Category Archives: Promoting Literacy

Author Websites with Games and Activities… Think Eragon, Reading Rainbow and The Ranger’s Apprentice

Some great author websites with games and activities for all ages this summer!

Oceanhouse Media Great educational book apps and so much more. Check out often for FREE downloads to help your child learn letters, phonics & math!

http://www.oceanhousemedia.com/

Christopher Paolini’s “Eragon” Series Games and Activities for Tweens and Teens…Great Teacher Resource Too

http://www.alagaesia.com/
John Flannagan’s “Ranger’s Apprentice” Series Games and Activities for Tweens and Teens…Great Teacher Resource Too (one of my favorite series)

http://www.rangersapprentice.com.au/

The 39 Clues Website A fun clue hunt!

http://the39clues.scholastic.com/

The Mysterious Benedict Society Top Secret Adventures, Passwords and Amazing FUN!

http://www.mysteriousbenedictsociety.com/

Remember Reading Rainbow…check out this great reading resource for FREE!

Think classroom IPad or whiteboard resource

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-rainbow-read-along/id512350210?mt=8

May we continue ot seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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A Huge Thank You for Helping Unlock the Teacher Blog Reach 50,000 Plus Post Reads

A very special thank you to all of our faithful supporters who have encouraged us and helped this blog surpass 50,000 posts read since 2012.

Since I took a position as an elementary principal, our posts have been random as I acclimated to the new role. However, I am working on a new academic eBook book for summer publishing, and the Unlock the Teacher team is currently sending out proposals on a resource book for early childhood parents and teachers.

The goal of this blog is to share the good in education for the betterment of our future…our children.

This blog has seen parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, publishers and a few Department of Education and government leaders comment and support its efforts. Thank you for your support.

Here is to another great year…cheers!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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Unlock the Teacher LLC Gives the First Year Donation to Support Literacy Fund to Local Elementary School

“Katie’s Farm Adventures” an academic eBook

We are happy to report that we were able to give a check to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School this past month in support of the Literacy Fund.  Last March, we donated one of our Academic eBooks, “Katie’s Farm Adventures” to support the OLQM Literacy Fund.  In April 2011, we went into the school and conducted one of our “Writing Workshops” with Mrs. McMahon’s amazing 1st grade class.  This group of students through a brain-storming exercise, drafted a book idea, wrote the story as a group, colored the pages and published two eBooks for their school’s literacy fund.

“Katie’s Farm Adventures” an academic eBook

Katie’s Horse Adventure” BN ID: 2940013605886

This twenty page book is written and illustrated by 1st graders. It is the third book in the “Katie’s Farm Adventures” Series. All proceeds go to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School Literacy Fund. The academic focus for this book is sight words. It is a great book for children ages 4-8 that are working on building their cornerstone for reading. It is also a great example of what children can do if only given an opportunity. These students attended a writing workshop from Unlock the Teacher LLC and their teacher Mrs. McMahon learned how to utilize students work to create an eBook and promote literacy throughout their school.

Katie’s Exploring Adventure an academic eBook

Katie’s Exploring Adventure” BN ID: 2940012471550

This 23 page book is written and illustrated by a 1st grade class. “Katie’s Exploring Adventure” is the second book in “Katie’s Farm Adventures” series. In this book, Katie goes on a hike through the woods with her parents and discovers some colorful insects, falls into a huge pile of mud and through it all maintains a great sense of humor and sense of adventure.

All proceeds from these books go towards promoting literacy at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School at http://www.olqmcatholicschool.org For further information about having your class participate in a “Writing ePublishing Workshop” please contact Unlock the Teacher LLC at or visit our website at www.unlocktheteacher.com.

Given that these books are on sale for $2.99-$3.99 and the school receives 100% of the profits earned from the sale of these academic eBooks (keeping in mind each book profits 65-75% of the value via Barnes and Noble), we are thrilled to be able to continue to see the fruits of our labors as we strive to be the difference in education!

Thank you to all those who support our work in schools, purchase our academic eBooks and share the good in education.

Together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Two New eBooks Coming Out to Support Literacy at a Local Elementary School~One Written by 8th Grade Students

As our mission statement confirms, our goal is to share the good in education.  Given that our company is not even a year old, we have donated most of our time and talent to giving back and trying to make a difference in some of our local schools.

One of the schools we have taken under our wing to support, is St. Mary Elementary School in Royal Oak, Michigan.  It is a sweet little school with a diverse population striving to meet the needs of all students in a 21st century fashion.  They love to collaborate and every time an idea is given they are open to explore the possibilities.

"All Around our Town" Written by Denise Ball, Trisha Vaughn and Sue Atwell from Unlock the Teacher and all Proceeds Donated to St. Mary School in Royal Oak, Michigan to Promote Literacy

Last March, Unlock the Teacher LLC donated “All Around our Town” to St. Mary’s.   This academic eBook is aligned with K-2 National Social Studies Standards and places emphasis on sight words. Along with coloring pages, this 23 page eBook also includes a Parent/Teacher Resource Section.  All proceeds from this eBook goes towards promoting literacy in St. Mary School.

"Building Blocks of our Nation" written by St. Mary School's 8th Grade Class 2012 in Royal Oak, Michigan

This month, the 8th grade class has been studying the Core Democratic Values.  Their teacher, Mrs. Linda Irwin, utilizing Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, had students work in groups and create  Lego models representing  researched documents and the Core Democratic Values of our country.

We are excited to announce that both books will be available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon this month.

It is  exciting for us to see students get so excited about their curriculum, that they want to write and share it with others.  This is why we love to go into schools and share with teachers and students the eBooks process. It is a win-win for students, teachers and school; a positive synergistic process!

Stay tuned as we announce more eBooks we have been working on and our plan for book I in our Unlock the Teacher series.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Book Proposal Getting Ready to Fly and Positive Comments from Focus Groups Leave us Hopeful for Book I in the Unlock the Teacher Series

Book Proposal Getting Ready to Fly and Positive Comments from Focus Groups Leave us Hopeful

for Book I in the Unlock the Teacher Series

It is an exciting time, as our first “traditional” book proposal will be sent out before the first of the year.  We have worked on this book for over a year and we have been writing and collaborating with Dr. David Lick, Director of Family Medicine Troy Beaumont and Dr. Joslen Letscher, Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.

We have conducted our third Needs Assessment with another group of parent and educational leaders.  Their feedback was amazing and we gleaned a lot from their input…it gave us much hope for this series of books.

Given the parent and educational leader’s input, we now have a clear direction of target audience. Comments for our book design has been quite positive and we listened to group one and two of our first Needs Assessments and feel we have created an educational tool that will be well received for parent and teacher.

Dr. Lick has offered amazing input throughout this process and I know parents and teachers are just going to appreciate and enjoy his comments in the “Dr. Corner”.

Stay tuned…I will blog here about the wonderful process of submitting book proposals traditionally, and all that this process entails.

However, while you wait, please check out any of our academic eBooks at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/denise-ball

A couple of our academic eBooks are donated to local schools and helping to promote literacy; all profits from these books go directly to the school.  Together we can make a difference!

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Book I in the Unlock the Teacher Series, Promoting Literacy, Unlock the Teacher eBooks at Barnes and Noble Online

“Reading with Max”…A Great Reminder that we all Have Gifts and Talents to Share

We love to support local businesses and schools that promote the good in education.  Reading with Max  has been featured on our blog before, but we want to share with you a wonderful event being planned to promote reading this summer:

Read With Max Reading and Fundraising Event Set for August 10th, 2011

Max is an award winning children book author who is dedicated to helping children manage similar experiences in their lives. Maximus, a.k.a “Max,” is an
English Labrador who shares stories about his real life experiences from his point of view so children can relate too. You can purchase Max’s newest books,
music, ask him questions, enter his contests, ask him for his paw-o-graph, shop, or share your own adventures at his website www.readwithmax.com

Max has teamed up with sharing knowledge about LeaderDogs for the Blind.  We applaud his efforts to utilize his gifts and talents for the betterment of many.  This is a wonderful example for our children, our future.  Together we can make a difference if we ALL choose to utilize our unique gifts and talents for the good of us all.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

http://readwithmax.blogspot.com/

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Recommended Dolch Phonetic System for Emerging Readers

Example of Teacher-Generated Sound Chart to Help Emerging Readers with Phonics

Dolch Phonetic System Classroom Materials Organization

  1. Use a plastic file cube to store materials.  One hanging folder for each Dolch list will hold all of the game and practice materials. Add a 2nd hanging files for each Dolch list to hold flashcard sheets to give to a student when he/she moves to a new Dolch list.  The student takes this list home for practice. Keep your record binder in the cube too.
  2. It might be helpful to print the materials for each list in a particular color.  This makes it easy to get stray flashcards and other materials back into the correct folder.
  3.  laminate or use clear contact paper on the flashcards.  Laminate or contact the whole sheet before cutting. This helps, because the students love to review with them and they can go home once completed for additional review.
  4. Game boards, bingo cards etc. can be laminated or placed in plastic sleeves. Three hole punched plastic sleeves are very cheap at Costco.  They are actually a much cheaper and a faster way to protect the game boards. (I hole punch the cards to and put on ring sometimes for the students.)
  5. Give each student a practice booklet to keep.  The student brings the booklet to testing sessions.  The teacher can write helpful hints in the booklet for the student and “stamp, star or sticker” completed lists.

 

Record Keeping:Maintain a pocketed binder for student and class records.Store testing lists and or testing flashcards in the pocket of the binder.Maintain  individual records, a class graph, and a status of the class.

Test each student every week or two.  They will “bug” you to test them. As a teacher, you will begin to see their confidence rise.  In a regular classroom setting, teachers can grab a couple of minutes here and there for testing: during SSR, during an art project, while at the computer lab or library etc.  Regular testing does not have to be
built into the schedule.

I prefer to do my own testing, so I can observe errors and help the student by giving little individual mini-lessons.  If you use an aide or volunteer to test, make sure you demonstrate to them how you want your testing done.  You are seeking automatically with the words.  If the student takes more than a count to 5 to read the word, he/she doesn’t know the word well enough.

Dolch List 1


the to and hea I you it ofin was said his thatshe for on they but had

List 2


at him with up all looks her there some out as be have go weak then little down

List 3


do

can

could

when

did

what

so

see

not

were

get

them

like

one

this

my

would

me

will

yes

List 4


big

went

are

come

if

now

long

no

came

ask

very

an

over

your

it

stride

into

just

blue

red

List 5


from

good

any

about

around

want

don’t

how

know

right

put

too

got

take

where

every

pretty

jump

green

four

List 6


away

old

by

their

here

saw

call

after

well

think

let

help

make

going

sleep

ran

brown

yellow

five

six

List 7


walk

two

or

before

eat

again

play

who

been

may

stop

off

never

seven

eight

cold

today

fly

myself

round

List 8


tell

much

keep

give

work

first

try

new

must

start

black

white

ten

does

bring

goes

write

always

drink

once

List 9


soon

made

run

gave

open

has

find

only

us

three

our

better

hold

buy

funny

warm

ate

full

those

done

List 10


use

fast

say

light

pick

hurt

pull

cut

kind

both

sit

which

fall

carry

small

under

read

why

own

found

List 11


wash

show

hot

because

far

live

draw

clean

grow

best

upon

these

sing

together

please

thank

wish

many

shall

laugh

The blends are: bl cl, fl, gl, pl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, sk, sl, sp, st, sw, spr, cr, str

The vowels are: a, e, i, o, u,

 

Objective:

The students will read word cards with accuracy.

Materials:

• Word cards with words that contain familiar spelling patterns (or blends, rimes, digraphs, etc.)

Lesson:

Tell the students that they will be reading cards with familiar word patterns. Then,

1. Ask a student to read the first word card. Give the student no more than three seconds to answer.

2. If the student reads the card correctly, place it face down on the table. If the student cannot read
the card, tell him or her what the word is, emphasizing the pattern, and place the unread or misread card in front of the student.

3. Show the following word card to the next student, repeating step 2. Repeat until all word cards have been read or given to students.

4. Have the students who have cards in front of them attempt to read those words again. If they are able to read the card quickly and easily, take it back.

5. If a student misreads any words again, have the student keep the card and ask him or her to practice reading it.

Adaptations:

To check for comprehension, ask students to use each word in a complete sentence.

Instead of using word patterns, use cards with sight words written on them, and have the students use the words in sentences.

This is a great activity for parents to use with their emerging readers at home too.  There are many weeks left to summer, Happy Reading!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 🙂

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Workshop with Teens Produces a Great Insight into What They are Reading This Summer…Grisham, Patterson, Zusak, Riordan and Horowitz Were the Top Author Contenders

I met with a group of teens a few weeks back and asked them if they would like to share with all of our readers, the books they are currently reading and will read this summer.  The following is a list of books they provided.  I enjoyed teaching middle school and it is always refreshing to meet with young people and actually l-i-s-t-e-n to what they have to say or share.  This group of teens were articulate about their futures, the future of our country and the role they see themselves in helping make our world better.

So this is a shout out to that group of young people (that worked with Mrs. Ball ;-)), with whom I have no doubt will be amazing leaders of tomorrow. Acte non verbe!

Workshop Reveals What Teens are Reading

"Wolf Brother" by Michelle Paver was one of the group's favorites!

Grisham and Patterson were hot favorites for girls and boys.

"The Book Thief" by Zusak is an amazing read...highly recommend for literature teachers everywhere! Denise 😉

The whole team at Unlock the Teacher LLC is looking forward to an exciting teaching year with schools around the United States (and possibly abroad)…stay tuned as we will continually share what our children, our future is reading.  What we allow into our minds plays an important role of what and who we become, regardless of age!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 😉

 

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Unlock the Teacher LLC Charity eBooks are Almost at 100 in Sales Since March Promoting Literacy Month

Book II in the "Katie's Adventure" Series~"Katie's Exploring Adventure" written and illustrated by 1st Graders

Good Morning Everyone,

We hope you had a wonderful Memorial weekend with family and friends.  Trisha, Sue and I had some much-needed down time with our families.

As the school year is winding down for many, we wanted to give all of our supporters an amazing update on our eBooks we published in March to promote literacy…where proceeds go directly to designated schools to support their literacy funds.  Our sales are exciting as we are close to reaching 100 books sold.  Thank you!

We are also excited to share that the “Katie’s Adventure” series is now giving our Mysteries of the Beach and Phonics Friends a run for their money in sales.  Katie’s Exploring Adventure written and illustrated by Mrs. McMahon’s 1st grade class is selling in the multiple digits in just two weeks out.

What a wonderful thing for these 1st graders to experience…to see the value in  reading and the whole creative writing process.

In fact, we have been approached by a couple of companies to work with us to create book apps and one company out west that we are watching for a possible future relationship in academic eBook apps…please keep us in your thoughts as we discern the best possible way to promote literacy and to make a difference in the world around us.

Next year will be exciting as we will continue to go into schools to provide  “ePublishing and Writing”  Workshops for our youth and curriculum alignment (Common Core State Standards) assistance to our great educational colleagues around the United States…and possible overseas contracts too 🙂 .

We would love to come to your school to provide writing, ePublishing or Anti-Bullying Workshops for your students and get them excited about  learning, writing, and publishing work and collaborating for a better tomorrow.  For detailed information, please visit our website @ www.unlocktheteacher.com or email us at teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com or you may email me directly at Denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com

Thank you to all the teachers, students and principles that have invited us into their classrooms and schools this year.  Thank you to all the wonderful readers who send us positive encouragements via WordPress, twitter, our website or facebook…THANK YOU!  If we did not have you to help fill our buckets, we would not be able to do all that we try to do.

May your week be filled with many “a-ha” moments!

Denise

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A Review of “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury

Once they got past their differences, they could be friends...imagine!

Given that my little people are on Spring break, we made the most of it today.  We had a playdate and visited our local library.  Our family just loves the library and views it as a magical place, full of many adventures, just waiting to be explored.  While at the library we discovered that we could check out Wii games…for free and for a few days at a time.  At the same time, I found myself amazed and grateful.

What a wonderful way for audiences young and old to try out new games and new yoga poses for the Wii 🙂 I was so thrilled by this awesome discovery, I felt the need to share it with all of you. 

The other treasure we found while at the library, was a book called, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, written by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury.  My daughter and I shared so many laughs over this tonight.  The vocabulary is excellent; some words were challenging for my daughter to sound out and there were a couple of words she did not know meaning. I utilized these words as great teachable moment tools.

Scholastic offers a free lesson plan for parents and teachers to use with children provided by Michelle Higgens, a third grade teacher.  Given the lexicon used in this book, I would recommend for grades 1-3.  This would be a great resource to use when teaching/discussing bullying and differences with child/student.

I hope everyone runs out to their local library and reads this book…funny, cute and a tool to learn from.

Have a great night and happy reading! 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities, Promoting Literacy, Recommended Books to Read, to Learn, to Inspire