Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Song for Papa Crow

Song for Papa Crow

By Marit Menzin

Written Especially for Kindergarten--Second Grade Students. However, is enjoyed by children and adults alike.

A bonus of fun facts about birds common, to North America, can be found at the end of the book.

Little Crow loves to sing, and Papa Crow loves his song. 

When Little Crow shares his crow songs with the other birds at the big old tree they laugh and scatter. 

Maybe Mockingbird can teach him to sing songs with the finches, flycatchers, and cardinals and help him make some friends. 

But Little Crow should be careful what he wishes for... Using Mockingbird's tip, Little Crow quickly becomes the most popular bird on the block. 

But, in a moment of danger, he learns that singing someone else's song can have terrible consequences and that his own voice and his father's love is of the greatest value. 

Note from Jacquie: Marit Menzin is an award winning artist well-known for her work in collage.

She applies her artistic talent to her first book, Song for Papa Crow. This outstanding book outlines the journey of Little Crow finding his place in the bird-world. It has been read and re-read by my grandchildren and holds a special place on our book shelf.

A Note from the Author  Marit Menzin Author Page
When I was a baby, my three aunts came for a visit, and each brought with her a gift. One sang me a lullaby and she taught me her songs. The second one showed me a beautiful picture of the world. My third aunt told me a sweet fairy tale and she hugged me with her words.

The moment that I could hold a crayon, I started doodling, and each picture came with a song. In my magical world, I looked for the first flowers that grew after the rain. I observed with wonder my puppies and kittens and other animals and creatures, including the humans around me. When I learned how to read, I couldn’t stop, and even as I grew older, I still looked eagerly for picture books, simply because I had to know exactly what the characters in the book looked like.

Later, I forgot about my aunts’ gifts. My dream was to be. . . an inventor. I studied chemistry and biology, and later computer science.

After my children were born, Curious George reminded me of my childhood curiosity, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and My Mama Had a Dancing Heart brought back my passion for colors and words. Yes, this was when I remembered my gifts and became an inventor of books.


Marit Menzin's collages have been seen in galleries, magazines, and numerous other publications. Marit's illustrations have won various awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and her picture book Song for Papa Crow won a Mom's Choice Award Gold Honor for distinguished Illustration.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Slice of History: Dog Bone Soup

Notes from Jacquie: I highly recommend Dog Bone Soup. It is well-written, entertaining, and thought provoking. An excellent read for middle school through adult readers.

Bette A Stevens, author of Dog Bone Soup, tells the fast-paced and compelling story of Shawn Daniels, a young man growing up in the post World War II era. 

With each turn of the page the boy finds ways to manage what could be the helplessness of persistent poverty, abuse, a wife-beating alcoholic father, and the social stigma of being an outcast. 

Shawn and his sometimes lazy brother Willie chop wood, catch fish, milk cows in the neighbor's field under the cover of early morning, and so much more to help their mother and two sisters survive in tough times.
Bette A. Stevens

An important element of the story is the realistic, and seldom-told, life of the poor during the post war era. 

Shawn and his family lived without running water, indoor plumbing and other basic conveniences. While he met the qualifications for college, he did not have the resources to finance his education. 

Shawn's pride, a trait he inherited from his mother, did not allow him to accept help from others. He, as many other young men of the time, asserted his independence and carved his path out of poverty by joining the army. This was at a time when the United States was expanding interest in Vietnam. Hopefully, Bette Stevens will tell us about the next chapter in the life of Shawn Daniels.

Author Page: Bette A. Stevens

This book is available at Jacquie's Store, Bette's Author Page and on Amazon

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fifteen Second Read

The Fifteen Second Read

Note from Jacquie: I have included this activity in upper elementary through college lesson plans. Students do have fun while they are learning. It is important to clarify the roles of timekeeper and lightswitcher before beginning this activity. The fifteen Second Read is included in the soon-to-be published How to Teach Reading Using Rhoades to Reading Revisited. Wishing you happy teaching.

The Fifteen Second Read can be used for practice with any word list. The process for conducting the read is as follows:

— Select a timekeeper. The timekeeper watches the clock and says, “Please begin” to tell students to begin reading and “Please stop” to tell students to stop reading. He says  “Switch partners” to indicate it is time to switch partners. He should provide five (5) seconds for students to switch partners.

— Select a light switcher. The light switcher turns the lights on and off when the timekeeper gives the signal. The light is on when students read. The light is off when partners are changing the reading role and when students are finding a new partner.

— Provide a word list to each student.

— Have students stand and find a partner. Students may stand in any open space in the room.

— The partner with the first name beginning closest to the letter A (or choose another letter) begins reading

— When the timekeeper and Light Switcher give the signal, reading begins. When they give the signal to stop, reading stops.

— When the timekeeper and light switcher give the signal, the partner who has not read begins reading. When they give the signal to stop, reading stops.

— When the signal is given, each pair of students must find someone he has not worked with during this activity.

The process is repeated.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Improve Memory with Tracing Activities

How to Improve Memory with Tracing Activities

The use of Tracing activities is usually limited to students or groups of students with identified Learning Challenges. However, they may be used with any student during initial instruction or with those who demonstrating difficulty remembering sounds or words.

Tracing Activities utilize kinesthetic, visual and auditory learning channels to memorize letters and word shapes, letter and word sound patterns. Tracing also reinforces the development of associations between letter sounds and shapes.

The essential element in tracing is that the student sees, hears and does. When students are having difficulty remembering  a particular sound, letter shape, or word pattern,Tracing activities should be repeated until memory of the skill is learned.

Tracing may be done
  • in the air using an imaginary blackboard
  • on the blackboard using chalk
  • on the desk, floor or other hard surface using a foot, finger or eraser tip
  • on large unlined paper or newspaper using a finger or pencil
  • on lined handwriting paper using a finger or pencil
  • in shaving cream sprayed on a hard surface
  • using a finger or the whole handin sand or on the grass
  • in other words almost any surface can be used to assist in multi-modality learning.

Following are examples of tracing activities used in Rhoades to ReadingRevisited 
(To be published in 2016)

-Air Tracing For Letter Sound Retention
The form of the letter is traced in the air on an imaginary blackboard as the student says the key word
followed by the letter sound.

-Air Tracing For Word Retention
The form of the word is traced in the air as the student shapes the letters as it is spoken.
-Back Tracing For Sound Retention
The form of the letter is traced on the back of another student as the student says the letter sound. This activity should be used if students are having difficulty memorizing sounds. The student who is the recipient of the back tracing is also an active learner in this multi-sensory process.
Variation- The letter can be traced on the student’s back. The student must guess the letter.
-Back Tracing For Word Retention
The form of the word is traced on the back of another as the student. This activity should be used if students are having difficulty memorizing words.
-Desk Tracing For Sound Retention
The form of the letter is traced on the desk or table as the student says the letter sound.
-Desk Tracing For Writing
The form of the letter is traced on the desk or table as the student describes the process for forming the letter.
-Tracing For Letter Formation
After hearing the instructor describe and demonstrate how to form a letter, students repeat directions for letter formation as they write the letter. Tracing may be completed in the air and/or on a desk before writing the letter on paper, i.e., up, down and around, shaping the letter as it is spoken.

For example, when forming the letter “a” in the air, the student begins by imagining a large chalkboard in front of him and pretends he has a piece of chalk in his hand. He then moves his outstretched hand in the air following the verbal directions as he chants: “Up, over, back around to the top, and down.”

Each letter should be introduced one at a time using the following steps:
-Students complete air tracing.
-Students write the letter on their papers, horizontally across the line in the order they are introduced.
-The teacher introduces the next letter.

-Place shaving cream on a desk or table and complete selected tracing activity.

-Place sand in a container and complete selected tracing activity.

From: How to Teach Reading Using Rhoades to Reading Revisited. If you would like to receive notification of publishing, please follow this blog by email or google+.

I appreciate all who follow this blog and support our publications! Jacquie 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Starting the New Year with a Game

Starting the New Year with a Game

Notes from Jacquie: Over the years my elementary through college classes have played this game many times.Simply divide the class in half and ask the students to turn their desks or chairs to face each other. In doing so they form two teams. Provide five to ten minutes for the teams to study and let the games begin. Being a teacher is so much fun!

Detailed instructions below.

Comprehension Competition

Comprehension Competition is intended to be a supportive activity to be used when the instructor believes appropriate.

-In order to play this game, vocabulary words must be written on the board.
-The instructor announces to the class the number of minutes allowed to play the game.
-A small ball is required.
-Divide the class into two equal teams.
-The instructor is the judge.
-Arrange the desks or chairs so the teams are facing each other.
-The instructor begins the game by tossing the ball to one of the team members while saying a vocabulary word.
-The player has fifteen (15) seconds to say the definition.
-If he says the definition correctly, the team gets a point.
-Regardless of whether the answer is correct or incorrect, the player in possession of the ball. He tosses the ball to a member of the other team.  while saying a vocabulary word.
-The receiver of the ball must say the definition in fifteen (15) seconds.
-The game is played in even rounds until the instructor calls time is up. The team with the most points is the winner.

This activity was originally published in the 1999 version of Rhoades to Reading. Cooperative Competition, will be included  in the 2016 Kindle edition How to Teach Reading using Rhoades to Reading Revisited. To receive notification of publication add your address to the email link or follow google+. 

I sincerely appreciate all who follow our site and support our publications.

You might be interested in visiting this excellent site and learn about other games.

Purpose Driven Motherhood

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016.