December 31, 2010

Book Title Challenge

December 31st  Out With A Bang Readathon brought a fun challenge from Reading Teen that I will pass on to our class.
Our mini-challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to find 3 or more books that you have laying around, and use them to make a sentence. Post your sentences in the comment area.
 For example:
1.Strangely Enough Bran Hambric Sabotaged The Unfinished Angel
2. What If The Mysterious Benedict Society Found The Shadow of Thieves Beyond The Valley of Thorns
3. Spilling Ink Ruined The Jaguar Stones MiddleWorld

December 29, 2010

Out With A Bang (and a book)

A quick post between reading breaks to share some of the titles I have read over break. I accepted a challenge to read a book a day while away from the classroom. Of course, I accepted! This reading challenge is taking place on Twitter #bookaday if you would like to see great titles and dedicated readers. I, in-turn, challenged by students to set a reading goal and report back after break. The second challenge I shared with my students was the "Out with A Bang Read A Thon". Starting today, reading as many books as possible before the end of the year will keep me smiling, doing one of my favorite activities-READING!

Wow! This was fun!
  1.  The Scorch Trials, J. Dashner
  2. Ruined, P. Morris
  3. Cleopatra Rules!, V.A. Shecter
  4. Adventure Beneath the Sea, K. Mallory
  5. Fairview Felines A Newspaper Mystery, M. Corriel
  6. Incarceron, C. Fisher
  7. Wicked, N. Holder
  8. An Egret's Day, J. Yolen
  9. Saving the Baghdad Zoo, K Milner Halls
  10. Birmingham Sunday, L. Brimner
  11. Notes From the Dog, G. Paulsen
  12. Mysteries of the Komodo Dragon, M. Crump
  13. Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones, D. Harrison
  14. Planet Hunter, V. Wittenstein
  15. My Rotten Life, D. Lubar
  16. Stone Child, D. Poblocki

December 20, 2010

Mermaids, Mystery and Middle School

What would be your most embarrassing moment ever? 
         Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau makes a regular day in middle school seem effortless. Jade finds that being fourteen means a little bit more to her then crushing on boys, sending text messages to friends and picking out the perfect swim suit for a pool party. When Jade finds out she inherited mermaid characteristics from her mother- meaning the unexpected morphing of a tail, her embarrassing moments have just begun!
What really happened to her mother? Can Jade help bring her back? And what will she do with this tail? These are just a few of the mysteries that keep you reading while keeping track of a possible relationship between Jade and Luke. In the spirit of Dory from Finding Nemo, "Just keep reading, just keep reading."

December 11, 2010

Last Week to Help

Are you in the "free and easy" giving mood? Click a few times and like magic my class gets new technology-but ONLY if you do it this week-THANKS! Yahoo! Homepages for Homerooms

Picture Book Bananza

Duff Reading class is continuing their Friday Skype Share with 4th graders with enthusiasm. Every Friday, a 6th grader chooses a picture book to read and discuss with Mrs. D's class at Wing's Park Elementary. This time has created many connections between the students and with books.
Two new picture books that were favorites were More Bears and If I Could Keep You Little...

 This book created an impromptu chorus from students near and far repeating the phrase, "More bears!" during our Skype call. We enjoyed sharing the conflict between the story author and characters as the book was being created. The ending will have you giggling and wanting to read it again and again! Created by Kenn Nesbitt and Troy Cummings, this book is a must read whenever a smile is needed.

Excerpt From More Bears!

Once upon a time there was a story. This story was a lovely story with absolutely no bears in it—not a single bear anywhere. Then one day...
What? Who said that? The author of the story looked around the room, wondering where those voices had come from. Were those the voices of children shouting? Then he went back to writing.
As I was saying, this story had absolutely no bears at all. The author was very certain about this.
The author tried very, very hard to ignore the children who thought that the story ought to have…


Excerpt From If I Could Keep You Little:

If I could keep you little, we'd finger-paint our art.  But then I'd miss you creating stories from your heart.

If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond is a touching book that creates a relaxed atmosphere to share memories and "warm fuzzies." This book had everyone in class remembering what it was like to be little and how much they have changed with their families. Readers of all ages will find their own life stories falling out of the pages of rhythmic verse and warm watercolors.

Students will be using this book next semester during our Live and Dream unit. Come back to see where this special picture book takes us!

December 7, 2010

100 Best Blogs by Teachers for Teachers

I opened my email to a nice surprise this morning- Spot To Read had been chosen as a top educational blog. Spot To Read was created last school year to connect and share our classroom happenings with our families and community. Little did I imagine that it would open the door to the world and involve our class in so many opportunities and celebrations!

I plan to visit the other honored blogs and share in their on-line learning.
Thanks to On-line Schools for bestowing such an honor on our blog!

December 4, 2010

Donors Choose Celebration

Soon we will be receiving our 4th donation from Donors Choose- a web site that matches donors with classrooms. This shipment will consist of a new netbook, speakers, head set and flash drive.
Individual donors from around the world, corporations like US Cellular and Yahoo, and smaller groups all have donated money to help our classroom stay updated with technology. If you are looking for a place to donate that really makes a difference, please go to You can find many Oelwein School projects waiting to be funded by a donor like you!
If you have donated to a project-- THANK YOU!