Category Archives: books

The Book Box is Here!


I got my Scholastic book order today!  And I scored on this book order.  First, I got $15 worth of free books, with which I purchased:


Fly Guy books! Ten Fly Guy books!  My kids love Fly Guy, and I have a few, but ten is much  better than what I have.  Fly Guy now has his own box (box 15) to live in.

I also got these:


I don’t know why the picture posted like that.  I’ve uploaded it three times, and it still posts sideways.  Anyway, I got 9 chapter books for free.  They’re probably too hard for my class, but they like trying to read chapter books, so it’s good to have them.

I also got a couple of the “I am” books by Brad Meltzer.  I got I am Martin Luther King Jr. and one other one (can’t remember which).  They look cute and I’ve heard that kids really like them.  I need more biographies, so I think they’ll be a good investment.

Other than that, it was a pretty typical Monday.  My sub did… okay, I think.  He didn’t leave me any notes telling me what he did and did not finish, so that’s frustrating.  Worse, I left a math creativity project for them to do.  It was a spider where they wrote a number in the center of the spider and then wrote 8 number sentences on the legs showing how to get that number.  I bought it from Cranberry Creations on TPT for two reasons: 1) during the math walk through a few weeks ago, it was noted that we don’t have much student math work up and 2) I thought it would be an easier activity for the sub to do than the first chapter 4 lesson.  Plus, I hate starting a new chapter on a Friday.

He had the kids take the spiders home.  I wrote in the plans to make sure the students wrote their names and numbers on the back of the spiders, but I forgot to write, “collect the spiders.”  I’m so used to subs collecting all the work they do, it slipped my mind.  It didn’t for some of the other things, but this one…

Luckily not everyone finished, and a few kids still had their finished spiders in their backpacks.  So, it’s not totally salvageable, but I am so frustrated about it.  I wanted a cute bulletin board to put up that was seasonal and math topical, and because I forgot three little words, it’s turned into a mess.

Speaking of messes, we started RTI today.    I sent my groups off to their teachers and, two minutes later, one group comes back saying that no one was there.  I called the office and was told that they were aware of the problem and were trying to figure out what to do.  They never got back to me.   So, the way we are doing RTI now is we’ve grouped the kids into  six groups: three groups go to the three second grade teachers and then three groups go to an aide.  Not one aide was prepared or told that we were starting.  This is after we had a meeting again last Wednesday and being assured that it was going to start on Monday.  And also, we were told that we had to start this week or the district might step in and not allow us to try the experiment we’re doing.  Well, we’re trying to get it started, and yet the support still isn’t there.  Again, frustrated.  Mess.

But, overall, the day went well.  A good start to the week.


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I Have a Problem

I went to Target for two things: a shirt and some candy.  My apartment was shockingly bereft of candy, save for a few Wintergreen Lifesavers, and those weren’t cutting it.  Luckily, it’s candy season, so stocking up wasn’t going to be a problem.

This is the problem:


(Ignore Cobbler; he ran over the moment he realized something was on the floor.)

I didn’t mean to buy books.  I just placed a Scholastic book order and ordered a bunch of books from there (including a bunch of Fly Guy books, since my kids love Fly Guy).  But the Little Critter books were on sale for $3.  How could I say no?  And I needed the Flair Pens because one of my Cass Dojo rewards is write with pen.  I have one set of pens, and one day, I had three kids who wanted to write with pen.  One of the students reminded me of the problem, so I said I’d buy pens this weekend.  And the mini Post-its were, well, because I’m out of mini Post-its.

That’s it, though.  I swear I’m not buying any more books… for a least a week.

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Topsy Turvy Day

Tomorrow, the district administration is doing a walk-through of our school.  They might be doing all the schools and starting with ours; I’m not sure.  They are coming through to observe us teaching math from 8:05-10:00.  The problem?  Most of us don’t teach math until after first recess.  I don’t get to it until 10:30.

“No problem!” administration says.  “Just flip flop your schedule and teach math in the morning.”

And I love change so much.  *sigh*  I just hope I remember.  I keep reminding myself, I’ve already changed my schedule cards so math is first, but I have this horrible feeling that I’ll get into the morning routine and then just naturally follow my schedule and forget about math.  Maybe I’ll write a note on my hand or something.

Barnes and Noble is having Educator Appreciation this week, so I went yesterday.  First, I went to Renaissance Faire and had a good time.  Then, I changed out of my costume in the parking lot and drove Barnes and Noble.  Like I said before, I live a half hour away from the nearest Barnes and Noble; since I was already up in the area, I figured it’d be silly not to go, even though I was covered in faire dirt and exhausted.

I was underwhelmed by the options for the most part.  There were a few free posters (which I forgot to get) and a raffle (that I hope I win), but otherwise… meh.  I did get these:


I’m excited that the Cars book and Sleepy Dog are below first grade reading level, because I have quite a few students reading at those levels and only a few books. This will add to that collection.

I didn’t buy more for the class because I have Scholastic Book Orders due on Friday, and will be buying from them.  Scholastic is cheaper and usually gives free books for every so much you spend.  Better to buy from them, even with my educator discount from B&N.

I did also get the the first Magnus Chase book by Rick Riordan.  Well, the first and the third.  B&N was having a special where if you bought the third book, you got any other Rick Riordan book 1/2 off.  I’ve been meaning to read Magnus Chase for awhile, so this seemed like the opportunity to start.

I am exhausted today.  This is why I go to Ren Faire on Saturday.  I need a day to recover.  And then back to the grind tomorrow.


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Read Alouds

In the craziness of my daily schedule, the thing I miss the most is being able to read aloud to my students.  When I first started teaching, I had 15 minutes a day to read out loud.  I did it every day after lunch.  Now, I’m lucky if I get 5 minutes.  This week, I think I got 5 minutes total.  I’m reading The One and Only Ivan to my kids, but this week I read Room on the Broom because I thought it’d be a nice change for the season and I thought I’d have time to read on other days.  I didn’t.  And the worst thing is, the kids don’t miss it because it’s not a consistent part of the routine and they don’t know to miss it (and, possibly, the book I’m reading might be beyond their grasp.  At least right now.  I might have been too ambitious).

I don’t remember my 1-3 grade teacher reading out loud to us, although she must have, at least some time.  But when I got to fourth grade, it was routine.  I remember almost every book my 4-5 grade teacher read.  The Magician’s Nephew; Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ( in that order).  I remember her looking for Turkish Delight for us to try, but she never found it (I do remember the first time I had Turkish Delight; it was rose flavored.  I liked it, but wouldn’t betray anyone for it).  She read 21 Balloons and By the Great Horned Spoon and Five Children and It (which was unfortunate, because the bullies in class immediately started calling one of the kids in class “It”).  There were many more books she read (Detectives in Togas, which I read to my first class, and Greek Slave Boy, which I found again after many years of searching). She read Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, which I loved to much, I wrote and illustrated a sequel for her.  Those read alouds were important to me, and I’m sad I can’t give that to my students.

I remember my first class. I taught sixth grade and decided to read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.  I’d read it before and therefore thought I was prepared to get through the whole book.

I wasn’t.

One day, I was reading along and getting to the emotional climax of the story when, suddenly, to my horror, I realized I wasn’t going to make it.  My throat was closing and my eyes were burning and, yup.  I was going to cry. And it wasn’t going to be pretty.  My kids hadn’t realized what was happening in the story yet, so there I was, getting choked up, and they had no idea why.  It was embarrassing.

But not quite as embarrassing as the first time I cried in front of a class.  I was subbing and the class was difficult.  Not horrible, but it’d been a rough day.  The teacher had left me a book about Hiroshima to read for the kids, and they were really into it, so I kept reading.  I was fine, I was fine, I was fine and then, quite abruptly, I was not fine in any sense of the word.  I just started crying so hard because of the horrors I was reading.  I’d never heard a class as quiet as that class.  It was silent.

They were much better the rest of the day.

It’s important to read aloud to kids.  It helps build vocabulary and understanding of language.  It stimulates imagination, improves literacy skills.  And it’s fun.  It’s comforting and low stress.  It’s a shame that reading aloud is not a priority for my district.  I’m desperately trying to carve out five minutes a day and will continue to do so.  It’s just going to have to take a little bit of imagination.

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“That’s damn right”

Disclaimer: I don’t like it when people shout things out at  movies or plays, unless you’re supposed to (or it’s a kid who doesn’t know any better).  I mean, you’re there to enjoy the professionals and, even if they aren’t that good, chances are, you ain’t as funny as you think you are.  And it’s especially disrespectful if it’s a live performance because being on stage is hard, y’all, and having to keep in character when something unexpected happens isn’t fun.

That being said…

(spoilers for The Little Mermaid stage musical to follow)

So Ariel gets her voice back and her father gives her legs and swims her up to the surface.  Eric is so happy, he gets down on one knee and asks Triton if he can marry Ariel.  And then, miracle of miracles, Triton said, “I believe my daughter can speak for herself.” (! 🙂 🙂 🙂 !)

And someone in the audience said, very loudly, “That’s damn right.”  Which, yes, see above disclaimer, but… yeah.  It’s damn right she can speak for herself.  So, yeah.  That made it fun.  Or, funny, at least.

I liked the play.  It wasn’t transcendent like Lion King (if that’s the right word), but it was a lot of fun.  I liked how they expanded on Eric and his relationship with Ariel was sweet.  I really enjoyed it.

And, on my way home, I stopped at Barnes and Noble.  The plan was a) renew my educator card, b) get something to read and c) maybe get a game.  I did the first two, but decided to hold off on the game (even though I’ve got someone coming over Friday to play games.  But I’ll check Target).  I didn’t mean to get books for the classroom, because I’ve got book orders due soon and I’m buying from that, but…


I’ve read The Hallo-Wiener before and it’s cute.  I read Room on the Broom at the store, and it was adorable.  And How to Catch a Monster was only $7.99 if you bought a children’s book, and I was already doing that.  How can you pass on getting a $17 hardback book for eight bucks?  How?  Besides, I need to increase my holiday read aloud collection because right now I have… nothing.  I’ve got hundreds of books for the kids to read, but nothing I really have set aside to read to them (Except Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.)  So, this year, I am building my collection of all holiday books.  It’s my mission.

Also, as you may have guessed from the tail in the above picture, the second I put the books down to take their pictures, this happened:


For those not in the know, that is my cat, Cobbler.  He owns everything on the floor. It’s the rule.


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Another Busy Week Ahead

Sometimes, I don’t understand my district.  It’s like they go out of their way to make things as difficult as possible for the teachers.  Take next week, for example.  We are supposed to work on progress reports next week.  We fill out out the computerized form saying how they are doing in each subject, and then fill out comments.  Filling in the form doesn’t take long (in fact, I’m already done), but the comments do.  Especially because over half of them need to be in Spanish.  I don’t speak Spanish, so I need to either run my comments through Google Translate or hunt through my comment books for comment appropriate for my students.  I usually do the former, even though it makes me nervous since Google Translate is notoriously unreliable.  I remember when I was trying to tell my parents to have their children count change and Google Translate translated it as “cambio”, which is not what I wanted.

Plus, I like to make my comments specific to each child, so I don’t use the preprinted ones that come with the program and I don’t like using professionally published books (although I get ideas from them sometimes).  So, it takes awhile.

So what does my district decide to do?  Hold meetings during the week.  The first isn’t their fault; my principal and the PBIS committee (which I’m on) decided to meet on Monday after school.  But the second meeting is the district.  We’re having grade level collaboration for the whole district on Wednesday.  Why it has to be next week instead of the week after, I don’t know.  I honestly think that the district expects us to do progress reports on our own time, which isn’t fair.  We should be able to do it during our prep time.  But every year, this is what happens.  And I didn’t it easier on myself because I scheduled an appointment on Thursday.

But, I’ll get it done.  I always do.  But I’ll still complain because it’s just not fair.

In other new, I’m decorating my room for fall tomorrow.  I’ve never done that before, but a) I’m in the mood and b) I’m trying to make my room prettier and more engaging.  I found this sign at Michael’s:


I also bought some leaves at the Dollar Store.  The sign is going to go on my cabinets and the leave will go on the cabinets and the board (I think).  I’ll do it tomorrow morning and take pictures.  I hope it’ll look good.  I’m not very good at decorating.  My apartment is all superhero art I got at Comic Con.  Grown-up decorations baffle me.

I finished What Teacher’s Make and am now looking for something else to read.  I was going to try The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but the lack of quotation marks bugs me.  Any suggestions?


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Teaching with Migraines

Teaching with a migraine suuuuuucks, y’all.  My patience tanks, but desire to be there dissolves, and I’m not in my best.  Luckily, today, the migraine didn’t surface during the day.  I woke up in the middle of the night with one, took medication, woke up feeling okay, got through the day, and, BAM!, it hit during collaboration.  Which I can deal with.  But I was crankier and less patient than I want to be, so, overall, it wasn’t as successful a day as I was hoping for.

I did get a bulletin board done.  The space above my board didn’t have any background to it; I was just putting posters up.  It looked ugly.  So, I threw up some fabric I had, surrounded it with border, redid a couple of anchor charts to fit, and now it looks better.  I still feel like my room is really ugly, but it’d a little better.  No pictures, because I didn’t take any.

www wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

  1. What are you reading?


I a reading Warcross by Marie Lu.  It is about a virtual reality game called Warcross, the creator Hideo Tanaka, and the bounty hunter/hacker, Emika Chen he hires to find the person trying to take the game–and Hideo with it.  It’s good and I’m enjoying it.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I finished The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It’s about a gorilla who’s part of a zoo inside a shopping mall and how he goes from being resigned to his fate to actively trying to get a better life, not just for him, but for Ruby, a baby elephant who’s also a resident of the zoo.  It’s a really good book and I’ve decided to try and read it to my kids, even though it’s an emotionally fraught book.  And it’s longer than anything I’ve read to second grade.  But, I thought I’d give it a try.  If it doesn’t work and they’re not into it, we can always drop it.

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure, and that’s bad because I’m probably going to finish Warcross tonight.  I’m considering reading What Teacher’s Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World by Taylor Mali because I’m really into teaching right now (which is good–it’s my job) and I liked his poem on teaching.

What are you all reading?  Or what do you recommend I read next?


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Teaser Tuesday


I am doing two teasers this week because I’m reading two books.  The first is from The Last Girl by Joe Hart.  Truth be told, I’m not enjoying it very much.  It’s not poorly written, but I don’t like the characters, I don’t like the plot, and I don’t care about what’s going to happen next.  It’s the first in a trilogy, and the thought of reading two more books in this universe fills me with dread.  I’m thinking of dropping it, but I’m already 78% of the way through and it seems a waste not to just finish it.  That way, I can see if any of what I’ve read is worth it.  I’m not usually one to finish books I don’t enjoy, but I’m so close.

last girl

Anyway, my teaser:

Tia steers the vehicle up to the side of the building away from the road and shuts it of.  In the quiet that rushes in with the absence of the motor’s growl, a new sound takes precedence.

Teaser Two:

pride and prejudice

My second teaser comes from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it because it was silly and I like Sam Reilly.   However, it seemed like the film maker got halfway through the book and went “Eh, I just want to end this now,” so I was denied Pemberley and all the scenes of Lizzy coming around towards Darcy.  I’ve since watched the 1995 version of the movie and then decided to read the book again, since, as I mentioned before, I’m not enjoying the other book.

Had she found Jane in any apparent danger, Mrs. Bennet would have been very miserable; but being satisfied on seeing that her illness was not alarming, she had no wish of her recovering immediately, as her restoration to health would probably remove her from Netherfield. She would not listen, therefore, to her daughter’s proposal of being carried home; neither did the apothecary, who arrived about the same time, think it at all advisable. Ch. 9, pg. 42

That’s all for this week.  I hope to join you next week with a teaser to two of books I love whole-heartedly!


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Teaser Tuesday and Quote of the Week


Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

There are no pets allowed within the walls of the ARC.  She could hear Miss Gwen’s high, nasally voice teling them that the virus could be carried not only by people, but animals as well, and if they were to ever find one to notify a Cleric or guard immediately. The Last Girl by Joe Hart

I finally finished the Under the Never Sky trilogy.  It concluded in a satisfactory way.


Quote of the week:

The dream is to keep surprising yourself, never mind the audience.  Tom Hiddleston

I found myself repeating that quote quite a lot a couple shows ago.  I loved the part and never wanted to feel like I was repeating myself.  So, every night, I’d remind myself to surprise myself somehow.  If only I’d had that enthusiasm on the last show I did…

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WWW Wednesday

www wednesday

This is a weekly reading meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish?

I always do this one first because I always seem to be in the middle of a series, and it makes the most sense for me.  This week is no different.

ever night

I just finished Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.  The second in the Under the Never Sky trilogy, this one picks up where the first left off.  Aria has been given the mission to obtain the location of the Still Blue from Tribal Lord Sable.  In exchange for the information, Hess, a Dweller in charge of Reverie, will make sure Perry’s nephew Talon is safe.  Meanwhile, Perry is struggling with the reality of being leader of this people.

It was a good read, but, again, I have no strong opinions of it either way.  It was diverting, but not very deep or exciting.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Into the Still Blue, the last of the Never Sky trilogy.  I’m enjoying it, and I was thrilled the other night at once scene.  Basically, Aria has to deal with a difficult Dweller, Soren, who is acting like a total ass to the Tides, Perry’s tribe.  Instead of taking the opportunity to showcase her acerbic wit or deliver a cutting monologue as to Soren’s new reality, as I’ve come to expect with YA (actually, most genre lit), Aria completely derailed the situation using diplomacy and tact.  It was amazing.  It made me like the book better than the others in the trilgoy based on that one scene.

I just want to clarify that I don’t mind acerbic wit or cutting monologue’s, it was just nice to see something else.  Actually, the  moment really reminded me of a teacher handling a difficult student, and I love seeing examples of good classroom management.

What do you think you’ll read next?

last girl

I’m going to read The Last Girl by Joe Hart.  It’s a Kindle First read about one of the last women on Earth after a mysterious epidemic causes the female population to plummet.  I’ve already read Y: The Last Man and Children of Men; this looks to be along a similar vein.  I hope it’s good.



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