The Fun Continues

Some of you readers may know that I love the book “Once Upon an Alphabet.”

It is a book of short stories, very short stories, based on each letter.

Today I finally had an appropriate time to gather my students around the book to read it together.

Although they are upper elementary, grades four through seven, they LOVED the book!

They found little details that I had missed although I have read it several times.

I really appreciated the fact that my students allowed themselves to truly enjoy the book.



Top Ten List

  1. The Night the Bells Rang, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (This was chosen because of the connections to the author and the additional lessons the book taught.)
  2. Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers (Delightful, playful, creative setting of the alphabet.)
  3. Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan (My mom’s story.)
  4. If Wishes Were Horses, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (I laughed, I cried, I could relate to the girls and know my students will love the story.)
  5. When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan (Important lesson in the history of music.)
  6. Norah’s Ark, by Patsey Gray (A long lost friend who I was so happily reunited with.)
  7. Savvy, by Ingrid Law (A delightful assignment from a student.)
  8. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, by R. L. Stein (I love the enthusiasm of my fourth grade boys.)
  9. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate (An important story behind the story.)
  10. Dave, the Potter, by Laban Carrick Hill (Beautiful story and beautiful art, a true story.)

My choices of my top ten list were varied, but most of the choices had a personal message, or a strong link to other activities at school, which allowed the books to translate more than just a story.

One of the best things about this list is that I have more choices that I would still like to add to it.


It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

“Greetings, greetings, fellow stargazers.”

My hours of reading this week have been concentrated on the Literature Class required reading for my students. From the Treasures Series I have been reading about Pipiolo and the Roof Dogs, with my fifth grade, along with the upcoming story of Shilo. Fourth grade has been reading about Mighty Casey, and studying run-on sentences. It is all so exciting. This week we will concentrate on plurals. Yes, the exciting world of plurals.

Sixth grade has been studying Tio Lolo, and will be going on to the story about a Pomegranate. Seventh grade has been concentrating on informational text, and has been writing feature stories about happenings at our school.

I’m afraid I can’t give too many details on the stories mentioned. I did not haul all my books home this weekend. Suffice to say that I’m trying to stay ahead of my students enough to be able to challenge their reading skills.

Now for the FUN part! My fourth and fifth grades are studying the New England states. They are busy exploring many interesting facts about the states, along with preparing for a Skype visit from the author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, who lives in rural Vermont. The students are so excited!

I ordered three of her books, which feature life in Vermont, for adding to our class reading. The first to arrive is “The Night the Bells Rang.”


It combines the challenge of a bully, the details of daily life in rural Vermont, and the stress of a country at war.

The story is very nicely written, with many details of country life, especially the process of making maple syrup. We will enjoy it as our read aloud book on Monday and Tuesday. The book also includes many lessons of kindness.

I bought a jug of pure maple syrup at the grocery store tonight, to share with my kids. I have never considered buying it before now, but will NEVER buy any other kind again. I’m hoping to try some maple snow candy.

I’m hoping this will be a wonderful memory for my kids. That’s the best part of teaching.