Friday, June 29, 2012

Fiction Friday (More SSYRAs)

        This week I decided to tackle two more of the 2012-2013 SSYRA (Sunshine State Young Readers Award) books.  I am super glad that I did!   
       The first book that I chose to read was Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith.  This is an exciting book about boy named Scrub from Tampa, Florida who has to spend the summer with a grandmother he barely knows that lives in "Middle of Nowhere" Washington.  From the minute Scrub arrives he knows that it will not be an ordinary summer.  This book is a fun and easy to read.  I do not recommend it for a 3rd grade read aloud on the basis that the main character is a middle schooler and is beginning to deal with middle school "stuff" (kissing girls) that I just don't want to deal with in my classroom.  Other than that I thought that it was a cute book and I really enjoyed it!
Aliens on Vacation (Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast) 

         The second book that I read this week was Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato.  This book had me hooked from the opening paragraph!  Take a look:

              "The classroom was as dark and quiet as an old graveyard at dawn.  The thief crept in, taped  a mysterious message on the board, tiptoed to the Pet Corner, and peered at the fish.  You're mine now, the thief thought with a sly smile."

I knew from the moment that I finished those words that I would love this book.  And I was right!!!  Mary Amato does an excellent job of keeping the reader hooked.  Her word choice and character descriptions pull you right into the storyline.  I found myself a little bummed when the mystery was solved because that meant that the book was done.  Who knows, maybe she'll create a series of these books, one can hope!!!

Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook 

       If you are looking for other great fiction books head over to The Teaching Thief's blog as she is hosting Fiction Fridays and I am sure that there are many wonderful books there for you to check out!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writing Games: Day 5 FREEBIES :)

        I'm not sure how many of you have been watching the weather reports but with Tropical Storm/Depression (whatever she is) Debby hanging around yesterday I took it upon myself to create three more writing activities from Peggy Kaye's Games for Writing.
        The first activity is called "He's So Loud."  The purpose of this activity is to help the students' build their character development as they write their own narratives.  It sounds pretty fun and definitely quick, cheap, and easy to implement in your classroom if you choose.

Click the above picture to download your free copy of He's So Loud.

        The second activity is called "How Many Words?"  This activity challenges the students to write sentences based on words from a predetermined list. 

Click the above picture to download your free copy of How Many Words?

        The third and final activity for today is called "The Three-Sentence Challenge."  This activity is one where the players must write three sentences (clues) to describe without naming a mystery object.  I am hopeful that this activity will be a great intro to summarizing since so many students have difficulty finding the balance between too much and not enough info in a summary, at least that's been my experience anyway.

Click the above picture to download your free copy of The Three Sentence Challenge.

         If you enjoy the game please let me know by leaving me a comment.  If you see something that you need/would like changed (especially typos) let me know that too.  If you know someone that would also like the game please pass it on to them, direct them to my blog or both!

        One more thing, Teaching Maddeness is having a 300 follower giveaway!  So if you get a chance you should definitely check out her blog, it's a great blog and besides who doesn't love free stuff?!?