Sunday, February 21, 2016

Home Shelf Favorites: Chapter Books

There is still confusion between the Chapter Book genre and the Middle Grade. One year, I won second place for my first chapter book in a series. The second and third year, my second book in the series was dinged for being in the wrong category. The judges felt it should have been entered as middle grade. This year, I entered book three in my series in middle grade to see what happens.


Here's my take on what a chapter book is:
- It's a transition between easy reader and middle grade.
- It has short chapter lengths, about 500 - 750 words.
- Overall, it's approximately 10,000 - 15,000 words. 
- Usually, pictures and white spaces break up the page of text.
- Content is suitable for six to ten year olds.
- Protagonist is younger than age twelve.

Great resources for a little more clarity:

The Book Pile

Now, onto our favorites! My two voracious readers helped me pick out favorites off our home shelf. Here's the big bad:

All time favorite: Ivy + Bean (Volumes 1 - 10)
Most funny: Junie B. Jones
Most Interesting: Human Body Theater
Most Scary and Different: Goosebumps #13: Scream of the Evil Genie
Favorite Classic Single: Alice in Wonderland
Just Plain Super Cute: Appleblossom the Possum

I've not read all the above books, but the ones I have and strongly agree with are Ivy + Bean and Human Body Theater.

According to Goodreads I've read 36 chapter books with my kids. The ones I really enjoyed, that are worth a mention are:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Bookmarks: A Simple Craft

The Event: Second Grade Valentine's Day party.

The Mission: offer a craft that's quick, easy, uses very little glue and no paint. The craft needed to be completed and sent home immediately after the event.

The Idea: bookmarks. Thanks, Pinterest!

To save on time and explanation, I pre-cut and pre-scored the pieces. I bought stickers (eyeballs, glasses, and mustaches), and provided glue sticks and scissors. Boom. Let's do this thing.

Everything you need.

The purple card stock pattern is based on a 3x3" square. The pink paper squares are just slightly smaller. The only thing missing in my picture above is a pair of scissors and a Sharpie pen.

1.) Fold triangles flaps in and crease. 
2.) Open flaps back up and glue one pink square on the purple card stock.
3.) Cut the remaining pink square in half diagonally, forming two triangles.
4.) Use one triangle to cut out some monster teeth, assuming the back of the paper is white.
5.) Fold the purple flap, glue teeth onto the top, then cover flap with glue. Fold second purple flap down, adhering to the top (teeth should be in between the layers).
6.) Glue remaining pink triangle on top of flap.

That's a tongue, by the way.

7.) Add stickers of eyeballs, glasses, and/or mustaches. The stickers I used by Sticko were foam padded stickers. Colorful cushions that won't damage the book's page. After it's all said and done, use a Sharpie pen for eyebrows, nostrils and other details.

For a great tutorial, check out Tally's Treasury blog on how to make the corner bookmark along with creating the pattern.

Friday, February 05, 2016

From the Art Docent: Symmetry

Second Grade Art Wall

Ladybug Image Transfer

Bumble Bee Image Transfer

To help the kids understand symmetry, I opted for an easy image transfer project. I gave each student a piece of white paper, a soup spoon, and an assortment of oil pastels. Here's the lesson:
1.) Fold the piece of paper in half.
2.) On the fold, draw half a bug by pressing firmly with a dark colored pastel.
3.) Fold the bug to the inside, and on the back, burnish the bug lines with the spoon.
4.) Unfold and voila! A mirror image on the opposite side.
5.) Color the same on both sides.

At first I thought the kids would whip through the assignment, and the lesson would be over in fifteen minutes. Most did, but they were excited to make another...and another. They got into the spirit of exploring. They turned out so cool!

Another fun day with the kids :)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Groundhog Giveaway

Spring! Spring!

Super Phil, my little groundhog buddy, is helping me get the word out today. We have five copies of Dealing with Blue up for grabs on The giveaway starts today! Head on over to enter your chance for a spankin' new paperback.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh

Dealing with Blue

by Stacia Leigh

Giveaway ends March 03, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway