CCSSI. reading

Your Mommy Was Just Like You - A Celebration of the Spirit of Mother's Day

I began making guides for folks before the Common Core was cool. Even then, I was creating hands-on, project-based content that is entertaining, yet academically sound - the kind of stuff that both the kids and the folks that care for them would appreciate, and have been enjoying every minute of doing so for a long, long time.

Recently, author Kelly Bennett asked if I would go back and align all of the guides I previously made for her with the Common Core State Standards. I was glad for this opportunity as I would be able to revisit the work I had done almost three years ago in the light of present-day standards. That's kind of exciting, in a nerdy sort of way.

Kelly's Your Mommy was Just like You is just as charming as I remember it being. I love the way it celebrates humanity, in all it's messy forms. In it, tales of a mother's childhood are told to a child. The grown up is presented as an awkward, fantasy-loving, mistake-making kid. This book brings the "nobody's perfect, everybody has an off day" message home, loud and clear.

I encourage you to read this delightful book. Review the guide, too, if you'd like. There are a couple activities in there that will make your Saturday simply delightful, on being creating a Daisy Chain, as demonstrated in the video below.

A Graphic Designed Guide for Press Play

As I’ve said before, each guide I create invites a unique experience. Making a guide for Eric Devine’s hard-hitting Press Play was one of the best, ever. Running Press asked for a different format than we’ve used before. Plans were to take my content to the art department to let them work their magic. The end result is amazing!! I’m really excited to show you what it looks like.

This YA is powerful, I’m telling you. Press Play reminds me of Cormier’s The Chocolate War. It’s the type of story that lingers in the mind well after the last page is read. I won’t lie to you. There were some parts of the story that were hard for me to read. Yes, it’s violent. Yet, like in The Chocolate War, the violence serves as a catalyst for the protagonist, and the reader, to look deeply within and check in with their core values. Even though I love the story, I still had to read some of the passages with my fingers over my eyes. Whoa, boy.

The guide content is aligned with the Common Core. There is an in-depth discussion component as well as a book trailer construction guide. The book trailer section doesn’t focus on the tech skills required to construct a video. Rather, it hones on the literary elements necessary to make the book trailer not only an academically sound project, but one that explores metaphorical images and the like. Plus, it’s FUN to make!

Please take a moment to have a look at this guide. Running Press did a smash-up job with it! I’d love to know what you think about.

And, check out Eric's book trailer...if you dare.

Update! Chained Wins SCBWI Crystal Kite Award!

The guide I made for Lynne Kelly's amazing CHAINED  was such fun to make - as they all are in their own special way. Being that this book was extraordinarily rich with theme and culture, the ideas for this guide can spilling out of me. I wanted to create something that could easily be adapted into a classroom setting, something that met CCSS standards in a creative way. By George, I think I nailed it!

The guide includes academic activities in the study of point of view, summary, journaling, and group discussion. And, for a little of fun and flair, I added several arts and crafts activities, all of which are super inexpensive and easy to incorporate as a part of busy day at school. 

 For your viewing pleasure, I have moderately wrapped my brain around the basics of making a YouTube video featuring the crafts included in the guide. Folks, with the book CHAINED in hand, these projects will make perfect sense. 

So, buy the book. Read it. Then go and grab some scissors and glue and have some Simple Saturday-like fun!

I hope you enjoy yourselves with the projects half as much as I did making them. 

Doggone Feet! A Toe-tappin' Guide Full of Fun

You know what a sucker I am for dogs, especially my dog, Tripod. So when my good buddy Leslie Helakoski started telling me about her latest picture book about a lonely pup who finds a home, I couldn't wait to get a look at it. And then, when she asked me to make a guide for it - well, I was tail-wagging happy! This book couldn't be cuter, and to think that she both wrote this and illustrated!

Doggone Feet is a story told from the point of view of a stray who finds a home with a long-legged, tambourine-totting musician. Because this "tail" is told from the dog's perspective, our vision is limited to that of the dog's - FEET! As time goes on, the dog's beloved master finds a wife and kid upon kid upon kid. As the family grows, the activity level in the home becomes very hectic. All the while, the dog is working hard to keep a sense of order in his world under the kitchen table. In the end, he surrenders to fact that, at the foundation of the chaotic craziness of family life lies joy, acceptance, a great love.

Because the story line offers so many charming angles to explore, I found creating the CCSS Annotated Discussion and Activity Guide a blast to do. Along with an extensive discussion question component, poetry writing, and story sequencing cards, the lesson that makes this guide extra special is a skip-counting activity. As a sparking plus, I was able to use Leslie's charming illustrations to add a little bit of pizzazz the the piece.

It's a fun guide for a delightful book. Pick it up. Pet it and give that pup a scratch behind the ears, while you're at it.

Noah Webster & His Words - CCSSI Annotated to the Max!

I love Noah Webster & His Words! I love, love, love it's historically layered sense of patriotism. Author Jeri Chase Ferris did an incredible job depicting Webster's vision of uniting the country through words! 

The CCSSI Annotated Discussion and Activity Guide celebrates Webster's passion with a number of  word games that can be played independently or with pals. Skills such as alphabetizing, syllabication, and searching for words in a dictionary can be practiced in a fun, collaborative manner. Kids can craft a historical timeline to study Noah's life achievements. And there is even a cross-word puzzle comprised of key words sprinkled throughout Jeri's clever text!

Included in the guide is a four-page annotation linking the activities to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy suitable for K-5 students. The book and the guide are classroom-ready and super kid-friendly - the perfect combination, wouldn't you say?

A Simple Saturday Guide Hits the Big Time

 Eileen Meyer, author of the most amazing Who's Faster? Animals on the Move creatively displayed the work that I did for her during a recent Author Showcase hosted by the Illinois School Library Association. There she prominently presented the guide that I created for her, as well as my CCSSI annotated school visit booklet on an attractive foam core poster at her table. According to Eileen, she received lots of "oooohs and aaaahs" for the guide and annotations, plus a number of "envious looks" from author passer-bys.

Note at how cute Eileen looks at her table. But don't let that sweet smile fool you. This lady is nothing short of brilliant. Her presentations are not only academically sound, they're lively and kid-friendly. She knows what kids want and understands the academic soundness that teachers need. Believe me, my Simple Saturday friends, I've unearthed every academic gem that her fine work offers and those jewels dazzle like diamonds!

CCSSI and Me

The rule seems to be that each guide I make offers new and interesting opportuntites for me to stretch and grow. My latest project was no exception the guide creating rule. I had a ball with it!

Poet and Author Eileen Meyer presents the coolest school visits, ever. For a wide range of ages, too. When she asked me to correlate the content of her presentations with the Common Core State Standards, I said sure, why not? 

I have to say that I really got into creating this document for her. She's got four great presentations involving writing, reading, public speaking, and craft-making. The lessons are vivid and lively. I wanted her CCSSI annotation documentation to reflect the energy she puts into her visits. So, I colored-coded those puppies. There is nothing boring about the school visits Eileen Meyer presents. Hopefully the CCSSI Annotation Documentation booklet I created for her reflects that.

Check out Eileen's school visit document by clicking here. Cool, isn't it?

You'll let me know if I can make one of these for you, won't you? We'll make yours rainbow bright, too!