Archives for June 2014

Keep ’em Buzzy Blog Hop

We have an awesome Blog Hop this weekend! We are presenting ideas for craft projects to do this summer with your kids, grand-kids or for summer camp and classes or just for you to try out. My kids are grown, but I came up with a craft using technology that they could participate in, even the one who lives across the country! Gotta love technology! I was inspired to make a Wordle craft, when I saw one hanging in a teacher friend's house that someone had made for her. The first thing I did was make a form in Google Docs for my family members to fill out. I use Google Docs a lot and I love it. I use it to give tests to my students that can be automatically graded. I have made forms for voting for student council, favorite books, class choices. You need a Google account and then click on Google Drive. On the left side click on "create" and then move down and click on "form". Fill in the blanks to make your form. There are several formats that you can use to make a form: multiple choice, check boxes, paragraphs. I used a text box. When I was done, it looked like this: I listed each member of my family and asked that everyone think of 10 words to describe each person. Not everyone came up with 10 but I was happy with whatever they came up with. The words can be descriptive, like cute and smart, or about the person's life: teacher, librarian, reader, etc. I copied the URL for the form and sent it to each member of my family and asked that they fill out the form. I had to prod a couple of them a couple of times, but eventually they all filled it out. They came up with some interesting words. One person gave each family member a color. Mine is purple. I don't know why. I got the results in a spreadsheet that looks like this: I looked through the words, deleted some that were somewhat unflattering and I capitalized each word. I didn't delete words that are duplicates because duplicates make the Wordle picture more interesting. Then I added … [Read more...]

Funny Chapter Books

During my second week of summer break, I read some funny books. I like fractured fairy tales, the funny ones and the serious ones, so I was excited to read "Frogged" by Vivian Vande Velde, which is a very funny book about a princess that gets turned into a frog. This is not a new idea, one of my favorite princess series is the "Tales of the Frog Princess" books by E.D. Baker.  I love those books which are funny, lighthearted but full of creative ideas with magic. The princesses are never waiting around to be rescued, they are take-charge girls who solve their own problems. I recommend them to 3rd grade and above for princess and magic loving girls. "Frogged" is also lighthearted, and also has a princess that is trying to solve her own problems instead of relying on others to save her. I had never read anything from Vivian Vande Velde, so I thought I would try some more of her books. I read "Wizard at Work" next, which is a humorous book, but really is a bunch of short stories and I didn't feel a lot of empathy with the wizard. Then I read "Magic Can be Murder" which is not funny and definitely not for elementary school.  This book is about a witch in the middle ages, who is sexually harassed by an employer and then witnesses a murder. She is trying to escape detection as a witch at the same time she is trying to catch the murderer. Not funny, but suspenseful and good for middle school and above. Then I moved on to Neil Gaiman, who is a master at scary and suspenseful. I was already a fan of his and have read several of his wonderful books and I have enjoyed the Dr. Who episodes he wrote. "Fortunately, the Milk" is quite a different book from his scary books. It's a short book and would probably be a great read-aloud for younger students. Dad realizes there is no milk for breakfast and he runs out to get some. The kids are waiting impatiently for his return so they can eat their cereal. When he comes back the kids attack him with "What took you so … [Read more...]