Today I did one of my favorite author things--I spoke to 240 kids at the Career Tech Summer Academy. I spoke for half an hour to students ranging from 4th to 6th graders, telling them about me, my books, and being an author. Then I answered questions. Any teacher knows that when you open up... Continue Reading →

HNS 2017 Conference

I love attending conferences, and I love speaking at them. This one was no different. I attended great sessions that discussed family sagas, the state of historical fiction in publishing, and how to promote your book. Watch this space for notices of giveaways soon! I'll be redesigning my webpage, and creating a cool flyer. I... Continue Reading →

Creative Expression

I have always had the need to express myself creatively. I drew and colored and wrote stories, and later tried every art or craft I could. It was more than fun. My very soul demanded creative expression. I even remember making up stories in middle school and passing them off as truth--like how my mother... Continue Reading →

Survival Comparison Essay

Every so often, I like to publish exemplary student work. This essay is from my sixth grade student, Aidan. If you want to read more student work, click the tab above that says All Yours.   Survival Comparison Essay by Aidan In Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, Brian struggles to survive, but during this struggle he learns... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness Winner 2017

After our final class vote, the winner of this year's Novel Madness contest is: PIE by Sarah Weeks! Congratulations to the students who argued for Pie. That just sounds odd, doesn't it? 🙂 If you are a fifth grade student at JFS, start thinking now about what novels you want to see in next year's... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness 2017–SEMIFINALS

The excitement is building in my classroom as we near the end of our favorite novel of all time competition. Today we heard speeches from the last four books and chose two for the final competition. Are these the two you would have chosen? Our final two novels will compete on Tuesday, March 21. They are:... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness 2017–Round Two

Half the books in our novel tournament were eliminated today in a hotly contested competition. Eight novels are left. Did your favorites make it through to the next round? Stay tuned as we narrow down our favorites. Round Two is on Wednesday, 3/15.   Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson vs. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine... Continue Reading →

Novel Madness 2017

March means Madness! Coinciding with the college basketball tournament, my class has a novel tournament each year. They brainstorm their favorite all-time novels and narrow it down to sixteen titles. Then the fun begins! They pair off and write a persuasive argument to convince their classmates to vote for their novel. Each week, half the... Continue Reading →

Daily Arguments

When teaching students to write persuasively (which Common Core now calls Argument), it's important for them to realize that they encounter the art of persuasion every day. After all, persuasion is nothing more than influencing someone else. In ancient Greece, Aristotle wrote abut how to persuade others. Three hundred years later, in Rome, Cicero wrote... Continue Reading →

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