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 an 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. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Where the Red Fern Grows in the Classroom

Where the Red Fern Grows, written by Wilson Rawls, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Where the Red Fern Grows, was first published in 1961, and has become a classic favorite to use in the classroom amongst both teachers and students.





Summary of Where the Red Fern Grows:
(from the book jacket)

Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann -  a boy and his two dogs.

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains - and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found...

Where the Red Fern Grows.

An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.

This is a great novel to use in the classroom to help show students the power of setting a goal and working with all your might toward achieving it. A touching story to see how perseverance will overcome adversity.

This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
  • The Cherokee Native American tribe, including the geographic region where the tribe was predominantly found.
  • Dog training and/or Redbone Coonhound breed
I offer a complete novel study to accompany Where the Red Fern Grows 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 Where the Red Fern Grows 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!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Esperanza Rising in the Classroom

Esperanza Rising, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Esperanza Rising, was published in 2000, and has received numerous awards, including the Pura Belpré Award, an award honoring the excellent portrayal of Latino experience in children's literature.




Summary of Esperanza Rising:
(from the book jacket)

Esperanza believed her life would be wonderful forever. She would always live on her family's ranch in Mexico. She would always have fancy dresses and a beautiful home filled with servants. papa and Abuelita would always be with her.

But a sudden tragedy shatters her world and forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California, where they settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for hard labor,  financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, and lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick, and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances - because Mama's life and her own depend on it.

This is a great Depression Era novel to use in the classroom to help students understand the struggles of the era, especially the plight of the Mexican farm workers as they struggle to adapt and survive in the United States. A great novel that shows how perseverance will overcome adversity.
This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
  • Mexican Repatriation and how the Mexican Immigration Policy has been dealt with by the U.S. government in the past and present day.
  • The Dust Bowl and migrant workers.
  • The role of unions on the American economy
  • Incorporate with a unit during Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-October 15)
I offer a complete novel study to accompany Esperanza Rising 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 Esperanza Rising 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!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hoot in the Classroom

Hoot, written by Carl Hiaasen, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or for literature circles in the classroom. Hoot, was published in 2002, and received the Newberry Honor Award for children's literature in 2003. 



Summary of Hoot:
(from the book jacket)

Roy Eberhart has recently, and unhappily, arrived in Florida. "Disney World is an armpit," he states flatly, "compared to Montana."

Roy's family moves a lot, so he's used to the new-kid drill. Florida bullies are pretty much like bullies everywhere. But Roy finds himself oddly indebted to the hulking Dana Matherson. If Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is the first interesting thing Roy's seen in Florida.

The boy was about Roy's age, but he was running away from the school bus. He had no books, no backpack, and here's the odd part, no shoes.

Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy's trail. The chase will introduce him to some other intriguing Floridian creatures; potty-trained alligators, a beleaguered construction foreman, some burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a renegade eco-avenger, some slippery fish, a sinister pancake PR man, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

Life in Florida is looking up.

This is a great novel with themes of friendship, teamwork, adolescence, corporate corruption, environmentalism, and integrity all told in a writing style that tweens and teens can relate to and enjoy.

This is a great novel to accompany a study of:
  • Florida geography and wildlife
  • Montana geography and wildlife
  • Research the role of the US Department of Justice
  • Research the Environmental Protection Agency
I offer a complete novel study to accompany Hoot 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 Hoot 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!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Make this the Best Year EVER!

The community at Teachers Pay Teachers wants to help you make this school year the best year ever! For a thrifty shopper like me the best way to start off the year is to save money! Now is your chance to save as well with the big TpT Back to School Sale, August 1-2, 2016.





Everything in my store, The Teaching Bank, will be marked 20% off. In addition to that use code: BESTYEAR at checkout to take an additional 10% off everything in your cart!



This is a fantastic way to stock up for the upcoming year at a significant discount!  Complete novel studies and bundles in my store are already marked down 20% or more everyday so add the additional 20% and the 10% coupon code and you can get some substantial products at a deeply discounted price!

Another great way to save is to earn TpT credits for leaving feedback! Head to your "My Purchases" page and leave feedback for all products that you've purchased. Use the credits that you earn to help pay for your cart full of goodies during the sale!

Special thanks to Thrifty in Third Grade for allowing me to share her great video!

So get your credits all earned and your wishlist stocked and get ready to save big bucks at the sale starting tomorrow, August 1st and Tuesday, August 2nd! Don't forget to use code: BESTYEAR at checkout to receive that extra 10% off of everything in your cart!