Saturday, March 25, 2017

Using Google Lit Trips for Esperanza Rising

I came across a wonderful discovery today, Google Lit Trips



This site is amazing to expand the background knowledge of a novel and to add a whole new dimension to the book.  From the Google Lit Trip site:

What is a Google Lit Trip?
Lit Trips are downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Along the way, placemarks with pop-up windows contain "just in time" resources including relevant media, thought-provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about "real world" references in that portion of the story. Our focus is on creating engaging and relevant literary experiences for students.


It is free to use for individual educators and classroom teachers. There is an option to sign up for a multi-user registration to use within a classroom. All you'll need on your computer is to download Google Earth. The Google Lit Trip "Getting Started" page explains all you need to do.



One of the available titles for a Google Lit Trip is Esperanza Rising, by Pam MĂșnoz Ryan



This Google Lit Trip maps Esperanza's trip from her home in Mexico to California.




Along the way, you can make a stop and read about the location. This information can tie into the story and/or add background information to the reader to enhance the story using photos, videos, Google Earth visuals, and descriptive information.


If you are using my Esperanza Rising Novel Study, I highly recommend you check out this accompanying Lit Trip to enhance the learning and enjoyment of the novel for your students.



I can't sing the praises of this Lit Trip highly enough. It is such a fantastic addition to using this novel in the classroom. 




Monday, February 6, 2017

Using Shiloh in the Classroom

Shiloh, written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Shiloh, was first published in 1991, and among the numerous awards given was the Newbery Medal  in 1992.  Shiloh is an endearing book that will draw the interest of the most reluctant of readers and is relatable to both boys and girls.




Summary of Shiloh:

(from the book jacket)



When 11-year-old Marty Preston finds a young beagle up in the hills behind his home near Friendly, West Virginia, he is convinced that the poor pup is in trouble. Certain that the dog is being abused by his owner, Judd Travers, Marty names him "Shiloh" and immediately feels that he will do anything to save the dog from further harm.

When the dog runs away from Judd to Marty's house, Marty is faced with a number of ethical dilemmas: Should he tell his parents? Should he return the dog to the abusive Judd? Should he steal food to feed the mistreated pup? Marty finds that there is a fine line between telling the truth and lying by omission. He struggles to stand on the principles he knows are right, even if they go against the law.

As Marty's half-truths begin to pile up, however, the villainous Judd comes closer and closer to finding Shiloh, who Marty has hidden in the woods. Then when Marty discovers that Judd is poaching, he blackmails him and makes a deal to work for Judd to pay for the dog, but this is not what he tells his parents. In the end, readers will rejoice when Marty and Shiloh are allowed to be together.




This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
• Investigate animal abuse laws in your area.
• Explore the role that the animal control department plays in your community.


I offer a complete novel study to accompany Shiloh for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.






Here's a preview sample of my Shiloh Novel Study:



Please go to my TpT store to see this free preview as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!



Friday, January 20, 2017

Teachers, Let's Flood the World with Kindness!

Today is Inauguration Day here in the United States. This election and upcoming inauguration incite many different feelings amongst us. No matter who is President of the United States, as teachers we have the power to instill great knowledge and empathy in our students. Let's take this opportunity to channel our power into spreading kindness and truth throughout the world!











Fellow teachers and sellers at Teachers Pay Teachers have come together to flood the site with free resources for you to use in your classroom to promote kindness, empathy, compassion, civic knowledge, critical thinking, equality and respect for all people. 






Please search for the hashtags #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths for hundreds of forever freebies to use in your classroom to help encourage and preserve these values that we all hold dear.



Please check out my contribution to the cause, Choose Kind Activities for use with Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Many of my fellow TpT sellers are participating in the project. Click on the images to get a sampling of some of the resources you can find searching with the hashtags:


Image HTML map generator

Image HTML map generator




Let's work together to make the world a kinder, gentler place for everyone!





Monday, December 12, 2016

Using The Indian in the Cupboard in the Classroom

The Indian in the Cupboard, written by Lynne Reid Banks, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. The Indian in the Cupboard, was first published in 1980, and was so popular it was made into a feature film in 1995. A fantasy that both boys and girls can relate to catches the interest of the most reluctant readers.







Summary of The Indian in the Cupboard:

(from the book jacket)

When Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, he gives Omri an old wooden medicine cabinet he's found. The cabinet doesn't seem like much of a present to nine-year-old Omri, until he deposits inside it another present he receives for his birthday: a miniature plastic Indian. His mother comes up with a key for the cabinet, and the real magic begins. When Omri turns the key once, the Indian, named Little Bear, comes alive; but turn the key a second time and it's an ordinary plastic Indian again.
Author Lynne Reid Banks effectively blends the common elements of everyday life with utterly believable fantasy. The first book in this best-selling series enchants readers, while at the same time, reminding them of the responsibilities that accompany friendship and love. Omri's heart-wrenching decision to send his Indian back to its own world, brings up issues of separation for both parents and children alike.
This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
• Research Native Americans.
• Research the Iroquois Nation.
• Research the different Native American shelters such as teepees and longhouses.
• Research the American West in the 1800’s.
• Explore appropriate methods of conflict resolution.
• Investigate the French/Indian War.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Indian in the Cupboard for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.





Here's a preview sample of my The Indian in the Cupboard Novel Study:



Please go to my TpT store to see this free preview as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!



Monday, November 28, 2016

Using Hatchet in the Classroom

Hatchet, written by Gary Paulsen, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom.  Hatchet, was first published in 1987 and was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1988. Hatchet is a riveting book that will grab the attention of even the most reluctant readers.




Summary of Hatchet:

(from the book jacket)

Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his estranged father when the pilot of his small prop plane suffers a heart attack. Brian is forced to crash-land the plane in a lake and finds himself stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present before his departure. Brian had been distraught over his parents' impending divorce and the secret he carries about his mother, but now he is truly desolate and alone. 

Exhausted, terrified, and hungry, Brian struggles to find food and make a shelter for himself. He has no special knowledge of the woods, and he must find a new kind of awareness and patience as he meets each day's challenges. Is the water safe to drink? Are the berries he finds poisonous? Slowly, Brian learns to turn adversity to his advantage; an invading porcupine unexpectedly shows him how to make fire, a devastating tornado shows him how to retrieve supplies from the submerged airplane. Most of all, Brian leaves behind the self-pity he has felt about his predicament as he summons the courage to stay alive. 

A story of survival and of transformation, this riveting book has sparked many a reader's interest in venturing into the wild.


This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
• Research the Canadian oil fields. 
• Investigate the purpose of flight numbers and flight plans. 
• Research how airplanes work. 
• Study search and rescue practices. 
• Learn about heart attacks and CPR procedures.
• Research dehydration effects. 
• Learn about survival skills such as making fire.


I offer a complete novel study to accompany Hatchet for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.




Here's a preview sample of my Hatchet Novel Study:



Please go to my TpT store to see this free preview as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 5-8 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Using Holes, by Louis Sachar, in the Classroom

Holes, written by Louis Sachar, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Holes, was first published in 1998, and won the U.S.National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 1998, and the 1999 Newbery Medal to name just a few.  In 2012 Holes was ranked number 6 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by the School Library Journal.







Summary of Holes:

(from the book jacket)

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes. 

 It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. 

This is a great novel to use in the classroom to help show students the power of questioning and tolerance, and perseverance. A humorous story that students can relate to that sends a positive message


This is a great novel to accompany a study of:

  • Research inventions and inventors.
  • Research Fossils.
  • Research famous outlaws
  • Create a family tree
  • Research Texas
  • Research illiteracy
  • Research homelessness


I offer a complete novel study to accompany Holes for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.




Here's a preview sample of my Holes Novel Study:



Please go to my TpT store to see this free preview as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Restoring Hope: Love 4 Louisiana Teachers


On August 11th, 2016, a stationary weather system resulted in torrential downpours with upwards of two feet of rain that devastated several parishes across South Louisiana. The extreme amount of rainwater, close to 7.1 trillion gallons of water, caused rivers, lake, and other bodies of water to reach and exceed flood stages in the following days. In the blink of an eye, the water began rising and encroaching upon not just areas that typically flood, but the flooding waters found their way to places that had never even had the threat of flooding before. The widespread devastation of the rising water quickly destroyed countless homes, businesses, and schools.

As the water began to recede and people were allowed into the areas that were flooded, the full extent of the damage was visible. For many people, they lost an entire lifetime of memories and personal treasures. While the loss of personal property and people's livelihood were tragic, an equally tragic loss was the impact that the flood waters had on area schools. There are over 30 schools, both public and private, across several parishes that suffered significant water damage to their campuses. Livingston Parish alone had 15 public schools that suffered water damage with at least 8 schools that experienced extensive damage that will take months to repair. While the school buildings will have to be repaired to be safe for students and staff to return, this work will be done and funded through the individual school systems, but what can be done to help the individual teachers replace their classroom materials, personal items, and everything else that made their classrooms whole?

I'm pleased to announce that The Teaching Bank has joined forces with an amazing group of Teacher Authors from Teachers Pay Teachers to create a fundraiser, Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers. The core team behind Restoring Hope is comprised of Kristen from Teacher Playground, Andrea from This Literacy Life, Shannon from OCD in First, and Stephanie from The Creative Classroom. They came together and created the fundraiser as a way to help our fellow Louisiana teachers rise up and rebuild their classrooms. The fundraiser has been made possible by the generous donations that we have received from 90+ TPT sellers that include high-quality products ranging from Kindergarten to High School. In total, there are six product bundles available and four donation options. The TPT store will go live on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 and will remain open for at least 30 days. You can click the banner below to visit our store and support Louisiana teachers by buying product bundles or simply donating money to the fundraiser.












Where will we be donating the proceeds raised from the fundraiser?

One of the biggest pieces of this fundraiser was trying to decide where we would donate the money we raised for Louisiana teachers to ensure that it would be fairly and equally distributed to those in need.100% of the proceeds that are made through our TPT store will be donated to the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana's Disaster Relief Fund. This organization is donating 100% of all money that they receive to public and private schools teachers who lost some or all of their classroom materials due to the flooding.









Our team knew that we wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing teachers who have supported our fundraiser by purchasing a bundle or donating money. Shannon from Blogs Fit For A Queen has graciously donated a FREE BLOG DESIGN. When you purchase one of the bundles from the Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers TPT Store, you can enter for a chance to win! All you have to do is complete the form that is attached in the product bundle or donation page by October 15th, 2016.


We would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors who have donated resources to the fundraiser bundles. Without your help and generosity, none of this would have been possible.