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Monday, 30 July 2012

Star Wars Folded Flyers - Klutz - Benjamin Harper

Star Wars Folded Flyers
Benjamin Harper
Klutz from
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545396349

This book was awesome. It has pull-out pages with 30 amazing airplane -, actually, 30 spaceships from the Star Wars movies. Each one has a few information pages about the specific ship, the pilot and the ship, weapons and defense, and how it does in battle. Then there is a series of pages showing how to create the ship. It will be awesome fun for young and young at heart. The ships you will create are:

Naboo N-1 Starfighter
Jedi Starfighter
Millennium Falcon
BTL-B Y-Wing
Advanced X1
T-35 X-Wing

You have pull-out pages to make 5 of each of the ships. This book will provide hours of fun.

Other Scholastic Books:
Star Wars Books:
Star Wars The Complete Saga
Star Wars Millennium Falcon YT-1300: A 3-D Owners Guide
Star Wars Darth Vader A 3-D Reconstruction Log
Star Wars Folded Flyers
Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace 3D
Star Wars The Complete Saga

Lego Star Wars Books:
Save The Galaxy!
Anakin: Space Pilot 3D
Darth Maul's Mission
The Padawan Menace

Lego City Adventure Books:
Fire Truck To The Rescue
Help Is On the Way!
Calling All Cars
All Aboard!
Ready For Take Off
Build This City
City Adventures Sticker Book
Work This Farm
Fight This Fire!
Lego City Heroes!
Trucks Around The City
Escape From Lego City
3, 2, 1 Liftoff
All Hands On Deck
Fire In The Forest!
Catch That Crook!

Lego Ninjago:
Collector's Sticker Book



Friday, 27 July 2012

Return Of The Homework Machine - Dan Gutman

Return Of The Homework MachineDan Gutman
Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416954590
eISBN 9781416994954


This story continues the fall after the events wrap up in The Homework Machine. Our main cast of characters is back together. They are: Brenton Damagathi, the genius, Sam Dawkins aka Snikwad the class clown and tough guy, Kelsey Donnelly an activist, and Judy Douglas a diligent hard working student. Mr. Murphy is retired from both the Military and NASA; he is teaching 5th grade because retirement did not sit well with him. He was aware of the events of the year before, but believes kids are good at heart. Then there is Ronnie Teotwawki (the other kids think his name is an acronym - can you figure it out before you get to it in the book?) and the mysterious Richard Milner who keeps asking about the chip from the homework machine.This story is told in a series of first person narratives; they are supposedly recordings made to police about the events around the homework machines return and the problems that it causes. Our D Squad is trying to find and destroy the chip from the homework machine. It has fallen into the hands of someone who is using it for no good and not realizing what they are messing with. Milner is as manipulative as before and even more unbalanced. Mr. Murphy is looking for lost treasure in the Grand Canyon and encouraged that students are taking an interest in this legend and their local history. But, as we all know, in life sometimes things go horribly wrong, and in this story that is exactly what happens.

Dan Gutman writes wonderful books, enjoyable by the target audience and by their older siblings, parents and teachers. I have read a number of his books over the last year and enjoyed them all and this is one of my favorites! It is a great read so give it a try.













Books by Dan Gutman:
The Genius Files: (HarperCollins)
Mission Unstoppable (2011)
Never Say Genius (?)

My Weirder School: (Harper Collins)
Miss Child Has Gone Wild! (2011)
Mr. Harrison is Embarrisin'! (2012)
Mrs. Lilly is Silly! (2013)

My Weird School Daze: (HarperCollins)
Mrs. Dole is Out of Control! (2008)
Mr. Sunny is Funny! (2007)
Mr. Granite is from Another Planet! (2008)
Coach Hyatt is a Riot! (2009)
Officer Spence Makes No Sense! (2009)
Mrs. Jafee is Daffy! (2009)
Dr. Brad Has Gone Mad! (2009)
Miss Laney is Zany! (2010)
Mrs. Lizzy is Dizzy! (2010)
Miss Mary is Scary! (2010)
Mr. Tony is Full of Baloney! (2010)
Ms. Leaky is Freaky! (2011)

My Weird School: (HarperCollins)
Miss Daisy is Crazy! (2004)
Mr. Klutz is Nuts! (2004)
Mrs. Roopy is Loopy! (2004)
Ms. Hannah is Bananas! (2004)
Miss Small is Off the Wall! (2005)
Mr. Hynde is Out of His Mind! (2005)
Mrs. Cooney is Loony! (2005)
Ms. LaGrange is Strange! (2005)
Miss Lazar is Bizarre! (2005)
Mr. Docker is Off His Rocker! (2006)
Mrs. Kormel is Not Normal! (2006)
Ms. Todd is Odd! (2006)
Mrs. Patty is Batty! (2006)
Miss Holly is Too Jolly! (2006)
Mr. Macky is Wacky! (2007)
Ms. Coco is Loco! (2007)
Miss Suki is Kooky! (2007)
Mrs. Yonkers is Bonkers! (2007)
Dr. Carbles is Losing His Marbles! (2007)
Mr. Louie is Screwy! (2007)
Ms. Krup Cracks Me Up! (2008)

Funny Boy: (Hyperion)
Funny Boy Meets the Airsick Alien from Andromeda (1999)
Funny Boy Versus the Bubble Brained Barbers from the Big
Bang (2000)
Funny Boy Meets the Chit-Chatting Cheese from Chattanooga
(2000)

Tales From The Sandlot: (Scholastic)
The Green Monster in Left Field (1997)
The Catcher Who Shocked the World (1997)
The Pitcher Who Went Out of His Mind (1997)
The Shortstop Who Knew Too Much (1997)

And Me Series: (Harper Collins)
Roberto & Me (2010)
Ray & Me (2009)
Jim & Me (2008)
Satch & Me (2006)
Abner & Me (2005)
Mickey & Me (2003)
Shoeless Joe & Me (2002)
Babe & Me (2000)
Jackie & Me (1999)
Honus & Me (1997)

Million Dollar:
The Million Dollar Shot (1997)
The Million Dollar Kick (2001)
The Million Dollar Goal (2003)
The Million Dollar Strike (2004)
The Million Dollar Putt (2006)

Kid Who Ran for President:
The Kid Who Ran for President (1996)
The Kid Who Became President (1999)

Qwerty Stevens Adventures:
Back in Time With Thomas Edison (2001)
Back in Time With Benjamin Franklin (2002)

Homework Machine:
The Homework Machine (2006)
Return of the Homework Machine (2009)

Other Books:
The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way (2011)
The Talent Show (2010)
The Christmas Genie (2009)
Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children's Book Authors Tell You
How To Go Green (2009)
Nightmare at the Book Fair (2008)
Casey Back at Bat (2007)
Getting Air (2007))
Jackie Robinson and the Big Game (2006)
The Get Rich Quick Club (2004)
Babe Ruth and the Ice Cream Mess (2004)
Race For The Sky (2003)
The Secret Life of Dr. Demented (2001)
Johnny Hangtime (2000)
Landslide! A Kid's Guide to the U.S. Elections (2000)
Jackie Robinson (1999)
Joe DiMaggio (1999)
Cal Ripken, Jr.: My Story (1999)
Virtually Perfect (1998)
Katy's Gift (1998)
The Way Baseball Works (1996)
Gymnastics (1996)
Ice Skating (1995)
Taking Flight (1995)
They Came From Centerfield (1995)
Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls (1995)
World Series Classics (1994)
Baseball's Greatest Games (1994)
Baseball's Biggest Bloopers (1993)
Baseball Babylon (1992)
SuperMemory (1991)
It Ain't Cheatin' If You Don't Get Caught (1990)
I Didn't Know You Could Do THAT With A Computer (1986)
The Greatest Games (1985)

Author Profile and interview with Dan Gutman.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue - Tony Abbott - GoofBalls Book 2

The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue
GoofBalls Book 2
Tony Aboott (Author)
Colleen Madden (Illustrator)
EgmontISBN 9781606841655
ISBN 9781606843413
eISBN 9781606842997

Jeff Bunter, Brian Rooney, Kelly Smitts and Mara Lubin are the GoofBalls. They are primary school detectives. And they have a reputation in town for being able to solve any mystery. They have not had a new case in some time so are helping prepare the school for the 100th Anniversary of Badger Point school celebration. They are helping to decorate the Cafeteri-Audi-Nasium! Badger Point is a small school, so they have combined the cafeteria, the auditorium, and the gymnasium into one multipurpose room. The mystery begins when the statue of the first principal of Badger Point School goes missing on the day it is to be unveiled. With such diverse clues like a skateboard in a piano, a broken pencil, a scrap of paper that smells like chlorine, and a climbing rope, the Goofballs solve their goofiest mystery yet. But you will need to read to find out how they put it all together.

This is the second book in one of two new series out this year by Tony Abbott. Like everything else I have read by him, it is a great read. This series is aimed at younger readers than his other series, but Abbott does an amazing job of gearing the story for them. This book was a wonderful read and though there are two more planned in the series I hope there will be many more to share with children after that!

  
Books By Tony Abbott:
Goofballs
1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)
5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

Underworlds:
1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)

Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

Monday, 23 July 2012

BOB Books Sight Words - First Grade - Lynn Maslen Kertell and Sue Hendra

BOB Books
Sight Words - First Grade
Lynn Maslen Kertell (Author)
Sue Hendra (Illustrator)
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545019248

The Bob Books are a series of boxed sets designed to help develop skills at different levels and complexities. They are designed to grow with a child as their skills in reading improve. This is the second set we have given our oldest daughter and she loves them.

There are 10 books in this specific boxed set:
Plums
Little Bug
Pretty
The Sled
What Is that?
Come In
The Old Truck
Play Ball
Dress Up
Before and After


30 Flash Cards of the 30 sights words:
are, good, now, ate, he, little, pretty, said, she, will, with, you, my, that, what, come, into, under, make, new, like, play, bring, small, old, find,
before, then, long, after

The tools combined in this box set are a real aide in helping a child grow and develop their reading skills. The focused repetitions between the flash cards and the same words being a big focus in the books is a well designed and planned tool. One of the things I like best is that in the front cover of each book is a list of the site words focused on in that book, and a parenting tip for helping the child to acquire the new words. This is a great series and with each new one I appreciate them more.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Homework Machine - Dan Gutman

The Homework Machine
Dan Gutman
Simon and Schuster
ISBN 9780689876783
eISBN 9781442407091

What would life be like if you had a computer to do your homework? Well for some fifth graders they are about to find out. They are members of the 'D' Squad sitting in groups of four, their last names all ended in D. They are Brenton Damagathi, the geek and maybe super genius, Sam Dawkins aka Snikwad the class clown, Kelsey Donnelly is a slacker doing just enough to get by and Judy Douglas is the teacher's pet and almost straight 'A' student. Their teacher in the fifth grade was Miss Rasmussen, first year out of teaching college and a little green. It all starts when Brenton boasts he does not need to do homework because he has a machine that will do it for him. That evening the D Squad heads to his house and soon the homework is all being done by the computer which has been christened Belch; but as these four children soon realize, trying to keep a secret starts taking more work, time, effort and stress than if they did not have a secret and just went back to doing their own homework. But hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes.

The story is told in a series of first person narratives, being recorded for the most part while at the police station giving their testimony of what has gone on over the past school year. Written from the perspective of the D Squad, their teachers, parents and some of their classmates, it makes for a wonderfully funny story with more than a little message for the readers to absorb. Dan Gutman has written over 100 books; of the few that I have read this is the best! A great story and bound to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.














Books by Dan Gutman:
The Genius Files: (HarperCollins)
Mission Unstoppable (2011)
Never Say Genius (?)

My Weirder School: (Harper Collins)
Miss Child Has Gone Wild! (2011)
Mr. Harrison is Embarrisin'! (2012)
Mrs. Lilly is Silly! (2013)

My Weird School Daze: (HarperCollins)
Mrs. Dole is Out of Control! (2008)
Mr. Sunny is Funny! (2007)
Mr. Granite is from Another Planet! (2008)
Coach Hyatt is a Riot! (2009)
Officer Spence Makes No Sense! (2009)
Mrs. Jafee is Daffy! (2009)
Dr. Brad Has Gone Mad! (2009)
Miss Laney is Zany! (2010)
Mrs. Lizzy is Dizzy! (2010)
Miss Mary is Scary! (2010)
Mr. Tony is Full of Baloney! (2010)
Ms. Leaky is Freaky! (2011)

My Weird School: (HarperCollins)
Miss Daisy is Crazy! (2004)
Mr. Klutz is Nuts! (2004)
Mrs. Roopy is Loopy! (2004)
Ms. Hannah is Bananas! (2004)
Miss Small is Off the Wall! (2005)
Mr. Hynde is Out of His Mind! (2005)
Mrs. Cooney is Loony! (2005)
Ms. LaGrange is Strange! (2005)
Miss Lazar is Bizarre! (2005)
Mr. Docker is Off His Rocker! (2006)
Mrs. Kormel is Not Normal! (2006)
Ms. Todd is Odd! (2006)
Mrs. Patty is Batty! (2006)
Miss Holly is Too Jolly! (2006)
Mr. Macky is Wacky! (2007)
Ms. Coco is Loco! (2007)
Miss Suki is Kooky! (2007)
Mrs. Yonkers is Bonkers! (2007)
Dr. Carbles is Losing His Marbles! (2007)
Mr. Louie is Screwy! (2007)
Ms. Krup Cracks Me Up! (2008)

Funny Boy: (Hyperion)
Funny Boy Meets the Airsick Alien from Andromeda (1999)
Funny Boy Versus the Bubble Brained Barbers from the Big
Bang (2000)
Funny Boy Meets the Chit-Chatting Cheese from Chattanooga
(2000)

Tales From The Sandlot: (Scholastic)
The Green Monster in Left Field (1997)
The Catcher Who Shocked the World (1997)
The Pitcher Who Went Out of His Mind (1997)
The Shortstop Who Knew Too Much (1997)

And Me Series: (Harper Collins)
Roberto & Me (2010)
Ray & Me (2009)
Jim & Me (2008)
Satch & Me (2006)
Abner & Me (2005)
Mickey & Me (2003)
Shoeless Joe & Me (2002)
Babe & Me (2000)
Jackie & Me (1999)
Honus & Me (1997)

Million Dollar:
The Million Dollar Shot (1997)
The Million Dollar Kick (2001)
The Million Dollar Goal (2003)
The Million Dollar Strike (2004)
The Million Dollar Putt (2006)

Kid Who Ran for President:
The Kid Who Ran for President (1996)
The Kid Who Became President (1999)

Qwerty Stevens Adventures:
Back in Time With Thomas Edison (2001)
Back in Time With Benjamin Franklin (2002)

Homework Machine:
The Homework Machine (2006)
Return of the Homework Machine (2009)

Other Books:
The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way (2011)
The Talent Show (2010)
The Christmas Genie (2009)
Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children's Book Authors Tell You
How To Go Green (2009)
Nightmare at the Book Fair (2008)
Casey Back at Bat (2007)
Getting Air (2007))
Jackie Robinson and the Big Game (2006)
The Get Rich Quick Club (2004)
Babe Ruth and the Ice Cream Mess (2004)
Race For The Sky (2003)
The Secret Life of Dr. Demented (2001)
Johnny Hangtime (2000)
Landslide! A Kid's Guide to the U.S. Elections (2000)
Jackie Robinson (1999)
Joe DiMaggio (1999)
Cal Ripken, Jr.: My Story (1999)
Virtually Perfect (1998)
Katy's Gift (1998)
The Way Baseball Works (1996)
Gymnastics (1996)
Ice Skating (1995)
Taking Flight (1995)
They Came From Centerfield (1995)
Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls (1995)
World Series Classics (1994)
Baseball's Greatest Games (1994)
Baseball's Biggest Bloopers (1993)
Baseball Babylon (1992)
SuperMemory (1991)
It Ain't Cheatin' If You Don't Get Caught (1990)
I Didn't Know You Could Do THAT With A Computer (1986)
The Greatest Games (1985)

Author Profile and interview with Dan Gutman.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Crazy Case of the Missing Thunder - Tony Aboott - GoofBalls Book 1

The Crazy Case of the Missing Thunder
GoofBalls Book 1
Tony Aboott (Author)
Colleen Madden (Illustrator)
Egmont
ISBN 9781606841648
ISBN 9781606843406
eISBN 9781606842980

This book is the first in one of two new series out this year by Tony Abbott. Like everything else I have read by him it is a great read. Though this one is aimed at a younger audience than many of his other books I have read, he does a great job of writing for that audience and creating a story and characters young readers will love and hopefully get many more stories about.

The Goofballs are Jeff Bunter, Brian Rooney, Kelly Smitts and Mara Lubin, and they have garnered a fair bit of fame in the town after solving the case of the Pizza Disaster. Now they get a mysterious call by a Randall Crandall summoning them for a new case to one of the richest neighborhoods in town. They soon find out things are not always as they appear or in this case, as they sound over the phone. But there is a case and the Goofballs are on it. Can they find the missing Thunder? Read and find out.
  
Books By Tony Abbott:
Goofballs
1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)
5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

Underworlds:
1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)

Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Gregor and the Marks of Secret - Suzanne Collins

Gregor and the Marks of Secret
The Underland Chronicles
Book 4
Suzanne Collins
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439791465

There are so many fans out there of the Hunger Games books, and every time I encounter one of them I tell them I really liked that trilogy but I absolutely love the Underland Chronicles. With each of the books in the quintet I appreciate the writing and stories more. The growth and development of the characters and the plot is amazing. Watching Lexa and Gregor grow is a wonderful experience. Not since reading Madeleine L'Engle books years ago have I wanted to know what was happening with the characters when I was not reading about them, or found myself wondering what happens to them next, where they will be in 5 years or in 10 years. These are amazing characters and the series is incredible.

The biggest difference in this book over the preceding 3 in the series is that Gregor does not know or have a copy of the prophecy that he so heavily plays a role in. In fact, this prophecy is so dark, so bad, no one will tell him about it, not even Ripred. You know it's bad when a giant rat, considered the most cold- hearted creature in all of the underland, does not want to burden you with it.

The progression in this story was very different from the first three. First, as mentioned, we do not know the prophecy going into the adventure. Second, we do not have a clear resolution like the earlier books. Three, both Gregor and Luxa grow immensely in this book. Their characters mature, and are stretched. C.S. Lewis once stated ""Mere change is not growth. Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity, and where there is no continuity there is no growth." In both Gregor and Luxa we see serious growth and I cannot wait to start book 5. This is an amazing series; give it a shot - you will find yourself addicted.

Books by Suzanne Collins:
The Underland Chronicles:
Gregor the Overlander (2003)
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (2004)
Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (2005)
Gregor and the Marks of Secret (2006)
Gregor and the Code of Claw (2007)

The Hunger Games trilogy:
The Hunger Games (2008)
Catching Fire (2009)
Mockingjay (2010)

Other books:
Fire Proof: Shelby Woo #11 (1999)
When Charlie McButton Lost Power (2005)

Suzanne Collins Visual Bibliography

Friday, 13 July 2012

First Little Readers - Deborah Schecter and Anne Kennedy

First Little Readers
Guided Reading Level A
Deborah Schecter (Author)
Anne Kennedy (Illustrator)
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545231497

This is an amazing reading pack for young children. My daughter is in Sr. Kindergarten and can now read almost all of these books by herself. The way they are designed with the repetition and patterns is a great aide in helping young readers develop skills with their sight words and sounding out words. Almost every day now my daughter grabs these books and randomly works through them. In this box set the 25 readers are:

What is for Supper?
Fun at the Playground
Hello, Beach
Fun With Mud
Birthday Surprise
Cold Rose
What Can I See?
I Like School
Look What I Found!
What Shines?
Bubbles!
What Do I Need?
Where Is Petey?
Hide and Seek
Hats, Hats, Hats
Shapes for Lunch
Winter Is Here
What Is Red?
I Like Stripes
When Night Comes
Sweet Treat
I Can Draw!
Almost Spring
Hurry Up! Hurry Up!
Class Pets

Incredible books with great illustrations and will be an excellent resource in the classroom or home.

For a video game, Minecraft is unusual in that it’s both hugely popular, and has a ton of educational value. But in terms of both these factors, the creative building game can’t hold a candle to its real-life counterpart, good old-fashioned Legos.

Yes, Lego, the most popular toy ever made is also ridiculously educational! In fact, when coming up with this list it was difficult to limit it to just 20 activities. The educational possibilities of the humble Lego are seemingly endless.

If you have kids, the odds are pretty good that you have at least a few Lego sets lying around (though hopefully not on the floor—those things hurt to step on!) For most of these activities, you can use whatever bricks your kids have, whether that’s the basic building sets or bricks from themed sets like City, Star Wars, Ninjago, or Batman.

While Lego does have an entire section of its website devoted to education, many of these activities require you to purchase specific sets, some of which can be expensive.

While there are some wonderful resources there, we wanted to focus on activities any parent could do with Legos already on hand. So with a few exceptions, the ideas in this post can be completed with any basic Lego bricks you have on hand.

These activities for learning with legos are organized by grade level, from preschool through high school, although many activities could be adapted to work for older or younger students.

Lego learning activities for preschool and lower elementary

1.       How to teach preschoolers their numbers with Legos, and more number and counting activities for preschoolers

2.       Learn about color and patterns with Lego or Duplo blocks

3.       Practice the alphabet with Lego bricks

4.       Graphing, fractions, and multiplication activities using Lego bricks. Perfect for bringing some fun into elementary school math!

5.       Reenact historical events or build famous structures with Lego. The difficulty level of this activity could easily be adapted for any grade level. Just look at this high school student’s Lego reenactment of the Boston Tea Party!

6.       Practice greater than and less than with this simple Lego math activity

7.       Practice sight words and sentence building with Legos

Lego activities for upper elementary and middle school students

8.       Use Lego figures to inspire writing. Kids can create stories and comics using Lego mini-figures and a comic creating software, like Comic Life or one of these free comic creators. Although this post focuses on using Lego’s own story visualization software, it contains some great ideas for using Legos to get kids to write stories that could certainly be adapted to other platforms. If you’d like to try out the Lego Story Visualizer, check out the free demo.

9.       Use Lego bricks to learn about taxonomy and animal classification. This activity can also be adapted for different grade levels by including more complex scientific terms.

10.   Practice state abbreviations and capitols with Legos. You could easily use this method to learn countries and their capitols too!

11.   Learn how simple machines work with Lego’s animated Constructopedia. This free resource is designed to accompany Lego’s Machines & Mechanisms sets. The animated GIFs show how pulleys and gears work, so you can replicate these mechanisms yourself.

12.   Build a Lego catapult for a mini lesson in history and physics, or make a balloon-powered Lego car with this photo guide from Make Magazine.

13.   Lego’s WeDo sets are aimed at introducing elementary school students to robotics and programming, and they work with Scratch, a favorite kid-friendly programming language.  While they do require purchasing special sets, it could be a great intro to STEM subjects for your future programmers and engineers.

Lego activities for middle school and high school students

14.   Learn about math and symmetry with this Lego activity that can be adapted for basic and advanced levels

15.   Make a Lego periodic table of the elements

16.   Use Lego bricks to represent atoms and molecules in this chemistry experiment

17.   With these free downloads from Queen Mary University of London, you can learn about particle physics, fission and fusion, and the creation of the universe- all using Lego bricks!

18.   Learn about structural engineering with Lego bricks with this guide from How Stuff Works

19.   MIT’s Lego lesson on photosynthesis is a great option for students in middle school and high school. It includes free printable worksheets and detailed instructions.

20.   Of course we can’t leave out the amazing Lego Mindstorms! These cool sets are a great introduction to robotics and engineering, and while they do run a little expensive, if you have a kid who’s excited about STEM it may be a worthwhile investment. Read this tutorial on getting started with Lego Mindstorms for lots of helpful links and resources. There are also many competitions and leagues where kids can build robots together and attend competitions and events.

Finally, if you have a child in a K12 online school, be sure to ask your teacher about our online clubs, where we have clubs for every interest, including Legos!

Have you ever used Legos for educational purposes? Share your favorite Lego learning activity in the comments!