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The Year of the Book

posted Jan 27, 2015, 6:44 AM by   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 8:35 AM ]

This is a great book about friendship and the Chinese culture.  Check out the sites below for more information on The Year of the Book.

Readers Theater Script – Year of the Book (PDF)

Author Andrea Cheng’s website:

NPR audio interview with Andrea Cheng (9:26):

The Year of the Book Back Story (courtesy of Andrea Cheng)

The Year of the Book Book Blog about “Readwalking” (courtesy of Andrea Cheng)

Illustrator Abigail Halpin’s website:

Book trailer for The Year of the Book:

A short article on Chinese schools in non-Chinese speaking countries:

Includes links to the Chinese zodiac, Chinese food, Chinese festivals,, Chinese writing and more:

Spy Camp

posted Jan 27, 2015, 6:41 AM by   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 AM ]

What kiddo hasn't dreamed about what it would be like to be an actual spy?  Read Spy Camp to find out how kids actually become spies.  For more information about this book, check out the web resources below.

The author’s website:

Print interview with Stuart Gibbs from the publisher’s website:

Print interview with Stuart Gibbs:

Video interview with Gibbs about another of his children’s books, The Last Musketeer (5:21):

Other links to related background information:

CIA official website:

MI6 website:

International Spy Museum in Washington, D. C.:

Espionage, including its history:

Famous spies:

How to be a spy kid:

Skills required for a secret agent:

James Bond/Ian Fleming:

Mapping Locations in Spy Camp:


posted Jan 21, 2015, 7:57 AM by   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 8:01 AM ]

I am so excited to finally be able to blog about Rump.  This was my absolute favorite book from this year's Bluebonnet list.  It gives a new perspective to the old fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. It tells the story from Rump's perspective and readers will discover that perhaps Rumpelstiltskin is not as bad as the fairy tales make him out to be.  If you enjoy the fantasy genre and fairy tales, you will love this book.  It is a great read for both boys and girls.  For more information about this book, check out the web resources below.

Readers Theater Script – Rump (PDF)

Book Trailer by Random House:                                                                                                

The author’s website:

An interview with the author:

Another interview with the author:

Behind the name, the etymology and history of first names:

 Books game

Fun Fairy Tales:
Fractured Fairy Tales student interactive:

Spoonerisms at

Rindercella, a Spoonerism retelling of the Cinderella story

Hee Haw performance of Rindercella:

Magic:                                                                                                                                                                                       Easy magic video lessons and demonstrations to help you learn magic tricks and illusions:          –learn free magic tricks:

Easy beginning magic tricks by Wayne Kawamoto:

Rebel McKenzie

posted Jan 15, 2015, 7:03 AM by   [ updated Jan 15, 2015, 7:04 AM ]

Read Rebel McKenzie to find out what happens when a seemingly nerdy child paleontologist enters a beauty pageant to raise money for summer camp.  Rebel finds out a lot about herself and encounters some adversity along the way.  For more information about this book, please check out the web resources below:

Readers Theater Script – Rebel McKenzie (PDF)

Publisher’s website:

Author’s website:


American Museum of Natural History–Paleontology: The Big Dig:

National Park Service Kid’s Stuff–This page is designed especially for kids. This is the place to find games, activities, books, and other fun ways to learn about paleontology:

National Park Service–National Fossil Day is October 15, 2014

(October is anti-bullying prevention month.)

Disney Friends for Change “Bullying Prevention Action Kit”:

Nickelodeon Anti-bullying page:

PACER – Anti-bullying educational activities:

Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School

posted Jan 5, 2015, 8:14 AM by

Pickle by Kim Baker is a great choice for both boys and girls to read.  It is a short novel and keeps the reader's interest until the end.  A middle school student, Ben, pulls such a successful prank that he is encouraged by his peers to start a club that pulls pranks on the school at random times. Not only is this book about pranks, it is also about making new friends and learning the value of true friends. I really enjoyed this book and think that you will too.  For more information on Pickle, check out the web resources below.

Readers Theater Script – Pickle (PDF)

Book Trailer (1:14):                                                                                                           http://youtube/u9gE1dD7IWY

About the author, including contact email:

A Power Point presentation introducing debate for elementary students

Debate practical joking–a guideline for beginning elementary debate

Lebonsky Eggs:                                                                                                           Step-by-Step pickling process with pictures:                                                             

Ideas for pickled egg experiences

Puzzles, Jokes, and FUN:

Join the Pickle Makers Club–Word Search

What’s for Lunch  – logic puzzle

Prank ideas for April Fools’ Day or anytime

Pickle Jokes Galore:
Some to read and some to give you ideas for writing your own jokes!                                                                                                                  

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

posted Dec 15, 2014, 11:16 AM by   [ updated Dec 15, 2014, 11:18 AM ]

I absolutely love Jarrett Krosoczka's books.  His picture books are amazing and Punk Farm will always be one of my favorites.  I was able to read Platypus Police Squad this summer and I really enjoyed it.  It was a quick read and very enjoyable.  It is written in a gritty detective style but is completely 100% appropriate for kids.  There is a lot of detective lingo in the book and that makes it really fun to read.  It also has several pictures.  I think that this is a great choice for boys to read. Check out the web resources below for more information about this book.

Readers Theater Script – Platypus Police Squad (PDF)


Book Trailer by Walden Media (1:13):

Following an introductory trailer, the author talks about writing the book  (19:40):

Platypus Police Squad fan video by Castelton Elementary  (2:29):

How Krosoczka Got Idea for Platypus Police Squad (2:58):

Drawing Detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley from Platypus Police Squad (0:51):

Have you ever seen a real platypus?:

Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, Rated one of the “Top 10 Zoos in the World” by AOL:

Take a virtual field trip to the Hamilton Police Central Station in Hamilton, Ontario (4:10):

Odette's Secrets

posted Dec 10, 2014, 9:03 AM by

Odette's Secrets is a very good book.  If you are interested in learning more about the Holocaust, this would be a great book to read.  It is different from other Holocaust novels because it is written in verse (poetry) form.  It is based on a true story and has a lot of interesting notes/stories in the back of the book. For more information about this book please check out the web resources below:

Readers Theater Script – Odette’s Secrets (PDF)


Official Book Trailer:

The author’s website:

Author’s notebook, an interview with the author of Odette’s Secrets:

Hidden Children in the Holocaust:

Background information for the teacher:

Photo “Jews are not welcome here”:

The Psychological Aftermath, Bloeme Evers-Emden:

Life in Shadows: Hidden Children in the Holocaust: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (virtual tour – study guide available):

Hidden in Plain Sight – Anagrams:
This can be used as a worksheet or a more kinesthetic activity by making letters of the alphabet from poster board and have children hold them as the audience directs their movement to try to find the hidden word.      

And now the news…:
Make a TV screen from a large cardboard box and use it to “broadcast” news of the war. Children can write news announcements using the timeline in the back of the book.
Directions to make a TV set.

References from the book:

Rodin’s Thinker:

Recipe and instructions for homemade playdough:
Students will enjoy sculpting figures after observing the Rodin information. They could also use the dough to fashion medals of the saints, after hearing the following stories.                           

The above link is a child’s pictorial tutorial. If blogs are blocked for you, use this link:

The legend of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers:

The legend of St. George, the patron saint of soldiers:

The legend of St. Michael, the Archangel:                                                    

Star of David suncatcher:
Construct this and hang it as a remembrance of the Jewish children who were hidden and survived to be reunited with their families, the children who survived as orphans, and the children who were killed in the Holocaust. Their only crime was being born Jewish. 

The Neptune Project

posted Dec 1, 2014, 9:00 AM by   [ updated Dec 1, 2014, 9:07 AM ]

If you are interested in ocean life, then this is the book for you.  This novel is set in a futuristic world where the negative effects of global warming have had dire consequences for all of the species on Earth.  One brave girl sets out to do her part to save the world.  Find out what happens by reading The Neptune Project.  For more information about this book, check out the web resources below.

Readers Theater Script – Neptune Project (PDF)


Polly Holyoke’s homepage. This site includes information about the author, a synopsis of The Neptune Project and information on the sequel. Ms. Holyoke’s website has vast resources on dolphins, sharks, and other ocean life. She has included links to sites with vast amounts of information:

Photo gallery of Nere’s undersea world:

Youtube video of trainer using hand signals to train a dolphin. The hand signals are very clear:

Polly Holyoke facebook page:

Interview with Polly Holyoke.  This site has an excellent picture of the author in the ocean:

Interview with Polly Holyoke:

Class of 2k13 blog Interview with Polly Holyoke:

25 things you might not know about me at Me, My Shelf and I interview with Polly Holyoke:

Interview with Polly Holyoke:

Polly talks about reading, writing and being a super nerd:

Five cool factoids about Polly:                                                                                                 

Dolphins sounds:

Discussion questions for The Neptune Project:

Neptune Project scavenger hunt:

Trivia test about the sea (scroll down):                                                                                                  

Spaghetti-octopus dogs:

Keep away from the shark craft:!-craft/

Dolphin crafts:

Dolphin mask:

Shark crafts:

Shark fins:

Shark mask:

Starfish crafts:

Octopus crafts:

Squid crafts:

Jellyfish crafts:

Whale crafts:

Online ocean animal quiz:

Photos of underwater creatures:

Create an ocean motion:

Coral reef photos:

Online shark quiz:

Ocean animals online game:

Online ocean exploration game with points:

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy

posted Nov 19, 2014, 11:25 AM by   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM ]

This book is a graphic novel, which means comic book style.  It is well written and interesting but was definitely not my favorite book from this year's list.  It takes place during the Revolutionary War and students will learn many important facts about this time period from this book.  It does have a little bit of fantasy mixed in with the history however.  For more information about this book, check out the web resources below:

Readers Theater Script - One Dead Spy (PDF)



Brainy quotes:

The Declaration of Independence text:

American Revolution timeline:

The minutemen:

The Boston Tea Party:

Lexington and Concord:

George Washington commander in chief:


Benedict Arnold:

The Green Mountain Boys:

Green Mountain Boys:

Continental Army:

Artillery of the American Revolution:

Weapons of the American Revolution:

The Culper Gang:
http://www.clements.umich.ed u/exhibits/online/spies/stories-networks-3.html

Spy letters of the American Revolution:

Secret methods and techniques:

How to build a periscope (Scroll down):                                                                              

Keyhole spy tool:

Spy ID card (Scroll down):

Easy secret codes with cypher wheel:

How to make a book safe:

Make invisible ink (Scroll down):

Make fingerprint powder:

Make a spy journal:


Study questions:                                                                                        

Steps to knowing if ice is safe:

British redcoat photo:

Monsieur Marceau

posted Nov 10, 2014, 1:47 PM by

Monsieur Marceau is one of the picture books from this year's list.  This would be a great Bluebonnet selection if you are looking for a shorter book to read.  It tells the story of one of the most famous mimes of all time:  Marcel Marceau.  To learn more about this book and mimes, check out all of the cool websites below. 

Readers Theater Script – Monsieur Marceau (PDF)

Leda Schubert website:                                                                                                                                                            

Leda Schubert blog:

Book trailer from author website:

Marcel Marceau performing (6:30):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about WWII and mime (7:23):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about religion and mime (6:22):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about great artists (1:45):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on education of mime (2:54):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on WWII and being part of the resistance (1: 23):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on good and evil  (:56):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on the conventions of character (6:56):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on Bip and the butterfly (4:12):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on Charlie Chaplin (3:52):

Interview with Marcel Marceau having a bit of fun (:44):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on what is funny (2:33):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on what is the future of mime (1:31):

Charlie Chaplin homepage (click on arrow to see him perform):                                                                                          

Biography of Marcel Marceau:

Marx brothers’ mirror scene (2:51):

Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx and the Mirror scene (3:46):

Emmett Kelly sweeping up the light (2:19):

Red Skelton slow motion tennis mime (1:45):

Actor remembers Red Skelton putting on a girdle (2:28):

Red Skelton pantomime the old man playing golf (3:26):

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