Friday, June 18, 2010


This year our summer reading initiative is Make a Splash ~ Read!

As part of this initiative, all students were able to chose a brand new book to take home to jump start their summer reading.

In the fall we hope students will bring drawings or written descriptions of a favorite part from one book they have read to be displayed at school.

We are grateful to Mrs. Pyszka and the Maple Avenue Student Council for their support of this reading initiative.

Make a splash with a good book this summer!

See you in September.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Literacy and the Arts Festival

It has been a wonderful year of learning, thinking and creating.

As you view this slideshow of our work, you will see evidence of a
culture of learners who 'show what they know" and take pride in all that they do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April is Poetry Month

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too
by Shel Silverstein

Poetry is everywhere!

Naomi Shihab Nye recites One Boy Told Me, a found poem created from the things her son said to her. Perhaps this will inspire you to take out your writer's notebook and record some of those funny and interesting things your students say!

Celebrate Poetry Month with some Concrete Poems

And be sure to check in with GottaBook Blog for a new poem each day in April!

And for even more ideas, check out 30 Ways to Celebrate from
Here's one suggestion I really like:

Put poetry in an unexpected place
"Books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Digital Writing: Teaching Writing in the 21st Century

The Digital Writing Workshop is a new book about using technology to teach writing by Troy Hicks, Director of the Chippewa River Writing Project at Central Michigan University. Technology can be a powerful tool when integrated into the workshop model of student choice, revision, and author study that values both the writing process and the final product. Troy also facilitates The Digital Writing Workshop NING, a companion to the book, for teachers interested in learning more about teaching digital writing in an online community.

The Plymouth Writing Project will be offering two special focus sessions this summer on using technology to teach writing: Exploring Technology and Writing and Writing Instruction and Multimedia. Information and registration forms can be found on the Plymouth Writing Project website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

National Day of Writing ~ Celebrating Writing

The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution declaring October 20, 2009, the first National Day on Writing. The resolution encourages all schools to join in the celebration by submitting writing to the National Gallery of Writing.

The National Gallery of Writing is a virtual online gallery that is collecting writing from all kinds of people all over the world. The gallery will accept stories, poems, recipes, emails, blogs, even audio, video, and artwork for submission.

The Senate resolution confirms the important role that writing has in our school Literacy Plan for the 21st Century as well as in our lives. Writing well is a 21st Century skill that can not be neglected.

The National Council of Teachers of English recognizes that literacy practice in the 21st Century is in the midst of profound change and has issued the following recommendations:
  • Our schools and our nation need to recognize and validate the many ways we all are writing.
  • We need to develop new models of writing, design a new curriculum supporting those models, and create models for teaching that curriculum.
  • We need to make sure that all students have the opportunity to write and learn in intellectually stimulating classrooms.
  • We need to recognize that out-of-school literacy practices are as critical to students’ development as what occurs in the classroom and take advantage of this to better connect classroom work to real-world situations that students will encounter across a lifetime.
It's not too late for you to participate in this global celebration of writing. The National Gallery of Writing is accepting submissions until June 2010.

Read more about how to submit your writing or view a video demonstration.

Need some good ideas to get started? Read about ways teachers from the National Writing Project celebrated with their students or visit the National Gallery of Writing and read some of the submissions on display. NCTE also has some good Tips for Writers.

Please join this global celebration and experience the power of writing!

Contact me if you would like help creating your own classroom gallery in the National Gallery of Writing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Everyone knows that reading
makes you smarter....
want to know how much smarter?

Imagine this....if you read for 20 minutes every day, in a week you will have read for 100 minutes!


Now multiply that times 4 weeks...and in one month you will have read for 400 minutes.

Think how much you will learn from all that reading!

Do that for a whole school year, and you will have read for 4,000 minutes!


That is equal to the amount of reading you could do in 10 whole days of school.

That makes you 10 days smarter than the average kid!

Now, if you keep reading for 20 minutes every day, by the end of the 6th grade you will have read for the equivalent of 60 whole school days. That's going to make you a very smart kid!

So find yourself a really good book...and read for at least 20 minutes every day!

Source: U.S. Department of Education, America Reads Challenge


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School ~ Creating Community with Book Recommendations

As our students come back to school we can't wait to hear about the adventures they have had and the great books they have read. One of the best ways to create a community of readers in the classroom is by giving students the opportunity to recommend books to each other.

Some teachers find it helpful to give students guidelines for sharing.

For fiction: tell us the title of your book, the author, the genre, who the main characters are, and the problem they had to solve. But be careful you don't give away the ending!

For non-fiction: tell us the title of your book, the author, the main topic, something that surprised you, something that you learned, and a question you still have.

In addition to giving students time to talk about great books they've read, consider some of these ways for them to share book recommendations:
Giving students lots of opportunities to recommend books to each other is one of the best ways to effectively create a community of engaged and excited readers in your classroom.

Welcome back!