Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Pancakes Taste Different Today!

If you’re a teacher who likes to do classroom “cooking” related to what your students are reading or a parent who likes to cook with your littles, here’s a book to add to your list.  It’s written by married couple, Heather and Bruce Galpert, and is illustrated by Barbara Cate.

Ethan learns the pancakes he loves to eat are a result of many factors, from rain clouds to wheat farmers to grocery stores.  He also learns that his careless action, meant all in fun, set off a chain reaction of events that negatively impacted even his beloved pancakes.  Fortunately, Ethan conceives and executes a plan to remedy the problem. 

The colorful watercolor illustrations have a childlike quality that support the story well.  At the end of the book there is recipe  that can lead to a tasty follow-up of the story.  This book would be a really good one to keep in mind for Earth Day.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hot off the Presses: Trouble at Plantasy Land


Far away from Planet Earth is the enchanted world of Planet Planted.  Its inhabitants include the Rootlets, Kaley, Cornelius, Brocc, Carrotina, and their Yammy Grammy.  These amazing kids not only sprouted from the ground, but they have super powers as well.  It's a good thing they do!  They need them to solve the mystery at Plantasy Land.

It's opening day at Mr. Fungo Fungi's magical amusement park, but something is very wrong.  Is the magician, The Great Zucchini, responsible for the disasters all around Plantasy Land?  The Rootlets are determined to solve the mystery.

Author, Vicki Marquez, is a certified plant-based chef, a health coach, and host of the healthy living cable show, "Nourished."  Her passion of teaching about a healthy lifestyle and her desire  to expand her health education efforts to children lead her to the creation of the Rootlets series.  Trouble at Plantasy Land is the second book in her Rootlets series.


Jeremy Russnak's colorful and creative illustrations add to the enjoyment your mystery-loving primary readers will experience with Trouble at Plantasy Land.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

How Three Brothers Saved the Navy

How Three Brothers Save the Navy is the third book in the Kare Kids Adventures.  Matt, 12, and his younger brothers Ryan and Jack like to play Force Recon Marines.  Their interest in this game was due to their father being a Captain in the U.S. Navy.  He was currently deployed on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Maryland, the state where they lived.
The boys often made "recon missions" to an abandoned airfield near their home.  One day, however, they spotted skydivers using high-altitude military tactics to land on the airfield.  Learning the team was not military and planned to attack a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the boys had to outwit the enemy agents and try to get word of the impending plot to their dad.  The fast action and high tension make this book an exciting read for middle graders.
Writer Charles A. Salter has written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, adult mystery and juvenile books, and is new pre-teen series, the Kare Kids Adventures.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mysterious Vanishing Place

In the second installment in Charles A. Salter's Kare Kids Adventures series, Kelcie is all grown up.  Her daughter, Charlotte, has inherited her mom's independent spirit and her dad's sensitivity to premonitions.  


Charlotte regularly enjoyed a walking trail near her hilltop home.  One day she made two discoveries on her walk, a lost puppy and an area of the forest that seemed to be slowly disappearing.  Somehow the two things were linked and Charlotte was determined to help.  


A driving rainstorm puts Charlotte's life in danger as she tries to rescue the pup again, along with another puppy from the same nearby kennel.  Will the messages she left bring help in time?  You'll have to read this nail-biter to find out.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bald Rock Island

If you want to guide your kids toward books with strong, independent, responsible  characters, you'll want to share this good book with your middle grade readers.


Main character, Kelcie, who's 10, wants to find out what happened to her dad who disappeared while lobstering eight years earlier.   She gets some information from Mr. Bartleby, a friend of her parents, but he warns her about the dangerous Bald Rock area of the island on which they live.  A storm, a dangerous climb, and a rescue take place on Kelcie's quest to find answers.


This is an easy read and only 86 pages.  I think your 8-12 year olds will enjoy this adventure.  Stay tuned to the next review in this series.



Friday, September 9, 2016

Reading to Your Preschoolers


 Teachers have long been proponents of reading aloud to children and encouraging parents to do the same.  In the classroom we can see the difference in attention span between those children who have and have not been read to at home.


Here is a fascinating article with the hard evidence to show the benefit to a child's developing brain.  It's well worth your time to read it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bible Journaling

This is a good thought for those first few important weeks
of school when we are trying to instill procedures into our students.
If we get discouraged and give up during this crucial struggle,
we'll be fighting the battle all.year.long!

Although this has nothing to do with students, teachers, or school, it is something I wanted to share with you.  I overhead a Bible Journaling class while I was cropping at my local scrapbook store.  I followed up by buying a couple of lettering books, getting a few supplies, creating a Pinterest board, and giving it a whirl.  

Needless to say, I fell in love with it!  I hope I get better as time goes by.  It's a wonderful way to reflect on a single verse while you are working the design.


If you are a Bible journaler too, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


You may remember I reviewed Clark Burbidge's trilogy, Giants in the Land, on my blog here, here, and here.  Recently the first book of his new series was released, StarPassage: The Relic.


This page-turner is a young adult fantasy that revolves around the Carter family.  They are struggling to deal with the parent's PTSD and depression that threaten  to tear the family apart.  A unique ancient relic guides them through several time travel experiences in the family's search for healing.  Dangerous events in history and frightening shadowy figures who are after the relic create a highly suspenseful story.  


Put this on your must-read list.  I can't wait to read Burbidge's second book in this series.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez


Looking for a new read-aloud for your primary-grade class?  They may enjoy this book.  Four strangers become friends and go on an interesting journey together to a unique island.  


Some challenging vocabulary here and there provide good discussion points.  That and lengthy sentences make this a better read-aloud than read-alone for beginning readers.  The story line is cute, and I especially like the art work.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Disney World of Schools

As I begin my 45th year of teaching, I recognize how blessed I am to be at an amazing new school, Central Elementary.  It's so brand new the workers are still completing it.  For the first day we had classrooms, restrooms, and a cafeteria that were functional, so we were good to go.  


In my career I have opened three new buildings.  This is by far the most amazing of any school I have experienced.  I want to give you a tour of the building. Because there is still machinery completing the front of the building, I'll wait to post a picture of it.

The sun shines above the office area.
The street entrance is to the left
side of the picture.

This is the view across the front lobby
to the back entrance.  Above you can
see the window looking down from the
second floor.  See our cloud-shaped lights?
This is the beautiful color scheme of the building.

Life principles are scattered throughout the building.
A colorful bulletin board is by each
life principle.

This view is looking down the hall toward the K
and PreK room.  Note how the trim near the
ceiling glows.

This is the entryway to the Commons.  The
students can slip in and wash their hands in
the restroom before going to lunch.  Notice the
girls' side is on the left in this one.

The boys' bathroom is on the left
side of the washing station.  Note
the little girl in tile.  The other side
has a boy, naturally.  Lights come
on automatically when  a student
walks into the stall area.

The Tree of All Seasons is in the middle of
the front lobby.  Many 1st-day-of-school
photos were taken here.  There will soon be
a wrap-around base at the base of the tree.

 The library entrance is by the word summer.
Here's a 2nd-floor view of the mosaic tile
in the front lobby.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Speak Success

I ran across this article I would encourage everyone to read. We all (parents and teachers) need to monitor what we say better so we do speak lack and failure into the children we are around - and reinforce it in our own lives.  Thanks, author Lisa Winter, for this good reminder.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Good Parenting!!

The importance of reading to children daily from (and even before) birth cannot be stressed enough.  It is the greatest influence on a child's future academic success.

I ran across these videos today. Click here  and here.  This two-year-old's reaction to the story his mom, Shara Newell, is reading is one of sheer delight.  It's obvious Mommy has given him a priceless give -- a love of reading.  Good job Shara!!

Such familiarity with the story did not take place after hearing it once or twice.  It took multiple readings with great enthusiasm every time to result in this little one's participation to this extent. 

So don't be discouraged, parents, when your little one asks for the same story the 29th time in a row.  Besides reinforcing a precious parent-child bond over the book, you are painlessly developing wonderful skills, such as increased attention span, listening skills, written/spoken word association, understanding story structure, vocabulary, listening and visual comprehension, etc., etc.