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December 3, 2012

The Best Gifts

As I gear up for the holiday season life gets crazier. I had to take a moment and express gratitude for all that I have been given. I truly could not ask for anything else this holiday season. My husband has a great job, we have food to eat, a roof over our head, and we received the best gift in November. I have a healthy baby boy! I hope you understand that I will be spending less time blogging and more time soaking up every precious moment.

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

October 24, 2012

Till We Meet Again

I've been struck by a vicious stomach bug. I will be back eventually. Happy fall everyone.

October 18, 2012

October Reads

I have been reading like a mad woman recently. It's one of the few things that I feel I can do comfortably as a nine month pregnant person. (At least before I fall asleep. I have the hardest time staying awake right now.) Recently this led to me finding all kinds of cool books. I've been meaning to share them with you, but then Rachel shared her awesome post of Halloween Books and I felt like I had missed the party. I felt it again when Amy shared her favorite Monster Books. Seriously, with so many talented bloggers out there how am I supposed to keep up?

But I decided as long as I shared DIFFERENT books with you, you'd still pat me on the back and visit my blog again. Right? No. Hmmm. Well. At least I shared them with you and you have more options to look for in the future. Make sure you check out the two talented ladies above as well.

My October Book Picks:

Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Halloween: This book is perfect for encouraging fine motor practice, creativity, and engaging fast finishers. I recommend getting a coy of the book, copying out your favorite step by step sequence and placing it in a center with scrap paper, stationary, and books/paper for story writing. Have students illustrate their stories, add pictures to letters, or just work on developing their fine motor and sequence.

Andy Shane and the Pumpkin Trick: This book would be perfect for an October read aloud. It is a smal chapter book with fun characters. Andy needs to stop the pumpkin smashers from destroying Halloween. Have your student's write their own solution before you finish reading the book.

Dr. Pompo's Nose: You can't help but smile as you read this book. The pictures are amazing, the storyline is unique, and it lends itself perfectly to a writing activity. In the story one of the characters loses her nose. Other pumpkins who stumble upon it come up with all kinds of unique uses for it. Gather random items from around your home/classroom. Place them into a paper bag. Have each student reach in and come up with a new use for that item and write about it. Encourage them to be as creative as possible. Don't want to go around collecting 20+ items? (I don't blame you!) Have students work in small groups or write a story as a class. I think this would be a super cute class book if you took pictures of your students using whatever random object you decided to use in new ways.

Boo!: This book is adorable! It is perfect for young picture readers. The only word in the entire book is "Boo!" The pictures add so much more depth to the story. Students will feel confident as they read the pictures and words.
Working with older students who need to add more detail to their writing/illustrations? Read the book to them without showing them the pictures. It goes really fast. Then read it to them with the pictures. Explain how you can expand sentences to include more detail or add detail to illustrations in the text. Give each student a page to expand upon. Encourage them to use descriptive words, action verbs, and lots of details.

The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat: This book is perfect for beginning readers. It features a lot of words from the -at word family. Perfect for developing confidence and indulging in the Halloween spirit.

October 10, 2012

Common Core Vocabulary Part 2

I recently did a post about introducing common core vocabulary using books. You can read that post here. Today I would like to share some of the resources I found online about vocabulary instruction in the classroom.

Vocabulary journals
I know that for me personally, writing something down helps me to process new information.

Vocabulary graphic organizers
Great for visual learners, these sheets can be combined into a class book.

Teaching techniques for vocabulary
  • The Second Grade Super Kids introduces TPR. Total Physical Response is very helpful for kinesthetic and visual learners.
  • Mrs. Castro's uses shared writing to cement new vocabulary words.
  • Ms. M introduced the idea of creating themed vocabulary books for your class. You can use illustrations from books you are reading or have your students illustrate it.
  • Hello Literacy introduces Marzano's Six Steps to vocabulary 
  • Hello Literacy introduces making your own vocabulary posters using bighugelabs
  • Clutter-Free Classroom introduces new vocabulary using blanks and context clues

Reviewing vocabulary
  • Ashleigh's Education Journey has a game called "A Mile a Minute." It is a review game she makes for specific areas in the curriculum. Right now she has a a science and math set for free on her blog. 
  • 3rd Grade Gridiron has a customizable word search up for free on her TpT store.

Know any other great resources I should add to the list? Leave me a comment. 
Look for more Common Core Vocabulary blogging soon. :)

October 8, 2012

Common Core Vocabulary Part 1

As I studied the Common Core one theme that seemed to reoccur often was vocabulary. Students are expected to "build strong content knowledge" across a "wide range of subject matter." They are expected to learn both "general knowledge" and "discipline-specific expertise." (p. 7 ELACC) Students are also expected to "interpret words and phrases" and be able to "read and comprehend complex texts independently." (P. 10 ELACC)

What does that mean to me as a teacher? It means I need to spend more time teaching my students how to understand words by context and provide them with opportunities to expand their vocabularies. This week I discovered a new book that I think would be perfect for introducing this concept.

How many of you have heard of Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis?

I actually love a lot of her books including: I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem and Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day. I love that her books introduce big words with kid friendly descriptions and fun illustrations.

My favorite part of Big Words for Little People is the introductory poem:
"I know some big words. I'll teach them to you. Although you are small, you can use big words too. Big words aren't scary. They're big fun to learn. I was taught once and now it's your turn."

Children can learn big words. We just need to give them the opportunity. Need more great ideas on books that teach vocabulary? Check out the following: Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy Series, the Geronimo Stilton Series, and Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Do you have any favorite series that teach vocabulary?

I have also seen some amazing ideas about vocabulary instruction from other bloggers. I'm in the process of combining them into one lovely post. Stay tuned for updates. 

October 6, 2012

Common Core Concerns

The Common Core is new. In an effort to understand more about it I am reading anything and everything I can about the subject. Some reviews of the Common Core are positive. Some reviews are negative. Some talk about the similarities and some the differences. But each article/post I read helps me develop a better idea of what exactly the Common Core means to me.

Yesterday I read a post by Hello Literacy's Jennifer Jones. (A Reading Specialist in North Carolina) She recently gave two amazing power points about integrating the common core to teachers. These power points and a a free questioning resource are included in her post. If you too are still full of questions about the Common Core I highly recommend taking the time to pop over and reading her post.

As I read, I took notes on the things that seemed important to me. I'd like to take a moment over the next week or so and talk about my impressions. My first impression? The Common Core is rigorous. It expects more of our students and more from our teachers.  I love to see that it is moving towards making connections across curriculum and understanding why the things we learn are important.  But I am also confused at the gaps in some of the standards. I love to see more of an emphasis on understanding text and moving to higher level thinking. But I am not always sure how to align that into my teaching.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with questions. If I am, well you are just going to have to sit through several posts. I find that once I put my thoughts into words for another person I am able to see the holes in my thinking. So thank you for being my sounding board. I hope that you learn something too.

October 4, 2012

Currently and the Common Core

I love Fall! I wish that California understood the changes of the seasons. Unfortunately it is still warm here and the leaves are refusing to change colors. In Utah we would be sleeping with our windows open under nice thick blankets. Here in California we are camped in front of the AC or a fan. At least I don't have to deal with snow right?

On to my life currently. If you haven't heard of Farley's Monthly Currently Parties you are in for a treat. Each month she asks teachers around the world what is current in their lives. I love reading about my friends and sharing a little bit more about my little piece of the world.

My husband and I are sitting next to each other on our respective computers plugging away. He is programming and I am catching up on blogs, pinterest, facebook, and politics.

Today (or is it yesterday since it is after 12?) I finished two new projects. I am so proud of myself. I even aligned them to the common core. I'm still trying to learn more about implementing the common core. This post, by Hello Literacy and the power points it contains are my new homework. I plan on learning a bit more and hopefully creating two more things before the week is up.

I need to learn more about politics, but I'm not sure where to start. Anyone have some pointers?

I am making slow progress on my son's nursery. We bought his crib and I started washing 0-3 clothes and putting them in his dresser. I'm excited and a little overwhelmed. Apparently we have a million size 1 diapers and only one package of newborn. Do people just think my baby is going to be chunky? I can understand. I guess. I have kind of "popped" in the last week or so.

Is it ever not a good time to eat a piece of pie? I have had the munchies all day long. I think I might just have to cave and bake myself a pie tomorrow. (Though I might end up eating it all myself and my doctor will chastise me. I've already decided not to tell her about the ENTIRE carton of cookie dough ice cream that has disappeared in the last month.) Anyone volunteer to help me eat a pie? No? Maybe I will stick with the pile of fresh fruit I have been rationing. I love fresh apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas!

Picking just one book is hard. So look forward to my comprehensive list of favorite fall books in the near future. I can't wait!

Thank you for a fun linky Farley!

October 3, 2012

Movie Reviews

Soon there will be two movies in theaters about the power of teachers. I recently had the opportunity to see both of them and wanted to share my thoughts with you. 

I saw the first a couple of weeks ago, "Here Comes the Boom.


The synopsis listed on IMDb says, "A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school." I do not generally like Kevin James' movies, but I will have to make an exception here. I thought the movie was fun, inspiring, and worth telling others about. 

I loved that Mr. Voss (Kevin James) did not start off the movie as an idealistic teacher who ended up sacrificing everything he has. (Anyone remember Freedom Writers?As a teacher I love the message that one person can change a lot, but I hated the fact that she had to loose everything in order to do so. I think there can be a balance.) Mr. Voss starts the movie as a burnt out former teacher of the year. While his motives to finance the schools extra-curricular activities do not start out with the students in mind, that is what drives him in the end. He was inspired to change his teaching and inspire his students.

The second movie I saw was, "Won't Back Down." 


The synopsis, "Two determined mothers­, one a teacher, look to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children." I liked and hated this movie all at the same time. While I think it is worth seeing, I was disappointed in how teachers and unions were represented.

The message of this movie is true. We can change education for the better! Every child deserves to learn and there are parts of our school system that are broken.  But I can't say for sure that destroying unions is going to fix that

I know that there are schools where teachers and students have lost hope. I know of teachers who lost their love of children and teaching, but continued onward in order to reach their retirement goals. I know of teachers who should have been fired, but weren't.  But I also know of countless teachers who are striving daily to help their students. (Hello, you just need to look at the teacher bloggers out there.) I know of good union leaders who want what is best for students and teachers. 

What do you think?

Have you seen either of these movies?

October 2, 2012

Do you like color?

My husband is convinced that I should quit teaching and go to graphic design school. I think teaching is a much better bet.  My older and younger sister? Man are they crafty. They would rock at graphic design. Which is probably why one studied art history and the other studied advertising and photography. Me? I'm convinced that I have very few artistic bones in my body.

But I do like to create things. And sometimes when you create things it is helpful to know what colors go well together. Growing up I assumed that if it was all one color it was ok. Imagine a girl with braces, glasses, and her nose in a book, wearing all different shades of blue. Yes that was me. My little sister always tried to catch me before I went out the door.

Anyways. Creating things means I need help with my colors. Enter is my brilliant friend's suggestion. Colour Lovers. Yes, it is spelled funny. Crazy Brits! But boy do I love it. And it is free. One of my favorite words.

You can go on, create your own colors, color palettes, or patterns. Sounds a little intense? Don't be scared. I managed to do it. And if it becomes too much you can just borrow someone else's palette, pattern, or color. There are tons and tons to look at and choose. 


Why I bring this up?

How many of you have ever used Wordle before? It is an awesome program where you type in a list of words or a full story and it automatically turns them into a beautiful word cloud. Like this:  

But to be honest, sometimes it is not nearly as cute. Which is where colour lovers comes in. You can make a custom palette and then use those colors in Wordle to make truly amazing posters.

You start with the regular create button and then the real magic happens. 
Click on color, scroll down past all the set palettes and hit edit custom palette.

A little window like this one should pop up:

Use the hex colors on colourlovers to change the colors to your new favorites. The hex colors are the ones to the left. 

Tada! You are set!

September 29, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Common Core is the new buzz word in United States Education. Students and teachers alike are being held to higher standards. Since it is a relatively new concept, it is sometimes hard to find support or resources. Two weeks ago, I posted about a review about a resource for Kindergarten*. This week I wanted to post about a resource for First Grade Common Core teachers and parents.

This book is full of worksheets and activities for all First Grade Common Core Math and English standards. My favorite part is the table of contents. It lists each standard with page numbers for a unique activity. I downloaded the free preview (Click on the free preview link. Look for the orange link at the end of the description.) It had a lot of cute, kid friendly ideas and worksheets similar to what you might find on Teachers Pay Teachers. (Another great resource for those tackling the CC.)  I also saw worksheets that would be challenging for First Grade students.

The book costs $39.99. While I realize that is a bit steep for someone on a teacher's budget I think it might be helpful for those of you who want to learn more and need some guidance.  You will have to look for yourself and decide if purchasing this book is right for you.

Are you a blogger? Want to receive the book for free? Write a review of your own. Check out this link TODAY!

*In full disclosure: By blogging about the Kindergarten resource two weeks ago, and this resource today I am receiving a free copy.

September 28, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll - Giveaway

I love Fall! I have to say it is my favorite season. I get to wear jeans and warm sweaters as I watch the leaves change on the few trees that resist the California message that it is summer all year. (I admit Utah does do fall better, but it's winter is not my favorite.) I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin steamers, and pumpkin pie. (Do you sense a theme here?) I love soup season and cold nights snuggled down in a blanket. I wish that fall started sooner and lasted longer.

How do you prepare for fall? This last week I bought a decorative pumpkin and turkey at Target. Best $5 I spent this week! They make me smile every time I look at them. This week I also started breaking out my tried and true soup recipes. Mom's Homemade Chowder, White Bean Chicken Chili, and Lionhouse Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup will be staples in my home for the next couple of months.

I have been racking my brain for a good couples costume idea for Halloween. Anyone already know what they will dress up as? I'm struggling. Any ideas for a someone who will be almost 9 months pregnant? No? Yeah. Me either.

In case you missed the subtle hint above, I love Fall and all that comes with it. I love sharing this excitement with my friends, family, and the children in my life.  Because I love you all so much, I decided to share some free fun fall ideas. Let me know if you have some that you would like to add to the list.

You Have Been Booed! by Life with Mrs. L - Start a secret treat chain reaction with this free sign. You can do it personally, as a class, or with your kids at home.
October Behavior Chart by Busy Bees
Pumpkin Ordinals by Sea Bear's Kindergarten
Pumpkin Symmetry by Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten - In the middle of the post.
Pumpkin Data by Sailing Through 1st Grade
Developing Fine Motor Skills with Golf Tees and a Pumpkin by I Can Teach My Child
Fall Mini Pack by All Students Can Shine

Odd and Even Sort by Learning Ideas K-8
Ghost Hunt A Writing Activity with Prepositional Phrases by Lesson Plan SOS
Ghost Linky Party hosted by Graphics From the Pond - Not all of these are free, but there are over 30 links! Check it out.
Ghost Fact Families by Buggy for Second Grade

Monster Party Fractions by Oh My Little Classity Class
I Need My Monster Writing by 3rd Grade Gridiron
Monster Adjective Word Bank by Sailing Through 1st Grade
Monster Sentences by Pitner's Potpourri
Monster Mash Compare and Contrast by Crazy for First Grade
(I think Monster Adjectives and Compare and Contrast would work perfectly together. Have your students complete the compare and the contrast, then draw a monster of their own to compare and contrast with a friend's monster.)

Playdough Mats by Teaching Heart
20 Fall Fun Fast Finisher Task Cards by Rachel Lynette

And because I really like you all, I decided to share my Halloween Howls: Classroom Management Using Jokes and my Spooky Behavior Management Coloring Mini-Pack. This is my first attempt at using Rafflecopter, so I really hope I didn't mess it up somehow.

Click below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 26, 2012

Finding Peace and Quiet

Recently a couple of friends recommended this book to me:


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I put it on hold at the library and waited until I got an email telling me it had arrived. Am I the only one who anxiously waits for new books? New books and book shopping are better than clothes in my opinion. I am a little "unique" and I understand that.

Has anyone else read this? I loved it! It did take me a while to finish because it has tons of references to studies and research that take a little more concentration to understand. (And my pregnant brain struggles staying on task. Having to visit the ladies room all the time might have something to do with that.)

I am an introvert. I do best in small settings of people I know and recharge with quiet evenings at home reading and blogging. I struggle with new things or disagreements. I listen and tend to analyze interactions and relationships. (Often when my husband and I are out together I have to explain why I am giggling. You see and hear the silliest things when you people watch. Please tell me I am not the only one. Am I?) Sometimes I feel like a mouse in a world full of beautiful and talkative birds.

Upon finishing the book, I thought Cain's insights were intelligent and relevant to me as a person and as an educator. Our modern society places a strong emphasis on extroverts. This can be seen in business, society, and even in our classrooms. Think about terms like "class participation, cooperative learning, group work, presentations, defending your argument, and tables." Right now in education there is a huge emphasis on cooperative learning. This can be a good thing, as long as it is used in moderation. (Remember you have introvert students too!) I got so frustrated with my last year of college, because it seemed that every assignment in my major was a group project. People have different time frames, ideas, and plans for a final product. It made me want to pull out my hair. I felt I could have learned more, finished faster, and been less frustrated if I had been able to work on my own at least part of the time. I'm not the only one who felt that way. This is an article from a current junior about her feelings on "cooperative learning."

Source: via Siska on Pinterest

Remember your introverts and your extroverts as you plan lessons and assessments. As I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking I took notes. What good reader doesn't stop to make connections and highlight important ideas? (Don't worry I didn't use a real highlighter in a library book, just post-its.)

Here are somethings I learned that I want to remember in my classroom:
  • Encourage natural passions. It is the little boy who loves reading about marine animals who will be a great scientist. Get books on all kinds of subjects. (National Geographic, Gail Gibbons, Time for Kids, etc.)
  • Teach children that it is ok to be different. (I'm Gonna Like Me, I Like Myself, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, etc.)
  • Teach children how to communicate in small groups, in front of people, and one on one. These are skills they need to pick up before they head off to the business world.
  • Give and teach students roles in group projects. Keep groups small in number. (2-3) Maintain a good balance between independent and group work.
  • Teach children that a lot of people are terrified of new things. (First Day Jitters, Wemberly Worried, Something Might Happen, etc.) Take it slowly. Build up to bigger problems.
  • Teach them it is ok to pretend to be bold. But to remember what makes you comfortable and find a balance in your life.

What do you think?

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? 

What are your thoughts on introverts and extroverts in the classroom? 

September 18, 2012

Secret News

Yesterday I promised if you checked my blog today I would share some of my progress on my pirate unit. You're going to have to wait another day or two. Life has a way of happening fast. To make it up to you I am giving away a copy of my Pirate Puns: Classroom Management Using Jokes. Just in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow. If you still need some resources don't forget to check out my two earlier posts HERE and HERE.

It's a lighting giveaway. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite thing about following my blog. Please make sure you include your email. I will pick a winner later tonight and send it off. Check your email tomorrow to see if you won. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fantastic evening!

This giveaway is now over. Feel free to pick up your own copy of Pirate Puns: Classroom Management Using Jokes in my TpT or TN store.

September 17, 2012

Constitution Day and Good News

Happy Constitution Day!

I'm keeping it simple today. Schoolhouse Rock will always be a favorite of mine. (I may have two copies of it on DVD in case one gets scratched. Because, stuff like that does happen. And I would be so sad.)

I crossed so many things off my to do list today I feel incredibly productive. And I get to cross a couple more off tonight once hubby get home. :) I love feeling like I am moving forward. Tomorrow I am sharing some of the progress I have made on my pirate creations. Make sure you stop by, I promise you will be glad you did.

In other good news, we survived another Monday! Congratulations! Want to celebrate? Make sure you drop by Taming My Flock of Firsties to enter her birthday giveaway. She's giving away a lot of great things, including my Short O Cops and Robbers packet. Hurry her giveaway ends in 6 days!

September 16, 2012

Pirate Books

My husband is out of town, which means I have a little bit more free time than I usually do. That means that I got to explore my local bookstore yesterday. One of my favorite things to do in a bookstore is peruse new titles and find new books to add to my collection. Yesterday I focused on pirate books.

Some of the ones that I fell in love with:

I think A Pirate's Guide to First Gradeis my favorite. It is full of fun pirate phrases. It is perfect for introducing the concept of context clues. Don't worry. There is a glossary in the back for all you land lubbers. ;)

My favorite non-fiction book was You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pirate's Prisoner!: Horrible Things You'd Rather Not Know . It had a lot of great tips and some fun illustrations. I highly recommend it for older grades.

Some others that I still want to check out:
Look Out for Litter (Cloverleaf Books: Planet Protectors)
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC
Do Pirates Take Baths?
Pirates Go to School
The Pirates Next Door
There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish
Pirates by Gail Gibbons
Pirates by Mary Pope Osborne
The Pirate of Kindergarten (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))

What about you? Any favorite pirate books?

September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

The Common Core is being implemented across the United States. It is an exciting and scary time for teachers every where. Teachers are revamping lessons, finding new resources online, and creating a better learning environment for their students.  Whenever I find an amazing resource for teaching Common Core I try to share it with others. You may have seen this one taking bloggers by storm recently:

This book is an amazing resource with worksheets and activities for all Kindergarten Common Core Math and English standards. It only costs $39.99! That is a steal for all the information and time saving activities inside. Make sure you check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Are you a blogger? Want to receive the book for free? Check out this link TODAY! Thanks Cheryl from Crayons and Curls for sharing the great news.

September 14, 2012

Arrr you getting excited?

International Speak Like a Pirate Day is September 19th. Are you getting excited? I am! I love any excuse to bring more fun into the classroom. And what is more fun than pirates? In preparation for Speak Like a Pirate Day I am working on creating some fun pirate resources. Today I finished Pirate Puns - Classroom Management Using Jokes and updated Text Features Treasure Hunt. I plan to work on some more this weekend. Hubby is out of town for a race, so I am keeping myself busy.

I wanted to do all I could to help you get ready. Look at some of the fun FREE resources I have found:

Pirate Math Fast Finishers by yours truly - sudoku, and simple +/- regrouping
Pirate Adventures from Mrs. Freshwater's Class - CVC creation, 1 more 1 less
Pirate Color Charts from Mrs. Jump's Class - Click on the picture of the colored bears. Perfect for team posters.
Pirates Positional Words Interactive Book from Sped-ventures - Link in the middle of the post.
Pirate Classroom Dubloons from Sailing Through 1st Grade - Link at the bottom of the post.
I would love to know what you are doing to celebrate. Anyone have any fun plans or resources?

September 13, 2012

Star Author - Roald Dahl

One of my favorite things to do in my classroom is Star Author. Our study of an author will often last a week. Other times our study will last a couple of weeks. It all depends on who we are studying, the amount of time we have, and the number of books and resources I am able to round up. How busy we are or how much I like an author also tends to have a small impact. :)

Star Author

I pick Star Authors by thinking of the following questions:
  • What are we reading this week?
    • When I used the reading series Treasures I often tried to match our star author to the author of that weeks story.
    • What book are we currently reading aloud as a class?
  • What is on the calendar?
    • Whose birthday is this month?
    • What holidays are we celebrating?
  • What theme are we covering?
    • Some books and people naturally tie in together.
We learn about the author in different ways:
  • Autobiographies
  • Youtube videos
  • Author's websites
  • Brain Pop Jr. Videos - If your school does not have access to these, I highly recommend them
  • Comparing and contrasting the author's books
  • Wikepedia
I love to help my students find new favorite authors, make connections, and sneak in some history, math, writing, and science. I'm so devious. :) 

The reason I bring all this up? Books are my passion! Just ask my husband who recently helped me unpack all my book boxes. (Poor guy. Not only does he have to deal with a hormonal pregnant wife he has to deal with all her books too.) I love reading new books and I love sharing them with other people. Children love to learn about things they find interesting. If I want them to love books as much as I do I need to show them books can be fun, interesting, and worth their time. [Has anyone else read the article What the Kardashians Taught Me About Reading Instruction (No, For Real) ? I really liked it and think it is worth 4 minutes of your time.]

Roald Dahl is one of my all time favorite authors. I went through a stage when I read anything of his I could get my hands on. (I went through a lot of stages and you will probably hear about most of them.) He was funny, different, and I consumed his stories. A boy who created a Marvelous Medicine? A girl who loved books and had amazing powers? A fox who wrecked havoc among the local farmers? Yes. Give it to me. I want to read it.

It was only recently that I learned more about the man himself, which I think is a shame. I wish someone had recognized my enthusiasm and helped me learn more about him as a person. His birthday is today, September 13th. If he were still alive he would be 96 years old. Isn't that amazing?


This last week I have been reading D Is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl a book compiled by Wendy Cooling. I love this book because it is full of random facts about the man himself. It covers each letter of the alphabet with entries from Aardvark to Zoo. Each snippet covers a small part of his life and there are random facts sprinkled throughout.

In an effort to help more people discover this book I made a Roald Dahl Star Author Packet. It contains an alphabet chart to fill in facts, two venn diagrams, a page of helpful links, and the following wordle. Feel free to download it and tell me what you think. I am thinking of adding more to it later and placing a small price on it. So make sure you grab your free copy today.

I love Matilda! I even love the movie almost as much as I love the book. Which is saying something, because most movies come no where near the books when it comes to quality.

What is your favorite Dahl Story?