✏️Quick Write Fridays📝

I’ve been thinking about characters a lot this week ~ how to authors create characters we love?  How did Betty Birney think of Humphrey and Og – what inspired her to give them the traits we love?  How Ben Guterson think of Winterhouse with Norbridge Falls, Elizabeth Somers, Leona Springer and Freddy Knox – lovers all of words, puzzles, magic and wonder?

Here is a collection of quick write ideas that might inspire you to create fabulous characters.  If something tickles your brain, it would be lots of fun to read your writing in a comment, or on your blog.

You find a time machine.  Where would you go and why?

Imagine you are a big majesty lion living in a zoo.  How do you feel being surround by people all the time?  What do you do because of those feelings?

What is a typical day for a mermaid?  What happens one day that is extraordinary?

What would you do if you have a triceratops for a pet?  How did you get it?  How will you keep it?

Your cat gets stuck on the roof.  Why?  How will you get him down?

A kid (it could be you ~ or not) gets to be invisible for one day.  Tell the story of what happens – good or bad.

What would you and your pet talk about, if they could talk?

Other ~ what’s a topic you’d enjoy writing about?

Have fun! Happy Writing!

🍩🍬Wednesday Math🍫🍭

Here are some sweet problems to solve.

Van bought 4 candy bars.  They each cost $1.23.  How much money did Van spend altogether?

Anna’s mom sent her to the candy store with 29 party bags.  She asked Anna to fill each party bag with 15 pieces of candy.  How many pieces of candy will Anna buy at the candy store?

Mrs. Douglas keeps 37 jars behind the counter at the candy store.  Each jar contains 286 pieces of candy.  How many pieces of candy does Mrs. Douglas have behind the counter altogether?

Landin, Estella and May went to the candy story.  They each bought 2 boxes of Swedish fish.  Each box had 34 candy fish inside.  How many Swedish fish did the girls have altogether?

Brady, Edward, Holden, Vera and Sophie were treated to a milk shake one hot day in July.  Each milk shake cost $2.98.  How much did the milk shakes cost in all?

Maybe you could write your own sweet problem for us to solve.  Leave it in a comment below

📚Monday Reading📖


Philadelphiathe White Housekitty hawkWashington DCthe Windy City

It’s late in the

afternoon because I wanted to finish  The Windy City – IQ 5 before I wrote the post.  I wanted  to see if it was something you’d like reading.  I think it is!  IQ is a series of six books by Roland Smith.  The series is full of action, mystery and excitement.  Q (short for Quest) and Angela have recently become step-brother and sister.  Their parents are musicians  and their new songs have rocked to the top of the charts.  The band is touring the United States.  Q and Angela are traveling with them, but something is up.  A terrorist ghost cell seems to be following them wherever they go.  Philadelphia to Washington DC to Kitty Hawk and San Antonio and now Chicago.  Somehow Boone, who manages the roadies, takes care of things.  He’s not what he seems.  Is he FBI, CIA, something else?  Is he who he says he is?  He shows up in the strangest places and in the strangest ways.   Can he be trusted?   It will take until the last book to know. (I’ll be starting that one tonight!)  The six books are all one story, so you do need to begin with the first and read on.  IQ is fast paced and exciting, full of espionage and gadgets. If you’re up for an action-packed adventure make sure you give IQ a try.

18263464Kelsey Green, Reading QueenKelsey, in Kelsey Green Reading Queen by Claudia Mills loves to read.  She reads whenever she can, especially when the principal announces a school-wide reading contest.  If the students from Franklin School can read 2000 books in one month he says he’ll shave off his beard.  That’s pretty amazing.  It is sort of his trademark.  Kelsey wants to be the top reader, but she also wants her class to be the top reading class and that leads her to do some amazing things – some good and some not so good.  You’ll have fun reading this first book in the Franklin School  Friends series.

Annnika Riz, Math Whiz is the second title in the series.  Just as Kelsey loved to read, Annika loves math.  She sees the beauty of the patterns and the usefulness of numbers.  She loves fractions and decimals.  She knows that numbers or precise and dependable.  Annika hopes to win the city sudoku contest and she hopes to contribute to the school carnival.  Some things work out and some things don’t.  You’ll have to read it to see how it goes.  The kids in this class are like kids everywhere – they have their strengths and their weaknesses – but they are totally better together!

Suzanne Selfors writes the Imaginary Veterinary series that some of us are reading in book clubs this month. I wondered if her other books would be just right too. That’s why I got Smells Like Dog. This is a great story is great ~ the first book in a trilogy. It begins with a letter from the author letting you know it isn’t a sad dog book so you don’t have to worry about that. It also begins on a Sunday morning at the Pudding (that’s the family’s last name) goat farm in Milkydale where no one it seems is particularly happy.  It just is, what it is. And then everything changes. First here is untimely death of Uncle Drake.  Then Homer inherits his prize possession, a basset hound.   And next, the delivery of a silver invitation from the Museum of Natural History pulls Homer from his ordinary, boring, farm-life into a treasure hunting life in The City. Coins, cloud machines, lairs, allies and villains. It’s quite an adventured a series, you won’t want to miss.

✏️Quick Write Friday📝

I’ve been exploring Nature Journals and Nature Journaling as a way of slowing down, focusing and taking the time to notice and record all I see.  I came across some resources here.  There are lessons and examples – it is written for adults, but if you scroll through the document you’ll see some amazing journal entries created by kids just like you.  Here are a few of the examples they share:



I’d love to create a notebook like these.  I’m going to set aside once a week to make an observation in my yard.  From what I see, I will create a journal page sharing what catches my eye.  Maybe as I get better with this practice, I’ll add more times into my week.

Here are some quick write prompts to inspire your journaling.

  • Spend 15 minutes outside observing the natural world around you.  Write and sketch about what you noticed the most.
  • When you go outside, which of your senses are you most thankful to have? Explain why.
  • What is your favorite place outside to explore?  Tell all about it.
  • Write a story of poem in which Nature is the main character, rather than just a setting.
  • What can we do to better protect our natural world?  How will you convince us to take action?
  • Would you rather live in a secret forest, or on a desert island?  Why?
  • Choose an element of nature ( a tree, a flower, beetle, fish, cloud…) and write a poem from its perspective.

Maybe you can take a photograph of your journal and add it too your blog when you’ve got the time.

Happy Writing.

🔵🔺◼️ Wednesday Math 🔢

Katherine is planning a birthday party for her sister.  She has 4 bags of yellow balloons with ten balloons each.  She has 5 bags of blue balloons with twelve balloons each.  How many balloons does Katherine have in total?

Katherine hung half of the balloon in the living room, one fourth of the balloons in the dining room and she hung the last fourth outside to decorate for the family party.  How many balloons did she hang in each place?

One of the activities Katherine planned for the party, was having everyone make their own puzzles.  She cut each puzzle so there would be 12 rows and 15 columns.  How many pieces were in each of the puzzles Katherine made?

She made a puzzle for each of her siblings, herself, her parents and her nana.  That means she made seven puzzles in total.  How many pieces were there altogether?

Justin was having a bicycle race around his neighborhood.  One lap was 126 feet long.  The race was over after 5 laps.  How far (how many feet) does each racer have to go to complete the race?

Landon and his friends ate pizza for lunch.  There were 5 pizzas with 12 slices each.  If Landon and his 8 friends had 4 slices each, how many slices of pizza were left over?

📕Monday Reading 📚

Last week I read some interesting and different books.  The  first book was The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey.  Set in medieval times, when superstitions run high, and anything different is seen as an omen or curse, the people of the village are on edge.  They’ve been dealing with one unexplained hardship after another.  Perhaps there is a fairy curse set upon them – perhaps a changeling lives so far unknown in the village.  The child must be left to die so the rest of the villagers can survive – at least that’s the rumor running through the town.

Elric is running to the village church to get out of torrential spring storm.  The whole village is gathered there for warmth and safety.  Elric is the keeper of the village sheep and he’s lost them all in the storm.  He knows he has muddy cold work ahead of him as he talks to Hereward the keeper of the pigs.  Everyone is crowded, uncomfortable and on edge, and then a baby starts wailing.

“Shut him up,” the townspeople yell.  “We’ve been cursed.”

It’s a changeling.”

“Cuthburt take the child and leave it outside where it belongs.  The fairies can just take it back if it’s supposed to live.”

“What does it matter, it’s just a halfwit,” yells Hereward. That’s all Elric can take.  No one should live in fear of losing their child, half-wit or not.  He helps the mother of the crying baby escape the church mob by throwing a punch at Hereward, the one who has claimed that halfwits have no reason to live.  The brawl is ended by the priest. Elric can’t explain himself, nor will he apologize so he leaves.

He does this  to keep his biggest secret.  His mother is hiding and living with his disabled, “halfwit” sister in the forest.  With all the talk or curses, he must go and warn them and in doing so he set out on a quest bound by love and duty to his mother, to keep his sister, Wynnfrith, safe.  How can you stay safe when the place you seek is a place in a fairy tale.  How can can trusting in fairy tales help them survive?  Read The Silver Gate  to find out ~ sometimes you have to bring magic of your own to open doors.

It’s summer on Woodlawn Street and all the neighborhood kids have the whole summer before them. Minty Fresh and Pax a Punch (their derby names) are practicing their roller derby routine in the 4th of July Parade.  Their older teen-age sisters are talking about music, babysitting jobs and offering advice about how to survive middle school.  Lennie, Pax’ s younger sister wants to join in the skating moves, but she’s lumped in with her “not-old-enough” younger brothers and so she’s moping.  Of course the “Mean Boys” – David and Troy – come by.  They are always playing pranks that no one thinks are funny.

It’s all pretty ordinary until Paz get’s a terrible cramping stomachache, there is an unusual rustling and some sudden flashes in the woods.  Lennie is convinced it is the Man-Bat – a local legend said to attack and eat it victims. On her way home to get her dad, a doctor to check on Pax, Minty chases the source of the flashes.  She can’t catch the person but discovers a note in Crazy Ike’s tree:  The Secret Tree.  And just like that, Minty’s summer was centered on discovering which secrets belong to which of her friends.  There’s a lot of spy work involved and Minty “…was learning this thing about secrets:  Even if they’re not about you, once you know them, they feel like they could be about you.  Every secret connects to something inside of you, whether you know it a first or not.” (p. 148) There are good secrets and bad secrets – The Secret Tree has both.  Here are just a few:  I put a curse on my enemy.  And it’s working.  I’M BETRAYING MY BEST FRIEND IN A TERRIBLE WAY. No one loves me except my goldfish. Which secrets do you tell?  Which secrets do you keep?  Read The Secret Tree to find out what Minty does with the secrets she discovers – you’ll be glad you did.

The Special Survival Issue ~ Mooch is the 13 book in the Aldo Zelnek Comic Novel series.  If you know anything about Aldo, you know that is does not like the outdoors and he definitely does not like anything that makes him sweaty.  His mom’s a nature health nut and she’s planned a four day backpacking trip hoping to help Aldo become more mature so he will be successful in middle school.

She planned it with Mrs. Shoemaker and her son Marvin.  Things begin interesting enough with stops at Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde National Park and Four Corners.  The last stop in the forest in Utah to find the rare Mexican Spotted Owl is where things turn for the worse and Aldo finds that he has to hike for four days with a “50 pound” frame pack on.  It heavy and it’s hot…

Can he do it?  You’ll snicker and chuckle, maybe, even laugh out loud, as you read to find out what Aldo will do to stay mature, win the sling-shot and keep his dog alive. You can start with this book, but you may want to begin with Artsy-Fartsy, Bogus, Cahoots…and so on through the alphabet until you get to Mooch.  Aldo and his friends are great!

We’d love to know what you are reading and what you recommend.  Leave a comment to lets us know.  Happy Reading!📖

📝Quick Write Friday✏️

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately.  When I was your age, Charlie Brown and Snoopy were pretty popular.  Charlie Brown specials were real treats on TV and I loved to watch them all. “Happiness,” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! is a song from one of those specials.   I learned it at camp during the summer at the end of 3rd grade.  I still remember it – it hums through my head every once in a while.  You can watch and listen to it here.  It ends with the line in the blue poster ~ my favorite.🙂


So, let’s find ways to celebrate HAPPINESS this week.

If you were to write a song about happiness, what would you include?

Where does happiness come from?

How can you bring happiness to your family and friends?

How are happiness and gratitude alike?  How are they different?

What can you learn from celebrating happiness each day?

Write a poem about the way smiles look.

What happens when you feel happy?

Write a letter of thanks to someone who makes you happy.

Write about whatever comes to mind ~ whatever makes you happy.😎

Happy writing!


🔢Wednesday Math◼️🔵🔺

Here are some problems to solve.  Have fun!

Katherine liked eating goldfish crackers.  She wanted to find out what her total was for the week.  She ate 39 in the morning and 37 in the afternoon on the first day.

The next day she ate two times as many goldfish.

On the third day she only ate half as many goldfish as she had on the first day.

How many goldfish did she eat altogether in those three days?

For the remaining four days of the week she ate 55 goldfish each day.

How many goldfish did Katherine eat in the week?

Edward was building with Legos.  He had 550 Legos bricks in a bin.  He used 154 red bricks, 237 white bricks and 94 blue bricks to make a village.

How many Lego bricks did Edward use altogether to build his village?

How many Lego bricks were left in the bin?

There are twelve books in the According to Humphrey book series.

Three of them have 176 pages each. 

Three of them have 152 pages each.

Two of them have 126 pages each.

The other four books have 144 pages. 

How many pages are there in the series of books altogether?

If Estella read half of the total number of pages in all 12 books, how many pages would she have read?

Justin and Sophie were cleaning up the beach.

They collected: 2,235 bottle caps

                          1,673 straw wrappers and

                          3,092 snack packages.

How much trash did they collect altogether?

Half of what they collected could be recycled.  A fourth of what they collected could be washed and reused.

How much was left for the trash can?

Brady collected 24 stones.  He sorted them and divided them in 3 even rows.

How many stones were in each row?

One fourth of the stones were white.  How many stones were not white?

📚Monday Reading📖📗

I’ve been having a lot of fun reading all kinds of books.  I’ve shared some with James and Madeline. (I know they’re not reading in this picture, but I thought you might like to see them.) I’ve shared other books some with my daughters and lots with other teachers too.   Here are a couple I think you’ll like.

Did you know there is magic in New York city?  The real dragon, unicorn, fairy type of magic? When you read Dragons in a Bag and its sequel, The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliot you’ll discover more.  After a freak accident, Jaxon finds himself without a dad or an apartment.  He’s forced to stay with a cranky old woman named Ma.  It doesn’t take Jaxon long to learn that she is a witch who has one last mission before she retires.  Jaxon decides to help.  This mission will bring stability to both the real and magical realms.  Jaxon finds every turn of this adventure to be extraordinary, exciting and overwhelming, but still successful –  until his best friend’s sister turns out to be a thief.  Kavita disrupts the mission and leaves everything in chaos.  Jaxon alone has to solve the problem and restore balance to the worlds, but how?    Read the books to find out.

I like the story – it’s a fun adventure set in the city.  That’s not the usual setting for a story with dragons and fairies.  On top of that, the main characters are of African-American and Indian descent.  I like that too and appreciated the cultural and historical information that was woven throughout both stories.  Best of all, this mission may be done, I have a feeling the Jaxon, Vikram, Kavita, and Kenny will be back.  The world needs more of them!

✏️Friday Quick Writes📝

Would you like to have an adventure like Harry Potter, Anakin Skywalker or Jack and Annie?  Would you like your adventure to be big or small, dangerous or funny, extraordinary or everyday?  Check out these quick write prompts.  I hope you’ll be inspired to write an adventure story of your very own.  Maybe you’ll be the starring character…  Pick up your pencil, or go to your keyboard and have some fun!

Imagine that you can fly.  Where would you go?  What would you do?

Imagine being in a forest where the trees can talk.  Why can they talk?  What are the conversations they have with you while you’re among them?

What is your favorite sports team? What if you were on that team?  What would you do?  Share the events of your epic season.

Write a story about what goes on in the refrigerator when the door is closed.

Imagine that you are small enough to ride an ant or a bluebird or a chipmunk.  What adventures would you and your animal friend have?

Other – write about any topic ~ adventure or otherwise ~ that comes to mind.  Have fun using your imagination!