jack the Ripper spree. To get back home, they’ll have to figure out how the fortune teller’s prophecy is connected to one of history’s most notorious criminal cases. They’ll also have to survive the outpouring of hate toward Jewish refugees that the Ripper murders triggered.

Vernick’s purpose in writing Ripped Away is to illuminate this episode in history, as well as to inspire readers to contemplate possible responses to intolerance. National Jewish Book Award-winning author Anne Blankman calls Ripped Away “an engrossing adventure. From the moment Abe and Mitzy are swept back in time to the infamous Jack the Ripper, readers will clamor to find out what happens next.”

Book Trailer: 

About the Author: Shirley Reva Vernick is the author of four novels for young readers. The Blood Lie is an American Library Association Best Fiction for Young Readers pick and a Sydney Taylor Book Award honoree. Remember  Dippy won the Dolly Gray Literature Award from the Council for Exceptional Children. The Black Butterfly is a Junior Library Guild selection. Ripped Away will be released February 8, 2022 by Regal House Publishing.

Shirley is a graduate of Cornell University and an alumna of the Radcliffe Writing Seminars. When not creating stories, she mentors incarcerated individuals with their writing via the Prisoner Express program.

Please see www.shirleyrevavernick.com for more.

Thank you, Shirley, for your wonderful creative writing activity and for sharing your book–we cannot wait until it is published!

Tagged with:
 
Share

I need to pause everything in my life to tell you about these amazing, new puzzles by Sandra Boynton! If we didn’t already know that she was witty, funny, and creative, this will seal the deal for us. Her three new puzzles range from 300, 500, and 1,000 pieces, and my family enjoyed all of them. My two-year-old was delighted by the bright images. Any time we put together an animal, he’d shriek, “COW!” My four-year-old took this opportunity to learn how to put together puzzles. My seven-year-old helped the most and was able to do a significant amount on the 1,000 piece puzzle! These are fun for the whole family. The first has a great play on words. The second has “puzzle complaints” which made my kids feel like they knew a lot about puzzles. And the third had hidden cows. Who doesn’t love hidden cows?! Whether you are a puzzle family or not, you will love these. They offer an added layer of fun to family/friend puzzle night that is even charming and fun for the adults! I am so glad these exist in the world.

Teachers, these would make great group activities for rainy days, before- and after-school care, and study periods. I’d place a puzzle on a back table and leave it open for fast-finishers to work on while they wait for peers!

More information on each puzzle with images of the puzzles in completed form!:

Hippo Birdie Two Ewe 300-Piece Birthday Puzzle (On-sale: July 6, 2021; $19.95), the famed Boynton birthday card (with over 10 million copies sold, so far!) is now in puzzle form. Start a new family tradition by presenting it on every birthday, and when all the pieces are in place, everyone can heartily sing: Hippo Birdie Two Ewe, Hippo Birdie Two Ewe! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Filled with the signature humor of Sandra Boynton, Puzzle Complaints 500-Piece Puzzle (On-sale: July 6, 2021; $19.95) is a puzzle like no other. Containing all the typical (and not so typical) puzzle flaws: upside down lettering, suddenly changing fonts, a seemingly misplaced piece from another puzzle, inexplicably shouting chickens—the works—Puzzle Complaints is sure to inspire frustration and bursts of laughter!

Hidden Cows 1,000-Piece Puzzle (On-sale July 6, 2021; $19.95) is the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary evening at home, in the simple and tasteful living room of an ordinary pig family—mother, father, daughter, toddler, twin chickens. But look closely. As you carefully assemble the 1,000 pieces, you may begin to notice some surprising visitors: HIDDEN COWS. There are at least three of them. It’s definitely subtle, though.

About Sandra Boynton:

Sandra Boynton is a beloved American cartoonist, children’s author, songwriter, and highly sporadic short film director. Starting with the 1977 publication of Hippos Go Berserk!, Boynton has written and illustrated over sixty children’s books and eight general audience books, including five New York Times bestsellers. Her renowned books include Barnyard Dance!, Snuggle Puppy!, Belly Button Book!, EEK! Halloween!, But Not the Hippopotamus, and The Going to Bed Book. More than 70 million of her books have been sold—“mostly to friends and family,” she says. Boynton has also written and produced six albums of unconventional children’s music, which include performances by Brian Wilson, Brad Paisley, Kevin Kline, Kacey Musgraves, Blues Traveler, Alison Krauss, Meryl Streep, Spin Doctors, Davy Jones, Dwight Yoakam, Patti LuPone, Neil Sedaka, and “Weird Al” Yankovic in a duet with Kate Winslet. Three of Boynton’s albums have been certified Gold (over 500,000 copies sold), and Philadelphia Chickens, nominated for a Grammy, has gone Platinum (over one million copies sold). Boynton has also written and directed eleven short musical films, including “One Shoe Blues,” starring B. B. King; and two animated shorts: “When Pigs Fly,” sung by Ryan Adams, and “Tyrannosaurus Funk,” sung by Samuel L. Jackson, which won the 2018 Grand Prize for Best Children’s Animation Short from the Rhode Island International Film Festival. In 2008, Boynton received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cartoonists Society.

Boynton has four perfect children, and an equally perfect granddaughter and grandson. She and her husband Jamie McEwan, a writer and whitewater expeditionist, raised their family on a very old New England farm (it’s now a non-working farm, except for the hyperactive cartoon chickens and disaffected imaginary cows and such). Her studio there is in a converted barn that has perhaps the only hippopotamus weathervane in America.

Connect with Sandra Boynton:

Website:  sandraboynton.com

Twitter: @sandyboynton

Instagram: @sandra_boynton

Facebook: @sandraboynton

**Thank you to Claire from Workman for providing puzzles for review!**

 
Share

The Rock from the Sky
Author & Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Published: April 13, 2021 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Look up!

Turtle really likes standing in his favorite spot. He likes it so much that he asks his friend Armadillo to come over and stand in it, too. But now that Armadillo is standing in that spot, he has a bad feeling about it . . .

Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for Candlewick Press for The Rock from the Sky:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about The Rock in the Sky on Candlewick’s page.

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall litcirclesbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Kellee Signature

Tagged with:
 
Share

As a 6th grader living in San Diego, CA, there was quite a buzz about the 1984 Summer Olympics, scheduled in nearby Los Angeles. Such excitement as we crowded along a sidewalk to see the torch relay go by! I still remember the special unit our teacher introduced, covering the history of the Games, from the Ancient Greeks to the meaning behind the rings on today’s Olympic flag. Fast forward many years to a children’s book author (me!) looking for a new topic to share with young readers. As mom to a child with physical limitations, our family loved watching the Paralympics. How did they come to be? After a bit of research, I discovered the fascinating story of a doctor who changed the standard of care for people with spinal injuries, eventually founding the Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

  • Ludwig Guttmann was a Jewish neurosurgeon who fled Nazi Germany in 1939 to continue his work with injured soldiers in England.
  • After WWI, nearly 80% of patients with a fractured spine died from bladder infections or bedsore infections caused by their full body casts.
  • Other doctors called Ludwig’s patients “incurables” until he introduced an entirely new treatment plan, including the removal of casts, movement in wheelchairs, and sports! Only 11% of Ludwig’s patients died from their spinal injury.
  • In 1948, Ludwig coordinated a wheelchair archery competition between 16 service men and women. It took place on the front lawn of the Stoke Mandeville hospital. A few dozen family members watched.
  • When Ludwig wanted to expand the competition, people laughed. They said wheelchair sports were ridiculous and no one would watch. But that didn’t stop Ludwig.
  • In 2016, more than 4000 athletes competed in the Paralympic Games in Rio. The Games broke viewership records with a global television audience of more than four billion people!

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Saved Lives with Sports
Author: Lori Alexander
Illustrator: Allan Drummond
Published: April 7th, 2020 by Houghton Mifflin

Summary: Telling the inspiring human story behind the creation of the Paralympics, this young readers biography artfully combines archival photos, full-color illustrations, and a riveting narrative to honor the life of Ludwig Guttmann, whose work profoundly changed so many lives.

Dedicating his life to helping patients labeled “incurables,” Ludwig Guttmann fought for the rights of paraplegics to live a full life. The young doctor believed—and eventually proved—that physical movement is key to healing, a discovery that led him to create the first Paralympic Games.

Told with moving text and lively illustrations, and featuring the life stories of athletes from the Paralympic Games Ludwig helped create, this story of the man who saved lives through sports will inspire readers of all backgrounds.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

This Common Core and Next Gen Science Standards-aligned teacher’s guide includes discussion questions, activities about the nervous system, and a writing exercise encouraging students to support a social justice claim.

About the Author: Lori Alexander loves to read and write! She has written picture books like BACKHOE JOE (Harper) and FAMOUSLY PHOEBE (Sterling) as well as the FUTURE BABY board book series (Scholastic). Her first non-fiction chapter book, ALL IN A DROP (HMH) received a Sibert Honor Award. Her new book, A SPORTING CHANCE (HMH), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus “Best Books of 2020.” Lori resides in sunny Tucson, Arizona, with her scientist husband and two book loving kids. She runs when it’s cool and swims when it’s hot. Then she gets back to reading and writing. Visit Lori at www.lorialexanderbooks.com or on Twitter @LoriJAlexander or Instagram @lorialexanderbooks

Thank you, Lori, for sharing your inspiration, book, and guide!

Tagged with: