Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius brought up by loving adoptive parents.  When faced with their loss, Willow finds herself among an unusual group of people who help her cope.  She finds out how to use her own strengths to create a new life for herself and others.

If you like character driven books like Wonder, Out of My Mind, and Mockingbird, you will like this book.  

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Fifteen Mysteries --a Round up of Reviews

I love mysteries.  Here are fifteen I have read and reviewed here on Artistry of Education (just in case you missed some.)

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Heist Society by  Ally Carter

Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer

The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage 

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein 

Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett

No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Strafford

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quote of the Week -- September 27, 2015

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.

Robert Kennedy

Have a great week,

Friday, September 25, 2015

100 grid -- larger size

I have a series of math stations I use in my classroom that use the 100 Chart.  I made copies and put them in plastic protectors to save copy paper.  Students used dry erase markers to play the games.

By the end of the school year, the dry erase markers were more dry than markers and I had spent my budget for supplies.  I decided to make the squares on my 100 chart larger to accommodate the plastic cubes I had on hand.

These squares will work for the 3/4 X 3/4 cubic math materials such as snap cubes, Unifix cubes, and some of the wooden cubes I have in my math material collection.  To download this updated 100 chart, click here.

Here are some of the activities I have used this for:

Gomoku -- five in a row

Sieve of Eratosthenes -- composite and prime numbers

Higher or lower -- Guess my number 

Fractions, Decimals, and Percent on a 100 Chart 

Factors and Multiples Game 

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hard Gold by Avi

The Gold Rush isn't a topic specific to any of the grade levels I have taught.  I would still consider Hard Gold by Avi an appropriate book for reading aloud to an upper elementary class.  My students are fascinated with this period in history and it is another way to discuss the hardships settlers had in different parts of the western territories.

Early Whitcomb's family is about to lose their Iowa farm to the railroad.  Early's nineteen-year-old Uncle Jesse travels to the Rocky Mountains to make his fortune in gold.  Early travels after him and learns much about greed and family along the way.

 For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
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Monday, September 21, 2015

Silent Division Practice: an Active Learning Game

One of the first rules I was told about when I moved to a new school was how important it was for classes to walk quietly in the halls.  I included that rule in the procedures I taught students and in the classroom management plan I shared previously.  

There are times when we have walked to a specialist -- P. E., Music, or Library -- and the previous class isn't out yet.  Here is how I kept my students engaged quietly for a minute or two while we waited.

I started having my fourth grade students practice their math facts SILENTLY.  I would say a division fact and they would show me the answer with their fingers.  It also gave me a quick read on who knew their facts and who was looking around at what other people where holding up.

I chose division facts because we needed the practice and the answers are usually ten or less.

If you have another no-prep activity like this one, I would love to read about it in the comments.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Quote of the Week -- September 20, 2015

Most of us can read the writing on the wall: we just assume it's addressed to someone else.

Ivern Ball

Have a great week,

Friday, September 18, 2015

Autumn Leaves Poetry Printable

Next week is the official first day of fall.  (Although we have already had our share of autumn weather for several weeks now.)

Today's freebie is a sampler of autumn poetry.  I used four poetry forms: kimo, acrostic, three by three, and pattern.  All four were originally published on my poetry blog, Poems of Silliness.

To download Autumn Leaves Poetry for personal classroom use, please click here.  Please do not use any of my poetry in products.  Thank you.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Fighting Ground by Avi

In my opinion, a well-written historical fiction novel teaches more about history than most text books out there.  The Fighting Ground by Avi is just such a book.


Jonathan is certain he wants to go to war against the British.  This thirteen-year-old discovers within twenty-four hours of leaving home, that war is not as glorious as he thought.  

I would definitely read this aloud to a fifth grade class during a War of Independence unit.  The journal format puts the reader in the action and experience of this time period.
  For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Who am I? -- Building Classroom Culture

My students love this activity and I usually introduce it at the beginning of the year, although you could do this at anytime to get students to learn each others' names and a little bit about each other.

I start by giving each student a 3 X 5 index card.  The students write their names and three facts about themselves they don't mind sharing with everyone.  I collect the cards and read a few of them when we have a moment at the end of the day or  are lining up to go someplace, etc.

I just read the facts, and the students try to guess which of their classmates wrote the card.  After going through the cards once, I go through the cards again to see if we remember the facts about each person.

This activity encourages students to get to know each other, use each others' names, and make connections with their classmates.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quote of the Week -- September 13, 2015

"Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin."

Grace Hansen

Have a good week,

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

If Ada Byron Lovelace and Mary Shelley met as girls and formed a detective agency, they would have formed the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.  Jordan Stratford introduces the reader to these two women from history and changes their stories to write this first book in a series.  In the first book, Ada and Mary must risk their lives while solving a case of the missing jewel.

At the end of the book, the author notes what was true about the connections between the first female computer programmer and the first science fiction novelist.   I appreciated the background information and it made me wanted to learn more about these women and their famous families.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Back to School Pinterest Board

Happy Labor Day!

I know that many districts have already been in school for weeks.  The students in our district go back on Wednesday. 

I thought I would write a quick post sharing some ideas for back to school.  (If you have already started school, some are appropriate for team builders throughout the year, or you can save for next year.)

Here is the link to the Back to School Blog Hop some of my teacher blogger friends put together last year.

I also keep adding materials to by Back to School Pinterest board.

Follow Mary Bauer's board Back to School Ideas on Pinterest.

I hope your school year gets off to a good start.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Quote of the Week -- September 6, 2015

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Have a good week,

Friday, September 4, 2015

Drama Club Poster -- No Divas Allowed

Two years ago, I started an after school drama club for upper elementary students. I watched the high school cast for its musical that year and realized that students needed a safe place to try out drama skills before they got to an audition in high school.  

I created a simple version of the poster to show the skills I wanted the students to work on.  To download the Drama Club Poster, click here. I taught several sessions where we focused on drama games and skits.  For each activity I referred back to the poster and the skill we would practice.
If you are interested in starting a drama club in your school, click the links to see the resources I have used.  All of my posts tagged drama are here.

By the way, I taught drama club with a principal who has a narrow view about what is educational.  When she saw this list of skills, she said, "Everyone should be in drama club."  I agree with her.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What's for dinner? Thursday Throwback

Recently Amazon had all of its affiliates redo the links on our webpages.  I read and review at least one book a week.  This was a huge task.

This forced me to go through many posts this summer and update them in other ways.  I know back to school means planning ahead for dinner.  I hope this Thursday Throwback will help you out a little.

I was talking with some other teacher friends about struggling to make meals during the school year.  When I told them about my favorite kitchen appliance, the crock pot, they agreed but weren't sure what to cook.  When I shared my favorite series of cookbooks, they each pulled out notebooks and wrote them down.  I thought I would share them with all of you:

Fix-It and Forget-It is designed for the busy cook.  The recipes are contributed by a number of cooks.  I make sure I use the recipes that cook 8-10 hours without an addition half-way through.  Sometimes I use the recipes as inspiration for my own creations.
This one is my favorite in the series:

I don't like long complicated recipes.  Often several of the items are already in my pantry.  I can write the one or two remaining items on the shopping list for the week.

There are also some editions for special diets:

There is something about walking in the front door from work and knowing dinner is ready.

What is your meal-planning strategy?  I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe

I love mysteries and am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.  (My stepdaughter and I visited the museum at 221 Baker Street first out of everything in London.)  When I saw this book for middle grade students, I had to check it out.

Griffin goes to stay with his detective uncle who happens to live next to Sherlock Holmes.  His uncle is struggling with his business and unhappy to have his nephew around.  Griffin is much more observant and compassionate than his uncle and when they get involved with a mystery, Griffin has the opportunity to win his uncle over.

I recommend this book to middle grade readers who love mysteries.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

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