July 28, 2013

Mrs. P Shares Her Be- a- Famous Writer Contest

Mrs. P during the interview
Interview with Mrs. P - Celebrating 5 Years of her “Be-a-Famous Writer” Contest for Kids Grades K-4

What are you doing to celebrate the 5th anniversary of your writing contest? Well, I decided to check back in with past winners and finalists of the contest and created a “Where are they Now” series on my Reading is Cool blog. It will run for 8 weeks, and it will feature excerpts from the past winners new works & Q&A’s with the various young authors. It was so inspiring to read what these talented young writers have been up too, that I really wanted to share what they had to say to other kids and parents. There are some very wise insights.  Several have gone on to win some major writing awards, like the Scholastic Arts and Writing Contest, the Betty Award and the PBS Kids Go Young Writers and Illustrators Contest.  

I understand that you have made some changes this year for the contest can you tell me what they are?  Yes, we decided to work directly with teachers this year. We realized that it was a bit of a barrier for the parents to have to sign the permission form online, so now the teachers will be submitting the entry on behalf of their class.  Teachers will have a choice to do a group writing project for their story, or have individual stories done and then have their class vote on the one to submit.  Each class will be submitting just one story. We also changed the age groupings to have just one category from grades kindergarten to fourth grade.  Additionally, we have extended the contest to run from September 1st to November 15th, so there is more time for the teachers and students.  I am also very excited that we will be promoting a “live” event using Google Hangout and YouTube to stream my reading the winning story live!  Teacher Link    Here is a video just for teachers too!   Link to video

So what will the winning schools get as prizes?  Our sponsors, BuyerTopia, Tales2Go, Powell’s Books, Polka Dots Publishing, Penelope the Purple Pirate and myOn Reader are all great companies that promote the importance of reading for children.  They are making possible the purchase of books that the schools get to select themselves, and also an audio listening license from Tales2Go. 
Link to Prize Page

  • Buyer Topia Gift Certificate for $100 to purchase books.
  • One-year Subscription to Tales2Go for your Class Up to 10 users ($180 value)
  • $150 in Powell’s Book Gift cards
  • Penelope the Purple Pirate & Polka Dots Publishing will be making possible 2 copies of the story made into an actual book with color illustrations created by Robin Robinson for the classroom & school library
  • The whole classroom will receive their very own Official Mrs. P Magic Universal Bookmarks (guaranteed to work in any book in the world!)
Who are the judges this year (wink, wink)? Well, we are thankful to have you as a judge with us this year!  You probably didn’t realize you were signing up to help my other elves did you?  And we also have Melissa Peterman  who is an actress and comedienne, best known for her role as Barbra Jean in the television comedy series Reba. Currently, she stars as Bonnie Wheeler in the ABC Family series Baby Daddy, and as host of ABC Family's Dancing Fools, ABCs Bet On Your Baby, and CMT's The Singing Bee.  She's also a mom to a 8 year old, so knows how to spot a good story.  And one more will be announced before the contest opens.  I have to keep a few surprises coming you know! Link to Judge Bio's

Why do you feel this type of contest is important for kids? It helps build confidence and self esteem.  And many of the students have gone on to be role models in their school or state of being a good a writer.  This is so important for others kids to see. Just like in sports and music programs where kids can win a competition, it’s important for kids to be able to be recognized for their writing.

Thank you for sharing. Can I check back later and ask the elves some insider information concerning the magic library? Of course, if they are not bowling or riding on their magic carpet to worlds beyond.

The contest opens September 1st for entries.  http://www.contest.mrsp.com/

July 23, 2013

Blast From the Past- Where Are They Now?

Being a middle school teacher, I often wonder where my students of the past are and what they are doing. Their hopes and dreams often change from 6th grade and I have often been pleasantly surprised how some choose to use their talents. 
Facebook and other social media has allowed more and more of my students to get back in touch with me and share their amazing stories. I even have the pleasure of teaching with a former student this year! Welcome to OMS, Mr. Morgan.

Mrs. P is sharing Blasts from the Past on her blog. Her interviews share just how much writing can impact students even in the early years. I loved reading these posts. It is easy to see how reading and writing works it's magic through a contest like many OMS students have entered.

Click on the following links to read for yourself:
...more to come...

Please share this contest with as many elementary teachers that you can so they can teach the next Blast from the Past! 

July 1, 2013

Spot To Write

Mrs. P
If you have spent any time in my classroom, 
you know that writing and contests happen. 

OMS Students have entered many contests and even won quite a few.
One of the more fun contests has been 
Mrs. P's Magic Library Be-A-Famous Writer

Mrs. P has shared her Magic Library, love of reading and writing and her elves with us over Skype, Twitter and the web for many years. 

2013 Skype with Mrs. P
Can you imagine my excitement when Mrs. P asked if I could be a judge this year?
YES! Was my answer.

The contest is new and improved. 
The downside for OMS is that we are now to old to enter. 
"Entrants must be kindergarten, first, second, third or fourth 
grade teachers on behalf of their classroom"

The upside is that I will be able to read all the stories! 

This means I will be sharing all kinds of information and fun tidbits about the contest and Mrs. P. here and in the classroom.  Maybe I will get a chance to interview her...anything you want to know about Mrs. P ?
...I really want to know more about the bowling alley inside the Magic Library... 

February 24, 2013

A Snapshot of My Reading Life


Week 3: February 24 - March 2:  A Snapshot of My Reading Life

"Post a photo that gives readers a glimpse into your reading life. This could be your favorite place to read, your bookshelf, your library, a classroom, a book from childhood that you still re-read today, your favorite person to read with. Anything that brings joy to your reading life will work!

Below the photo share a short narrative explaining why this picture is meaningful to you."

One place where I share my love of reading when not at Oelwein Middle School...




is in my hammock after working in my flower garden!

February 10, 2013

Why is Reading Aloud Special?


Spot to Read is happy to announce that the Oelwein Girls LitClub accepted the 2013 WRAD Blog Challenge and will be answering the questions on this site.

WRAD Blog Challenge Week 1: February 10 – February 16
What do you think is special about reading aloud?


Mrs. Leo reading aloud
It's Raining Cupcakes
  • Reading aloud helps me understand better. Hearing the words helps me know the words.
  • I love to read, but it is nice once in a while for someone else read and hear new words.
  • Reading aloud gives you a chance to discuss the story and learn with others.
  • I think read aloud is important because it helps my imagination. I also like it at bedtime, I can fall asleep faster if someone reads to me.
  • I like reading to someone younger then me.
  • Hearing a story makes me want to read the book again- especially if it was interesting and funny.
  • Reading aloud allows me to picture the characters and setting better.
  • It is easier to listen to a read aloud then to read a story and then I can understand the story better.



LitWorld Read Aloud Day Blog Challenge

LitWorld World Read Aloud Day

Accept the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge!

Each of the prompts addresses the WRAD theme “Read It Forward.” Read it Forward describes the ripple effect of positive change that resonates around the world when we read aloud with loved ones or new friends.
WRAD Read It Forward Blogging Challenge: Weekly Outline
Week 1: February 10 – February 16
What do you think is special about reading aloud?
Your first mission is to answer this question. We are using this prompt to bring awareness to the act of reading aloud. It is meant to be open-ended to draw out many different perspectives, and we anticipate that every answer will have a unique style and format.
After answering the prompt, share a short description of how you plan to celebrate WRAD on March 6. Who will you celebrate with? Where will you be? If you have celebrated WRAD in the past, what activities brought you and those you celebrated with the most joy? If you haven't finalized your plans, or if this will be your first WRAD celebration, Use this space to share your brainstorming process, and direct your readers to litworld.org for activities and recommendations.'
Week 2: February 17 - February 23
Now & Then
Answer the following questions twice. The first time, answer how you would have when you were 10 years old (or any age from elementary school that you remember clearly) and the second time, answer in the present.
1. I think everyone in the world should read...
When I was 10:
Now:
(repeat this format for the remaining questions)
2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...
3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is...
4. The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is...
5. The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is...
Week 3: February 24 - March 2
A Snapshot of My Reading Life
Post a photo that gives readers a glimpse into your reading life. This could be your favorite place to read, your bookshelf, your library, a classroom, a book from childhood that you still re-read today, your favorite person to read with. Anything that brings joy to your reading life will work!
Below the photo share a short narrative explaining why this picture is meaningful to you.
Week 4: March 3 - March 8
Read It Forward!
It’s time to read aloud! Select a favorite text, or a personal story that you love to share out loud, and make a video. If you don’t have a webcam, are having technical difficulties, or prefer not to be on camera, you can also translate this challenge into a written post. Share what you will be reading on World Read Aloud Day, and why you chose this particular piece to read aloud.
If you choose to take up the WRAD Read It Forward blogging challenge, make sure to tweet your weekly posts to @litworldsaysso that we can retweet your wonderful read aloud stories! Happy blogging!

January 30, 2013

Newbery Award 2013


Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the
Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

World Read Aloud Day

Read It Forward on World Read Aloud Day: March 6

Imagine a world where everyone can read...
March 6, 2013, is World Read Aloud Day, an awareness day advocating for literacy as a human right. Celebrate by reading aloud, giving away a book, or taking action in any way you can to "Read It Forward" on behalf of the 793 million people who cannot yet read or write.World Read Aloud Day creates a community of people who are advocating for every child’s right to learn to read and technology that will make them lifelong readers. Everyone can change the world and Read It Forward call to action and reading aloud with loved ones or new friends. Read It Forward, creating a ripple effect that resonates around the world with the power of story and shared words.


Visit http://litworld.org/wrad to join the Read It Forward movement. Register your participation, and spread the word to friends, family, and networks for March 6! LitWorld, the organization that founded World Read Aloud Day, offers free downloadable activity kits full of ideas for children, teens, families, educators, and professionals at http://litworld.org.


Follow LitWorld:
http://www.facebook.com/litworldhttp://twitter.com/litworldsays

August 10, 2012

Fierce, Fearless and Free.


Stand Up for Girls with LitWorld 
and Take Action for Every Girl's Right to a Quality Education on 10.11.12, the International Day of the Girl

523 million girls and women worldwide cannot read or write.

 Let us stand together to champion the right of all girls to be

Fierce, Fearless and Free.
 LitWorld, an organization working towards achieving global literacy, has launched the Stand Up for Girls campaign to advocate for every girl's right to a quality education. Our entire civilization is at stake when girls’ lives are fragile because they are prevented from accessing the right to read and write. All girls must be able to vote with their names, read their medicine bottles, farm their land, ride a subway and go to college. Stand Up for Girls speaks to these issues and gives us all a chance, young and old, to show our daughters and the sisters of our hearts that we have not forgotten, that we want the world to be safe, fair and full of hope for all of them.

 Visit litworld.org and pledge your commitment to take action and create positive change for women and girls worldwide, and to learn how to participate in LitWorld’s Photo Contest, plan your own Stand Up for Girls Event, become a Stand Up for Girls Champion, and more. Tell 10 people you know about Stand Up for Girls to help spread the world as far as possible. Ask your 10 to Tell 10 more people and together, let’s shout from the rooftops that every girl has the right to be fierce, fearless and free. 

Follow LitWorld:       facebook.com/litworld    twitter.com/litworldsays    litworld.tumblr.com

August 9, 2012

SUCCESS: Mission Possible


New School Year, New Students, Even a New Room Make-Over
Welcome students and parents to 2012-2013: a year of learning opportunities!

I am always looking for new ideas to engage students in a successful school experience, so when I was asked to read and review Mission Possible: Secrets of the Success, written by Founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, and literacy expert, Arin Lavinia, I was eager.

This is my 20th year teaching middle school students. I have seen incredible changes in education, technology, and society during this time. Stagnation has never been a problem with this age group or profession, so when asked to comment on the following comment, I was at a loss.

 “Stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.  Why do you think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions?” 

I believe that there are many reasons a teacher is at times “…unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level…” and the teaching profession is treated differently from other professions. As stated over and over again in Mission Possible, this can change when the education community works together with success as the overall goal.

After reading the book, I am as eager to share some key points in my back to school post. It is my hope that these ideas will ignite thinking and actions within our school community especially among our administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students.

“Secrets of Success” shared:
  • Keeping students challenged and engaged in learning.
  • Keeping parents informed, involved and engaged in learning.
  • Keeping teachers and administrators trained, prepared and engaged in learning.

I smile knowing, that our school district already knows this “Secret.”
We already focus on all of these points- daily. Can we do better?
Simple answer,  Yes- daily.
  • Teachers must have time and resources to prepare rigorous and passionate lessons.
  • Parents must support and invest in their child’s learning.
  • Students must take advantage of every opportunity with a goal of life-long learning.

Mission Possible shows when everyone focuses on these goals, success happens. I plan to use the last chapter title “Call to Action” as a reminder that I need to continue to make a difference.  
2012-2013 school year has SUCCESS written all over it.

Give Away: An extra copy of Mission Possible was made available to gift to one of my readers. The book also includes a DVD sharing student and teacher interactions shared in the book. I will randomly choosing a winner on August  31st. Simply leave a comment with your email contact information so I can contact the winner.

This sponsored post is part of a campaign presented by Read Mission Possible.com and the SITS Girls. You can learn more about Mission Possible by following them on Twitter and Facebook. I was compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

August 6, 2012

Guys (and Gals) Read Sport Pages




A lineman with something to prove
              A vendetta against a baseball legend
The rise of a real-life NHL all-star
                           The luckiest grapefruit in sports history

Open up The Sports Pages, the third volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading, and you're in for all of this and more. From fiction to nonfiction, from baseball to mixed martial arts and everything in between, these are ten stories about the rush of victory and the crush of defeat on and off the field. 

Compiled by kid-lit all-star Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: The Sports Pages is a thrilling collection of brand-new short stories from some of your favorite authors and athletes.

Like Funny Business and Thriller, the first two Guys Read books, The Sports Pages is a collection of ten stories from middle grade fiction writers, along with some exciting guest contributors. This time around, it’s only fitting that some stories come directly from athletes themselves. 

Don't forget, the "Gals" will love this as much as the "Guys."


A great site to get into the game of reading:   http://www.guysread.com/books/