Tag Archives: learning

Straight from the Students: Books They are Reading in January and A Rating for Each

Good Evening Readers,

Today I had the privilege of observing some Best Practices within a Pre-K through 8th grade school.  I often visit this school to collaborate, because the teachers are open to discussion, full of innovative ideas and the students are so well-mannered.  As in all buildings, the administrator sets the mood and in this building, it is not hard to see that Mr. C believes in leading by example.  He models for teachers and students his expectations.

If  I haven’t shared yet, I have a fondness for teaching and working with teenagers. At this age, the young minds are full of inquiry and I am open to debate (in a respectful fashion of course) and I enjoy the challenge of trying to get them to see the “BIG” picture…that they soon will be the leaders of our country.  All children can learn, and it is fun trying to be an educational sleuth in figuring which way works best for which student.

OK…on to the review of what a seventh and eighth grade class of students are reading and what they thought about the book(s) so far:

Book Title ==Author====Rating (Great, Good, Boring) ==Gender

“Incantation”  == A. Hoffman ==Great!  ==G

Catching Fire”  ==S. Collins ==Great  == G

“Frost Bite” =========D. Wellington=========== Great =============G

“Schooled” ==G.Korman== Good ==G

“Shiloh”== P.Naylor====A bit boring (I know 5th graders who love it) ==B

Diary of Anne Frank” ==A. Frank== Good=== B

“One Left Behind” ==W.D. Roberts ==Great==G

“The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H.G.Wells”  ==MANY boys shouted out a “Great” on this one

Al Capone Does my Shirts” ==G.Choldenko == MANY boys and a few girls”Great” on this one

“Far Star”==Lacey ==Great==B                                                                   

“Drift” ==Patterson ==Great == G

“The Westin Game”  ==Raskin ==Good + (I like this one too.)==B

“Saphiique” ==Liane de Pougy ==GREAT (on my list to read 😉 == B

Million Dollar Throw” == Lupica == A lot of “GREAT” ratings for this one==B

“The Separate Piece” == Knowles ==GOOD==    B

Travel Team” == Lupica ==GREAT==    B

“Cujo” == Stephen King ==SCARY but still reading…hmmm == B

“Sun, Moon, Ice” ==Jessica Day George==  LOVE IT ==    G

“Revolution” ==Ron Paul ==GREAT== B

“Eragon” ==Paolini ==GREAT== B&G                                                         

Bud Not Buddy” == C.P. Curtis==GOOD==  B

“The Ranger’s Apprentice” Book 9 ==Flannagan==Both boys & girls have read & LOVE series(my house too;-)

“Fixing Delilah” ==Okler==GREAT==G

Thank you to all the wonderful 7th and 8th graders at St. Mary’s for their book reviews for this blog!  As always, keep reading and keep the suggestions and/or book reviews coming.  We like to read them all.

Many blessings to you,

Denise 🙂

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My Reflections on the Writer’s Digest New York Conference of 2011

Writer's Digest NY Conference 2011= Recipe for Success

As an educator, I enjoy and thrive on collaboration.

I love to learn new things and listen to what others have to say.  This past weekend was such an enjoyable experience for me because I was surrounded by such a diverse group of people.  The dialogue was amazing and the kindness was refreshing. Throughout the weekend, there were many opportunities to sit with like-minded people to share and glean insights, and converse with those who could oppose and critique work/and views as well.

It felt like I was back in graduate school, absorbing a lot of information in a short amount of time…and enjoying every minute of it!  Of course, as I stumbled in the door at 2AM this morning, I am not sure my husband could see the “joy” on my face. This will be a busy week of writing but for now…sleep!

The WD Conference was a great venue of collaboration!

For further insight or helpful tips learned, visit my online article  @ Suite101.

Stay tuned for great blogs that we are adding from the many wonderful writers we met on our adventure.  That includes all those wonderful individuals from the “Red-Eye Writer’s Group”…a true pleasure!

May your week be insightful and filled with joy and laughter!


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“Google Science Fair” Super Idea to Ignite the Imagination of our Youth

It is that time of year that reminds us just how cool science is.  I researched some great sites on various science projects ideas and global science project contests.  Most of the sites listed have teacher/parent resources and blogs for dialogue about science…how cool is that?  If your child or student has created a wonderful science fair project, Jennifer and I would love to post it and share.
Knowledge is meant to be shared and collaboration will become a necessity if we are going to raise our level of education for all and compete with a stronger foot hold in global arenas.
Check out article on Science Fair Projects @
To submit pics and explanations of your child/student science projects, please email us at unlocktheteacher@gmail.com
We look forward to hearing from you and may your Wednesday be backwards today!
Denise 😉
*Shout out to “birddroppings” for subscribing to our blog…thanks and we look forward to the collaboration!

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Filed under Educational Websites that are FREE, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities, Science

Favorite Tweets of the Week and the Great Combination of Twitter and Education

Twitter Singing PicHere is a review of my favorite tweets this past week.  Topics range from free webinars and podcasts, to informative information in the world of education, writing and publishing.  EdReformer, StudentsFrist, Topedtweets and Writer’s Digest are all great tweeters to seek out if inquiring about the stated topics.

As an ELA teacher, those who know me find it funny that I am now a “huge” promoter of twitter.  Before I began tweeting (that still sounds funny in my head), I assumed that twitter was full of slang and fragments, meant for young people.  However, though twitter  most definitely speaks the language of our youth, it is a diverse arena where one can enter into a global debate and/or conversation on any given topic.

The lexicon can be challenging at first, but there are many who gladly lend advice (shout out to @topedtweets) and offer support.  Though I am still a novice, there are many areas in which twitter can be utilized in language arts classrooms: electronic chats between classrooms around the world, teachers sharing best practices with one another and so much more.  As educators, Jen and I are always looking for things that stretch our abilities and force us out of our comfort zone…isn’t that what we ask our students to do when teaching them a new concept?

If you are a parent, a teacher or anyone who feels that social technology has no place in education, I encourage you to jump out of the box with me and explore the new language of the furture…dare to dream!

Have a great weekend!

 Denise 🙂

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Filed under Favorite Tweets of the Day, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities

Recommended Blogs for January: Parents,Teachers, Toddlers and More

Learning is Fun

Having little people in your life can be a challenge at times.  Regardless if you are a parent, caregiver, teacher, social worker, aunt or uncle, to name a few of the many roles we play as an adult in the life of a child, your role is an important one.  Many studies show that the first three years of a child’s life is crucial in establishing a strong cornerstone for learning.  This doesn’t mean that if the child in your life is older than three, all is lost, but it does mean that there is no time like the present to participate in your child’s learning process.

I spend a lot of time researching case studies, articles and basically anything I can get my hands on, that give insight and opinion on developmental stages and learning platforms for children of all ages.  Two common threads found are the importance of communication and collaboration.  I will be posting blogs on parenting, teaching and other sites  I think you would like to view for enhancing your knowledge base and sites that will allow you an opportunity to collaborate with others who have similar questions and concerns.

I am encouraging the mom groups  Iam  working with on the research for my  book to start sending questions or inquiries that can be researched and help provide resources for.  Please join in this collaboration and send me  your questions and comments.  If you view one of these blogs and they are not appropriate to our discussion, let me know so I can delete it and in return, if you view a FABULOUS blog…share!  Celebrate the sharing of knowledge in education, so all can participate in making a difference in the lives of our children, our future.

Recommended Blogs for Learning this Week:

Have a great month surfing these sites and we look forward to your comments and/or suggestions.

Thank you for being the difference in the life of a child today,


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Oceanhouse Media…A Company to Watch in the World of Educational Technology

An up and coming company to watch in educational technology. I specifically like the emerging reader apps!

Always trying to share the positive in the world of education…experience and enjoy!


Oceanhouse Media

We create iPhone & iPad apps that Uplift, Educate and Inspire with the corporate mantra of “Creativity with Purpose.”


See all of our apps here:

And follow us on Twitter

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us

This Thanksgiving and More Holiday Online Games for Children

Santa Clause on skies in Adelboden, Switzerland

Image via Wikipedia

The following online games were found.  Try some out and let us know your thoughts.

A variety of games including Santa, ornaments etc. Good hand-eye coordination for ages 6-10.  Children need to read for these games: http://holidays.kaboose.com/games-xmas.html

This site is fun with a variety of holiday music, online coloring pages and games for ages 4-10: http://www.northpole.com/clubhouse/games/

Boys and girls will like this website.  One can dress up an elf, color or shoot with snow balls. Oh, there are stories and music too: http://akidsheart.com/holidays/christms/chgames.htm

For holiday mazes and more, visit this online site for ages 6-12: http://www.kidsturncentral.com/holidays/christmas/cgames.htm

Enjoy and we look forward to your reviews.  We will be with our families, trying out these sites with our children.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Denise, Trisha and Sue and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

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