Showing posts from February, 2016

Sharing Your Life

"You had better have a good story," your friends say when you show up late. You do. You explain the whole series of events that delayed you. you tell all the details of the lost dog you found, the struggle to catch it, and the thrill of finding its owner and collecting a reward. Your friends are impressed not only by your good deed, but also by the way that you told them about it.

A personal narrative is a story of an experience in someone's life. It focuses on the details--the smells, sights, and sounds associated with the experience. A personal narrative is an example of expressive writing because through the telling of the story, the author expresses his or her thoughts and feelings.

Click here for an example of a personal narrative.

Student Activity: Discovering My Personal Narrative

Get together with other students to share memorable experiences. Try to focus on a single experience, such as playing in an important game or auditioning for a school play or talent show.…

Valentine's Day Lesson Plan 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Come when the rains  Have glazed the snow and clothed the trees with ice, While the slant sun of February pours Into the bowers a flood of light. Approach! The encrusted surface shall up bear thy steps And the broad arching portals of the grove Welcome thy entering.
William Cullen Bryant, A Winter Piece, line 60
Youth and Education
William Cullen Bryant was born on November 3, 1794, in a log cabin near Cummington, Massachusetts; the home of his birth is today marked with a plaque. He was the second son of Peter Bryant, a doctor and later a state legislator, and Sarah Snell. The genealogies of both of his parents trace back to passengers on The Mayflower. His mother can trace her lineage to John Alden and his father can trace his lineage to Francis Cooke. He was the nephew of Charity Bryant, a Vermont seamstress.

Engraving of Bryant c. 1843

Bryant and his family moved to a new home when he was two years old. The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, his boyhood home…
Wilson Alwyn “Snowflake” Bentley is one of the first known photographers of snowflakes. He perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they either melted or sublimated.

Kenneth G. Lebbrecht notes that the technique used by Bentley to photograph snowflakes are essentially the same as used today, and whilst the quality of his photographs reflect the technical limitations of the equipment of the era, his photographs were the only ones for over a hundred years. The broadest collection of Bentley’s photographs is held by the Jericho Historical Society in his hometown of Jericho, Vermont.

Bentley donated his collection of original glass-plate photomicrographs of snow crystals to the Buffalo Museum of Science. A portion of this collection has been digitized and organized into a digital library. Bentley was born on February 7, 1865, in Jericho, Vermont. He became interested in snowflakes when just a teenager on his family farm. …

Carl Sandburg, he was America

Do you teach a big poetry unit in February? It does seem to be the perfect time to bring in rhyme and rhythm and imagery and metaphors.
Who was Carl Sandburg?

Carl Sandburg was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as a major figure in contemporary literature, especially for his volumes of his collected verse, including "Chicago Poems", "Cornhuskers", and "Smoke and Steel." He enjoyed unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life, and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America."

Carl Sandburg was born in a three-room cottage at 313 East Third Street in Galesburg, Illinois, on J…

Sunday, February 7, 2016

So what did you cook up today? I know that many of you watched or are watching the Super Bowl. I've never been a fan of any kind of sports, so I prefer to spend my time reading and writing instead. 


It has been a few days since I have written on my blog. No excuses. 
I've been writing and reading on a new Kindle site, WRITE ON BY KINDLE.
The site is especially for writers, both amateur and professional. Writers submit pieces of original text to be read and critiqued by the community. There are "weekend write ins" where many of the authors write a five hundred word or less story on the same writing topic. It is a great way to practice the art and craft of writing with like-minded individuals.
If you enjoy writing, you will need to check it out.

My Classroom Read Aloud List

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt Realms of Gold 1 (anthology) Realms of Gold 2 (anthology) Realms of Gold 3 (anthology) Read All About It! (anthology) edited by Jim Trelease The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick Jesse by Gary Soto I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Lee Wilson The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
Guys Read volume 5 (anthology) by Jon Scieszka

Mathilde, Queen of England (introduction)

Empress Matilda (1102 to 1167) was the claimant to the throne of England during the Civil War known as The Anarchy. She was the daughter of King Henry the First of England. She moved to Germany as a child to marry the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. The two had no children. When her husband died in 1125, Lothair II became the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1120, Matilda's younger brother, William Adelin, died in the White Ship disaster, leaving England with a succession crises. When her husband died, Matilda was called back to England by her father to marry Geoffrey of Anjou. The marriage would create an alliance to protect Henry the First's borders in France. Henry the First had no other legitimate children and nominated Matilda as his heir. Henry the First made his court swear an oath of loyalty to her and her successors. It was a decision that was not popular in the Anglo-Norman court. Henry died in 1135, but Matilda and Geoffrey faced opposition from the Norman barons and were…