11/2/17 Free Educator's Guide for THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL GUIDE

I'm thrilled share two educators' guides for This is Not a Normal Animal Book, written by Julie Segal-Walters and illustrated by Brian Biggs.

This is Not a Normal Animal Book begins as a stroll through common, everyday, normal animals – mammal, bird, amphibian, insect, reptile, and fish. The story quickly evolves, however, into a meta-fiction disagreement between the author and illustrator over how to draw the animals. The author wants simple, normal animal drawings. The illustrator, however, is confused and makes a bit of a mess. From a cat, to a hen, to a frog, to a bee, to a snake, the illustrator grows increasingly frustrated over how the author wants each animal presented. The conflict reaches its peak when the illustrator refuses to draw the author’s choice of fish. Granted, the blobfish is an unusual choice of fish. The illustrator’s sense of humor and author’s deadpan seriousness come full circle in the closing line, when the author continues to frustrate the illustrator until the very end, and the illustrator continues to have the last word.

Based on a Yiddish proverb, the book is a behind-the-scenes look at the picture book creation process, the importance of collaboration and compromise, and the beauty of both words and art. This is Not a Normal Animal Book is a commercial story that breaks the fourth wall, while still remaining appropriate for classroom use. In addition to the themes and concepts mentioned, it also highlights the literary device metafiction and includes nonfiction back matter.

Click here to download the guide for Prek-grade 2, and click here to download the guide for grades 3-6.

10/5/17 Information Literacy: Separating Fact from Fiction

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Teacher friends, if you’ve been overwhelmed by sorting through the amount of information online or have grown frustrated when trying to assess the authenticity of an article, you might be interested in my latest project for Teacher Created Materials. It’s called Information Literacy: Separating Fact from Fiction. In ten chapters, Sara Armstrong and I talk about finding, analyzing, and using information in today’s world. This deals with oldies but goodies like how to use graphic organizers and primary sources, and it incorporates new material such as how to spot fake news and online search tips to save you a Google of time. For educators who wish to blog and produce resources outside of the classroom, it also includes a chapter on copyright and fair use.
From interviews with librarians, instructional technology experts and specialists, the book includes background information to help educators sort through the maze of Internet sites and resources. Even more, there are ready-to-use handouts and activities for students.
If you teach expository or opinion writing, Information Literacy would be a valuable resource for your classroom and professional development. Here are a few sample pages to give you an idea what’s inside:
Should you read Information Literacy: Separating Fact from Fiction, please let me know your thoughts! I hope you enjoy it! It is available now on Amazon here! Or, you can purchase elsewhere at your favorite book store!

12/21/16 Free Discussion Questions for JUST ONE THING!

If you're looking for last-minute gifts for a middle schooler, you might want to check out Just One Thing! by Nancy Viau. And...you can get discussion questions for FREE here!

From the back cover:
Anthony Pantaloni needs to figure out one thing he does well--one thing that will replace the Antsy Pants nickname he got tagged with on the first day of fifth grade, and something he can "own" before moving up to middle school next year. It seems that every kid in Carpenter Elementary has some claim to fame: Marcus is Mr. Athletic, Alexis is Smart Aleck, Bethany has her horse obsession, and even Cory is known as the toughest kid in the school. Ant tries lots of things, but nothing sticks! IT doesn't help that there are obstacles along the way--a baton-twirling teacher, an annoying cousin, and Dad's new girlfriend, to name a few. Just One Thing! is chock full of hilarious adventures that will keep young readers cheering for Ant until the very end. For ages 8-12.

Take a look! Nancy and I had so much fun creating the discussion questions for you, too! We hope you enjoy them.

12/19/16 KidLit for Aleppo

I'm participating in #kidlitforAleppo on Twitter through Wed. 12/21. If you make a donation to an organization helping in Aleppo, post an image of your receipt (mark out the identifying details or take a screenshot of any part of the e-receipt that doesn't show your personal information) to my Tweet here. I will randomly choose a winner on 12/22.
For a background on #kidlitforAleppo, or to see what organizations qualify, click on Dana Alison Levy's post, "The Stories We Don't Want to Tell: Aleppo." (Note: Dana Alison Levy and Rachel Allen came up with the idea)
By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GDFL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

FREE Teacher Guide for THE BFF BUCKET LIST by Dee Romito

The newest teacher's guide is available now! 
Click below to get a FREE teacher's guide and/or discussion questions for Dee Romito's The BFF Bucket List.


Ella and Skyler have been best friends since kindergarten--so close that people smoosh their names together like they're the same person: EllaandSkyler. SkylerandElla.

But Ella notices the little ways she and Skyler have been slowly drifting apart. And she’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together—The BFF Bucket List. Skyler is totally on board.

The girls must complete each task on the list together: things like facing their fears, hosting a fancy dinner party, and the biggest of them all—speaking actual words to their respective crushes before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face

And with each girl hiding a big secret that could threaten their entire friendship, will the list--and their BFF status--go bust?

Themes of friendship, challenges, and growing up are woven throughout the book. 

Sticky-Note Conversations

A friend passed along this post about engaging students with sticky-note conversations. It's a clever and quick idea to try in the classroom; it builds trust and writing into the routine in an authentic and meaningful way. Take a look!
For authors, I can envision using this technique for school visits or ways to engage in conversation about your books within classroom instruction.
A burning question I seem to repeat year after year is “How do I talk to more of my students one-on-one beginning on the first day of school?” I know the value of making eye contact with the adolescents who enter my room. I know the importance of making them feel like they belong here —…

Last Stop on Market Street Teacher Guide Now Available!

I created a comprehensive teacher's guide for Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

You'll find background information and teaching resources for comprehension and how to use the book as a mentor text for strong verbs, personification, character traits, and dialogue. Assessments and evaluation materials are included!

You can purchase the guide from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

Should you use the guide, please let me know how you liked it. I'm always looking to improve my resources to best suit the needs of the classroom, so if there's something that worked well, I'd like to know that. And, if I could tweak the resource in any way, that's good to know, too! All comments and questions can be emailed to me at AuthorsandEducators at gmail dot com.