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review 2016-09-14 17:16
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons - Eric Litwin,James Dean

The authors of this book do an excellent job with repetitious words.  That makes Pete the Cat books great books to use for choral reading!  This particular book emphasizes number words so it is a choice that would be super for preK up to 1st grade. 

grade level equivalent: 2
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review 2016-09-05 23:45
First Dictionary
The American Heritage First Dictionary - American Heritage Dictionaries

It is important to begin using dictionaries as soon as possible with young learners.  I would be certain to have a dictionary like this one available to any kindergarten through fifth grade class.  It would be optimal to have one per student or at least one per every two to three students. 

With the youngest of learners, they can simply be introduced to what a dictionary is!  A great activity is for them to copy words for the letter of the week or the letter the class is most focused on.  For example, if a class is working on writing certain letters, have the students look for five words that begin with those letters and copy them into their journals.  Then, ask the students to draw a picture for each of those words they chose.  This is a great reading and writing activity although it seems so simple. 

grade level equivalent: 2.7
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review 2016-09-01 17:00
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? - Brian P. Cleary,Jenya Prosmitsky

A Mrs. Gilmore favorite!  This is just one of a set of cool books that are educational and fun!!  In a classroom, this is a great resource to focus on nouns.  Other books in this set focus on adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and other parts of speech. 

For younger children, these books are fun to hear due to the rhyming words but they can also serve as a tool in a writing center to copy words.  For advanced learners, they can even choose words from the text and then make their own sentences!

A fun book to hear aloud that is also a good teacher resource is a win :)


grade level equivalent: 2.7
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review 2015-01-10 00:00
Writing Habit Mastery - How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block
Writing Habit Mastery - How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block - S.J. Scott Great tips, but sadly nothing new under the sun, as most things said here you can find in just about any blog, for free. It's a to-the-point book, though, and tries not to beat around the bush on the explanations of the tips and tactics, so that's nice. A good read if you need to be reminded to just sit and write.
I particularly enjoyed the section on outlining.
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review 2009-09-18 00:00
Words Overflown By Stars: Creative Writing Instruction And Insight From The Vermont College Mfa Program - David Jauss Sept. 18, 2009. Somehow I don't think I need yet another book on writing (in fact, what I need to do is just write), but I rather liked the look of this one as I wandered into B&N on this too-warm for mid-September Friday night. My plan is to sit in the cafe and work on a short story. So far, I've bought this book, a cup of decaf and a Godiva dark chocolate bar with raspberry filling. I'll be firing up Open Office any second now.

Sept. 25. Read the first essay "Before we get started" by Bret Lott, a meditation on the importance of small, workhorse words such as "a," "the" and "this," and how a story can turn on just those words. Lott uses examples from short stories by Charles Baxter, Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver -- stories I'll now have to make certain I read. If this essay is any sign of things to come, reading this book is going to be like attending those kind of college lectures that used to make me lean forward in my uncomfortable desk-chair combo, a little breathless, and turn all of the lights on in my mind. The best class I ever had was taught by a rumpled old professor who spent an hour the first day talking about the meaning of the word "still" in the first line of Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn." I loved that professor. That's what this brief essay was like. It closed with a passage from Ezekiel about Ezekiel speaking a prophecy to bring dry bones to life -- used as a metaphor for writing. It made me want to go buy a Bible. Now that's good writing.

Oct. 12. In the second essay "The Girl I Was, the Woman I Have Become," Ellen Lesser meditates thoughtfully on the use of reminiscent narrators in a few different works, among them Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day and Lynne Sharon Schwartz's Leaving Brooklyn. Again, the essay leaves me wanting to read the referenced works to really see the principles discussed in action. Lesser starts by pondering whether approaching a piece of fiction from a reminiscent point of view is simply an artificial way of infusing the work with a sort of glow of nostalgia, but then makes the case that reminiscence can bring perspective or be the instrument for a character's present-day change. Fascinating stuff.
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