Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review & Resources

I'm constantly looking for novels that will not only interest my middle school students, but my 5th grader, as well.  After reading The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading, I knew immediately that this would be a great fit for both my students and my son.  It's a fantasy that's aimed towards ages 8-12; however, I can see both older and younger kids enjoying this book.  The book is also the first in a series, and now we can't wait to see what the next one holds!

Synopsis of book from the publisher:
The Dragon Of The Month Club, by Iain Reading, is the exciting first installment in a new middle-grade (ages 8-12) fantasy book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club - The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons - not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler's messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature's most memorable stories - from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London - the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

This book is a great way to delve into an exciting adventure that the two main characters share, as they experience the different settings brought about as they travel from one "book-inspired world to the next."  Kids AND adults of all ages are sure to love escaping into this story.  

As we read the book, my students completed these digital and printable before, during, and after reading task cards that address the following:  main idea, setting, main and minor characters, compare & contrast, point of view, summarization, predictions, author's purpose, mood, and more.  It served as a great way to monitor students' understanding of the book.

For more info and to read an excerpt from the book, go to:

What fantasy books have you read w/ your students or children?  Fill me in in the comments below.  I'd love to have a running list to add to what I have for my students.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Creating Videos EASILY Using MySimpleShow

I recently found a GREAT tool that I have began using, and I just had to share with you!  I learned about Mysimpleshow from another great website called Cult of Pedagogy.

I'm always on the lookout for ways to incorporate videos and any kind of technology into my lessons.  My students have used GoAnimate, Powtoon, Power Point, etc. but most of these tend to be time consuming, and there always seem to be issues that arise in the process.  With MySimpleShow, this was not the case!

The Way it Works
Step 1- Draft- In this step, you choose whether the video you want to create is Professional, Educational, or Personal.  Of course, you would choose educational.  Then you choose what the main purpose of your video is:  educate somebody, introduce a topic, summarize a topic, or discuss a topic.
Next, you choose your "story line."  You can choose a blank template or one of the ones that are listed.

I chose to create my own.   Once you choose your story line, you move to step 2.

Step 2- Write- This is where you write your draft.  Each box explains what you need to include and also gives examples.

Step 3- Visualize- Using key words from your text, the program automatically selects pictures that you can include in the video, or you can choose to upload your own.
The picture above is from the video that I created for our team for Meet the Teacher night.

Step 4- Finalize- This is where you will choose how you would like the text read.  You can use their Text to Speech option, or you can record your own voice.  I actually had a student read mine, and it turned out pretty good.  

See our finished product below:

I'm planning to have my students use MySimpleShow to analyze a book we're reading and can't wait to see how it turns out.  What video programs have you used?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Winner Wednesday- September

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for Winner Wednesday again, hosted by Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do and Sara from Sara J Creations!  I always look forward to this, because it gives me an opportunity to link up with several awesome teacher-authors who are also sharing info about one of their amazing products.  In addition, it gives all of you the chance to enter each TPTer's giveaway.  This also means you'll have multiple opportunities to win great products!!!

This month I'm giving away my Digital Reading Response Task Cards!   This product includes 24 task cards that differentiated and color coded to be used at the beginning, middle, and end of a novel or story.  The Common Core aligned task cards are an interactive way to hold your students accountable while they’re reading a novel, short story, etc. The questions are a perfect way to address the Reading Literature CCSS, and the options for using these are endless!

The questions cover the following:
• Setting
• Main Idea & Supporting Details
• Main and minor characters
• Compare/Contrast
• Summarization
• Point of View
• Genre
• Predictions
• Author’s Purpose
• Mood
• And more…

In addition, included is everything you need to use these with Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

Thank you for stopping by, and make sure to head over to the other blogs to enter their giveaways.  Enter at the Rafflecopter below.

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