Interesting Books I've Read!

I love to read. That's a pretty common trait amongst teachers so I am sure it is no big surprise. Recently I finished two books that had me thinking in different ways. I thought I'd detour a bit from talking about children's books and activities and discuss these great adult books! Teachers need to feed their minds as well as the minds of their students!

First book was Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

I know many, many people have read this book since its release. If you haven't read it take a moment to check it out.  You need not be a computer wiz, or even an Apple fan, to appreciate the message that can be gained. The main thing I took away from this book was to always believe in yourself and your ideas, don't let the naysayers of the world talk you down. Steve had some flops and bad ideas in his day but he pushed through the negativity that was directed towards him and let those ideas fail on practice, not for lack of trying. Of course Steve had many, many more successes than failures, and many of those successes came to be because he ignored the naysayers and marched to his own drum. Steve was not the kindest man, and he could be very difficult to work with, but he also inspired those around him to strive for the very, very best. That is something that all of us can learn from and improve on! Walt Disney has always been a man I have looked up to. Steve and Walt have many qualities in common and one of them was to never give up on your dreams!

The second book I finished was Gabby by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

This book was very inspiring. I had never heard of Gabrielle Giffords prior to her being shot in January, 2011, but I had been following Mark Kelly's career since July, 2010.  Mark Kelly was the Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission. I had requested tickets to the STS-134 launch back in January, 2010, and we had been following the progress of the mission very closely. I was saddened to see Mark Kelly's name as her husband in the coverage of Congresswoman Gifford's shooting in 1/11. Along with watching and praying for Ms. Giffords, we were watching and hoping that Mark would be able to stay with the mission to fly on Endeavour as planned.

It was very inspirational to learn about Gabrielle Giffords and all the of the things she had accomplished prior to the shooting. She is a remarkable woman. To read of the miracle of not just her survival, but of her overcoming so much after the shooting, is inspiring. It makes me really sad to learn what a remarkable person we had in Congress and I am sorry she is no longer there. We need more like her in Congress and I really pray that she can return someday!

I also enjoyed reading of Mark's accomplishments and background. Not only did I read the book, but my 12 year old son and I went to a lecture he gave near here last month. In the lecture he shared many stories that are in the book and he was so inspiring, funny, and engaging as a speaker. I am so happy that my son was able to hear him talk because he shared a great message: You may not be the best at everything, you may not be that great at anything, but if you have patience, determination, and drive you can accomplish anything. 

Mark writes the book in the same engaging manner that he used at the lecture. It was fun to read his stories leading up to the launch attempt on April 29, 2011. It was interesting to think that he was just a  few miles down the beach from us at that same time preparing for his mission and we were preparing to come and watch. Sadly, as I've written before, that launch was scrubbed and Endeavour did not launch until May 16th. We were not able to return to attend and watched on TV from home instead.

I highly recommend the book to everyone. It is engaging, funny, sad, and very inspirational. It will make you think about how you live your everyday life and how you can strive to do better.

Where Have I Been?

Wow it has been over a month since I wrote a post on my blog! I am sure you are wondering Where has she been? What has she been doing? I wish I had some super exciting adventure to share but really I have just been busy redesigning my units! I have redesigned some layouts, added some additional activities, added assessment components, and have added a Common Core Standards Alignment. I just finished up with The Indian in the Cupboard Unit. Some of the differences you will see are:
  • New Cover page for the Student Packet. I am taking advantage of my husband's graphic design software to make the cover more colorful and inviting. Since I know that sometimes it can get pricey to print off color pages I have kept a black and white option in the unit if that better fits your budget when you print it out!
  • Redesigned Teacher Packet. Teacher plans and answer keys have a new look!
  • Redesigned Student Packet pages: Student packet pages have been reformatted for a more pleasing look and better use of space to help with clarity.
  • New Vocabulary Activities added!
  • An Assessment Packet added that contains a vocabulary quiz, a comprehension quiz in both a short answer and multiple choice format, and a writing assessment.
  • Common Core Standards Alignment for the grade levels that the unit is geared for. This alignment lists all the standards that are addressed for each grade level and lists the specific activity that addresses the standard.
I have 76 units on my product list, currently the following have been redesigned and updated with all the new parts:

For Grades 3-5:
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Chocolate Fever
Flat Stanley
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
The Chocolate Touch
The Magic Finger
Charlotte's Web

For Grades 5-8:
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Maniac Magee
Dear Mr. Henshaw
The Indian in the Cupboard
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Over the next few months I will be working to update every unit on my product list. Up next on the agenda is Night of the Twisters so watch for that!

If you have previously purchased a unit from me don't despair, you can get the updated version at no additional cost. If you purchased as a download from Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook please return to your account at the site. You should be able to re-download your purchase. If you purchased the unit on a CD please email me. My email is on the label of your CD. In your email let me know your email address, which website you purchased from, and when your purchase was made so that I can verify. I will send you the new unit file via email.

Watch my Facebook Page for updates as more units are completed.