Friday, October 14, 2016

Free Kindle Ebook for Halloween

October has arrived along with crisp rustling leaves, mounds of pumpkins, and requests for Halloween stories in the speech room. One repeated request is especially pleasing, “Read the ghost story. The one with a g  -  g   -  g   ghost!” Today, when I turned the last page, several children said, “read it again!” I haven’t told them I’m the author. After all, I want unbiased reactions to my work and I’m thrilled with the ones I’m getting.

Since this book has been so popular with my students, I wanted to share it with you. I’ve created an eBook that’s available for free on Amazon for a limited time.
Click to go to Amazon for your free book

I wrote the story to give my students an engaging way to practice their “g” sounds but it’s also a good fit for Halloween.

In THE GHOSTLY NIGHT Kristy can’t sleep.

“The wind rattled her window. The full moon threw grasping shadows across her bedroom wall. They swayed with the rhythm of the wind.”

“Mom!” she cried. “There’s a   g  -  g   -  g   ghost in my room!”

Kristy calls again when the wind howls, when a branch scrapes her bedroom window, and when she sees her curtains move. Each time, the kids join in “reading” the repeated line, “There’s a   g  -   g   -  g   ghost in my room.” They can’t seem to help themselves. That makes for a lot of practice with the “g” sound. It also gives them an understanding of the sound the letter represents, a phonemic awareness skill that fits right in with the Common Core State Standards (especially RF.K.3a where students are expected to “Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.”)

One teacher told me her whole class erupted in clapping when the tables turned on the Mother at the end of the story. You can imagine how pleased I was to hear that report—almost as pleased as I was when I breathed in the autumn-crisp air this morning and poured a cup of cinnamon-spiced tea.

I hope you’re enjoying the season as much as I am and I hope you’ve found a good supply of autumn books to share with the children in your lives, and several more for yourself!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Bug Book Inspires Budding Artists, Writers and Scientists

If you visit my blog regularly, you might have noticed I haven’t written for a while. I returned to work the day after my trip to Alaska and was swept up in a whirlwind of activity—both at work and at home. We are short one speech therapist in our school district so a couple of us are filling in and working extra hours. On the home front, MY OLDEST SON GOT MARRIED. I hope you’ll interpret those capital letters as excitement or joy—I’m filled with both! If you have ever helped with wedding preparations (including baking the wedding cakes), you’ll forgive my time away from posting. I felt compelled to return to my blog after sharing a new book with my students. THE BUG BOOK by Sue Fliess.

The Bug Book

This rhyming text and accompanying photos captured my students’ attention.

            Grab you bucket. Check your guide.
Let’s go find some bugs outside!
            Fast bugs,
            Slow bugs,
            Off-they-go bugs.
            Hop bugs,
            Fly bugs,
            Way-up-high bugs.

My transitional kindergarten students were squirming with excitement and practically crawled across the table for a closer look at the insects. My kindergarten and first grade students scrambled to be the first to identify the bugs in the photos and my second grade students started creating bug books of their own. Some are writing nonfiction as they identify the insects in the BUG BOOK to create their own guide. Calvin and Garrett are writing fiction. Their characters, Ducky, Anty and Flower the ladybug, were good friends until an ice cream truck dropped a load of chocolate mint ice cream in the park. Their friendship cooled but they solved their problem by sharing, then celebrated with ice cream sundaes topped with honey, bread-crumbs and aphids! (They had to do a bit of research to find out what their characters might want for toppings.)

This book inspired wonderful creativity, artwork, and research. Take a look at some projects from our speech room:

These talented artists would have been a big help decorating the wedding cakes but I’m glad I didn’t enlist their help with the toppings!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer's End

My summer vacation is almost over and I’ll be back at school next week, but for now I’m enjoying my summer’s end with family, old friends and beautiful scenery in Juneau Alaska, where I lived years ago.

We’ve seen wildlife,

checked out some island settings for a story I’ve been working on,

and enjoyed a whale watching boat ride with plenty of action, even a group of humpback whales forming a bubble net. These clever mammals work together, blowing air bubbles beneath a school of herring then surface, mouths wide open to swallow the trapped fish.

We’ve enjoyed hikes along the Mendenhall glacier,

beside waterfalls,

My husband and I

and a good climb up Mt. Roberts.

My husband and niece, Kate

If you are an educator, I hope this new school year will bring many mountain top experiences for you and your students,

maybe not the literal kind, but who knows, it would certainly make an interesting field trip!