A cup of tea, a summer morning, a long awaited book….life is good.
Well, hot diggity dog, kids! Summer is here! YAHOO!
And you know what that means, right? Time for……..READING! YAY! Happy dance! If you’re anything like me, you love summer because it is a season when we are able to do everything we love but have been putting off until we have time. In June, July, and for some of August, we have the luxury of time. Time to rest, time to exercise, time to spend with family and friends, time to vacation or to staycation, and time to READ!
What books are you planning to read this summer? My list includes:
House of the Red Fish, (the sequel to Under the Blood Red Sun) by Graham Salisbury
(Remember our Skype visit, kids? Also think about Eyes of the Emperor and House of the Bamboo Rat)
A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, 1599, by James Shapiro
Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, by Lee Cockerell
The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
and The Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
If you need help finding a good book, try DOGObooks Summer Reading list and program. Kids write all the reviews on DOGObooks; this year 78 books made the summer reading list, and 76 books are offered as prizes for those who participate in the program. Now is the time to find a good book, immerse yourself in another time and place, and then start a conversation by writing about your book adventure here.
Through the wonder of blogging, we have found a great new class! Mrs. Rombach and her readers, whom we have visited a bit in the past, have sent us some prompts so that we can write interactive stories with them.
How cool is that? (Mrs. Rombach has also shared a very creative and fun method of working on vocabulary, but I will save that secret for another day. Teachers are required by Teacher Law #65113notto allow too much fun into any one day.)
So today, we can finish a story that has been started by a member of Mrs. Rombach’s class. We also get to share prompts with her middle schoolers at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia.
So let’s put on our author hats, and get writing! Perhaps one of us will be the next Graham Salisbury. You never know what the future holds.
On April 8th I have the opportunity to share two of my favorite joys: teaching and blogging! As a presenter at the NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) Convention, I will help other teachers learn how to blog.
I need your input to show everyone how great blogging is. As you read this post, think about your own experiences with blogging. While you are reading and thinking, I’ll be sharing our class experiences. I’ll start with a little powerpoint that explains why I began blogging in the first place.
Next up, I’m going to show this video which explains what blogging is. Do you remember the first day you went into the computer lab and got your own blog? How cool was that, right?
I’ll need to mention, of course, the importance of digital safety and the responsible use of technology. Have you ever had a problem with inappropriate material on your blog? Think about copyright use, too.
We are going to learn all the important blogging terminology so that the teachers can write fantastic posts. We’ll be learning about embedding videos, adding widgets, creating avatars, and giving attribution, in addition to lots of other blogging skills. All the best blogs use these concepts. What are some of your favorite blogs out there? As my kids know, we are great buddies with the kids and teacher (Ms. Smith) at Huzzah!, and I am sure we will take a trip to British Columbia, Canada, to visit them. I would not be here at the NCEA Convention in Orlando, presenting to other teachers, without my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy) Ms. Smith. Also, I would never even have begun my blogging journey had I not been inspired by third grade teacher Mrs. Yollis in California and her blogging buddy Mrs. Kathleen Morris in Australia.
We love exploring blogs, reading about all the great learning that is going on in the world, writing quality comments, and connecting with other kids and teachers. Reading posts from other classes really makes me feel as though I have discovered a “captain’s log” from a ship sailing in a distant land. Or even perhaps from a ship sailing in space; I often hear the voice of James T. Kirk in my head as I begin to read a new blog, “This is the captain’s log…” Do you have a favorite entry/post that you would like us to visit?
Some of my favorite posts involve special blogging activities we have done, like our blogging parties for reaching a goal. I also love the Skype visits we have had with author Graham Salisbury; movie producer Dana Hankins; Shakespeare birthplace curators Lisa Peters and Anjna Chouhan; and Mrs. Emerick’s 6th grade class, Making Waves. Another great experience for me was our guest lecturer, Mrs. Joanne Chonody, who connected with a friend she hadn’t spoken to in over twenty years thanks to Family Blogging Month and our quest to collect visitors from all 50 states. All of these events were possible because we blog. Have any of your special memories from school been the result of blogging?
Under The Blood Red Sun March 26 at 3:14pm · Edited · Here’s our favorite Florida classroom wearing Under the Blood-Red Sun beanies and baseball caps that they earned by partnering up with us. Our website EDUCATION page includes curriculum and a list of schools that have received bookmarks & posters & pin buttons – http://underthebloodredsun.com/education.html Please share to help us reach more schools/classrooms teaching the book and/or movie this year!
Okay, now here’s the part where I could use your help. Would you take a few minutes to think about a specific experience you’ve had with blogging and then share that story in the comment section? I know the teachers at the convention will want to know about blogging from the students’ points-of-view. This is how you can help me teach the teachers.
As my new blogging friends from Hawaii (Graham Salisbury and Dana Hankins) say,
Facts in Five is a GREAT game for those who like to challenge their minds, compete with their friends, and have fun. That’s pretty much everyone, right?
This past month, we have learned some great facts from five different sources. Special guests visited our class this month, both in person and via Skype, to share scientific, historical, and cinematic information with us that added to our understanding and enjoyment of novels we have read. In addition, we began writing our own informational texts, again inspired by our novels, to broaden our knowledge base in scientific areas.
Here are five categories each with some information that helps us learn more about books that we read.
What type of rock decays underground to form a sinkhole? (Click on the photo below to find out!)
Geologist David Brown explains sinkholes to us after we read about them in the novel Tangerine.
In what state does the story Under the Blood Red Sun take place? (Click on the photo below to find out!)
Movie producer Dana Hankins and author Graham Salisbury visit via Skype to share information about creating a film from the novel Under the Blood Red Sun.
Anyone who stepped into my shoes today would want to be a teacher. After reading the book Under the Blood Red Sun two years ago with my middle schoolers, grades 6-8, we were treated to the recently released movie adaptation today. Little did I know then that the book we had started to read in class would culminate in a transcontinental educational connection with an award winning author and a movie producer and countless more opportunities for learning to read, to write, and to become better people.
In March of 2013, we were reading the novel when- lo and behold!- a comment appeared from Dana Hankins, producer of the movie, on our blog. I had no idea a movie was being made. Somehow DanaHankins found our class blog, wrote us a comment, and then sent bookmarks from the upcoming movie to all the students. She also got author Graham Salisbury to write us a comment, too. By just reading and writing, we made a real-life connection with the author and producer, 4,600 miles away. We had a literary tea party at the end of the school year, and quite a few kids dressed as characters from Under the Blood Red Sun.
During the next school year we watched the movie in progress via its web and Facebook pages. I loved seeing the photos of Tomi’s house and the screenplay as compared to the novel.
At the end of 2014, we learned we had been nominated by our friends at Huzzah! in British Columbia, Canada, 3,000 miles away, for Best Class Blog. Honored and humbled, we asked everyone on our email list to please vote for us, confonnit! Again- lo and behold- Dana Hankins reached out to us and all her Facebook followers, asking them to vote for the classroom that had students dressing as Red Sun characters. We re-established a connection, which grew to include a Skype visit next week. We also received copies of the movie and a few more bookmarks.
Today, to celebrate all we have accomplished with our blog (connecting with Dana Hankins and Graham “Sandy” Salisbury at the top of the list), we held a Blogging Party, “Red Carpet for Red Sun”. Celebrate for a few minutes with us!
What book would you like to see come to life on screen?
Here is the list of winners for Best Class Blog for 2014! We are in the first place spot! We won Best Class Blog *Student Challenge Winner* and we are so EXCITED!
Thank you to everyone who voted for us! Thank you to Ms. Smith at Huzzah! Thank you to the awesome Kids who work on this blog all year long! Thank you to Edublogs for all the support you give us all year long.
Do you remember reading Under the Blood Red Sun last year? Do you remember the bookmarks we got from the movie producer, Dana Hankins? Do you remember our Literary Tea Party and dressing up as characters from the novel? Do you remember the author, Graham Salisbury, and the producer, Dana Hankins, commenting on our blog? All very exciting moments for us! Fortunately, the folks who made this movie remember how much we enjoyed the novel, and they have not only voted for our blog, but they have invited all their Facebook friends to vote for us as well! Super cool, right?!
The movie is recently released on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital Downloads. We plan to watch the movie as part of our blogging party celebrating our 20,000th visitor! Time to roll out the red carpet for Under the Blood Red Sun! Check out the trailer, too.
What do you think is the best part, and the hardest part, about making a movie?
One of our language arts traditions is to celebrate the end of our academic year with a Literary Tea Party. Each student chooses a character from a book we have read and comes to class in costume. Some of us share refreshments that were mentioned in the stories. Characters who came to tea this year were from the novels: Under the Blood Red Sun, by Graham Salisbury (currently in the process of being made into a movie for release in April 2014); Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis; The Shakespeare Stealer, by Gary Blackwood; Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix; and Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick. Guests also included characters from adaptations of Henry IV and Romeo and Juliet, by, of course, William Shakespeare.
If you could be any character in a book, whom would you choose and why?
The novel, Under the Blood Red Sun by Graham Salisbury, introducedus to people, places and things with which we had very limited knowledge. Through reading the book, we learned a bit more about: the attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II, Hawaii, Japanese culture, pigeon racing, and baseball in 1941. Today we will increase our knowledge base even more as we delve into these areas via a webquest.
Please answer these questions as a comment on this post. This counts as a homework grade for all my kids, but we’d love to hear from people around the world, too. Perhaps we’ll hear from someone who lived through World War II, or who lives in Japan or Hawaii.
1. What song does Grampa sing on page 79? Listen to the song. Do you agree with Tomi’s description of it as the slowest song in history? What other record does the song hold? What does the song ask for Japan?
3. Mose and Rico are Portugese; Charlie is Hawaiian; Tomi and his family are Japanese; Billy is haole. Hawaii is a melting pot. Read this short history of Hawaii. Briefly explain how Hawaii developed such a diverse population. What other interesting piece of information did you read?
Kudos to Franklin, John, Cogan, and Hannah for completing the Blogging Challenge for week 1. You kids chose interesting people and thought up very intriguing questions. I was impressed!
In light of the novel we are reading this month, Under the Blood Red Sun, and in response to the Blogging Challenge from week 1, here is a letter written by an unnamed sailor from Pearl Harbor. Think about what we have read/learned about the attack so far, and read this letter.
Here is the link to Blogging Challenge Week 2. You have lots of options, but one is to write about something you are passionate about. I’ll be working on this challenge, too! Deadline is next Sunday. Make sure you check out some of the blogs from other students around the world who are participating as well. Have fun! I’m looking forward to reading your posts.
Parade Magazine ran their annual “What People Earn” issue this week. They included a 27-year-old blogger who makes $18,000 a year. That could be you!
What do you think are the pros and cons of blogging for a living?