Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Holiday, A Book Club, & A Sale

Hello, friends!  I hope that you had a very merry Christmas week.  I know I sure did.  My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at a local restaurant.  While we were there, the band No Last Call stopped in for a surprise Christmas performance.  It was so much fun!  We spent the rest of the week visiting with family and friends.  Now we are home relaxing.

One thing I enjoy about having time off work is the chance to tackle the books on my never-ending reading list.  

So far, I've checked off two books on the list, What Child Is This: A Christmas Story and Divergent.

What Child Is This: A Christmas Story 
Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old Matt and eight-year-old Katie have both had enough of foster homes.  Katie wants only one thing for Christmas - a family to call her own.  Matt dreads facing Katie's disappointment when her wish of being adopted doesn't come true. 

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is far too easy to lose the true meaning Christmas.  I loved how this heartwarming story delivered a message of peace, hope, and love.  It put me in the Christmas spirit!

Synopsis:  In Beatrice's world, society is divided into five factions, or groups, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue.  Each year on "Choosing Day" all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. Beatrice must choose between staying with her family and being who she really is.  She makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.  Beatrice also has a secret, that she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  She soon discovers that unrest and growing conflict threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society. Her secret might help her save those she loves...or it might destroy her.

This book hooked me from the very first pages.  It has adventure, romance, suspense, and so much more.  If you enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and The Giver, then Divergent is for you.  The movie is coming out in March…I can't wait!  But before then, I'll be reading the rest of the series.  :)  

What have you been reading lately?  I'd love to know, so leave a me comment.  Then go link up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy and share your favorite books with the Book Club.

Finally, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year!  To celebrate, I'm offering 20% off in my TPT store.

Enjoy ringing in the New Year with your friends and family.  I hope 2014 brings you health and happiness.  :)

Friday, December 27, 2013


There are so many great books to read with students during the winter months.  A few of my favorites include Penguins! by Gail Gibbons and The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins.

Gibbons provides wonderful descriptions of penguins using illustrations to make specific distinctions. This is a fun nonfiction text to use as part of a penguin unit or to win over kids who are reluctant to read nonfiction.

The Emperor's Egg
Jenkins describes what life as an Emperor chick is like.  I enjoyed the hybrid style of this book: the main text is written in a narrative format, while additional text is written in smaller italics and provides factual information.

Both books are perfect for a shared reading experience; the kid-friendly language and illustrations are certain to capture students' interest while teaching them interesting facts about these fascinating birds.

If you plan to use either of these books with your students, you may want to check out my Let's Read About Penguins! Nonfiction Book Study pictured below.  It's packed full of activities to accompany the books.  Click on the picture learn more.  :)

Let's Read About Penguins! 

Comprehension Questions
K-W-L Chart
Vocabulary Cards and Recording Sheets
“Let’s Compare Books” Venn Diagram
Penguin Action Words Study
“Let’s Compare Birds” Venn Diagram
Penguins Can-Have-Are Chart
Penguin Report Mini-Book Template

If you are looking for more winter picture book ideas, visit Reading Toward the Stars for Book Talk Thursday.  While you're there, you can link up a few of your favorite winter books too!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Facebook Frenzy!

It's Facebook Frenzy time!  Join in the fun and hop from page to page picking up excellent free literacy resources.  I'm part of the Grade 3 ELA/ SS groupyou are going to love the treats we have prepared for you.  :)

There are 13 different Frenzies happening at the same time.  You can hop through a few of them or do them all.  Resources range from K-12 in Math Science, ELA, SS, and Music.  There's even a hop just for clip art collectors.  Just open the map and click on a starting point or visit my Facebook page to begin (link at the top on the right).

There are amazing freebies to be found, but you'll have to hurry since they'll only be available this weekend.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gingerbread Baby and The First Annual Holiday Cookie Swap

I simply love Jan Brett's work.  The stories are sweet and the illustrations are captivating.  One of my favorite picture books for this time of year is Gingerbread Baby.  Jan Brett's version is a twist on the classic tale.  Students love it!

Summary:  It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a little Gingerbread Baby. He leads Matti's mother and father, the dog and cat, and a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way.

Here's a little clip of Jan Brett baking cookies, drawing a a picture of the gingerbread baby, and reading the story.  It's perfect for sharing with students! 

Going along with the gingerbread theme, I have a holiday recipe to share.  I'm joining up with one of my blogging buddies, Emily, from The Reading Tutor/OG for a virtual cookie swap.  

I'm sharing my recipe for White Chocolate Chip Ginger Snaps.  I came across this recipe a few years ago at a neighborhood cookie exchange. My family gobbled down the ginger snaps, and they quickly became a favorite recipe.  I hope you enjoy them too!